This Priest deck is built around casting tons of spells and getting rewarded with buffs and cost reductions. Fractured in Alterac Valley provided a ton of new cards for this archetype (at least, the way we’ve assembled it!). This particular build puts a large emphasis on Irondeep Trogg to give us a winning strategy against several classes that could otherwise prove difficult for this strategy.
Jump right into the video to see some gameplay with the deck, or scroll further to view the decklist and individual card choice discussion!
Let’s get into the card discussions!
Nazmani Bloodweaver is not a new card but it’s still one of the centerpieces of the Spell Priest archetype. The ability to cast a ton of spells, each one making the next cost 0 mana, gives us an amazing ability to have a huge single turn that dumps out a winning board state.
Palm Reading is the other key card in the deck, letting us fill our hand with a bunch of 0 mana spells to enable our crazy combo turns much earlier than would be possible otherwise. But these cards are not news; let’s get into the sweet Fractured in Alterac Valley cards!
Kobold Taskmaster is a key innovation that we don’t think many other players have discovered yet. It is just an unassuming 2/4 for 3, but the key here is that it provides two cheap spells that can then get reduced to 0 mana. The health buffs also play quite well with the fact that we are trying to stick powerful minions and then copy them.
We would be remiss if we got too deep into this article before discussing Irondeep Trogg. This powerful minion is a key component to the success of this deck, as it gives us a much stronger gameplan against classes like Warlock, Mage, and Priest that can usually deal with a normal board of large minions. Being able to present a large Trogg (or even two if we’ve copied it) is often impossible for these types of opponents to deal with, as the first spell they cast cannot finish it off thus doubling (and then quadrupling) their problem. Irondeep Trogg is fine against other classes as well of course, but in certain matchups it shines very brightly.
Stormpike Quartermaster is another huge reason that we built this deck, as we just can’t seem to resist building around it (check out our Miracle Druid deck for more Stormpike Quartermaster action). In the Druid deck, we aimed to copy the minion that received all of the buffs. In the Priest version of the deck, our main goal is to buff a huge Irondeep Trogg to lock out our opponent. However, we can of course still copy the buffs with Priest using Psyche Split. The combination of cost reduction and buffs that can be applied over the course of multiple turns lets us really explode with copy effects in one big turn that is often impossible to deal with.
Shadow Word: Devour is an interesting new card from Alterac Valley that provides a unique effect. It can simultaneously help us finish off a board of small minions or trade better, but it also just lets us focus a ton of health on the one key minion that we want to survive for a turn. Doing all of this while costing just a single mana (a very important criteria in this deck) means it’s a very welcome addition.
Spirit Guide is a perfect fit in this deck. Pretty much half of the spells we want to play anyway are Shadow spells and the other half are Holy spells. With such an abundance of these types of spells, Spirit Guide really is just a 5/5 taunt that draws two cards. This fits incredibly well into this deck, as it provides a large enough body to affect the board without being tempo negative while also digging us deeper towards our combo turn, or giving us enough fuel for a second combo turn if our opponent managed to deal with the first. The fact that it has taunt truly gives it an edge over a similar effect such as Multicaster, as sometimes all we need to do to win the game against aggro is drop a taunt minion and throw a ton of health buffs onto it.
Gift of the Naaru is the last card from Fractured in Alterac Valley that we feature in this version of the deck. It’s not super important to our strategy so we’re only including one copy (there are only 30 slots after all), but it can be quite powerful in certain situations. Most of the time it simply draws us a card while healing us from 26 to 29 or so, which is definitely a good enough floor to let us include it as an additional cheap spell that digs deeper into the deck.
Psyche Split is yet another crucial component of the deck. We have the ability to put out a giant minion in one turn, whether it was buffed in our hand with Quartermaster or played at a reduced cost and buffed with other spells. This means that being able to copy something huge is much easier than it would normally be for a 5 mana spell. Oftentimes our opponent might be able to deal with 1 random huge minion, but growing it even further and then copying all of our previous efforts puts the game out of reach.
I guess it just turns out that we really love copying things. The most common use for Gift of Luminance is to copy a Nazmani Bloodweaver, which almost always will let you reduce the cost of your entire hand to 0 if you’ve structured the prior turns properly. At other times you will simply want to copy a Stormpike Quartermaster to get more value out of your spells or a Spirit Guide to just draw a ton of cards while providing a small roadblock. It’s also sweet to copy any minion that has been targeted by Elekk Mount.
Elekk Mount is a very powerful card and something we definitely want to have access to. However, since it costs 7, we only want to include one copy. The effect is very powerful, as it just gives us a lot of raw stats to dump onto a minion that we want to copy, and it provides an incredible wall that often just beats aggro if we’re given a chance to resolve it. Even with just one copy of Elekk Mount in the deck, we have plenty of ways to draw and discover it so it will appear more often than not.
Power Word: Fortitude benefits greatly from the inclusion of Kobold Taskmaster. Other decks might want to play this card but can’t reliably get it to be more efficient than a card like Power Infusion. In this deck, however, it very consistently costs between 0 and 2 mana, which is incredible for adding huge stats to our combo turns. It can sometimes be played as a tempo card to stabilize the board and stick a key minion, but in the late game it really helps us go over the top and provides some burst damage.
Insight is just an incredible card for this deck as it contributes perfectly to our gameplan. It’s a cheap spell that gives an even higher concentration of mana into a future turn, letting us drop a combo minion like Quartermaster or Bloodweaver on the cheap and then having a lot more mana with which to combo off. The ability to draw deeper into minions specifically is very relevant as well, because for our deck to function we really need to be able to find the right combination of pieces.
Thrive in the Shadows is a card that we’re very happy to have access to as well. This card is what enables us to run a single copy of clunkier cards like Elekk Mount while also pretty much doubling our odds of being able to cast Palm Reading early in the game. A lot of the cards in this deck are situationally brilliant, so being able to access them regularly is valuable. It’s also a common thing for Priest decks to not really have much useful to do on turn 2, so having such a useful play is nice.
Raise Dead gives us yet another free spell that gives us great redundancy on our key minions. Simply having access to Raise Dead in the deck can give us the confidence to try to stick an Irondeep Trogg or a Nazmani Bloodweaver early. If it sticks around until next turn, great – we probably win easily! But most of the time they will spend some resources killing it, and then we can just get it back for value later in the game when we’re ready for a big turn.
Renew rounds out the deck and as you can see there is no shortage of powerful options available to us. Renew helps us stay alive and provides multiple spells to cast on the cheap. One tip to note is that it is often better to hold onto it rather than casting it on turn 1. The health restoration will be nice later of course, but we gain more information the deeper we are into the game, and as a 1 mana spell it is likely that it will be able to contribute to a key turn where we just want to cast a critical mass of spells. It’s also great for healing up our one huge minion that lets us win the game if it just stays alive one more turn.
This deck prefers to mulligan fairly aggressively, as there are only a few key cards that we are looking for in the early game. These cards include Palm Reading, Nazmani Bloodweaver, Kobold Taskmaster, and Thrive in the Shadows. Insight and Renew can sometimes be kept depending on the context of our hand and the matchup, and Spirit Guide can sometimes be kept if we have the coin.
Irondeep Trogg and Stormpike Quartermaster are certainly key components to this deck, but they are at their best when we are executing a combo turn around turn 5 or 6 so we don’t necessarily want to keep them in our starting hand.
Since there is no shortage of options for cards that would play well within this deck, we wanted to go over some more card choices that could make the cut when tweaking the deck or if you just don’t have the dust for some of these random epic spells.
Holy Smite was definitely in many version of our deck leading up to writing this article, as it seems like an obvious inclusion. One of the key uses for this card is dealing with an opposing Irondeep Trogg – a card that can give this deck fits sometimes. However, we found that our winrate was lower when we had this card in. It is almost certainly just due to small sample size, but we recommend just including Holy Smite as a metagame call if you are facing a lot of aggro decks or Irondeep Troggs.
Call of the Grave is an interesting card that we are still planning to try. We noticed that the card pool of 2-mana Deathrattle minions is actually pretty decent – we counted 7 “good” hits, 6 “decent” hits, and only 3 “bad” hits among the current card pool. If you manage to hit a card draw effect like Bloodmage Thalnos, we’re pretty happy, and of course this card could discover something at a huge mana cost in the late game. 7 and 8 mana in particular seem very good at dealing burst damage or summoning huge minions.
Bless is perhaps a very surprising exclusion from our build for many readers, as this effect is often what people think of when they remember the Inner Fire combo decks of the past. In our testing, we found that Bless was often not useful until we were already in a winning game state, the very definition of a “win more” card. Sure, there are some scenarios where we can muster a 2/9 minion and just wish we could close out the game, but the downside of having a pretty dead card when the game is not going according to plan let us to a much higher winrate once we cut it. In hindsight, it’s obvious that the combo aspect of this card would be much weaker in the modern metagame, as Inner Fire relied heavily on our favorite word “double” from Divine Spirit.
Sethekk Veilweaver might be another surprising omission to many readers. We had this as an auto-include in the deck for quite a while – until we realized that it really wasn’t contributing to our gameplan. Sure, it can provide essentially infinite value – but Hearthstone is not in a place anymore where random value will win the game. Cards are too powerful, and the tempo advantage and swings that can happen in a single turn far outweigh the benefits of casting random Priest spells that may or may not just clog up your hand. This deck has to deal with hand size limit quite often, and it can be very frustrating to use up our key mana reductions from Nazmani Bloodweaver on a random useless spell. Our winrate spiked massively when we realized that this card was not actually a good fit.
Void Flayer and Xyrella were key components of our initial builds of this deck, but we found that while they “felt” good because they were often the only card that could bail us out of a dire situation, we found much more success when we just focused as hard as possible on enacting our own over-the-top gameplan rather than trying to slow down our opponent’s.
Fortune Teller is a card that we have not actually tried, but with the addition of Kobold Taskmaster it can easily be an 11/11 taunt for 5 mana, so maybe that’s decent.
Multicaster has an obvious comparison to Spirit Guide, since it will almost always draw two cards (but unfortunately not 3 like in Mage or Shaman). Perhaps a new build of this deck could be built using Multicaster to replace Spirit Guide for card draw and then using Fortune Teller as our replacement taunt minion.
Clearly, there are an abundance of directions to take this deck, so we encourage you to have fun experimenting with these options. There are plenty of cheap Priest spells that could be playable that we haven’t mentioned – if it seems to make sense against the metagame that you find yourself facing, go for it! We’ll just advise against changing too many slots in the deck all at once – you don’t want to get too far from the efficient core or else risk diluting the engine that lets the deck actually achieve wins.
Thanks for reading! We hope that you have enjoyed our unique take on Spell Priest and the uncommon card choices that we’ve discovered to make it work!