I wanted to share a slightly new angle on priest that I’ve been messing around with and really enjoying over the last week. At first I did it just for the memes, but then the deck actually showed significant promise and as I continued to refine it I ended up doing quite well and climbing from 9000 to rank 2000 over the last week or so exclusively using this deck. My stats show me at a 65% winrate across over a +50 game sample. I shared an earlier version with Zetalot that he played on stream and he went 2-1 in top 250 legend (only loss was to a Tickatus lock but even that was a really close game).
Why should you try this deck out? In my opinion, it does all of the things that normal priest decks do really well (never running out of stuff and consistently removing boards), while also doing shoring up some of priests traditional weaknesses (card draw and tempo plays).
This Priest deck is different from most other priest decks in the sense that it has a Big PP, whereas other decks do not have a Big PP. Our Big PP results in a Pleasantly Proactive approach to games, where you actually have the means to generate tempo and own the pace of the game rather than wait for your opponent to concede out of frustration. As a result, I have found that this deck can even beat warlock sometimes (still not a great matchup vs. Tickatus, but I beat a handful of the Neeru locks without too much trouble). The Big PP I am referring to is the Primordial Protector himself, who tutors us our most expensive spell (typically Power Word Fortitude or Soul Mirror) and summons a random minion of the same cost. I was compelled to try out this Potent Package in priest because Primordial Protector has a powerful effect, but many of the high cost spells are too expensive or reactive to make it worth running. However, PWF actually summons an 8 cost minion regardless of how many spells are in your hand, and then discounts accordingly, meaning it can result in a really nice tempo swing and is easier use than other high cost cards that cannot come down the same turn or are unlikely to be useful the following turn. It is a common win condition of this deck to summon two beefy things on turn 8, and then whichever one sticks get a +3/+5 from PWF and a +2/+3/lifesteal from Apotheosis to close out the game.
This deck is somewhat minion heavy, but many of the minions add spells to your hand which reduce the cost of your PWF and allow you significant flexibility in how you play out different matchups. Against faster decks you simply play out your minions and fight aggressively for board, falling back on hysterias and soul mirrors to slow down their aggression until you can stick an apo or heal out of range, and against slower decks you can try to duplicate Mankriks, Kazakus, and Scorpids to make your opponent run out of removal and then slam down an 8 mana 6/6 + random 8 drop to make them wish they didn’t use all of their hard removal on 3 drops.
Speaking of random 8 drops, just how good are they? There is exactly one terrible 8 drop (1 health Natalie Seline), and roughly 10 great outcomes (Tirion, Troublemaker, Grom, Plagued Protodrake, etc.), out of 18 total minions. So on average you are putting a 6/6 + more good stats in play, and over half the time you get a big benefit on top of your pile of additional stats (rush, taunt, added effect). Add on the fact that you now have a little extra card draw in a class that sorely needs it, and this PP is looking pretty solid.
I went through many different versions of this list and have tweaked it a bunch of times, but I like where it is currently at. I think there is still some room for improvement here, so I encourage you guys to give it a try and make some recommendations. A lot of the cards are generically good priest cards that don’t need much explanation, but I’ll run over some inclusions/exclusions briefly:
# Class: Priest
# Format: Standard
# Year of the Gryphon
# 2x (0) Raise Dead
# 1x (1) Draconic Studies
# 2x (1) Holy Smite
# 2x (1) Renew
# 2x (2) Insight
# 2x (2) Sethekk Veilweaver
# 2x (2) Wandmaker
# 1x (3) Apotheosis
# 2x (3) Hysteria
# 1x (3) Mankrik
# 2x (3) Palm Reading
# 2x (3) Venomous Scorpid
# 1x (4) Kazakus, Golem Shaper
# 2x (5) Ogremancer
# 1x (7) Soul Mirror
# 2x (8) Power Word: Fortitude
# 2x (8) Primordial Protector
# 1x (9) Alexstrasza the Life-Binder
Inclusions (besides the Big PP Package)
Mankrik – great card that adds reach and board presence and gets huge replayability value from raise dead. Games go long enough where his effect is often quite relevant
Ogremancers – Negative synergy with raise dead, but I think are still worth the cut. We try to get on board and stay on board so that our opponent is on the backfoot headed into turn 8, and this guy does that. Without him mages walk all over you (mages still walk all over you if they draw double incanters)
Kazakus – I originally ran Xyrella and Samuro, who allow for big swings with Apo and PWF, but I realized that this deck is much more proactive and so I prefer Kazakus who is unconditionally super solid (especially with raise dead)
1 Draconic Studies + 1 Alex – I hard run Alexstrasza as a finisher and she does a great job of it. I don’t think I need to run two studies because we are more proactive and we don’t need four yseras to outvalue our opponents (in games like that we can find extra studies off wandmaker/discovers)
Sethekk – This isn’t a miracle / wombo combo deck, but he adds good early game presence as well as outstanding refill potential in the lategame. 3/6 crabriders eat him for breakfast but that’s 3 less damage going into your face at least!
Shadowform – I really want to run shadowform for extra board control and reach potential. But I don’t think it is very good to hard run. It is much better to pick up off of a discover somewhere along the way when the matchup requires it (which, unsurprisingly enough, isn’t that common)
Lightshower Elemental – I gave him a try as a nice ball of stats headed into our power turns, but he’s a bit slow and defensive for my liking. If you see a lot of aggression, he could probably be worked in there somehow. We don’t have too much trouble vs. hunters but paladins can be a bit annoying without him getting us out of conviction burst range
Nazmani/Rally – This isn’t a rally deck despite having sethekk and palm reading, and we create tempo without needing to heavily discount our cards first. 3 mana 2/5’s are okay but really just okay
Thrive in the Shadows – It could maybe get a slot, but it’s a bit expensive IMO. Being able to pull a wife or a renew / soul mirror could be clutch, I haven’t felt like I needed it though
Illucia – We usually have a pretty full hand with a lot of value, so there aren’t many good times to play her. She could shut down OTK DH which is otherwise a really tough matchup though, and burn some key paladin cards to run them out of steam in the midgame, so maybe worth revisiting
I won’t go into detailed matchups and mulligans because this isn’t really meant to be a full blown deck guide, but more of a discussion on a slightly newer (and bigger PP) version of your typical priest list. If people have specific questions I will do my best to reply in the comments; I can also post some replays if people are interested. Give it a shot and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading.