I just hit legend with Kibler’s deathrattle priest deck with one change (swapped out Mind Control for Ragnaros, more on that below), so it seems like a good time to make a little guide about the different matchups. I played zoo until rank 4, then priest Here’s proof for the skeptical.
Hunter (16-5 this month): This matchup is the reason to play DR priest. We have Zombie Chow and Northshire Cleric they have Leper Gnome and Webspinner, which is a big advantage for our board control early. Card advantage is less important compared to board control, so don’t get carried away with Cleric shenanigans. For example, suppose they pass T1, we play Cleric (which is good), and they play Haunted Creeper on T2, and your choices are coin+Cultist or bump minions and heal. I would play the Cultist, because you need to have some kind of answer to Animal Companion, and Cleric is not it.
The most common way to win this matchup is to fight for the board early and midgame, and then at some point he runs out of steam because he has no card draw. Ideally you draw cards with Circle and Holy Nova and keep using the hero power on face.
This matchup is a big reason to use Rag over MC. If you can stick Rag behind a Sludge Belcher, you never need to proc any traps.
Warrior (8-7): I thought this would be priest-favored, but it was pretty even for me. The plan here is to get the board early and around turns 6-8 use Cleric to draw a bunch of cards. I recently had a game where I played Belcher on T5, the warrior played Belcher on his T5, and I played Cleric and Holy Nova on T6 to kill the Belcher for free (almost) and draw a card. Use Shadow Madness on an Acolyte that has been Cruel Taskmaster’ed, use Cabal on one that has not been, and try to limit his card draw as much as possible.
Common ways to lose this matchup are to not get the board early (weapons are good), lose a lot to Sylvanas, or get Brawled. You usually want to kill Sylvanas on your turn if you can do it in a decent way (play low drops first), because Sylvanas into Brawl is really brutal.
Priest (7-5): This is another matchup that is all about board control as opposed to card advantage. Board presence means that your Cultists’ deathrattles will work, you can dictate the trades, and you can use your hero power (and maybe draw cards with it). The one exception is that if you have Auchenai+Circle, you can focus more on card advantage early (for example, heal with Cleric or let him play another minion to die to Auchenai+Circle).
If you are the one with the board early, work very hard to play around Auchenai+Circle. Remember he can also use hero power on turn 6 and later. It’s important to make sure he can’t kill everything in a way that will make your Cultist DR not trigger.
Be careful about having 2 Clerics on the board at the same time. If the opponent bumps a few minions into each other and plays a Circle or two, you might draw our whole deck.
This is one matchup where MC is better than Rag. It really stinks to get your Ysera MC’ed and have no answer.
Zoo (5-6): I’d keep anything 3 and below, and keep Circle or Auchenai if you have the other. Basically you’re looking for a really strong minion start (Zombie Chows and Undertakers) or Circle+Auchenai. Decent players will do what they can to minimize the damage against C+A if you haven’t played any minions by turn 4 (3 with coin), so don’t be greedy and assume that you can keep stalling and they’ll keep playing Knife Jugglers to die. You should usually play minions if you have them, even if you’re planning on playing C+A later.
Mage (5-5): Nothing to say here, there are a million different kinds of mage. Don’t be afraid to waste Circle if you need to test for Counterspell. Against freeze mage, make sure something will survive Flamestrike + ping so that your Cultist’s DR triggers.
Handlock (1-8): You’re probably going to lose. I just YOLO and play everything I have and hope he has the worst hand ever. In theory Rag was supposed to help this matchup by sometimes giving a chance to win the game on turn 8, but this matchup may just be a lost cause.
Druid (7-2): Not sure what to say here. I did beat Dog’s Malygos druid deck to get my 5th star in rank 1.
Shaman (6-1): This is a good matchup for us. Zombie Chow and Cabal are both really good here.