I have tried to get buff priest to work since I started playing this game in 2015. This is easily the best-feeling iteration of it that I’ve seen.
I don’t have exact numbers because I play on Mobile, but I climbed ferociously with this deck, with an easily >60% winrate, breaking through to rank 1300 Legend in the first week of this month.
Year of the Gryphon
2x (0) Raise Dead
2x (1) Draconic Studies
2x (1) Holy Smite
1x (1) Psychic Conjurer
2x (1) Renew
2x (2) Condemn (Rank 1)
1x (2) Power Word: Feast
2x (2) Sethekk Veilweaver
1x (2) Shadow Word: Death
2x (2) Wandmaker
2x (3) Apotheosis
1x (3) Mankrik
2x (3) Palm Reading
2x (3) Venomous Scorpid
1x (4) Kazakus, Golem Shaper
1x (7) Soul Mirror
2x (8) Power Word: Fortitude
2x (8) Primordial Protector
To use this deck, copy it to your clipboard and create a new deck in Hearthstone
Proof of legend:
The flexibility of this deck is that it can play for tempo like a midrange deck or play like control if you’re against aggro.
Based on someone’s take on proactive Priest, the idea is that if your enemy chills out and takes it slow, you can easily leverage your mana into great tempo and value plays instead of doing hero power + pass like a full control priest.
People will constantly assume you’re control priest and leave themselves open to backbreaking plays. For example, a miracle rogue used their dagger to clear against me, assuming they would be safe at 20 hp. The next turn I played fortitude + fortitude and killed them with a big minion they had left up. To borrow a word from a Rogue secret, people are just bamboozled by this deck.
I’ve seen aggro and midrange decks playing incredibly slowly, having mulliganed for a slow game of attrition, finding themselves without plays on the first three turns while you develop threats and push face damage like they never thought a priest would.
The threats and key cards are as follows:
Primordial Protector- The namesake. Just as your opponent is running out of threats, you drop this, which will almost always pull an 8 drop with power word: fortitude, which you can sometimes play the turn of if you have enough spells in hand. Huge swing card that can end the game easily by pulling Troublemaker or Al’Akir or the new Taintheart Tormentor. There are some suboptimal rolls, but the only complete whiff is Natalie Seline.
Kazakus- Incredible card that makes it worth it not to run xyrella or hysteria. Those cards are reactive, functioning best when you have no board. Kazakus can be reactive or proactive, giving you a never-useless tool that is hugely variable depending on the matchup. Also him and his golems have high chance of coming back with raise dead, especially if you get a double golem.
Sethekk Veilweaver- Nobody needs me to tell them this card is good. Sethekk is an incredible powerhouse that generates tons of priest spells, which are typically high quality. This card allows you to go in on buffs or targeted removal or both at once and not lose card advantage as you do so. Dont be afraid to play this on turn 2 or even 1 with coin, depending on the matchup and whether you have one of a dozen follow-up plays. Ive won tons of games on the back of an early sethekk into power word feast or fortitude or even renew.
Anything with Power Word: Fortitude- The power of this deck lies in the fact that if you get any single minion to stick, it becomes a huge monster with cheap buffs and often lifesteal from apotheosis, flipping the board in an instant. Power word fortitude is worthwhile on 4 mana, great on 2 or 3 mana, and backbreaking at 1 or 0 mana. This card swings games and gives lethal and is not to be underestimated.
Raise Dead- So you ran out of threats. Doesn’t matter. We don’t run weak minions in this deck, so Raising sethekks, wandmakers, kazakus, scorpids, even mankrik for 3 health is very powerful. This card is good in every matchup except face hunter and doom shaman, but it can still give you the win in those matchups with strategic play. Dont always rip this as soon as two minions are dead. If you’re against control, wait for quality minions like kazakus or golems. If power word fortitude is in hand, wait to Raise until you get the cheapest buff you can. If you have no minions in hand and you really need a play, let it rip. Otherwise, think about whether you’d rather play it later.
Mankrik- Shockingly decent. Any midrange deck loves to use him if there’s space for him. High health to stick buffs, not to mention the even higher health on his rage form. Great to get multiples of with raise dead against control or midrange where you need pressure.
Venomous Scorpid- Good 3 drop in Priest. Pulls an answer when you desperately need one. Great target for Raise Dead. Value+Tempo, wonderful when it gets health buffs.
Draconic Studies- So Good. I dropped these at one point because I thought it was needless value and too slow, but I missed them so bad. There’s a ton of matchups where you want a turn 2 or 3 Hothead or Amalgam, and this card can even go for mega value or burst in slow games by finding alexstraza or ysera. Definitely at least a 1 of.
Second Draconic Studies- Depending on how fast the meta is, this could be changed for a more defensive option. I, however, think it’s worth the 29th slot in the deck for its versatility and consistency. However you are very sad if you play this turn one against face hunter and your options are all 8 and 9 drops.
Psychic Conjurer- I’ve dropped this card a lot. Its in the 30th slot for sure, and first to get cut. Very inconsistent, but at the very least it’s a turn one play that generates something. Following this card with a buff can be decent, but honestly I can’t vouch for it as much as the rest of this deck. On the bright side, your opponent’s deck is often made of independently strong cards and dropping sword eaters or trampling rhinos is just good, and impossible to play around.
Power Word: Feast- This card is better than it looks. This deck is all about fighting for the board and generating both value and tempo at once, and that’s this card’s forte. Ive won games on the back of turn 1 or 2 we thank or wandmaker into turn 2 or 3 power word: feast into trade. Goes great with rush golems or any big minion you have that wants to trade. Worth a 1 of for sure.
Second Condemn- In the age of face hunter we find ourselves in, I find it’s worth running two of these. If the meta slows down and you find it to be a dead card, drop it for something greedier.
Archdruid Naralex- I found it to be too slow. It’s great when it pulls Ysera Awakens or sometimes Nightmare, but lacklaster much of the rest of the time. Laughing sister has anti-synergy with the deck, emerald drake is too unwieldy much of the time, and dream is typically good but can be a brick in certain matchups. At least it gives a body when it pops out of dormant to buff, but with no taunt or rush it can be a huge liability in fast matchups.
All 4 drops- Kazakus is good enough to make you not miss hysteria. With all the card generation, you’ll pick up hysteria a surprising amount anyway, if it’s a matchup where you need it and you’re behind on board.
Second Psychic Conjurer- I can’t bear to run more than one. I suspect even one is too many, but I’ve often craved a one drop in this deck and the first copy helps consistently finding a play on turn one aside from draconic studies.
Always Keep- Sethekk, Wandmaker, Kazakus, Feast if you have Sethekk, Mankrik, Scorpid, Palm Reading if you have Sethekk or Scorpid or a hand of spells, psychic conjurer, Draconic studies
Tempo matchup- Renew, Holy Smite, Condemn, Apotheosis
Slow matchup- Palm Reading, Raise Dead if you have minions
Never keep- Power word fortitude (trying to pull with primordial protectors, though you’re often glad to draw it anyway), Primordial protectors (even in a crazy slow matchup you need to make plays before turn 8 and apply pressure to win)
Face hunter- Good matchup. The reason we run condemn. Incredibly winnable. Your minions are often too big to Rhino effectively, and sticking a huge minion with lifesteal is almost impossible to deal with for a face hunter. True to keep removal for kolkar or their big boards. Don’t ever go for value unless you’re winning by a lot. Tempo is often more important than HP total, so raise dead if you need it to fight for board.
Demon Hunter- Great matchup. Huge minions are a weakness for demon hunter, and your tons of generated removal and healing will make them cry. Interrupt their inquisitor turn by giving them a 6/6 and a random 8 drop to worry about the turn before they slam you with that big demon. The key to this matchup is often the same as against hunter: stick a minion like a hothead or a golem, play fortitude and other buffs, apotheosis it for a huge heal and maybe a trade. Dont be afraid to push face damage if theres nothing big enough to be worth a trade, this deck does care about the opponent’s life total.
Shaman- Can be difficult to stick a minion between devolving missiles, torrent, and lilypad lurker. Against aggro shaman try to stay relatively healthy while playing for tempo and then dont be afraid to stick buffs and apotheosis. Even if it gets transformed you’ll still get a big heal, and that matters against doomhammer shaman. Try to raise dead before anything gets transformed if you play it at all.
Paladin- Havent seen hardly any since the patch, but we had a decent matchup against them before it. Play for board, don’t be afraid to always trade, fear no hard removal except libram of justice.
Rogue- Weird matchup. Secret can be rough if they get stunners off, but Miracle is a good matchup unless they get the super nuts. Often miracle will expend so many resources clearing your big minions that they won’t have enough burst to win. Secret rogue should be played against cautiously, waiting to buff minions until you’re sure you won’t get completely blown out by blackjack stunner. Dont be afraid to never trade to play around bamboozle. This priest deck loves to go face.
Spell mage- Pretty good matchup. Mage misses Polymorph really bad, and our backup plan is to outheal them as only priest can. Tempo isn’t as important as staying at decent HP in this matchup, so try to keep your life total around 20ish or higher.
Control Priest- Great matchup. They’re expecting the mirror, and this deck can generate just as much big value as they can while making board states that they hate to see, like big 4 attack minions, unending hordes of kazakus golems, Primordial +8 drop with a free buff on something. Play it by ear on whether you should play for tempo or slow the game down, but they’re really going to wish they weren’t relying on cthun to win when you bash them with endless streams of medium sized minions. Watch out for Xyrella and try to play around Hysteria if you can.
Control Warlock- Rough matchup, but definitely not as bad as control priest. You want to keep generating boards that need to be removed until they run out of removal, then hit them really hard. Luckily I haven’t run into many warlocks, since it’s still our worst matchup, but it still feels better than control priest doing nothing the whole game until tickatus blows up your cthun pieces.
Warrior- Can be difficult, especially if control warrior shuts down all your threats or rush warrior plays a parade leader/playmaker/rokara and you’re caught without removal. Play slow against rush warrior if you dont have the nuts curve, but don’t be afraid to make a really bug buff minion since they don’t run hard removal. Against control warrior play greedy and try to save soul mirror to copy rattlegore, which they should absolutely not play against you.
This weirdo priest deck can generate tons of value just by playing good priest cards like sethekk, Palm reading, and renew. You can play for tempo or fall back on playing control priest but with surprises. Unlike standard control priest, you try to win with big minions and big swings instead of waiting for your opponents to die of old age while you assemble cthun.
This deck plays just as well against Priest’s good matchups, but excels against typically bad matchups by playing in an oddball way that is better than the sum of its parts. Everyone messes up the Milligan against you. Stick a minion, make it buff, and win the game with huge swing turns and proactive plays, courtesy of kazakus, Primordial protectors, and power word: fortitude.
More than anything, this deck is fun. It can on occasion get bricks in hands with two primordial 8 drops and a soul mirror or something, but I found it shockingly consistent, with a pretty low curve and a huge potential to snowball or come back.
Now go forth and make them fear playing slowly against Priest!