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Dragon Priest Standard Deck

Last updated on Sep 21, 2016 at 16:05 by Sottle 23 comments

Table of Contents

The following Priest deck is a Dragon based Control build that moves away from the reactive style that Priests have commonly played, and instead moves towards a more proactive strategy that aims to win the game through minion combat and Tempo.

Key to the resurgence of this deck is the addition of Netherspite Historian from the Karazhan Adventure which allows you a tremendous degree of flexibility as to how you approach each matchup.

1. About the Author

This deck is presented to you by Sottle, a professional Hearthstone player who plays for compLexity Gaming. Sottle regularly streams on Twitch and explains all of his moves. Watching him is a good opportunity to see how this and other decks play out in practice, and how decisions are made in real time.

2. Dragon Priest Standard Deck

Our deck costs 2,800 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Priest Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve


3. Strategy

Dragon Priest is a deck that strays away from the usual strategy of Control Priest decks that aim to simply sit back and wait, outlasting the opponent. Instead, it focuses on the other style of Control deck that still aims to be proactive, but packs in enough late-game that they are able to outlast their opponent if it comes down to it.

The early game for this deck can be a little counter-intuitive. Due to the presence of Wyrmrest Agent, Twilight Whelp now represents extra value as a Dragon in your hand. What this means however, is that you sometimes have to play your hand off curve, holding on to the 1-drop in order to play your Wyrmrest Agent and Twilight Guardian in activated forms, and only then playing the Twilight Whelp on a later turn once you have drawn a further Dragon, or have no more Dragon activated cards to play. This is a reasonable sacrifice to make however, as previously, you would have to make tough decisions about whether to keep high cost Dragons in order to activate all your cards.

Netherspite Historian can change this equation significantly however, as if you play an early Historian and choose to pick a high value Dragon, then that Dragon will sit in your hand the whole game and allow you to activate all the Dragon synergies that you need. Choosing how to play Netherspite Historian in this deck is one of the key aspects of the deck however, and it depends heavily on matchups. Against aggressive decks you should be happy to play it out on turn 2 if you don't have another play available and aim to pick up a strong mid-game defensive tool such as Twilight Guardian, or Book Wyrm. Against Control decks however, you are often better to hold off on Netherspite Historian until you can pair it with Brann Bronzebeard. Picking up two high value Dragons from one Netherspite Historian will give you all of the late-game power that you need against a Control deck and allow you to pressure them continuously throughout the game.

Once you have navigated these early turns, your utility cards like Power Word: Shield and Shadow Word: Pain come into play to help you gain an advantage in minion combat. These cards are crucial to help you consolidate your board position, and make sure you stay on the board. This is crucial to the deck, since unlike Priest decks you do not have a particularly huge pool of catchup cards if you fall behind.

Twilight Guardian is a key card introduced in The Grand Tournament that helps you to curve through a Dragon deck much more consistently. By bridging the gap between Blackwing Technician and Blackwing Corruptor or Azure Drake, it allows you a smooth, consistent progression of minions, and makes Dragon decks much more consistent. The 3/6 Taunt body is also a fantastic Aggro stopper, and helps you regain a foothold on the board if you have been unlucky enough to miss all your early game drops.

If you do find yourself falling behind on the board, the deck does play some catchup mechanisms, although as mentioned previously, not as many as a standard Control Priest deck. Holy Nova is a solid AoE tool that is particularly effective against Aggro decks.

More commonly than these big catchup turns though, you will spend your turns fighting to swing a fairly even board state in your favour, or further advancing your winning board. Cards like Book Wyrm, Blackwing Corruptor and Shadow Word: Death are excellent for this purpose, sine they allow you to gain a Tempo advantage over your opponent, either by removing their huge minion cheaply, or by swinging the board with a fast minion that serves both as removal, and a threat. Book Wyrm is particularly well positioned in the meta currently because it eliminate high value threats like Thunder Bluff Valiant or Fandral Staghelm.

The deck does play quite a low curve which tops out at Justicar Trueheart. As mentioned before this is of benefit as it allows you to operate quickly to be able to counteract Aggro and other Midrange decks. Against Control you will need to rely on Netherspite Historian to pick up the late-game power cards that you need.

3.1. Synergies & Combinations

Brann Bronzebeard can be used to boost the Battlecry effects in your deck. The most powerful usage of the card however is when paired with Blackwing Corruptor or Netherspite Historian.

3.2. Mulligans & Matchup Specific Strategies

You should consistently mulligan for a strong curve of early minions, keeping in mind the requirements for cards that rely on a Dragon being in hand. As mentioned early in the guide, this may require playing cards in a strange order, such as holding onto a Twilight Whelp for the first few turns in order to play both a Wyrmrest Agent and a Twilight Guardian in activated forms. Aside from your early minions Power Word: Shield is also a good keep. Specifically against Druid, the threat of an early Fandral Staghelm or Violet Teacher means that Shadow Word: Pain is a strong keep as well.

Against Aggro, Twilight Whelp and Wyrmrest Agent are key as this pairing will usually be able to gain an advantage against even the best Aggro starts, and if you can take contol of the game as early as turn 2 against an Aggro deck, they have little hope of recovery. Shadow Word: Pain is also a fine keep against Aggro to help deal with key minions like Knife Juggler, or Imp Gang Boss. The ideal hand against Aggro contains combinations of the cards Twilight Whelp, Wyrmrest Agent, Northshire Cleric, Museum Curator, and Shadow Word: Pain. If you already have Twilight Whelp and Wyrmrest Agent, you can keep any other Dragon in order to activate them both smoothly, since this pairing should be enough to secure the board for you early.

Against Control you simply want to mulligan for the smoothest curve of minions possible. Your goal against Control is just to curve out through your deck as efficiently as possible to maintain the Tempo and keep them on the back foot. A perfect hand against Control contains some combination of Twilight Whelp, Wyrmrest Agent, Blackwing Technician, Twilight Guardian (with The Coin), and Power Word: Shield.

3.3. Card Swaps

This deck currently plays 2 Blackwing Corruptor and 2 Azure Drake in the 5-drop slot, but this arrangement can easily be changed with one of these cards being dropped for a tech card like Harrison Jones.

4. ChangeLog

  • 21 Sep. 2016: Deck added.
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