Quick Brews: Control Dragon Priest (with Shadow Visions)

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Introduction


In the Quick Brews series, I’ll make a single pre-release deck for each class and talk a bit about it. However, since it’s impossible to tell how the new meta will look like, those might not be the best lists or they might not even work at all. And so, I don’t recommend crafting the cards Day 1 – you should probably wait and see how the meta turns out!

Second deck I want to talk about is the new approach to Dragon Priest. Most of people think that the deck is dead – but is it?

Control Dragon Priest


Most of people think that Dragon Priest is dead and focus completely on the Quest – Deathrattle Priest. However, I don’t really like it. I feel like the new Priest Quest doesn’t do enough to justify running it. The reward is probably the worst of them all. While yeah, getting up to 40 Health is great, it’s not a finisher. It can’t win you the game by itself. The deck relies too much on N’Zoth, the Corruptor and it feels like once N’Zoth turn is answered, it loses most of its power. Amara seem to be good only against the faster Midrange decks, where you’re under the pressure, but you won’t hopefully die until you finish the Quest. If those decks rule, then yeah, the Deathrattle Build will likely be better. But we’ll see.

However, I think that Dragon Priest has potential, with a big different approach. Instead of being a tempo deck that use Dragons and Dragon synergies to play powerful stuff on the curve, this one would be more of a Control/value deck. Some of the Dragon cards offer insane value. Drakonid Operative is a center of the deck – it’s a big body with an insane effect. However, it needs other Dragons to be viable. But that’s not a problem if you think about it. The deck runs 8 Dragons in total, which was enough for the Reno Dragon Priest to work and consistently activate Dragon synergies. Plus with 2x Netherspite Historian, there are even more potential Dragons. Book Wyrm is another incredibly powerful tool in such a deck – the card fits Control game plan much more than it fits the Dragon one.

The deck doesn’t look late game heavy, but it can generate TONS of value from outside of the deck. 2x Historian is 2 extra, most likely big Dragons (most of the small stuff rotates out, so you’re almost guaranteed to get a big guy). 2x Operative and 2x Thoughtsteal are 6 extra cards pulled out from the opponent’s deck. If you need even more value, Shadow Visions has a solid chance to pull out another copy of Thoughtsteal (or let’s say a big removal if you need one). Ysera is also a big threat that’s generating more and more value over time.

The deck would play much more like the old Control Priest lists, for example those from around LoE. The deck has no clear “win condition”, like a big combo, but instead it just slowly outvalues the opponent.

In case of a more aggressive meta, it can also be optimized and teched against Aggro. Adding Wild Pyromancer can be source of cheap, early AoE – that was always a common way for Priest to beat faster decks. Another card that goes well with Pyro is Binding Heal. Not only you can heal up your damaged minion, activate the 1 damage AoE, but you also heal your face for 5. It’s a really powerful combo.

In case of a faster or even more Midrange meta, Thoughtsteal can be switched out to Curious Glimmerroot. I actually thought about playing it right away, but it might not be a good idea. Early in the expansion people will try all sorts of weird stuff, so guessing which card belongs to the deck before the meta is stable will be very hard.

Kabal Songstealer is a tech card which I feel will be powerful. It’s one of the best Silence cards in the game, as it has nice stats for its mana cost (much better than Spellbreaker and Ironbeak Owl). Silence shapes up to be pretty alright this expansion, but if it won’t be, there are a lot of possible choices in that slot. Harrison Jones if weapon destruction will be necessary, Cabal Shadow Priest if some great targets pop out in the meta or even a second Holy Nova if you’ll need more AoE.

One thing that I’m afraid of when it comes to the Priest, and not this list – any slower Priest list – is that without a clear, solid win condition, the deck can not find a right place in the meta. For example, once Taunt Warrior finishes the Quest there is no way you’ll outvalue him – even if he doesn’t hit the right targets, he still either deals 8 damage to your Hero or kills something every tur and you can’t stop that. Another example is the Jade Druid – it’s a slow, grindy, value-oriented list, it might just be straight up bad against Jade Druid, because it can’t really put tons of pressure like the tempo Dragon Priest deck did, and it can’t clear huge boards or outvalue Druid in the late game. I’m afraid that the Deathrattle Priest might suffer from the same problem. But we’ll see, it’s hard to say how the meta will look like right now.

Closing


Thanks for reading! Remember that those are still prototypes and they will first need to be tested on the ladder and optimized. I will test most of those decks on the first days of the expansion and I will write full guides for the ones that will turn out to be working properly.

Good luck on the ladder and until next time!

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