[LoE] - Japanese Priest

Priest Ladder / Wild Control

DuTogira Score: 7


A priest deck which simply aims to out-value and over-power the opponent. You use the Priest hero power in conjunction with some of the most powerful stat/mana cost minions in the game to make efficient trades and force your opponent to use removal on sub-standard threats. You run a large removal suite to help deal with any board that your minions cannot simply overpower.
You will often run your opponent out of cards in hand around the same time that you yourself run out of cards, but given the power-level of the cards within this deck, you tend to win the top-deck game.
We are playing priest, so seeing Northshire Cleric in the deck should surprise no-one. However, people new to Priest may not know how to properly use it. In aggro match-ups like Shaman, Hunter, and Paladin, Northshire can be played on turn 1 simply to combat those annoying 1 drops that the opponent will likely be playing against you.
In combo and control match-ups though, such as Druid, Rogue, Warrior, Mage, Warlock, and Priests, Northshire is instead held as a source of card draw, to be played only when you can guaranteed draw at least one card off of it.
The fact that we run Zombie Chow also should not surprise anyone, but the fact that we run two might. We run two first because many aggressive lists are very prominent in the meta, and chow in a Priest deck is Hell on Wheels to those kinds of decks. We are able to run two though because of the high degree of synergy which Zombie Chow has with Holy Champion.
In every match-up you play chow on turn 1 if you can, period. If he gets removed it's just one less piece of removal your opponent will have for larger threats, and if he doesn't then he will either trade up into some higher costed minion, or will at least keep that warrior from building up armor. In control match-ups his deathrattle doesn't matter, because control v control is all about who has control of the board, and as long as you have enough health to not be dead, health is irrelevant.
In the mid-late game, try to save the chow for when you can play him with Holy Champion so that your opponent has a reason to fear killing the chow off.
Power Word: Shield is just a good source of card draw, and it has a high degree of synergy with the one of Wild Pyromancer that we run. Honestly, the shield is just an auto-include in every priest deck, because nothing fills the "Cheap Draw Spell" slot as well as it does.
Museum Curator is simply an amazingly high value card. He provides a small minion body on turn two, which can not only contest some one drops which aggro decks play, but is even relevant in midrange/control match ups because he is one more body which can be hit with Velen's Chosen. In addition to this minion body though, he provides a flexibility which no other card has every provided Priests with.
In aggro match-ups, he can discover cards like Zombie Chow, Explosive Sheep, Unstable Ghoul, Dark Cultist, Deathlord, Abomination, Sludge Belcher, and Chillmaw. The chances of him whiffing on a relevant minion are slim, and he doesn't even cost you that much tempo by doing this.
In midrange match-ups, he can discover cards like Dark Cultist, Piloted Shredder, Feugen, Stalagg, Sludge Belcher, Piloted Sky Golem, Cairne Bloodhoof, Sylvanas Windrunner, Toshley, and Chillmaw. Again, quite the long list of relevant minions which can be aquired.
Against control decks he can discover Piloted Shredder, Feugen, Stalagg, Sludge Belcher, Piloted Sky Golem, Cairne Bloodhoof, Sylvanas Windrunner, Toshley, and Sneed's Old Shredder.

This means he provides a flexible, on curve 2 drop relevant in every match-up. Priest couldn't have asked for more from a single card. So yeah, we run two of him.

Shadow Word: Pain is used as a one of because he can hit minions which are very hard to deal with via trading such as really ANY 2 drop, Doomsayer (yeah this is relevant), Deathlord, Twilight Guardian, Water Elemental, and Sludge Belcher. It also counts as an additional spell trigger for Wild Pyromancer every now and then, which is nice.
Since this deck often does not really take control of the board until turn 3 (barring turn 1 chow), Shadow Word: Pain also helps us reign in those aggressive decks early in the game.
Wild Pyromancer is usually a 2 of card in Priest decks, but in this list we only run one. This is because the Japanese Priest list runs a massive suite of AoE spells, but is rather light on cheap spells which can be combined with Wild Pyromancer. Pyromancer is still very powerful for stopping aggressive decks early on, but this deck does not run enough cheap spells to consistently use Pyromancer to clear the board more than once per game. This means running a second copy is on roughly the same power level as running a Huge Toad.
In aggro match-ups, Wild Pyromancer is saved to be used as an AoE spell.
In Midrange match-ups like Paladin, Hunter, and Druid he is often saved for use as a small AoE spell.
In Control match-ups he is often just a 3/2. Use him to bait removal.
Deathlord is busted in Priest. He shuts down aggressive decks early on in the game, and forces opposing control decks to fatigue sooner than the Japanese Priest list will. He can also often force opponents to over-commit into a Lightbomb or, if deliberately killed off on your turn, can be used to pull late game threats out of the opponent's deck only to immediately Entomb them.
Deathlord should not be played if you know your opponent can immediately kill him off. Since warriors run Execute, this means you should not play Deathlord against them unless you are certain you can handle whatever his deathrattle puts onto the opponent's board.
Shadow Word: Death is often run as a two of in most Priest lists. Given that Japanese Priest has such a powerful early game presence though, and plays to out-value its opponent rather than out-tempo them, this list only runs one. Use Shadow Word: Death on minions which cannot be efficiently traded with to capitalize on it's high tempo nature.
Velen's Chosen is a universally powerful card in Priest decks whose purpose is to create one minion which is too large for the opponent to deal with and which therefore takes control of the board single-handedly through efficient trading. This is exactly what the Japanese Priest list aims to do every game so running 2 of these is mandatory. Velen's Chosen requires a consistent early game to really shine, which is why this deck runs four one drops, three two drops, and two three drops.
Note about Velen's Chosen: Do not play it on a minion unless that minion can attack the turn it was buffed. Otherwise, the card becomes very weak to silence effects. At best, your opponent gets to dictate how to trade into this new super-minion. There are some rare exceptions to this rule, but most of them involve go-for-broke situations where you buff a taunt minion and pray you don't die the next turn because it's the best play you have.
Holy Champion is amazing in this deck. It is a four drop which can survive trading into the first body of a Piloted Shredder, but which becomes a bigger and bigger threat the longer it stays alive. This means that midrange and control lists have to treat it as a must-remove threat, or they risk getting otk'd or out-valued. Very few four drops can trade into a Sludge Belcher without blinking. Holy Champion can, and her synergies with Holy Nova and Zombie Chow make her what is arguably the most powerful four drop in Hearthstone, her two contenders being Murloc Knight and Keeper of Uldaman.
Do not place Holy Champion to the board if you know your opponent can kill her off while she is still a 3/5. If you need to stall out the game, use something like Sludge Belcher as cannon fodder instead.
Excavated Evil seems an odd choice in this list, given that it hurts our minions, delays our opponents fatiguing by a turn, and gives them another AoE spell, but the card is deceptively powerful. It answers a great number of minions which Holy Nova does not if played on turn 5, such as Piloted Shredder, Aldor Peacekeeper, Grim Patron, Snowchugger, SI:7 Agent, Earthen Ring Farseer, Mana Wyrm, and Tunnel Trogg. On turn 10 it can be combined with a Holy Nova to kill any and all opponent minions at 5 health or less.
Aggro decks don't want to draw a two-sided board wipe, so this card can often deny aggro decks an entire turn of play, which is huge.
Midrange decks, while they may find some use for the card, typically won't use Excavated Evil against you simply because they don't want to give it back to you. This means that often, the card has the same effect on midrange decks that it does on aggro decks.
Against control decks, you can always just save it to use on turn 10+ with a Holy Nova, and given that most of your minions have significantly more than 3 hp and that you can heal your own minions, you can usually play around the evil.

Despite all the upsides, the Japanese Priest deck still does aim to control the board, and the only way to do that is by keeping your own minions on it. This means that two Excavated Evils would just be asking for trouble, so we limit ourselves to one.

Holy Nova is AoE which heals our board. Is that not enough for you? Fine, it also (in some rare cases) can set up OTK's with Holy Champion. I'll take 2 please!
Harrison Jones occupies one of the two tech-card slots in this deck. The current meta sees a lot of weapon classes: Paladin, Warrior, Hunter, Shaman (Doomhammer KeK), and the occasional Rogue. He still trades reasonably with Sludge Belcher even against non-weapon classes, but all in all just helps swing games in our favor.
Other tech cards to consider:
The Black Knight for heavy Druid/Control metas
Sylvanas Windrunner for non-druid control metas
Loatheb for combo heavy metas
Cabal Shadow Priest for aggro heavy metas
Mind Control because everyone and his brother is playing either Priest or Warrior.
Sludge Belcher is just an all around good card. We run two because he is useful in every match-up.
Against aggro he provides 7+ hp which hits back for the opponent to slog through. This directly counters the "Get 'em dead" strategy of aggro lists.
Against midrange he provides 7+ hp which hits back for the opponent to slog through, and can be used to deny favorable trades from the opponent. This makes the "One turn tempo push" (where-in the opponent either takes the board or takes your life) strategy of midrange decks far more difficult to pull off.
Against control he can be used to deny favorable trades from the opponent. This makes the "Gain control of the board" strategy of control decks far more difficult to do when they cannot efficiently trade the way they would like.
Cabal Shadow Priest is an anti-aggro tech card, but is useful in every match-up as every competitive deck out there has at least one minion with 2- attack that is worth stealing. We only run one because this list does not run any minions which synergize with Cabal Shadow Priest, so running a second is asking for a 6 mana 4/5 with no theft target.
Entomb is the card which revived this deck. It not only removes an enemy threat, but silences it, and puts a copy of this threat into your deck for your opponent to deal with later. It has a massive degree of synergy with Deathlord, in that the deathlord can force your opponent to play huge win-conditions right into an Entomb, allowing you to deal with their threats on your terms instead of on theirs. Since it adds the opposing minion to your deck, it also means you fatigue more slowly than your opponent in control match-ups.
In a list like this which runs double Deathlord and aims to outlast the opponent, double Entomb is a no-brainer.
Lightbomb is an absolute bomb (forgive the pun) against most competitive lists, as no other class has the ability to heal their minions, and a large portion of the most powerful minions currently seeing play in constructed have an attack greater than or equal to their health. This means that against any deck (other than against Priests) Lightbomb will often 2 for 1 or 3 for 1. It perfectly answers Mysterious Challenger and Dr. Boom as well, which are two of the most powerful and difficult to answer constructed win-conditions. The minions in our deck tend to have higher HP than attack though, so our own minions survive the Lightbomb and can just be healed up. This list runs two because of the high degree of synergy with Deathlord and just because I really love AoE spells.
Justicar Trueheart is a minion which just doesn't look good on paper in this deck. It dies to almost everything, and most of the power of this deck comes from the fact that it can heal, not from the raw amounts it can heal for. Here is where, in practice, she is so much better though:
In aggro match-ups, Justicar Trueheart will often allow you to recover from almost dying and deny your opponent the ability to top-deck that last point of damage.
In midrange match-ups, Justicar Trueheart performs much the same function that she does in aggro match-ups, in that she allows you to outlast the opponent's deck. Most midrange decks either lack in reach or lack in ways to recover the board, and your augmented hero power can compensate for whichever area the opponent's deck is strong in.
In control match-ups, the augmented hero power allows your minions to make what should be ridiculously poor trades, but so long as they survive you can heal them back up to full and never let go of the board again.
Ysera is just a powerful late game win-con that can't be hit by Big Game Hunter. That's really all there is to it. If you plan to outlast your opponent, she is the best option in the game.
Mulligan For: Zombie Chow, Harrison Jones, Entomb, Lightbomb, and Justicar Trueheart

Zombie Chow: He baits out Fiery War Axe, and there are a rather small number of minions that can be hit by the axe in this deck. More often than not, the warrior will not be able to use the last charge of the Fiery War Axe in favor of equipping a Death's Bite. If the warrior does not have Fiery War Axe, the chow can just keep armor from building up.
Harrison Jones: Well... it's a weapon using class of which none of its archetypes typically win the game before turn 5, so this should be a no brainer.
Entomb: Good against Control Warrior to have guaranteed answers to their late game threats. At worst against Patron it can hit Emperor Thaurissan.
Lightbomb: Great agaisnt Patron because it clears any sort of board they try to establish. Also good against control because it can go 1 for 1 with most of their win-cons and perfectly answers Dr. Boom.
Justicar Trueheart: She is good against Control Warrior, and even against patron she allows your taunt minions to basically become Fort Knox.
Against Control Warrior, count the number of cards he draws throughout the game. You can draw up to two more cards than he does. This is because Entomb will make up for those draws, making you two even on fatigue. Between the two Deathlords, they reliably pull at least one minion from the Control Warrior's deck. Playing this way should guaranteed put him one card ahead of you in fatigue, which means you win if the game goes late. Beyond that, try to make high value plays. Cards are what matters in control match-ups, not health. Use Holy Champion and Deathlord to bait Executes and Shield Slams.
Just hold up any one piece of AoE. Perhaps a Wild Pyromancer + Holy Nova, perhaps a Lightbomb, or the one of Excavated Evil. Use it when the patron combo's off. Then you win. This is just about the easiest match-up imaginable for Japanese Priest.
Mulligan For: Zombie Chow, Northshire Cleric, Power Word: Shield (If going second), Museum Curator, Shadow Word: Pain, Wild Pyromancer, and Deathlord
Velen's Chosen or Excavated Evil can be kept if you have a solid opener already.

Zombie Chow: A powerful one drop minion, and given that Aggro/Face Shaman is such a prominent meta deck, you need minions which can take control of the board as early as turn 1.
Northshire Cleric: Performs the same function as Zombie Chow, though not quite as well.
Power Word: Shield: Useful when combined with Wild Pyromancer and The Coin for an AoE clear as early as turn 2. Since you only get the coin when going second, this card becomes too slow to keep when going first.
Museum Curator: He could find a 3 drop like Dark Cultist or Deathlord and he has soft taunt simply because you MIGHT have a Velen's Chosen in hand.
Shadow Word: Pain: Kills a Totem Golem on curve. Kills Tunnel Trogg too. Need I say more?
Wild Pyromancer: Potential source of board clear if you are going second. At worst, you go first and he is a 3/2 with soft taunt that eats a Lightning Bolt or Crackle.
Deathlord: He stops aggro decks.
Velen's Chosen: Very powerful if you have an early minion to play it on, as it often allows you to wrestle an early control of the board from the shaman. This usually means you win. It's completely useless without a minion though, which is why it is a situational keep.
Excavated Evil: Kills Tunnel Trogg, Feral Spirit, all totems, and puts a dead draw into the opponent's deck. It still isn't enough to save you if you don't have an early game play though, so you can't keep this without having solid early game in your opener.
The high number of AoE clears, consistent early game, and powerful taunt minions you play are USUALLY enough to keep you alive and weather the Shaman storm, but it really just depends on the draws. Try to heal your face exclusively if you are below 15 hp. Heal minions at 20+.
Right, good joke. Just play against "not face shaman" like you would against Midrange Paladin.
Mulligan For: Zombie Chow, Museum Curator, Deathlord, Holy Champion, Excavated Evil, and Harrison Jones

Zombie Chow: Good early game, and since he is a threat when hit with Power Word: Shield or Velen's Chosen, the rogue will often use some form of removal on the chow.
Museum Curator: Provides a dink and helps you curve out. Flooding a rogue early in the game is a great strategy as it often forces them to use removal at sub-optimal times. The curator helps us force the rogue to do that.
Deathlord: A big minion to help protect the face and a great target for Velen's Chosen. Most rogue decks don't run any minions which are that big of a problem when summoned by the deathrattle, so this guy has very little downside against rogues.
Holy Champion: Another threat, and it becomes more and more threatening every turn. Especially good because it can answer cards like Violet Teacher.
Excavated Evil: Kills the SI:7 Agent and Earthen Ring Farseer and denies the rogue a draw. No real downside here, so it's keepable.
Harrison Jones: I should not have to explain why you keep this guy against a rogue.
Try not to stack buffs on minions, as Sap is a thing. The general strategy against Oil Rogue is just to out tempo them, but "tempo" is a relative term. Just try to put the opponent in situations where you are forcing him to clear the board when you have 4 or fewer minions on it. Also, try not to play two Holy Champions at the same time. They are the greatest source of tempo that this deck has, and are usually that one minion which forces the rogue to clear.
Side Note: Discover taunt minions with Museum Curator wherever possible. They really hurt Blade Flurry combos.
I have never once played against Raptor Rogue, oddly enough. From a "fishbowl" (purely theoretical) standpoint, saving Entomb for high power cards seems like a solid game plan. Save Cabal Shadow Priest for Nerubian Eggs. Beyond that... play smart?
I have played against Mill Rogue maybe a grand total of three times while using Japanese Priest, if you count every match I have played with the deck since its conception in S13. Try not to use draw spells, try to actively kill off your own Northshire Clerics, and other than that just out tempo the Mill Rogue. They don't have much in the way of hard removal, so cards like Holy Champion really help you just get the rogue dead before he can mill you out.
Mulligan For: Zombie Chow, Northshire Cleric, Power Word: Shield, Museum Curator, Shadow Word: Pain, Wild Pyromancer, Deathlord, and Harrison Jones
Velen's Chosen can be kept if you have an early game minion in your start hand.

Zombie Chow: Paladins have powerful openers. Chow shuts down most of them.
Northshire Cleric: Northshire inhibits paladins from using hero power, and can draw you at least one card before dying against any 2 drop other than Knife Juggler. It's typically worth the risk to play her.
Power Word: Shield: Good Wild Pyromancer trigger, which is very strong against a class that summons an army of 1/1's
Museum Curator: His 1/2 body still kills dudes off just fine. You want to try to discover minions that will allow you to play on curve and thus keep up the tempo against a paladin.
Shadow Word: Pain: It kills Shielded Minibot. It kills Knife Juggler. It's worth keeping.
Wild Pyromancer: Given that he provides a repeatable Whirlwind effect, this guy is an all-star against paladins.
Deathlord: Deathlord is a little weak to Equality, but given that most paladin lists only run one or don't run any, that is a very small price to pay for such a powerful early game minion. Paladins really struggle with him since their primary ways of dealing damage involve minions and weapons, both of which can easily be played around.
Harrison Jones: He can eat Truesilver Champion to help solidify control of the board, or eat a 2-3 durability Light's Justice gotten from Muster for Battle to get you back into the game. Why wouldn't you keep him?
You need to save some form of spell removal for Mysterious Challenger. Preferably it will be Entomb, but Shadow Word: Death and Lightbomb usually still do the trick. One of the most important things you can do in this match-up is keep the opponent's board as clean as possible. Your ability to do this is largely dependent on what you draw, which means this match-up is frustrating despite being favorable.
Midrange Paladin is a bit slower than Secret Paladin, which is good for us. Try to save Wild Pyromancer for right after the turn when the opponent uses Muster for Battle, whenever that is. Make good trades and try to play around Consecration, and you should be able to win this match-up the majority of the time. Every now and then you just get out-tempo'd. It happens, just shake it off.
Museum Curator can grab Sylvanas Windrunner, Cairne Bloodhoof, and Piloted Sky Golem in this match-up and use them with pretty brutal efficiency. This said, his priority is still to help you play on curve.
I'm still trying to figure out how to play against this deck, which is why I have set the win-rate to unknown. The Anyfin Can Happen finisher can actually be countered by this deck. You just have to save a copy of Entomb for Old Murk-Eye or Murloc Warleader. I am still trying to determine which is better to use it on, but I am leaning towards Murk Eye because the opponent could only possibly run one. It should go without saying that if you Entomb either of these minions, you should NEVER play it to the board, because Anyfin Can Happen doesn't care whose side the murloc died on. It just cares that it died. Otherwise, play against this deck like you would against Midrange Paladin, but place a slightly higher priority on discovering late game taunt minions like Sludge Belcher and Chillmaw to try to gum up the finishing combo.
Mulligan For: Zombie Chow, Northshire Cleric, Museum Curator, Shadow Word: Pain, Wild Pyromancer and Deathlord
You can keep Power Word: Shield if you have a Wild Pyromancer in your opening hand.

Zombie Chow: Taking control of the board is critical against an aggressive class like Hunters.
Northshire Cleric: It isn't quite a chow, and it can lose to a Knife Juggler... but it's better than nothing.
Museum Curator: He helps you curve out (and this is how you should use him against hunters) and against the more aggressive lists he can take care of some annoying 1 drops.
Shadow Word: Pain: Even though Hunters run some sticky minions, it still deals with Knife Juggler and is a Wild Pyromancer trigger. It also kills a Haunted Creeper which has been hit by Houndmaster, which is far more relevant than you might think.
Wild Pyromancer: Hunters play a lot of 1 hp minions. PUNISH THEM!!!
Deathlord: He hurts aggressive decks. Yes every now and then a hunter will use Hunter's Mark on him and then pull out a Savannah Highmane, but prospect of early board control is worth the risk.
Midrange Hunters curve out more consistently than we do, have minions which are incredibly difficult to clear, and occasionally run Hunter's Mark which really hurts Deathlord. Freezing Trap also means that obtaining board control can be very difficult via creatures, because Japanese Priest has a difficult time repeatedly recovering tempo against hunters. Try to keep your minions alive, because hunters lack strong board clears, and prioritize healing taunt minions.
Strong taunt minions make life difficult on Face Hunters, minions like Museum Curator tend to trade just as well as anything else, Wild Pyromancer is a bad day for SMOrc, and your hero power means their reach is limited. Face Hunters can still just have a ridiculous hand or you could draw your deck completely backwards curve-wise, but short of "luck-of-the-draw" you really can't lose this match-up.
Mulligan For: Power Word: Shield, Zombie Chow, Museum Curator, Shadow Word: Pain, Deathlord, and Velen's Chosen

Power Word: Shield: You have some breathing room in the first few turns against Druid where they tend to just ramp or use removal. A buff spell that draws a card is a great way to capitalize on the lack of early game pressure.
Zombie Chow: A strong early game minion which could soak some early removal and threatens Darnassus Aspirant.
Museum Curator: Like Power Word: Shield, it's a great way to capitalize on the lack of early game pressure. It also provides a target for Velen's Chosen. When played early in the game you typically just want to curve out. Mid-late game just go for powerful minions/taunts, depending on where your health is at.
Shadow Word: Pain: It counters Darnassus Aspirant. That's about it.
Deathlord: The lack of early game pressure from Druids means he isn't likely to get killed off. He's just a good target for buff spells, because he doesn't mind getting silenced one bit.
Velen's Chosen: Keeping this revolves around rather twisted logic. Druids run a fair bit of silence, but the deathrattles on most of your early game minions help your opponent. This means that you can use Velen's Chosen to try to force the druid to silence minions with those deathrattles. If he doesn't blow his silence effects, great. You get a big beefy minion with spell damage! Huzzah!
Midrange Druid tends to apply very little early game pressure, but the late game pressure that it can put on is rather remarkable. Cards like Druid of the Claw can often force us to use Entomb, and with only 1 to 2 minions, Druids can often force you to use Lightbomb via the threat of the Force of Nature + Savage Roar combo. The average game sees you outlasting the Druid and forcing him to use his first combo as removal. But almost as often, the Druid simply applies too much pressure to the board and then kills you.
Turns 2-6, try to use Museum Curator to help you curve out. As you reach turns 7+ though, instead use Museum Curator to discover powerful mid-game minions. Minions with taunts like Sludge Belcher and Chillmaw have top priority unless you either have solid control of the board, or the druid has already blown his first combo and you are not in danger of dying any time soon.
Japanese Priest's strong early game and abundance of both targeted removal and AoE makes it difficult for Aggro Druids to win. Barring poor draws on your part and ridiculous draws on the part of the Aggro Druid, this match-up shouldn't be too hard.
Mulligan For: Northshire Cleric, Power Word: Shield, Zombie Chow, Museum Curator, Shadow Word: Pain, Wild Pyromancer, Deathlord, and Velen's Chosen

Northshire Cleric: Zoo is a warlock deck. You need early game. Northshire is early game.
Power Word: Shield: Same rationale as the northshire. Against other warlock decks it can take your early game minions out of Darkbomb range.
Zombie Chow: Zoo is a deck. You need early game.
Museum Curator: He is just good in every match-up. The discover mechanic can flex based on which deck you are facing, and he provides a 1/2 body. Against Zoo try to curve out or, failing that, grab taunts. Against RenoLock grab Stalagg/Feugen if given the option, otherwise grab powerful mid-game minions. Against maly-lock, try to curve out or grab powerful mid-game minions. Against Handlock grab powerful mid-game and late-game minions.
Shadow Word: Pain: It has great targets against every one of the warlock lists except for handlock, and it can be a game-decider against Zoo.
Wild Pyromancer: Against Zoo it gives you another form of board clear. Against every other Warlock list it will at worst soak some removal.
Deathlord: Warlock lists don't tend to have great ways to deal with an early Deathlord. This means it's usually safe to play him.
Velen's Chosen: Just like with druids, Velen's Chosen can help you trade favorably or at worst baits a silence onto a minion of yours with a negative deathrattle.
This match-up is highly draw dependent. Your deck draws more consistently than the RenoLock list does, but cards like Lord Jaraxxus and Twisting Nether are difficult to overcome for this list, and mean that RenoLock tends to just win the late-game. On the other hand, sometimes Ysera provides you with enough burst to kill the RenoLock, or you are just able to out-tempo him.
There is no general strategy against the Reno-lock deck, as that deck's draws usually dictate how you should play the game. If the Reno-lock has a strong opener, you try to out-value him and then just overwhelm him as the game goes late. If he draws a slower hand, you want to try to out-tempo him. In both situations, try to play Ysera only if you are confident that she cannot be easily removed. She is your best way to win against this deck.
Entomb should prioritize Sylvanas Windrunner, Stalagg, and Feugen. You will also occasionally be forced to Entomb Twilight Drake, which is not an optimal target.
Museum Curator has three big targets in this match-up: Sylvanas Windrunner, Stalagg, and Feugen.
I haven't played that many games against Malylocks, maybe 12 since the malylock archetype was conceived. The recorded win-rate against malylock may be due to me making some errors while playing against a deck which I am relatively unfamiliar with. You are forced to try to out-value the maly-lock, as Antique Healbots combined with Brann Bronzebeard make the deck very difficult to out-tempo. Shadow Word: Pain should be saved for Twilight Guardian and you may often be forced to use Entomb against Twilight Drakes. If at all possible, try to save an Entomb for Malygos, but be aware that you often will not be able to.
Try to keep minions at 3+ hp to play around Hellfire. As the game goes late and the likelihood of your opponent having the Malygos finisher increases, try to keep your health above 18.
Museum Curator should just be acquiring powerful mid-game minions to help you keep board control against the Maly-lock.
The high number of AoE spells which this deck runs combined with our high stat/mana cost minions means that zoo decks have a rough time trying to out-board control us. The win-rate against Zoo could be higher if we mulliganed expecting to face zoo every time a Warlock popped up, but the abundance of Reno-lock means we have to change our mulligan strategy and loses us ~5% win-rate against this deck. Heal your minions exclusively unless you are at 9 health or less.
Use Museum Curator to help you curve out and to find powerful mid-game minions to help you keep control of the board. Chillmaw is especially good on turns 7+. If you also have Ysera in hand, PogChamp.
Believe it or not, 30/70 is actually ridiculously good for a priest deck against Handlock. Double Lightbomb means the giants tend not to be a big problem, double Entomb means you can handle Dr. Boom and Mal'Ganis, and one Shadow Word: Death is great to either shoot down Emperor Thaurissan or just to cover those times when you don't have the perfect answer to a big threat. The rest of the cards in a Handlock's deck can be dealt with via trading.
You have to play the slow game against Handlocks, as playing a high tempo game is reliant both on you drawing an aggressive hand, and on the Handlock not having Molten Giant(s). A typical game sees both decks going to turn 15-20 followed by the Handlock playing Lord Jaraxxus and winning.
Play Ysera only if you are confident that the opponent cannot deal with her. Dream cards which allow you to burst the opponent are this deck's only way to achieve a significant amount of reach, and without reach you simply cannot kill a Handlock.
Save Harrison Jones for when he plays Lord Jaraxxus. Harrison drawing you that many cards should keep you in the game for 3 or 4 turns of Jaraxxus, and that's all you could ever hope for as a Priest.
Museum Curator should just be grabbing powerful late game minions. Sylvanas Windrunner, Sneed's Old Shredder, Cairne Bloodhoof, Piloted Sky Golem, Toshley, and Feugen are all reasonable discoveries. Stalagg though just tends to get BGH'd. If you happen to pull Feugen with your first discovery though, it should go without saying that Stalagg becomes a powerful second discovery.
Mulligan For: Northshire Cleric, Zombie Chow, Museum Curator, Shadow Word: Pain, Deathlord, and Velen's Chosen

Northshire Cleric: Tempo Mage is the most common kind of mage deck right now, and you need early game to not get out-tempo'd. At worst the Northshire eats a Frostbolt or something.
Zombie Chow: Tempo Mage is a think, and chow is the king of turn 1.
Museum Curator: A good body to threaten Velen's Chosen with. Against most mage decks you want him to help you curve out.
Shadow Word: Pain: This card is great against every kind of mage. Against tempo mage, it keeps them from snow-balling early on. Against mech mage, it keeps them from snow-balling early on. Against Freeze Mage, it kills Doomsayer. Against Control Mage, it can handle Water Elementals and Sludge Belchers.
Deathlord: He is hard for the aggressive mage decks to plow through, and against freeze mage he can force cards like Alexstrasza into play before the mage is ready, significantly crippling the opponent's deck.
Velen's Chosen: It helps you establish early board control. Mages don't like it when you take early control of the board.
Tempo Mages fall flat on their faces if you take early control of the board. Sometimes they draw an amazing hand and just steamroll you. Sometimes they kill Deathlord and just happen to pull Archmage Antonidas. Sometimes you just have a crap draw and they snow-ball out of control. Usually though, your strong early game and abundance of AoE give the mage a very difficult time with killing you, and you are able to outlast his tempo-push for victory.
Maintaining control of the board is critical in this match-up, and stacking buffs on minions is perfectly ok, as spells like Fireball are usually the only removal that a Tempo Mage will have. Landing Velen's Chosen on a Deathlord usually just wins you the game.Museum Curator should be used to help you curve out above all else. However, because Tempo Mage decks run Mirror Entity, know that Zombie Chow, Clockwork Gnome, Explosive Sheep, Unstable Ghoul, and Loot Hoarder are all solid pulls from the curator. The Museum Curator itself can also be held to use as a "test minion" for Mirror Entity.
Shadow Word: Pain should be saved exclusively for use on Doomsayer. Entomb can also be used on Doomsayer. The fact that we have three answers to a minion which we previously could not answer is what makes the Freeze Mage match-up so good. Holy Nova should be used to heal minions, as you will not usually have to fight a Freeze Mage for board control. Deathlord can be played as soon as you have the opportunity, as Freeze Mage decks have trouble dealing 8 damage to a minion prior to turn 6 (which is when Entomb becomes playable). Sometimes the Freeze Mage will manage to stall for enough time to just combo you to death. Usually he won't be able to though, given that Doomsayer is not a reliable board clear for him in this match-up.
This is quite possibly the only match-up where it does not matter one bit what you discover with Museum Curator. Among all of the deathrattle minions, not one is better than the others against Freeze Mage. Because of this, just try to discover minions which help you to curve out.
Try to steal Mad Scientists with Cabal Shadow Priest if you can, to force the Freeze Mage to both draw and play his secrets.
Mech Mage is a draw dependent match-up, and whichever player draws the stronger early-game tends to win. This is because Mech Mage, like Tempo Mage, needs to have board control to keep a constant pressure on the opponent. The average match sees Japanese Priest nearly dying, but just barely eeking out a win.
Board control is critical in this match-up. Heal minions, not the face (unless you are fairly certain that healing your face would prevent the opponent from having lethal).
Cabal Shadow Priest should only be played if it has a minion to steal.
Museum Curator should be helping you curve out in the early game, and should be held to check for Mirror Entity as the game goes on. Discovering cheap minions like Zombie Chow is just fine, as they further counter Mirror Entity.
Control Mage decks (also called "Fat Mages") are favored because many of the minions which they run have higher health than attack. This means that cards like Lightbomb are very under-whelming in the match-up. Combine this with the fact that cards like Duplicate and Echo of Medivh allow these mages to continuously output just as many threats as Entomb allows us to output, and Japanese Priest just has a bad day. You have to play to out-value the control mage, as rushing him down tends to lose to Reno Jackson or Molten Giant. The fact that we have to mulligan for early game against mages does not help this match-up either.
Entomb should be used on Sylvanas Windrunner and Reno Jackson (where possible).
Museum Curator should be discovering powerful mid-game threats for you, as board control will be critical.
Save Shadow Word: Pain for any Doomsayers or Water Elementals that dare show their faces.
Mulligan For: Power Word: Shield, Northshire Cleric, Zombie Chow, Museum Curator, Shadow Word: Pain, Deathlord, Velen's Chosen, and Holy Champion

Power Word: Shield: Priests have issues dealing with high health minions. This boosts HP and draws a card. Sounds good to me.
Northshire Cleric: In the mirror match, the Priest with the most cards in hand is usually the priest who is winning. An early Northshire helps us be that priest.
Zombie Chow: We keep him because, if paired with a Velen's Chosen, he becomes an Injured Blademaster, which is very hard for priests to deal with.
Museum Curator: Another early game minion which could potentially be hit by Velen's Chosen. His ability to grab powerful mid-game threats is also amazing in the mirror.
Shadow Word: Pain: One of the only answers we have to another Priest's early game. It is especially critical against Dragon Priests.
Deathlord: He can buy you some time against opposing Priest decks. Even if he gets dealt with, he brings your opponent closer to fatigue, which is good. If he gets hit with a Velen's Chosen, you basically just win the game.
Velen's Chosen: When it lands on Deathlord or Zombie Chow it can swing the game massively in your favor. That fact alone is enough reason to keep it in an opening hand.
Holy Champion: Not only does she have great synergy with our deck, but she stops the opponent from using his/her hero power. Great anti-priest card.
Against Dragon Priest, you just have to have a strong early game draw. Minion for minion, his are going to be stronger than yours, and the most annoying thing is that his minions also tend to have higher health than attack, which means that Lightbomb is a rather dead draw. Dragon Priest, at its core, is still a tempo deck, it just happens to be that tempo deck which is strongest against Japanese Priest. If you can wrestle board control from him, you win. If you can't (which is often the case) you lose.
Museum Curator should be helping you to curve out and grabbing powerful mid-game minions that will help you obtain board control.
American Priest (Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing Priest) plays very similarly to Japanese Priest right up until we reach the late game. Where American Priest has a bit more reach than we do (capable of 14+ burst dmg) and is stronger against aggressive lists, Japanese Priest runs a greater number of minions, and ours become far more potent when it comes to controlling the board than do those of the American Priest list.
Do not play Ysera until your opponent has used both of his Entombs. The fact that we run our own late-game finisher and they do not is what gives us such an advantage, as the two decks tend to go to fatigue.
Use Museum Curator to discover mid-late game threats. Curving out is not so important in this match-up.
Play against Japanese Priest the same way you would against American Priest, but make sure to save one Entomb for Ysera. If your opponent is smart, he will do the same, and you will end up going to fatigue with both players holding one Ysera and one Entomb until one of you two dies.
I am not the individual who came up with the original idea for this list. The deck's original builder is "TaikiM13" who created the Japanese Priest archetype in S13. He used it to hit rank 4 legend that season.
Since S14 though he has ceased to maintain/update the Japanese Priest deck archetype, and given that I helped him refine the original list in S13, I have taken up the mantle of maintaining the deck. This means that any and every card in this deck released post-GvG is one of my own personal modifications.
I have no personal claim to the idea of a Deathlord + Lightbomb control Priest. At best I am just a hipster-turned-loyalist who has played the deck longer than almost anyone else.

Thank you guys for checking out the deck! Any and all feedback is very much appreciated. With luck, this deck can help you both to have some fun on the ladder, and to rank up at a rather high win-rate.


DuTogira says... #1

I will be adding a match-up table, probably some time tomorrow (Thursday 12/17). I just recently got done with my finals, so I may finally have the time to put such a massive chunk of text into the deck's description. Don't quote me on that time, but know that a full match-up table and mulliganing guide will be coming.

December 16, 2015 9:23 p.m.

GeminiSpartanX says... #2

I really like the time and thought you've put into this deck description and matchup analysis! +1!

December 21, 2015 7 a.m.

Really glad to see Museum Curator here. It's the perfect fit for the deck, and I haven't seen much experimentation with it.

Has Holy Champion been performing well? I'm always wary to put it in my decks and always end up just going with the old dependable Auchenai Soulpriest. And with the control decks out there, do you think a Shrinkmeister might be good tech against opposing Yseras?

December 21, 2015 7:24 a.m.

DuTogira says... #4

Holy Champion is one of the best four drops in the game. It wins the mirror if left unanswered, and almost always either trades up or forces big threat removal from the opponent. Shrinkmeister doesn't have enough synergy with the rest of the deck to make him worth playing. Just save one Entomb for any Ysera.

December 22, 2015 2:56 a.m.

OhTheNoises says... #5

It looks like a very strong Priest deck, Shadow Word: Pain is an interesting choice seeing as it doesn't show up in many lists on Hearthpwn.

Looks like LoE made Priests good.

Holy Champion is another interesting choice. As you said, it can win the mirror handily but I'm not so sure about "one of the best four drops in the game" but it's strong. (Basically a Lightwarden on steroids.) However, I wonder if the package might get you more mileage? The nice thing about Auchenai Soulpriest is that you can run Zombie Chow to help clear aggro in the early game and if you draw it late it can deal 5 damage if she [soulpriest] is in play.

I have a version of this deck that's unposted and I have a lot of differences but the core is the same. It's nice to compare notes.

December 24, 2015 9:16 p.m.

OhTheNoises says... #6

If the Circle of Healing, Auchenai Soulpriest, Injured Blademaster package**

Not sure why that part edited out.

December 24, 2015 9:17 p.m.

DuTogira says... #7

Here is my reasoning for not running that package:
Circle of Healing: It's a touch useless on its own. It can draw lots of cards or can be useful when combined with Blademaster/auchenai, but it significantly damages consistency. In this deck, consistency is everything.
Injured Blademaster: well... He passes the vanilla test for 3 drops but he only really becomes a powerhouse with circle of healing, or when played post turn 3. This means that playing a Blademaster on curve is rarely a good idea. If I were to run him, that would mean I have no solid turn 3 play against aggressive decks. Blademaster relies on circle, and Velen's chosen relies on me sticking a minion prior. Both are countered by a turn 2 knife juggler. I would rather not lose to a turn 2 knife juggler.
Auchenai Soulpriest: she isn't bad, especially combined with justicar. The thing is, her and holy champion each effectively "deal two damage" when you use your hero power. Holy champion can be blocked by taunt, but the +2 damage per hero power stacks cumulatively each time you use it. This means that without the rest of the auchenai package, holy champion tends to generate more damage per game than the auchenai will.

Don't get me wrong, this aforementioned package is quite strong, but running that package requires a greater portion of the deck to be built around it than what this deck can offer. Cards like Flash Heal, which have no place in this list.
The type of package you are describing is the core of "American priest" which has been an established archetype since open beta, the creation of which is credited to Amaz.
This list's core is 2x Lightbomb, 2x Entomb, and 2x Deathlord. This is the core of "Chinese Priest" and "Japanese Priest." Japanese Priest was created in S13 by a streamer and legend player called "TaikiM13". The difference is that Chinese Priest also tends to run shrinkmeister, Thoughtsteal, and cabal for a stronger anti Aggro element, while this list simply aims to curve out and dominate in the stat/mana cost department.

I can't make the suggested change because it would require that I change the very core of this deck, which would result in a complete overhaul of the deck.

December 25, 2015 12:18 a.m.

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Date added 4 years
Last updated 4 years
Cost 6260
Cards 30
Top rank #1 on 2015-12-24
Views 2091