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Starter Basic Control Priest - 0 Dust!

Updated 3rd March 2017

Starter Basic Control Priest - 0 Dust!


Note: This guide is rehosted with permission from Mana Crystals / Hearthstone Players. Full link and credits to the original writer - Sheng.


Northshire cleric 5d4b8f87

Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7.5 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped many students achieve the same.

Basic Priest is one of the best Basic classes to play. Its power stems from the variety of cheap removal spells in the Basic Priest card set, along with the card draw engine powered by Northshire Cleric, which helps you maintain card advantage over your opponents late in games.

This deck is almost identical to another Basic Priest deck called “Doctor Draw”, which has been around for several months. The only difference between this deck and “Doctor Draw” is the inclusion of a single Mind Control over a second Ogre Magi. I find that this change helps a lot with big late game threats that you can just steal and use against your opponent.

The deck is remarkably strong when you have board control. The Priest’s Hero Power will help you heal up weaker minions, giving you the edge in every trade.

However, Priest has trouble dealing with 4 attack minions, as both Shadow Word: Pain and Shadow Word: Death have no way of dealing with them. Smart players will abuse this to their advantage, making those spells unplayable. With the inclusion of Expert cards, you can mitigate this weakness.

Class Cards

  • 1
    Holy Smite

  • 1
    Northshire Cleric

  • 1
    Power Word: Shield

  • 2
    Shadow Word: Pain

  • 3
    Shadow Word: Death

  • 5
    Holy Nova

  • 10
    Mind Control

Neutral Cards

  • 2
    Acidic Swamp Ooze

  • 2
    Bloodfen Raptor

  • 3
    Ironfur Grizzly

  • 3
    Shattered Sun Cleric

  • 4
    Chillwind Yeti

  • 4
    Ogre Magi

  • 4
    Sen'jin Shieldmasta

  • 5
    Darkscale Healer

  • 6
    Boulderfist Ogre


2x Northshire Cleric

  • The card that this deck is built around! She’ll be our primary way of drawing cards late in the game. Synergizes well with our Hero Power, Darkscale Healer, and Holy Nova.

Ironfur grizzly 37a03665

2x Acidic Swamp Ooze

  • The best two mana minion in the Basic card set. With a weapon destroying battlecry, an Acidic Swamp Ooze played at the right time can swing games.

2x Bloodfen Raptor

  • A plain 2 mana for a 3/2. He’s chosen over other 2 mana minions in the Basic set because 3 attack allows him to kill most 3 mana minions.

2x Ironfur Grizzly

  • Having two options at 3 mana slot is pretty useful. While Shattered Sun Cleric is generally better, her value comes from having something already on the board to buff. In situations where that isn’t possible, it’s better to play our 3/3 Ironfur Grizzly with taunt.

2x Shattered Sun Cleric

  • An amazing card for tempo if you can utilize her battlecry to buff a smaller minion to trade against a larger one, or when you can increase the health on a minion so it doesn’t die in what would have been an even trade.

2x Chillwind Yeti

  • The best 4 mana minion in the Basic card set. While he doesn’t have any special abilities, his 4/5 base stats allow him to trade with two 2 or 3 mana minions, and even some 4 mana minions.

Ogre magi c6d46c96

1x Ogre Magi

  • A key minion for his spell power bonus. All the spells from our deck can benefit from an Ogre Magi being on the board. A 4/4 body is not bad either.

2x Sen'jin Shieldmasta

  • 4 mana for a 3/5 with taunt is pretty good value. We need him to stabilize the board when we’re faced with aggressive decks with many small minions.

2x Darkscale Healer

  • Darkscale Healer can combo amazingly well with Northshire Cleric to draw you multiple cards. Be careful not to draw over ten cards; when your hand is full, any cards drawn will get discarded.
  • She gains the most value when we can use our minions to clear our opponent’s board, and then heal them back up by playing her afterwards.

2x Boulderfist Ogre

  • A plain 6 mana for 6/7. This is exactly what we want at this slot. A big guy who will trade with two other big guys. He’ll trade with two 6/6 minions, and is out of Big Game Hunter and Fireball range.


2x Holy Smite

  • Great cheap removal. 1 mana for 2 damage is great for protecting your Northshire Cleric from 3/2 minions on turn 2.
  • In conjunction with Ogre Magi, you’ll be able to do 3 damage for 1 mana.

Power word shield 4be140c1

2x Power Word: Shield

  • Gives 2 health to any minion for 1 mana, and draws you a card. Ideally, you’ll want to play this on a minion that would have died in a trade without the extra health. Make sure to play this first before your other cards, as the card you draw from it might be useful.

2x Shadow Word: Pain

  • A pretty efficient card. The dream is to use this against hard to remove minions like Water Elemental and Fen Creepers. Just keep in mind that this doesn’t work around battlecries and deathrattles.
  • Neither this nor Shadow Word: Death affect 4 attack minions, making Priest weak against 4 attack cards.

2x Shadow Word: Death

  • A great card to draw into late game to eliminate your opponent’s late game threats. Just keep in mind that this doesn’t work around battlecries and deathrattles, so using this on your opponent’s Sylvanas Windrunner will still have her steal one of your minions.
  • Neither this nor Shadow Word: Pain affect 4 attack minions, making Priest weak against 4 attack cards.

Holy nova 895041b0

2x Holy Nova

  • Priest’s primary board clear card. Works well in conjunction with our Northshire Cleric to draw cards and heal our minions after clearing your opponent’s board.

1x Mind Control

  • Oftentimes the best way to kill your opponent is with your opponent’s own minions. Especially if they’re late game win conditions like or Gruul.
  • Because this deck is consisted of only Basic cards, we often times lack the finishing power to end games. This card helps by eliminating a threat, and putting it into play against our opponent.
  • We only play one copy of this card because of its ridiculous casting cost. Having two copies of this card in your hand early in the game will kill your early game tempo.

Mulligan Guide

In general, you want to mulligan for a set of cards that will let you play something on each turn. Good cards to keep:

  • 1 Mana: Holy Smite, Northshire Cleric
  • 2 Mana: Acidic Swamp Ooze, Bloodfen Raptor, Shadow Word: Pain
  • 3 Mana: Ironfur Grizzly, Shattered Sun Cleric
  • 4 Mana: Chillwind Yeti, Ogre Magi, Sen'jin Shieldmasta

Note that if you have The Coin you can subtract 1 mana off the cost of one of your cards in your opening hand. Once you have something at a particular mana slot, try to mulligan for something else so you can play something on each turn.

How To Play

The idea behind this deck is to control the board through efficient trading of minions and removal spells. Priest benefits the most out of all classes from having control of the board because his Hero Power is most effective when used on damaged minions. Late in the game, you’ll want to use Northshire Cleric in conjunction with Darkscale Healer, Holy Nova, or your Hero Power to draw more cards.


Ogre Magi + Holy Smite: A pretty simple combo. The extra spell power from Ogre Magi lets your Holy Smite deal 3 damage instead of 2.

Ogre Magi + Holy Nova: Playing Ogre Magi on turn 4 often will allow you to play Holy Nova on turn 5 to deal 3 damage to all of your opponent’s minions.

Northshire Cleric + Darkscale Healer or Holy Nova: This combo will allow you to heal and draw multiple cards at once. Be careful not to overdraw your hand!

Gameplay Videos

Versus Druid
Versus Hunter
Versus Mage
Versus Paladin
Versus Priest
Versus Rogue
Versus Shaman
Versus Warlock
Versus Warrior

How to Upgrade Your Deck

Over time, you’ll collect more and more cards from opening Hearthstone packs. Please follow the guide below before reading the upgrade card list to understand how to incorporate new cards successfully into your deck.

Which Cards Should I Upgrade?

  • Before you start, go through your deck and look at each card and understand its role and function.
  • The easiest cards to upgrade are minions that have counterparts that are complete upgrades. I define a complete upgrade as a card with the same or better stat distribution and a better ability for the same mana cost. A Knife Juggler would be a complete upgrade over a Bloodfen Raptor. A Spider Tank would not be.
  • Replace situational minions or spells that will often stay glued in your hand until the right moment arises with more verstile minions or spells. You can easily replace Kobold Geomancer and Gnomish Inventor in your deck with Azure Drake instead. While Azure Drake isn’t a complete upgrade over either card, the fact that it has a better stat distribution, draws a card, and gives you spell-power makes it a card that isn’t situational.
  • After making a list of cards that are potentially upgradeable from the list above, you can move on to the next section!

How Do I Actually Upgrade My Deck?

  • Don’t rush the process! Deckbuilding takes time. Each and every card in this Basic deck was chosen for a purpose, and fills an important function in this deck. You would be surprised how much time it took me to think of each of these decks, and how long the process of tuning them took.
  • Generally, you don’t want to make more than one or two changes to your deck at a time. Swap out cards one or two at a time, and play your deck with the changes. Each time you draw into your “upgraded” card, ask yourself whether or not you wish it was the card you had previously in your deck. If you consistently say yes to this question over several games, then the “upgraded” card belongs.
  • Repeat the testing process with more upgrades until you’re fully satisfied you have the best deck you can make with the cards you have.

Respect Your Mana Curve!

  • While it’s tempting to throw a bunch of late game minions into your deck, it’s a bad idea because you’ll find that without an early game, you’ll never get to late game before your opponent kills you. You want to be able to play on curve, and not have to skip a turn without having something to play.
  • While this isn’t a golden rule for all decks, this is what a general mana curve should look like for a midrange deck. Please keep this in mind as you swap in your shiny new cards: 0-2 One Mana Minions 4-6 Two Mana Minions 4-5 Three Mana Minions 4-6 Four Mana Minions 2-4 Five Mana Minions 2-4 Six+ Mana Minions

Potential Upgrades List

Here are a few simple substitutions that will make this budget deck even stronger.

Ysera c3f97bcf Minions:

2x Acidic Swamp Ooze → 2x Wild Pyromancer
2x Ironfur Grizzly → 2x Injured Blademaster
2x Sen'jin Shieldmasta → 2x Auchenai Soulpriest
1x Boulderfist Ogre → 1x Sylvanas Windrunner 1x Mind Control → 1x Ysera


2x Holy Smite → 2x Circle of Healing
1x Shadow Word: Pain → 1x Shadow Madness

Paths to Legend

With the meta still in flux from the introduction of 30 new Naxxramas cards, many of the older Priest deck guides have become obsolete. Thankfully, fellow writer Nuba has introduced a new Legendary Priest guide including many of the new cards. One of the best streamers out there, Amaz, mains Priest. I’d highly recommend new players to check out his stream, as he’s an excellent player and thoroughly explains his thought process behind his plays. Priest is not an easy class to play!


I hope you enjoyed this guide to Basic Priest. Priest’s strengths are evident in the control style of play, where you survive in the early game, and finish your opponent off in the late game. It’s an extremely fun play-style that requires a lot of thinking and planning ahead. While Priest is often criticized to be a reactive class, I think it’s cards like that make the class fun to play. There’s no greater thrill than Thoughtstealing or Mind Controlling your opponent’s best cards.


If you’re interested in reaching Legend rank, or earning unlimited gold from arena, my team at HearthstoneCoaching.com would love to help! We’ve provided over a thousand hours of excellent coaching to students around the world.

I also run RankOneCoaching.com, where our top coaches will develop a personal plan for you to achieve your dreams in other games. Personal lessons are an in-depth experience and most students improve significantly after just one full session!

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