Of all the Hearthstone classes, Priest probably has to be one of the most underrated for beginners. This is especially true for new players who started playing after the Journey to Un’Goro or Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansions after the Meta was dominated by Resurrect Priests.
For context: Resurrect Priest is a deck archetype that focuses on playing high health minions that, when played, immediately deal damage to themselves. This might seem counter-intuitive, but late-game spells can bring those minions back to life with full health. Going against Resurrect Priest was tough, tedious, and overall frustrating, and I for one was glad when it dropped out of the meta in favor of the post-Gadgetzan meta.
But then, Rise of Shadows came out and, well, resurrected the Resurrect Priest archetype, with Saviors of Uldum building on it some more and developing even more iron-clad Resurrect Priests to frustrate everyone. Like I said, going up against Resurrect Priest was a chore; playing as one, on the other hand, felt good in a dirty way, like eating a cheeseburger and chili fries at 2 in the morning. You’re not supposed to do it, but man does it feel good.
Resurrect Priests do exactly what they advertise: bringing your minions back to life at crucial moments to turn the tide of battle. In terms of value, Resurrect Priests have the most cost-efficient plays, considering that they eke out as much value from your minions whenever possible.
But it’s not just the value of resurrecting a minion: resurrecting high health minions that damage themselves when played will NOT trigger those effects, meaning you’ll quickly fill your board with minions that have decent attack and very high health, something that can be leveraged with Inner Fire or Topsy Turvy. Although they’re usually available in late-game, it’s still a crazy amount of value, provided you’re able to play your early-game well.
For better or worse, Resurrect Priest is back, and instead of fighting the trend, we decided: if you can’t beat them, join them. We created a sample deck based on the current Meta (August 2019), and added some tips, tricks, strategies, and mulligan advice for you to consider while you terrorize the ladder with what is, in my opinion, a slightly overpowered and in desperate need of a nerf, deck. Yes, I am salty.
Resurrect Priest deck
As with any Meta decks, this is bound to change and evolve depending on how other players start strategizing around it, not to mention any personal preferences you might have regarding particular cards or other Meta decks.
This deck, however, is a compilation of many of the Resurrect Priest decks we’ve seen in Ranked so far. Of course, always tailor-fit this to your play style, and make sure to make adjustments as the Meta starts to shift.
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Resurrect Priest Strategy (From Early Game to Late Game)
The game plan for Resurrect Priest is similar to Wall Priest: bring down high health taunt minions and deny the opponent a chance to do damage. If those minions die, overwhelm your opponent by constantly resurrecting those minions, thus constantly creating a wall of taunt that, theoretically, they won’t be able to breakthrough.
Casting these minions for the first time will be disadvantageous for you: Witchwood Grizzly will lower its health depending on how many cards your opponent is holding. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re going against aggro players who will probably have less than half a full hand, but it will prove disastrous against players who like to keep a full hand, like Mages or Warlocks. Never the less, this should only be used to buy you time until turn 9 or so when you can cast Mass Resurrection.
Once your minions are back to life and full health, cast your Inner Fire and Divine Spirit on them and set up lethal.
- Early game: Right now, focus on gaining board control and drawing as many cards as you can. Patience is key with Resurrect Priest, as your time to shine will be later on in the late game. Stall for time and use your hard removal spells whenever your opponent brings out a potentially dangerous minion.
- Mid game: Once you have enough Mana to drop your minions, do so, and don’t worry too much about them losing health; remember, you’ll see them again in their full glory later on. That being said, of course, try to play these minions smart; don’t just drop them without rhyme or reason, especially if you’re going against someone who might be running Mind Control Tech or anything with minion-stealing abilities. Resurrect only works if your minions die on your side of the board –if your opponent steals it, you’re pretty much screwed. Control your opponent’s board with Mass Hysteria for an easy board clear and Convincing Infiltrator for a more target-specific removal. If you need to heal, now is the time drop Zilliax as he can heal you in a pinch, remove a problematic enemy, and provide you taunt cover. Combined, this will buy you some more time for your late game comeback, not to mention frustrate the crap out of your opponent.
- Late game: And now we come to the endgame. This is where you turn the frustration up to 11 by bringing back all your minions (all of which, coincidentally, are taunt minions) to full health and Divine Shield. Start by dropping Catrina Muerte behind a still-living taunt minion and watch her bring back another one every turn. Of course, if your opponent has a hard removal, don’t worry; now is the time to bust out Mass Resurrection. The ideal situation is the spell brings back Catrina Muerte too, who will then bring back more minions. Once you have your army of undead back to life, start buffing them out with your spells. Archmage Vargoth will be crucial in squeezing out as much value from your spells as possible and providing you with irremovable minions, who can then perform an OTK.
Strategies for Specific Opponents
Different opponents will require different strategies:
Resurrect Priest against Aggro
Always remember that control beats aggro 60% of the time, so Resurrect Priests going up against aggro should focus on controlling their opponents during the early game. Utilize your removal spells for any obvious threats in the early game (particularly for Buff Druids or Paladin) so you stay ahead of the tempo.
If the opponent has too many minions, use your Mass Hysteria for board clears. Ideally, you’ll drop your taunt minions somewhere between mid-late game to eke out as much value from them as possible. However, if there’s an opportunity to drop Witchwood Grizzly by turn 5, do so: hopefully your aggro opponent has exhausted most, if not all, of their hand, giving you max value for this minion.
Save Forbidden Words for lethal threats in mid-game. This is the best way to maximize its removal value, although if you have no choice, you can use it in early game if the opponent buffs a minion by then.
Resurrect Priest against Control
This one is a little trickier, as you only have very few hard removal cards. Don’t be afraid to take face damage from time to time; save your removals (e.g. Forbidden Words, Shadow Word: Death, Convincing Infiltrator) only for minions with potential for lethal or OTK.
You can push your luck, however, and try to force your opponent to use their hard removals and board clears early by dropping your minions as soon as you have mana. The idea behind this is that they would have exhausted all their removal options by the time you case Mass Resurrection.
Again, just like with Aggro, save Forbidden Words for the most dangerous threats. Maximize your mana pool and only cast it after you’ve healed yourself enough to survive a couple more turns.
Card Combos to Consider
Resurrect Priest can be an OTK deck if you’re able to maximize card combos and synergies with the right minion at the right turn. Your primary combo: Inner Fire and Divine Spirit. A staple in many Priest decks, the IF + DS combo is deadly with Mosh’ogg Enforcer, which can turn this 2/14 Divine Shield minion into a 56/56 monstrosity. Of course, don’t be afraid to cast it on any other high health minion if you get the opportunity!
Archmage Vargoth can serve as both a soft taunt and as a value-generating minion, thanks to his re-casting of spells you used during that turn. But be warned: Vargoth will cast a random spell you’ve played on random targets, so if at all possible, try not to use any spell you don’t want being targeted on your own minions.
Mass Resurrection will resurrect 3 random friendly minions that have died during the match, so keep a mental note of which minions have died. If Archmage Vargoth is still alive when you cast Mass Resurrection and he re-casts that spell, however, you won’t have to worry too much.
Forbidden Words can be a tricky card to play, so always make sure you’ve calculated the exact amount of mana you’ll be using prior to it.
When you start the game, try to have these cards in your opening hand:
Inner Fire and Divine Spirit –This is your win condition; without it, you’ll have a very hard time closing the game. Try not to burn these cards from an overdraw and have them with you at all times.
Witchwood Grizzly –Even if you’re not able to maximize this minion’s health, it’s still a taunt minion that can protect you for at least a turn. Once it’s resurrected, you’ll have a 3/12 minion that’s ripe for the IF + DS combo and an OTK. Keep this in hand just so you have mid-game options.
Catrina Muerte –Provides amazing value per turn, and is beefy enough to be a threat (she’s a 6/6 threat, after all). The sooner you have her in hand, the better. Plus, if Mass Resurrection is under the pile, you’ll at least have a minion that can bring back at least one minion a turn.
Mosh’ogg Enforcer –With 14 health, taunt, and Divine Shield, this is your ace in the hole; keep at least one of these in hand just in case you find yourself low on health by turn 8. Once the opponent exhausts their removals and board clears, resurrect this and turn it into an unstoppable 56/56.
Mass Resurrection –The second part of your win condition, Mass Resurrection is the crux of the deck, so having at least one copy in hand is essential. Of course, Catrina Muerte can also resurrect minions, but she only resurrects one per turn; Mass Resurrection brings back 3.
As you continue to play Resurrect Priest, you might find yourself looking to maximize the potential of the deck. We’ve come up with a list of cards you might consider running along with the rest of the deck:
Northshire Cleric –An essential part of many Priest decks, Northshire Cleric can serve as your primary card draw, or as an early threat: cast your IF + DS combo on the Cleric to get a turn 5 12/12 minion, but only if you’re confident that the opponent doesn’t have a hard removal spell; otherwise, you’ll be putting most of your eggs in one basket.
Shadow Madness –If you’re feeling a little cheeky, Shadow Madness is a good way to steal an enemy minion and use it against your opponent. Alternatively, you can also use the same minion to trade with another enemy minion –remember that Mass Resurrection will resurrect any minion that dies on your side of the board, so it’s like having an extra minion to resurrect (just make sure it’s a minion worth stealing!).
Damaged Stegotron–Same concept as Mosh’ogg Enforcer or Witchwood Grizzly, having Damaged Stegodon on your deck provides you with a high health minion that damages itself in its initial casting, but can be revived to its full life once resurrected. It also helps that it has 5 attack, so even if it isn’t healed up or removed, it’s still a decent threat against your opponent.