Hearthstone - Why Priest is Currently Overpowered?
ByDate: Dec 15 2015 Views:
Once upon a time I reached rank nine in Hearthstone. This is actually quite an accomplishment in my opinion considering I’ve never spent a single penny on the game. My card collection only includes one Legendary card (Dr. Boom) and I had to personally craft it myself from dust I earned disenchanting other cards. My constructed decks aren’t all that great and in order to play even somewhat competitively with the cards I own, I need to go the aggro route.
Priests never used to be an issue because they were a relatively weak class back in the day, which is how I reached such a respectable rank. Priest has become progressively more broken after each expansion, however. Nowadays, I can’t even make it past rank 15 because a control Priest deck literally cannot lose to an aggro deck and considering so many people run Priest control or Priest dragon decks, I can never generate enough wins in a row to climb the ranking ladder. I could win every single game against every other class and still sit at the same rank. That is how often I see my archenemy Anduin.
The problem with Priest is Blizzard designed this class to circumvent all other gameplay mechanics you’re used to seeing. A match against a Priest can’t be played like it could against any other class in the game. They kill everything you play with some of the lowest costing kill spells and board wipes, use it against you with numerous mind control effects, and then negate all your damage with heals.
For example, Mind Control is one of the most hated cards in the game and for good reason. Despite being costed at a whopping 10 mana, it literally reads “you win the game” the majority of the time it is played. Not only does Mind Control act as a kill spell for your best guy, it also gives them that minion. Mind Control is a late game card that Priests will play on your best minion. Oh you think you’re going to turn the game around with that Tirion Fordring do ya? Well guess again, punk, because now that’s my creature!
10 mana may seem like a lot but it’s actually a great deal. Consider the fact it’s a kill spell and compare it with the Rogue’s Assassinate card. Assassinate is your standard “kill target minion” and costs five mana. First of all, if that minion has a deathrattle then killing it will trigger that effect for your opponent. Mind Control won’t trigger deathrattle so that already makes it better. Secondly, Assassinate simply kills it and removes it from the battlefield. Mind Control “kills” it, and then brings it to your side. For example if you Assassinate Tirion Fordring for five mana, he dies but your opponent gets a 5/3 weapon. If you Mind Control Tirion Fordring for 10 mana, your opponent no longer has that minion, doesn’t get a weapon, AND you get that eight-cost minion summoned to your side. So while you spent 10 mana, eight of that went toward getting your own Tirion Fordring. Only two of it went toward killing your opponent’s AND also not triggering its deathrattle. Yeah, that’s broken. Unlike in Magic: the Gathering where mind controlling a creature requires enchanting it, which can then be disenchanted and the creature returns to its owners control, you can’t ever get your minion back in Hearthstone unless you re-steal it.
Speaking of undercosted removal spells, the Shadow Words are also an annoyance. Destroy a minion for two/three? Assassinate costs five. The Hunter’s Deadly Shot also costs three, but destroys one at random. Naturalize only costs one mana, but your opponent draws two cards. Where’s the downside of the Shadow Words? The fact they are situational isn’t really a downside because of their low cost, a Priest can play other stuff and have leftover mana for one of them regardless of the stage of the game. Early game, Shadow Word: Pain owns you. Late game, Shadow Word: Death owns you.
Then there’s Entomb. Entomb is a kill spell plus a silence all rolled into one. Not to mention now the card gets shuffled into THEIR deck. In those long drawn out games where decks get whittled down to single digit cards remaining, that can make a legitimate difference. Plus if the Priest entombs one of your best Legendary minions, that’s just another incredibly powerful card for them to draw and use against you.
Cabal Shadow Priest and Sylvanas are additional sources of mind control at the Priest’s disposal. Cabal Shadow Priest is a 4/5 body for six mana but can also act as a kill spell for a majority of minions found in an aggro deck. As I explained with Mind Control, it’s actually BETTER than a kill spell because it doesn’t just kill the minion; it also summons it for them and won’t trigger the deathrattles. Cabal Shadow Priest combos with Shrinkmeister and Brann Bronzebeard is a something you will see all the time. Not only does this combo allow the Priest to steal TWO of your minions, it can steal minions whose power is regularly a lot higher than the lowly two attack Cabal Shadow Priest can normally target. At the very least Cabal Shadow Priest sets you back several turns and at worst creates a power swing you’re unable to recover from and completely ends the game.
Lightbomb seems pretty broken as well. I got five-for-one’d by this card the other day. My opponent had zero minions on the battlefield and was able to kill five of mine, including a full health Dr. Boom, all for six mana. Strange how my Flamestrike wouldn’t have been as effective and yet it costs more mana to cast… I guess the downside here is that Lightbomb would also hit their stuff, but a lot of the time this won’t matter to a control Priest because they’ll either have an empty board or a nearly empty one when they cast it. I’ve never seen a Lightbomb that hurt a Priest anywhere near as much as it hurt me.
Justicar Trueheart really shuts down aggro decks in a Priest deck. Healing for four health every turn for a measly two mana investment is really, really hard to out-damage when you’re playing aggro and most of your minions are low-costed and low powered. Justicar Trueheart combined with Auchenai Soulpriest is a stupid combo as well. Deal four damage to anything for two mana?
The bottom line is this: Priests are not fun to play against. Unless a Priest gets a bad draw, it seems like they can be impossible to defeat. And bad draws are rare for Priests considering they have one of the best recurring card draw engines in all of Hearthstone. Seeing a Priest play Northshire Cleric on turn one always makes me dread the match right from the get-go.
A Priest can kill or steal all of your minions and negate any direct damage dealt to them with their healing abilities and spells. It’s like trying to play Red Deck Wins against Lifegain in Magic. Short of the luck of the draw just giving you everything you need and screwing your opponent, you simply lose the game before it begins. That’s not fun and it’s not healthy for the game.
After reading this article your first instinct will most likely be to dismiss it and call me a noob. That’s a pretty standard response since everybody fancies themselves a pro online. This is an opinion article after all, so at the end of the day this is all just one man’s opinion. Maybe you don’t have these same issues. All I can tell you is that the current Priest meta has legitimately ruined Hearthstone for me because I can no longer consistently remain competitive in ranked with an aggro deck and yet since I haven’t spent money on the game my card collection is too meager to create anything worth competing with except an aggro deck. This leaves me with two choices: either spend money to create a new deck or stop playing ranked altogether until Priest is fixed. Bad game design doesn’t encourage me to spend money, so I’ll wait it out.