Cheese's custom revamp of the PRIEST core sets! (Updated 27/03/2020 with Blizz's new cards)

  • Cheese's Avatar 135 68 Posts Joined 05/30/2019
    Posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

    27/03/2020: Combined with Blizzard's official take on the core sets. Also brand new layout!


    WoW Class emblem


    Following this post, I decided to post my own take on the Priest's core sets. The comparison is interesting because we had very different ideas.

    I made a few custom classes in the past, so I had to think a lot about class identity and how to make a class feel unique while still being stable and balanced in the long term, and expandable with expansions. Like Shadows, I made a few custom cards, but most of my sets is nerfs/buffs and substitutions with expansion sets.

    NOTE: This set was started slightly after Saviors of Uldum was released


    General directions I follow for the core sets

    Blizzard's official post on class identity is weird. It mixes class mechanics with strengths and weaknesses so most of the stuff doesn't make sense. The way I proceeded is completely different. I started by listing what should be the primary and secondary mechanics of the class, the strengths and weaknesses of the class as well as the archetypes available to it should follow from this list.

    I say "core sets" a lot, but the Basic and Classic set are NOT interchangeable in their functions.

    • The Basic set is the spine of the class. It ensures the class' viability and establishes its primary mechanics.
      • Must be simple. Most cards must have 2 lines of text or less. Only simple keywords.
      • Versatile to support multiple playstyles
      • Minimal kit of everything a class needs to be viable (card draw; removal; direct damage; good standalone minions;...) even if not part of identity
      • Fine if slightly more OP than what you would expect from expansions
    • The Classic set is the limbs of the class. It ensures the class' internal diversity and estables its secondary mechanics.
      • Presents the more "complex" mechanics of the game (Deathrattle, etc...)
      • Because Classic packs are bought, there should be a sense of progression
      • Unlike the Basic set, Classic cards should be slightly below average to let room for expansions

    About tribal synergies, each minion type has its own identity

    • Beasts
      • All size of minions
      • Good standalone value
      • Buff each other a lot
      • Each type of Beast has its subtheme (Bears=Taunt; Boars=Rush; Cats=Stealth; Wolves=buff other beasts; etc...)
      • Most common type of minions, as such their identity is less precise
    • Demons (Warlock & DH)
      • All size of minions
      • Powerful but with a drawback (taking damage; discard; ...)
    • Dragons
      • Medium to big minions
      • "If you're holding a Dragon"
      • Hand synergy
      • Lots of legendaries
      • 4/12 statline as a signature
    • Elementals
      • All size of minions
      • "If you played an Elemental last turn"
      • Value generation
      • Battlecries
    • Mechs
      • Mechs were the focus of only 2 expansions (GvG and Boomsday) but they're otherwise a rare tribe and have no central identity!
    • Murlocs
      • Small minions
      • Board-wide buffs for other Murlocs
      • Relies on early-game snowballing. If allowed to stay on the board, they become nearly unstoppable
    • Pirates
      • Small to medium minions
      • Weapon synergy
      • Lots of direct damage
    • Totems (Shaman)
      • Small minions
      • 0 attack with some exceptions
      • Powerful ongoing effects (aura/end of turn/whenever)

    Tribal synergies are part of a class primary identity in only 3 cases

    • Beasts for Hunter
    • Totems for Shaman
    • Demons for Walocks and DHs

    All other class-tribe associations are mostly a matter of coincidence as these tribes happen to fit in the class identity (eg pirates for Warrior/Rogue)

    About which keywords I chose to keep in the core sets

    • Charge vs Rush - As you know, Charge is a dangerous keyword. This is why Rush was introduced...however there are a few cards that were meant to be finishers that wouldn't make sense without Rush. I will replace Charge with Rush on all core cards with Charge (and tweak stats accordingly) EXCEPT when Charge is on a legendary minion. There are 4 legendary minions with Charge in the classic set and they will keep Charge
    • Discover - Disover offers a choice between cards that are in standard. Due to how easy Discover can become skewed when the right cards are printed, there will be no Discover cards in my core sets.
    • Poisonous - There were originally no Poisonous cards in the Basic set before the introduction of Master Poisoner. I will therefore also have poisonous cards in my basic set
    • Lifesteal - There are currently no Lifesteal cards in the core sets. However the keyword is simple and I will therefore introduce some.
    Priest class identity

    I tried not to steer away too much from what Blizzard defined for the class, although there are definitely some directions I disagree with and went against. I will signal it when it is the case.

      • Healing - Priest should be the best class at healing. It should have the most powerful and cost-effective healing cards, both single-target and multi-target. It should have healing synergy.
      • High-health minions - Going hand-in-hand with that, Priest should also have access to a lot of minions with high-health for their cost, as well as several ways of buffing a minion's health.
      • Hard Removals - Priest has a lot of hard removals, that is removal that says "destroy" on the card rather than removal throught direct damage or other ways. Think of the Shadow Words.
      • Copying your stuff - Priest has a lot of cards to copy his own or his opponent's stuff, either through summon or card generation. This also implies that Priest is good at greed and value.
      • Comboing small spells - This is a theme that was explored during the Year of the Mammoth (2017) and culminated in Razakus Priest, which was the best deck in the game before its nerf.
      • Resurrect - I know this is a...controversial aspect of Priest, but gameplay-wise it is ok as long as it doesn't allow minion cheating.
      • Silence - Priest has a near-exclusive access to silencing effects.
    • Priest is GOOD at
      • Big minions (vertical minions, through health buffing)
      • Single-target hard-removals ("destroy" cards)
      • Value generation (copy, resurrect)
      • Surviving (healing)
    • Priest is AVERAGE at
      • Card draw
      • Board clears (I hope that my emphasis on board control through minions makes the need of a board clear less fundamental for Priest)
    • Priest is BAD at
      • Minion swarms. For Priest, it's quality over quantity
      • Direct damage ()
      • Tempo (Priest is the slowest class in the game)

    The new core sets

    Priest new Basic set

    Flash Heal Holy Smite Psychic Conjurer Northshire Cleric

    Shadow Word: Pain Shadow Word: Death Acolyte of Agony Holy Nova

    Power Infusion Mind Control

    Priest new Classic set


    Silence Divine Hymn Dark Cultist

    Mindbender Thoughtsteal Holy Champion


    Scarlet Subjugator Kul Tiran Chaplain Mind Bomb

    Nightscale Matriarch Mass Resurrection


    Inner Fire Shadow Word: Ruin Power Word: Replicate


    Natalie Seline




    • Flash Heal - Much better than Radiance! Since I HoF'd Auchenai Soulpriest, there's no reason to not have this card in the basic set.
    • Northshire Cleric (Cost increased to (2); Health increased to 4) - I disagree with Blizzard's decision to HoF her. Yes, at 1/3 she was degenerate but she is waaay too essential and fits well into Priest...and EVERY class needs some card draw...
    • Acolyte of Agony - AoA is a very good standalone minion that heals. Perfect for Priest's basic set. See above for my justification for introducing Lifesteal into core sets


    • Divine Hymn - This is mostly meant to replace Circle of Healing as the AOE heal card. CoH is too weak to be used as pure healing and was only used for combos.
    • Mindbender (CUSTOM!) - An alternative to Convincing Infiltrator which was considered too OP.
    • Dark Cultist - I know such a powerful on-curve minion can be somewhat dangerous to have in the classic set (not because it would ruin the game but because it would see play everywhere), but it's Priest, so I think that's okay. I chose it because it features two aspects of Priest in a single card (Deathrattle + health buff). Replaces Temple Enforcer.
    • Holy Champion - Solid minion. Health synergy. Perfect for priest!
    • Mind Bomb (CUSTOM!) - An alternative to Mass Dispel which is very clunky. Mind Bomb doubles as a mass silence and an AOE. Very effective against token and murloc decks! Also usable in silence decks.
    • Nightscale Matriarch - This card never saw play, but it could easily see play some day, it's perfect to have in the classic set. It's a Dragon, it's a big minion, it's health synergy!
    • Mass Resurrection - PLEASE LOWER YOUR PITCHFORKS AND LET ME EXPLAIN FIRST!! Resurrect has been established as a core Priest mechanic over the years. Resurrect effects can cause problems if mana cheating effects are also very present (hello Barnes). However Mass Resurrection costs (9) mana which means that a "big" deck using it would be a late-game oriented one rather than a midrange one. (I was too lazy to redo the card but you have to imagine this with an epic gem instead)
    • Power Word: Replicate - Copying is a tertiary Priest theme. I know the flavor of the card is weird in the Classic set but I didn't want to alter it.
    • Inner Fire (Cost increased to (2); Rarity increased to epic) - Nerfed to 2 mana. That's the only way to ever make it balanced. Even without Divine Spirit it's restricting the design space among high-health minions.

    Hall of Fame

    Hall of Fame

    These cards have a fundamentally unbalanced and unbalanceable effect (ie it can't be made balanced just by tweaking numbers).

    Divine Spirit Auchenai Soulpriest Prophet Velen

    On the contrary, these cards are just uninteresting and often straight up bad.

    Radiance Mind Vision Mindgames Shadow Madness Lightwell

    These cards are too widespread and limits novelty. They aren't interesting enough to just be nerfed.

    Power Word: Shield Circle of Healing

    On the contrary, these cards are too specific and narrow to be core cards.

    Mass Dispel Shadowform

    These cards are fine and could have stayed. However there were better cards to fill their spots.

    Lightspawn Cabal Shadow Priest Temple Enforcer

    Shortlisted cards

    Shorlisted cards

    The following cards almost made it into my core sets, but didn't because there were no room left for them.

    Vampiric Touch Inner Focus Purify Priest of the Feast

    Psionic Probe Devour Mind Extra Arms Plague of Death

    • Vampiric Touch (CUSTOM!) - Was supposed to be the Lifesteal card of the set. Replaced with the existing Acolyte of Agony due to being potentially OP on certain minions. (Spoiler: It's gonna be in Paladin's core set instead).
    • Inner Focus (CUSTOM!) - I'm surprised this card doesn't exist. I thought this unconditional card draw would also be useful in the "small spell" Priest shell. I've been told it's OP so I bowed down to the pressure even though it's less powerful than Power Word: Shield except in the edge case when you have no minions.
    • Purify - "My grandpa's deck has no pathetic cards Kripp, but it does contain the unstoppable PURIFIER!" Yes, I thought about bringing back what has been labeled the worst card in the game. This is because its effect is very simple and basic and is a building brick for the silence priest archetype. Ultimately didn't because Silence is too similar but more fitting for the core set.
    • Priest of the Feast - Second shortlisted card of a 3-card set. PotF has a very "priesty" statline at 3/6 and features both "small spell" synergy and healing, making it perfect for core sets. Didn't keep because I didn't have room. Other synergies felt more important.
    • Psionic Probe - Compared to Thoughtsteal, this has the added bonus of being a small spell and to fit in both the steal-yo-stuff shell and the small spell shell. Didn't take because at the end of the day it's a worse Mind Vision, and small spells aren't really core to the class. They were only good when Razakus Priest was around.
    • Devour Mind - This one doesn't fit in the small spell shell but it is a big value generator. Priest was historically good at generating value and this does it better. Ultimately scrapped because it is too clunky for the classic set. Thoughtsteal remains the best compromise.
    • Extra Arms - A buff that is also two spells in 1. Didn't keep because it doesn't really represent Priest in any meaningful way.
    • Plague of Death - People have been complaining about the lack of an evergreen board clear for Priest for a while. This is the ultimate board clear. Didn't keep because unfun and acts as a counter to too many things to be good for the game. Besides, my Priest isn't about "AFK and clear" anymore and my new Holy Nova presumable covers that need.

    BONUS: Core sets with alternative structure

    Alternative set

    OK. I went completely wild here.

    What's that? By alternative structure I mean a core set structure other than the 10 Basic/15 Classic structure we have now. I thought a lot about this. I thought about 10/10 (reduced Classic set), 15/10, and even 10/0 (no Classic set at all!). However I settled on this 10/10/9. The 9 being for a yearly rotating core set made entirely of reintroduced old cards (as in the Tombs of Terror event).

    The purpose of this set is to avoid redundancy in cards as well as give more supports to the archetypes that are being pushed. 3 cards are re-introduced each expansion, for a total of 9 cards over the year. These cards can vary in rarity but they will stay the same between classes. This allows me to "deport" certain secondary themes of the class into yearly sets, so that they will go back and forth rather than always be there. In order for these sets to feel new, they should not contain any cards from the year that just rotated out.

    New (reduced) Classic set


    Silence Divine Hymn Dark Cultist Thoughtsteal


    Scarlet Subjugator Mind Bomb Nightscale Matriarch


    Inner Fire Shadow Word: Ruin


    Natalie Seline

    Cut cards:

    Yearly 2019 (Year of the Dragon) set

    For this example, here's what the yearly set for the year 2019 could have been:

    NOTE: In order for yearly sets to feel new, this 2019 core set will not contain any 2017 cards since they would have just rotated out.


    Purify Kabal Songstealer Museum Curator

    SAVIORS OF ULDUM (Healing)

    Holy Champion Greater Healing Potion Priest of the Feast

    DESCENT OF DRAGONS (Dragons duh)

    Wyrmrest Agent Twilight Whelp Drakonid Operative

  • Cheese's Avatar 135 68 Posts Joined 05/30/2019
    Posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

    I seriously fucked up the formatting. I'll use the HTML editor next time.

    BTW, yes, there will be a next time because I'm working on other classes and neutral cards as well.

  • sinti's Avatar Global Moderator Funnel Cakes 785 1327 Posts Joined 10/20/2018
    Posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

    Hey Cheese, nice to see your work around here :) Tho it seems a little silly to go to this length and then skip the probably easiest part, gems and watermarks, lol. It might make it confusing, if someone wouldnt read your descriptions ... which as you well know is going to happen :) Guess depends on how well you want to relay the information is all. Anyway, looking for more :)

    Ishanah is interesting, not sure how strong would it be with the Quest, giving minions +5/+5 :D but i guess it has to stay up, decent classic lege i think.

    Mindbender: im sure this would get abused sooner or later lol.

    Not sure i would like Convincing Infiltrator in there.

    And Power Word: Fortitude would be so brutally OP in arena, i dont like that as a basic card, it would be in (almost) every rotation.

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  • CursedParrot's Avatar 165 115 Posts Joined 05/29/2019
    Posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

    I feel like Power Infusion might be too good, since if you play both cards that turn its 0-Mana draw 2. Maybe it should say “Draw 2 cards. The first one you play this turn costs 2 less”, that way it’s less of a high roll card. Overall,, I love the changes and the new Holy Nova rework!

  • Hydralisk's Avatar Mountain 450 340 Posts Joined 05/28/2019
    Posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

    Nice work! Convincing Infiltrator in classic may make me quit the game though. 

  • Cheese's Avatar 135 68 Posts Joined 05/30/2019
    Posted 2 weeks ago

    So, uh, good timing I guess. Here's my opinion on the changes.

    General impressions

    The first thing I noticed: Blizzard went into the same direction as Shadows and I for Priest's primary identity: A class that seeks to win through

    The second thing I noticed, besides the fact that they didn't reverse-HoF anything is how redundant the new cards are. That is a lot of the cards have very similar effects and only varies in their numbers. Redundancy isn't a bad in and of itself as more redundancy = more consistency and more viability. However this is done at the expense of internal diversity. I don't see any "Razakus-like" combo synergies, any resurrect cards, or any Deathrattle cards. I can understand their design choices for the first two but it's also very limiting. It means they will have to print new cards for each of those themes every time they want to push them...I guess it makes sens from a €€€ perspective.

    HoFed cards

    4 out of the 6 cards that were HoFed by Blizzard were also HoFed by me. The 2 remaining ones are Holy Fire and Northshire Cleric. I can understand the reasoning for Holy Fire. I myself hesitated to cut it, but chose to keep it out of principle to make my Core sets more versatile.

    What I can't understand is Northshire Cleric. Sure, Cleric in its current state is problematic for the reasons I explained. But it is also a card that is healing synergy and therefore fits Priest and, more importantly, a vital form of card draw. Since Blizzard got rid of the card draw part on Power Word: Shield as well, it means that the only form of card draw left to Priest in the Core sets will be Mass Dispel. Hardly viable!

    My opinion is that each class needs some minimal form of basic mechanics to be viable. This is why I chose to nerf Cleric rather than HoF it. Shadows chose to HoF it but he replaced it with another form of card draw so there's continuity. By removing all forms of effective card draw from Core sets, Blizzard may just have re-created the same problem they just fixed for board clears: they will have to print card draws for Priest every expansion again.

    Changed cards

    • Thoughtsteal - I hesitated to buff TS to 2 mana since it is unplayable in its current state. I didn't do it. My line of reasoning was that the baseline cost to generate cards, especially cards good enough to be in a deck, has always been 3 and should be 2 only for expansion cards or when this card generation fits only one specific game plan. Then I saw Blizzard did what I was thinking of. You can say that they...stole my thoughts! *ba dum tss* Anyway, if Blizzard did this change, I suppse the have the data to justify that it wouldn't become OP.
    • Temple Enforcer - This is a card I chose to rotate to replace it with Dark Cultist which performs the same function but is a Deathrattle card, and Deathrattle are part of Priest's class identity. I still think the card was fine as it were. With this change, it might finally see play in constructed.
    • Shadow Word: Death - An unexpected change but why not? I guess it fits the "cost-effective but niche spells" side of Priest they were talking about.
    • Shadow Madness - I never liked SM from a design standpoint because the Charge-giving part is only implicit. This is why I rotated it. I don't like this change.
    • Power Word: Shield - I appreciate that they removed the card draw part because PW:S was objectively OP. In its new state however it is likely useless.
    • Holy Smite - This idea actually crossed my mind for a split second before I discarded it because I thought it would be OP. Oh well...
    • Holy Nova - The change is not *strictly* a powercreep of Consecration because it doesn't damage the enemy hero anymore. In practice however it is because the hero-damaging part was never a big deal. I could understand this choice if AOEs were a strong point of Priest but this is not the case...I still prefer my own change.

    New cards

    • Scarlet Subjugator - I like this! I should have added an effect like that in my sets since it appeared in the past.
    • Psychic Conjurer - Powercreep on Psionic Probe. Also redundant, but I guess it is a good replacement for Mind Vision
    • Kul Tiran Chaplain - A solid card. It fills the "good Priest 2-cost minion" slot that was a big issue back in 2016. My only complaint is the card's lack of originality compared to other cards in the sets.
    • Power Infusion - Strict powercreep on Power Word: Tentacles. Here you can see why I privileged reverse-HoFing whenever possible rather than making new cards. My card Power Word: Fortitude fills the same role as this one. Their version is probably better because it comes later but again PW:T is a thing. Also, they forgot to add the (+2 Attack/+6 Health) italic text they normally add on all basic buff cards!
    • Shadow Word: Ruin - Finally! A board clear in Priest's core sets! It completes the new Holy Nova very well because it takes care of all big minions. It could have been in my set, but I didn't have a strict board clear in mine because I thought my modifications would be enough for Priest to not rely on a board clear anymore.
    • Natalie Seline - Excellent replacement for Velen. Playable and flavorful. I still prefer my Ishanah though lul.
  • Demonxz95's Avatar Content Squad Design Champion 510 601 Posts Joined 03/19/2019
    Posted 1 week, 6 days ago

    Just thought I'd leave this here:

    Same exact name, and even Cost.

    No, that's wrong!

  • Cheese's Avatar 135 68 Posts Joined 05/30/2019
    Posted 1 week, 5 days ago

    Power Infusion is an iconic disco Priest spell in WoW, and iconic spells are generally part of the core sets, so this one doesn't surprise me. My version is closer to its effect in WoW than theirs btw.

  • Cheese's Avatar 135 68 Posts Joined 05/30/2019
    Posted 6 days, 6 hours ago

    Update! I tried to combine Blizzard's official modifications with mine. I made the following replacements:

    • New clean layout!
    • My custom legendary Ishanah is replaced by Natalie Seline
    • My custom Mindbender is replaced by Shadow Word: Ruin
    • My custom Power Word: Fortitude is replaced by Power Infusion
    • My own original version of Power Infusion (see above) is replaced by a new Mindbender which has a different effect of the old one. That new Mindbender is a common card.
    • Convincing Infiltrator is replaced by Scarlet Subjugator
    • Shadow Ascendant is replaced by Psychic Conjurer
    • Holy Fire is replaced by Kul Tiran Chaplain
    • I modified Mind Bomb, which now costs 3 and deals only 1 damage so that it doesn't conflict with Holy Nova
    • Inner Fire, which I originally changed to a rare card, was promoted again because it is now an epic! I feel the card is narrow enough to warrant that.
    • I incorporated all the changes Blizzard made to existing cards into my set as well, although I HoFed some of those cards.

    I disagree with Blizzard's decison to HoF Northshire Cleric so I kept my nerfed version.

    Shaman revamp is coming Soon(TM)

    Dammit why did I spend the night doing this instead of sleeping like normal people...

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