Blizzard released the full core set and we're in for a very different new year of Hearthstone! Today we're going to be taking a look at the Priest class in the Year of the Gryphon by looking at their new set of core cards and giving the new ones a full review.
- If you want to see the full core set, you can check out our Core 2021 Guide.
- Want to see only the new cards? We have a dedicated article for that.
- You can build decks with all these cards in our deckbuilder - just select Year of the Gryphon as the format!
Let's get to it!
Thrive in the Shadows
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A sister to Shadow Visions. It will be more often beneficial to draw the card directly, not get a copy of it, so this card should slot into most Priest decks about as well as Visions did. Being able to search your deck for a specific card type is quite valuable and you can game the system by only including a certain amount of spells to guarantee yourself the options you want, as we've seen with Visions in the past.
They did say they are going to push Shadow Priest and they delivered. Probably. You can possibly tutor Shadowform with this to get nuking. The art-style goes well with the overall flavor, which is nice. I'm curious to see how far are they willing to take the archetype in Year of the Gryphon.
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Much weaker Lightwarden in terms of scaling, halved Attack gain per character healed and only friendlies count, but I suppose one more Health does give it better survivability and helps survive more early trades allowing it to feed off itself when healed. As 1-drops go, it is a decent one, and it might, ironically, slot into a Shadow Priest archetype, where the deck might lean into a more aggro-ish oriented playstyle, so having a playable 1-drop is definitely a must.
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Bye-bye Silence, so long Power Word: Shield... welcome Focused Will? Hey, we saved some deck space, eh?:) This is a very weird combination. You don't really want to silence your own minions who you would want to be buffing unless you are playing a specific archetype, and you don't want to make enemy minions harder to kill after you silence them.
I am very torn about this card. I'm sure it will see play, my question is: How much? Will it slot only into Silence Priest decks, or will it actually be a viable tech card in general? This card might be the sole reason why Humongous Razorleaf was also put in the set unless they are planning to introduce more support for Silence Priest going forward this year.
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This card could be a reason Shadow (or Aggro) Priest might become a thing; and not of a meme status. An aggressively stated 3-drop without a downside that deals an extra 3 damage to the enemy hero is a lot of pushing power in such a small card. This feels like the old Leper Gnome level of annoyance, maybe more. Priest had plenty of ways to resurrect or copy their minions in the past and there are few cards that will be here to do just that still: Psyche Split, Gift of Luminance and Raise Dead. The last one specifically might prove to be quite a powerful combination.
We do not know what awaits us in the upcoming Hearthstone Year, but Shadow Spirit is definitely a card to look out for. It just needs one or two specific combo pieces to get broken (in Standard, it might already be in Wild).
Priest In the Year of the Gryphon
Priest already received a bit of a "core set" redesign last year when some of its Basic and Classic cards got changed or replaced. So the facelift of the class now continues.
A quick side-note: while Psychic Conjurer might be a more popular card for steal-shenanigans, and you will be able to play it about as casually as Babbling Book and will never be sad to drop it whenever ... How dare you remove my Thoughtsteal?! That is a downright travesty! Shame! Shame! Shame!
Ok, now with that off my chest, let's continue! From the looks of it, Priest is basically losing all but one early game removal, meaning if you can't get on the board early, you will have problems and will have to rely on board-clears to comeback. This might also be a problem since there actually are not many to choose from; None too consistent anyway. We still have our Holy Nova, which is good, but not good enough. We'll also keep Shadow Word: Ruin, but most minions, especially from the early swarm, might not reach the 5-Attack threshold, and Soul Mirror is not really a board-clear in most situations.
Control tools on the high-end were clipped as well, namely the all-mighty Mind Control and fan favorite (enemy?) Cabal Shadow Priest. This might not mean much for regular Hearthstone these days, but believe me, for Arena, this is a godsend. At least we get to keep the Shadow Word: Death as a consolation prize. And there is also Initiation and Wave of Apathy, but both of these need you to have a board to some extent to be useful. More necessity on being on the board, eh? Natalie Seline deserves a shout-out too, she might be the only snap-flip-board tool left that does not require any setup, but her cost is always going to be a factor.
There is a lot of buff cards in the mix overall, making the focus on board control even more apparent. It is starting to feel like Priest might be soon suffering from the old 'Paladin problem': if you are not on the board, you are dead. This might be even more true for a class without the ability to Reinforce on demand.
Priest has plenty of cards in their arsenal that provide powerful buffs to friendly minions, but there need to be targets ready.
But ... if you can stay on the board, boy oh boy, can you snowball hard. I'm interested to see if a consistent deck that manages to do that emerges. Once we see what does Forged in Barrens has in store for us, we might form a better picture about the direction Priest will be going in the foreseeable future.
And there you have it. 100% scientific and 1000% correct evaluation of a Priest class in the upcoming Hearthstone Year. Do you dare to challenge our predictions? Tell us in the comments below :)
View More Out of Cards Core Set Reviews
We're putting together reviews for all the classes and their core set cards. Here's everything up so far!