The full Forged in the Barrens set has been revealed and it's time to look at all the new cards and look at how Priest will be doing this expansion. We'll be breaking each of the Priest cards down,

Keep in mind that this is an early look at the class before we've been able to play with the new cards, so while we try to be as accurate as possible in our predictions of what is to come, no one can perfectly predict the Hearthstone meta.

Priest Deck Themes in Forged in the Barrens

We've got some great support for existing themes in the Priest class and we can look forward to more Shadow support in the future though it is notably absent from Forged in the Barrens despite Blizzard teasing us about it leading up to the expansion reveal.

There are a lot of minion buffs in the mix, as I've said in my review of the Core set for Priest, the class can almost pass as Paladin, but the lack of dude-on-demand makes all the difference. Still, if you can stick a minion down, I guess a midrange Priest can work?


Xyrella Card Image

The Light, or the Shadow, that is the question.

A bit of a throwback to Auchenai Soulpriest, will work mostly in a similar fashion and while you can certainly combine it with your Hero Power, you might want to use cards like Flash Heal or Desperate Prayer to get off more damage. Having a Lifesteal minion would certainly help things as well.

Serena Bloodfeather

Serena Bloodfeather Card Image

She will smooch you up, one peck at a time, just like your grandma.

A bit of a weird take on Priest's "steal minion stats" mechanic that we've seen few times in the past. You will always end up with a bigger minion, but will it provide a big enough tempo swing? I'm not entirely sure this card will be even worth a deck slot, but it could surprise us. At the very least, it is a playable card.

Priest of An'she

Priest of An'she Card Image

No light-weights allowed.

Now this card can be a huge power play, just a 5/5 Taunt for 5 is ok, and if you can activate it, it becomes a better Earth Elemental without Overload. Definitely a card I could see making it into several archetypes.

Condemn (Rank 1)

Condemn (Rank 1) Card Image Condemn (Rank 2) Card Image Condemn (Rank 3) Card Image

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

As far as board-clears go, this one is ok. Problem is, it scales way too slow to help you against early aggression, but with the sparsity of options at the start of Year of the Gryphon, you will be happy to have this in your deck.

Lightshower Elemental

Lightshower Elemental Card Image

This joke is just too easy, I will let you figure it out.

Another big Taunt with a pretty strong effect. Healing is never bad, and it can also heal your board, that sounds like a good deal. Decent body for the cost too. While 6 Mana is getting a bit too expensive, what it provides will still be worth it most of the time. Interesting card for Wild mode, might help you finish that quest on its own, or be resurrected a hundred times over.

Void Flayer

Void Flayer Card Image

Donkey, is that you?

This is a card that I feel might push Spell Priest to become a thing. It will be about as annoying as Dark Skies and it comes in with a body. But chances are you might not get the full 9 damage, this card is a minion itself and you will probably want to run at least few other minions in the deck too, but even getting like 5-6 damage out of this is already a pretty good value because of the body and will not become a dead card as Dark Skies could. I guess a better comparison could be something like Dyn-o-matic.

Soothsayer's Caravan

Soothsayer's Caravan Card Image

Better be careful, she spits!

I personally hate this card because it is probably the reason why Thoughtsteal didn't make it into the Core set. Not only does the Caravan have to survive to give any value, but it can only get you spells. Yes, it could get more value over time, but be realistic. I would be surprised if the card even sees play to be quite honest. But it might find its place, at least initially, in a possible Spell Priest archetype; Or maybe later on, when/if new cards that would be worth focusing on the spell synergy would be introduced. Honestly, if the effect was end of turn instead, then it would actually be a decent contender, but as it stands, it just feels too weak.

Power Word: Fortitude

Power Word: Fortitude Card Image

Read a book, it will last longer.

Another card that wants to be played in a Spell Priest archetype, and this time it is a spell itself, the buff is nice and all, but you would need to discount it by at least half to get it to a playable Mana Cost, and even then why not just play Power Infusion instead? In a spell-heavy deck, where you can lower the cost to 3 or less, it can be a really nice buff, but will you actually have a target to use it on? I have to see this card in action how it performs, but I think that it might be a dud for the Barrens launch. It could, however, become good with new cards introduced later in Year of the Gryphon.

Devouring Plague

Devouring Plague Card Image

Feeding time!

Four damage that can clear small things or one bigger thing, and heals you while doing that, which can also activate some nice synergies. A good card that will most likely find its home in the majority of Priest decks for a very long time.

Desperate Prayer

Desperate Prayer Card Image

In Yogg we trust.

I think when we first saw this card, most of us just sighed really loud and were kinda annoyed with it, but now, I think it might actually see play. The reason is the 0-Cost heal, which can combo well with Xyrella, Priest of An'she and whatever else might come in the future. Spellburst synergy is also a no-brainer.

Theorycrafting Priest in Forged in the Barrens

I might be crazy, but could Aggro Priest finally work? Unnerfed 2/1 Leper Gnome, Shadowed Spirit and Rally! potential can make for a lot of face damage. I chose not to rely on that combination alone though, to keep a consistent value out of Rally! One more very good 3-drop is in the mix - Dragonmaw Overseer. Either you can Rally! a lot of face damage, or a decently sized board for just 4 Mana. Then there is the good ol' Knife Juggler who also got his nerf reverted, so as a 3/2, it will find its place into aggro decks once more. Bonus points for Rally! synergy. To tie up the Rally! shenanigans, one Thrive in the Shadows is thrown in to help you fish for the spell, since when you draw this one copy, only 3 unique spells are left in your deck at most.

The general theme of the deck is to just stick a minion on a board and keep buffing them. We have Power Word: Feast, Wriggling Horror, Dragonmaw Overseer, and I guess Dire Wolf Alpha does technically count as a buff too.

But there are a decent amount of face damage and cards with Oasis Thrasher and Knife Vendor further advancing that potential, while Maiev Shadowsong is just a really nice tool to have in general to let you go through a Taunt for a final push or just keep up the tempo by denying an enemy minion for 2 turns. Depending on the situation, Rally! can then serve as a means to get back to the board, or restock your Deathrattle minions after you suicide them in. Same goes for Raise Dead.

I can't say how good can this deck be, the obvious lack of card draw might be its main issue, as ever, but there is a decent amount of card generation/resurrection and if you can keep a minion alive, you might snowball hard with early buffs. We shall see how will it perform once the expansion launches. This deck might even make me play Ranked just so I can see if I did good or not, which is an achievement in itself! :)

Closing Thoughts on Priest in Forged in the Barrens

Priest will lose a lot of tools during the rotation, but it gains new ones, and it was always the problem, either there are too many, or too few, the balancing act is not easy. The Shadow theme is a bit underwhelming given how much it was hyped up, but with the introduction of Spell Schools and Blizzard stating we'd have to wait, there is a large window of opportunity to expand upon the archetype in the future, so we can't dismiss it quite yet.

Control Priest got hit hard, if your best board-clear options are Holy Nova or Baron Geddon, it is saying something, but there are still tools to make the deck work.

Midrange Priest got a lot of toys to play with, so that might be the most common direction for Priest in the next few months unless someone finds a broken combo with all the spell synergy woven into it.

Aggro Priest might actually be a reality now, but it will suffer from lack of card draw, like all the other Priest archetypes, because there simply are almost no cards that draw from your deck. Plenty that generate cards, but very few that draw.

I think when all is said and done, people might like where Priest will land in Forged in the Barrens, it isn't going to be the scourge of the ladder, but it will be playable enough for people to take it for a spin.

What do you think about Priest in Forged in the Barrens? Let us know in the comments below!

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