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APM Priest deck list guide - Rastakhan - Hearthstone (April 2019)

How to play the latest version of APM Priest in Rastakhan's Rumble.

APM Priest is a Hearthstone deck which effectively evolves the Combo Priest format that's been knocking around since the game first launched. It's a much, much trickier deck to play consistency well, however, and so it's one best left to the most experienced players.

In order to win with this deck you need to feed the Test Subject minion a number of buffs. Once buffed up, it can then be duplicated with Vivid Nightmares, after which you destroy the original minion using Topsy Turvy. That sends all the spells you've invested tumbling back into your hand.

By executing this repeatedly in a fiddly fashion, you'll then have the tools you need to double the health of Stonetusk Boar several times, then apply Topsy Turvy to it for a massive one turn kill. Speed and accuracy are both vital here, and many a player has tripped up trying to execute this many-layered combo.

If you think you're up for the challenge, then we've got an APM Priest guide that will walk you through the strategy involved. We've got the latest competitive deck list for you, tips on how to complete the Mulligan stage, and a look at the core combos that power the archetype.

UPDATE - MARCH 2019 #2

APM Priest has not changed since our last update at the beginning of March, so you can keep playing the established deck list. Let's see if this one makes an appearance in the Rise of Shadows meta, which will launch on April 9th.

APM Priest deck list and strategy

A couple of new cards from the Rastakhan set make their way in the most current version of APM Priest. Here’s the deck list for you:

2 x Topsy Turvy1 x Stonetusk Boar
1 x Awaken the Makers1 x Bloodmage Thalnos
2 x Power Word: Shield1 x Doomsayer
2 x Test Subject2 x Loot Hoarder
2 x Dead Ringer1 x Witchwood Piper
1 x Divine Spirit
2 x Radiant Elemental
2 x Shadow Visions
2 x Spirit Lash
2 x Twilight's Call
2 x Vivid Nightmare
2 x Mass Hysteria
2 x Psychic Scream

Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.

Deck Import ID: AAECAa0GBooBiAXtBdEKlsQCpvACDPsB5QTRwQLYwQLwzwLo0AKp4gKC9wKh/gLQ/gLxgAOXhwMA

More great Priest guides:

General strategy

When it first came into play, APM Priest had the reputation of being one of the most complicated decks to pilot in the history of Hearthstone. It uses a familiar plan of buffing a minion’s health with Divine Spirit and then swapping it to be their attack with the Topsy Turvy spell, but executing all the steps to reach that point over a single turn is a stressful, head-spinning race against the clock that’s caused even the game’s best pros to fumble.

Let’s break it all down for you. First, you’ll want to draw through your deck to acquire the following cards: Stonetusk Boar, Divine Spirit, Radiant Elemental, Test Subject, Topsy Turvy and Vivid Nightmares.

Then, you’ll want to play Test Subject, cast Divine Spirit and Vivid Nightmares on it, and then use Topsy Turvy to kill the first copy.

That will duplicate more copies of Divine Spirit into your hand, so you can then repeat the process on the next Test Subject. Once you’ve done that enough times you’ll have many copies of Divine Spirit to buff Stonetusk Boar up to a ridiculous health value, swap it with Topsy Turvy and then deliver lethal damage. A lot of practice is needed to fit all of this in time, for sure!

Early game: You’ll want to spend the early game almost exclusively drawing cards. Bloodmage Thalnos, Loot Hoarder and Dead Ringer all push you down this path. Meanwhile, you have some board control options with Spirit Lash to prevent your opponent from getting too far ahead, although your more impactful board control options come later. You can also play the Awaken the Makers quest and get started on that.

Mid game: The plan remains much the same for the mid game, so continue looking for any of the remaining combo pieces. Shadow Visions and Witchwood Piper can both help with finding specific cards if you’re missing them. Try to continue keeping your opponent in check as well with the removal potential of Mass Hysteria, or you can play Amara, Warden of Hope if you need the healing. Nevertheless, it won’t matter too much if you have the combo ready to execute just a turn or two away.

Late game: By now you should have everything you need to pull off the combo. Take a deep breath, remember your ordering and good luck. Here’s hoping you manage to play everything before the rope burns away. Remember, you need enough copies of Radiant Elemental down to make your spell casts free, and make sure you throw Divine Spirit onto Test Subject before Vivid Nightmare to keep the copies coming in.

Aggro opponents

Some important things to keep in mind when against aggro decks:

  • 1. Fast decks are the biggest weakness of Combo Priest as they can burn you down before you’ve gathered all your combo pieces.
  • 2. Although you want to prioritise draw, it may be more sensible to spend a turn removing your opponent’s minions if you’re getting swamped.
  • 3. It could be worth skipping the Quest against aggro as you’d rather aim to unleash your combo early, so don’t be afraid to Mulligan it away.
  • 4. Mass Hysteria and Psychic Scream can also help give you room to breathe in the late game.
  • 5. Although you really want to use it to gather combo pieces, Shadow Visions can help you find a Spirit Lash if you need some extra board clear.

Control opponents

Here are a few tips when facing control opponents on ladder:

  • 1, You should be under less pressure in this match-up, so focus on card draw and take your time gathering all the combo pieces you need.
  • 2. If your opponent is well-entrenched on the board when you’re ready to execute the combo, a Psychic Scream on the previous turn can clear the path for your Stonetusk Boar.
  • 3. Similarly, Mass Hysteria has a chance of killing off lots of their creatures, including pesky Taunts that might stop you from otherwise reaching the opponent’s life total.
  • 4. It should be seen as more of a desperation play, but you can always cast Power Word: Shield on your opponent’s minions if you need to aggressively go for card draw.
  • 5. Watch out for Warlock decks that are running Demonic Project and Gnomeferatu in particular, as they can completely ruin your combo.

APM Priest Mulligan guide

In the Mulligan phase you’ll want to emphasise card draw so you can gather all the necessary combo pieces together

  • 1. Loot Hoarder: A classic and well-loved card draw tool that might take a minion down with him as well.
  • 2. Dead Ringer: Here’s a minion that draws a card when it dies. And that minion will give you more card draw, which is exactly what you want at the start of the game.
  • 3. Awaken the Makers: Completing the Priest Quest can give you some extra survivability with Amara, Warden of Hope, so the sooner you complete it the sooner she’ll be in your hand if you need her.
  • 4. Bloodmage Thalnos: The spell power has limited use, but you’re really playing this for - you guessed it - more card draw.

APM Priest tips, combos and synergies

We've alright outlined your game-winning combo elsewhere in this guide, but here are the other card synergies you need to be aware of when playing this list:

- As there are a significant number of Deathrattle cards in the deck you should have no issue completing the Awaken the Makers Quest within a reasonable timeframe. You only need to play seven such minions in order to receive Amara, Warden of Hope. This five mana 8 / 8 will set your Health to 40 when she enters play.

- Power Word: Shield provides more Health for its target, and also draws you a card in the process.

- All spells cost one Mana less while Radiant Elemental is on the board, and this effect stacks if you have more than one copy of the minion in play.

- Spirit Lash does a point of damage to all minions on both sides of the board, and restores the total damage done as Health to your hero.

- Spells are one point stronger for as long as Bloodmage Thalnos is out on the board.

- Cast Mass Hysteria and all minions will be forced to attack one another. This can be useful to do before making your big combo play if you need to get past a problematic taunt or two on the board.

- When you play Psychic Scream, all minions are hoovered up off the board and dropped into your opponent's deck pile. Sacrifice any friendly minions that you can first, so you don't give them any freebies.

Card choices and substitutions

Not too many cards have changed in APM Priest since we last saw it, but we’ve highlighted some of the key new additions here as well as the key cards will always play an important part in making it work:

  • Topsy Turvy: Needed to kill off Test Subject so you can generate multiple copies of Divine Spirit, and also turn all of that Health on Stonetusk Boar into some ludicrous attack power.
  • Awaken the Makers: With all the Deathrattle cards in the deck, this should be fairly easy to complete. Amara, Warden of Hope is a excellent way to add more survivability to the deck.
  • Stonetusk Boar: Will deliver the final blow to your opponent after being super-charged by many copies of Divine Spirit and a Topsy Turvy.
  • Test Subject: Returns any spells you’ve cast on it back to you when it dies, which helps refill your hand with the combo pieces you need to use on Stonetusk Boar.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos: The spell power doesn’t really come into play all that often but it’s handy for some extra early game card draw.
  • Divine Spirit: Doubles the Health of the target minion. You can create a whole load of copies of it with Test Subject, stack them on Stonetusk Boar, and then use Topsy Turvy for lethal in a single turn.
  • Radiant Elemental: You need enough of these on the board so that all your spells cost zero mana, allowing you to repeat the combo multiple times to fill your hand with copies of Divine Spirit.
  • Shadow Visions: Can discover a copy of the combo piece you’re missing rather than forcing you to dig through your deck to find it.
  • Vivid Nightmare: Allows you to resummon additional copies of Test Subject that already have Divine Spirit cast on them. Do this enough times to get more and more copies of Divine Spirit back into your hand.
  • Psychic Scream: A big catch up card if you’ve fallen behind in the late game or to clear the board for you to pull the trigger on the combo next turn.

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John Bedford avatar

John Bedford


John is Metabomb's Editor in Chief and looks after the day to day running of the site when he's not writing about Hearthstone.