The Hearthstone dev team have been making changes to Priest for the last year or so. Cards like Mind Blast have been rotated out of Standard format to help more accurately reflect Priest’s class identity. Turns out we haven’t seen the last of this, and for the Year of the Phoenix, Hearthstone will be changing the class in a big way.
Here’s a handy navigation tool to walk you through all the Priest changes:
- Priest cards rotated to the Hall of Fame
- New Priest cards added to the Classic and Basic sets
- Priest card changes (Buffs and Nerfs)
Hearthstone’s Priest class revamped - 6 cards replaced by brand new ones
Some of the most iconic cards from the Priest class are being replaced. Here’s who and why.
All Priest cards rotated to the Hearthstone Hall of Fame
Northshire Cleric is finally heading out of Standard format. It’s a card many have begged to be nerfed, as it’s pretty much the best 1-drop in the game, but the Hearthstone design team clearly felt the card would be better served moving out to Wild.
To be fair, the ludicrous potential for card draw combined with the potential for massive combos means it’s probably fair enough, as Northshire Cleric has been an auto-include in Priest decks for the entirety of Hearthstone’s duration.
This card has been a part of toxic combos since its inception. Divine Spirit doubles a minion’s health, and combined with Inner Fire or Topsy Turvy, can end a game in one fell swoop if you’ve got a high-health minion on board.
Getting rid of this Basic set card means Inner Fire can still cause serious damage when you’ve got some chunky minions on board, but it’s far harder to get a one-turn-kill combo with these two cheap spells.
Auchenai Soulpriest is rotating to Wild for a slightly different reason than power level. These next few cards are being taken out of Standard for class identity reasons. Sure, the ‘shadow priest’ dealing damage and shooting dark energy at enemies has a precedent in the Warcraft universe, but that was done nicely with Shadowreaper Anduin during Knights of the Frozen Throne.
According to the developers, Priests should be mostly control-focused, using healing effects as well as minion resurrection to outlast and outvalue their foes, rather than just constantly blasting them with damage spells.
Auchenai Soulpriest focused too much on this damage archetype, rather than the supposed ‘flavour’ or Priest, so it’s been replaced by cards that use this more traditional Priestly style.
Not a hugely strong card, but Shadowform is being rotated for the same reason as Auchenai Soulpriest. It’s basically a version of Shadowreaper Anduin’s Hero Power but without the massive upside of combo-ing with spells, and is far too much of a shift from a normal Priest’s playstyle.
Not to mention Shadowform was pretty weak in Standard generally, so it won’t be missed that much.
Holy Fire deals 5 to an enemy minion and heals your Hero by 5. Again, the healing is there, but spells that can target the enemy face aren’t particularly flavourful. In a similar vein to Shadowform too, Holy Fire was only really seen in Arena so we probably won’t even notice it’s gone.
Now this is the big ticket item. Prophet Velen is a massively powerful card, particularly combined with all the damage effects available to Priest, and especially when used as part of a resurrection package.
It’s being moved to Wild for the same reason as Divine Spirit - one-turn-kills aren’t particularly priestly, and it also feels absolutely awful to be bonked by a bunch of Prophet Velen-boosted spells.
Not to worry though - all these ones are being replaced…
New cards being added to Priest in Classic and Basic
These 6 cards are being replaced by brand new cards, all ones that better encapsulate the intentions and vibe of a Priest.
It remains to be seen whether or not they’ll make it into the meta, but we’ll see soon enough.
Here are all six of the new cards being added:
- Psychic Conjurer - 1 mana 1/1, Battlecry: Copy a card from your opponent’s deck and add it to your hand.
- Power Infusion - 4 mana spell, Give a minion +2/+6
- Kul Tiran Chaplain - 2 mana 2/3, Battlecry: Give a friendly minion +2 Health.
- Scarlet Subjugator - 1 mana 2/1, Battlecry: Give an enemy minion -2 Attack until your next turn.
- Shadow Word: Ruin - 4 mana spell, destroy all minions with 5 or more Attack.
- Natalie Seline - 8 mana 8/1, Battlecry: Destroy a minion and gain its Health.
With all these new minions and spells coming into the Priest class, it’s clear to see all the issues being addressed. The cards leaving the Standard format are being replaced by control-focused cards. Shadow Word: Ruin is a particularly scary one, with the potential to completely wipe a board capable of killing you for just 4 mana. Natalie Seline looks like a pretty solid ‘big’ minion, but her main attraction will likely be her removal ability - you’ll be able to take out any enemy minion and leave them with a large presence on board to have to deal with.
In general, these new additions are more focused on buffing your own minions, destroying your enemy’s, and controlling the board rather than direct damage, which is closer to how the Hearthstone dev team envision Priest as a class.
More great Ashes of Outland guides:
- 1. Ashes of Outland - Hearthstone Ashes of Outland guide
- 2. Tier List - Hearthstone deck tier list (Ashes of Outland)
- 3. Aggro Demon Hunter - Aggro Demon Hunter deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 4. Demon Hunter overview - Ashes of Outland Demon Hunter overview
- 5. Returning Player Content - Returning Player content for the Year of the Phoenix
- 6. Hearthstone Ranked System explained - Hearthstone's new ranked system explained
Priest buffs and nerfs
That’s not all! A huge pile of the Priest class’ long-time favourites are being tweaked as well. Most of these are actually just straight-up buffs, but others are more sideways changes. Here’s all of them.
Shadow Madness is moving from 4 mana to 3. It’s a pretty basic buff, designed to push Priest into a control style of play. Shadow Madness is now much easier to play thanks to its 25% mana reduction, and you’ll often be able to take out two enemy minions in the early game, helping you survive longer. Time will tell if the difference will be a substantial one.
Thoughtsteal is changing from 3 mana to 2. Another little buff, the Priest class is aiming to make it easier to carry out this ‘thief’ style of play. 2 mana to draw 2 cards seems pretty good, but it remains to be seen whether the fact they come from your opponent’s deck is too much of a downside.
Shadow Word: Death
Shadow Word: Death now costs the same as Shadow Word: Pain. Destroying a big enemy minion for just 2 mana is hugely powerful, and since this spell already sees play in a decent number of Priest decks, we’re unlikely to see it lower in play rate.
Temple Enforcer has gone from a 6 mana 6/6 to a 5 mana 5/6 with the same Battlecry effect of giving a friendly minion +3 Health. We’d call this a buff, because it’s now far, far easier to play this buff at 5 mana, despite its slightly lower attack. The card’s stats are the same as the solid vanilla stats of Pit Fighter, and the Battlecry could help control-focused Priests remain on board. We predict it won’t make a huge splash in Standard format, but it’d be a welcome success story if we’re wrong.
Since the likes of Prophet Velen have been removed from Standard, Priest can afford to have a little teensy bit of targeted damage. As a treat. Holy Smite now deals 3 damage rather than 2, giving you that little bit extra reach damage-wise for removal. You can no longer go face though, so don't get too excited.
Holy Nova has the same effect, deal 2 to all enemy minions and heal 2 to all allies, but for 4 mana instead of 5. When we tried it out, it’s actually been surprisingly easy to squeeze into turns and deals excellently with token-based Demon Hunter and Druid boards. Spell Damage buffs it too, so be aware of the potential board clear opportunities. It’ll be interesting to see whether Holy Nova makes it into decks ahead of non damage-based board clears like Shadow Word: Ruin.
Power Word: Shield
Power Word: Shield is the main arguable nerf in the Year of the Phoenix Priest changes. It’s being reduced by 1 mana to cost 0, but you’re also losing out on the extra effect of Draw a Card. Of course, if you put this card in a deck with Gadgetzan Auctioneer, things get dangerous as with all 0-cost spells, but for raw effect, Power Word: Shield was mostly helpful for cycling your deck early in the game whilst giving a small buff. That’s no longer possible.
That’s all the tweaks the Priest class is getting! Changing up the class should hopefully give the Hearthstone designers a bit more space for creativity, rather than being permanently held back by the restrictive power level of these few cards from the Classic and Basic sets. We’ll be keeping an eye on the meta of course, so check out our Deck Tier List for all the latest updates for Ashes of Outland and the Year of the Phoenix!