Not Enough Counterplay vs. Priests

Arena Discussion
Playing against priests in arena is usually quite difficult and very rarely fun.

Enjoyable gameplay requires having an array of options from which you can select in the hopes of best handling your opponent's threats while simultaneously fielding threats of your own. Not all of your lines of play are necessarily equal; sometimes you must pick the optimal solution from many.

Priests have several key tools -- mostly Holy Nova, Mind Control, and their hero ability, Lesser Heal -- which combine to greatly limit options for the opposing player. These individual effects are fair for their cost, and it's hard to argue they need to be changed. However, as the chess saying goes, the threat is more powerful than the execution. A player who considers the possibilities of the opposing priest often finds all of his plays to be losing.

I think there are a few situations in which this arises:

1. A turn-one Northshire Cleric shuts down a number of common 2-drops, such as River Crocolisk, Mad Bomber, or Amani Berserker, because the priest can attack and heal for a free card. The priest's opponent is unable to develop his board without a 3-power minion, so most of the time the best play is to stare at your hand, then click "End Turn," which is not very fun.

2. This situation repeats on a larger scale in the middle turns of the game. If the priest has a minion with high enough health to attack into yours, you will always lose value, severely limiting which minions can be played. Usually you can only play a minion when it can trade fully with the priest's minion.

3. The above two situations mean that the best course of action is often to trade off creatures, which will limit the priest's short term ability to grind value with Lesser Heal, but the longer the game goes, the more value the priest can get out of simply healing himself. Therefore the priest's opponent is in a catch-22: his best chances are in the early game, but it's very difficult to play minions early without leaking advantage.

4. The two main plans to circumvent Lesser Heal would be playing more creatures or larger creatures. However, Holy Nova and Mind Control make both of these options unappealing. Trying to dodge around their health wall with a wave of minions can be punished with a Nova, often augmented by profitable attacks by the priest, making use of the Nova's healing. Playing large creatures risks Mind Control, meaning the priest's opponent usually has to avoid their best plays unless they know they can deal with the fallout of a potential Mind Control.

Of course, priests don't always have Holy Nova or Mind Control, but the game is such that it is foolish to simply hope for the best. Players looking to find the optimal course of play will find their options very limited, and in the meantime, as long as the priest's opponent is trying to play within the narrow confines of reasonable play, advantage swings towards the priest with each passing turn.

So, I find that playing against the class is very frustrating and unfun, largely because I often feel like I have very few lines of play available to me that result in gaining advantage. I haven't come up with any clever solutions, but I do think it's an issue that needs to be addressed to make the game more enjoyable.
For 1, get a 3/2 or a warrior weapon.

For 2, you have got the lead from 1 and goes on.

For 3, swarm the priest with 3 hp or more minion, best with 4 atk.

From 3, it leads to the forcing MC of priest into the small minions, which goes around 4.

Those are from my losing experience of 6-9 win runs of priest.

So, when you are drafting, value 4 atk minions more than 5 atk minions.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum