Over the passed day or so I've seen dozens of people complaining about Priests, saying: “Mind Control is so OP, fix it!” or “Priests are so OP, they need to be fixed!”, and I can't help but think to myself “why?”. Coming from MTG I know just how obnoxious control decks can be, currently (in MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers) there is this deck called “Dodge and Burn”, it's a control deck in the most potent form. It has a ton of mass removal, a lot of single target removal and boat loads of counter spells, is used quite frequently and is very powerful. I got it one day via the “random deck” feature and ended up winning that match almost one sided. My opponent got my health down to 6, but beyond that point I was able to completely lock my opponent down and defeat them. I bring this up because, quite obviously, Priests are, like Mage, a control proficient class.
Without their ability to control any situation, Priests are extremely vulnerable because control is what Priests are built around. With that said, this doesn't make them “OP” by any means. Everything that a Priest can do can be countered, I think the problem is that most people either: A) don't know how to do this or; B) aren't prepared to do this when they, inevitably, get matched against a Priest. What I mean by this isn't that people are “bad players” by any means but simply that, perhaps, they're not knowledgeable or are ill prepared. Since one of the most complained about topics is regarding Mind Control, let's start with that.
Mind Control is, obviously, really powerful. This is, arguably, a Priest's most powerful ability currently in game. But it can be beaten. When facing a Priest simply know that your minions are never safe and that simply playing Taunt minions won't be enough, you also have to adjust your strategy. One thing that people should, perhaps, look into is balancing their decks to not have to rely on really big minions to win games for them. But should your minions, despite your most valiant of efforts, still get taken control of and turn on you, be prepared to murder said minion(s) horribly with a “Hard Removal” ability.
Hard removal: Naturalize, Deadly Shot, Polymorph, Equality + Consecrate or Avenging Wrath, Shadow Word: Death or Shadow Word: Pain (depending on the situation), Assassinate, Hex, Siphon Soul or Twisting Nether and Execute, are all abilities that people should have in their appropriate decks for any case of emergency, including the inevitable Mind Control. But one mistake that I think a lot of people are making is using their HR abilities “willy nilly” (without consideration). You have to consider all possibilities before making the decision to use an HR ability because there could be something much better staring you in the face. This means that you, sometimes, might have to sit back and let your opponent beat on your face with their minions or sacrifice your own minions in order to gain the advantage. What I'm trying to say by all of this is that people need to learn when not to play HR abilities and when to play HR abilities, saving them for when they are truly needed.
Secondly. I'd like to talk about Shadow Word: Death and Shadow Word: Pain. Shadow Word: Death costs 3 mana and destroys any minion with an Attack amount greater then or equal to 5. Shadow Word: Pain costs only 2 mana and destroys any minion with an Attack amount less then or equal to 3. With this in mind, both of these have severe limitations because of two reasons.
The first reason being RNG. RNG (Random Number Generator) is a mechanic that many games are now utilizing simply because it's fair and unbiased and as result allows for fair games to be made. The way that RNG comes into play here is card draw. Say you're up against an early game rush deck as a Priest and only have a Shadow Word: Death and, perhaps, a Holy Nova in your hand in terms of removal. You're not going to be able to use that Holy Nova until at least turn 5 (4 with the coin) meaning that you're going to have to, somehow, hold out until then, or get lucky by drawing into a Shadow Word: Pain, and even then it might not be enough. And because Shadow Word: Death can only be used on minions with 5 or more Attack that's useless as well. Yes, depending on the deck, this might not be a huge issue because, as the Attack of your opponent's minion(s) gets buffed, you will eventually be able to use it and destroy said minion(s), but that still might not be enough.
The second reason is the concept “Priest Proof”. “Priest Proof” refers to the weak spot between these two HR abilities. What this means is that minions with 4 Attack can not be targeted by either of these cards. This is quite significant. Here is a brief list of what I think are powerful 4 Attack minions:
2. Jungle Panther
3. Argent Commander
4. Big Game Hunter
5. Ysera. Her Dream cards are as follows:
2. Emerald Drake
3. Laughing Sister
5. Ysera Awakens
This brings me to my next point of discussion. “Without Mind Control, how is a Priest supposed to deal with some of these creatures?” Thank you for asking! Yes, Priests do have other means of dealing with potential threats such as: Holy Smite, Inner Fire, Shadow madness and Holy Fire, but how powerful are these abilities? Well. In regard to the Succubus, Holy Smite would be a bad trade because Succubus has 3 Health but it would trade well for such minions as Knife Juggler or Jungle Panther. “Haven't I seen this card before?” I believe we have: Arcane Shot! Inner Fire is a gimmick at best by itself. When, given the right situation and, coupled with Shadow Word: Pain it could very well deal with big threats that suddenly appear, but this has a significant drawback, the targeted minion has to have a Health amount of 3 or less... This too looks familiar. Oh yeah! Humility and Aldor Peacekeeper.
Shadow Madness is an exceptionally powerful ability as it can be used as both an offensive and defensive mechanism but, quite obviously, it has it limitations. Like Shadow Word: Pain it can only affect minions with 3 or less attack. This too is a tad similar to other cards: Mind Control Tech and Sylvanas Windrunner. Lastly. Holy Fire is actually, arguably, the only other super powerful ability that a Priest has at it's disposal. However. It costs 6 mana... But I digress. Holy Fire can, indeed, be used to take out a massive variety of minions (anything with 5 or less Health and can be targeted) but, at the cost of 6 mana, is it really worth it? That depends on the trade really, so both yes/no. And while there aren't any other 5 damage abilities that heal your hero, there are a bunch of other 5 damage abilities (not including weapons): Starfire, Kill Command (when comboed with a Beast) and Lava Burst. What I'm trying to do by comparing all of these cards is raise awareness as to what cards exist out there that are very similar the abilities that a Priest already has.
My last point of discussion is regarding gimmicks. Gimmicks such as using Divine Spirit on minions such as Lightspawn and Lightwell are cool, sometimes, very funny and, to your opponent, very “OP”, but at what cost? Well. In the case of Lightspawn, at the cost of a lot; too much in fact. If you haven't noticed, Lightspawn has the potential to get very big but the thing that a lot of people fail to consider is maintenance. If your Lightspawn takes any amount of damage then you, more/less, have to heal it to get it back to it's former glory, otherwise everything you've put into it will have been for naught. (It really isn't worth it) You can do this very same gimmick on just about every type of minion: Jungle Panther and Stranglethorn Tiger, for example. But you end up wasting too many cards/resources in the process for it to be worth it because all your opponents have to do is silence your gimmicky minion or destroy it with an HR ability. These are no where near as scary as people think they are.
In closing. I'd like for everyone to simply consider your options to combat your opponents at large rather then focus on complaining about Priests. Priests may need some tweaking, but so do all of the classes, Priests are not overpowered. As a reminder. Please keep the discussion friendly and intelligent. If y'all have ideas or points that you'd like to add feel free to do so. Otherwise. Have a good one!