It was mostly an introduction aswell as a focus on the Throughtsteal and co. cards. Got a little longer than I liked, so i'll try to make this one a little shorter. Enjoy:
Early game, Draw Power.... and other falsehoods.
It is wellknown that Priests are very vulnerble to rush decks. They only got one pierce of AOE and that is often cited as the reason. I can however tell you that this is by far not the only reason.
Having just pierce of AOE would not explain the weakness to rush anyway, because there is one more class where this is the case. Paladins too only have 1 AOE card, consecration which does exactly the same damage.
The problem here through lies in the differences in the early game options for both classes. Paladins got an offensive Hero power that summons recruits which are great at assisting early on with low HP minions and can also build board control on their if your opponent isn't dealing with them. Paladins also got weapons which are again, great for dealing with low to mid-range HP minions early on. Finally the card equality can be combined with consecration for an almost certain field clear.
Looking at priests, almost everything is worse. They don't got weapons. Their Hero power is useless unless they got a minion on the board. And even Holy Nova is one mana more expensive than consecration in exchange of also healing your minion. Which is, again, only useful when you already got some minions on the board.
However when your board is clear, and the minions is swarming in from your opponent, then there is almost nothing a priest can do. They don't got the early game tools that some other classes enjoy.
I kinda feel that the shadow words are a reflection of this weakness. Some overpowered early game removal to make up for their other flaws. And don't get me wrong, in terms of single card removal they are the best, but they still fail miserably for a couple of reasons.
First of all, their attack limitations are a poor design. Like with Thoughtsteal and Co. these cards depends a lot on what your opponent plays. Everyone should know about the magic sweetspot of priests being minions with 4 attack. This ultimately makes it extremely easy to build decks completely around priests, since 4 attack minions were already among the strongest.
But ultimately all of the shadow words can only trade 1 card of your for 1 card of theirs, which is only favorable or useable if you got the same or more cards than your opponent. Which brings me to the next topic.
Draw power is major weakness for Priests aswell. I would like to start off by stating here that cards that counts as bringing in Draw power must give card advantage with added drawing and thus cards that only replaces themselves doesn't count. As such even cards like Hammer of Wrath or Starfire counts. Power word: Shield or Novice Engineer however doesn't. Those are deckthinners and can still great for consistancy.
This leaves priests with just 2 cards that provide actual draw power. One is thoughtsteal which sucks, as I already described in part 1. The second one is, of course, the rather infamous Northshire cleric.
Now make no mistake, turn 1 Northshire cleric is AMAZING. Arguably broken. It's stats alone is way over the top for 1 cost minions and even some 2 cost minions have trouble dealing with it. And with it's effect, you can easily gain enough drawing to take your advantage to the lategame.
The biggest issue through is, that as amazing as it is turn 1, as much does it suck turn 4 or beyond. At that point, it is very likely to just get plowed down by the first 3 attack that comes by, and if you are lucky you might get one draw from using your hero power. Like a lot of things regarding priests, this is incredible inconsistent design. And this is the card that basically carry the entirety of priests draw power in it.
For other classes, draw power is generally consistent. Granted it is not available as early, but once you find time to use it, it will give a constant amount of card draw, and thus have about equal strength throughout the game. The strength of Northshire cleric swings wildly depending on when you get to use it through, which once again greatly hurts the consistency of Priest decks.
Consistancy is something I do intend to touch on the final part of this blog serries, where I will also round up the final issues I find with the current design of the Priest. It will probably be up around the end of next week. Hope you all enjoyed it so far.
See you next week. Peace!