Sinisa Bucan, November 18, 2016

Priest Being the Worst Class is Good for Hearthstone

Ever since the Standard format launched, Priest has been something of a running joke among Hearthstone players. It is, without question, the worst class in the game right now. It’s not performing that well on the ladder and it is literally non-existent in tournament play.

People were expecting Blizzard to print some improved Priest cards for the One Night in Karazhan adventure. However, the community was shocked when Blizzard unveiled Purify, which was deemed one of the worst cards in the entire game.

In reality, though, Priest players got two really good cards with the release of One Night in Karazhan. Both Onyx Bishop and Priest of the Feast are genuinely good cards in that fit the Priest’s play style very well.

The problem was that Blizzard doesn't seem to be fully aware of how badly perceived the Priest class is in general and as such, didn't realize how many people were expecting Team 5 to print “save Priest” cards.

Judging by the cards that were revealed so far for the upcoming Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion, Blizzard is taking the concerns surrounding Priest to heart. The cards are looking very good.

Potion of Madness should help stave off the initial aggro attack, whereas Kabal Talonpriest will ensure that early Priest minions stay on the board longer.

Pint-Size Potion could be combined with Shadow Word: Pain, Shadow Madness, and Cabal Shadow Priest. Dragonfire Potion may not be as great as Lightbomb, but it should still be a very effective board clear.

Do We Even Want Priest to Be Powerful?

This is the million-dollar question. While there is no doubt that Priest could use a little help in becoming more viable, especially regarding the pro scene, it would be bad for Hearthstone if Priest ever became a top-tier class.

While some players vehemently disagree, Blizzard has always maintained that one class will always be weaker than others in any given meta. The truth of the matter is that if there is one class that should be the weakest, it’s Priest.

Priest feels like it was designed to crush your will to play Hearthstone. Everyone remembers how frustrating it was to play against Face Hunter, Secret Paladin, or Aggro Shaman. Those decks were so powerful in their respective eras that you often felt helpless.

Here’s the thing, though. If things went really south against Face Hunter, that game would be over by turn 4 or 5 tops. It never feels great to lose, but at least it’s over quickly, enabling you to get on with the next match.

That’s what these efficient decks do, they finish things quickly if things go their way. Priest, on the other hand, doesn’t do that. Priest looks to prolong your misery as much as possible. Priest is almost entirely a reactive class.

Priest players just sit there and steal your cards and minions until you have nothing left to play. As much as Face Hunter was annoying, this is just soul-crushing. If Priest became a top-tier class by some chance, you'd witness players begin to quit Hearthstone in droves.

You could say that Warrior is another class that looks to prolong the match until you simply run out of options. Yes, Control Warrior does that. However, the thing is that Warrior is a much more versatile class. It can support a greater variety in deck archetypes, such as C’Thun Warrior (even though this is a control deck, it is actually very proactive), Dragon Warrior, Tempo Warrior, and Patron Warrior.

Ah, but there’s Dragon Priest! That’s a fair point, but let’s be honest, Dragon Priest isn’t really that viable nowadays. There’s also the matter of Blackrock Mountain being rotated out of Standard early next year, which may spell the end of Dragon Priest altogether.

Blizzard has realized that Priest needs more proactive cards. That’s why Dragon Priest was a thing in the first place. But the problem is in the overall design of the class. No matter what they add in adventures and expansions, the Basic and Classic sets will always be here, and those are the cards that define Priest as a reactive class.

When Priest does its thing, it’s not only frustrating, but supremely boring to play against. That’s why Priest should never be allowed to become the best class in Hearthstone. Quite the contrary, if one class always has to be the weakest, it’s in everyone’s best interest that it’s Priest.

Sinisa Bucan

Siniša is a writer and translator from Croatia, a small European country on the Adriatic coast. Apart from being a passionate Hearthstone player, he enjoys all kinds of video games, including strategy, role-playing, adventure, and action. Other interests include listening to indie rock and travelling. You can follow him @SinisaBucan.