How to Play Combo Priest Effectively in Hearthstone

As an avid Hearthstone player and multi-time Legend rank player, I have extensive experience playing Combo Priest. This unique deck aims to pull off a burst damage OTK (one-turn-kill) by combining cheap spells with minions that have spell damage or spell synergy effects. While tricky to pilot, Combo Priest can be extremely powerful when played correctly. Below I have outlined key strategies and tips to help you get the most out of this fun combo deck.

Finding the Right Balance of Control and Combo

The main challenge of Combo Priest is balancing removal spells and minions that stabilize the board, with the combo pieces you need to pull off big damage. You need to survive until you can draw into the right cards, while also fighting for board control. I recommend running strong early game minions like Northshire Cleric to contest the board, along with AOE removal options like Holy Nova.

Understanding Your Win Conditions

There are two primary ways Combo Priest wins the game:

  • Velen OTK Combo: Use Spawn of Shadows, Mind Blasts charged by Radiant Elemental, and Prophet Velen doubling damage effects to deal 20+ damage from an empty board.
  • Divine Spirit Inner Fire Combo: Buff a minion’s health with Power Word: Shield, Divine Spirit, etc., then use Inner Fire on it to convert the health into massive attack.

Recognize which combo you are more likely to pull off based on your draws and the opponent’s board state. This will inform decisions like when to clear versus go face.

Optimize Your Mulligans and Draw

Hard mulligan aggressively for Clerics, Radiants, and Loot Hoarders to dig for combo pieces. Keep an AOE if facing aggro. Use Cleric to draw efficiently once on board. Manage hand size with Thoughtsteal if you risk overdrawing key cards.

Manage Shadow Visions and Lyra Carefully

The power of Shadow Visions to tutor combo pieces comes with a big downside – clogging up hand space. Only copy essential spells you don’t already have. With Lyra, prioritize cheaper spells you can weave in the same turn to keep chaining value while making space.

Play Around Board Clears

A key mistake is overcommitting to the board only to have your engine cleared. Pay attention to opponent’s mana and popular class clears at those costs. Hold back extra combo pieces in hand rather than playing into Brawl or Twisting Nether.

Pressure Effectively Once You Have Lethal Setup

Once you have the cards for lethal damage, make tempo plays like dropping Radiant Elemental to force removal. This lets you play more combo pieces afterward while pressuring to close out the game. Don’t give control decks extra turns to find answers.

Tech Card Considerations

Common flex card options to tune the deck include Gluttonous Ooze to beat weapons, Golakka Crawler against pirates, Shadow Word: Death to remove big taunts, and Skulking Geist to counter Jade Druid or Kingsbane Rogue. Consider the popular matchups and tech appropriately.