: Northern Realms
attempts to return traveling priestesses to the deck multiple times to accumulate a large number of charges, then expends those charges to boost units like Tridam Infantry and Trollololo.
- huge point potential in any length final round
- building charges on priestesses is very uninteractive
- core deck elements are very low provision – allowing free choice in high end cards
- high potential to 2-0 if a long first round is won
- high RNG – acquiring charges on Priestesses is extremely draw dependent. Significant deck thinning is usually incorporated to improve odds
- many low tempo cards – typically high-end cards are included to mitigate this.
- almost no control of its own
- many units dedicated to executing primary combinations. Although the deck has many provisions to play with, it does not have many cards to play with.
- Vulnerability to being bled. Although priestess decks bleed very well (because of the 2-0 threat), they defend a bleed very poorly as playing big combo cards can leave an unwinnable round three.
To some degree, this deck is a major motivating force behind the creation of this thread – ever since I first saw it, I have puzzled over how to deal with it. Even a good Priestess deck (as opposed to a greedy, meme version) is very much a type of deck that I hate – one that takes considerable skill to build, but one where the outcome is rarely determined by skill of play; good play loses with bad draws and bad play wins with good draws. I will share my thoughts on countering this deck – but short of extensive tech choices, I am not yet satisfied with my ideas. Suggestions are welcome.
Strategic approaches refer to carrying out long-term (often multi-round) plans. The goal of a strategic approach is not to counter particular cards, but to favorably alter the game flow and decrease an opponent’s deck potential. Some possible strategic counters include:
- Striving for short early (first and second) rounds. Travelling Priestesses take time (multiple plays) to accumulate value. And often, Priestess decks include cards like Ring of Favor to improve round I tempo. These cards have little value past round 1. If possible, an early tempo pass might leave the priestess player with awkward later rounds.
- Alternatively, if you can win round 1 and push round 2, Priestess decks might be forced to play key cards before round three.
- Consistent targeting of removal is critical. You can not generally counter priestesses. You must therefore either minimize their chance of accumulating charges or you endure their charges but prevent the charges from doubling or tripling vale by dealing with Tridam Infantry, Trollololo, and the like. Doing either half-way is not likely to succeed.
- Outpointing a Priestess deck is very unlikely if it draws well. I have handily beaten a dwarven engine deck (all out Brouver) a card down in a long round 3 with my non-optimized, test Priestess deck. Without interference and on a good draw, I think Priestesses will out point anything. If your deck does not have control, you have to avoid a full priestess package in round 3.
Tactics refers to shout term actions – usually moves revolving around countering or establishing a single card. Against Priestess decks, generally little is needed to protect your units – the focus will be on countering key opposing forces. And Priestesses are almost impossible to counter directly. Be aware that most good priestess decks will include Necromancy (it is a bit of a protection against using the key Priestess card to defend a bleed). Some might buff that to be Renew (to enable bringing back Trollololo, Istredd,,or the defender). Thus, removed cards might be brought back one time. Usually, unless one has a very removal heavy deck, one targets either:
- Priestess set-up cards: Istredd, Radovid, Envoys
- Priestess beneficiary cards: Tridam Infantry, Trollololo, Nathaniel Psatodi
Targeting the set-up cards best denies early round points, but it increases the RNG of draws; it does not prevent big Priestess charge totals. Expect that you might need to get through a defender before reaching these cards (a defender is not needed for the Priestesses). Targeting the beneficiaries is more consistent, and requires less removal, but it allows a higher chance for priestesses to obtain significant numbers of charges – something you generally have to out-point. When spending control cards, be very careful to focus on the big picture. Shutting down a random card like Windhalm or Reinforced Ballista might seem valuable at the time, but unless those cards are going to cost you a round, limiting the Priestesses must be a bigger priority.
Normally, I hate to tech against a particular deck. (I want to reserve tech for general weaknesses my deck might have – e.g., including a Ciri to reduce chance of losing on even.) If necessary, I want that tech to be as general as possible – applicable in and against as many decks as possible. Possibilities I can think of (from least to most intrusive)
- Yrden – Resetting an entire row will prove very useful – if you have final say. But you cannot negate the damage from the Tridam infantry – and a wise opponent will play around it by putting Trollololo and Infantry on opposite rows.
- Resets and Tall Punish – cheaper than Yrden, but likely even less effective. Usually, Priestess decks have at least two tall units.
- High tempo cards expendable in round 1 (e.g. Ring of Favor) – winning round 1 is likely your best chance.
- Graveyard hate – getting rid of amphibious assault or a Priestess used in round 2 can significantly help your cause.
- Ofiri Merchant – Teach those Fisher King users a good lesson
- Incinerating Trap – ST players might be able to kill a priestess on deploy – it the timing is right and if that priestess was not boosted by a Griffin Witcher Mentor. Of course, it might be raised by necromancy.
- Clog Cards – countering thinning will decrease the consistency of drawing Priestesses.
- Mill – this is one deck highly favored against Priestesses. Milled Priestesses are much less threatening.
: I don’t think a Priestess deck is necessarily over-powered (it is very inconsistent). It is very draw dependent, and hence, in my opinion, very bad for the game. I hope its average return is small enough that it never becomes meta. From my experience with it, that is probably wishful thinking. Please help me out with other strategies you have found helpful.