Fear Exodia Priest
The Exodia combo is one of the most feared in Hearthstone. By utilising four Sorceror’s Apprentices and an Antonidas to generate infinite fireballs, little can stand in its way. Unfortunately for Mages (and luckily for the rest of us) it requires a huge amount of setup through Simulacrums, Molten Reflections and a Quest completion.
But with Witchwood’s new Vivid Nightmare card, Priest may be able to apply the same concepts. Though Priest’s Exodia is far less deadly than the Mage’s, its ease of setup may make it just as threatening.
Lyra, Radiant, Vivid, Profit?
The base idea is simple. Within a standard Priest deck core that runs a decent amount of draw and spells, run five cards. Lyra the Sunshard, two Radiant Elementals, and one or two Vivid Nightmares for 10 mana. With four Radiants (or more with Shadow visions), all spells in the Priest’s hand are likely to be free. What’s more, any generated spells are likely to be free also. Rogue can generate massive tempo with Coins and Preparation. With a 4 mana discount, you get the tempo of Coin into Prep with every single generated card.
This would be less of an OTK and more of a Yogg-style effect, creating a gigantic if random board swing out of nowhere. It would also generate massive amounts of value; as every spell that could not be cycled through with a 4 mana discount is only one of a handful of high-cost high-impact spells.
Cheap Spells galore
One principle reason this might work is the shrinkage of the Standard spell pool. With Shadow Word Horror, Dragonfire Potion, and Power Word Tentacles rotating out, the pool of high-cost or combo-stopping cards is reduced. Just 8 spells in Priest’s Standard pool will cost more than 5 mana, with 21 costing 4 or less. Of these cheap Priest spells, five are card generation, acting as further gas for the combo engine. With four Radiants, you could potentially cast dozens of times from only two or three starting spells.
Of course, this is quite a lot of cards to save, and a lot of mana to spend. But Shadow Visions vastly increases the viability of fetching Vivid Nightmares, as well as acting as Lyra gas. The combo is also flexible enough to work with a variety of hands. Vivid Nightmare can be cast on Lyra in lieu of a Radiant, for example. Combined with a hand of cheap or free spells, that’s a huge potential card engine for very little investment.
What’s the impact?
Lyra turns are very hard to predict, but this combo would have a reliable chain of events. With enough spells to act as initial propellant, there would be an overabundance of options. The opponent’s board would quickly get wiped or stolen by Shadow Madness, Deaths and Pains. While a few high-cost spells would clog the hand, more would be drawn or generated to add to the combo. Eventually, the targets for spells would run out, or the hand would be filled with high-cost spells. But by that point, a massive board would have been generated, and the opponent destroyed.
What’s more, health swings are likely, with healing as well as face damage on the opponent. And of course, the Priest would be left with a hand of Devour Minds, Free from Ambers, Psychic Screams and other high-value spells. In short, it would almost certainly be a game-winning combo in most circumstances.
Getting to Exodia
Of course, this all assumes you can find and hold five cards with 10 mana. With Priest staples like Potion of Madness, Dragonfire, Pint/Horror, and many Dragons rotating out, surviving till late may not be an easy proposition. What’s more, Priest’s card draw is still limited, and overly reliant on Northshire Cleric shenanigans.
However, the flexibility of the combo might make it viable yet. Against aggro, you can spend your pieces and go off only with Lyra and Nightmare. Versus control, you could bank multiple Nightmares and unleash a nigh-unstoppable chain of spells, limited only by RNG and the turn time.
With many Priest cards still to be revealed, it is yet to be seen whether to see whether the class will again reach its dominating heights enjoyed in the Year of the Mammoth. But whatever form it takes, there’s a decent chance it may come to heavily rely on these Lyra combos. If that comes to be the case, it might be time to practice your APM.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via Hearthstone.gamepedia.com.