Combo Priest was one of the few affected archetypes in the recent nerf patch. The reverting of Extra Arms to three mana eliminated the power of Northshire Cleric on turn one into Extra Arms on two. Bwonsamdi, the Dead has filled in the role of replacing an Extra Arms in Combo Priest decks. This, along with a few other changes to archetype, have kept it within the the upper tiers of the meta.
Bwonsamdi, the Dead
The Legendary minion Bwonsamdi, the Dead is a seven mana, 7/7 minion whose Battlecry draws one cost minions from your deck until your hand is full. This allows Combo Priest players to draw out their Northshire Clerics and Lightwardens.
The role Bwonsamdi plays in Combo Priest is a mid to late game cycle, or also a threat check. It can get rid of the minions you don’t want to draw to get closer to combo pieces. It also hits Northshire Cleric which further advanced that cycle engine.
Because Northshire Cleric is priority target number one in this deck, opponent’s will always kill it if possible. You lack draw in this case as it is also unlikely to naturally draw into both Clerics in one game. So, Bwonsamdi provides some much needed additional draw. Also, as a 7/7, it can be a target for the Inner Fire combo if the opponent leaves it on board.
Bwonsamdi’s effect is one that demands several one mana minions to be in the deck. Some lists prior to the Extra Arms nerf were only running Northshire Cleric. Now, without a doubt, Lightwardens are necessary and players have thrown in Beaming Sidekicks as well.
Beaming Sidekick is great to draw off Bwonsamdi in the late game. At the stage of turn eight and beyond, Priests are simply looking to stick a minion for the Inner Fire Combo. Beaming Sidekick gives two health to a minion. This effect helps maximize value off of Divine Spirit before Inner Fire or Topsy Turvy is played.
In order to accommodate these new cards, the deck has parted ways with Holy Ripple and a copy of Acolyte of Pain. Acolyte is fine to remove because the cycle you get from it is replaced by Bwonsamdi anyways.
Meta Match Ups Where Bwonsamdi Comes into Play
Bwonsamdi is most important in those midrange, tempo matchups.
Against aggro, the game is usually decided before turn seven even if it isn’t technically over. Then against control, those decks are usually suited to deal with Bwonsamdi and the followup.
Against decks like Quest Druid that struggle with single target removal, Bwonsamdi is a good turn seven play, if they somehow managed to survive the early game of Priest. In the Combo Priest mirror, it can be quite a battle where both players either cycle hard or not at all. Bwonsamdi can be just enough value to edge the opponent out of the game.
In any matchup, this is a very unwanted card in the mulligan phase. This is a card you want to draw when you lack cards. It’s also good when you didn’t already draw all of your one mana minions earlier in the game. The deck isn’t suited to maximizing value of Bwonsamdi, considering there’s only six one-mana minions in the deck.
Bwonsamdi, the Dead was a welcome inclusion to the Combo Priest archetype with Extra Arms no longer providing the insane tempo push. World champion Capser “Hunterace” Notto helped justify this inclusion by proving its strength in the Grandmasters league and stating its the best deck to play right now.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.