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I'm currently having a lot of success with my control priest. The one issue I'm having is during the mulligan phase when I draft 2 scenarios.

Scenario 1: I draft a circle of healing against aggressive decks (warlock zoo, pally zoo, enrage warrior). Should I hard mulligan and look for an Auchenai for mass board clear around turn 4? This may force me to give up a Cleric for the early game, but I may also draw into a Dark Cultist/Injured Blademaster.

Scenario 2: I draw well AND I have a Thoughtsteal. Along with sometimes just winning the game outright because of the cards that I get with the Thoughtsteal, it can sometimes be a dead card if I have a better play. It does give me card advantage (2 for 1) and it can draw dead cards that I can't use (shield slam). Should I keep it if I draw well or I'm up against a slower opponent?

Deck List:

  • 2x Circle of Healing
  • 1x Silence
  • 1x Power Word: Shield
  • 2x Northshire Cleric
  • 2x Acidic Swamp Ooze
  • 2x Shadow Word: Pain
  • 2x Injured Blademaster
  • 1x Shadow Word: Death
  • 2x Thoughtsteal
  • 2x Dark Cultist
  • 2x Auchenai Soulpriest
  • 1x Shadow Madness
  • 2x Sludge Belcher
  • 2x Holy Nova
  • 2x Cabal Shadow Priest
  • 1x Holy Fire
  • 1x Sylvanas Windrunner
  • 1x Ragnoros
  • 1x Ysera
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Scenario 1:

In most cases, mulligan for your combo!

Since your deck has no Wild Pyromancer and very few early drops, I believe your best chance for taking control of the field is your Auchenai Soulpriest and Circle of Healing combination.

Grabbing control of the board against aggressive decks is key to winning when playing as the Control Priest. Therefore, this combination is so important, that you should mulligan aggressively for it.

That said, if you have a 1 and 2-drop (Northshire Cleric and Acidic Swamp Ooze) or a 2 and 3-drop in your hand in addition to the Circle of Healing, playing those will give you enough board presence early on to protect your health until you do draw your Soulpriest (or at least have enough chance to draw it as you would with a mulligan).

Scenario 2:

Mulligan Thoughtsteal. Below is an explanation why.

I am assuming that Dark Cultist or Injured Blademaster is a better turn three play than Thoughtsteal in most circumstances, so you would rather have one of those in your hand. Since you have two of each Thoughtsteal, Injured Blademaster, and Dark Cultist, you have six cards that you could draw by turn three that would be as good or better than Thoughtsteal.

  • Mulligan
    • You keep 2 cards and mulligan Thoughtsteal.
    • There are 5 cards as good or better in your deck.
    • Your deck has 27 cards.
    • Chance that you draw something worse for turn three: 22 / 27
  • First turn
    • You drew something worse.
    • You have three cards in your hand and you draw one.
    • There are 6 cards as good or better in your deck.
    • Your deck has 27 cards.
    • Chance that you draw something worse for turn three: 21 / 27
  • Second turn
    • You drew something worse.
    • You draw another card out of your remaining 26 cards.
    • There are 6 cards as good or better in your deck.
    • Chance that you draw something worse for turn three: 20 / 26
  • Third turn
    • You drew something worse.
    • You draw another card out of your remaining 25 cards.
    • There are 6 cards as good or better in your deck.
    • Chance that you draw something worse for turn three: 19 / 25

The chances of all of this happening in sequence is (22/27) * (21/27) * (20/26) * (19/25) = 37%

That means you have a 63% chance to draw a replacement Thoughtsteal or one of your Dark Cultists or Injured Blademasters by your third turn. Therefore, mulligan that Thoughtsteal!

Remember, in a control match-up, you have a very good chance to draw it again later, when it is more useful.

  • +1 for essentially being a better version of my answer. – Waterseas Dec 8 '14 at 16:54
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When you mulligan, you have to base the decision off of what your deck wants to be doing early and mid-game. In a control deck, you tend to have less options early game than most decks, especially decks like zoo. Taking a look at your deck list, cards that you'll want early game (aka turn 1-3) are:

Turn 1:

  • Maybe Northshire Cleric, but often just dies to a 2 drop if you don't have the Power Word: Shield to back it up on turn 2.

Turn 2:

  • Acidic Swamp Ooze, if you're not against Warrior and maybe Hunter.
  • Power Word: Shield a Northshire Cleric.
  • Shadow Word: Pain
  • Coin -> Turn 3 play if on the draw.

Turn 3:

  • Injured Blademaster -> Circle of Healing
  • Dark Cultist
  • Thoughtsteal

Looking at your early game options, in scenario 1, if you KNOW you're against an aggressive deck and have a circle of healing, mulliganing anything that's not an Auchenai or an Injured Blademaster isn't the worst idea, as turn 3 Blademaster -> Circle and turn 4 Auchenai -> Circle are both excellent against zoo. In addition, the only other cards you might want to draw against these decks early game are Dark Cultist, maybe Shadow Word: Death, and Acidic Swamp Ooze.

In Scenario 2... it's a bit more difficult. It varies significantly from matchup to matchup. If an opponent's deck tends to be good against itself, then keeping the thoughsteal isn't the worst idea, especially if you have some of the turn 1 and turn 2 plays listed above, but no other turn 3 plays. In addition, turn 3 thoughtsteal is good against a number of control decks, including the mirror match. However, against decks like deathrattle hunter, zoolock, etc, I would recommend mulliganing it away in hopes of getting a stronger turn 3 play, like Dark Cultist, or a turn 2 play.

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