Summoner is an Epic card, so it's expensive. There are, however, relatively few other high cost cards in this deck. That, combined with a lot of flexibility to handle different situations, makes it a popular archetype to ladder with.
- 2 x Northshire Cleric
- 2 x Shadow Ascendant
- 2 x Curious Glimmerroot
- 2 x Twilight Acolyte
- 2 x Duskbreaker
- 2 x Cabal Shadow Priest
- 2 x Free From Amber
- 2 x Mind Control
- 2 x Faerie Dragon
- 2 x Tar Creeper
- 2 x Scaleworm
- 1 x Spellbreaker
- 2 x Twilight Drake
- 2 x Cobalt Scalebane
- 2 x Spiteful Summoner
- 1 x Grand Archivist
There are a bunch of other cards that can also do well in this deck. Wyrmguard is a solid, and cheap, addition. In the current weapon-heavy meta you could squeeze in an Acidic Swamp Ooze to pack out the deck if you want to.
The easiest swap in the deck is Curious Glimmerroot. While powerful, it's not remotely essential for the deck to function.
If you're looking to save on the more expensive cards, Cabal Shadow Priest is very useful, but not essential. Twilight Acolyte is rather more important as it's your only protection against high attack minions, but you can get away with one.
You can, however, swap out copies of any of those for the suggestions above if you need to.
Grand Archivist isn't strictly necessary, but it's pretty key. Craft it if you can - it's only one card, and it's going to be around awhile.
Dragon Priests have one odd mulligan condition - many of their cards require a dragon in hand to activate. So, if you draw a dragon in your opening hand, it can be worth keeping one even if it's expensive.
Aside from that your best early game cards are Northshire Cleric and Shadow Ascendant.
Cleric followed by the Shadow is a brutal opening, giving you a 2/4 and a 2/2 on turn 2. The Shadow will likely die fast, but that's okay, its buff will have already paid for itself.
Other than that, the choice of cards to keep is very dependent on what you think you're facing, perhaps more so than many other decks.
Against aggro decks you want Tar Creeper, of course, since it's about the best cheap defence in the game. However, Duskbreaker is also very powerful if you've got a dragon to activate. It'll wipe most cheap aggo minions off the board, leaving you with a body in place.
If you think you're in for a longer game, though, things change. Spiteful Summoner is about the best turn 6 play around, at least when it gets combined with the spells in this deck. So if you reckon you'll be around that long, keep him.
Spiteful Priest is very much a jack of all trades deck. It can deal with a lot of situations, but it doesn't have any killer combos. The biggest is slapping down Spiteful Summoner and hoping it summons something truly horrible. Most of the time, it does.
As a result, it can be worthwhile to play this deck quite aggressively early on, especially if you have some cheap cards in your opening hand. Priest cards often have high health, so make use of it. Make good value trades to keep your opponent's board clear, heal your minions up with your hero power, repeat.
Rookie players often make the mistake of using the Priest's heal power to heal their face instead. It's tempting, especially when you're taking a beating, but resist. Better to keep minions on the board where they can keep on whittling down the enemy.
This is especially true of Twilight Drake. Ideally you want to play this on turn 4 when you've still got a decent card count in your hand. Then you can keep that high health total topped up while using the 4 attack to clear dangerous minions off the opposing board.
As you transition into the mid-game you can start bringing out the big guns. Spiteful Summoner is the key win condition, as discussed. A good summon can sometimes lead to your opponent quitting.
But Scaleworm is also a powerful play. It usually has the power to knock out a minion right away with Rush, but also has the health to stick around, if you heal it.
If it comes to the late turns, then Mind Control is a massive tempo swing. You can get it two turns early with Grand Archivist if you have him. He won't cast a spell without a target so, if the enemy board is empty, you'll always get Free From Amber.
Twlight Acolyte is a useful defence against high attack minions. And, as a bonus, it turns the Acolyte into a high attack minion itself for a double whammy. Don't forget what this innocuous looking card can do. Also don't forget that its target can be silenced by its owner to get that attack back - so watch out.
Tar Creeper is your shield, but Duskebreaker is a double-edged board clear because it damages everything. If you're going to use it, sacrifice your minions to reduce enemy health totals to the point where Duskbreaker will take them out. Otherwise, go for the face.