For me, the issue was that it fired! His ability reads, "If you have no 2-Cost cards in your deck..." So, playing Arena, they have ONLY THE ONE 2-DROP!! That is insane. Arena is all about early board control, and this guy doesn't have any damn 2-drops unless he gets Keleseth on the fucking draw! Unreal.
My most recent 12 win run was with Keleseth as the only 2 in my deck. You can compensate for it pretty easily. The most remarkable thing about doing it to me is that he managed to avoid a pick where his only options were 2 drops, which has happened to me with Keleseth before.
It's generally acknowledged that using the Hero Power on any turn in which it doesn't serve a direct purpose (Mage getting the last point of a minion (ESPECIALLY as Frost Lich Jaina...), Warrior getting the right amount of armor to Shield Slam, Shaman putting down one more totem to drop Thing from Below, etc.) is a loss of tempo. It's especially pertinent in early turns if your Hero Power doesn't result in gaining you board or card advantage. In that respect, Mage, Rogue, Shaman, Paladin, Druid, and Warlock have the edge on the other 3 classes, since their powers directly affect the board or hand state, while Priest, Warrior, and Hunter do not. In short, unless you're playing for the long game as Control Warrior or simply trying to burst your opponent down as Face Hunter, you'd rather play minions or a spell in turns 1-5, if not beyond. That leaves Priest as the outlier here. (Surprise!)
Sebastian and I were talking in-game tonight and he mentioned that he'd faced an Elemental Priest deck in a prior game. I'd built an Elemental Priest during Un'Goro to try it out in the same manner that I've been trying Priest Zoo for a while now and both of them largely inspired by the same card: Mana Geode. Geode is an elemental who does what no other Priest card does: Gains you board advantage by using Lesser Heal. If you can kill an early minion (say, Patches, just to pluck a random one from absolutely no experience whatsoever) and heal the Geode, not only do you remove one of his, but you add one of yours. It's essentially 2-for-none. Geode also serves as an activator to the key of most Elemental decks, which is Servant of Kalimos. Blazecaller is another option, although not quite as important as Servant, IMO. However, an even better activator is Fire Fly, even though it doesn't control the board as well, since it dumps Flame Elemental into your hand to be used later. Just as good, if not better, is Radiant Elemental, since it enables mana efficiency, as well as big Lyra turns, which are still the deck's win condition much of the time.
Firebat did an analysis a while back that determined that the optimal number of elementals in a deck to activate Servant with 93% reliability is 6. So you could go with 2 Fire Flys, 2 Radiants, and 2 Tar Creepers and be relatively certain that you'll have something in hand the turn before Servant to activate him. But that means that you're also banking heavily on having a Servant in hand AND getting something from it that will save your ass, since turn 5 is a long time to wait to make your deck get moving unless you're playing hardcore control. My argument about Geode is that it helps with aggro early on because of the board control that it provides, even if the card is inherently slow, since it's a 2/3 that really costs 4 to get value and with the assumption that it's hitting something that won't kill it (like, say, a Tar Creeper...) Otherwise, it's just a River Croc. Right now, the Geodes are taking up the slots that would otherwise be occupied by Shadow Visions. Visions is one of the cards that made Priest a viable class and made Lyra an actual threat, since the biggest complaints about Priest spells and the consequent initial dismissal of Lyra, is that they're too narrowly focused. Visions helps broaden that by not only helping you find the specifically targeted spell that you need (SWP, SWD, etc.) but giving you an extra copy of it. It's also, of course, another activator for the deck's win condition, which is Lyra (although I have won a few games by just dropping a Blazecaller. Visions also helps me find the lone copy of Inner Fire in the deck.
So I guess what I'm mulling over is whether it can be Elemental Priest when it only uses two of the class elementals (Radiant, Lightspawn) and, specific to me, doesn't use the one that I've found both interesting and has struck me as useful against things like Murloc decks. Furthermore, can it even be a competitive deck without one of the best, if not THE best, cards currently in Priest? There are a couple other loose cards that I could cut, but they also serve the Lyra or Divine/Inner combo function of the deck, whereas Geode may just be my preoccupation.
Priest has some of the best 2-drops in the (Standard) game and they don't do shit. Radiant Elemental and Shadow Ascendant are both awesome, along with Mana Geode, and it doesn't matter. I have tried--LORD, I have tried. It is just always better to skew higher or play dragon synergy and that's that. End of story. You just can't get control on the back of your little dudes with Priest hero power. Druids, Mages, Rogues can all ping away, Shaman, Paladin, and Hunter force bad trades through pressure or constancy. At some point, Priest needs to reset, and that universally kills all their little dudes. Or they need to allow the opponent to reset (eg, Hellfire) and have no way to counter (literally Counterspell or things like Bubbles).
Dragon synergy is better than Elemental synergy, because the former looks into your hand while the latter relies on the previous turn. That's a huge drop in accessibility. I played a lot of Elemental decks and this is always a pain in the ass. You know Blazecaller is in the deck, and you need it next turn to clear some problem or win, so you play a shitty 1-drop dude in the hopes that it's an activator. I compare to Priest where the shitty 1-drop (Twilight Whelp) would spend turns 6+ sitting in the hand acting as activator for Dragonkin, Twilight Guardians, Wyrmrest Agents, &c. You get so much more from it activating from the hand than you do from having to play it to HOPE. Maybe if they made a cheap Elemental that jumped back to your hand at end of turn...
I just don't think Mana Geode works in an elemental Priest deck. Like you said, it's too slow, but what I think is the bigger issue is that there's no room in the rest of the elemental priest deck to include cards that buff the attack of the geodes beyond Divine Spirit/Inner Fire (and I would consider a deck that runs a Mana Geode/Divine Spirit/Inner Fire finisher a combo deck rather than a zoo deck, but that's neither here nor there...)
For instance, to buff its minions Zoolock has Keleseth, Southsea Captain, Darkshire Councilman and Acherus Veteran (Battlecry: give a minion +1 attack); while Token Druid has Mark of the Lotus and Power of the Wild.
If I were building a Zoo Priest from scratch that incorporates Mana Geode, I'd make sure to use Acherus Veteran and Shadow Ascendant. Hell, I might even try Fallen Sun Cleric (Battlecry: Give a friendly minion +1/+1) since it might help your Geode trade and survive early on. The second thing I'd do would be to add a Cobalt Scalebane with an eye toward expanding it into a dragon package (Netherspite, Drakonid, etc.) as long as there's room for Kabal Talonpriest and Tortollan Shellraiser. I don't know if there would be room for Lyra in a Dragon Zoo Priest deck but if it were me I'd put everything in (zoo, dragons, Lyra) and see what happens.
Yeah. My Zoo deck did use Shadow Ascendant, Acherus, and other more traditional Zoo buffers like that. It didn't work, either, because Priest doesn't have enough offensive cards (Soulfire, DG, Eviscerate, etc.) to serve a dual purpose: clear big stuff AND put the finisher in. SWD doesn't do a thing to your opponent. I used Shellraiser, too, because it's a buffer and something to slow down aggro. Still didn't work.
Firebat put one together in his Deck Doctor series (with Zalae.) The request was "Tempo Priest" and he did more modification to it than any other video of his that I've seen (I've only watched a few.) They created what is essentially Zoo Priest with a significant Stealth component:
Fire Fly x 2
Northshire Cleric x 2
Potion of Madness x 2
Power Word: Shield x 2
Worgen Infiltrator x 2
Golakka Crawler x 2
Radiant Elemental x 2
Shadow Ascendant x 2
Giant Wasp x 2
Kabal Talonpriest x 2
Tar Creeper x 2
Cobalt Scalebane x 2
Temple Enforcer x 2
Bonemare x 2
The Lich King
Essentially, you put down early dudes and try to wait to buff them with other dudes, not the usual Divine/Inner combo, and use the Wasps to get rid of any real problems (Tar Creepers or other big threats.) Firebat was REALLY enthusiastic about it because he thought it fit perfectly into the current meta. I'm a little gun shy, but I'm going to try it out.
Someone grab this, Jackwraith? I'll pop in and out today. I was playing on my kids' accounts yesterday to finish Arena runs that were going to time out.
I was struggling at the top of the Standard season, 50:50 with Big Druid, Keleseth Priest, and Hunter--just couldn't get anything going. I have a well-tuned Keleseth Rogue, but it's pretty boring. I swapped out for Buff Paladin and have been riding that from 20 to 17 now on a streak. Forgoes Grimestreet Informant for Keleseth and some bubbles to get extra tempo on every play. The game is back-and-forth on the early board, but a 5/5 Grimestreet Enforcer on turn 5 is tough to handle for a lot of decks and then things get crazy. I dropped 8/8 Doppelgangsters the other day. The Patches tricks can get interesting too, giving me access to "pings" that hit for 3 and don't cost a card in hand (eg, Keleseth buffed deck, play Southsea Captain to pop out a 3/3 Patches). I have DK Uther for late-game reach (and recovery). Feels solid, but I wish I had a Burnbristle.
He was Quest Mage, which I learned on my first turn, thankfully. This deck is kind of a midrange, but it can play aggro, which is what I'd need. My opening draw was awful in that respect (or any respect, really) but I kept the Steward because I figured I'd end up summoning Dudes for a couple turns. Given that, I thought about keeping one of the Sorrows, but it's too slow, so I'd probably be sorry... and my subsequent draw was almost as bad. No guys. No bubbles. No point in having Divine Favor in my hand. Argh. Thankfully, his draw wasn't great, either, other than the Book and having one Block in hand already. (Would I have to win this game three times? No! That never happens.)
Turn 2 draw was still worthless, so I figured I'd just drop the Steward and try to get rolling. If he had the Frostbolt, he had it. He didn't and a Sorrow entered my hand at the right moment. Between the Hand of Prot and the Dude, I now had two minions that he couldn't remove with a Fireblast and at least one bubble would survive until next turn to buff the Sorrow, barring Missiles or Blast or something like that. He decided it wasn't worth it to delay any longer and did the Intellect. I figured I'd wait one more turn on the BoK and got the Sorrow loaded up so I could benefit from it. Given that I was supposed to be the aggro here, that was probably a poor choice, but it would help me clear out any problem children (read: Apprentices) and give me a bigger weapon to apply pressure with. He decided that Block and Tempest was his best play, leaving the bubbles. I'm all good with a one health enemy on the board. So I play Kings and put the pressure on in earnest. That Tempest, of course, gave him the perfect response to my bubbles if he could get a good spread... which, y'know, turned out perfectly. Fuck you, RNGesus. But the dual upside is that he was feeling the pressure and showed it by Fireballing the Dude and my weapon was now a 3/3. So I Stegged the Steward (that sounds vaguely perverse...) and took him to 7. I knew the secret was Block, so I just had to pretend that he wasn't playing Poly.
The Arcanologist handed him another Secret, which I'm pretty sure was Counterspell, and he pinged the Steward, making me think he had the other Fireball in hand. Didn't matter. I was going to proceed in the same fashion: I had to pop the Block because he was close to finishing his quest and had been holding on to cards for some time that made me think he was ready to go off. So, right here, he's dead if he doesn't draw the other Block or it's not among the cards he's holding (I was assuming it was.) No. He topdecked it. Fuck you, RNGesus. But I can pop it easily and then follow with enough bubbles to pump my Sorrow up to batter my way through anything but a Mammoth if he somehow has room for taunts in there. Plus, he probably has Nova on hand, but nothing that can stop me and my 4/1 Sorrow. Right?
I fucking hate Ice Block. As I've said before, if there's one card that is crying out to be rotated to the Hall of Fame, it's that card that requires you to win every game against Mage more than once and usually thrice. Donais has been giving his weak-kneed "Well, we don't want Freeze Mage to be in EVERY meta." for over a year now and yet that card persists as one of the key elements of that deck. But you know what's second on my list of Most-hated Mage Cards: Cabalist's Tome. I can't easily count the number of games that I've seen wrecked by that card, either mine or someone else's, because the RNG of Tome hands a save to the Mage player. And the worst thing about it is that it's not even a Discover situation, where they have to make the right choice. It's just random chance that Ice Block extends games past where they should go and Tome gives them outs when they long ago should have exhausted them. Lyra has the ability to do the same for Priests, but there's no spell in Priest that can so easily turn a game around like there are in Mage. Or, at least there aren't any that cost less than 6 mana, which you don't have to spend after playing Lyra. /rant
So Tome hands this guy not only the Nova he needs to keep my minions locked up but the fucking Freezing Potion he needs to keep me from killing him. I have to go through my turn 10 with a horde in play, total board control, and a weapon in hand, doing nothing but summoning another Dude because Tome extended his life for another turn. Fuck you, RNGesus. If he'd gone off on his next turn... But instead I find out he's holding a fistful of Giants and can't do anything. So you're saying this game should have ended three turns ago? OK.
And you're all like: "Jeez. What are you bitching about? You won, right?" I sure did. Three times. And 1 turn late.
Games like this make me yearn for some kind of partial points like hockey has. You didn't WIN win. But here are some points for almost winning. I killed one Mage four times and lost. That... that is not a good feeling. If Priest had a spell that cost 3, was tutorable, could be cast for free with minion interactions and said, "you have INFINITE HEALTH until the start of your next turn," folks might not like that. Just saying, Blizzard. The cost might be off there.