March 29, 2017

vS Data Reaper Report #2

A Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from thousands of games.



vS Data Reaper Report #2

 Welcome to our second edition of the Data Reaper Report!

The response to the first edition has been great and we’d like to thank the community for providing us with so many additional trackers. Though some of the players in our community were relatively inactive on ladder in the past week due to the Americas preliminaries taking place, the additional support generated an increase of nearly 50% in games tracked in our database, to over 3,500. If you’d like to join in, follow the link at the bottom of the page.

These are the numbers for games played between May 18 and May 24.

DRR2 - Chart 1
Total games played throughout all ranks for this time period.

And these are the numbers for games played at legend rank (~1000 games). At the highest level, Warrior, with its incredible archetype diversity, is still the top dog.

DRR2 - Chart 2
Games played at Legend ranks.

We’ve also created an additional chart for games played between rank 5 and rank 1, to show players what the Meta is like on the bottleneck to Legend. The additional information is quite telling (~1500 games were tracked in these ranks).

DRR2 - Chart 3
Games played between ranks 5 through 1.

Compared to last week, we are noticing the following trends:

DRR2 - Chart 4

Shaman’s popularity is only increasing, and their numbers are excessively high on the grind to legend. Mid Range Hunters are also increasing in numbers and display similar patterns.

Meanwhile, the hype of Tempo Warrior, which is still a very strong deck, has subsided and their numbers have reduced all across the board, especially at legend rank, where they were ubiquitous last week.

Control Warrior is also on the decline while more people are trying out other archetypes of the class: C’Thun, Dragon and Pirate Warrior.

Zoo has seen a surge at the high ranks, perhaps as a response to the increase of Shamans and Mid Range Hunters.

While Paladins and Priests maintain small, stable numbers at the legend ranks, their numbers outside of legend are only declining further.

ShamanShaman is proving to be the most powerful class in the current Metagame. All eight finalists in the NA preliminaries included Shaman in their lineup.

Six of the top eight finalists brought Aggro Shaman while two brought the mid-range variant. The distribution between the two archetypes amongst all participants was similar: 42.4% brought Aggro Shaman while 36.5% brought Mid-Range Shaman.

In addition, there were a few players who brought a control variant of Shaman, which didn’t work out, such as TidesOfTime’s unique N’Zoth Shaman deck. Both Aggro and Mid-Range are very strong decks in both ladder and in tournaments because they are very difficult to counter. This is why including Shaman in a tournament line up often leads to a very advantageous spot, as it usually baits a ban because of the general fear of the Shaman class, currently.

WarriorWarriors introduced a whole slew of new archetypes that have proven themselves viable at the competitive level during the NA preliminaries. Decks such as Pirate Warrior, Dragon Warrior and C’Thun Warrior all produced strong win rates.

C’Thun Warrior feels similar to Control Warrior in its play style but has a clear end game bomb in C’Thun. The C’Thun cards don’t feel weak while playing the deck and actually complement the archetype well. JustSaiyan piloted his C’Thun Warrior to the top 16 at the NA preliminaries, missing qualification by just one victory.

Tempo Warrior seems to have fallen out of favor and the space created in the Metagame has manifested itself in the Dragon Warrior archetype. Dragon Warrior has the same game plan as Tempo Warrior, but it has a better early game curve and stronger card quality in general, as long as you can utilize the Dragon synergy.

Pirate Warrior is an extremely aggressive deck which utilizes Pirate synergy in order to generate powerful weapons. Both Chakki and Nostam were able to perform well with this deck at the NA preliminaries and since then, Nostam was able to stream himself getting as high as rank 4 legend on the NA ladder with it. The deck is most certainly trending upwards and increases in popularity every day, and a huge surge of Pirate Warriors feels inevitable.

Warlock Both Renolock and Zoo made significant appearances at the NA preliminaries this past weekend, showing that both archetypes are still very strong and have a place in the Metagame. Six of the top eight finishers at the tournament utilized Warlock in their lineup, placing it just behind Shaman and Warrior. While Renolock did not perform particularly well (46% win rate), and hasn’t seen much success on ladder recently, it remains a popular choice for many.

Zoo has many different variations and tech choices in the current Meta, and it is a deck that can change every day. The main two categories of Zoo variants have been the Doomguard lists and the Leeroy/Soulfire lists. Each of these variants has brought several top tier players to high ladder rankings over the last week. Muzzy’s Doomguard list techs an Acidic Swamp Ooze to deal with the large amount of weapons in the current Metagame, while Ignite’s Leeroy list features Flame Jugglers to shore up the early game.

Hunter A class initially thought to be doomed at the start of WOTG has seen quite the refinement and success over the past week. Midrange Hunter is the main Hunter deck we see on ladder, and is gaining popularity. It is getting harder to deny Hunter’s position in the Metagame going forward with multiple players placing high on the legend ladder with Hunter. MrYagut and Xzirez have piloted Mid Range Hunter to top 10 legend on multiple servers, while PNC and Napoleon (the latter utilizing a Desert Camel variant) finished top 8 at the NA preliminaries with the class in their line up as well.

If you are looking to ladder with Hunter, we recommend using the lists of Mr.Yagut or Xzirez. If you’re looking to have a blast playing ladder, while still being competitive, the “Yogged and Loaded” list created by Brawl97 is a lot of fun. There are still plenty of refinements to be done with the class and we will watch it closely for developments.

Rogue Aggressive decks such as Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman are on the rise, but they don’t make up more than 10% of the ladder Metagame. This Still makes Miracle Rogue a good choice for climbing ladder, as it has an even or favorable matchup against a majority of the decks that you are going to encounter on your grind to legend. However, it is a deck with a very high skill cap, which rewards players who are very adept at it, while producing significantly worse results at the hands of the less experienced.

Four of the top eight finishers at the NA preliminaries utilized Miracle Rogue in their line-up. Their lists look the same, with the exception of up to three cards, which seem to be a decision between a second copy of Deadly Poison, Shiv, Earthen Ring Farseer, Violet Teacher and Xaril.

Most Miracle Rogue lists are running Leeroy as the win condition of choice for the most damage output.

A card which has been in and out of Miracle Rogue decks since its introduction in WoToG is Journey Below. Journey below provides plenty of options in just one card. It can supply you with a bigger minion in control matchups, such as Anub’arak, Cairne or Sylvannas, or an early game minion sorely needed against the more aggressive decks, such as Tentacle of N’Zoth or Huge Toad.

If aggressive decks increase in popularity, the best way to combat them is to race them. Turns 3 and 4 are very important in these match ups, as a combo Si7 Agent into turn 4 Tomb Pillager can present a very fast clock for your opponent when used in combination with Cold Blood.

mage

 Mage did better than what was expected by many at the NA preliminaries. Rosty, Deerjason, and Joster ended up finished top eight with Freeze Mage, while Apxvoid finished one game short, utilizing his Tempo Mage list.

Freeze Mage’s win rate was not particularly impressive at the NA preliminaries, but it is still considered a solid choice in the tournament Metagame since banning Warrior is a common strategy. Flamestrike is a standard inclusion in current lists because of its strengths against Shaman, Rogue and Zoo, which are common adversaries, and you usually want a solid full board sweep sometime during a game.

While Pyroblast was included by all three Freeze Mage players who finished top eight at the NA preliminaries, it remains a questionable choice since it doesn’t help many matchups in the current Metagame, especially in tournaments, with its conquest format.

Druid A new Druid archetype has been introduced at the NA preliminaries. Duane, finishing top eight in the tournament, brought a unique Ramp Druid deck featuring N’Zoth.

The biggest difficulty in playing Ramp Druid was the deck’s inability to control the late game in comparison to other options. For example, C’Thun Druid has a powerful late game finisher, which is something Ramp Druid did not have. However, with the addition of N’Zoth, the deck now has the late game threat it was missing.

The deck still focuses on playing efficient minions on curve, but N’Zoth provides a strong late game presence, and creates situations that are harder for your opponent to deal with, especially when their resources were spent dealing with threats like Ancient of War and Ragnaros the Firelord.

It is hard to say which Druid deck is better in the current Metagame. N’Zoth Druid is a bit less reliant on actually drawing its Old God but it doesn’t really have the same early game presence that C’Thun Druid offers.

Beast Druid also made an appearance at the NA preliminaries. The GNC group’s Beast Druid featured Stranglehorn Tigers and Ragnaros the Firelord, which lets the deck keep up as the game goes on a bit longer. This is probably the more stable version of the deck, in comparison to the Beast Druid list we have showcased last week, considering it has more of a chance to win the game if the opponent doesn’t die to your early game pressure, as opposed to the more aggressive version which starts to struggle at that point.

Paladin Standard’s darling control deck, N’Zoth Paladin, put up abysmal numbers at the NA preliminaries; only 22% of the players brought it compared to 39% in Europe, its win rate was 45%, and only one player who brought it, qualified for the NA Championship: Duane.

N’Zoth Paladin, we hardly knew ya…

Duane’s list was fairly standard, with the exception of Infested Tauren. The card has been overlooked by past deckbuilders, but may have helped him deal with the aggressive NA Meta.

In terms of other Paladin archetypes, LBYS brought a refined Aggro Paladin build and Wtybill attempted to revive the Murloc Paladin; however, neither archetype performed particularly well. At the moment, Paladin certainly looks weak in both ladder and tournament play, and it will take some more creative deck building for the class to find a place in the Meta again.

Priest It didn’t take too long for Priest to fall back to the title of least played class on ladder, as well as being at the bottom of the tournament Metagame (No Priest player made top eight at the NA preliminaries). While most of the Meta starts to settle when it comes to other classes, it seems like Priest hasn’t been nearly tested enough yet to discover its true calling.

It might be safe to say that the best card that Priest got in the WoToG set was Shifting Shade. This has led N’Zoth Control Priest to be the main archetype of Priest Post-WoToG.

Looking at Kolento’s N’Zoth Priest which was used at the EU preliminaries, the deck utilizes the other strong card Priest got in the expansion, the Darkshire Alchemist. Most decks that include Auchenai Soulpriest will more than likely opt to find a spot for the Alchemist due to its synergy and flexibility.

Another interesting deck is Snower’s Dragon N’Zoth Priest. Recognized and utilized by both Trump and Kibler lately, the list utilizes the forgotten Deathwing, Dragonlord. This deck is a Greedy Tempo build that heavily relies on good on curve minion plays.

We’re not really sure where Anduin and his toys are headed, but maybe the right use of all the moving parts could be found, eventually.

Meta BreakerMuzzy's Zoo (DRR #2)Shamans and Warriors continue to dominate ladder while Mid Range Hunters are taking off. Miracle Rogue is standing still, Priest’s numbers are dwindling and Freeze Mages should struggle facing this Metagame on ladder.

We believe this is a good environment in which Zoo can thrive, as it can go toe to toe with the Shaman archetypes, has close to even or slightly favorable match ups with various Warrior archetypes, and is favored in the match up against Mid Range Hunter.

Zoo’s key strength is in its flexibility, as there are various cards which can be rotated in and out of the deck in response to the Metagame. Overall, we think Zoo’s recent surge is not a coincidence, and jumping on the bandwagon might not be a bad idea to give Green Jesus a challenge.

If you’d like updates on our future articles, follow us on Twitter! @ViciousHS

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Contributors

Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report:

wwlosheavyjSchismrayc591demigodshamonaheShoopgingelbysTzachiFenomEndofDays     lookitzjoe