vS Data Reaper Report #11
Welcome to the eleventh edition of the Data Reaper Report!
Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live (Beta) now has over 1,400 contributors. Without them, this project would not be possible, so we’d like to thank all of our contributors for their help.
Over the past week, we’ve compiled 40,000 games. If you have not done so already, please sign up with your Track-O-Bot information here:
Preparing our weekly article requires a significant amount of time and effort from many individuals. We would like to wholeheartedly thank our current Patreons, whose generous donations help us fund computing and server costs. If you’d like to help support our initiative to provide high-quality data-driven content to the community for free, you can join our team by supporting us on Patreon:
We begin with our deck frequency charts for games recorded between July 20 and July 26. The first chart shows all ranks, the second can be switched between different rank groups. We’ve recorded about 8k games at legend rank, 20k games at ranks 1-10, and 6k games at ranks 11-15.
‘By Rank’ Games
Next is a graph displaying the popularity of classes during the last eleven weeks: since the Data Reaper Project launched.
Class Frequency by Week
Some notes we take from the data:
- Warriors are on the rise. Dragon and C’Thun Warriors are staple powerhouse in the current Metagame. In other news, Earth is round.
- Druids continue to steadily increase in popularity, with Token Druid being a favorite amongst legend players in particular. Druid is now the 2nd most popular class after Warrior at legend, with Shaman and Warlock falling slightly behind.
- Control (Concede) Shaman is making an appearance, though it will likely take another week for us to re-establish its win rates and performance against the field.
- The Mage class is on a slippery slope, continuing its fall, and it has now reached its lowest point since Data Reaper’s launch.
- Paladin and Rogue are showing slight upward trends, with recent innovations and developments in the classes.
- Anduin is waiting for some overpowered Priest cards to be shown at the new adventure’s reveal. Let him believe.
With our growing database, we finally have enough games to comfortably show win rates at legend ranks for the most common matchups. The smaller matrix is obviously not complete, and only has matchups with a large enough sample size (at least 100 games), but we hope that with more trackers, we’ll have more games collected and the new matchups table will expand further.
Based on this data, a very large majority of the matchups behave quite similarly between the aggregate average and the legend ranks. In many cases the difference is quite small and does not significantly differ from zero. Some matchups though do seem to behave differently, which can be quite insightful. The biggest difference is observed in the match-up between Zoo and Mid-Range Hunter.
We’re happy to provide you with more information as we constantly work towards delivering a better product with every passing week. Note that the win rates at legend rank are now also taken into account when calculating the vS Power Rankings for that rank.
We now present the updated “vS Power Rankings” table for week # 11. The numbers we report are the expected win rates of each archetype based on their matchups against the field, factoring in the frequency of all potential opponents on ladder at different rank groups over the past week.
The Metagame seems to be more stable than it was last week, and we’re not seeing too many changes this time around. Aggro Shaman jumps back to Tier 1, joining Dragon Warrior and Mid-Range Hunter. Worgen Warrior seems to have settled quite low, and it appears to be a deck that is very difficult to pilot successfully, similar to Freeze Mage. Decks that can apply pressure in the early game are plentiful on ladder and they can throw Worgen Warrior off its comfort zone. In the tournament scene though, it certainly has the potential to be a strong choice.
Secret Paladin has slightly increased in popularity from last week, and its performance against the field has not dropped as a result. This is an encouraging sign for the archetype which is looking to be on the very brink of a breakthrough. With Jambre further refining the deck this week with great results, which you can read about further on, we are waiting to see whether an upward surge occurs.
The legend Power Rankings tell an interesting story. We’ve long suspected that Mid-Range Hunter is an archetype with a high skill floor and low skill ceiling, meaning it is very strong overall, and hard to perform poorly with, but reaches a certain plateau at the very high levels of play. With our newly calculated legend rank win rates, we can now see the numbers prove it to be the case. While the drop isn’t huge, it is worth a percentage point, putting Mid-Range Hunter at a solid Tier 2 spot.
The Tier 1 decks at Legend ranks tell the story of the Metagame post-whispers. The Warrior class has the best tempo deck as well as the best control deck in the game. C’Thun Warrior, being a counter deck to other Warrior archetypes including Dragon Warrior, is extremely well positioned in the current Metagame. It is also a decent counter to Yogg Druid, an archetype that is generally so well rounded against the field and very difficult to target, which makes it a particular favorite in many of the top players’ tournament line-ups.
Warrior has grown increasingly present on ladder from week to week, and its dominance shows no signs of stopping. The ubiquitous Fiery War Axe, as well as the incredibly strong removal spell Execute, has led to the viability of many different Warrior archetypes. Several people have climbed to rank #1 legend with Warrior, including Killinallday piloting Dragon Warrior and Neviilz piloting the Worgen OTK Warrior deck. Designed around a one-shot burst upwards of 52 damage using Raging Worgen, Charge, and buff spells, Worgen Warrior has some impressive new additions to the classic OTK list. By utilizing the combo of Wild Pyromancer and Commanding shout, the build can easily clear threatening boards while also cycling incredibly quickly with Battle Rage to find the game-winning combo.
At the recent Seatstory Cup, Lifecoach took the win with an enterprising C’Thun Warrior list. Lifecoach’s list highlights an interesting debate happening in professional play: players still can’t agree on the optimal C’Thun build. Generally, the biggest choice is between running Elise Starseeker, to recycle unnecessary cards into potential threats, and running Doomcaller, to reuse a game-ending bomb. Even among players running Doomcaller there is disagreement about a specific card: Emperor Thaurissan. If Thaurissan’s ability hits Doomcaller or Brann Bronzebeard, you can shuffle an extra C’Thun into your deck, which is a potentially devastating combo. Some however, believe Thaurissan is too clunky to run, opting for either another removal spell or a tech card. Lifecoach was one such person, opting to run Baron Geddon over Thaurissan. It certainly worked out well for him.
Meme and dream decks were played at Seatstory Cup this week and as expected the two finalists used Shaman in their lineups. The unexpected part about this is that both decklists are completely different and neither one is Aggro Shaman, with Lifecoach playing Mid-Range Shaman and J4ckieChan playing Control Shaman (aka Concede Shaman). It’s healthy to see different archetypes emerging in recent tournaments as it keeps things fresh and entertaining, and also provides players with other valid options to include in their lineups. Although Aggro Shaman is the most popular choice amongst ladder players, pros have been incorporating other archetypes to counter the Warrior-heavy Metagame. Concede Shaman is gaining popularity within the community, but we are waiting to see whether one particular build starts to emerge above the rest. Tempo Storm’s brew is an interesting take on the archetype, with Frodan sweeping the first group phase with it.
- Standard Aggro Shaman
- Lifecoach’s Mid-Range Shaman
- J4ckieChan’s Control Shaman
- Frodan’s Control Shaman
Warlocks of all forms continue to appear on ladder and in tournaments. One new variant is J4ckieChan’s take on Xzirez’ Dragon Warlock, a Mid-Range list that forgoes the old Malygos finisher for heavy taunts and Alexstrazsa. It performed decently in his run to 2nd place in SeatStory Cup, though it was overshadowed by his Paladin and Shaman builds. Rage hit Rank 1 on America with a C’Thun Renolock list that also runs the Leeroy combo. The extensive amount of reach should help against Warriors.
Zoo was present in Naiman’s line-up, with which he finished top 4 at SeatStory Cup, with several top 8 players also bringing it to the tournament. The archetype remains a favorite for ladder and open cup players. While Zoo is a standby for many, serious thought should be put into the Warrior matchup (and the Shaman matchup given Lightning Storm) before deciding to play it on ladder these days.
Hunter hasn’t been a popular choice for ladder and tournaments recently. At Seatstory Cup, not many players brought the class as it is considered to be weaker against faster, aggressive decks.
However, in the playoffs stage, G2’s Thijs and Lifecoach introduced a pretty solid Mid-Range Hunter build with Desert Camel, as their 5th deck for their best of 7 Last Hero Standing lineup.
The build is heavily teched against slower decks which paid off against Druid, Warrior and Rogue that generally do not play any good 1-drop minions. The deck is likely to perform decently against Dragon Warrior too, since the Camel can pull Finley out, nullifying its battlecry, and the deck can outvalue Dragon Warrior in the late game with Highmane and Call of The Wild. The matchup is all about stalling in Mid-Range Hunter’s perspective. Injured Kvaldir is also a common inclusion when playing Desert Camel, as it enables a very powerful turn 3 which sets up 2 2/4’s.
On ladder, Thijs played a traditional Mid-Range Hunter build with an interesting and fun card choice, Silithid Swarmer. This build propelled him to top 100 legend on EU. Silithid Swarmer is a statistically strong 3-drop beast that synergizes really well with a Houndmaster follow up on turn 4. The downside is that it is weak without a bow. It could be argued that Carrion Grub would be a better choice for the slot, performing a similar role while being more consistent.
Hybrid Hunter is a faster take on the class, utilizing chargers and more early game tools, while sacrificing some of the mid-game. SilentStorm’s build is likely to be the most refined one out there. It has a pretty aggressive early game, but it still keeps a decent amount of late game to balance it out.
Face Hunter might be emerging as a viable archetype for competitive play, with NickChipper recently brewing a new list that looks promising against other decks in the Metagame. Hunter used to be the most aggressive class in the game; with its hero power having a lot of synergy with the strategy of going face and trading only when necessary. We’ll have to wait and see whether this notorious archetype makes a return.
- G2’s Desert Camel Mid-Range Hunter
- Thijs’ Swarmer Mid-Range Hunter
- SilentStorm’s Hybrid Hunter
- NickChipper’s Face Hunter
Druid is at a similar place as it was last week, enjoying ladder popularity as well as tournament success.
We have started classifying Yogg Druid as Token Druid, as Yogg-Saron is beginning to get cut from some lists. To be fair, it is probably a more accurate description, as the deck’s main win condition is its token generation and the real star of the archetype is often Fandral Staghelm.
On ladder, Token Druid is still performing very well with Brazilian player Loxodontes reaching rank 1 legend on Americas with his build. Its main difference from other similar lists is cutting a Mire Keeper for a Druid of the Claw.
At SeatStory Cup, Druid was prominently featured. Many of the players who performed well in the tournament had Druid in their lineups. Lifecoach, the winner of the tournament, and his teammate Thijs, who finished top 4, brought the same Token Druid list which doesn’t run Yogg. The list also features Bloodmage Thalnos, for more cycle and spell synergy, and Soul of the Forest, to improve the matchup against control decks, as their strategy was not to ban Warrior. J4ckieChan, who lost in the finals, brought his own famous take on the archetype, including Wisps of the Old Gods. Interestingly, some Token Druid lists in the tournament included Sea Giant as a tech choice.
C’Thun Druid also saw some play at SeatStory, with Yogg-Saron finding its way into the archetype. The reasoning behind the inclusion of the card is if C’Thun Druid wins a game in Last Hero Standing, the opponent will most likely counter queue with a bad matchup. Yogg functions as a comeback mechanic from terrible board situations, so it increases the chance of the deck to win multiple games in the LHS format.
The Mage class remains in a peculiar spot. Last week, dude7597 took rank 1 legend Americas with Reno Freeze Mage. Reno Freeze Mage is a solid choice for ladder if you understand how to navigate a few key matchups, such as Dragon Warrior, which can be pretty even if you pilot the deck optimally. It’s also a decent ladder choice because the added flexibility from Reno can help you get the win streaks necessary to achieve high ranks.
Tempo Mage is still struggling with consistency but the Archmage Antonidas variant seems to be gathering momentum. Naiman placed 3rd/4th at SeatStory Cup with a Tempo Mage build including Emperor Thaurissan and Cabalist’s Tomb, choices that have been popular on the Asia/China servers. There has been slight innovation for ladder with the addition of cards such as Loot Hoarder to debatable success. Reno Mage has also made appearances, but the archetype suffers if Reno cannot be found by around turn 8 as it doesn’t have life tap like the popular Renolock.
Freeze Mage has been increasing in popularity in the Asia/China tournament scene but Tempo Mage remains the most popular choice. Freeze Mage has mainly been used in the Asian tournament scene in combo set-ups which target control heavy lineups, to debatable success.
SeatStory Cup saw innovations in Miracle Rogue made by G2’s Lifecoach and Thijs. The biggest change in their build is the inclusion of Dark Iron Skulker and Argent Squire. Both cards improve the matchup against aggressive decks and Skulker is also useful against Token Druid. The card can also clear up all the Shaman totems as well as deal damage on the plethora of 3 health minions in the Metagame, allowing you to finish them off with a dagger attack.
Argent Squire is very good in the aggressive match-ups as it synergizes with Cold Blood and allows you to trade it into 2 minions. Cold Blood is often a dead card against aggro decks, so being able to utilize it effectively in matchups where it traditionally performs poorly is also a positive.
Paladin saw a slight rise in ladder popularity this week with Control Paladin remaining the most prevalent archetype. With Warrior still reigning king in this Metagame, Control Paladin seems to be a decent choice to counter the large number of Dragon and C’Thun Warriors, though the increase in OTK Warriors could make it difficult for the deck to succeed. Players continue to experiment with different builds of Secret Paladin, and the deck is beginning to show its potential. Jambre reached top 10 on both the European and the American servers (!) with a slightly different build than his previous one, opting for fewer secrets and more chargers. The Paladin class tends to struggle against Zoo Warlock which is still quite popular in this Metagame, so keep this in mind when deciding which deck to play.
This weekend we saw yet another Paladin tournament success story with J4ckieChan taking 2nd place in SeatStory with Control Paladin in his lineup. His list featured Elise Starseeker, Corrupted Healbot, and Enter the Coliseum as well as a copy of Lay on Hands to replace Acolyte of Pain. This list is definitely geared towards beating control decks, so it may not as fare as well against the number of Zoo Warlocks and Aggro Shaman that remain prevalent on ladder.
32 Players duked it out over the weekend for the title of SeatStory cup champion. Out of those 32 players, can you guess how many brought priest? You guessed it! Zero! We had another Paladin deck in the grand finals, yet Anduin continues to just derp around with his Priest wand, or staff…. Or whatever they use these days. We’re looking forward to seeing some good Priest cards this Friday, or our poor Priest expert, Wwlos, may end up losing his mind.
It seems like every week another tournament passes and another top 32/16/8 doesn’t have any Priest decks representing. The last deck to have any actual impact in a tournament was JJ’s C’Thun Priest in Dreamhack summer. This was two Dreamhacks ago. Priest did get some strong C’Thun cards in the form of Hooded Acolyte and Twilight Darkmender, so maybe there is a pasture somewhere where these two characters are racing each other on horned white horse beasts.
Zetalot, God bless him, finally managed to take the class to legend with an interesting resurrect variant of Control Priest. The list is obviously capable of handling the legend grind, but remember; Zetalot is a player with around 25,000 Priest games under his belt, so don’t think it’ll be easy.
We’ve long said that C’Thun Warrior is an extremely well rounded archetype, capable of beating the toughest opponents on ladder. It is the only deck favored against both Dragon Warrior and Yogg Druid, it is able to fend off aggression to a certain degree, and it possesses a very strong late game that can match any other deck. It is also an archetype with several flexible, viable choices. Though we’re featuring Lifecoach’s list from SeatStory Cup, we definitely encourage players to adapt to the field of opponents they are seeing and test the many possibilities available in the archetype, some are discussed in the Warrior section.
If you’re feeling more daring though, Secret Paladin is an under the radar archetype that seems to be underrated by the masses. Its biggest weakness appears to be Zoo, an archetype that is slowly declining, but it has good matchups against Warrior and Shaman. This week, Jambre, who is probably the biggest innovator of the archetype, recently refined a list that sent him on a ladder tear of meta-breaking proportions.
And who knows…. one good new Paladin secret, one good early game minion in the upcoming expansion/adventure, and this archetype could make a scary comeback dreaded by many. It’s on the brink already.
Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report: