March 27, 2017

vS Data Reaper Report #27

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from over 59,000 games.

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Data Reaper Report Logo

Welcome to the 27th edition of the Data Reaper Report!

Attention: Next week, we will publish a shortened report on Friday (November 25th) instead of Thursday due to Thanksgiving. It will be the last Data Reaper Report before the expansion is released in early December. At that point, all data and archetype recognition in our system will be reset. As a result, we estimate that our first post-expansion report will be out about two weeks after release. During this time, we plan to release other kinds of content, so stay tuned!

For your convenience, this report has been translated into the following languages: português, русский, français, español, 中文, deutsch, and 한국어.

Number of Games

Overall 59,000
Ranks Legend-10 34,000
Ranks 11-15 16,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

All Ranks

drr27-distribution-chart-all

Rank 10 to Rank 1

drr27-distribution-chart-ranks

Class Frequency by Week

drr27-class-frequency-by-weeks

  1. The story of the week goes to Tempo Mage. The archetype has seen a massive surge in popularity over the past week, establishing Mage as the second most played class in the game. This is likely due to Tempo Mage’s relatively close matchup with Midrange Shaman, and its generally strong position in the Meta, having some slightly unfavored matchups but never being hard countered by a particularly popular deck.
  2. Hunter is continuing to see a decline in play. Secret Hunter doesn’t appear to be able to crack the code to have a consistently respectable win percentage against Midrange Shaman, while Face Hunter is a deck that not every player can enjoy. In addition, the old secret-less Midrange Hunter is on a decline as well. The change to Call of the Wild has weakened it significantly and its position in the Meta is very unfavorable.
  3. The rest of the Meta has gone quite stale. Shaman is seeing a rise in play, and we expect it to rise further as we near the end of the month. With November being eligible for HCT points from top ladder finishes, competitive players will want to win and you can do that pretty well with Shaman.
  4. Anduin and Uther have covered themselves with blankets and entered a slumber, asking us to wake them up when we get to Gadgetzan.

Matchup Win Rates Header

drr27-matchup-winrates-chart

Power Rankings Header

We now present the updated “vS Power Rankings” table for week # 27. 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.

drr27-power-rankings

  1. Midrange Shaman is seeing a slight decrease in its performance. This is not only attributed to an increase in mirror matchups, but an increase in the hatred towards the class in terms of deck building from other classes. Everybody is out to get Shaman, and yet it’s still above the 55% win rate mark. That’s incredible!
  2. More good news! Apparently, Aggro Shaman is back and it’s still quite a good deck. The archetype has increased in play over the past week, which allowed us to evaluate its performance with greater confidence. The fine tunings it has received from players such as Sempok hit their mark. While not being Tier 1, as it was before the balance changes, it sits comfortably at Tier 2 with a pretty good matchup spread, only being significantly weak to its Midrange brother and Dragon Warrior.
  3. Priest is trying its best to look as weak as possible before its possible post-Gadgetzan renaissance, though Paladin is certainly challenging its status as the worst class in the game.

Class Analysis

Shaman | Hunter | Warrior | Druid | Mage | Warlock| Rogue | Priest | Paladin

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

The only real development in the Shaman class is Aggro Shaman making a small comeback in the Meta. The archetype is evolving into more of a hybrid deck with some Midrange components. With both Abusive Sergeant and Leper Gnome nerfed, and the various other tools it possessed being toned down, the deck is moving away from stacking early game minions in order to create explosive starts. Instead, it opts for card draw and a stronger mid-game in order to amass its burst damage more consistently. Some examples of success forming from new Aggro Shaman decks is Loyan’s build, reaching top 10, as well as Fenom’s build, which maximizes the archetype’s card draw potential.

Midrange Shaman is still pretty good. Data Reaper’s Shaman expert. Demigod, used a double Horserider, no Feral Spirits version to hit #6 legend. Other top legend players such as Fr0zen, coasted to the highest rank with the archetype as well.

Control Shaman is also beginning to see more play in the form of new builds. Monsanto, who’s one of the most dedicated control players in the scene, piloted a Control Shaman build to hit rank #3 legend. The archetype is actually one of the strongest control decks in the current Meta, since its plethora of powerful AOE spells means its matchup with Midrange Shaman is relatively tolerable. Another thing going for Control Shaman is it dominates aggressive decks such as Zoo and Face Hunter, so it’s definitely one to watch out for.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Mage, like most classes in the game, doesn’t have anything new to offer since the world championship. The Midrange Shaman Meta has been stale for a while now, with Mage builds teching against the most dominant deck in the game. Some Tempo Mage players at high legend go as far as including 2 Arcane Explosions in their builds to synergize with spell power and clear Shaman’s board. Currently, Tempo Mage is considered to be one of the top 3 Meta defining decks along with Spell Druid and Midrange Shaman.

SilverName recently hit rank 1 legend on EU with a list similar to Apxvoid’s, which we featured last week, opting to add Paveling Books and Yogg to increase RNG swing potential to win the game. The most optimal Tempo Mage builds at the moment consist of a balance between burn spells and minions, and adding Flamestrike as a top end card to deal with Shaman’s never ending waves of minions. Pavel’s minion heavy build is also a consistent option, especially in the tournament scene, as it does better against Druid, which is a very popular class in any format. Spell Druid is arguably the strongest deck in the game after Shaman, and the latter is very often banned.

As for Freeze Mage, Laughing’s most updated list is likely the best version. At the very high end of legend ladder, Freeze Mage isn’t a bad pick currently, as the Warrior’s position in the Meta is weakening. Freeze Mage might be a good Meta call to counter the Midrange Shamans, but that is only if the player performs significantly better than the rest of the field in this particular matchup.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Very little has changed for Warrior in the past week. Its share of the Meta dropped a fraction, while within the class Control Warrior fell slightly, perhaps indicative of its very poor overall win-rate and poor matchups across the board. This is made even worse by surges in Tempo Mage and Spell Druid, both considered to be unfavored matchups for the Control Warrior. N’Zoth seems to be pulling ahead as the Control Warrior variant of choice, with several players including Mr. Yagut playing a deathrattle-heavy list with both Infested Tauren and Twilight Summoner, which relies heavily on pulling a valuable minion with Barnes.

As usual, Dragon, C’Thun and Pirate Warrior are all pretty much settled on cookie-cutter lists, with very little variation, especially compared to the ever-changing beast that is Control Warrior. Dragon Warrior seems to be the best deck in the class, having marginally higher win-rates than Control Warrior against Tempo Mage and Spell Druid, at the cost of being slightly worse against Midrange Shaman. Pirate Warrior is also doing well, with Gallon hitting #1 legend with the archetype.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Druid remains one of the most popular classes on ladder but still nowhere near Shaman’s popularity. Although Druid is one of the best classes in the Meta, the abundance of Shaman hurts the class overall, as it is a relatively difficult matchup to overcome for the Druid.

With an increase in Tempo Mage this week, Spell Druid enjoyed a rise in a favorable matchup.

As usual, Spell Druid is the most popular Druid archetype by quite a bit, specifically the Malygos variant. Xixo’s and Feno’s builds, which we featured in the past few weeks, continue to see play. This week, another Malygos Druid build featuring the Barnes/Y’Shaarj combo started to gain popularity. Ripl1ne recently reached rank #1 on AM using ShtanUdachi’s Y’Shaarj Druid list. The deck is similar to most Malygos builds but cuts Mire Keeper in order to get better results from Y’Shaarj and Barnes. The deck performs better against slower decks and is favored in the mirror against the more mainstream Malygos Druid builds. Purple also had success with a very similar list which he used to hit rank #4 legend on AM. The list was given to him by Chinoize and has a Mulch instead of Feral Rage. Running Mulch or Feral Rage depends on the type of decks you are running into so tech accordingly.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Hunter play continues to slowly decline in the Meta, in part due to the stagnation of Secret Hunter Lists. Because players have had time to learn how to play around the secrets of the deck and lists have become fairly standardized for both secret archetypes, secret turns have become less impactful. One small bright spot for Hunters, however, lies in the rise of Tempo Mage and a small decline in Midrange Shamans. Midrange Secret Hunter is slightly favored against Tempo Mage thanks to an inability to clear off Highmanes and Snipe halting the snowball potential of Tempo Mage. Shamans, on the other hand, present a significant struggle for Midrange Secret Hunter, with clean ability to remove Highmanes and Lightning Storm/Spell power Maelstrom providing a clean answer to a spawned Cat Trick. Although the decline of Midrange Shaman is small, any decline at all is welcome for Midrange Secret Hunter. Overall, Hunter is in an okay position in the Meta, with both Secret archetypes suffering against some of the most popular current decks (Face Hunter vs. Warrior/Druid & Secret Hunter vs. Shaman).

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

 

With a little over halfway through the month of November, Zoo Warlock remains in the same position during this Shaman infested Meta. Zoo’s success on ladder still revolves around its favorable matchups. Discardlock continues to beat on Hunters and Druids. Although Midrange Shaman is still Zoo’s worst matchup, a small increase in the amount of Aggro Shaman has helped Zoo find some wins over the class as the popular lists opt out of Lightning Storms and Hexes for more aggressive options.

Control Warlock is still a worse option compared to other control decks, but can still be decent in the right hands. Thijs navigated a standard variant of Renolock with moderate success on his climb to legend.

In the tournament scene, Zoo is still a solid choice. In several conquest tournaments, Zoo tends to be the third or fourth deck, as the standard “Shaman/Druid + 2” shell seems to dominate class choices.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Rogue remains in a spot, struggling against one half of the Meta while showing decent results against the other half. Miracle Rogue is the only competitive archetype and it’s hard to imagine a new, viable Rogue variant emerging until the release of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan in December.

Malygos Miracle Rogue is the most refined it will ever be with the current card pool and is still a strong choice to deal with Druids, Control Warriors and other slow decks. Some players opt to include a single Evolved Kobold instead of a Swashburglar, as it offers the deck an effective board clear against Shamans with Fan of Knives as well as being an alternative finisher to Malygos. However, the deck is still not performing consistently well against Midrange Shaman and Secret Hunter. The rise of burn-heavy Tempo Mage also spells trouble for this greedy combo deck as it doesn’t have healing to go for the long game and is generally too slow in assembling a game-ending combo.

Questing Miracle Rogue has seen some development this week, as MrYagut climbed to Legend on the EU server with a faster, more minion-focused list that omits some of the more clunky cards like Leeroy Jenkins for Undercity Hucksters and Swashburglars. The early board presence and card advantage that Swashburglar and Undercity Huckster provide is very crucial for a deck so reliant on staying ahead and makes a difference against Shaman, Secret Hunter, Zoo Warlock, Tempo Mage and the aggressive variants of Warrior.

Combo Miracle Rogue has seen more exposure this week as Purple took some inspiration from Firebat’s 2014 Blizzcon Miracle Rogue deck. This particular version includes the Southsea Deckhand/Faceless Manipulator combo package but also features cards like Earthen Ring Farseer, Harrison Jones and Ragnaros the Firelord.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Despite being one of the most overwhelmingly one sided Meta’s in the history of Hearthstone, some Priest players are continuing to show up, perhaps because it is a fun class to play and every win it picks up is that much more satisfying.

Neviilz built a C’Thun list meant to purely meme the ladder, and has been having moderate success with it. Bunnyhopper continues to show off the strength of his Dragon list as other streamers such as Raven catch on and play it on stream. There is no better feeling than Book Wyrming a Thunder Bluff Valiant. Dragon Priest is the strongest archetype within the class, and is poised to do really well going forward with the introduction of some powerhouse cards in the next expansion. It might be worth a real shot on ladder right now.

Many players on ladder are starting to experiment with the Zetalot Shadow variant. When underestimated, Shadow Priest steamrolls an opponent who doesn’t respect its ability to drop two Arcane Giants relatively easily. Then there is still the Hamster’s N’Zoth variant. The skeleton of the build is a great place to start for experimentation of building against the Meta. The ability to tech in this particular build gives you a lot of wiggle room to build against certain decks however you want to.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

It is not a great time to be a Paladin player. Season 32 is proving to be exceptionally unfriendly to the class. There is not too much experimentation or testing going on, as most players have essentially thrown in the towel – only really playing the class for fun. We have everyone’s favorite deck, Midrange Shaman, to blame, as it obliterates all Paladin archetypes, both fast and slow.

Control and Dragon Paladin lists require many cards to be drawn in the right order to be competitive, and struggle to find enough removal in order to consistently deal with the refillable and sticky boards of MR Shaman. Anyfin and N’Zoth variants can have success in a Meta filled with Control decks, but we’re pretty sure that you’re not going to see that while laddering.

Aggro variants can have success in some matchups, but they get completely stomped by Midrange Shaman. With 4 AOE one-sided sweepers, the tempo gained from a 0 mana 5/5 taunt, and a 1 mana 3 charges Fiery War Axe/Light’s Justice (both settings are equally strong in this matchup), there just isn’t a way that a well-piloted Shaman deck should lose to an Aggressive Paladin. Drag your curve up and add Tirion Fordring or Mysterious Challenger? They still have Hex. Even if you sacrifice deck slots for Consecration, the board you just wiped will be back the next turn. It’s an utterly miserable affair.

All in all, Shaman has muscled Paladin almost completely out of Hearthstone.

All we can do is wait.

Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

December can’t come soon enough.

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live (Beta) has over 2,800 contributors. Without them, this project would not be possible, so we’d like to thank all of our contributors for their help.

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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.

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Special thanks to Leo G., Hitokage, and Chung R. for supporting us for the month of November.

Contributors

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

EndofDayswwlosdemigodcheesee-hunterHC015hotmeowth-mage justinatlaw-warlock pdeegz-warriorspacemonkey-paladin russkipapa-rogueTzachiFenomlookitzjoeNaramoSentenzaliimujx-content-creator pizzahs

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