March 29, 2017

vS Data Reaper Report #36

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from over 72,000 games.




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Welcome to the 36th edition of the Data Reaper Report!

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

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live (Beta) has over 2,400 active 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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Class/Archetype Distribution | Class Frequency | Matchup Winrates | vS Power Rankings | Class Analysis & Decklists | Meta Breaker of the Week | How to Contribute | Credits


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 Number of Games

Overall 72,000
Legend 15,500
Ranks 1-5 19,500
Ranks 6-10 19,000
Ranks 11-15 8,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency by Day

Class Frequency by Week

Since the Data Reaper project launched, we have not seen a more imbalanced representation of classes as we have seen this week. Shaman smashed the frequency records and climbed to 30% at all ranks, and 38% at legend. On the last day of the month, Shamans surpassed the 40% mark, and during the last few hours before the ladder resets, Shaman numbers were nearing 60%. While Aggro Shaman has increased in popularity, the bigger spike came from Mid-Jade Shaman. The archetype blew up and became the 2nd most popular deck at legend, after Aggro Shaman of course. These are dark times.

Miracle Rogue has finally cracked. We’ve observed, for quite a while, that the archetype showed play rates that were not justified by its performance against the field. It takes great bravery to queue Miracle Rogue into a battlefield infested with Shaman aggression, and it appears that many chose different strategies to fight for a top legend position at the end of the month. The deck’s representation at legend was slashed by a third over the past week. Rogue is definitely a class on the decline.

With Miracle Rogue’s decline and the rise of Mid-Jade Shamans, Reno Warlock has made a comeback. The deck breaks even against Aggro Shaman, but does well against the slower, midrange variants. With the numbers of its biggest nemesis finally dropping, Reno Warlock has been enjoying a Meta less hostile than before, so its play rates have increased, especially at legend.

While Reno Warlock is rising, Reno Mage has taken a step back in terms of play rates. Reno Mage does well against Aggro Shaman, but Mid-Jade Shaman is a more difficult challenge, with the matchup being fairly close. This has caused players to move away from Reno Mage over the past week. However, its drop at legend may have been a knee jerk reaction, with many players having great success with the archetype on the last day of the month. Based on our observation, we expect this recent decline to be temporary.

Amidst all the chaos, Warrior stays relatively stable. Pirate Warrior continues to do Pirate Warrior things, with much interaction and joy from its opponents. While Aggro Shaman is definitely a struggle, plenty of wins are there for the taking from other decks, and the archetype is not showing the signs of collapse that Miracle Rogue has exhibited.

Druid’s back is breaking under the weight of Shamanstone, while Priest continues to be a class that is represented less at higher levels of play. Paladin and Hunter, to no one’s surprise, remain mostly absent.

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

There’s a big shift in the power levels of decks, which is mostly coming from the interaction between Mid-Jade Shaman and Reno Warlock. Mid-Jade Shaman has shown potential to dominate the field, but it seems like the Meta has responded to it very quickly with the rise of Reno Warlock. Add the fact that Miracle Rogue numbers have collapsed across the board, and this is perhaps the kindest Meta Reno Warlock has experienced since very early on in the expansion’s life. It has surpassed the 50% win rate barrier and joins the Tier 2 club at legend. The curbing of Mid-Jade Shaman is extremely important going forward, as its interaction with the Meta further propagates Aggro Shaman’s power level and popularity.

Shaman’s power level against the field has dropped across the board, but it’s still pretty high considering the sheer amount of them on ladder. Even midrange variants of the class that don’t include the Jade package seem to be performing well despite them being relatively ignored by most players. Control Shaman’s momentum, however, appears to have been brought to a halt which is a result of its difficult matchup against Mid-Jade Shaman.

While the increased presence of Mid-Jade Shamans is making it slightly more difficult for Reno Mage to shine, Reno Mage is still in a very good position in the Meta and remains the best performing control deck in the game, and the most reliable tool to combat Aggro Shaman without giving up too much against the rest of the field.

It happens all too often. An expansion launches, people play everything that’s on the table, and Miracle Rogue abuses it. Then come the aggro decks, and over time, they become more efficient and more brutal to decks that don’t have good defenses against them. Eventually, and especially at the end of the month, people focus on the best decks, and Rogue gets bullied out of the top tier, at least on ladder. But hey, we have other Rogue archetypes to experiment with! That Shadow Rager card looks promising.

Dragon Priest continues to struggle at higher levels of play compared to its power level overall. Despite some individual success sprinkled around, such as NAVIWilson hitting rank #1 legend with Thijs’ Dragon Priest a few days before the end of the month; we generally don’t see the archetype performing well against the field. While Miracle Rogue’s fall bodes well for the deck, Reno Warlock’s rise makes things that much worse. In addition, Dragon Priest looks like a deck with a relatively lower skill ceiling according to our metrics. At some point, it hits a wall.

Control Warrior’s numbers look grim, with established builds collapsing under the weight of the new midrange variants of Shaman. Our suggestion to every Control Warrior enthusiast who hates Shaman with every fiber of his being: Net. Deck. Fibonacci.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Shamanstone might be more powerful than it has ever been. While the domination of Aggro Shaman isn’t news, the upsurge of Mid-Jade Shaman provides the class with an additional archetype that has become extremely popular over the past week. Mid-Jade Shaman used to have a modest share of the Meta, but now it has finally achieved usage rates equal to Meta staples such as Miracle Rogue and Renolock.

Aggro Shaman is still arguably the strongest deck in the current Meta, and the rise of Mid-Jade Shamans did nothing to hurt Aggro Shaman’s numbers. Spo’s original concept continues to be the gold standard for the archetype, with the deck undergoing flex slot changes over the past few weeks. Tyler hit rank 1 Legend on two different servers with Aggro Shaman, while holding #5 on the third server at one point. His list features 2 Maelstrom Portals, which is an excellent card in the mirror matchup. The deck also features Sir Finley and one copy of Azure Drake, similarly to Amnesiac’s list, which are cards that provide the deck with increased longevity in grindy matchups.

Mid-Jade Shaman is the biggest story of the week, and it has significantly changed over the past few weeks, which dates back to Lifecoach’s innovation. The new variants of the deck cut the early game overload package in Tunnel Trogg, Totem Golem and Feral Spirit, and do not rely on classic win conditions such as Bloodlust, Al’Akir or Ragnaros. The space created from these exclusions allows complete focus on Jade generation, which makes it harder for defensive control decks to exhaust the Shaman of its resources due to its late game longevity.

These variants are also lighter on AOE, usually missing Lightning Storms, but sometimes tech in Devolve, which is an extremely effective tool against Miracle Rogue. All builds retain the pirate early game package, as they enable fast starts against slower decks while doubling up as a way to slow down the more aggressive decks of the Meta. It’s becoming apparent that one of the better ways to counter pirates is by running them yourself, which is perhaps another indication of their power level.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

In a Meta that is becoming more and more stale, Warrior is probably the stalest of the bunch. It lacks the dominant results of Shaman, the intricacies of the Reno classes, the excitement of Rogue and Druid, and the plucky underdog qualities of Hunter and Paladin. Despite continued strong results from Pirate and Dragon Warrior, the decks seem to have been refined to a point where we’re unlikely to see much more innovation within the decks, besides tweaking numbers of certain cards slightly.

Pirate Warrior has differences in the number of Southsea Captains, Southsea Deckhands, Naga Corsairs, Mortal Strikes, and Bashes, but all lists are largely similar in what is after all a pretty straightforward deck type, with most players opting for the Muzzy build.

Dragon Warrior still has two distinct strategies, between an aggressive approach with Bloodsail Cultists, and the more common slower, value-oriented build with The Curator.

Control Warrior, while remaining the least popular of the three archetypes, has seen some more experimentation. Fibonacci hit #2 legend utilizing a build which is extremely geared towards beating Shaman, with nearly every card on the list being some form of removal or armor gain. Kranich hit top 20 on Asia with his N’Zoth Control Warrior, playing – wait for it – Patches the Pirate, along with two N’Zoth’s First Mate in an attempt to stem the aggression in the early game. There’s probably still innovation to be done with Control Warrior, especially with the N’Zoth version, since the pool of cards available to such a strategy is much wider.

 

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

The end of the month is the worst time to be a Miracle Rogue player, and many of them, including the most accomplished Rogue players, have shied away from playing the deck at legend rank as the battle for HTC points raged on. Miracle Rogue is a fantastic deck against most of the field, but it falls at the hands of Pirate Warrior and more importantly, Shamans. Aggro Shaman is a very difficult matchup, and while memories of blow-out Edwins can make it look better than it is, the stark reality is that Rogue cannot truly thrive in a Meta dominated by the Shaman class. Not only is Aggro Shaman problematic, but slower Shaman builds can also prove to be a challenge, especially if they tech in Devolve, which is crippling against the class. The tournament scene, however, is a very different story, as one ban makes Miracle Rogue a menace.

Most players these days opt for Questing Adventurer builds, as the upside of the card is very valuable in the current Meta, where Miracle Rogue needs to be aggressive and have the ability to all-in when the opportunity arises. The builds themselves are very similar, with most using Ostkaka’s build as the base for their experiments involving cards like Shadow Strike, Southsea Deckhand, Shaku the Collector and Genzo the Shark. Deadly Poison is also seeing some experimentation but the amount of weapon removal in the current Meta makes it less than optimal.

 


Data Reaper Report - Priest

Priest is in a weird spot in the current Meta. It’s good, but not quite as good as other options and finds itself outclassed by the dominant Meta decks. One of the main reasons to play Dragon Priest is to counter Reno Mage. However, three of the most played decks in Reno Warlock, Miracle Rogue, and Pirate Warrior just plain eat Dragon Priest’s lunch too often. You can try and build your decks to target some of the poor matchups individually, but often you are losing ground in the other matchups.

The other Reno decks are simply better than Reno Priest, so it feels worse to play Reno Priest since it usually lacks a reliable win condition. It’s weird, because even though Priest is finally good, the power level of decks after the expansion is so high that everything else seems better. Unfortunately, until some set changes happen within the card pool, the Priest class will likely be an average to sometimes alright pocket Meta pick.

As for more unconventional builds, Rage decided to take Djinni Priest from the dumpster ranks of legend to the top 25. Rage is a renowned combo deck playing God, and this sort of deck requires a lot of practice, but might be worth a look in the correct Meta.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Reno Warlock has been seeing an upswing, primarily due to the rise of Midrange Shaman variants lacking burst and being more susceptible to its plethora of AOE. As the season is coming to an end, many players have been teching out Renolock decks to grab high ranks as the Meta might be beginning to favor it more with the decline of Miracle Rogue.

Hoej, an extremely accomplished Renolock player, hit rank 1 legend on the AM server using a built heavily geared to beat Shamans. The main standout card of this list is Frost Elemental, which is an effective tool for stalling, and has great synergy with Corruption. The build is extremely defensive and light in threats, even cutting Mountain Giant and Emperor Thaurissan, which is taking it a step further from StanCifka’s list in terms of anti-greed and improves Reno Warlock’s matchup against aggressive decks.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Reno Mage remains a strong choice against a large number of the popular Meta decks, and becomes stronger at higher levels of play due to their increased presence, though the new surge in Mid-Jade Shamans might make laddering a bit more difficult. Reno Mage is not as strong at the lower ranks due to a higher rate of play of both Jade Druid and Dragon Priest, which are particularly tough matchups for the Mage due to the immense value that they can generate. It is important to note that the more bursty style of Reno Mage decks with an increased amount of cycle fair better in these matchups because of the availability of a primary win condition that can pressure these decks after using an aggressive Alexstraza, as the Mage’s best chance of beating Priest and Druid is by actively seeking to kill them.

Out of the popular Meta decks at legend, Reno Mage’s toughest matchup is Miracle Rogue, and it has become more difficult with the shift towards Questing Adventurer builds. Rogue’s primary win condition in the matchup is developing multiple threats in a single turn, which is a board state that the Reno Mage’s toolkit struggles to deal with. For the same reason, builds that cycle more aggressively and have active win conditions are better in this matchup as the Rogue has no defense against direct damage and the extra cycle means the Mage has a better chance of having answers to the Rogue’s threats. The main advantage of slower, value/fatigue oriented builds is the Reno Mage mirror and matchups against aggressive decks, as they usually carry less situational cards.

Reno Mage enjoyed plenty of success at the end of the month. JAB and Noblord hit top 15 legend with two builds that represent the two different approaches of Reno Mage very well (JAB’s Value/Grind vs. Noblord’s Cycle/Combo). Senfglas and wiRer also placed high on the legend ladder with Senfglas’ slightly different take on a defensive, value oriented build, but the story of the week goes to a player named Mage (Yes, that’s his battle tag), who placed #1 on the AM server utilizing an unconventional list which includes a Curator package with Ironbeak Owl and Jeweled Scarab, Inkmaster Solia and no Pyroblast.

Tempo Mage is a deck that while not currently seeing a lot of play on the ladder is one to that continues to pop up in tournament lineups due to the possibility of banning Shaman, which is the archetype’s greatest obstacle in its attempt to achieve ladder viability.


Data Reaper Report - Druid

Druid continues to sit on the fringes of the Meta, being bullied by the cool kids with the pirate cards. The class is a viable option for tournaments in its ability to target control decks, but generally faces a much harsher environment on ladder where Shamans are extremely dominant. It’s unlikely that the class will change its status in the Meta anytime soon, being generally an annoyance for control decks looking to counter the Patches classes.

One trend that’s beginning to show for Jade Druid is the growing popularity of Druid of the Claw. The five drop offers an earlier defensive option than Ancient of War, which is also not punished as heavily by tempo generating removals like Hex or Sap. It is also a strong on curve play against Pirate Warrior due to its good alignment with Arcanite Reaper, and is flexible due to the ability of creating a charge minion instead, in cases where there’s a need for an urgent trade or an aggressive line. Dog’s build is a good example of a more recent Jade Druid list.

If you’re looking to have a bit of fun, J4ckieChan piloted his famous Egg Druid to decent success at the legend ladder. This is an aggressive deck looking to swarm the board and leverage its board advantage into either burst damage through Savage Roar or value/stickiness through Soul of the Forrest.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Anyfin Paladin is still the only relevant deck in the Paladin class. It is not a particularly good ladder deck, as the games tend to run long and it doesn’t have favorable matchups against some decks that dominate the ladder ranks, such as Miracle Rogue and Pirate Warrior. Anyfin Paladin is actually quite strong as part of a tournament lineup however; as you are far more likely to get the matchup that you are fishing for in a ban format.

There are two ways to build the deck, with one being the more traditional anti-control list that was most recently piloted by ThijsNL and G2, and the other being a build that sacrifices threat density and value for some extra anti-aggro tools, most recently popularized by MrYagut and Senfglas.

If you insist on playing Paladin on ladder, especially when the new season kicks off, we would recommend the Mr.Yagut list as it will ostensibly fare better against the field of Patches that is to be expected.

Hopefully, other Paladin archetypes are only one Small-Time Buccaneer nerf away from relevance. Blizzard pls.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

This week, Hunter had the most ladder success it has seen in quite a long time, with Zalae innovating on past Reno Hunter builds. He used his build to climb from rank 2500 legend to top 500 legend, an extremely remarkable feat for a Hunter deck. The deck succeeds by winning control matchups with N’Zoth and Call of the Wild while occasionally being able to high roll Aggro Shaman and Pirate Warrior when Reno is drawn.

In addition, Explosive Shot and Powershot give opportunities for the Hunter to occasionally seize games from Aggro decks without needing Reno by blowing out their boards. Although the deck is a strange mishmash of midrange and control, Reno Hunter is able to punish those unfamiliar with the foreign class of Hunter, so if you wish to subject yourself to playing the class at the start of the new season, for the upside of humiliating your opponents with a quality meme, Zalae’s build may be your best bet.

Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

If you’re not playing Shaman, you better play something that beats it. Reno Mage has long established itself as one of the most reliable counters to Aggro Shaman, while Reno Warlock fairs better against Mid-Jade Shaman. Each Reno deck breaks around even in the cross matchups against the other Shaman archetype, so they should perform well in the Shaman infested Meta we’re witnessing.

We generally recommend builds that are defensive in nature to face the hostile ladder environment, especially at the beginning of the month. Both archetypes are pretty flexible and can be adjusted should you start facing a slower Meta, so it’s good to initially strip down the greed and begin to add “win conditions” when they’re deemed necessary. Senfglas’ Reno Mage and Hoej’s Reno Warlock are good places to start.

In terms of weaknesses, Reno Warlock is most vulnerable to Miracle Rogue, while Reno Mage’s biggest nemesis is Jade Druid.

Happy hunting! We can’t wait to see how this dynamic and exciting card beats Shamans now, thank God for Kazaam’kus!

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live (Beta) has over 2,400 active 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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Special thanks to Leo G., Chungfr, Kognar, and Bill C. for supporting us for the month of February.

Contributors

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

EndofDayswwlosrenzcheesee-hunter pdeegz-warriorspacemonkey-paladin russkipapa-roguevitality-druidTzachiFenomlookitzjoeNaramoSentenza

12 Comments on vS Data Reaper Report #36

  1. I guess there’s a bug on your matchup charts. Aggro Rogue vs. Jade Druid cell is empty, but Jade Druid vs. Aggro Rogue cell shows data. Same happens for:
    – Aggro Rogue vs. Midrange Shaman
    – Control Shaman vs. Tempo Mage
    – Mid-Jade Shaman vs. Zoolock
    – Malygos Druid vs. Midrange Shaman,

  2. Can some1 plz xplain to me what does the creamy square represent in the winrate section? (50% for both?),
    Red=bad matchup
    Green= good match up
    Creamish=¿?

  3. Did you see this deck on reddit?
    https://www.reddit.com/r/CompetitiveHS/comments/5rhqzf/jade_shaman_to_top_50_legend_indepth_guide/
    It’s very popular on ladder and an absolute horror to play against.

    With all the mid jade shaman around Reno mage is definitely not a meta breaker.

    Agro shaman is top deck but prepare for miror and counter deck only.

    You’re right about renolock but it’s slow, don’t know which version is better? With or without Leeroy combo?

  4. Reno hunter. Man, I started playing this game before Naxx was out, and never imagined anyone using those two words together, much less for a legitimate deck. What a time.

  5. OMG
    Hearthstone’s standard is pure cancer. At the beginning of this month yesterday, I queued up my 8 first matches against shamans… After the reset it was at rank 17…
    I’m glad I can play wild which is kind of shitty but whatever, there’s waaaayyy less agro and no shamans = more fun right ?

    Thanks for the report 😉

    • I played Shaman in Wild Ranked last month. In 35 games, I only faced one other Shaman, but I played against 13 Pirate Warriors… so good luck with that!

  6. OMG, the shaman count.
    You are so right:
    Blizz PLEASE nerf Small-Time Buccaneer!
    btw: thanks for the good data and presentation

  7. even if they nerf smalltime, we’re in a mid shaman meta again. The more control mid shaman decks don’t need the pirate package, and some of them don’t even need trogg/golem. The only card they lose after rotation is brann which is not crucial to the deck at all.

    Get used to shaman boys. It’s not going away.

    • Shaman will lose everything after the rotation, get your facts right. And I am pretty sure Blizzard won’t print playable Shaman cards anymore for at least 3 expansions, so yeah shamanstone is going to go away if not with the nerfs to be announced next week, it is deemed to vanish with the rotation.

      • That’s simply not true… Look at the dominant mid-jade lists right now that don’t even run trig or totem golem (which are cycling out). Yes they’ll lose brann and healing wave but they’ve shown to be able to survive without those two cards (depending on the version, some lists have/don’t have those two cards). So no, Shaman is definitely not vanishing with the rotation. If I’m wrong, please tell me which cards are cycling out that will destroy shaman in standard.

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