vS Data Reaper Report #101

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from over 130,000 games.

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Welcome to the 101st edition of the Data Reaper Report! This is the first report for The Boomsday Project.

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Class/Archetype Distribution | Class Frequency | Matchup Winrates | vS Power Rankings | vS Meta Score | Class Analysis & Decklists | Meta Breaker of the Week | How to Contribute | Credits


Number of Games

Overall 130,000
Legend 13,000
Ranks 1-4 45,000
Ranks 5-9 49,000
Ranks 10-14 15,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

The circumstances of this first report are different from previous expansions’ first reports. In the past, expansions came out on Thursdays, and we published the first report two weeks later. With The Boomsday Project launching on Tuesday, we felt that we could have enough time to work on our analysis in order to publish a report only 9 days later. We managed to do so without logistical issues. However, one thing that is important to note is what this means for the data.

Because the first week of an expansion always brings chaos with it, in the current report (compared to previous first reports), there is a heavier weight on the performance and card usage of decks from the first couples of days. As a result, we have to be careful about the conclusions we draw from decks’ performances. Archetypes are even less refined than they normally are, and some of them are particularly “messy” in terms of their card usage. In the following paragraphs, we will guide you through our internal observations of archetypes. This is important in order to couch decks’ performances against the field into the proper context.

Warlock is the clear frontrunner of the expansion, as it’s the most popular class in the game at every bracket. Zoo Warlock has been the dominant archetype that has shaped the early Boomsday meta and it was refined very early on. At this stage of the expansion, where many experiments are being done at legend ranks, the 1-4 bracket has been the most “competitive” bracket and that’s where Warlock eclipses 30%. No deck comes close to the prevalence numbers of Zoo. However, both Even Warlock and Control Warlock have established a significant presence in the field. Mecha’thun Warlock is in the process of dying out, and so are the Even Warlock builds running Mecha’thun. Last but not least, we see a tiny amount of Cube Warlock.

Rogue is the second most popular class in most brackets, and it’s the most diverse class in the game. Odd Rogue spearheads Valeera’s representation and exhibits relatively low build variety. Deathrattle Rogue is an emerging new archetype running Carnivorous Cubes and Devilsaur Eggs. At lower play rates, we can spot Kingsbane, Quest and Malygos Rogue, all running very stable builds.

Miracle Rogue, on the other hand, is a complete mess. Technically, what we currently define as Miracle Rogue is very different from Witchwood Miracle Rogue. There are Miracle/Pogo variants, Miracle/Espionage variants, and classic Miracle variants. Why haven’t we separated them? Significant hybridization between different variants creates great difficulty in reliably “drawing the lines” between them without causing bias. In the early days, players have tried out every combination of win conditions you can possibly think of. This is an issue that will clear up once the experimentation settles down. We expect most of these variants to flesh out (and then be identified separately in our next archetype analysis) or simply fade away.

Druid completes the trifecta of the most popular classes. Malygos Druid is the most popular class archetype and its prevalence significantly increases at higher levels of play. Malygos’ combo brother, Togwaggle Druid, is the second most common archetype, followed by Big and Token Druid. Token Druid has two main variants: the old Violet Teacher build and a new Treant focused build. Mecha’thun Druid is a dying meme.

Hunter players have been experimenting with three different archetypes. Deathrattle Hunter is essentially pre-Boomsday Cube Hunter. We had to change its name at the beginning of the expansion since a portion of its early variants did not run Cube (for the same reason, Deathrattle Rogue is not named Cube Rogue). Judging by the way the archetype is developing though, Cube builds should completely take over, and then we might change its name back to Cube simply because it sounds so much better. Spell Hunter is the most stable archetype in the game and mostly carries the same 30 cards, but there is a Secret Hunter variant with a minimal minion package that is currently branching out from this shell (and may be split off next week if the analysis allows). Mech Hunter is an aggressive tribal deck focused on generating and detonating Goblin Bombs.

Much experimentation has been done with Mage but it doesn’t seem like it has given rise to new successful archetypes. Elemental Mage is the new Jade Rogue: A theory-crafting legend that always bombs once actual games are played. Galaxy Mage decks, whether they are pure combo based or hybrids, are not working out either. This leaves Aluneth and Big-Spell as the sole representatives of the class with meaningful play rates.

Odd Paladin has stuck around and mostly incorporated some sort of mech package into its builds. The non-Baku Mech Paladin also sees some play, but it’s not as fleshed out and carries several approaches.

Shaman introduces a new/old archetype: Midrange Shaman has come to play, and it has had a turbulent first week. Initially, players experimented with Thunderhead Token builds. However, these builds performed quite poorly and failed to gain significant traction. The most common approach that has taken over is a minion heavy, battlecry deck with Shudderwock at the top end to act as a late game bomb rather than a combo piece. The Witchwood Shaman decks, Shudderwock Shaman and Even Shaman, have also taken a modest share of the meta, but they haven’t changed much from their previous iterations.

Warrior is trying out many different things. Control Warrior has been heavily experimented with, but no concrete idea has materialized into consistent results. Over time, more attention has been focused on Odd Warrior, which is the more popular archetype at higher levels of play and the one that has seen significant success. Fractures of other ideas are also present, with Taunt Warrior, Big Warrior, and Tempo Mech Warriors seeing small amounts of play.

Priest has been fully focused on one thing in the first week of Boomsday: memes. Combo Priest play has been dominated by the APM Stonetusk Boar/Test Subject OTK variant, with barely any attention given to classic Combo variants. Mecha’thun Priest is the 2nd most popular archetype, with Control and non-C’Thun Quest Priest barely seeing play in comparison. Both “APM” Combo Priest and Mecha’thun Priest’s popularity is the result of early streamer influence. Can the memes live on?

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion

Before we go into the specific performances of every deck, notice the large number of decks displaying a win rate higher than 52%. While a large Tier 1 group is very normal at the beginning of the expansion due to the prevalence of poorly performing archetypes, the Boomsday has been special in this regard. Anduin has gone full clown fiesta, and his decks have such atrocious win rates that he’s been boosting everyone else in the field. Once the meta settles down and the low win rate decks completely fade away, you’ll see a more fierce competition as the top meta decks see their win rates globally drop and the elite company at the top becomes smaller. Note that the field is most competitive at ranks 1-4, which is where players are least inclined to experiment (and most inclined to play Zoo).

Let’s start with Warlock.

Zoo Warlock is clearly the meta defining archetype of early Boomsday, and other decks are heavily incentivized to counter it due to its high prevalence. Is Zoo kept in check or is Zoo spinning out of control? Based on this data, we think the meta should be capable of reducing Zoo’s power level. The early signs are encouraging. If anything, Zoo is being overplayed as a result of being a safe deck that was refined early and has proven to be a reliable climber in a young and experimental meta. Zoo Warlock is definitely a strong deck, but there are plenty of other strong decks out there that perform just as well, if not better. In addition, most of the other decks competing with Zoo Warlock are not close to being refined yet, and there are signs of steady improvements in several matchups against Zoo over time, especially at higher levels of play. We predict that Zoo Warlock will decline both in its play rate and in its win rate over the next couple of weeks.

But Warlock is not just about Zoo. Even Warlock and Control Warlock look extremely strong as well, and the key to their strength is their excellent matchups against Zoo in addition to their decent matchups against Druids. Control Warlock is the hardest counter in the game to Zoo Warlock, and with Demonic Project, it is now able to disrupt combo decks, which have been the bane of its historical existence. Even Warlock doesn’t destroy Zoo Warlock as hard as Control, but it performs better against Druids and also beats Control Warlock in the mirror. With Cube Warlock also showing promise in its small sample size (which would make it a Tier 1 deck, by the way), Gul’dan is looking good.

Druid’s results may surprise quite a few people. Togwaggle Druid Tier 3? How?

Togwaggle Druid was actually the best deck in the game at higher levels of play by day 2 of the expansion. It looked so good that ZachO immediately picked it up and stomped his way to legend with a 70+% win rate. It was definitely very powerful and we completely understand the early impressions from the deck.

But things have drastically changed since then. The rise of Demonic Project wielding Warlocks as well as crippling counters such as Deathrattle Hunter have seen Togwaggle Druid’s win rate collapse in a rapid fashion. Unlike Malygos Druid, Togwaggle is far more vulnerable to hard counters since it cannot reliably end games through inevitability. Knowledge of the deck’s existence has also led to improved play against it. If these trends continue, we expect Togwaggle Druid’s prevalence to decline. It’s already happening.

Malygos Druid has behaved exactly the opposite. Initially, it looked quite lukewarm, an inferior choice to Togwaggle Druid. However, as the deck got refined and rid itself of poor card choices, its win rate started spiking upwards. This is an ongoing trend that is particularly noticeable at legend, where it’s close to the very top of the table. Malygos Druid was the most skill testing deck in the Witchwood meta and early signs show that Boomsday will be no different. Outside of legend, it’s not performing that great, but at higher levels of play, its power level can easily be observed. We’ve seen the deck shut down any advantage Togwaggle had on it in the mirror matchup within days, and we’re also seeing signs of its improvement against the big bad wolf, Zoo Warlock.

Other Druid decks are also promising. Big Druid might be slightly underrated considering its good performance in Druid mirrors and Warlock matchups. It is also the only Druid deck where Biology Project is not a terrible card (Cut it from your Malygos/Togwaggle lists, folks). Token Druid is also very solid without needing many new cards. We’re not impressed with Treant builds and Mulchmuncher.

A few paragraphs about Rogue:

Miracle Rogue may look very bad but you might already understand the reason why based on our previous discussion. All of the experiments with different win conditions are not working out. Pogo-Hopper and Academic Espionage do not look like they belong in competitive Hearthstone decks at the moment. However, Miracle Rogue as an archetype has room for optimism going forward. If we only looked at the classic Miracle Rogue builds with Striders, Leeroy and Cold Blood, we would estimate an archetype with the potential of hovering closer to the 50% mark. All that is required for Miracle Rogue to perform better is to drop the memes.

Odd Rogue is the strongest aggressive deck in the game and the best deck for climbing to legend at the rank 1-4 bracket. It has excellent matchups against both Zoo and Even Warlock, while only Control Warlock presents a more difficult challenge for the archetype. Of course, Odd Rogue can be countered. Druids are its major obstacles, as well as other late game decks with significant life gain. But, even in their presence, Odd Rogue manages to stab opponents to death at a very good rate.

Deathrattle Rogue’s win rate may seem a bit disappointing, but we wouldn’t count out the archetype just yet. The main reason we say that may seem a bit cynical: Deathrattle Rogue has a very low Giggling Inventor play rate. As you will soon find out from reading the class sections, our refinement analysis shows that Giggling Inventor is an optimal card in basically every archetype, should its deck building restrictions allow it. It is the most powerful neutral minion we have seen since Corridor Creeper, and it’s arguably more powerful since its inclusion improves both aggressive and defensive decks. Archetypes such as Malygos Druid and Deathrattle Hunter spiked in their win rates just because people started playing Giggling Inventor lists. Internally, we joked around that the process of deck refinement in Boomsday can be measured by the rise of Giggling Inventors because the correlation was staggering. This card is the #1 nerf candidate for the next balance patch. Do not dust your extra copies.

Malygos, Kingsbane and Quest Rogue have lower play rates, which is why they’re not included in the table. From its small sample, Malygos Rogue looks very weak and will likely disappear. Kingsbane Rogue looks stronger than it was during Witchwood and may merit more play, but its win rate is not groundbreaking. As for Quest Rogue, two nerfs may not have been enough. We think this deck has a pretty good chance of making yet another comeback into the Hearthstone meta, with a projected Tier 1 win rate that could shake the meta to its core. If you are playing at top legend, you already know: Quest Rogue is back.

With all the talk about Warlocks, Druids and Rogues, it is Hunter who sneaks in the highest win rate archetype in the game at legend. Deathrattle Hunter punishes many late game strategies very effectively. It is also one of the only decks in the game with a significant advantage against Malygos Druid, and is one of the primary culprits responsible for crippling Togwaggle Druid’s win rate. Deathrattle Hunter’s success lines up well with its increased presence at legend ranks, and should it continue to rise in play, it will force the meta to speed up. Deathrattle Hunter’s bad matchups are all aggressive, or early game focused decks. Spell Hunter has also seen success for a different reason: it contests aggressive decks quite well, and its main issue is dealing with Druids. As for Mech Hunter, we don’t see much promise there, and we haven’t found a build for it that we liked.

Shaman is looking good. Even Shaman finds itself once again in the underrated spot where it’s barely talked about yet it displays a solid performance across all levels of play. Positive matchups against Zoo Warlock and Deathrattle Hunter are key selling points. Midrange Shaman is also very promising, not because of its current win rate but rather where it’s trending towards. Its performance has been on a steady climb and we wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up at Tier 1 eventually. The Midrange Shudder build is very good, and we feel there is room for even more improvements there. Out of the three Shaman decks, it’s the combo Shudderwock Shaman that is struggling. It hasn’t been able to acclimatize to Dr. Boom’s laboratory so far.

Mage’s power level seems to mirror exactly its standing at Witchwood. Big-Spell Mage is a fairly strong deck that enjoys good matchups against some of the popular aggressive decks in the meta, but its passive nature makes it vulnerable to late game, combo-centric or threat-dense counters. Aluneth Mage is a mediocre aggressive deck that falls victim to other aggressive or armor stacking decks.

Will Paladin survive through only one archetype once again? Judging by current data, Odd Paladin is the only hope for the class, though it’s a bit early to say. The experiments in Mech Paladin builds have not proven to be fruitful so far. Much like in Hunter, tribal mech decks just don’t appear to be very powerful and players may need to find other ways to get the most out of the key mech build-around cards.

Odd Warrior appears to be the correct approach when it comes to slow Warrior decks rather than running a fatigue plan through Dead Man’s Hand. Odd Warrior’s biggest selling point is that it’s the hardest counter in the game to Malygos Druid, and it also performs very well against both Zoo Warlock and Odd Rogue. You’d expect that based on these factors, it would be meta breaking, but unfortunately, it has too many hard counters itself. The deck’s matchup spread is extremely polarizing which means that success with it should be very meta dependent. Based on the low sample of other Warrior archetypes, Taunt Warrior could be a serviceable option with similarly polarizing matchups, while Big Warrior is a failed experiment so far.

Finally, let’s talk about the meme class of Boomsday.

36% win rate. Even if APM Combo Priest was the most difficult deck ever, and even if every single Hearthstone player practiced 50 hours with a combo simulator and developed perfect hand clicking coordination and mechanics, we don’t think this deck breaks 40%.

Mecha’thun is also very weak, and it’s only going to get worse with more Demonic Project in the meta, which is a card that essentially decreases Priest’s win rate in the matchup to 0% once it’s drawn unless a disconnect occurs. Tech aside, the deck just sucks.

So is Priest just bad? Doomed to never be competitive in Boomsday? No. There are decent Priest decks out there or some are likely waiting to be made. They just need some more attention. Control Priest has potential, Combo Priest without APM memes has potential and even Quest Priest has potential. We can’t find out how good they are if we don’t try.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Data Reaper Report - Warlock

The Boomsday Project is here, and while the meta has gone through some changes, our Warlock overlords remain firmly in control, perhaps now more than ever. The class has tools for every playstyle and the good decks have only gotten better.

Zoo Warlock is the most popular deck on ladder and has defined the early days of Boomsday. The additions of Soul Infusion and Doubling Imp have enhanced Zoo’s ability to build a threatening board quickly alongside the existing Happy Ghoul package. Add The Soularium’s ability to provide cheap refueling later in the game, and the power of Zoo cannot be denied. The deck can drop stats to the board quicker than any other deck, and its ability to snowball a board lead is unmatched. Indeed, what many decks consider to be a “high roll”, Zoo seems capable of doing on a regular basis.

Zoo Warlock did get a head start on the meta since it was refined and figured out fairly early, with RDU hitting top legend with a build we consider optimal. The only major consideration is dropping Doomguards for Leeroy and Giggling Inventor. Doomguards are better against Druids, while the latter package is stronger against slower Warlock decks. We’ve seen tech cards being experimented with in Zoo builds, but they require a narrower meta to be worthwhile.

Even Warlock is sticking around as well and is very well situated in the meta. The deck has seen little modification from the pre-Boomsday builds, though there are plenty of tech options that can be quite successful. While the standard build is solid all-around, the Tech build specializes in performing better against Druids and is inspired by SteveD’s #1 legend version. Black Knight is a good answer to the prevalence of The Lich King. Skulking Geist has a wide spectrum of targets in multiple meta decks. Mossy Horror counters both Giggling Inventor and Spreading Plague. Finally, Demonic Project has emerged as a strong counter to combo decks, while Sacrificial Pact has also seen play since the card is strong against Zoo and synergizes well with Demonic Project.

Not only are the WW archetypes strong, but Control Warlock is making a comeback. The availability of Demonic Project allows it to perform better against combo decks by actively disrupting their win condition, which has been the archetype’s biggest weakness in the past.

Warlock can once again rely on Voidlords, mass removal, and grinding the opponent into dust. Rin has historically been the face of the archetype, but many builds are forgoing Rin since it’s a very slow card in the current meta. You rarely ever have time to play the seals, and without Dark Pacts, Rin faces more counter play. Skulking Geist and Gnomeferatu are better choices with both fatigue and combo disruption implications.

One avenue that isn’t explored as much but seems to be quite promising, based on our observation, is running Despicable Dreadlords. Dreadlords provide more Skull targets and improve Bloodreaver’s resurrection pool. Dreadlord is also a strong card to play into Giggling Inventor.

The Warlock class section isn’t done yet, folks. Rumors of Cube Warlock‘s death have been greatly exaggerated, after a visit to #1 legend from Gaby. While the archetype’s play rate is quite low, its performance against the field is quite strong. Giggling Inventor gives the deck a perfect stalling tool on turn 5 before dropping Lackey to the board.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

My Greetings. The Druid class has, quite expectedly, proven to be a powerhouse in the early Boomsday meta, only truly eclipsed by Warlock in prevalence. The combo Druid decks of Malygos and Togwaggle have made the biggest impact and greatly influenced the trends we’ve observed in the first week, but don’t sleep on other Druid decks. Much like in Witchwood, the class as a whole is very strong.

We start with Malygos Druid, the second meta defining archetype after Zoo Warlock. Many experiments have been made with the deck, which has slightly hurt its win rate initially. However, Malygos Druid seems to have been figured out and is currently rising in power, especially at higher levels of play.

Multiple players have hit top legend with Malygos Druid, and the featured build appears to be far superior to other alternatives. Giggling Inventor is clearly very strong and its inclusion has immediately elevated the deck’s win rate. Biology Project has proven to be a trap card that should be omitted. Twig is a better combo enabler than Dreampetal Florist, especially when considering the increasing prevalence of Demonic Project and the need to hold minions in hand to play around it. It’s also better in the mirror against Togwaggle Druid. Finally, cards such as Taldaram/Innervate/Psychmelon are luxuries the deck cannot afford and does not need.

Togwaggle Druid tells a different story. In the first couple of days, the archetype looked insanely powerful, far stronger than Malygos Druid. However, things have taken a sharp turn for the worse. Togwaggle Druid is far more susceptible to being countered, and meta trends targeting the combo Druid pair have seen Togwaggle’s win rate take a nose dive, while Malygos Druid handled the increased hostility far better. Togwaggle Druid does perform better in some matchups, but it is very difficult for it to deal with Demonic Project. Since Floop cannot enable Togwaggle’s win condition, and Twig is vulnerable to weapon tech, it has to rely on a Florist discount which telegraphs the Warlock tech.

Togwaggle’s second issue is dealing with heavy value decks (most notably, Carnivorous Cube decks). Since its win condition is essentially fatigue, and it cannot reliably kill opponents through pressure or direct damage, it has a tough time dealing with decks that carry an enormous amount of board presence, mostly through deathrattle effects.

Builds of Togwaggle Druid vary slightly more than Malygos Druid. The main point of divergence is Oaken Summons. Builds that run the Oaken Summons package generally perform better against Zoo and Odd Rogue. The second and more common build drops the Oaken Summons package for Ferocious Howls, which are better in slower matchups, and two additional tech cards that vary. In the featured list, Bloodmage Thalnos/Starfall compensate for the loss of Oaken Summons by strengthening Druid’s removal kit against Zoo. We’ve also seen Mind Control Techs, which are another form of Zoo tech. More options include running Twig (though it’s a weaker card in Togwaggle than it is in Malygos) and Floop, with the latter’s purpose just to copy an Arcane Tyrant or a Giggling inventor.

While most of the attention is put on Malygos and Togwaggle, Druid has other very strong decks that should not be ignored.

MM78 hit #2 legend with Big Druid. Since Big Druid’s focus on ramp is far more extreme than any other strategy, it is the only archetype that can make good use of Biology Project, especially with Bright-Eyed Scout. Gloop Sprayer is a surprisingly decent closer that works very well with Oakheart, Dragonhatcher, Hadronox, and Tyrantus.

Token Druid is hardly changed from its Witchwood days. Early experiments with Treant builds have proven to be inferior to the tried and true Violet Teacher build. The only new inclusion to the list is Giggling Inventor. Have we already mentioned it’s a good card?

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Valeera has found some new toys, and for a change, the Rogue class cards are actually good. This has led to the birth of some new archetypes for Rogue, and the enhancement of existing ones, with Odd Rogue sitting at the very top of the winning table.

Uncharacteristically, Miracle Rogue has seen much experimentation in the early days of Boomsday to its own detriment. The Miracle shell has been housing many different variations of Pogo Rogue, Espionage/Tess Rogue, as well as elements of these packages hybridized with classic Miracle. The bottom line: these decks suck. We haven’t seen a single variant of these decks that impressed us or made us believe they could have a place in the meta. As of now, Pogo-Hopper and Academic Espionage look like memes.

So what’s the best way to play Miracle Rogue? Take your Witchwood Miracle Rogue deck, add Giggling Inventors and voila! You have a pretty good deck that we project should perform very competitively in the current meta. The featured build is inspired by Guntofire’s #9 legend list. Mossy Horror is a very strong tech card at the moment, and helps Miracle Rogue deal with both Plagues and opponents’ Giggling Inventors. Augmented  Elekk is a decent 3-drop with some late game utility, but it’s the weakest card in the build, and we cannot justify running two copies of it.

Odd Rogue has seen great success in the early meta, taking advantage of its good matchups against Zoo and Even Warlock as well as punishing unrefined archetypes. Myra’s Unstable Element can dig the deck out of some tough positions, and often sets up lethal outs the following turn. Giggling Inventor easily outstrips most other 5 drop options in the deck. Even though Cobalt Scalebane is a decent card, Annoy-o-wall is just better and improves Fungalmancer consistency. Rezdan reached #3 legend with a well optimized list that follows meta trends. Blood Knights are a strong counter to Giggling Inventors, and you can also fuel it with your own Inventors to challenge slower decks with a big threat. Vicious Fledgling over Blink Fox is a meta call geared to perform better against Druids and slow Warlocks. In an aggressive meta, we recommend running Blink Fox.

The Deathrattle Rogue archetype might be the most exciting one in terms of new mechanics for the class. Both Necrium Blade and Necrium Vial enable some very powerful turns with Devilsaur Egg, Carnivorous Cube and Mechanical Whelp. Blightnozzle Crawler has been one of the surprise standouts in the deck, serving as a strong follow up to Necrium Blade.

There are two main approaches to the deck. The most popular version runs Cavern Shinyfinder in order to tutor Necrium Blade on curve, as exhibited in Zeeland’s build. The second approach drops the 2 mana cards for Keleseth and taunts (Chain Gang/Giggling). Keleseth is a very strong card in minion heavy archetypes such as this one, and it’s also particularly powerful against Druids.

While the jumping mechanical bunny may not turn out to be a menacing control counter, Rogue still has its hard counters for slower strategies. Kingsbane Rogue had some high legend success, with Renmen reaching #1 Legend with a list that includes 2 Toxicologists alongside the Cutthroat Buccaneers they were mooted to replace. Of course, you have to find space for at least one Giggling Inventor too. We are sure that if we tried harder, we could add another.

Even though it was heavily nerfed twice, Quest Rogue simply refuses to go away. What kind of improvement has it found with the new set? Giggling Inventor is a great value card post quest, and a great way to stall the game out before quest completion. With that single addition, Sipiwi piloted the deck to top 25 Legend. Uberer took the same list to #1, and multiple other players have also reached high legend ranks.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

During the first week of Boomsday, Hunter has utilized its new tools to considerably improve its existing archetypes, making Deathrattle and Spell Hunter stronger. Players have also been experimenting with Mech Hunter, although play has already sharply dropped off for the archetype at high ranks and we haven’t seen a particular list that showed promise.

Deathrattle Hunter has quickly established itself as the most popular Hunter archetype. The primary builds are very similar to Witchwood builds, with Keleseth included and the Kathrena package topping out the list. Frostee’s #1 legend build is a good example. Some card choices are still up in the air, with multiple players having success at high legend with Abar’s build. This list cuts the reactive Flanking Strike for Chain Gang, which synergizes better with Keleseth. It also omits Witchwood Grizzlies for Stitched Trackers in order to fish for key minions more consistently.

Spell Hunter does the opposite from what Deathrattle Hunter does in terms of matchups. It fights off aggressive decks quite well while struggling against control. The standard list is very tight, swapping Arcane Shot for Secret Plan. There are also some experiments to include a few minions in the Spell Hunter shell. BoarControl hit #6 legend with Wabeka’s Subject 9 Secret Hunter. The list runs Stitched Trackers in order to fish for the few key minions in the deck, and Subject 9 acts as a mini-UI for secrets. Mossy Horror is teched for Giggling Inventor and Spreading Plague, which Spell Hunter normally struggles to deal with. The main selling point of the Secret build are the Druid matchups, which are far better, at the cost of percentages in aggressive matchups.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

The Boomsday Project has encouraged players to deviate from previous Shaman decks, with the emergence of a new Midrange Shaman build that is making quite a few waves.

Let’s start with a mainstay of the Witchwood meta: Shudderwock. The deck centered on the interaction between Saronite Chain Gang, Lifedrinker and Grumble, has faded away. Shudderwock is now often utilized in a more proactive approach, as the top end value bomb of a Midrange Shaman deck. Ike has created a tempo focused list that runs many powerful battlecries, which fuel Shudderwock to act as a N’Zoth like finisher. The deck also runs an Evolve package with Corridor Creepers.

Both Ike and Crane, members of the renowned practice group “Team Weiner”, have been sitting at top 10 legend with the deck throughout the entire first week of Boomsday.

Shudderwock Shaman and Even Shaman, on the other hand, have not changed much at all. Save for the addition of Electra, Shudderwock Shaman has not been keen on new cards. Even Shaman appreciates Menacing Nimbus and can make use of Arcane Dynamo, though the latter is not particularly impressive.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Mage is another class where minor tweaks to existing archetypes have been more successful than establishing new ones. The two primary archetypes for the class, Aluneth and Big-Spell, exhibit similar play rates, and boast power levels resembling their standings in the Witchwood.

Stargazer Luna has proven to be a serviceable card for the new Aluneth Mage list. Luna acts in a similar fashion to Fandral Staghelm, forcing your opponent to play sub-optimally in order to deal with the threat or risk the consequences of letting her stick to the board. The addition of Shooting Star and Cosmic Anomaly bolster the deck’s chances against board flooding desks, which have historically been the main vulenrability of aggressive Mage. The featured list has solidifed across many players, with one questionable flex spot occupied by Bloodmage Thalnos. Celestial Emissary has also been experiemented with, and recently Apxvoid had success with Mana Addict.

Big-Spell Mage is a more powerful deck in the current meta thanks to its good matchups against Warlocks of almost every kind (bar Cube). Xilinghung hit #21 legend with a high curve list that includes Astromancer. This high-pressure minion enables the deck to play more proactively and pressure the opponent before closing out the game. With the shift of the curve towards the expensive side, Bright Eyed Scout’s value has also increased. Theo hit #8 legend with a similar list, cutting Sindragosa for Arcane Tyrant and Acolyte of Pain for the 2nd Raven Familiar.

The Keleseth Big-Spell variant has proven to be superior towards the end of the Witchwood, and it continues to perform quite well in Boomsday, though very little experimentation has been done so far with it. The featured build is a highly defensive list that’s meant to inflict  misery on Odd Rogue and Zoo Warlock. This is a very effective deck to bring to an aggressive meta, should you encounter one on the climb to legend.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

You get an OTK deck, you get an OTK deck, everyone gets an OTK deck!

Priest makes its first real play into solitaire land with Test Subject and Topsy Turvy and it made some headlines this week in Hearthstone news. The thing is, the deck isn’t very good, or at least, its win rate isn’t very good. Now does the deck have such a high skill cap that only a select few have both the game knowledge and the mechanics required to master it AND can these Gods of Hearthstone actually do well with it on a consistent basis? I guess time will tell. As we, the Hearthstone plebs, wait for the answer, we could try playing Zalae’s Combo Priest and not have a 36% win rate.

Mecha’thun Priest also displays a very poor ladder win rate, and the tech directed mostly at Druids is simply obliterating this archetype’s chances for ladder success. Warlock is a heavy rock to Priest’s delicate scissors. Mecha’thun is simply too slow of a win condition to be effective against most strategies.

Based on our observations, Control Priest might be the strongest Priest archetype out there and it’s just waiting to be tried out. Since the meta is still in flux and the archetype tends to be tech dependent, there is plenty of work left in order to find its optimal build.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Warrior’s triumphant return to the stage is put on hold, for now. While the class got several useful cards this expansion, the fundamental problem of a weak lategame remains, in a meta full of decks capable of punishing you for it. Dyn-o-Matic is a fairly high quality card, but it’s more stall and removal in a class which already has plenty. Omega Assembly is excellent value for the mana cost but pales in comparison to what other decks can do at 10 mana, and Dr. Boom, Mad Genius is most useful against midrange decks. Of course, the class can make excellent use of Giggling Inventor, but so can everyone else, and once again they have the more threatening lategame. Most of Warrior’s cards this set are control-oriented, but where is  the intimidating finisher? Dr. Boom helps, but it’s not enough. Warrior’s best chance to win is through the grind, beating late game decks with card advantage and fatigue.

All successful Warrior lists so far have been control oriented, with several options that have materlized into refined products. Odd Warrior is likely the most promising Warrior deck of this expansion, and it might improve should the meta trends continue to push Malygos up and Togwaggle down. We’ve seen two main approaches to Odd Warrior. The first is fast and cycle heavy, prioritzing aggressive matchups. Theo’s build is a good example, running the Rush draw package and Acolytes of Pain. The second approach is slow and grindy, minimizing cycle and prioritzing a fatigue win condition against other late game decks. Viper’s build represents this approach, by not only minimizing draw, but also running cards that slow down your fatigue clock, in Elise and Direhorn Hatchling. Tank up, rank up.

Derivus hit #3 legend with Taunt Warrior, playing a single Weapons Project as its only new card. Much like before, this archetype performs best against aggressive decks, and has a miserable time against Eggs and Cubes.

Finally, Fibonacci has created an interesting Big (Recruit) Warrior list running The Boomship. This archetype has not made any waves yet, so we wouldn’t hold our breath.

Overall, the first week for Warrior spells disappointment. The class might be stronger than it was during The Witchwood, but it’s still not in a great spot. Dreams of Warrior being at the top of the meta remain at least one expansion away.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

The Paladin class has been relatively abandoned when it comes to refinement and deck developments. Odd Paladin picked up where it left off, mostly adding a Mech package to its build in order to be able to utilize Wargear and go taller against Druids and their Spreading Plagues. However, it remains to be seen whether Wargear and Zilliax are actually worth it, and it might be correct to cut them for good ol’ Leeroy Jenkins and a set of 3-drops (it’s a good time to play Blood Knights).

Odd Paladin is still quite strong, and does quite well in early game matchups where its consistent generation of 1/1’s is difficult to deal with. It also destroys Egg decks, since they are too slow to be able to fend off the wide boards Paladin can quickly develop. Where it falters is, as always, the slow matchups. AOE wielding Warlocks/Mages and Plague wielding Druids generally give it a miserable time.

Non-Baku Mech Paladin has been experimented with, but players have failed to leverge Kangor’s Endless Army enough to build a successful deck around it. The archetype tends to be too slow to handle faster decks, while also not posing enough pressure to truly intimidate late game strategies. We’ll have to wait and see whether a hidden gem is out there, since it’s still early, but no luck so far.

Niche decks are also observed within the class. Takas’ Even Paladin runs a mech package alongside the familiar burst package Even Paladin is known for.

Freor’s Exodia Paladin is another attempt to revive a late game Paladin strategy. Shrink Ray is a nice addition to Control Paladin of all kinds since it doubles as a second set of Equalities. Call to Arms is still very powerful and the deck even runs Prismatic Lens strictly for the draw. The win condition of the deck is stalling the game out to a point where you can hero power+bounce your horsemen with Zola and Ancient Brewmasters until you can just play 3 in the same turn from hand and slam the hero power button to make your opponent explode.


Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

The first shots have been fired and from this point on, look for the meta to become much more ruthless as strong decks optimize (by running more Giggling Inventors) and weak decks disappear. The first meta breaker section for Boomsday will be dedicated to our top 3 decks at legend ranks:

Deathrattle Hunter is extremely effective at punishing greed, which is generally what we see in an unrefined meta. Slow decks struggle to deal with what feels like infinite board pressure through Cubes and Eggs that Hunter can consistently dish out.

Odd Rogue is the best aggressive deck in the meta since it can consistently beat Zoo. A dagger on turn 2 is like having a mini Fiery War Axe every game, and that hurts Zoo’s chances of seizing the board from Rogue. If you’re interested in an efficient climb to legend, pick it up, so that only an overbearing presence of Druids can truly slow you down.

Malygos Druid’s versatility, potential burst damage and defensive prowess is why so many players are already labeling it to be the “best”. It’s got every tool in the box and very few glaring weaknesses. It is significantly stronger at higher levels of play due to more optimized lists and better quality of play. Mastering the deck is very rewarding.

The meta will likely significantly shift by next week, as several upcoming trends are potential game changers. We’ll be back once again to give you all the details on how you can min-max your Hearthstone play. If you have any questions about the report, join our Discord channel and ask away. We’re always around.

Until then, the Data Reaper signs off.


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2 Comments

  1. “Mecha’thun Priest is the 2nd most popular archetype, with Control and non-C’Thun Quest Priest barely seeing play in comparison.”

    Did you mean “non-N’Zoth Quest Priest”?

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