vS Data Reaper Report #104

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from over 75,000 games.

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Welcome to the 104th edition of the Data Reaper Report!

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 5,400 active contributors and we thank them wholeheartedly. Contributing to the Data Reaper project through either Track-o-Bot or Hearthstone Decktracker (recommended) allows us to perform our analyses and to issue the weekly reports. Without the community’s contribution, there would be no project. Contributing data is very easy and takes a few simple steps, after which no other action is required. If you enjoy our content, and would like to make sure it remains consistent and free- Sign Up!

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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 75,000
Legend 11,000
Ranks 1-4 30,000
Ranks 5-9 27,000
Ranks 10-14 6,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

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Class Frequency

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Class Frequency Discussion

Last week, we observed that both Odd Rogue and Quest Rogue have suffered declines in their win rates, and this has now translated into declines in their play rates. Odd Rogue has dropped all across the board, while Quest Rogue’s decline is at legend, where its presence has always been more significant.

While Warlock is still the most popular class from rank 5 down, Druid has now established itself as the most popular class from rank 4 up. Druid is also the primary culprit for Odd Rogue’s fall, as most of its decks prove to be difficult challenges for Odd Rogue. Token Druid, last week’s Meta Breaker, continues to climb in its popularity for another week, and it has now surpassed Malygos Druid’s numbers at every rank but legend. Token Druid may eclipse Malygos Druid at legend by next week. It’s time to fully anticipate this archetype in your mulligan phase since it’s very powerful and is also still undergoing significant innovation.

With Odd Rogue’s fall, the player base has wasted no time in jumping back on the Zoo bandwagon. The archetype that has suffered the most from the power of Valeera’s upgraded dagger has risen at all levels of play and is, once again, the most popular strategy in the game. Slower Warlock strategies continue to decline in play and whether or not Token Druid’s rise has had a significant, positive effect on their performance is yet to be revealed.

Cube Hunter’s very gradual decline in play continues. While the archetype is still very powerful, it does appear to have plateaued. Interest has shifted to Secret Hunter, which is likely a result of its showing in the EU Playoffs. The archetype has surpassed Spell Hunter’s popularity from rank 4 through legend and is looking to grow even further over the next week.

Aluneth Mage has had another uptick in play, as players are looking for aggressive alternatives to Odd Rogue. Big-Spell Mage’s numbers are continuing to drop further at higher levels. This was anticipated since recent trends have gone against its potential success.

Awareness of Odd Warrior’s power continues to trickle down to lower skill levels, where the archetype has risen in play. At higher ranks, it seems to have settled down. Experiments with Odd-Taunt Warrior, Taunt Warrior and Control Warrior can also be observed.

Shaman is undergoing a transition, with Shudderwock Shaman slowly taking over most of the class’ numbers from rank 4 onwards, while Midrange and Even Shaman have settled into very niche roles.

Odd Paladin has declined at all levels of play, and the archetype cannot be happy about what’s happening in the meta. The decline of Rogues and the rise of Druids is the exact opposite of what it wants. Uther sees rows of scarabs in his nightmares.

Priest looks like a dying class. None of its archetypes show any indication of taking a larger share of the meta. The good news is that APM Priest is almost gone from ladder, which will help the class’ overall win rate. Not that it means anything, unfortunately.

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vS Meta Score

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vS Power Rankings Discussion

A month into Boomsday, and the meta is beginning to fall into place, though we anticipate dramatic shifts to still occur in the future. The two most polarizing decks in the game, Quest Rogue and Odd Warrior, are seeing their win rates fall as the field is attempting to walk the tightrope they have sprung. Odd Warrior punishes aggression, while Quest Rogue punishes greed. Naturally, and as we’ve known from history, polarizing decks tend to eventually gravitate to a “balanced” performance level. The increased competitiveness of the meta is also leading to a deflation in win rates of all archetypes, and a smaller Tier 1 group at legend. As we’ve said last week, only Token Druid is capable of dealing with both Odd Warrior and Quest Rogue well enough to truly shine in their presence and this is why we believe that it is currently the strongest ladder deck in the game, and one that should only grow further in popularity.

Cube Hunter is the other Tier 1 performer at legend, and it remains situated at a great place thanks to Quest Rogue’s decline at legend. While it is unfavored against numerous aggressive decks, it doesn’t truly have an oppressive matchup that can threaten its power level other than Quest Rogue. So the fact that Quest Rogue has been leashed, is very good news for Cube Hunter’s ability to stay at the top.

Once again, we have much to say about the Druid class, which displays an absurd amount of successful strategies.

Malygos Druid is fairly resilient to meta trends because it’s just a very good all-around deck. Much like in its Witchwood days, it is one of, if not the most complicated decks in the game. However, even on its best day, it’s not as strong on ladder as Token Druid is. There’s a good reason behind the shift in dynamic from Malygos to Token that we can clearly observe at all levels of play. Malygos Druid is good. Token Druid is busted.

Togwaggle Druid might be the biggest surprise for us this week. It has made quite a jump in its win rate. The reason for its jump is multiple meta trends adding up to create a more favorable field, and over the past week we’ve also seen more individual success with the archetype as a result. The ones to remember are Quest Rogue’s decline at legend, Cube Hunter’s small decline, Odd Warrior’s rise at lower skill levels and Non-Zoo Warlocks’ decline.

Taunt Druid continues to look quite good for another week, and the power of the archetype comes from its performance against other Druid decks. It has a favorable matchup against all of them (except Spiteful), so if you’re running into an endless amount of Druids, playing Taunt Druid is a very good meta call.

Big Druid has fallen off the Power Ranking table because it’s been made redundant by Taunt Druid. Much like the latter, it beats the other Druid decks and is one of the hardest counters to Token Druid. We estimate it’s sitting around Tier 2. Spiteful Druid would be situated in Tier 3 if it saw more play.

As Odd Rogue continues to crumble under the weight of Druids, the Warlock class is raising its head. All of its archetypes are climbing in their win rates at higher levels of play. While Zoo has already responded to a more favorable field, slower Warlock strategies have yet to display signs of recovery. Since Token Druid is expected to rise further in play, Defile’s stock may increase further and that could be the catalyst for Gul’dan’s big comeback. Even Warlock has regained its positive win rate at legend, while both Cube and Control Warlock (the hardest counters to Token Druid) have shot up and nearly hit the 50% mark.

As the meta is becoming more Druid heavy, Hunter needs to adjust. Spell Hunter just doesn’t cut it since Malfurion is able to sit back and soak any damage until he finds whatever win condition he has in his deck. Minion pressure is needed, which is why Secret Hunter has become the better choice if you’re interested in abusing the Spellstone package.

As chaos and meta shifts surround Aluneth Mage, it launches itself from a position of mediocrity into… a position of mediocrity. It seems like no matter what happens, or how popular it may get, this deck’s power level is stuck where it is. Big-Spell Mage is crashing down, no longer able to keep up with a meta that is becoming more hostile to it every day. Perhaps a return of Warlocks could do it some good, but Jaina’s decks look outclassed by better alternatives at the moment.

Bit by bit, Shudderwock Shaman improves on a weekly basis, though still sitting on the fringes of Tier 3. Not a world beater, but far better than it looked at the beginning of the expansion. Even Shaman might be doomed to be forever ignored by the player base. Midrange Shaman’s crash in win rate looks concerning, but we believe that its primary build is simply outdated. There’s a new list with some promise that we feel could revitalize the archetype if it gets picked up, and we talk about it in the Shaman section.

We will repeat what we said last week about Odd-Taunt Warrior. Based on its low sample size, it looks quite good and we think it merits more play than it sees. While it’s still early to form conclusions on the latest developments in Control Warrior (coming from Fibonacci’s Mecha’thun build), the early signs point to a surprisingly strong performance level. Warrior might hold more than just one successful strategy in the current meta.

Sound the violin, time for some sad final words:

In a Druid heavy meta, Odd Paladin just cannot be an elite deck. It’s slowly bleeding and we wouldn’t be surprised if it sank under 50% next week at legend.

Priest is close to being a dead class, and it would take something significant to change the class’ current direction. Not only is Priest fairly weak in general, it also seems out of fresh ideas. At least Anduin’s got something to do in World of Warcraft.

Miracle Rogue has completely lost its mind with Academic Espionage. Sure, even its best build isn’t some Meta Breaker, but all the memes make it really hard to properly evaluate. Give it up, guys, Academic Espionage does not work! (We can hear the cries of ‘NEVER!’ coming from the rank 5 floor)

Class Analysis & Decklists

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

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Token Druid is closing in on Malygos Druid, threatening its position as the most popular Druid archetype on ladder after long eclipsing it in terms of performance. It is also the only Druid archetype that has seen significant development this week, with the emergence of the new Scavenger variant.

Originally built by Quatro, who took this variant to high legend ranks, Scavenger Token Druid drops the Oaken Summons/Teacher package in favor of Saronite Chain Gang, Strongshell Scavenger and Flobbidinous Floop. Multiple players have taken this variant to high legend ranks since, with strong finishes in August as well as early legend climbs in September.

The Scavenger Token Druid seems to be a stronger alternative to the Violet Teacher build. It especially shines in Druid matchups, and the clincher is its significant advantage in the direct Token Druid mirror. Spreading Plague/Scavenger is a very powerful late game combo that’s usually game ending. Violet Teacher, on the other hand, is usually lackluster in the matchup.

When we evaluate this variant’s build, there does seem to be room for improvement. The popular builds only run one copy of Saronite Chain Gang, but we believe that it is one of the strongest cards in the deck. Popular builds keep one copy of Power of the Wild is kept, and while it isn’t a weak card by any means, it is significantly weaker in the absence of Violet Teacher. We recommend running two Chain Gangs and dropping the Power of the Wild. One other tweak that players are experimenting with is running Cenarius over the 2nd copy of Strongshell Scavenger, though this is a tweak we can’t get behind yet.

One thing that is worth mentioning about Malygos and Togwaggle Druid is the appearance of builds that cut Giggling Inventors for more removal. For example, Elfandor hit an early #1 legend this month with an Oaken Togwaggle Druid that runs Twig and Starfall instead. This direction is driven by a large number of mirror matchups at higher levels of play, where Giggling Inventor becomes a significantly weaker card. However, Giggling Inventor is still very strong in most other matchups, even including aggressive decks that tech Blood Knight. We’ll have to see whether a further increase in the Druid population causes this trend to pick up the pace, but for now, it’s something to think about.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

The good news for Warlock this week is that Rogue is displaying a noticeable decline in its numbers at all levels of play, and since Rogue was the culprit for Warlock’s collapse a couple of weeks ago, this may give Gul’dan more room to breathe. The increase in Token Druids is generally bad news for Zoo Warlock, and good news for slower Warlock decks, since Defile and Lord Godfrey are two of the most effective tools available to deal with Soul of the Forest.

Zoo Warlock has begun running Despicable Dreadlord more often, which is a response to the rise of Token Druid. We do think there is merit in running them over Doomguards, which aren’t very impressive in the deck. Dropping Doomguards also allows us to run Leeroy Jenkins, since its presence in the Doomguard variants is very clunky.

Cydonia hit #8 legend last month with an Even Warlock build that runs no Boomsday cards. This build cuts Doomsayers, which aren’t very powerful in the current meta, and frees up spots in the deck aimed to pressure. Bonemare is the major novelty of the list, and it’s particularly powerful against slower decks.

Control Warlock and Cube Warlock’s major claim to fame is their ability to completely destroy Token Druid, which has improved their position in the meta, but their flaws against the rest of the field remain relevant. Cube Warlock has a major issue dealing with aggressive burn decks that target Quest Rogue, while Control Warlock is very vulnerable to being hard countered by several late-game strategies with inevitability.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

With Quest Rogue’s recent rise at higher levels of play, the meta has been focused on trying to put it down, with decks such as Zoo Warlock and Aluneth Mage increasing in prevalence. This has brought Quest Rogue’s spike in popularity to a halt. With the increase in Druids, Odd Rogue also finds itself in a more hostile environment, and its prevalence has significantly dropped. Odd Rogue is specifically not appreciative of Token Druid’s rise in play, as it’s one of Odd Rogue’s biggest counters.

We see no reason to deviate from Odd Rogue’s featured build, which runs Vicious Fledglings and Void Ripper specifically to deal with the most popular class once you hit rank 4.

With Quest Rogue, however, there are some worthwhile developments. Fan of Knives is becoming a core card in the deck at higher levels of play for various reasons. It’s pretty useful against aggressive decks (amazing against Paladin, reasonable against Zoo). It’s good against Druids since it can help you wipe Spreading Plague post-quest completion, but more importantly, it provides an answer to an early Token Druid wisp gambit. Finally, it’s good against opponents’ Giggling Inventors, which can otherwise stall out the game quite a bit. The card that’s being dropped for Fan of Knives is Wax Elemental, since it’s another target for opposing Blood Knights and is a weak card pre-quest completion.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Giggling Inventors have exploded in popularity since the beginning of the expansion and have found their way into every class in the game. This has led to the rise of Blood Knights and Mossy Horrors, which provide an efficient answer to them. While this response has weakened Giggling Inventors and may have knocked them down from their unstoppable status, it wasn’t enough to make the card an unworthy inclusion in most classes, since many of them also carry synergies with it. Card still needs to get nerfed, Blizzard.

The one major exception appears to be Cube Hunter. We have observed over the past week that Giggling Inventor is becoming a liability in many matchups for the deck, especially since we believe that two Mossy Horrors are very good in the deck, and they have anti-synergy with Giggling on curve. Therefore, we recommend cutting them. Players have been experimenting with Saronite Chain Gangs instead, but surprisingly, the card hasn’t been very impressive either. We like bringing back Gluttonous Ooze, while Stitched Tracker is a decent performer that improves your consistency in late-game matchups.

Secret and Spell Hunter haven’t had noteworthy developments, though both decks have made appearances in the EU playoffs and saw success. In the current ladder climate, Secret Hunter is a far superior choice.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Aluneth Mage continues its growth in popularity week after week, while Big Spell Mage’s presence diminishes.

Although the soul-crushing matchup against Odd Warrior may scare some players away, Aluneth Mage is the hardest counter in the game to Quest Rogue. It also sports a non-intuitively decent win rate against recent breakout performer, Token Druid. Aluneth Mage was a fairly popular deck in the EU playoffs since it was included in quad-aggro lineups looking to shut out Quest Rogue.

Unfortunately, Big-Spell Mage does not appear to carry the same kind of utility as Aluneth Mage, and continues to be pushed into the obscurity of the Boomsday meta. Three of its nemeses, Cube Hunter, Token Druid, and Quest Rogue, continue to play big roles in shaping the meta. Until we see a new shift in the meta, we don’t expect to see Big-Spell Mage gain traction.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Despite its decline this week, Odd Warrior continues to put up elite win rates across the board, and with Quest Rogue’s decline, it’s hard to imagine things getting dramatically worse. Most of Warrior’s other bad matchups have barely increased in popularity (save for Token Druid), and while Odd Rogue has declined, it’s being replaced by other aggressive decks that also get stomped by the might of Tank Up. Odd Warrior does to aggressive decks what Quest Rogue does to control decks. It obliterates them effortlessly and projects the same sense of hopelessness.

ZachO’s list remains the one to go off of. Various players have hit top legend ranks with slightly tweaked builds including the likes of Eternium Rover, Fiery War Axe and Azalina Soulthief, but these are all variations on a theme.

Odd-Taunt Warrior continues to show promise and looks just as powerful as Standard Odd Warrior, since its win condition can threaten some of Odd Warrior’s hardest counters, at the cost of its consistency in other matchups.

One interesting development is Fibonacci hitting top 100 legend with Mecha’thun Control Warrior. This deck’s win condition is executed by drawing your whole deck, playing The Boomship in order to summon Mecha’thun and Malygos into the board, casting Inner Rage on both legendary minions and then wiping them with Whirlwind. The deck does have pretty solid defensive tools and Dr. Boom in order to stabilize against aggressive decks, but adds the Mecha’thun combo for the late game inevitability against slower decks that Warrior is sorely missing.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Shaman remains situated mostly at the bottom half of play rates and win rates, with three archetypes that have spent their time stagnating in terms of ideas. However, despite its decline this week, Midrange Shaman has shown new promise with the emergence of Sandstorm’s Corpsetaker build that look to be a clear upgrade on the older builds running Electra and a spell removal package. We’ve alluded in the past that the spell package is the weakest aspect of the archetype, and we’re glad to see innovation come in the form of heavier minion lists that are capable of pressuring slower decks better while still carrying comeback mechanics against aggressive decks.

The Corpsetaker package includes Zilliax and Al’Akir. Zilliax is a great card by itself that Even Shaman wishes it could run in order to activate its own Corpsetakers. Furthermore, Corpsetaker’s battlecry on Shudderwock is ridiculously powerful when combined with Saronite Chain Gang, and can end games on the spot against aggressive decks. This is definitely a build worth trying out.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Paladin is officially a one-trick pony. Only Odd Paladin exhibits any relevance in the meta, but even this deck’s representation is hardly empowering. At the same time, experiments with other archetypes appear to be waning.

It’s becoming clear that Paladin is still suffering from the balance change to Call to Arms. Call to Arms was too powerful, and the class found itself balanced around it. Much like Fiery War Axe, once the card was nerfed, the class struggled to keep up through other means. Paladin simply has no late game to speak of. As the class defined by its healing capability, it falls pathetically short of the armor gain of Druid and Warrior (both in terms of sheer numbers and the fact armor is superior to life due to overhealing). Paladin’s inevitability is non-existent, save for the very clunky Horsemen win condition through bounce effects. There is just nothing going on for Paladin, other than clicking a button to make two dudes a turn.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Things look bad for Anduin, to the point where he seems to be isolated in his room. The Priest class is just being ignored at the moment. It’s seen such little experimentation and testing since the first weeks of Boomsday compared to other classes. Players have pretty much given up on Priest for now, and even if there was a deck waiting to be discovered, there aren’t many out there trying to discover it.

It’s funny that there seems to be a consistent pattern to class sets. Whenever a class is overbearingly powerful, it gets “punished” with a meme set 8 months later. Shaman dominated MSG and 8 months later, it got support for the notorious “Freeze Shaman” archetype in KFT. Priest dominated K&C and 8 months later, it gets Zerek’s cloning lab. This has happened with other classes as well, whether they were powerful or were extremely weak and got over-compensated 8 months later. Warlock was unplayable in Un’Goro and then received a completely busted set in K&C.

You know what class never gets punished for being good, ever?

My Greetings.

Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

Token Druid continues to display a power level unmatched by any other deck in the game. But fear not, a counter has emerged to contest the rising archetype. After all, having the meta ebb and flow in this manner is an aspect any healthy meta should have.

Scavenger Token Druid is a Token Druid that has a favorable matchup against other Token Druids. Therefore, it bests the best deck in the game, making it the absolute bestest deck.

Turns out that Token Druid is Frieza and we haven’t even seen its final form.

Token Druid

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  1. “Give it up, guys, Academic Espionage does not work! (We can hear the cries of ‘NEVER!’ coming from the rank 5 floor)”

    You made me spit half a mouthful of rice all over the place from laughter with this, hope you are happy.

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