vS Data Reaper Report #105

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from over 65,000 games.

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Welcome to the 105th edition of the Data Reaper Report!

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 5,300 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 65,000
Legend 5,000
Ranks 1-4 22,000
Ranks 5-9 26,000
Ranks 10-14 7,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

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Class Frequency

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Class Frequency Discussion

Druid’s rise in play continues for the third consecutive week, but the early September legend meta indicates that the class may have reached its peak. Outside of legend, Token Druid is establishing itself as the most popular class archetype. At legend, this title is still held by Malygos Druid, though the deck’s decline hasn’t stopped. Furthermore, there is a shift in focus from Malygos Druid towards Togwaggle Druid. Togwaggle Druid has seen plenty of individual success at higher levels of play recently and this has attracted interest from the player base. Taunt Druid has also grown in its numbers, which makes sense considering that it’s well positioned against other Druid decks.

A shift in focus can also be observed in Warlock. While Zoo Warlock is still the most popular deck in the game, its numbers have taken a step back. Meanwhile, Even Warlock has significantly grown in popularity, especially at legend. With this growth comes a change in its builds, with Doomsayer being cut from the most popular builds (inspired by Cydonia’s list, which we featured last week).  Cube Warlock has also grown in popularity, but Control Warlock has crashed in its numbers at legend, becoming the 4th most popular archetype at higher levels of play.

Odd Rogue’s struggles have been well documented over the past couple of weeks, and the archetype continues to decline in its numbers at all levels of play under the pressure of Druids. With aggressive decks on the decline, Quest Rogue has spiked in play at the highest levels, and it seems like its recent decline in popularity was only a temporary setback. Also note that there is increased interest in other Rogue decks, most notably Malygos Rogue, which has seen more play over the past week, especially at legend.

The shift from Spell Hunter to Secret Hunter has gathered pace, as the former is slowly disappearing from the meta. The dominance of the Druid class is forcing Hunter to add minion pressure in order to leverage the Spellstone package successfully, and Secret Hunter has recently shown a lot of promise as a result. Its numbers have nearly doubled at legend, and it’s also becoming a common opponent during the climb to legend. Cube Hunter is an island of stability, and it’s pretty much stayed put, which isn’t a surprise considering how well-rounded its matchup spread has been.

Enthusiasm for Mage is waning as the class has declined at all levels of play. Both Aluneth and Big-Spell Mage have issues dealing with the wide spectrum of opponents on ladder, carrying narrow and very meta-dependent matchup spreads. Blowing hot and cold tends to eventually result in a deck’s decline, as players are interested in consistency.

After its rise to relevance with the discovery of Odd Warrior, the class is now shrinking back in its size. Warrior has declined at all levels of play, but its decline at legend is the most drastic. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering we just talked about the rise of Quest Rogue and Togwaggle Druid at legend. Both of these decks are such horrible matchups that any increase in their numbers heavily discourages the utilization of Odd Warrior. Other archetypes of the class are still around, but it’s hard to get a proper evaluation of their power level because of their low prevalence.

Shaman and Paladin suffer from similar issues. They’re just really boring! Even Shaman and Odd Paladin are both serviceable decks that no one cares to play because they don’t have compelling gameplay. This might be subjective, but it’s clear that most of the player base is not interested in these decks. They have also remained unchanged for a very long time, while other decks often have cool and new adjustments to the meta. Unlike Paladin, Shaman offers more than one deck, which is why it sees more play. However, Shudderwock Shaman is essentially unchanged from its Witchwood days and is not particularly powerful at the moment. These classes are definitely in a creative bind.

Priest is not in a creative bind, since it has many different archetypes seeing play, but it has a clear power level issue. Players have increased experimentation with the class over the past week, and that’s nice to see. A new archetype has also emerged: Resurrect Priest. This deck was originally built by Savjz and relies on resurrecting Malygos and Velen to deal burst damage through Mind Blast. This deck has seen quite a bit of play at legend over the past week, making it the most popular Priest deck at higher levels of play. Can it last? That’s the real question.

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vS Meta Score

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vS Power Rankings Discussion

Another week of Boomsday brings about dramatic changes in the meta, which is leading to drastic changes in the power levels of some decks. What is clear is that we’re nowhere near a “solved” meta. There are still a lot of things left unexplored.

We start with Druid’s various decks:

We finally see an indication that the meta can actually stop Token Druid from taking over the game. With its growth in popularity, Token Druid has attracted the hatred of the field. Some of its counters have risen in play, and tech choices in other decks have also made life more difficult for the archetype. Since high-level players are quicker to counter trending decks, we see Token Druid’s win rate fall hardest at legend. While Token Druid is still very powerful and stays firmly in Tier 1, its power level is not dangerous and its prevalence may have reached saturation at a reasonable number.

Togwaggle Druid’s increased popularity lines up with the archetype’s growth in overall win rate. Ironically, it hasn’t actually grown more powerful at higher levels of play because the response to its rise was very quick (as observed in the numbers of Quest Rogue vs. Odd Warrior at legend). Still, Togwaggle Druid is a good deck. After all, it’s a Druid deck.

Malygos Druid remains pretty much in place. It’s nowhere near being the best deck in the game even at its “best form”, but based on our observation over the past month, it definitely is the most complicated deck in the game. We can clearly see how it improves at higher levels of play in multiple matchups and there is great importance to adjusting the deck and its card choices to a changing meta. We think it’s overplayed and overvalued at lower skill levels and generally don’t recommend it for anyone but advanced players. Togwaggle Druid is also a relatively complex deck, but the execution of its game plan is simpler compared to Malygos Druid. Malygos Druid is just hard-mode Hearthstone.

Taunt Druid is the Druid deck that beats other Druid decks, and in the current meta, that’s very relevant. The issue Taunt Druid may suffer from should it grow in popularity is its performance against aggressive decks. The lack of Spreading Plague and Malfurion the Pestilent makes it much more vulnerable and easily punished in faster matchups. Oh, and it’s terrible against Quest Rogue.

Token Druid has brought upon the rise of Defile, and Warlock is reaping the rewards. Turns out that Doomsayer was a trap card that Even Warlock has been carrying. The moment it dropped the card and realized it’s a beatdown deck meant to hit people in the face, its performance skyrocketed. Of course, it also helps that meta trends have been very kind to Even Warlock recently. While its performance is generally strong against the Druid class, it particularly shines against Token and Togwaggle Druid. It has also benefitted from the decline of Odd Rogues and Mages. Adding all of this up results in Even Warlock jumping to Tier 1 at all levels of play.

Cube Warlock has also tremendously benefitted for the same reasons as Even Warlock. It’s one of the hardest counters available to Token Druid while also performing reasonably well against other Druid decks. The decline of aggressive decks has led to the archetype breaking the 50% barrier and establishing itself within the Tier 2 range. Control Warlock has not enjoyed the same fate since a decline of aggression actually hurts its matchup spread, and it also performs very poorly against both Even and Cube Warlock.

But don’t think that Valeera will stay down for long, as the Power Rankings already indicate that the Rogue assassin is about to kick some butts again. Odd Rogue is already showing signs of recovery in its win rate which is the result of an increase in its good matchups and the decrease in the overall hostility for the deck. And then, there’s Quest Rogue, which manages to jump to Tier 1 once again, just as the meta thought it was keeping it in check. The very second aggressive decks decline and give it any room to breathe, Quest Rogue takes over, dominates late game strategies and sets the rules for the game. There is no escaping Quest Rogue.

Druid, Warlock and Rogue have a cyclical relationship between their diverse archetypes that defines the meta, but Hunter is also firmly in the elite group of performers. Cube Hunter has a very stable matchup spread which means that it’s very difficult to pin down and push away no matter what happens around it. Its only unbearable weakness is Quest Rogue (and the disappearing Odd Paladin). Secret Hunter is also a very powerful deck that should not be underestimated, and its win rate indicates that its rise in play is fully deserved.

Finally, Mage makes a breakthrough. Aluneth Mage has spiked in its win rate at legend as a result of the rise of Quest Rogue and Even Warlock, as well as the decline in aggressive decks that usually give Aluneth Mage a lot of trouble (and Odd Warrior). Right now, the stars are aligned for Aluneth Mage to shine very brightly, and it’s the strongest it’s ever been during Boomsday. The only question we’re left with is how long can this last? Aluneth Mage’s inconsistency comes from the fact that its prey also quickly attracts its biggest counters, so it’s theoretically hard for it to stay on top for long, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Odd Warrior can’t fight the numbers. The rise of some of its most unbearable matchups at higher levels of play is leading to the archetype’s decline in win rate. It’s still a very strong deck, and you will have a great time climbing to legend with it by stomping on aggressive decks on the way, but once you get to legend and meet Mr. Togwaggle and Miss Zola the Gorgon, things get rough.

We’ll be honest. Analyzing data for Paladin and Shaman in this expansion feels like grinding water. It’s boring, it has to be done, but there’s very rarely any big news coming from it. Odd Paladin and Even Shaman are good decks, yet no one cares that they are. Shudderwock Shaman is playable, but weaker than it was during its peak Witchwood days. Our attempts to promote the new Corpsetaker version of Midrange Shaman, which is better than Midrange Shaman’s current numbers indicate, is meeting the yawns of our readers. It’s more interesting to discuss meme decks, is it not?

Priest is full of meme decks, except for one: Control Priest has risen in its win rate over the past week and looks quite decent at lower skill levels, though as the meta becomes more ruthless at the top end of ladder, it’s really difficult for the deck to shine.

What about Resurrect Priest, you ask? Since it’s only significantly risen in play at legend, and still has a low sample size overall, it cannot be shown in the Power Rankings yet. However, based on its low sample, we can already tell that salvation will not come from this deck. The only thing Priest’s growing presence at legend has caused is the inflation in the win rates of non-Priest decks.

While we’re at it, Malygos Rogue looks pretty weak as well, just not as weak as Academic Espionage Miracle Rogue. If you haven’t noticed yet, Rogue already has an anti-control deck that’s completely nuts. No need to find a new one.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Everywhere but at legend, Token Druid is the most popular Druid deck and should be anticipated on your legend climb. While this will result in the deck being targeted more heavily by the meta, its power level is so high that it will likely remain a consistent performer. We haven’t seen significant changes to Token Druid builds, other than the increase in the Scavenger variant over the Teacher variant. The Scavenger variant is not only stronger overall, but is also better in Token Druid’s worst matchups, so we highly recommend it. We’re also now very confident that cutting Power of the Wild for the second Saronite Chain Gang is correct in most scenarios (the biggest exception is the Quest Rogue match-up).

A trend that’s been picking up pace in combo Druid decks is cutting Giggling Inventors. The card still performs moderately well, but its weakness in the Druid mirror matchups, in addition to the prevalence of Blood Knights, has incentivized more players to remove it and prioritize running Mind Control Techs in order to perform better against Zoo, Token Druid and Cube Hunter. Another recent development that’s gaining traction in Malygos Druid is running Dreampetal Florist over The Lich King, the former acting as another burst damage enabler alongside Floop and Twig. Many players have had success with this switch.

Elfandor has been one of the best Togwaggle Druid players on ladder over the past few weeks, hitting top legend ranks in August and having high legend success early in September, utilizing both primary variants of the archetype. The Oaken Summons package generally performs very well in Togwaggle Druid, but particularly against burn centric aggressive decks such as Odd Rogue and Aluneth Mage. The MCT version is also a strong alternative. Starfall has proven to be a very strong card in the deck recently, so the addition of Thalnos makes a lot of sense, enabling strong board clears against Zoo Warlock and Token Druid.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Warlock is encouraged by the rise of Token Druid, as the values of Defile and Lord Godfrey rise further.

For Zoo Warlock, the continuing growth of Token Druid isn’t good news, since slower Warlock strategies are natural predators for it as well. The archetype has reached relative stability and will continue to hold its spot in the meta’s revolving cycle of aggro, control, and combo. In terms of builds, we recommend running the Dreadlords variant, as they have proven to be superior to Doomguards recently. Not only is Dreadlord stronger in aggressive matchups and lines up well against Giggling inventor, but it’s also stronger against Token Druid.

Even Warlock has shown improvement through both its own internal refinement and favorable meta trends. Hunters, Mages and Rogues remain difficult but the strong matchup against almost every type of Druid is a good indicator that the deck is worth playing right now. Cydonia’s list has performed well for many players, and Bonemare has proven to be a decent card in the deck. Flex options include Mossy Horror and a 2nd Ooze (usually replacing a Dread Infernal and/or Spellbreaker).

While Even Warlock beats Token Druid, Control Warlock and Cube Warlock annihilate it, and that’s becoming a bigger factor every day. One very interesting Control Warlock build that has popped up recently is Bloodyface’s Mecha’thun list. By adding the Mecha’thun OTK package, Control Warlock adds inevitability that’s harder to interact with than Rin. This approach is surprisingly effective and worth exploring further.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Odd Rogue continues to fall in play for another week, as the cycle of the top three classes is in its worst phase for the archetype. Druids just give the deck a very hard time with their armor gain, removal and defensive tools. Quest Rogue, on the other hand, will appreciate a decline in aggressive strategies that have curbed its performance recently.

Quest Rogue builds haven’t changed much over the past week. Fan of Knives is a ladder staple at this point and we cannot overstate how important it is in several matchups. The weakest card in the featured build is Mimic Pod, but it’s still quite good early in the game since it can significantly accelerate your quest completion. We saw Quest Rogue well represented at Dreamhack Montreal over the weekend, largely thanks to it being so well positioned in Last Hero’s Standing, where it can’t be targeted effectively.

Some spotlight this week has been on lesser played Rogue archetypes. SoLegit reached an early #46 legend with Malygos Rogue. This list runs a total of 4 minions, guaranteeing the Malygos/Illusionist draw from the two Elven Minstrels. Two Evasions are meant to stall the game against the variety of decks that generate wide boards, and Roll the Bones is additional cycle that sometimes becomes a 2 mana Arcane Intellect.

Flix reached legend with a Miracle Rogue deck that includes Zilliax. Yes, that does mean Miracle Rogue can now taunt and heal, breaking preconceptions, but that’s probably not enough of a reason to play the deck over Quest or Odd Rogue.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Hunter saw most of its refinements happen within Secret Hunter builds. BoarControl’s build has become the most popular list on ladder, following Thijs’ top 10 legend success with the deck. This list is more proactive than previous builds, cutting Flanking Strikes for a Bearshark and a Houndmaster Shaw. These updates improve the deck in slower matchups.

Cube Hunter remains firmly stable in its build, though one exception in our featured list is the absence of Giggling Inventor and Saronite Chain Gang. Both of these cards haven’t been performing very well. Stitched Tracker, on the other hand, is quite underrated. Very often the deck misses drawing a key minion, and Stitched Tracker just helps improve the overall consistency of the Hunter’s game plan by acting as a 3rd Egg, Cube or Stalker.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

This week we begin to see the decline of both primary Mage archetypes on ladder, but as they decline, there are indications that the class is in a much better spot.

Aluneth Mage has found utility in the meta with its fast-paced onslaught of face damage, establishing itself as the Quest Rogue killer. This playstyle does not lend itself to having a favorable spread against the rest of the decks in the Boomsday meta. We see this in tournament play as well, with many players in the Asia Pacific playoffs opting to omit Aluneth Mage from their aggressive lineups. However, several meta trends have aligned to put Aluneth Mage in a pretty strong position on ladder at the moment, at least at higher levels of play where Quest Rogue is very popular.

Big-Spell Mage continues its decline in popularity and the archetype has become a very fringe player in Boomsday. Jaina’s Water Elementals are outclassed by other infinite value options such as Deathstalker Rexxar and Valeera the Hollow. Big-Spell Mage has been suffering from the rise of both Token and Togwaggle Druid, two very difficult matchups compared to the far more tolerable Malygos Druid. The rise of Even Warlock does help the deck but it’s so prone to being countered that it’s very difficult to envision a meta in which Big-Spell Mage can consistently perform in.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Warrior has seen a dip in popularity and win rate over the past week, mostly to accommodate the rise in Token Druid and Togwaggle Druids. Despite this, Odd Warrior remains one of the stronger decks at the moment, although its polarized matchup spread means you could find yourself running into a streak of terrible matchups. You generally want nothing to do with Quest Rogue, Togwaggle Druid, Shudderwock Shaman and Big-Spell Mage. While it’s possible to tech Whirlwind and to improve against Token Druid, it’s too weak in other matchups to often justify. Cube Hunter may be an unfavorable matchup, but it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be. Odd Warrior’s performance in aggressive matchups means that it can still shine very bright even when Cube Hunter and Token Druid are two of the most popular decks in the game.

Warrior may not be a one-trick archetype as well, since success has been found with other strategies. Odd-Taunt Warrior is similar to Odd Warrior but swaps Dr. Boom for Ragnaros shots. Fibonacci’s Mecha’thun Warrior remains an intriguing option that offers the best approach for a Control Warrior shell. This allows you to run Warpath and Blood Razor which are very good cards against Token Druid.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Combo Shudderwock Shaman is making a minor comeback with Sipiwi piloting a fairly standard list to #9 legend. Other than the addition of Electra Stormsurge, the deck is identical to its Witchwood days.

We do maintain that Corpsetaker Midrange Shaman, originally built by Sandstorm, is a good option to run in the current meta. When exploring avenues for improvement, we found that Stonehill Defender was the weakest card in the deck. We like The Lich King in minion heavy Keleseth decks and think it might be worth adding, while Gluttonous Ooze is quite useful against Twig wielding Druids. Odd Warriors and Odd Rogues.

Even Shaman’s biggest issue might be a compelling argument to play it. The deck is quite decent yet no one cares to try it. It’s being treated as a Tier 4 deck but it is much stronger than it’s perceived to be.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Last week, we talked about how Priest got meme cards after being so strong with Raza for a few months, and now Zerek’s Cloning Gallery ended up in the newly emerging Resurrect Priest from Savjz, which Asmodai managed to stay top 100 legend with for a few days.

This deck looks to revive Malygos and Velen through Eternal Servitude and Diamond Spellstone in order to deal massive burst damage with Mind Blasts. The deck also runs other strong resurrect targets in Zilliax, Lyra and The Lich King.

Even though the deck is unlikely to be strong enough to stay in the meta, it’s encouraging to see increased testing for a class lacking any real standout deck, not to mention a real flavor at the moment. Priest’s lack of consistent win condition is what’s holding it back. Control Priest cannot punch through the massive armor gain of Warriors and Druids. Combo Priest struggles to keep board against aggressive decks. Mecha’thun Priest struggles to stay alive by the time it can execute its combo. APM Priest is too gimmicky to be a consistent performer. Anduin needs work, and hopefully, he will get there once again. One day.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin
With Druid’s increasing domination, Paladin’s position in the meta remains stagnant. Odd Paladin is still a strong deck in aggressive matchups, but Uther groans loudly every time he meets Malfurion. Odd Paladin also struggles against decks with good AOE tools often found in Warriors, Warlocks and Mages. This makes Odd Paladin a very polarizing deck in which there’s a sense of hopelessness when queuing into the wrong matchups, and this is turning the player base off the deck.

After the weekly database closed and just as we finished working on the report, Thijs hit top 10 legend with Exodia Paladin. This has sparked new interest in the archetype over the last day, and we will likely discuss it more thoroughly next week, should it gain more traction. So far, slower Paladin decks have failed to make their mark on the Boomsday meta. Could this be a turning point? Only time will tell.

Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

Even Warlock’s rise in power cannot be ignored. The deck has significantly improved thanks to refinement as well as several meta developments that work in its favor. The important thing to remember about Even Warlock when playing it is that it’s not a control deck. Even Warlock is a beatdown, midrange deck that looks to play over-statted minions and hit you in the face with them. Having Defile and other solid defensive tools is great in aggressive matchups and gives the deck comeback mechanics, but at its core, Even Warlock wants to kill you and wants to kill you fast.

And then there’s Quest Rogue. Whenever the meta turns its head away for a moment, Quest Rogue starts its shenanigans again. It’s so powerful against any deck that lacks the capability of pressuring it from turn 1. It’s also a very skill intensive deck, especially in the aggressive matchups which are particularly difficult to navigate. This deck is not going anywhere and will likely continue to dictate high-level ladder and tournament play until further notice.

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