vS Data Reaper Report #107

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from over 55,000 games.

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Welcome to the 107th edition of the Data Reaper Report!

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 5,100 active contributors and we thank them wholeheartedly. Contributing to the Data Reaper project through either Track-o-Bot or Hearthstone Deck Tracker (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 55,000
Legend 12,000
Ranks 1-4 21,000
Ranks 5-9 17,000
Ranks 10-14 4,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

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Class Frequency

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Class Frequency Discussion

The Boomsday meta is still changing, but the big changes are not happening within the top two classes. Other than very small shifts, Druid and Warlock have pretty much stayed put. There’s a small rise in Even Warlocks, an ongoing pull from Malygos Druid to Token Druid outside of legend, and an overall decrease in Druids at legend.

The Rogue class is in decline at all levels of play. Quest Rogue’s numbers have significantly dropped, especially at legend, and the fringe Rogue decks outside of the big 2 are fading away. Odd Rogue seems unaffected.

Cube Hunter’s numbers are nearly identical to last week’s, but it is noteworthy that the deck is still seeing big changes when it comes to its use of certain cards. Secret Hunter has declined at all levels of play, with enthusiasm for the archetype waning.

Aluneth Mage’s popularity at legend has risen once again, which may explain why Quest Rogues are growing scared. Big-Spell Mage’s presence is only noticeable outside of legend. We’ve said before that Big-Spell Mage is a pretty decent deck for a climb to legend, but becomes weaker once you get there.

Shaman has grown in popularity, especially at legend, where both Even Shaman and Midrange Shaman have risen quite a bit. Even Shaman, last week’s surprise Meta Breaker, has doubled its numbers at higher levels of play. We also see that Midrange Shaman is close to fully embracing the Corpsetaker build, which is now the most common variant.

Not much can be said about both Paladin and Warrior, with their prevalence dominated by Baku decks. Warrior has slightly declined outside of legend, but Odd Warrior’s numbers hold firm at legend. Paladin’s standing in the field is a carbon copy of last week.

The biggest meta shift this week comes from the Priest class. Inspired by Asmodai hitting #1 legend with Resurrect Priest, the archetype has surged in its prevalence at all levels of play, surpassing 4% of the field at legend. Resurrect Priest has also completely transitioned from Savjz’ original build to Asmodai’s #1 legend build. Last week, we saw that the archetype’s performance against the field was very poor, so it’ll be interesting to see whether the deck has grown stronger as a result of this build change. You’ll get the answer right about… now.

Matchup Win Rates Header

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Power Rankings Header
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vS Meta Score

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vS Power Rankings Discussion

As we can see in the Power Rankings, Resurrect Priest did get a lot better and if the meta does not drastically shift against it, the archetype should improve further in its win rate next week. This improvement may land Resurrect Priest at the bottom of… Tier 3!

You get the point: the deck is still not very good despite all the hype surrounding it. We’ve seen worse decks hit #1 legend in the past, and that didn’t make them top meta decks. Looking at its matchup spread, we struggle to find a competitive reason to play the deck on ladder (might be an anti-control tournament deck). Resurrect Priest is basically a poor man’s version of Quest Rogue with somewhat similar matchups but worse in almost every way: struggles against aggression, performs worse against Druids, doesn’t dominate late game matchups as consistently and loses hard to Quest Rogue. Definitely overplayed.

While Resurrect Priest might not be one, there are a lot of good decks out there and the meta is extremely balanced, especially at higher levels of play. Priest’s high play rate and low win rate has resulted in an inflation of win rates across the board, but regardless of that fact, the diversity in the Boomsday meta should be noted. At legend, no deck in the game has a play rate exceeding 10%, and no deck in the game has a win rate that exceeds 53%. When it comes to strictly balancing of deck power levels, Hearthstone is in a good state. Other important aspects of the game? That’s a different discussion and one that we hope is not being repressed. We all want the game to be fun and continue to get better, most of all.

Even Warlock has recently enjoyed a lot of success at higher levels of play, and we do see it translated to a #1 spot at legend. The archetype is just very well rounded and flexible, and in a diverse meta filled with very different kinds of opponents, that’s a strong selling point.

Even Shaman continues to quietly perform very well. It’s not flashy and it doesn’t win in spectacular fashion, but it picks up wins consistently. The fact that it doubled in its play rate at legend and hasn’t seen any sign of a decline in its performance does signal that Even Shaman is not a fluke.

Token Druid’s performance at legend indicates that the meta at higher levels of play is capable of curbing its power level to a degree where it’s not oppressive. Even Warlock is keeping it in check, while other decks have also improved their performance against it.

There are two decks we’re particularly impressed with when it comes to their learning curve and skill cap. We already mentioned Malygos Druid in detail as playing “hard mode Hearthstone”, and Quest Rogue is another deck that exhibits a unique level of adaptability. Despite the growing hostility coming from Aluneth Mage at legend, Quest Rogue players continue to make steady improvements in several matchups, while also enjoying Resurrect Priest’s rise to farm their way to Tier 1.

70% to 75% win rates against Aluneth Mage, Odd Rogue, and Zoo Warlock. Odd Warrior does to aggressive decks what Quest Rogue does to late game strategies: makes their players want to delete their deck to never play that matchup again. We’ve seen many players ride these absurd matchups to high legend ranks over the past week and while Odd Warrior’s oppressive matchups mean it can never be too popular since it’s so easily targeted, it will always be very relevant.

Aggro is dead? Not really. Odd Paladin has gotten stronger and is inching closer to a Tier 1 spot, flying under the radar next to Even Shaman. Secret Hunter enthusiasm might be falling, but the deck still performs very well. Odd Rogue, Zoo Warlock, and Aluneth Mage all display strong win rates with very high play rates. It is true, though, that there is no aggressive deck that’s dominating the meta, which is not a bad thing.

Two decks exhibit significant declines in their win rates: Cube Hunter and Taunt Druid. Their common issue is the rise in Even Shaman and Resurrect Priest. Both of these cube decks get countered by Hex and Psychic Scream. Taunt Druid is the only common Druid archetype that straight up loses to Resurrect Priest since it cannot pressure it effectively. Meanwhile, with its drop in win rate, Cube Hunter has finally been knocked off of what looked like an ironclad Tier 1 spot.

Two archetypes exhibit significant increases in their win rates that go beyond the overall Priest-enabled inflation: Big-Spell Mage and Midrange Shaman. Here’s where we may sound like we’re tooting our own horns, but we honestly don’t mean to!

In previous reports, we talked about a big difference in the performance of these archetypes across variants. We insisted that Corpsetaker Midrange Shaman and Keleseth Big-Spell Mage were the strongest performers available. Both of these variants have taken over the play rates for their respective archetypes recently and this is the result. Everything we say when it comes to the refinement of archetypes is backed by extensive research that we do internally, and what we write in the reports are the curated conclusions from that research. This is also why we highly recommend to not just look at the numbers and charts we produce: interpretation and analysis of the numbers is just as important, if not more important than the numbers themselves.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Druid is a class that has mostly stayed in place this week, not seeing significant changes to its archetypes.

Token Druid might be the most well-rounded deck you could take to ladder, with very few weaknesses overall, powered by a very strong core of cards assembled over the past year.

Malygos and Togwaggle Druid are harder to get the best out of since their success is a bit more dependent on the meta. Each deck has a couple of back-breaking matchups that you generally want to avoid, but they’re definitely strong enough to see success at all levels of play. They’re also very rewarding to learn.

Taunt Druid has suffered from unfavorable trends recently, as it’s the only Druid deck that doesn’t handle Resurrect Priest well. Its performance in Druid mirrors is its strongest selling point, but it’s not nearly as resilient to aggressive strategies as the aforementioned three.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Even Warlock has established itself as the most successful Warlock archetype on ladder and one of the strongest, most well-rounded decks in the game. Sjow has recently hit #1 legend (and came close to doing it on two servers) with a fairly standard build that cuts Bonemare for a 2nd Ooze. We do like Bonemare in slower matchups and it has proven to be a strong performer in the deck. Running double Ooze improves your matchup against Odd Rogue since it can disrupt their turn 3 play.

When it comes to Zoo Warlock, Dreadlords continue to outperform Doomguards. The board control offered by Dreadlords is more useful at the moment, while Doomguards are very often awkward draws that force the Warlock into less than optimal lines. Rezdan hit #3 legend with the featured Dreadlord build, swapping Lifedrinker for Mossy Horror. Mossy Horror is a very hard tech against Druids, but the card is a bit of a reach when it comes to its inclusion in Zoo builds.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

With no Giggling Inventor change in sight, it seems only a cyclical meta can put the brakes on Quest Rogue, and when it comes to beating Quest Rogue, Odd Rogue remains a popular and relevant deck.

Both of these archetypes are fairly established in their builds. Rezdan’s Odd Rogue list has been the most common build for ladder play, and for a good reason: it’s well optimized for the Boomsday meta.

Quest Rogue has a bit more variety, mainly differentiating between Wax Elementals vs. Double Boar/Mimic. Wax Elementals help stall pre-quest and are very strong cards post-quest, while two Boars/Mimics lean towards late game matchups. We generally recommend running the Wax Elemental build, since it’s slightly better against aggressive decks.

Fringe Rogue decks haven’t found relevance in the current meta, since any late-game Rogue combo deck is outclassed by Quest Rogue’s faster clock and consistency.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

With Boomsday seemingly not getting any card changes, it appears we are reaching the final versions of each Hunter archetype this week, unless there is a drastic change in the meta.

The most significant innovation for Secret Hunter this week is the inclusion of Snipe. Players such as Zeh and Hotmeowth have found a decent amount of success running double Snipe builds specifically at high legend. Snipe is meant to disrupt Quest Rogue’s game plan by interfering with the Rogue’s bounces.

For Cube Hunter, the biggest change is that MCT has started to become more common. Players have realized the need for additional anti-aggro tools in order to help Cube Hunter perform better in its weaker aggressive matchups.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Aluneth Mage continues to exhibit a discrepancy in its popularity between legend and lower ranks, which correlates with the increased popularity of Quest Rogue at higher levels of play. The archetype’s main selling point is this one dominant matchup, which has also seen its stock rise in the tournament scene recently.  Monsanto hit #1 legend with an Aluneth Mage list that runs Amani Berserkers, which were previously seen in Witchwood to help the deck find more early game consistency.

Resurrect Priest joins the long list of difficult late-game matchups for Big-Spell Mage. The arrival of this new kid on the block is only increasing hostility for Frost Lich Jaina, which is another reason why Big-Spell Mage is not seeing much play at the moment, but the archetype has shown improvement in its performance against the field thanks to embracing Keleseth.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

While not a pillar of the current meta, Shaman is well represented by multiple competitive decks that are certainly strong enough to see ladder success.

Shudderwock Shaman is nowhere near its Witchwood strength, but its inevitable win condition is still attractive to players looking to counter slower decks. This also makes Shudderwock Shaman a viable option in anti-control tournament lineups.

Midrange Shaman is enjoying a refinement process that has seen Corpsetaker builds becoming increasingly more popular. As a result, its win rate has significantly increased to the extent that it can be considered a good ladder option at the moment. We do think its win rate may further improve.

Even Shaman is the strongest ladder deck out of the three, and has also begun to gain attention in the tournament scene. The deck very rarely creates memorable moments and wins by consistently creating small advantages and leveraging them into bigger ones. Atome’s #1 legend build has become the standard list you’ll most often run into on ladder. Despite its obvious anti-synergy with the deck, Mossy Horror has actually proven to be a worthwhile inclusion since Spreading Plague is such a massive problem for Even Shaman in particular.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Resurrect Priest has been the biggest story of the week, with Asmodai hitting #1 legend piloting an altered build inspired from the original Savjz list. Resurrect Priest seemed like a deck that was one or two cards away from really breaking out, and it appears that may still be the case. While it flooded ladder for a few days, making Priest actually visible and relevant as a meta player during that time, Resurrect Priest’s win rate has remained abysmal throughout this period at all levels of play. It has some favorable matchups, and then it has truly horrendous ones. Having no meaningful board clears before turn 7, as well as a win condition that is both slow and relies on high draw variance will do that to a deck.

This isn’t the first time a Priest deck in this expansion has seen high legend success, but Priest has never seen consistent success.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

There’s very little change this week, as Warrior falls slightly in popularity. With an archetype that seems to be as solved as Odd Warrior, all that can really influence the class are changes in the meta around it, which so far have consistently kept Odd Warrior as a competitive and strong ladder option. The most significant change this week is the emergence of Resurrect Priest, an unfavored matchup, but the deck gets so resoundingly beaten by so many popular decks that one feels it is not long for this world. As long as aggressive decks such as Zoo Warlock, Odd Rogue and Aluneth Mage are popular archetypes, Odd Warrior will be a relevant player in the meta.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Let’s keep it short this week. Odd Paladin is the only truly competitive archetype for the class and its polarizing matchup spread keeps it relegated to the backburner for most players. The deck’s overall win rate is more than good enough, but it just doesn’t do anything new or interesting and can lead to a lot of frustration if you queue into the wrong matchups repeatedly – which is likely with the meta as it is.

There’s been some experimentation with Exodia and Even Paladin lists, but the class is simply lacking in anything as strong as other classes can provide at all stages of the game.

Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

This week didn’t have a glaring meta breaker, but if we were in any need (we weren’t) of further convincing that Quest Rogue is just good, we got it this week. Quest Rogue is powerful and becomes even more powerful once you dedicate yourself to learning the deck. The key for improvement in its difficult aggressive matchups is not fixating on completing the quest as soon as possible. Look to play for tempo, try and fight for the board as hard as possible and use the breathing room enabled by your tempo plays to complete the quest. A lack of resources will very rarely be your downfall in faster matchups.

The best decks to climb to legend with, as the month draws to a close, are Even Warlock, Even Shaman and Token Druid. In a very polarized meta, these are three of the least polarized decks that carry very well rounded matchup spreads. That makes them very safe and reliable climbers at all levels of play.

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 5,100 active contributors. Without them, this project would not be possible, so we’d like to thank all of our contributors for their help.

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

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