Welcome to the 109th edition of the Data Reaper Report!
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Number of Games
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Class Frequency Discussion
After the continuing signs of stagnation last week, winds of change are beginning to pick up in the Hearthstone meta. There are several discoveries with the potential to shake things up. These discoveries are currently concentrated at higher levels of play, and have yet to trickle down the ladder ranks.
While Druid is seeing an overall decline in play, the same cannot be said for legend rank, where it is the most popular class by a fair margin. The class is split to many different strategies that are built around the familiar Druid core. After carefully testing recognition between Togwaggle and Mecha’thun Druid, we’ve reached the conclusion that these archetypes are far too similar in their card usage and playstyles to reliably split. There are too many games where it’s impossible to tell the two apart until the super-late game. Therefore, they are statistically merged together under the name “Togg-C’Thun Druid”. The good news is that they are nearly identical decks, so their matchups spreads are very similar, with significant differences mostly centering on specific late-game matchups.
Hunter has seen a significant rise in play, especially at the highest levels where Cube Hunter surged in prevalence to become the most popular archetype at legend. This was driven by several individual success stories with the deck at the beginning of the month. Small uptick in play can also be observed in Secret Hunter.
There’s a big decline in Warlocks at all levels of play, and no archetype of the class is left untouched, though Even Warlock is holding up better than others. Zoo Warlock is no longer the most popular deck in the game from rank 4 onwards, while Cube and Control Warlock are fading away into obscurity.
Rogue has mostly stayed put. Normal Miracle Rogue builds are beginning to see more play at higher levels, but the archetype is still mostly littered by Espionage builds. This makes it harder to assess how good an optimal Miracle Rogue deck could be.
Aluneth Mage sees another uptick in play, as players are very enthusiastic about playing Mana Wyrms on turn 1. The deck is credited with preventing Quest Rogue from spinning out of control by beating it 90% of the time.
Odd Warrior sees a small decline at lower levels of play, and a small increase in play at legend. Much like Cube Hunter, Odd Warrior had a few high profile success stories early this month which encouraged the player base to pick it up. Other Warrior archetypes remain very fringe.
Priest is seeing changes. Resurrect Priest has significantly declined in play from rank 4 onwards after failing to take hold of a reliable meta niche. The archetype that is now trending up is Combo Priest, which is also seeing significant changes in its builds. The older mech-centric builds are being slowly taken over by new resurrect hybrids that utilize Diamond Spellstone alongside a tribe of high health minions and the Divine Spirit/Topsy Turvy combo.
Paladin is also seeing a drastic change. At legend, Odd Paladin is no longer the most popular class archetype after being quickly usurped by Even Paladin. The Witchwood meta tyrant is making its return to the field following some innovative builds that saw top legend success by multiple players.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
Unlike the week before, there are a few important changes to the field that would make number nerds like us happy. We’ll dig into the obvious stuff first, and finish with the good stuff later.
Another week goes by with Token Druid and Even Warlock proving to be the best ladder decks in the game, and the sole Tier 1 representatives at legend. Their versatility and flexibility are invaluable in a polarized Boomsday meta, though we can notice Even Warlock has taken a hit in its win rate due to the rise of Cube Hunter.
Both Cube Hunter and Quest Rogue are seeing improvements in their win rates. Cube Hunter has enjoyed a mini-refinement phase that elevated its performance in several key matchups. Quest Rogue is riding on Cube Hunter’s success because of its extremely favored matchup against it.
Whenever Quest Rogue rises in its win rate, Odd Warrior will usually find itself falling. The difficult matchup with Cube Hunter makes tanking up and ranking up more difficult, but Odd Warrior is still one of the best decks in the game and is particularly effective in farming aggressive decks to legend.
The other good Druid decks are still good. When we take our magnifying glass and assess the difference between Mecha’thun Druid and Togwaggle Druid, we can see that our trackers are performing better with Mecha’thun because its performance in aggressive matchups is slightly better.
While much faith is placed on Aluneth Mage, it’s beginning to lose some justification. The issue is that Quest Rogue is not that popular, while the deck’s matchup spread is still quite flawed against the rest of the field. We expect Aluneth Mage to see success at high legend ranks because of the increased presence of Quest Rogue, but the deck isn’t as hot elsewhere at the moment.
Resurrect Priest is almost Tier 3 at higher levels of play. Almost. While it would be nice to see it finally make it there, we would like to bring attention to a greater hope for Anduin. The hybrid combo-resurrect build, which we discuss in detail in the Priest class section, is the most promising Priest deck we’ve seen this expansion. We don’t think it’s a meta breaking deck and it does still have a low sample of games that is skewed towards the high-level players who are aware of it. However, it looks good right now: a solid 50% good.
Much like the new builds of Combo Priest, Even Paladin is also a bit of a secret reserved for high-level players at the moment, so its low sample size win rate (which is not shown in the power rankings for a good reason) could be inflated. However, Even Paladin looks ridiculously powerful right now, and even when we take these potential biases into account, they alone cannot explain why it wins so many games. We’re talking about Token Druid levels of good, which would make it a smooth baby butt’s Tier 1 deck.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Druid is doing Druid things, which is winning many Hearthstone games by playing good Druid cards and utilizing several different toppings to diversify the flavor. It’s the most influential class in the game, and the most dominant one at higher levels of play.
Druid archetypes are quite optimized for the current meta, including the latest Oaken Mecha’thun Druid, which we’ve mentioned plays out very similarly to Togwaggle Druid. There aren’t significant card infusions to current decks save for a couple of flex slots, and we don’t expect that to change unless the meta drastically transforms.
- Druid Class Radar
- Token Druid
- Malygos Druid
- Togwaggle Druid
- Mecha’thun Druid
- Taunt Druid
Cube Hunter enjoyed multiple early #1 legend achievements so far in October, which sparked a rise in its popularity, especially at legend. When evaluating the different flex cards currently seeing play for the archetype, we’ve gathered a few insights. The continued adoption of Zilliax looks to be justified, as it has proven to be quite strong in helping stabilize against aggression. We also agree with the inclusion of Mind Control Tech, as it’s effective in swinging the board in the same problematic aggressive matchups, while also being quite effective in the mirror. The 30th card is where things can diverge, with either Ooze, a mid-game taunt (Chain Gang, Giggling) or a 4th big beast (Highmane, Devilsaur) offering reasonable options.
Meanwhile, the double Snipe fad of Secret Hunter has lost steam due to the decline of Quest Rogue, leading to players opting for the more stable Snake Trap instead.
- Hunter Class Radar
- Cube Hunter
- Secret Hunter
- Spell Hunter
Even Warlock’s matchup spread across all ranks continues to be very strong, making it a very consistent ladder deck that performs relatively well even in its bad matchups. Due to its reliability, we expect it to grow in popularity as the month progresses unless a significant meta shift hinders it.
Zoo Warlock has drastically declined in popularity across all ranks of play, which doesn’t surprise us. It can be considered to be overplayed for a deck that’s clearly not the best strategy around, but it’s definitely strong enough to be an important player in the current meta.
Multiple players have found success with a Mecha’thun Warlock build that looks to aggressively cycle through the deck before executing the Cataclysm combo. This archetype currently sees very little play, but presents some promise, so we’re curious to see how it can perform should it grow in popularity.
- Warlock Class Radar
- Zoo Warlock
- Even Warlock
- Cube Warlock
- Control Warlock
- Cycle Mecha’thun Warlock
Quest Rogue’s presence has slightly dropped following its win rate decline last week, but don’t expect it to stay down for long as it’s already showing signs of recovery in its win rate. As we discussed in our article on meta polarity, Quest Rogue is one of the decks that heavily influences the direction of the format by warping the meta based on which decks can race it and which are left in the dust. As it declines, its good matchups increase in popularity until the field is ripe for the taking once again.
The Odd Rogue player base continues to debate the archetype’s 30th card. Sjow found high legend success running a Cobalt Scalebane at the 5 slot. As the card grew in popularity, its performance impressed us, and we think it’s a worthwhile consideration.
The beginning of the month also brings us some interesting experiments. Gyong, a renowned expert of all things Miracle Rogue, hit #1 legend with a build that runs Myra’s Unstable Element instead of Sprints or Gadgetzan Auctioneers. This adjustment tilts the deck to play more aggressively. Do remember that normal builds of Miracle Rogue are (much) better than the stats suggest, since the archetype is littered with Espionage related shenanigans that carry a very similar shell. Miracle Rogue might not be a top tier deck, but it might be strong enough to be competitively viable to some degree.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Odd Rogue
- Quest Rogue
- Miracle Rogue
- Cube Rogue
Aluneth Mage has been doing a good job of beating down Quest Rogues to the point where their presence is currently quite modest even at higher levels of play. However, with this dominant matchup becoming less common, we wonder if the halting growth in Aluneth Mage will soon shift into a decline?
So far, the deck keeps chugging along. Apxvoid hit #1 legend with the new standard build that runs one Lifedrinker as the 30th card. The archetype is also fairly popular in tournaments, establishing itself as a staple inclusion in any aggressive line up due its strength against both Quest Rogue and Even Warlock.
Shaman seems to be returning to its slumber. We don’t see many changes to current archetypes that could lead to a shift in their performance. Both Even and Midrange Shaman are good ladder decks, while Shudderwock Shaman is mostly a tournament deck that occasionally produces results on ladder, but it’s certainly inferior to other late game strategies. Even Shaman’s claim to fame is being the least polarized deck in the current meta, so if you dislike the experience of playing boom or bust matchups, it’s the stable deck for you.
- Shaman Class Radar
- Shudderwock Shaman
- Midrange Shaman
- Even Shaman
Odd Warrior finds itself in the center of the Meta Polarity discussion, with its matchup spread unrivaled in its extremes. The archetype has been consistently showing strong results at higher levels of play, with Sjow hitting #1 legend and defending it multiple times over the past week. Sjow’s build differs from the original standard list set by ZachO by adding late game cards (Faceless Manipulator, Azalina Soulthief) that can help in some of the more difficult matchups (such as Togwaggle Druid). It also includes Eternium Rovers and Tar Creepers, cutting Giggling Inventors and 3-drop techs. We’re not too impressed with Tar Creepers (almost a running gag at this point!) and think they are mostly downgrades on running MCT or Owl, which are invaluable against the rising population of Hunters. Rovers, on the other hand, are strong considerations.
- Warrior Class Radar
- Odd Warrior
- Odd-Taunt Warrior
- Fibonacci’s Mecha’thun Control Warrior
As Resurrect Priest slowly fades away from relevance, the class needs a new discovery that could change its fortune, and one path of innovation gained traction this week and could possibly lead to better times for Anduin.
Taking some elements of Resurrect Priest and others from classic Combo Priest, Zalae built a hybrid Combo Priest deck that tries to incorporate the best from both worlds. By running the Circle of Healing package of Northshire Cleric, Injured Blademaster and Auchenai Soulpriest, the deck has a stronger early game but more importantly, an earlier board clear option before turn 7. Instead of the top end late game of Malygos and Velen, mid-game taunts are added with baseline high health that synergize with both Divine Spirit and Resurrect Effects (Grizzly, Stegodon). This hybrid build is a more proactive midrange deck that still carries a burst finisher through Topsy Turvy but has better defensive tools to fend off aggression as well as less “dead draws” in these matchups. We think it’s a superior spin on the resurrection mechanic and one that’s worth testing out in larger numbers.
- Priest Class Radar
- Resurrect Priest
- Combo Priest
- Control Priest
Odd Paladin has been the only archetype remotely relevant over the past few weeks and it is actually only barely holding onto a place in the meta by a hair as players are uninterested in playing the deck despite its decent win rate.
However, we’re not ruling out the possibility of things changing, and recent success with Even Paladin could bring the nerfed archetype back from the grave. SirSalty’s #9 legend build, which is largely inspired by BoarControl, takes a page out of Even Shaman’s book by including Corpsetakers (alongside Windfury Harpy acting as enabler) and Mossy Horror (despite the anti-synergy with the deck; Spreading Plague is a Hearthstone card). As of this moment, this new build of Even Paladin looks very, very strong.
- Paladin Class Radar
- Odd Paladin
- Even Paladin
- Thijs’ Exodia Paladin
The player base is thirsty for change, and one might be around the corner. Even Paladin was one of the most busted decks we’ve seen in Hearthstone, ruthlessly dominating the Witchwood meta. The change to Call to Arms effectively killed the deck, and since then it has only seen sporadic play. Now, it looks to make its return, and although we’re still unsure how good it can be once its secret is out, we think it’s worth testing. It may provide a refreshing, midrange style change to a meta that’s defined by a spectrum of extremes.
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