Welcome to the 111th edition of the Data Reaper Report!
Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 4,600 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!
Number of Games
Class Frequency Discussion
Warlock is now the most popular class at every rank bracket, and its two primary archetypes are headed in different directions: Even Warlock is rising while Zoo Warlock is declining. The split is very close between the two, with Even Warlock seeing more play at higher levels. Cube Warlock behaves similarly to Even Warlock, but its representation remains very modest in comparison.
Druid has taken another big hit in its numbers, with most of its archetypes negatively affected. It’s becoming clear that the class is very unlikely to develop into a power level or a prevalence problem in the post-patch Boomsday meta, contrary to the concerns of many.
Hunter has pretty much sat in place this week, with no significant changes to its archetype representation. Cube Hunter continues to be the most popular deck in the game at most levels of play.
Rogue is in decline, which is attributed to every archetype not named Odd Rogue. The plethora of late-game strategies that can be observed within the class is slowly shrinking.
Paladin is unsurprisingly increasing in play, keeping the momentum going ever since the balance changes went live. This rise can be observed in both Odd Paladin and Even Paladin.
Much like Odd Paladin, Shaman benefits from Druid’s decline and is seeing increased play across the board, as both Shudderwock and Even Shaman are well-known strugglers against the Druid class for different reasons.
Both Priest and Mage look like very stagnant classes. Resurrect and Combo Priest are the main competitive strategies available for Anduin. When it comes to Jaina, Big-Spell Mage is the most popular deck outside of legend, but Murloc Mage becomes more popular at legend.
Warrior remains seated at the bottom, but it might be encouraged by a significant increase in play at legend. This is the result of multiple high legend success stories with Odd Warrior towards the end of the month.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
The power levels at the top haven’t changed much. We still see Cube Hunter, Odd Paladin, Even Shaman and Even Warlock display the highest win rates at most rank brackets, with Even Warlock slightly falling off at higher levels of play. These are the most reliable ladder decks to climb to legend with, because they’re strong, stable and well-rounded.
It gets slightly more interesting when we look at the two other decks that are within touching distance of these four. Even Paladin and Cube Warlock don’t see much play, but they have a lot of potential in the current meta. Even Paladin beats Druid, beats Hunter and beats the most popular aggressive decks in the format (Zoo, Odd Rogue). That’s a pretty good combination that cannot be found elsewhere in the field. It might be harder for Cube Warlock to become a top meta deck, but it’s displaying one of the highest skill ceilings in the game, so it’s very rewarding for dedicated players.
With the increase in Paladins, Shamans and Odd Warriors (the latter specifically at legend), slower Druid strategies have gotten stronger, especially the more defensive Togwaggle and Mecha’thun archetypes. Last week, we talked about Druid’s problem of dealing with Hunter and the need to be proactive. The changes in the meta this week have actually helped decks that like to turtle up. It seems that this back and forth within the Druid class could continue, but none of its archetypes are likely to develop into world beaters as long as Cube Hunter is on top.
Zoo Warlock’s decline lines up with its performance level. Odd Rogue is in a similar spot of being a fairly strong aggressive deck but one that has some very good counters and clear weaknesses. The control archetypes of Odd Warrior and Big-Spell Mage are also good ladder decks that particularly shine in aggressive fields. The post-patch Boomsday meta does appear to be fairly diverse, with many competitive options from different ends of the meta spectrum.
Cube Rogue continues to look quite strong. We also have to keep in mind how unrefined it still is compared to other decks in its tier. It has one very difficult matchup in Odd Paladin, and the rest are quite winnable. Don’t sleep on this one, as it’s probably the most underrated deck in the game at the moment.
Priest is the only class in the game that doesn’t have an archetype with a positive win rate, but with Combo Priest and Resurrect Priest sitting in Tier 3, Anduin has seen worse days. You can definitely find success with the class, but it’s a little harder to achieve compared to other classes.
Finally, some insights on low sample archetypes
Murloc Mage is borderline Tier 2. We’re doubtful that it gains significant traction because it doesn’t do anything particularly special that other aggressive decks can’t do, but it’s still hard to say since its play rate is quite low.
Last week, Kingsbane Rogue looked quite weak to us, but it did make a noticeable improvement over the past few days. We’re not ready to call it a meta candidate because variance could still be at play, but it’s climbed out of the dumpster for now.
Quest Rogue has also slightly climbed in its win rate, but we still don’t think it’s a real threat to come back in larger numbers. It’s just making a little bit of noise and trying to spook us. Hey there, don’t be scared, my name is…
Much like before the patch, Odd-Taunt Warrior has settled into being just as strong as Odd Warrior. If you prefer the clock that’s offered by the quest over Dr. Boom and his mechs, then it’s definitely an option you could consider to help hedge against some of your worst matchups.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Even Warlock saw its play rate rise at all levels, benefiting from a favorable field and an absence of reliable counters. Multiple players have taken the archetype to high legend ranks this week with fairly standard builds that deviate from the featured list by up to 2-3 cards at most.
Zoo Warlock has slightly declined at most rank brackets, as the archetype has not shown performance levels that merit its high play rate, especially when we take into account the rise of Odd Warriors this week. Zoo is still a strong deck with a good place in the meta, but it’s part of a long list of good decks that are not a cut above. We’ll finish with your weekly reminder that Dreadlords are superior to Doomguards. With Odd Paladin’s rise to prominence, it’s not even close.
Cube Warlock hasn’t risen in play after showing quite a bit of promise last week. Its matchup spread is quite similar to Even Warlock, but it’s significantly harder to play and get the most out of. This might be the cause for its niche role, but Cube Warlock is still quite good and has benefited a lot from the balance changes.
We’re less impressed with Control Warlock, which looks quite weak in comparison. Lack of pro-activity is punishing in the current meta, since many decks (especially Cube Hunter) are very difficult to beat in a long game of attrition.
- Warlock Class Radar
- Zoo Warlock
- Even Warlock
- Cube Warlock
- Control Warlock
While Druid is still good, the class continues that downward trend that began with the balance patch. The meta has been working tirelessly to counter Druid and keep its numbers in check before giving it any room to breathe, and it’s certainly had an impact. Warlock has also overtaken Druid this week as the most popular class at legend.
What hasn’t changed is Druid’s generic core, which is the basis for all of its current successful archetypes on ladder. This has led to some stagnation in terms of card usage, since all Druid decks are very focused on that particular core of cards. Choosing a particular Druid deck for ladder relies on a few factors:
Malygos Druid is the best choice if you’re looking for a well-rounded deck that can do moderately well against everything, since its proactive win condition gives it a better chance to win against an opponent like Cube Hunter while still carrying a sturdy defensive shell. In a similar vein, Token Druid carries more aggressive tendencies at the cost of its reactive capabilities.
Togwaggle and Mecha’thun Druid are very similar since they focus on defensive stalling while drawing their entire deck before executing their win condition. They perform better in an aggressive meta that should also inevitably drive up Odd Warrior’s numbers as a result.
Taunt Druid is a more extreme choice meant to target the Druid mirror, but the deck makes a big sacrifice in other matchups, and in the current climate of Druid’s decline, it makes less sense and less sense to take it to ladder.
- Druid Class Radar
- Malygos Druid
- Taunt Druid
- Togwaggle Druid
- Mecha’thun Druid
- Token Druid
For Cube Hunter this week, lists with bigger beast packages are becoming more popular due to the prevalence of Druid, Warrior and the mirror matchup. These builds include either a copy of Highmane or Devilsaur. Devilsaur is stronger off Katherna, while Highmane is the stronger standalone card that’s more difficult to remove in the aforementioned matchups. Zyrios hit #1 legend with the featured Highmane build.
Secret Hunter is seeing a solid amount of play and has continued to produce strong results on ladder. Uberer hit #1 legend as the month drew to a close with a build that completely cuts Eaglehorn Bow and runs 8 total secrets, including Rat Trap, which performs best when it’s least expected. While Eaglehorn Bow has always been a Hunter staple and synergizes with the secret package, its performance in the deck is below average, which has led to experimentation cutting one copy or both.
- Hunter Class Radar
- Cube Hunter
- Secret Hunter
- Spell Hunter
Enthusiasm for the Rogue class has waned this week, with most archetypes other than Odd Rogue exhibiting declines in play. However, Cube Rogue continues to produce good results as well as a strong overall win rate, so don’t count it out.
One trend we’ve noticed in Odd Rogue is the increase in Tar Creeper’s popularity. Many high legend builds include the cards, inspiring netdeckers to follow in their footsteps. However, much like before, Tar Creeper is an underwhelming card in Odd Rogue that’s hard to justify.
Kuroma took BoarControl’s Cube Rogue build to #1 legend. The biggest difference in this list is the inclusion of Dread Corsair to synergize with Necrium Blade for some early game tempo.
Uberer reached #1 legend with Quest Rogue for the 2nd time after the balance changes this month. His success is quite impressive but hasn’t been replicated elsewhere yet, in contrast to the dominance of the archetype before the patch.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Odd Rogue
- Cube Rogue
- Miracle Rogue
- Quest Rogue
- Kingsbane Rogue
Paladin is looking pretty good right now, to say the least.
Odd Paladin continues to keep Cube Hunter in check, which is the primary reason to play this deck. But, its matchup spread against the rest of the field is still really good outside of Druid. The main flex slots in the deck cost 3 mana: Divine Favor, Stonehill Defender and Boisterous Bard all show up in different numbers.
Even Paladin is slowly proving to be almost as strong as Odd Paladin. It’s not as popular as its Odd counterpart, but it’s a great response to a meta that attempts to counter Odd Paladin. Even Paladin’s game plan is not as straightforward and can drastically change in different matchups, since you’re often playing defensively against aggressive decks. It has the ability to build very tall boards and win drawn out games thanks to its longevity.
Shaman has seen an increase in play at most ranks, with both Shudderwock and Even Shaman on the rise. It seems that finally, Even Shaman is getting more attention from the player base.
Multiple players have found early legend success with Even Shaman this season, with Crabs taking an early #1 spot with a pretty standard list, opting to run a 2nd copy of Earthen Might, over a 2nd copy of Hex. His approach prioritizes early game snowballing over the strength of Hex in late game matchups such as Even Warlock, Resurrect Priest and Cube Hunter.
Shudderwock Shaman remains the more popular of Thrall’s two meta contenders. This deck is far more polarizing than the relatively stable Even Shaman, and targets slower decks with its infinite damage potential. The standard build has rarely ever changed over the past few months. As mentioned last week, a 2nd Earth Shock can help in the Cube matchups, as well as the matchup against Even Warlock by answering Twilight Drakes.
- Shaman Class Radar
- Shudderwock Shaman
- Even Shaman
Warrior remains a solid choice with the meta being relatively stable over the past week. Odd Warrior has risen in play with many players finding top legend success with the archetype recently. With Cube Hunter remaining the most popular deck, Odd Warrior decks are making more concessions to it, with double Ironbeak Owl/Mind Control Tech re-establishing itself as the standard. Some lists even run 2 Faceless Manipulators in an attempt to catch the Hunter’s pants down by copying a huge Zombeast or a Cube.
Of course, nothing will make the deck consistently beat a turn 6 Deathstalker Rexxar, but these adjustments make a strong enough impact to improve the matchup. In any case, Cube Hunter is nothing like Quest Rogue, Shudderwock Shaman or Togwaggle Druid. It’s a bad matchup, but if Cube Hunter remains the primary threat to Odd Warrior in the current meta then Garrosh is in decent shape. There are still plenty of aggressive decks to feast on.
Resurrect Priest hangs on as the main archetype for the class this week, and it’s certainly a stronger deck than before the balance changes. Combo Priest is in a similar position, and both decks sit comfortably within the competitive range of win rates.
Psychic Scream has always been a busted card, though the class didn’t have many chances to show it this year. In the current meta, it’s the strongest it’s ever been thanks to its incredible performance against aggressive decks as well as Cube decks. This is why we continue to maintain that Psychic Scream belongs in Combo Priest, and we strongly favor the hybrid Resurrect variants of the archetype. Its comeback potential is enormous, which is something Combo Priest decks of the past have struggled with. Alongside Diamond Spellstone, Combo Priest with Psychic Scream carries huge swing potential that can turn unwinnable games on the spot.
- Priest Class Radar
- Resurrect Priest
- Combo Priest
Mage lingers at the bottom of the meta, with little enthusiasm amongst the player base for playing its archetypes. Murloc Mage is a half decent aggressive deck fighting for relevance against a strong field of aggressive decks. The archetype doesn’t really sit on a unique niche like Aluneth Mage did. It struggles to win board against other popular aggressive decks, gets blown out by early board clears and doesn’t have burst damage. It’s good enough to find success with, but may suffer from redundancy.
Big-Spell Mage has a stronger case, since it naturally counters the most popular class in the game, beating both Zoo and Even Warlock consistently. It also performs extremely well against Warrior, while failing against the usual suspects (Shudderwock, Togwaggle). Sjow had high legend success early this month with a non-Keleseth Astromancer build, fueling some interest in the archetype once again.
- Mage Class Radar
- Big-Spell Mage
- Murloc Mage
Cube Warlock and Even Paladin are fairly small in representation but we believe they deserve a stronger mention. Both of these archetypes were top performers in Witchwood before the balance changes, and now they’re looking to make their way back into the meta.
Despite having a few strong counters, mainly coming from the Shaman class, Even Paladin’s matchup spread is very impressive. It is so impressive that it should enjoy success at all levels of play, including top legend, where many players have already found it to be effective. It is too strong against multiple prominent strategies to ignore.
Cube Warlock has always been a very skill intensive deck, and this hasn’t changed in this meta. Its ability to contest Druids, Hunters and board-centric aggressive decks makes it quite effective at the moment. It has a really balanced and non-polarized matchup spread, which means you can often outplay your opponent in tight affairs (or throw games left and right!).
Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 4,600 active contributors. Without them, this project would not be possible, so we’d like to thank all of our contributors for their help.
Preparing our weekly article requires a significant amount of time and effort from many individuals. We would like to wholeheartedly thank our current Patreons, whose generous donations help us fund computing and server costs.
vS Gold is a new membership plan aimed to support our efforts towards improving our content and data analysis while receiving some bonuses and extra features.
Tier 3+ Patrons
Special thanks to Leo G, Aaron B, Jed M, Drew M, Alan J, Eric L, Zolstar, Lim E, Sean H, Steve F, Andrew N, NObdy, Mark S, Alonso P, msKang, Andrew R, Andrew H, James Y, PinkMageDiaries, Je-ho, seungwon, and Capilano for supporting us for the month of November.
Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report: