Welcome to the 113th edition of the Data Reaper Report!
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Data Reaper Updates
- This is the last Standard Data Reaper Report for the Boomsday Project. We’ll be taking our usual break at the beginning of an expansion and publish our first report for Rastakhan’s Rumble on December 13th. During this break, we’ll be publishing content related to the new expansion, so stick around!
- A Wild Data Reaper Report will be published this Sunday, November 25th.
Number of Games
Class Frequency Discussion
While Warlock and Hunter are the most popular classes on the climb to legend through ranks 9-1, the legend meta keeps things very close between the top 4 classes. Each of these classes displays multiple competitive archetypes, with Rogue being particularly diverse at higher levels of play. The Rogue class currently boasts six different archetypes: each with different cores and win conditions. We note the significant growth in Kingsbane Rogue this week, a deck that has seen its win rate drastically climb over the past few weeks.
While Rogue is miles ahead of other classes in terms of keeping things fresh at the end of the expansion with continuing changes, Hunter is also showing small signs of innovation with the budding of Midrange Hunter and Odd Hunter, though these archetypes’ play rates are still a bit low.
Following the top 4 classes are the middle 3 of Paladin, Shaman, and Priest. Paladin has two of the strongest decks in the game and abuses Genn and Baku like no other class. Shaman has stabilized in its play rate after an encouraging rise in relevance over the past few weeks. Priest has surged in its play rate, especially at legend, where Resurrect Priest is now one of the most common strategies around.
At the bottom, we have Mage and Warrior. Mage was the biggest loser of the balance changes that saw Mana Wyrm nuked into oblivion and an entire archetype crash as a result. Big-Spell Mage is a decent deck in the current meta, and murlocs are still running around, so the class isn’t dead by any means. Warrior is suffering from the one-trick-pony syndrome, and its one trick Odd Warrior has seen its win rate decline recently. Therefore, we’re not surprised to see the class remain at the bottom of play rates. It needs some new ideas.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
The top of the meta hasn’t changed much, with the usual mix of Even, Odd and Cube decks dominating the win rate charts. We do note the rise in Secret Hunter’s win rate, which is particularly noticeable at legend where there are more Druids and fewer Paladins. This is also why Cube Hunter is so strong at legend (with a perfect Meta Score) yet looks like a much weaker deck at 1-4. In general, Hunter is a big winner this week due to the meta slowing down and becoming more experimental. The bigger changes, however, come from the decks that are chasing the leading pack.
Resurrect Priest is now a 50% win rate archetype after another week of improvement in its performance, born from favorable meta trends (meta becoming slower) and refinement (adding one or two Witchwood Grizzlies was a good change). Anduin ends The Boomsday Project timeline with hope and optimism. The class has many decent archetypes that might be just a couple of cards away from being legitimate meta contenders, so there’s potential for Priest to become both diverse and successful once we enter Rastakhan’s Rumble.
Kingsbane Rogue is the biggest story for us at the end of the expansion, with an improvement in its performance that genuinely caught us off guard. It’s almost as if Valeera saw Raiding Party is getting released in a couple of weeks and began practicing the deck in anticipation. Maybe you should do that too, because we think Raiding Party might be a game changer for Kingsbane Rogue specifically.
In an unexpected plot twist, Warrior manages to find a way to finish the Boomsday season as the worst class in the game in both popularity and win rate. It is the only class that fails to display an archetype with a positive win rate. Garrosh suffers defeat at the hands of an Anduin buzzer beater? The memes write themselves. On a serious note, can the Warrior class be supported to do more than just sit back and click on its hero power?
Genn and Baku are the strongest and most influential cards in the format, and they’ve established Paladin as one of, if not the strongest ladder class in the game. We’re very curious to see what happens to the early game meta in Rastakhan’s Rumble. Can other aggressive and midrange decks match up to the consistency of Odd/Even decks? The only decks on the initiative side of the spectrum that have successfully established themselves in the current meta are Secret Hunter and Zoo Warlock (and arguably Murloc Mage). What stands out in these archetypes is that they are heavily synergy-based, while carrying massive tempo swing potential. Swing turns are the best ways to beat consistent output, so we wonder if more of these mechanics are introduced in the early-mid game. The Hearthstone meta needs to find a way to alleviate Genn/Baku dominance if we want a fresh field.
The late game meta is much more open. We’re entering the Death Knights’ last hurrah in standard format, so things will open up even more in rotation. We’re looking for the Rogue and Druid classes to set the tone in Rastakhan’s Rumble, at least initially. Warlock is being built up as a reactive late-game class with disruption tools, so it doesn’t set the tone, but adjusts to it accordingly. Cube Hunter is vulnerable to Vanish Rogue decks, so if one of them blows up, it’s going to take a back seat.
Rogue is notorious for dictating the late game meta, so will one of Rogue’s combo-based late game archetypes take over? Will Quest Rogue find a third comeback? Will the already rising Kingsbane Rogue go out of standard format with a bang? Will a Cube-centric Deathrattle Rogue make further strides?
Druid’s core from K&C and KFT is still around, and it’s very powerful. It’s so powerful that it’s capable of housing pretty much any win condition it can find. Will Druid find a new win condition that’s more effective than Malygos, Togwaggle, Hadronox or Mecha’thun? Will it hone one of these win conditions to become more effective? If it does, hmm…. Well Played.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Druid has been the most scrutinized class in Boomsday and the source of much of the community’s complaints when it comes to gameplay experience. Much of it has to do with the strength of its cards from KFT and K&C that have established a strong core that’s hard to pass up for any archetype.
However, while Druid is certainly a good class, it hasn’t proven to be oppressive at any point after the balance changes. It has a plethora of strong decks, but none of them can be considered the best decks at any level of play. When we look at the new expansion, our hope is that the class can find ways to build successful decks without relying on its current core, which will diversify the experience of both playing it and playing against it. This might be a long shot since there is always a danger that one of Druid’s established archetypes becomes too powerful with a few upgrades.
As we’ve learned from the past, diversifying the experience is more likely to generate a favorable impression, since players are less likely to run into (and lose against) the same combination of cards over and over. If Rastakhan successfully reaches that goal, we’re going to see Malfurion getting less heat, even if his overall win rate remains in good shape.
- Druid Class Radar
- Malygos Druid
- Taunt Druid
- Togwaggle Druid
- Mecha’thun Druid
- Token Druid
Even Warlock has been one of the most consistent performers in Boomsday, displaying good results at all levels of play. We don’t expect that to change until Rastakhan, so if you’re interested in a reliable ladder climb, it’s one of the best choices.
Similar to Even Warlock, Zoo Warlock has long found its optimal builds and should remain one of the most popular decks in the game for the next couple of weeks. We don’t think it’s as strong as Even Warlock since its early game is often challenged by Genn and Baku decks, but it’s been consistently displaying a positive win rate for the last 4 months.
Cube Warlock’s presence remains small but it is a powerful deck that has proven to be successful and very rewarding to master, especially at high legend ranks.
Control Warlock needs more tools to be a relevant player in the meta and is patiently waiting for Rastakhan to provide them. So far, the new discard synergy cards seem interesting to experiment with in a defensive Warlock shell. We really like reducing the randomness of discarding cards since it makes the mechanic much more likely to succeed in late game strategies that rely on resource management.
- Warlock Class Radar
- Zoo Warlock
- Even Warlock
- Cube Warlock
- Control Warlock
Heading into Rastakhan’s Rumble, Cube Hunter remains the most played and one of the most powerful archetypes in the game. The deck has the flexibility to improve late-game matchups by expanding its beast package, or tech against aggro by utilizing Mind Control Techs and Defender of Argus. This week, there was a slight return for Defender of Argus in builds, as Gyong reached #1 legend with a list that cuts Mossy Horror in favor of one Defender.
As for Hunter archetypes other than the most established Cube Hunter (which might be getting another tool in the form of Oondasta), their relevance lies mainly on what comes out of the next expansion and whether the new set is able to support their synergies. With Team 5’s focus on less early game snowballing minions, aggressive and midrange Hunter decks need to find other ways to leverage advantages in the early turns against the consistency of Genn and Baku. Shoring up the early game is most crucial for Hunter, since it still has one of the best late game cards to fall back on with Deathstalker Rexxar.
- Hunter Class Radar
- Cube Hunter
- Secret Hunter
- Midrange Hunter
- Spell Hunter
Rogue has probably been the most dynamic class in this expansion, with the most drastic and significant changes in its internal meta from the beginning of Boomsday to the current time.
While Odd Rogue, the early game powerhouse, has been a constant presence, the more late game oriented Rogue archetypes were the ones innovating. The return to dominance of Quest Rogue was met with a nerf to Giggling Inventor that saw the archetype significantly drop in power. While it has recovered in its win rate since, its play rate is still very low and nowhere near the levels that we saw at legend ranks before the patch.
The fall of Quest Rogue gave space for other decks to shine. Kingsbane Rogue, which was usually a low tier deck throughout its history, saw a significant rise in its win rate and now finds itself in a legitimate spot in the meta for the first time in Standard format. Following Furyhunter’s #1 legend accomplishment was ETC, who swapped Shiv for a Cutthroat Buccaneer, to also hit #1 legend. This archetype now looks forward to Rastakhan’s Rumble and Raiding Party already looks like a card it can get behind.
Cube Rogue has improved from its early iterations to the point where we featured it in last week’s meta breaker section and marked it as one of the stronger decks in the current meta. It’s still quite underrated when we look at its play rate, and you’ll find it to be surprisingly effective against the Boomsday field.
Rogue has always been the trickster class alongside Priest, but out of the two classes, it has usually ended up more successful. Pirate synergy is on the cards for the next expansion, and we’ll have to see whether a true tribal Rogue deck forms, or whether pirate packages end up complementing other strategies.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Odd Rogue
- Cube Rogue
- Quest Rogue
- Kingsbane Rogue
- Miracle Rogue
As the expansion cycle draws to a close it seems that the player base’s interest in experimentation is grinding to a halt. Paladin is no exception, except that the class is pretty happy with the meta freezing at this moment in time.
Odd Paladin is one of the most powerful decks in the meta. It can blow out any opponent before they can stabilize by swarming it with Silver Hand Recruits. We expect it to remain a powerful early game strategy in RR since it’s unlikely that a package of aggressive minions will be introduced and outclass it, and it’s very hard for any aggressive deck in the meta to match up to it.
Even Paladin is an interesting deck, as it is potentially just as powerful as Odd Paladin, but requires a different mindset, since it is much more flexible in its game plan and can play defensively against other early game decks. Paladin’s hero power has proven to be the strongest and most consistent fit for Genn and Baku decks, and much like Odd Paladin, Even Paladin will be seeking upgrades on its curve in the new set without significantly changing its core.
Shaman is seeing some stabilization in its numbers after its growth in popularity over the past couple of weeks. This is mostly due to Shudderwock Shaman’s decline, which doesn’t have a stellar win rate but one of the highest play rates.
Compared to other classes, Shaman has definitely been sleeping throughout most of this expansion when it comes to innovation. Both Shudderwock Shaman and Even Shaman have been figured out very early on in the expansion’s life and barely changed since. Shaman’s most significant development in Boomsday was the emergence of Midrange Shaman before its death as a result of Giggling Inventor’s nerf. We’re hoping to see some new decks for the class, since its current archetypes are still largely defined by their Witchwood centerpieces.
- Shaman Class Radar
- Shudderwock Shaman
- Even Shaman
Priest has made gradual improvements since the balance changes to reach a pretty decent position in the meta. Resurrect Priest bounced back from its pre-patch failures to carve out a sizeable niche in the current meta. The class is in decent shape going forward because it has many possible directions to go into. Even if a couple of them don’t work out, it just needs to throw enough things at a wall to make something stick. It’s done just that as The Boomsday timeline came to a close.
The MVP for Priest in Rastakhan’s Rumble might not be a new card, but cards it has already received a year ago: Psychic Scream and Duskbreaker.
Should Hunter remain in a dominant position in the meta, Psychic Scream is one of the most effective counters to the class’ board development (much like Vanish, which is a pseudo-silencing board clear). We’ve also seen hints of the dragon tribe returning, which means Duskbreaker could make a more prominent return in order to answer early game decks. With these tools already in hand, and the hopeful addition of stronger win condition, Priest looks forward to the next expansion without the sense of dread that accompanied it before the balance changes.
- Priest Class Radar
- Resurrect Priest
- Combo Priest
- Sjow’s Control Priest
- Sonagi’s Spiteful Priest
The two most popular mage archetypes, Murloc Mage and Big-Spell Mage, have drastically different playstyles. Not surprisingly, this leads to them being played at different rates depending on the meta of various ranks. At lower ranks, where Warlock is most prevalent, Big Spell Mage acts as a reliable counter. However, at legend ranks where Druid is most prevalent, Murloc Mage rises in popularity. Murloc Mage thrives on decks that are passive in their early game and don’t have powerful AOE. This makes the deck formidable in a meta dominated by Cube Hunters and Druids.
Sjow switched to a Keleseth build which helped him reach #50 legend, making it more similar to our long-standing featured build. The main difference is that it focuses more on late game matchups rather than early game tempo swings.
Mage is a class that needs to reinvent itself in the new expansion after losing its centerpiece aggressive card in Mana Wyrm. Early card reveals point to Odd Mage being a strongly supported archetype, so look out for heavy experimentation in that direction when the new expansion is released.
- Mage Class Radar
- Big-Spell Mage
- Murloc Mage
Warrior has done precisely what it was predicted to do after the balance change: boast a high-variance archetype with wild swings in win rate depending on the matchups. While this is an improvement on the abject misery Warrior was subjected to for much of the last year, one does hope Rastakhan’s Rumble makes things a little more exciting. The class is certainly ending The Boomsday Project timeline on a sour note with Odd Warrior’s significant drop in power.
Presumably one thing that dissuades players from running Warrior is that it will eventually queue into a large pocket of unwinnable matchups, and this experience can be very off-putting. Literally, any other Warrior deck with less polarizing matchups would encourage far more people to play the class, so we’re looking forward to at least one emerging.
While we’re still firmly in the middle of card reveal season, and there’s still a long way to go with many more cards to be revealed, we’ll continue our tradition of highlighting specific new cards we feel could be potential meta breakers.
We’ve mentioned it already, but we think Raiding Party is the best card of the set so far. Drawing 3 specific cards with a 3 mana spell that can be cheated out through Preparation? The potential is there for many decks, though we have to highlight how incredible this looks for Kingsbane Rogue. Without seeing all of the pirates in the set, running a package of Cutthroat Buccaneer, Captain Greenskin and Dread Corsairs looks juicy already.
If Odd Mage makes it as a deck, it will have Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk to thank for. This is the kind of win condition the deck needs in order to assert itself, though it might still be missing a few tools to become a serious contender.
How about some more AOE, Gul’dan? Shriek looks very powerful and introduces discarding that’s not completely random. This gives the mechanic the best chance of successfully finding its way to a late game strategy. The direction of the Warlock set so far is very interesting.
Arcane Giant was a really strong card back in the day, and now Priest is getting a stronger class-specific version of it in Grave Horror. This card has tremendous potential and should heavily incentivize spell-centric decks. We can envision it slotting into already established shells and provide that extra oomph to make them legitimate threats.
Finally, this expansion looks to re-introduce dragon tribe synergies, with eyes mostly kept on Warrior and Priest to emerge with dragon decks. Should a dragon deck successfully pan out, we’re pretty confident that it will run Firetree Witchdoctor. These kind of stats and value for an early game minion surpass most of what current standard format has to offer.
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