Welcome to the 114th edition of the Data Reaper Report! This is the first report for Rastakhan’s Rumble.
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Class Frequency Discussion
In the first report of an expansion, our goal is to explain to our audience what decks are being played, how well they are performing and why do they perform the way they do. The last bit is particularly important for the first week of an expansion, since it’s full of experimentation, and some of that experimentation can drop an archetype’s win rate well below its potential. Some archetypes have already stabilized and are optimized (or close to it), while others are still far from that point. We want to identify what works and what doesn’t work for every archetype, and guide you to the most successful build paths.
Hunter can definitely be considered the early frontrunner of Rastakhan, and it’s quite a frontrunner. Nearly a quarter of opponents between rank 1-4 are Hunters. Spell Hunter is the most popular deck in the game, fueled by the addition of Zul’jin. Hunter numbers drop at legend where players are more likely to test and experiment with other classes. Cube, Secret and Midrange Hunter can be observed in significant numbers, making the class fairly diverse. We can also see old Kathrena Recruit Hunters in smaller numbers, though this archetype’s builds are too experimental to evaluate at the moment. They are completely split between drastically different shells.
While Hunter is the most popular class outside of legend, Rogue takes over at Legend. Kingsbane Rogue has become a meta-defining deck with the addition of Raiding Party, and the most popular deck at higher levels of play. The class is also seeing plenty of experimentation with some seriously janky decks. The unchanged Odd Rogue is followed by a plethora of aggressive decks, utilizing pirates to various degrees (Tempo Rogue, Pirate Rogue and Even Rogue) and late game focused decks that have been overshadowed by Kingsbane Rogue (Quest, Malygos, Cube).
Odd Paladin’s prevalence is likely a direct response to the popularity of Hunter and Rogue, since the deck performs well against all of what these two classes have to offer. We also see the emergence of some late-game combo decks: the Horsemen brewing Exodia Paladin and the Shirvallah-banking Holy Wrath Paladin. Even Paladin, meanwhile, is barely visible on the map.
The higher you climb the ranks, the more Druids you encounter. While the class is seeing some new builds, its archetype structure has remained similar. Taunt Druid is split between old Witching Hour/Cube builds and Undatakah builds. Togwaggle and Mecha’thun Druid are still extremely similar, posing a recognition bias threat, so they’re merged together under the name “Togg-M’Thun”. Malygos Druid mostly refuses to play new cards, while Token Druid is the deck most willing to transition into a new variant that is focused on treants. Finally, players are trying to make Gonk work.
The higher you climb the ranks, the fewer Mages you see. This is born out of the declining enthusiasm for Odd Mage, a day-one sensation. Big-Spell Mage is still around in small numbers, while attempts to establish meta decks are seen with Aluneth Mage, Elemental Mage, and Exodia Quest Mage.
Warlock is basically playing the same four archetypes it has played during Boomsday, with the addition of Discard Warlock. Zoo and Control Warlock display relatively high build diversity, experimenting with new cards, while Even and Cube Warlock are carbon copies of their Boomsday forms.
Shaman is in a similar spot to where it was in Boomsday. The most popular deck of the class is Shudderwock Shaman, which has barely changed at all in the last eight months. Even Shamans, while small in numbers, are also Boomsday versions of the deck. Only Aggro Shaman is a new archetype with a notable presence.
Anduin has always been the master of jank, and this expansion is no exception. There are tons of different Priest variants being tested and things change on a daily basis, so it’s impossible to evaluate archetypes such as Combo Priest and Quest Priest. The more solidified archetypes are Resurrect Priest (same deck from Boomsday with the addition of Mass Hysteria), Control Priest (with new dragons) and APM Priest, which is seeing quite a bit of play at legend following the success of numerous individuals.
Warrior is at the bottom of play rates. Again. Odd Warrior is the only solidified archetype in the current meta, fully embracing a dragon package. Dragon Control Warrior without Baku is also observed, while Rush Warrior is the most experimental archetype of the class.
vS Meta Score
Note: Low Sample Estimates
As you can see, we’ve added a low sample estimate table, much like we do in Wild reports, to provide some evaluation on many archetypes with play rates that are too low to provide matchup data on. This is particularly important at the beginning of an expansion where there are many decks that people are curious about that don’t see much play. While these decks do have low play rates, they are only placed in a Tier if we’re 100% confident that they belong on their tier based on their current performance level. We’re just not confident about their global win rates, since their standard deviation values are too high.
vS Power Rankings Discussion
We’re fully aware that this is just the first week of the expansion. Established decks get refined earlier, so they might look stronger initially. Undiscovered decks could still appear, and there are already several ongoing trends that should alter the metagame picture by next week.
However, we’d still like to talk about the big picture that these Power Rankings show, so far. There are no new decks born in Rastakhan that have made a significant impact on the meta. You’ll soon find out from our analysis, as well as the class sections, that Rastakhan’s Rumble might be the least impactful set of cards we’ve ever seen. The new expansion’s impact mostly comes down to Kingsbane Rogue receiving Raiding Party, and Zul’jin upgrading two Hunter decks into surefire Tier 1 spots. Every other deck that we estimate to be Tier 1 either plays Genn Greymane, Baku the Mooneater or Carnivorous Cube.
Odd Paladin is the best ladder deck in the game, and it’s not close. The current meta, which is dominated by Hunter and Rogue, is extremely favorable for Paladin’s strategy of swarming the board. The deck doesn’t play, and shouldn’t play any new cards. Should Spreading Plague rise in popularity (and as bad decks disappear), we can see Odd Paladin’s win rate drop, but it has a pretty comfortable cushion of about 4% to fall into before its position as a Tier 1 deck is threatened. That’s pretty nuts.
Hunter looks pretty good, with three Tier 1 decks. Only Midrange Hunter’s performance looks mediocre in comparison. After all, it doesn’t abuse Spellstone, Zul’jin or Cubes, which seem to be the finest ingredients for a winning strategy.
We’re pretty confident that Even Paladin is almost as strong as Odd Paladin, and might become stronger should Spreading Plague become more popular. Its win rate made us double check that Call to Arms’ cost did not switch back to 4 mana. It’s a Meta Breaker waiting to happen. The combo Paladin decks don’t seem too promising. Exodia Paladin is decent but its win condition is still slow and clunky, which can give it problems against opponents with faster and more consistent finishers. Holy Wrath is a meme.
Warlock is very strong as long as you don’t play new cards. Both Even Warlock and Cube Warlock are following these instructions, which is why they’re Tier 1 decks. Cube Warlock is actually the best Warlock deck at the moment, joining Even Paladin as a Meta Breaker waiting to happen. Zoo Warlock has been playing new cards, which is why it’s performing so poorly. We see variants dropping Keleseth for Spirit of the Bat. We see variants running Devilsaur Eggs and Grim Rally. Once Zoo Warlock stops doing those naughty things, and only plays the healing package version, its win rate should spike back up to a good number. We’re less optimistic about Control Warlock since it has yet to find a strong, consistent build. As for Discard Warlock, we’re not sure anything needs to be said: it’s a solid Tier 6.
Kingsbane Rogue is definitely strong and here to stay as a meta staple. Its win rate has relaxed from the first couple of days where it was well over 52%. We’re seeing signs of the meta responding to it, and considering that it’s been refined fairly early, we don’t think it’s a danger to take over the game. However, we can already see that its skill cap is very high, so it might improve in several matchups over time.
Odd Rogue becomes more powerful at higher levels of play because the meta is much more favorable there. It struggles against Spellstone Hunters while performing quite well against Kingsbane Rogue. We’re not impressed with other aggressive Rogue decks. The only exception is a specific Tempo Rogue variant that runs a Captain Hooktusk package, and we feature it in the Rogue section. Most Tempo Rogue variants run Spirit of the Shark, and this is why the archetype’s performance is estimated at Tier 4.
It’s very likely that Druid finds its way into Tier 1 sooner or later, with both Taunt Druid and Token Druid giving us the impression that it’s strictly a formality. Taunt Druid’s win rate is being bogged down by Undatakah builds that are drastically inferior to the old Cube variants. If the meta doesn’t shift against Taunt Druid, it should climb to Tier 1 once it drops the inferior variant. Token Druid, on the other hand, is even more likely to reach Tier 1 because its refined builds are crazy strong.
Malygos Druid has stayed put in every way, both in its card usage and its win rate, which gradually increases at higher levels of play. Togwaggle Druid’s win rate has suffered a bit. Can you guess why? Of course you can. It started playing a new card! Drop your Hakkar, folks. Azalina is still the way to go.
Things look quite bleak for Mage. Odd Mage doesn’t look as strong as it did on day one, and its win rate has been continuously falling. Though we have yet to find a build that we truly liked, we would like see testing of more aggressive lists for the archetype and revisit the question next week. Control Odd Mage is quite limited in its options, while the upgraded hero power might be more useful as an aggressive tool for board control and damage. So far, Big-Spell Mage looks like a stronger deck for the class even though it hasn’t been refined at all.
New ideas for Shaman look awful, and the old ideas look just as good as they did in Boomsday. Shudderwock Shaman is a competitive deck with a decent niche of countering Kingsbane Rogue in the current meta. Even Shaman is a powerful ladder deck that not many care to play. Number of Rastakhan cards in both decks: 0.
It would be wise to wait another week to evaluate Priest before making significant conclusions about its prospects because of the class’ current state of incredible jankiness. What can be gleaned from the data is that Resurrect Priest is in a similar spot to where it was in Boomsday as a serviceable deck, and Control Priest also has potential to make it into the meta, but likely requires some time to adjust its build to whatever the meta evolves into.
Poor Garrosh. Things look quite bad on the surface for Warrior. While Odd Warrior’s win rate looks fairly decent at lower ranks, it sinks all the way to Tier 3 at legend due to the backbreaking matchup with Kingsbane Rogue and other crippling counters. We don’t really see a way for Odd Warrior to effectively depolarize its matchup spread because it has no meaningful ways to interact with the win conditions that destroy it. While things also look bad for other Warrior decks, we will mention that there is some light found within Rush Warrior, another archetype that is suffering from the overuse of Rastakhan cards. We feature a list that might end up being competitively viable.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Spurred on by a few powerful cards, Hunter finds itself as the most popular class in the game, sporting multiple Tier 1 decks.
The breakout deck for the class has been Spell Hunter. Thanks to the addition of Zul’jin, Spell Hunter has significantly improved its late game power, which has been the primary weakness of the deck in the past. Not only is it a powerful closer against any aggressive or midrange strategy, but it also provides a powerful reload tool in slower matchups. Baited Arrow is another new card that’s found a home in the deck, giving it another meaningful turn 5 play alongside Emerald Spellstone.
Cube Hunter has changed little with the new expansion, but did make a meaningful upgrade with Oondasta, which allows us to cheat out the big beasts we’ve drawn before Kathrena. Since we’re open to running more beasts, Amani War Bear is a sensible inclusion that protects you better than Charged Devilsaur or Savannah Highmane. We also like Stitched Tracker’s performance in the deck alongside Oondasta. The final two slots in the deck are still open to debate, which won’t conclude until the meta settles down. Keeping that in mind, Mind Control Tech and Mossy Horror are still worthwhile considerations.
Secret Hunter has also been able to utilize Zul’jin very well, alongside new 3-drops in Masked Contender and Bloodscalp Strategist. These additions help Secret Hunter generate more sustained value and pressure, which alleviates some of the deck’s reliance on drawing Deathstalker Rexxar in late-game matchups.
The most experimental archetype for the class is Midrange Hunter. Ike’s build is inspired by late Boomsday iterations utilizing Unleash the Hounds and Sea Giants. This token variant attempts to stick small beasts on the board and execute powerful swing turns through Revenge of the Wild and Scavenging Hyena.
- Hunter Class Radar
- Cube Hunter
- Spell Hunter
- Secret Hunter
- Midrange Hunter
Raiding Party has proven to be the meta breaking card we thought it would be. It is the singular new addition for Kingsbane Rogue, and it has elevated the archetype into a top meta contender. Raiding Party offers incredible consistency in drawing your Kingsbane, and accelerates the buffing process by drawing pirates. It simply boosts the speed of your win condition, and for a late-game strategy, that’s often the difference between niche and meta defining.
While Kingsbane Rogue’s win rate has declined from the very early days of the expansion, since the meta has begun to respond, it has performed very well for many players and it is currently the most popular deck at higher levels of play. When evaluating builds, we’ve found that the theory-crafted list we featured in our pre-release article was actually the best all-around choice. Dread Corsairs offer strong swings in aggressive matchups that can buy you enough time to stabilize. Going forward, we might consider running Gluttonous Ooze for the mirror matchup and for Twig Druids, but we do not feel we are at a point where this choice is optimal.
Raiding Party has also been popular in Pirate Rogue, but the aggressive tribal lists have been performing very poorly. The same can be said for Even Rogue, which was an early experiment that fizzled out. The promising lead comes from Captain Hooktusk. Tempo Rogue utilizing a Pirate package containing the biggest bodies of the tribe has been the best approach when it comes to the class’ new aggressive options. With Cursed Castaways, Southsea Captains and Ticket Scalpers, Hooktusk offers a game-winning swing turn that’s very hard to deal with. This direction is also superior to any Spirit of the Shark shenanigans we’ve come across.
Gral, the Shark is the singular new card that has made it into Gyong’s most recent Miracle Rogue list, which he took to #1 legend. Whether this addition really makes the deck better or not remains to be seen. We’re not ready to make a judgment call.
Finally, we’ll mention Odd Rogue. We expect it to increase in popularity since it’s still a very strong deck in the current meta, despite gaining no cards in the new expansion. Its good matchup against Kingsbane Rogue will likely keep it quite relevant going forward.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Kingsbane Rogue
- Odd Rogue
- Tempo Rogue
- Miracle Rogue
Paladin might settle down as the most dominant class in Rastakhan’s Rumble without playing any new cards. Both Odd Paladin and Even Paladin look like the two best ladder decks in the game at the moment, should our projected power level for the latter prove to be accurate.
Odd Paladin dominates Hunter and Rogue like no other deck in the game, which is why it’s so strong right now. When it comes to builds, we think there is no need to tinker with a winning formula. One small piece of novelty is adding Prince Liam. The legendary has actually been quite strong for the archetype lately, though it’s definitely not essential and can be replaced with pretty much any flex card you can think of (Boisterous Bard, 2nd Divine Favor, Stormwind Champion). Should you start running into a significant number of Druids, consider swapping the Stonehill Defenders for Void Rippers.
Even Paladin, much like in Boomsday, is a really strong adjustment from Odd Paladin in the scenario Druid becomes overbearing. The archetype is currently displaying an estimated absurd win rate even though its current builds aren’t even optimal. Spirit of the Tiger is a common inclusion but not one that’s convincing at all, and the same can be said for Mojomaster Zihi. Meanwhile, the underplayed Val’anyr is one of the best cards in the archetype, so we prefer running Chain Gangs alongside it. We also think running double Ooze to hamper Kingsbane Rogues is a very sensible choice at the moment.
Exodia Paladin is a change of pace if you prefer a slower style of Paladin. The deck doesn’t have a stellar win rate, since its finisher is still a bit slow and unreliable, but it’s certainly competitive enough to have success with, and many players have achieved good results with it. We’re featuring Caravaggio’s build, who is the pioneer of the deck from ages past.
- Paladin Class Radar
- Odd Paladin
- Even Paladin
- Exodia Paladin
Rastakhan’s Rumble didn’t bring too much change to the Druid class. The old archetypes are still powerful and innovations have mostly proven to be inferior to established decks.
Taunt Druid has grown much stronger than in its Boomsday days, but it’s not the result of new cards, but rather a favorable meta. As a matter of fact, innovations have only hurt the archetype’s win rate, and its true potential may lie in Tier 1.
Da Undatakah has been an interesting new tool for the archetype to play with. With Astral Tiger and Hadronox, it becomes a source of infinite value. However, this value is pretty unnecessary since Taunt Druid can already produce enough value though Witching Hour and Carnivorous Cube, which also creates a massive board immediately. While Undatakah variants are not bad, they are significantly inferior to the Cube/Dragonhatcher builds, so we can’t recommend them at the moment.
The same story could be said for combo Druid decks. Malygos Druid is a carbon copy of its Boomsday build, though we think Faceless Manipulator’s value has gone up due to the Kingsbane Rogue matchup. It helps the Druid set up an OTK from full life, negating the lifesteal option of the Rogue to survive. Togwaggle Druid and Mecha’thun Druid are entirely unchanged, and the experiments with adding Hakkar to Togwaggle Druid have proven to be failures.
The one archetype that may have seen improvement with new cards is Token Druid. BoarControl hit #6 legend with the same list we’ve theorycrafted for the archetype before the expansion’s release. This list, alongside the standard Violet Teacher variant, is very strong. Token Druid is the most likely Tier 1 candidate of the class, should it clean up its experimentation.
- Druid Class Radar
- Taunt Druid
- Malygos Druid
- Togwaggle Druid
- Mecha’thun Druid
- Token Druid
Mage initially had quite a bit of enthusiasm behind it, with Odd Mage’s emergence into the scene on the first couple of days of the expansion. Over time though, the archetype has proven to be quite mediocre. News of this mediocrity is slowly spreading from higher levels of play, where Mage is one of the least represented classes, to the lower ranks where Mage is still quite popular. Odd Mage’s biggest issue is that it’s not a great control deck, and it’s also not a great aggressive deck. It’s stuck between two different approaches and does neither of them well. The Control builds are far more popular, and such a list is featured, but the aggressive builds are too scarce to evaluate. We’d like to wait another week and see whether there is any hope in building a successful Odd Mage version that looks to be aggressive, because we haven’t been impressed with what we’ve seen so far.
Some players are attempting to utilize Jan’alai in a non-Baku deck. Lowseek hit top 100 legend with a Big-Spell Mage list that runs Daring Fire Eater to enable the new legendary. Big-Spell Mage is likely a stronger deck than Odd Mage in the current meta, but its play rate is still a bit low, so many of its options remain unexplored.
Aluneth Mage is attempting to make a return after the gutting of Mana Wyrm. Apxvoid hit #4 legend by running Spellzerker as the new addition to the archetype.
While success with the class has been observed, it’s mostly been sporadic. The numbers suggest that unless a significant discovery is made, Jaina may struggle to find her place in the meta.
- Mage Class Radar
- Odd Mage
- Big-Spell Mage
- Aluneth Mage
Rastakhan’s Rumble has arrived in a blaze of glory, and with it, exciting new Warlock experimentation. Unfortunately, all of these experiments suck so we’ll save you the trouble of reading about them. Discard Warlock doesn’t look like a playable archetype whatsoever and every attempt at adding new cards to existing archetypes has been met with a wagging finger and our disapproval.
Nevertheless, Warlock is in a fine place in the meta, and hasn’t been hurt by lack of successful innovation. Zoo Warlock carrying a healing package should still produce good results, with both Doomguard and Dreadlord being viable options at 5. We recommend Dreadlords if you’re running into Odd Paladins, an archetype that we expect to increase in popularity.
Even Warlock is the same. Don’t try adding new cards. They’re gross. There’s an outside chance that Mojomaster Zihi ends up replacing one of the tech cards at the 6-slot, but we’re not enamored by this switch unless the meta shifts in a direction that heavily justifies it.
Cube Warlock isn’t a very common deck to run into, but it’s a very strong one at the moment since it’s able to perform well against many of the current popular archetypes. Once again, be careful of adding yucky new cards.
Finally, if you really insist on piloting a good meme deck, we have one that’s playable. Sjoesie hit top 100 legend with a Control Warlock build running the Treachery/Howlfiend package meant to discard your opponent’s hand. It’s a cute deck that will make you stock up on those friend requests.
- Warlock Class Radar
- Zoo Warlock
- Even Warlock
- Cube Warlock
- Control Warlock
Are you here for exciting new Rastakhan decks? We’ve evaluated plenty of different Shaman decks that have popped up with the new expansion. Our conclusion is that they are terrible and nowhere near playable or competitive. The one new deck that seems to be sitting above Tier 5 is Aggro Shaman.
Very similar to theory-crafted ideas, Irony’s #5 legend build runs an Overload synergy package centered on Likkim. Aggro Shaman focuses on using overload mechanics to get your opponent to 0 as quickly as possible with snowballing minions such as Thunderhead and Unbound Elementals, as well as a very robust burst damage package. Since the deck is face oriented in its nature, it gets stopped in its tracks by opponents that have a more consistent early game to push it off the board. As such, it is completely outclassed by good old Genn Greymane and Baku.
If you’re interested in competitive Shaman decks, you don’t need any new cards.
Shudderwock Shaman is the most popular archetype of the class, and while it doesn’t boast a great win rate, it is a pretty good counter to Kingsbane Rogue so we’ve seen quite a few players reach high legend ranks on the back of this matchup.
Even Shaman is the strongest all-around deck available to the class, despite its familiar low play rate. We’ll have to see whether new cards eventually make it to the deck, because no one seems to be trying to refine or adapt it to the new meta. Rain of Toads, perhaps?
- Shaman Class Radar
- Shudderwock Shaman
- Even Shaman
- Aggro Shaman
Priest might be the most experimental class of the expansion, displaying a long list of decks seeing small amounts of play. The class also seems to be favored at higher levels of play, where players have revisited some strategies to see whether they might work better in the new meta. Many Priest archetypes are currently very messy and diverse in their builds, so we’ll focus our evaluation on the archetypes that have settled on a core and produced consistent results already.
The most established Priest archetype of Boomsday has been Resurrect Priest, and the deck has gained a new tool in the form of Mass Hysteria. This card is actually quite a big deal since Resurrect Priest lacks good board clears before turn 7. We recommend running it based on its current good performance in the deck.
The influx of new dragons has predictably encouraged the return of Duskbreaker. Its most promising home so far has been the year-old Control Priest archetype carrying a Mind Blast/Shadowreaper win condition. This deck has gravitated in and out of the meta during Boomsday, but may settle down in Rastakhan. Casie’s build includes new cards Firetree Witchdoctor and Dragonmaw Scorcher, while Crowd Roaster is another worthwhile consideration if you’re interested in more removal options.
APM Priest has found a surprising amount of success in the first week of the expansion, with a few players hitting high legend ranks with the archetype. While the archetype’s play rate is still quite low, there might be merit to test it out more thoroughly. Deaddraw’s #1 legend list includes the quest, and is a good representative of APM Priest’s recent success.
- Priest Class Radar
- Resurrect Priest
- Control Priest
- APM Priest
Woe is Warrior. Throughout most of Boomsday, Warrior was one-dimensional with a frustratingly polarizing matchup spread. At the moment, Warrior is one-dimensional with a frustratingly polarizing matchup spread. With Kingsbane Rogue taking the place of Quest Rogue, a plethora of Hunter decks utilizing Deathstalker Rexxar and the usual suspects of inevitable win conditions still around, queuing into ladder with Warrior still feels like flipping a coin and hoping we hit the aggressive matchups.
Aren’t there any other late game decks besides Odd Warrior that we can play? Non-Baku Control Warrior decks still look pretty much unplayable, and that includes slower paced dragon decks.
In fact, the dragon package looks far stronger as a package to throw into an Odd Warrior deck. Smolderthorn Lancer, Crowd Roaster and Emberscale Drake are all pretty solid cards, and Dragonmaw Scorcher carries a non-conditional Whirlwind effect which is a perfect fit for the class. Sjow’s list is a pretty good example from which further iteration is possible.
If there is any chance of a new Warrior deck to emerge, it will probably be Rush Warrior. We’ll say this: Spirit of the Rhino is terrible, but Akali the Rhino looks pretty good. While it is the only new card seen in our suggested build, we think Rush Warrior is a bit underrated and is worth trying out.
We all know Odd Paladin is good. We all know Hunter is good. But there are three decks that not everyone knows are still good. They happen to be old powerhouses that people forgot about, but they may be reminded of them soon enough.
Even Paladin was already bonkers in Boomsday, but players were always quick to prefer Odd Paladin after the nerf to Call to Arms. When Spreading Plague comes down, we know which deck we’d rather play.
Cube Warlock has been ignored for a very long time after it received nerfs during Witchwood, but it’s always been competitive. In the early days of Rastakhan, it’s one of the strongest late game strategies.
Token Druid is another deck that has received nerfs in the past, with Giggling Inventor nuked from orbit during Boomsday. Now, it can adapt some treant cards instead to build intimidating mid-game boards. We think there’s a very good chance it will end up, once again, as the strongest Druid deck around.
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