vS Data Reaper Report #13
One Night in Karazhan is here, and with it, we’ve posted an article previewing the cards that are being released this week. You can check it out here.
Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live (Beta) now has over 1,800 contributors. Without them, this project would not be possible, so we’d like to thank all of our contributors for their help.
More contributors mean more accurate win rates. With the new adventure rolling, we need as many contributors as possible to quickly identify new archetypes, and better evaluate their power levels. If you have not done so already, please sign up with your Track-O-Bot information here:
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We begin with our deck frequency charts for games recorded between August 3 and August 9.
The first chart shows all ranks, and the second can be switched between different ranks. For the entire week, we’ve compiled over 57,000 games overall. We recorded about 25k games at ranks 1-10, and 20k games at ranks 11-15. The number of games at legend is not high enough yet this month to show separately.
‘By Rank’ Games
Next is a graph displaying the popularity of classes during the last 13 weeks, since the Data Reaper Project launched.
Class Frequency by Weeks
We don’t have much to say on the statistics. You could copy & paste the frequency chart from last week and you’d barely notice a difference. This game needs some new cards, and we’re ready for them. We’re also looking forward to the upcoming preliminaries, as a ban format can drastically change the way archetypes are evaluated. There are many examples of decks that can struggle on ladder but become very strong with just a single ban and the right line-up. As statisticians, we’re rooting for players who think outside the box and try to come up with ways to escape the coin flip mirror matches, taking their destiny in their own hands.
We now present the updated “vS Power Rankings” table for week # 13. The numbers we report are the expected win rates of each archetype based on their matchups against the field, factoring in the frequency of all potential opponents on ladder at different rank groups over the past week.
What does it tell us when an archetype rises to power early in an expansion’s timeline, an entire Metagame is built to counter it, and after three months of battles, it sits at the very top? Aggro Shaman is still the #1 Meta-defining deck in the game. Warrior is the class best equipped to deal with it, which explains its popularity. We’ve seen a lot of discussion about the deck; many people believe Aggro decks take less skill to play so their performance drops at the very high levels. That’s just not true and our statistics refute this claim; if there’s anything we’ve learned from analyzing win rates, it’s that you cannot determine a deck’s skill cap based on its play style (Aggro, Mid-Range, Combo or Control).
Our observation shows that Aggro Shaman is a deck that becomes even better at high levels of play, as many of its matchups improve at legend ranks. Its baseline power in the hands of the average player is high, but at the hands of a skilled player, it becomes brutally efficient.
In other news, Secret Paladin drops from its cameo appearance at Tier 1. It still appears to be an archetype that has a lot of room to be explored and we’ll have to see if the new influx of cards encourages players to explore the Paladin class and its tools more. Meanwhile, Control Shaman is still an archetype of high variance in its build, but we’ve decided that we gathered enough games to include it in the rankings this week.
One worrying trend we’re noticing is that control decks are almost entirely absent from the 50%+ win rate club. Token Druid is the best non-tempo deck on ladder, and C’Thun Warrior is just managing to keep its head above the water.
With One Night in Karazhan’s first two wings releasing today, Warrior has cemented itself as the clear winner of the Whispers of the Old Gods Meta. For the next month, the Metagame will be in turmoil as Karazhan’s staggered release shakes up ladder each week. Although the first week doesn’t offer anything too promising for Warrior decks, the second and third weeks include many options for Control-oriented decks. In the second week, we gain Barnes and Moat Lurker, two cards with incredible potential in N’Zoth Warrior. In the third, we gain The Curator and Fool’s Bane. The Curator oozes value, with many potential options and combos in Warrior, while Fool’s Bane has potential to replace Gorehowl or Brawl.
- Standard C’Thun Warrior
- Standard Dragon Warrior
- Worgen OTK Warrior
- VLPS’ Control Warrior
- Tvist’s Patron Warrior
Greetings, friend. Shaman is alive and well, still dominating the scene. Aggro Shaman is one of the most popular and consistent choices for ladder and tournament play since the release of WOTOG.
With the new adventure arriving, we will have to see if there is an impact on the way the archetype performs. The one card that is looking to fit in well with the current package of Aggro Shaman is Maelstorm Portal. This AOE spell looks like a pretty decent option to replace Lightning Storm as your single comeback mechanic.
Against other aggressive decks, this card could gain you tempo in the early game without the drawback of overload on future turns. This is significant because it is really important to keep the pressure up and to play on curve, as you have some of the strongest on-curve minions in the game, such as Tuskar Totemic and the infamous 4 mana 7/7. Mid range and Control Shaman could still make use of the card, as it’s definitely a good tool for an early board clear.
Hunter continues to be a popular choice overall, but slowly declines as the ladder ranks go up.
Mid-Range Hunter is the most used archetype known to be best against the Warrior-heavy metagame. NickChipper hit legend early this season and peaked at top 20 EU with his own version of the deck as well as some utilization of Zoo and Freeze Mage. His list seems to be the most refined version of the traditional Mid-Range Hunter.
Hybrid Hunter continues to be a solid second and faster take on the class that is generally used in tournaments when banning Warrior (not targeting Warrior). The deck competes better against aggressive decks such as Zoo and Aggro shaman. SilentStorm’s list is the current standard version of the archetype.
Popular and wacky player/streamer J4ckiechan made a really fun and creative N’Zoth Control Hunter build with which he competed at higher ranks on ladder. His build is very interesting, featuring Doomsayers, Snipes, Powershots and Multishots to stall the game and control the board state. As the game reaches the late phase, this deck unleashes big deathrattle threats along with Call of the Wild and N’Zoth to end the game.
With the season reset, Warlock ladder percentages revert to normalcy. Reno Warlock suffers without a steady supply of Control and C’Thun Warriors to feed on, while Zoo Warlock is happy to encounter any non-Warrior matchup. Look for Zoo to be even more prevalent as people experiment with new decks during the Kharazan release. As one of the game’s most refined archetypes, Zoo preys well on experimental decks. Meanwhile, expect Renolock to be rare until good lists for the current metagame are discovered.
Druid has established itself as one of the stronger classes with one of the best decks in the game, Token Druid. There hasn’t been much innovation in Token Druid in the past week since it is early in the season and the standard builds have been figured out. There are different ways to build the deck, which were explained in last week’s report. Tyler recently reached rank #1 legend on Americas with a pretty standard take on the archetype, while J4ckiechan hit #1 legend with his famous Wisps of the Old Gods variant.
One of the more noteworthy decks of the week is Xzirez peaking at rank #2 legend on EU with his special variant of Beast Druid. Unlike previous builds of Beast Druid, this one is more Mid-Range rather than aggressive. It is a unique take that could be powerful on ladder partially due to the surprise factor.
We expect Druid will continue to be one of the stronger classes after ONIK’s release. The upcoming wing will release Enchanted Raven, which will help Beast Druid even more. Expect there to be an increase in the archetype next week, especially the more aggressive variants as those will be most players’ first thought of the deck.
The rest of the cards from ONIK have been revealed and a new archetype of Mage might be seen in the coming weeks. Secrets got a significant boost of cards that synergize well with them, since the current card pool was lacking in that regard.
The “Standard” Freeze Mage build has been improved upon to center around a consistent list built for the current metagame. Pyroblast and Flamestrike were removed for better options that are most useful against the broad field of decks. This version will be better against Hunter/Druid/Warlock/Shaman and worse against Warrior. The logic is that it doesn’t make sense to add cards specifically to have a better chance against your worst matchups. You want to make your favored or even matchups better.
Tempo Mage hasn’t had much innovation this week as hoped. From the Chinese Ice Block/Archmage Antonidas/Emperor builds to the lower curving ones seen in the Western scenes, it is uncertain which is better due to the inherent inconsistences. Rayc591 finished top 50 Americas last month with a build that is on the heavier end, can take decks to the late game and doesn’t depend on Yogg-Saron.
Rogue has been very lackluster since the first couple weeks of the WoTG Meta, when Miracle Rogue was one of the most popular decks on ladder. With the shifting metagame and the overpopulation of aggressive decks in the format, Rogue has been pushed to the side, like cabbage on your plate, or Priest.
One Miracle Rogue variant that is enjoyable to play is Hotform’s Yogg Miracle Rogue. Yogg-Saron is such an obscure effect, at times feeling unfair, being able to completely change the board position, which can be very overwhelming. It also complements Rogue in providing the class with a board clear, which they’ve been missing since the Blade Flurry nerf. Yogg-Saron can perform multiple, specific roles and can be beneficial when behind, ahead or even on board.
Not much change to report for Paladin this week as there is no notable shift for any of its favorable matchups. However, looking ahead, the upcoming adventure should bode well for several more Paladin archetypes to enter the Metagame. Ivory Knight looks like a promising candidate for the mid-game heal that Mid-Range Paladin has lacked since the removal of Healbot, and Nightbane Templar encourages players to give Dragon Paladin another shot with improved early game board control options.
We were just about to let the community know about recent exciting developments for Priest in the current Metagame, which are likely to be pointing towards the discovery of the elusive, metabreaking and overpowered Unicorn Priest deck. However, we accidentally silenced ourselves so we won’t be able to provide further details on the matter, but at least we drew a card.
Aggro Shaman remains an extremely dominant ladder deck. We’re a bit concerned that it’s continuing to get better according to our metrics. The current Metagame is very fast-paced and aggressive. Over 50% of ladder decks boast a tempo style of play largely based on dropping minions on curve and pressuring the opponent from turn 1. If you want to climb with control decks, reduce the greed from your lists and only consider adding it back when you’re hitting a wall of slower decks that force you to play more win conditions. Think about the cards in your deck after every game, and ask yourself “how often do I get to play this?”
A fantastic example of a good mindset bearing fruit is VLPS’ Control Warrior list, which he used to get top #5 legend last month. Remember, our vS Power Rankings show the inherent strength of an archetype against the field, but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed with a deck if you tune it up better (and drastically different) than others, or play it better than others. Don’t be afraid to be creative, and don’t obsess over copying exact decklists from the internet, even the ones that we show on this article. Remember, being ahead of the Meta means being different than the Meta.
Good luck and most importantly, kill some Aggro Shamans.
Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report: