vS Data Reaper Report #14
Welcome to the 14th edition of the Data Reaper Report!
Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live (Beta) now has over 1,900 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 rate information. 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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The first chart shows all ranks, and the second can be switched between different ranks. For the entire week, we’ve compiled 53,000 games overall. We recorded about 28k games at ranks 1-10, 13k games at ranks 11-15 and 3k games at legend.
‘By Rank’ Games
Next is a graph displaying the popularity of classes during the last 14 weeks, since the Data Reaper Project launched.
Class Frequency by Week
- Warrior has dramatically fallen. While it is still the most played class by a large margin, it is displaying a large decline. Players are currently trying out new things in different classes and are moving away from the “sure” option.
- Within the Warrior class, the old fashioned Control Warrior archetype is on an upward trend, while Dragon Warrior numbers have reduced. The Control archetype is becoming particularly popular at legend ranks, and we believe it is due to its ability to handle a hyper aggressive Metagame, provided it is built very defensively.
- Hunter, Mage and Paladin are the three big winners of the week. Each class got some interesting tools that pushed players to experiment with them.
- We also have new archetypes popping up on our radar; most notable ones are Anyfin Paladin and Secret Hunter. However, the Cloaked Huntress-based archetype has many different builds that are under experimentation: Some aggressive, some have a mid-range style and some are combo oriented with Lock & Load (Yogg Hunter has been “swallowed” by this archetype). We have to wait and see for consistent builds to emerge within the chaos before we’re able to properly evaluate how good Secret Hunter can be.
- The Druid class is enjoying incredible popularity at the highest level of play, where Token Druid is quite dominant. However, Beast Druid is also raising its head on the back of Enchanted Raven.
- Anduin has a new friend. Her name is Valeera. Even though she’s far stronger and more useful in competitive play, people are shying away from her on ladder, where her flaws are magnified. The first week of the adventure hasn’t provided any incentive to try new Rogue decks, though the second one certainly will (Hello there, Barnes).
- Overall, the Metagame looks a lot more balanced than last week. There is one dominant class with reducing numbers, three classes that are relatively underplayed, and five other classes that are quite close together in the overall numbers.
We now present the updated “vS Power Rankings” table for week # 14. 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.
Token Druid and Aggro Shaymin just keep getting better, while Dragon Warrior stays strong with them at Tier 1, though it’s beginning to get weaker at legend ranks. Mid-Range Hunter drops to Tier 2 and the rest of the upper echelon mostly stays the same. As we’ve said previously, we cannot estimate how good Secret Hunter truly is based on the first week of experimentation, as its variance in builds is too high.
Other interesting observations that people may look for:
- While it is displaying a significant increase in popularity, Beast Druid is not displaying an improvement in its performance. The archetype popped immediately upon the first wing’s release, but hasn’t built momentum since then. There could be multiple reasons for it, so we don’t like to speculate too much, but it’s likely to be the experimentation factor as well as the archetype not performing to players’ expectations. We feel Menagerie Warden will end up being the game changer for Beast Druid.
- Meanwhile, we’re noticing that with its increase in popularity, Tempo Mage is also showing better performance against the field. Unlike Beast Druid, its momentum has not stopped and it’s continuing to grow. This archetype is much more refined than Beast Druid, and we believe Firelands Portal being added on top of a stable build is likely to be the cause.
- Did Priest get better with Priest of the Feast? Yes. Is it enough? No. It still has a mountain to climb to catch up, though Dragon Priest might be a legitimately good deck in a few weeks. We’ll have to see what Onyx Bishop can do for the classic Control archetype.
If you caught the European Summer Preliminary Championships this weekend, you probably didn’t see too many Warrior games played. This isn’t because Warrior is bad, however. It’s the exact opposite; Warrior decks are too good. The overwhelming majority of the field decided to ban Warrior in each set, due to its sheer strength. Over 95% of the 162 qualifiers included some version of Warrior in their lineup, and every single player in the top 8 included the class in his lineup. Yet, Warrior took part in only 12% of the games.
Tvist took his place in the top 8 in a surprising fashion with an updated Patron Warrior build. Cutting a Bloodhoof Brave for Malkorok makes the deck much stronger at the top of the curve.
DrHippi, another top 8 finisher, brought an incredibly uncommon take on Control Warrior. Electing to not only play Tinkmaster Overspark, which is becoming a common tech choice in Control Warrior, but also the notorious Yogg-Saron. DrHippi threw caution into the wind in favor of the randomly amazing outcomes of Yogg.
GeorgeC brought an interesting variant of C’Thun Warrior, which is quite defensive in nature and meant to target aggro decks. It included a tech choice that was embraced by Hoej in particular: Soggoth the Slitherer. This card can be quite debilitating to classes that heavily rely on targeted removals, which makes it strong in the Warrior mirror as well as other matchups (Druid, Rogue). It also matches up decently against Yogg-Saron, as the Old God is less likely to be able to remove it. Whether this is just a fad that will soon fade away, or something more, remains to be seen.
On the subject of interesting lists, Xixo’s Cycle C’Thun Warrior, a concept originally created by Kolento, had a decent, albeit short, showing this past weekend. Combining the lightning fast draw engine of OTK Worgen Warrior and the deadly inevitability of Brann and Doomcaller, Cycle C’Thun forgoes the complete un-interactive nature to strengthen the Freeze Mage and Control Warrior matchups.
The pros of running C’Thun over Raging Worgen include the ability to win past an Ice Block versus Freeze Mage and the damage over time needed to clear a Control Warrior’s high life total. This also makes the deck more difficult to counter with taunts. The con, however, is a weakness to silence based removal: Hex, Polymorph, Sylvanas, and Entomb (if Priest ever becomes relevant).
In ladder news, Warriorstone is showing signs of waning. The second wing of Karazhan will hit ladder today, which means Hunter finally gets Kindly Grandmother, arguably its premier card of the adventure. Hunters traditionally have a favorable matchup versus Warriors in general and an already strong two drop that doesn’t die to Fiery War Axe is incredibly powerful. Be prepared for the possibility of an increase in Mid-Range and Secret Hunters this weekend.
- Standard Dragon Warrior
- GeorgeC’s C’Thun Warrior
- Kolento/Xixo’s Cycle C’Thun Warrior
- Dr.Hippi’s Control Warrior
- Tvist’s Patron Warrior
Shaymin is still dominating the course of tournament play. Six out of the eight finalists used the class in their lineup for the European Summer Preliminary. The five Aggro Shaymin players brought the identical list used by Tictac to finish #1 legend in the month of July, which includes Lightning Storm as a comeback mechanic. We can understand why most players are getting behind the tech choice because of the amount of high tier aggressive style decks running around in this Meta.
Georgec, a returning preliminary finalist, decided to include Control Shaymin, aka Concede Shaymin, in his lineup. The archetype is starting to prove its viability in the current aggro heavy field, while particularly thriving in tournaments because you can take a bigger advantage of it in a ban format.
The first wing of ONiK has arrived and the new Hunter card, Cloaked Huntress, ignited a lot of new innovations and ideas for the class this week! A Secret Hunter archetype seems to be emerging, though there are quite a few different takes on it, and we’ll have to wait and see which innovations stand the test of time.
C4mlann, an EU player for Flowesport, experimented with a Secret Face Hunter list, hitting top 15 legend with it on the EU server. His build does not have Unleash the Hounds, and features Snake Traps, Freezing Traps and Explosive Traps to synergize with Cloaked Huntress.
Kolento tested Cloaked Huntress in a Lock & Load Hunter build. Cloaked Huntress, along with a few free secrets, is a strong combination with Lock & Load, creating a big swing turn similar to Auctioneer.
Meanwhile, Kranich tested Cloaked Huntress in a Mid-Range Hunter shell, and hit legend with it too.
Cloaked Huntress seems like a promising Hunter card that can create big swing turns. Hopefully, we’ll see more new innovations with the card. With Kindly Grandmother and another Hunter Secret, Cat Trick, becoming available over the next few weeks, the class is sure to drastically change further. It’ll be interesting to see which consistent builds emerge when the dust finally settles.
The Karazhan ladder Meta shift, which we expected to benefit Zoo to some extent, has instead led to lots of Silverware Golem testing with no strong results. Expect that variant to continue to appear on ladder, but remain weak outside of the occasional discard coinflip until (and possibly even past) it gets more tools in the next wings.
Meanwhile, in tournaments, despite the success of several “starter pack” lineups in the European Summer Preliminaries, Zoo as an individual deck posted very poor numbers against both control and aggressive archetypes. The archetype continues to be wrongfully perceived as a counter to Aggro Shaymin and Token Druid, even though these matchups have consistently been close to 50/50 according to our data, which also lines up with the results at the European Preliminary. We’re waiting to see when the competitive scene finally catches up to that.
Zoo will remain common as a comfort pick in the Americas Preliminary, but expect more Renolocks of all flavors to exploit Warriors, both on ladder and in tournaments.
Druid continues to be one of the strongest classes in the current Metagame.
On ladder, Druid is the second most played class at legend ranks with Token Druid being the most played archetype overall. There haven’t been many changes in Token Druid this week with most lists being extremely similar. One significant development this week is the increase in play of Beast Druid due to Enchanted Raven being released in the first wing.
Pizza recently peaked at top 30 legend with his aggressive variant of Beast Druid. This deck isn’t the most refined at the moment but is an example of how it would be built if you were interested in trying it out. Beast Druid will likely see more play once Menagerie Warden comes out in a few weeks, which we expect will also slow down the archetype.
In the European Summer Preliminary, Druid was one of the most successful classes with 7 of the top 8 players having Token Druid in their lineup. Most players in top 8 expected aggressive lineups and built their Druid with this in mind. Some inclusions to help with aggressive matchups were Sylvanas Windrunner and Bloodmage Thalnos. Most players also cut Savage Roar from their lists because it is often a dead card against aggro decks.
Even though there aren’t any new Druid cards being released this week, Arcane Giant could be huge for Token Druid. Most players will likely be experimenting with the card, which might help the archetype become even more powerful.
Mage appears to be a class on the rise, with many players experimenting with new tools that the class has received on the first week of ONIK. Firelands Portal is a flexible card that has been heavily utilized, while Arcane Anomaly has also been experimented with, offering a resilient 1-drop to Tempo Mage’s early game, which otherwise relies on drawing Mana Wyrm.
Meanwhile, Mage did surprisingly well at the European Preliminary this weekend with Georgec, DrHippi, and Tvist finishing top 8 with Freeze Mage. The latter two used the current standard Freeze Mage build, while Georgec opted for a Flamestrike instead of Mirror Images. Tempo Mage, unsurprisingly, was nowhere to be found. Freeze Mage seems to have found a niche spot in anti-aggro lineups that counter the expected decks. This might impact the upcoming Americas preliminary, though it is unclear to what extent.
With the release of the first week or ONiK, Paladin is finally seeing some rise in ladder popularity. Players have been experimenting with Aggro Paladin, some even finding a place for Moroes, a card most had deemed unplayable before its release. Ivory Knight has exceeded expectations and proven to be an excellent and flexible card in many Paladin archetypes.
Anyfin Paladin saw a return this week where Ivory Knight fits exceptionally well when it can even draw Anyfin Can Happen while healing for 10. The number of Control Paladins has also increased, likely due to the introduction of Ivory Knight. As for Paladin’s tournament presence, unfortunately no Paladins made it to the top 8 of the European Preliminary last week. However, Demigod took his Control Paladin build to win ESL’s King of The Hill open qualifier.
Rogue is in a very bad position in the current Metagame, nearly rivaling Priest in its unpopularity on ladder. In addition, not many tournaments lineups include Rogue. Two of the eight finalists at the European preliminary utilized the class. Gray and Dizdemon brought the G2 variant of Miracle Rogue, with Dizdemon substituting Argent Squire for Journey Below. Rogue can be a decent tournament deck since it greatly benefits from a ban format, but the ladder experience can be quite crippling.
Last week, Rogue got a pretty useless card in Deadly Fork. The most frustrating thing about this card is there are a couple of simple ways to change it into being playable, either by changing the cost of the minion to 2 mana, or having the deathrattle equip the weapon instead.
Another problem with Deadly Fork is that it plays right into the Rogue’s primary cause of its struggles in this aggressive Meta. You use the weapon to clear off minions and have no natural way to gain back health or armor. We’re not saying that Fiery War Axe wouldn’t be good in Rogue, but Deadly Fork is not a card that the class is in need of.
With that being said, an alternative approach to playing Rogue on ladder is including Yogg-Saron in your build. The card can often bring you back from lost positions, which Rogue often finds itself in and, in many matchups, simply playing spells, trying to survive and rolling the dice is a more effective strategy.
Good news, everyone, Priest actually did get a good card! Priest of the Feast was undervalued by most players and has already improved the state of the class, even if only slightly. It does look like they might be getting another really good card in Onyx Bishop; but unfortunately, these two mid-range minions don’t fix the real issue of Priest, which is its non-existent early game presence. So, while good cards are being added, it’s hard to say whether they will fix the “Priest Problem”.
Both Zetalot and Kibler have had success with early Feast Priest builds. Zetalot’s list is pretty much his standard Control Priest list of old, just with Priest of the Feast added to it. Kibler’s build is quite different, cutting the Auchenai/Circle package, and playing more spells with Yogg-Saron. As recent competitive Hearthstone games have shown, adding Yogg-Saron to your deck is probably just the right call.
These are improvements, improvements on the wrong part of the curve, but improvements nonetheless. It’s possible that great things are to come! Maybe. Please.
There are many reasons why Token Druid has been thriving in the Metagame for the last couple of months. Its mana cheating mechanics can outpace and punish tempo based archetypes that rely on curving out, which is the most popular strategy in the game. It is also an extremely flexible deck, with several slots available to either tech it defensively or to add more threats and value for the late game. Finally, it has the greatest comeback mechanic in the game, with Yogg-Saron being able to pull out wins from the jaws of defeat. Overall, it is extremely well rounded and has few weaknesses. The faster archetypes of Shaymin seem to deal with it relatively better than other decks, but there is no hard counter out there. There is no deck that Token Druid cannot beat, which is also why the archetype is almost auto-included in players’ tournament lineups.
While we’re featuring Georgec’s tournament build for the European Preliminary which was built for an anti-aggro line up, we’d like to note where the build often varies, giving light to its flexibility.
Onyxia is a very popular card missing from this list, often coming in place of Sylvanas or Cenarius, but sometimes Yogg-Saron is pushed out. Feral Rage is a tech choice against aggressive or mid-range decks, and can be switched for Soul of the Forrest to improve the control matchups significantly. An alternative to Soul of the Forrest is Savage Roar, which serves a similar purpose but does it differently (Burst finisher vs. Value grind). The 2nd Nourish instead of Thalnos is also an option for slower games if you’d like more card draw/ramping options. The latter can also be provided by a 2nd Mire Keeper, with the 2nd Raven Idol also being a flexible slot.
Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report: