vS Data Reaper Report #15
Welcome to the 15th edition of the Data Reaper Report!
We would first like to congratulate HotMeowth, a member of the Data Reaper team and Hunter class expert, for qualifying to the Americas Championship. Shoop, our Warlock expert, also made a strong impression, reaching top 16, only being two wins away from a spot at the finals. We’re very proud of our members performing so well at the Americas Preliminary last weekend.
Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live (Beta) 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 nearly 59,000 games overall. We recorded about 38,000 games at ranks 1-10, 10,500 games at ranks 11-15 and 6,700 games at legend.
Notes this week: Due to the changing Meta, some archetypes have had some changes in their definition algorithm; Worgen Warrior has been renamed to Combo Warrior, due to the archetype significantly changing over the last week with the introduction of Arcane Giant and many players removing the Raging Worgen component (read more in Warrior section). Secret Hunter is also an archetype we’re still waiting to stabilize, and it’s up in the air whether or not it will still be categorized this way in the future. That depends on how the cloaked Huntress package evolves in the coming weeks. Since these are two archetypes currently undergoing inner turmoil, we’re not providing statistics regarding their performance just yet, as the numbers might end up being misleading. Control Priest has also undergone changes, and is more focused on the Resurrect mechanic. Based on our observation, we’ve decided not to re-label or split the archetype just yet until there is a clear branching displayed on our radar.
Overall Games Graph
‘By Rank’ Games Graph
Next is a graph displaying the popularity of classes during the last 15 weeks, since the Data Reaper Project launched.
Class Frequency by Weeks
Well, the Meta has officially turned upside down.
- After 12 weeks of being at the top, Warrior has been unseated following a massive decline in its appearance over the past two weeks. All Warrior archetypes have taken a hit, save for the recently evolving Combo Warrior.
- Hunter is the new king of the Meta. The second wing cards, most notably Kindly Grandmother and Barnes, have elevated the class into new heights. In addition, these cards have a particularly negative impact on Warrior, and with Hunter already being a natural counter to it, we’re not surprised by the correlation. The number of Hunters at legend ranks doubled in the span of a week (!), and while Warrior is still the most popular class at the highest level of play, it’s only by a small margin, and the gap is closing.
- Warlock has taken a hit and fallen off the top half. The class has not received many compelling tools to encourage people to test it out, and so it has dropped behind Mage and Druid, two classes that have received new toys in recent weeks.
- Druid remains steady and a favorite at high levels of play, although the Beast Druid enthusiasm seems to have died down. Expect this archetype to reignite with the release of the third wing of ONIK and the addition of Menagerie Warden. Furthermore, we’ve seen Miracle Druid pop up, particularly at legend ranks. While we still have a very small sample size of games for the archetype, watch out for it. It might be really, really good.
- Rogue and Priest are showing life and seeing a steep rise in popularity. Incredibly, Control Priest is almost as common as Dragon Warrior these days on ladder. Players have definitely been looking forward to testing out the deprived class. How long that lasts is still an open question.
We now present the updated “vS Power Rankings” table for week # 15. 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.
We’ve long been saying that the true tyrant of the Metagame is Aggro Shaman and not the Warrior class. Now that Warrior has fallen in numbers, the deck it’s been keeping contained has spiraled out of control. Aggro Shaman is displaying power levels we have never measured before. A score of over 55% at legend ranks is very oppressive and we’re quite curious how exactly the Meta will be able correct itself. Will Warrior return to its previous dominance or will another class step up to shut Aggro Shaman down?
Meanwhile, Hunter enjoys a significant jump in its score. Hybrid Hunter does particularly well at legend ranks, where it seems to be clearly superior to Mid-Range Hunter, joining the Tier 1 club consisting of Dragon Warrior, Token Druid and Aggro Shaman.
Part of the class’ rise might be due to improvement in its overall performance, but part of it is due to people playing Priest all of a sudden!
The Metagame poses quite a challenge to control decks, as the rise in Hunters means most of them are being buried under the weight of the “wonderfully” designed Call of the Wild, which punishes any deck that doesn’t aim to win the game by turn 8. It is very, very difficult to have the tools necessary to counter both Aggro Shaman and Mid-Range Hunter, so if these two decks end up defining the Meta, it will be quite difficult to unseat them. Our hunch is that Druid might have the best chance of doing that down the road.
So, a popular question we are sure the community will wonder about: Is Control Priest becoming a better deck? Yes, it seems to be stronger than it was before (though we recognize that doesn’t say much), and perhaps in a vacuum it might look even better. However, due to the developments in the Meta, the numbers do not seem to present the same level of enthusiasm as the player base. The numbers do indicate potential upside in Miracle Rogue, Mid-Range Shaman and Tempo Mage. Tempo Mage in particular is displaying significant improvement over the last couple of weeks.
Some Hunter counters have also risen in their scores as a result of the Meta shift, such as the almost forgotten Pirate Warrior, while aggressive Paladin variants continue to show untapped potential in our metrics.
An important thing to take away is that at the moment, popularity of classes is greatly influenced by the newest class-specific tools and how compelling they are to test out, and not necessarily by how good they are. Once all the cards are out and the novelty goes away, players will be more concerned with winning, and we’re wondering what will be the end result of that process. Aggro Shaman presenting this kind of score seems unsustainable to us. Deck building in any class will eventually have to account for this highly offensive archetype, or it will simply explode.
There are a lot of new innovations coming out for Hunter this week. Many players have been utilizing two new cards in particular, Kindly Grandmother and Barnes. Both possess great synergy in almost every Hunter archetype and have propelled Hunter’s popularity to the very top of the Metagame.
Muzzy recently hit rank 3 legend on AM with a Mid-Range Hunter build that maximizes its synergy with Barnes, with the addition of Tundra Rhino, Sylvanas and Ragnaros. With Hunter already possessing many good deathrattle minions, Barnes is almost guaranteed to spawn good value.
Meanwhile, MrYagut took the Hybrid Hunter archetype to rank 13 legend on EU. Argent Squire and Argent Horserider are good fits with Barnes since they carry divine shields, and Kindly Grandmother synergizes perfectly with Abusive Sergeant, making the new cards strong additions to faster variants of Hunter as well.
Lastly, many people are continuing to test Cloaked Huntress in their secret-centric Hunter builds. Thijs made a decent run with such a build, managing to climb to high ranks with it.
The build has a solid Mid-Range Hunter shell, containing the secret package as well as Barnes synergy. Barnes works well with Cloaked Huntress and Secret Keeper since they also carry a static ability.
Week two of Karazhan has arrived, bringing both a blessing and a curse for Warriors. Control and Dragon Warrior have suffered greatly due to Mid-Range Hunter’s upswing in both power and popularity. Kindly Grandmother is a sticky, Fiery-War-Axe-resistant minion, making it a struggle for the Warrior to efficiently clear. Barnes, too, has made the matchup even more challenging, as random turn four Highmanes or Ragnaros are backbreaking. While Control and Dragon suffer, Warrior has a whole host of new combo builds due to the release of Arcane Giant.
There are two routes being taken so far with this new Giant. By far the most common is a near-OTK burst build, utilizing free Arcane Giants, Charge, and Faceless Manipulator to kill an opponent from hand, similar to Raging Worgen Decks. Senfglas runs two Grim Patrons along with the combo to be able to fight for the board and win against fairer lists, such as Dragon Warrior, Midrange Hunter, and Aggro Shaman.
However, another interesting new deck that came with the arrival of Arcane Giant is the Blood Warrior Combo build, and we’re featuring Rage’s take on it. Combining both the power of old-school Patron and Echo Duplicate mage, along with the skill required to play them, this list is not for the faint of heart. Blood Warriors utilizes the Wild Pyro and Commanding Shout combo found in many similar decks to survive to the late game. However, its late game is far different from normal OTK lists. Instead of assembling a one-turn lethal, Rage’s list will play some combination of Arcane Giants, Patrons, and Armorsmith before casting Blood Warriors to refill the hand with an assembly of strong minions. If you are looking for a deck to challenge you every game and reward smart play, look no further.
- Senfglas’ Combo Warrior
- Rage’s Blood Combo Warrior
- Standard Dragon Warrior
- GeorgeC’s C’Thun Warrior
- Kolento/Xixo’s Cycle C’Thun Warrior
- Dr.Hippi’s Control Warrior
- Tvist’s Patron Warrior
Shaman had a strong showing at the Americas Preliminary, as 6 out of the 8 finalists included the class in their line ups. Aggro Shaman is still the most popular choice for players as the deck continues to consistently perform in both tournaments and ladder. HotMeowth, a member of our Data Reaper team, prepared for the tournament with Demigod, and qualified to the championship using an Aggro Shaman list which he used to reach rank 1 legend on ladder earlier this month. This week, he has once again reclaimed the #1 spot.
Meanwhile, the rise of Control Shaman is real. Many players are finding success with the deck including two of the top eight finalists: Pascoa and Rooftrellen. As the most popular tournament decks are aggressive in nature, we can understand why players are starting to utilize Control Shaman in their counter aggressive lineups.
Sad week for Mid-Range Shaman as it’s nowhere to be found in the top 8 of America’s prelims. On ladder, though, it’s beginning to see some innovation in the form of a heavy totem synergy build based around Wicked Witchdoctor and Thunder Bluff Valiant. Loyan recently peaked at top 10 legend with a build utilizing the recently released Witchdoctor, which was underrated by many people, as well as Totemic Might and Primal Fusion. Other players have been testing Barnes, which is a consideration in the deck as it has multiple minions with static effects, as well as a late game finisher that synergizes with Rockbiter Weapon (Doomhammer or Al’Akir).
The Americas Summer Preliminary saw a lot of Mages represented in the top 8. Pascoa, dude7597, and Monstanto brought Freeze Mage, while Rooftrellen and topopablo11 had Tempo Mage builds. That is, 5 out of the top 8 players included Mage in their lineup.
Both Tempo Mage lists did not include Fireland’s Portal but the card was quite popular in many of the other participants’ decks. Mage splashed a lot of variety into the tournament unlike in other recent tournaments. The class ended up being a solid pick that was largely overlooked. For both the Americas and European Championships next month, there should be a large amount of Mage decks as it seems to be in a strong spot right now with the recent Meta shift. With more new cards coming out, we don’t expect the class to be in the bottom of the Metagame any longer.
Druid continues to be one of the most powerful classes in the game. Starting off with the Americas Summer Preliminary, 6 of the top 8 players brought Token Druid. We choose not to feature any of the lists in this report as these decks did not have access to the second week of Karazhan. The developments in the class as a result of these new cards over the last week make these builds outdated.
The recent wing made Druid even stronger with the release of Arcane Giant, which synergizes well with most Druid archetypes. The optimal build hasn’t been entirely figured out yet but Xixo used a Token Druid build with Arcane Giants to reach rank 4 legend on EU.
Miracle Druid also had a revival this past week due to the introduction of both Arcane Giant and Barnes. Ignite took his version of the deck and peaked at rank 5 legend EU. As opposed to Token Druid, this deck relies more on stabilizing until the late game and then using Malygos and cheap damage spells to finish off your opponent. This deck also uses Barnes in order to generate minions like Auctioneer, Emperor Thaurissan, and Malygos. There is still a lot of testing to be done with this archetype but it is an interesting deck to try out.
Perhaps the most unique Druid deck of this week was Hoej’s Y’Shaarj Druid, which he used to get rank 6 legend on EU. The dream with this deck is to play Barnes into spawning a 1/1 Y’Shaarj, which summons a late game drop. It remains to be seen whether this deck is consistent enough to stand the test of time, but it is a very fun deck to play.
The Druid class gained a lot of new tools this week and it will be interesting to see how each of its archetypes develop in the coming weeks. While Beast Druid saw a drop in play this week after the initial excitement over Enchanted Raven, the real game changer of that archetype is on its way: Menagerie Warden. Another card to look out for is The Curator, which could be a very interesting choice in a Malygos Druid deck as well as Beast Druid.
On ladder, Warlock continues to decline in popularity. Zoo and Renolock both have difficulties matching up against Aggro Shaman with Malestrom Portal, and without a Warrior ban, Zoo’s win rates are simply not that strong to justify it being a dominant ladder deck, although one saving grace is its good matchup with Mid-Range Hunter. It remains to be seen whether Discard Zoo or new Reno tools will help the Warlock class, but the amount of potential tools the class has received in the adventure seems to be lower than others.
In tournaments, however, Warlock has been holding up fine. The Americas Summer Preliminary had some successes from players like HotMeowth, who moved away from Zoo’s traditionally (and wrongfully) perceived strong matchups (Aggro Shaman, Token Druid) and focused on beating control lists using Leeroy and Crazed Alchemists.
Meanwhile, Muzzy and Leadpaint were both one win away from qualifying for the Summer Championship with a mostly standard N’Zoth Reno list (Soggoth the Slitherer being one main notable change).
Is it happening? Is Priest is slowly becoming a real class in this game of Hearthstone? Priest of the Feast and Onyx Bishop are strong cards. These two new additions coupled with Barnes have not only made Priest playable, but actually fun again. While we still have a couple wings left that could shift the Meta away from Priest, and as decks become more refined, classes could still fall, for now, Priest might have actually found a spot on ladder.
It seems like after months of complete abandonment, everyone is experimenting with the class. This is understandable considering that, for many people, it feels like we’ve just been given a brand new class. Most of the decks look pretty much the same outside of the late game finishing options. It’ll still be a while before we key in on the “optimal build” but the main staple cards stay the same in: Resurrect, Priest of the Feast and Onyx Bishop.
A player named Eycelance took his Priest variant to top 30 legend, while Thijs and Zetalot have also had a lot of fun testing and succeeding with their Control Priest builds.
What has always been the strength of Priest is its ability to tech against specific decks and blow them out of the water. Ostkaka brought Priest to the last King of the Hill and reigned supreme, so don’t be surprised if in upcoming tournaments, Priest starts to shred some competition with its brand new tools.
Finally, Rogue got some new tools to play with, and the star of the week for the class is Arcane Giant. Arcane Giant is a win condition by itself that Rogue can play for cheap after utilizing spells to control the board. Decks utilizing this giant will generally have more spells so that they can play cheap giants around turn 5-6 in-order to apply pressure. JustSaiyan built a deck maximizing the potential of an early Arcane Giant by substituting some of the minions for cheap spells such as Shiv and Journey Below.
Some have taken a more reserved approach, one of them being Kolento who also tested Swashburglar in a more traditional Miracle Rogue build utilizing Arcane Giants. Swashburglar offers Rogue a turn 1 play and a combo initiator that also generates some value, so it’s definitely a decent option to consider, though whether it will stick or not remains to be seen.
With many players testing new Miracle Rogue builds, we’re sure that an optimal build featuring Arcane Giants has yet to be found. Yogg-Saron is a strong consideration for any spell-heavy deck due to its potential payoff, and Barnes also has potential for great synergy in Miracle Rogue, particularly Malygos Rogue builds.
Paladin, while still lacking in numbers on ladder, still increased in popularity since the launch of One Night in Karazhan. Ivory Knight continues to shine in many Paladin decks, and we’re starting to see several Paladin archetypes come back into the Meta, including Anyfin Paladin. The introduction of Barnes this week should suit N’Zoth Paladin very well given the large number of high value minion targets in the deck.
Paladin proved to be a dark horse at the Americas Summer Preliminary this past weekend, making an appearance in 3 of the top 8 players’ lineups. Paladin seemed a fitting class choice for those looking to counter the great number of aggressive lineups at the tournament. All 3 winning Paladin decks were slow variants with HotMeowth and Monsanto taking the Anyfin Paladin approach while Rooftrellen opted with his own version of N’Zoth Paladin.
We’re in the process of a very significant Meta shift, and for now, Hunter seems to be on the winning end of it. Hybrid Hunter seems to do better at higher levels of play, and is stronger against aggressive and mid-range decks, since it’s better equipped to fight for the board in the early game. The slower, Mid-Range Hunter does better against Druids, Warriors and heavy control decks. Hybrid Hunter also beats Mid-Range Hunter, which is another thing to consider. We think Mr.Yagut’s Hybrid Hunter list is very well refined and a good choice if you’re facing a faster Metagame. If you’re facing slower decks though, you could always switch to Mid-Range. It’s a balancing act where maintaining flexibility in your deck choices will help you perform better in the long run.
Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report: