vS Data Reaper Report #157

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from 25,000 games.

 

Welcome to the 157th edition of the Data Reaper Report!

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 2,300 active contributors and we thank them wholeheartedly. Contributing to the Data Reaper project through Track-o-Bot or Hearthstone Deck Tracker (recommended) allows us to perform our analyses and to issue the weekly reports. Without the community’s contribution, there would be no project. Contributing data is very easy and takes a few simple steps, after which no other action is required. If you enjoy our content and would like to make sure it remains consistent and free – Sign Up!


Quick Links

Class/Archetype Distribution | Class Frequency | Matchup Winrates | vS Power Rankings | vS Meta Score | Class Analysis & Decklists | Meta Breaker of the Week | How to Contribute | Credits


Number of Games

Overall 25,000
Legend 4,000
Ranks 1-4 8,000
Ranks 5-9 11,000
Ranks 10-14 2,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

Hunter and Rogue sit on top of the meta. Hunter is more popular throughout ladder, while Rogue is more popular at legend. Galakrond Rogue and Dragon Hunter have maintained their momentum, siphoning players away from the Highlander decks of their respective classes.

Galakrond Warrior is picking up steam, especially at legend where it sits at 10% of the field. Highlander Warrior is declining after failing to impress for more than a week.

Highlander Mage has grown in popularity and it’s showing no signs of going anywhere despite its well-known struggles against the Hunter class and consequently, its mediocre ladder performance.

Embiggen Druid declines in play as you climb ladder, while Quest Druid continues to exhibit the opposite pattern, but both decks are losing traction amongst the player base.

Resurrect Priest has risen in popularity after impressing in last week’s report, though it is still relatively uncommon at legend due to the higher presence of Galakrond Rogue and Highlander Mage.

Paladin has slightly declined, but Mech Paladin looks fairly stable and should remain a competitive option for the class in the current meta.

Warlock is spiraling down to the bottom of the meta, with all of its archetypes struggling to find relevance. Shaman is already deep at the bottom with seemingly no way to get back in the game.

Matchup Win Rates Header


Power Rankings Header

vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion

While the meta remains quite balanced, we’re beginning to see the emergence of three decks that perform at a slightly higher level than the rest, and they settle down at Tier 1 from rank 4 onwards.

Galakrond Rogue has recovered in its win rate, partly due to a reversal in the archetype’s card selection. Skyvateer has dropped in play, while SN1P-SN4P and Zilliax have gone back up. This is the right move. The final product is an extremely flexible deck that can contest the board early, produce incredible board swings in seemingly hopeless situations, and still possess near-infinite late game value.

Galakrond Warrior has risen to become a top performer in this report. While Resurrect Priest has risen in play, it was not enough to offset the significant gains the archetype has made thanks to progress in its refinement. Eternium Rover, SN1P-SN4P and Leeroy Jenkins have been big factors here.

Few decks are capable of reliably stopping Dragon Hunter, and the archetype has also benefitted from the players’ infatuation with Highlander Mage, which is largely responsible for the uptick in Dragon Hunter’s win rate at legend.

Speaking of Highlander Mage, we don’t mean to talk down this deck because we actually respect it a lot. If this was a tournament report, there’s no doubt it would be placed at the highest tier. The deck’s matchup spread against 8 classes looks insane. It has picked up percentages against both of the dominant Galakrond decks, and we also see indications of a high skill cap for the archetype, though its higher win rate at legend is a product of a more favorable meta rather than its skill ceiling. Hunter’s overbearing presence is the only thing that keeps Highlander Mage at a sub-50% win rate on ladder.

Other Rogue, Hunter and Warrior decks are overshadowed by their respective top dog. Highlander Hunter does offer some advantages over Dragon Hunter, but they’re not impactful enough in the current meta. Quest Hunter is permanently ignored, and Face Hunter just kinda sucks. It’s hard for us to justify playing Highlander Rogue at its current state, while Highlander Warrior similarly struggles to keep its head above water. The recurring message is that Highlander decks don’t perform as well as they’re often perceived to.

Priest and Paladin have stuck around. Both Resurrect Priest and Mech Paladin have very strong matchups against top meta decks, maintaining their positive win rate throughout ladder. Resurrect Priest is the premier answer to Galakrond Warrior, while Mech Paladin is the premier answer to Dragon Hunter. Both find more limited success at legend due to Rogue’s increased presence.

This has been a bad week for Druid. Quest Druid has fallen hard due to the rise of some of its worst matchups in Dragon Hunter and Highlander Mage. Embiggen Druid is proving to be an extremely limited deck that performs drastically worse in many matchups at higher levels of play. Token Druid is another deck that hits a wall once it climbs to a certain point.

Warlock has welcomed Druid to the circle of mediocrity. Gul’dan’s best deck is Control Warlock, and even this archetype has some insurmountable flaws in the current meta. Judging by these results, we expect Warlock to continue its slow decline, and it may eventually meet Shaman at the bottom. Poor Shaman.

Class Analysis & Decklists

Druid | Hunter | Mage | Paladin | Priest | Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior


Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Galakrond Rogue is largely perceived to be the strongest deck in the format, and it’s the top choice for players at higher levels. While it doesn’t outperform other decks by a significant margin, it might feel a little more consistent than others since it doesn’t have a widely popular counter on ladder. Quest Druid is its biggest nemesis.

Once again, we reiterate that SN1P-SN4P and Zilliax are essential. Bully can be good because of its strength in the mirror and against Galakrond Warrior, but it’s really bad against Hunter and Druid. It can be swapped in for either Faceless Corruptor or Sap.

Highlander Rogue looks largely inferior and there doesn’t seem to be a real reason to play it in the current meta. However, one development we should take note of is the rise of a new build from Jambre, which Bunnyhoppor has taken to #1 legend. It cuts some of the Burgle package cards (Fox, Burglar) as well as Devoted Maniac. One novel card in this list that we’re already impressed by is Hot Air Balloon.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Dragon Hunter is another very consistent performer on ladder. Its most common counter is Galakrond Warrior. This matchup is winnable, but it is becoming more difficult recently due to the rise in the prevalence of Armorsmiths, which have proven to be core cards. The Dragon Hunter list is straight forward and needs no tweaks. Tech cards just make your curve less consistent.

Highlander Hunter has been second best in recent times. Its main problem is the direct matchup against Dragon Hunter, which is fairly difficult. Otherwise, Highlander Hunter is a well-rounded deck that’s more difficult to target than Dragon Hunter, at an obvious cost to its overall win rate.

Quest Hunter has remained very niche, though it is still a strong performer. The re-introduction of Galakrond Warrior has given it a new challenge, but it is still the best performing Hunter deck against Rogues. That makes it quite relevant.

Face Hunter remains very popular at lower ranks, but is almost non-existent at higher levels of play. Dragon Hunter is just the better aggressive deck, and has made Face Hunter completely redundant. Too many decks in the current meta carry the life gain necessary to obliterate its one-dimensional game plan.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Highlander Mage has become increasingly popular at legend, which might be a result of its success in the tournament scene. Despite the obvious differences in these formats, which we’ve explained a few times already, this phenomenon is common and unavoidable.

As we’ve said before, Mage is worse on ladder because there’s no Hunter ban. Its matchups against every other class have improved and there’s no other opponent it truly fears. In the absence of Hunters, it could very well be the best deck in the game (!), but its 30% win rate against Dragon Hunter cripples its overall performance on ladder.

As for its build, Flamestrike looks like the correct cut. The featured build offers the peak Mage experience. Don’t get baited by Puzzle Box. Prayers to Yogg are usually not answered.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Galakrond Warrior has established itself as one of the best decks in the game. It is also stronger at higher levels of play due to the difference in Resurrect Priest’s presence. While fairly common on the legend climb, Priest drops off at legend, giving Warrior a better chance of hitting the top legend ranks.

As for list refinement, we’re now very confident that we nailed the 30 best cards you could play in the deck last week. One Battle Rage performs moderately well, confirming that the second Battle Rage was the biggest problem. It was almost always useless, and the excessive card draw made Acolyte of Pain a worse performer as well.

Bomb Wrangler is fine as 1-of, as SN1P-SN4P and Acolyte of Pain are the superior 3-drops in most matchups. Eternium Rovers are absolutely essential. Leeroy is better than Kor’kron Elite, and it’s not close.

Highlander Warrior is a decent answer to Dragon Hunter, but the deck is a bit too polarizing and inconsistent. The persistence of Highlander Mage is a big problem for the deck, and it’s also not very good against Rogues, which are capable of squeezing out a lot of value and exhausting Warrior’s removal.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

The rules of engagements are pretty clear for Quest Druid. Run away from Mage and Hunter. Chase Warrior and Rogue. It’s a great deck to play if you want to destroy Galakrond decks, but it’s quite dependent on hitting these matchups in order to climb.

After another week of data, we’re now leaning towards the older Innervate build. The Gloop build has declined in popularity and win rate over the last week, which might be caused by its slightly worse matchup against Dragon Hunter.

Embiggen Druid is very popular at lower ranks, but it’s overshadowed by Dragon Hunter at higher levels of play. This matchup is fairly difficult, as Hunter is just faster to get to the board and finish games. Embiggen Druid’s skill ceiling also looks increasingly limited.

Token Druid is an afterthought. It’s competitive at lower ranks, but the higher you climb ladder, the worse it gets. We don’t like how it matches up against the top meta decks.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Resurrect Priest, last week’s shock Meta Breaker, has risen in popularity throughout ladder. Its destruction of Galakrond Warrior and the good matchup against Dragon Hunter makes it a very strong choice in the current meta. However, it continues to be significantly less popular at legend, where its biggest counters peak in their popularity: Galakrond Rogue and Highlander Mage.

The best build remains the non-Quest Galakrond build. This is the build that, alongside favorable meta trends, has transformed Priest from a mediocre Tier 3 deck to a strong performer.

Remove. Resurrect. Emote. Receive friend requests. It’s the way of the Priest.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Mech Paladin is the hardest counter in the game to Dragon Hunter, and one of the hardest counters to Druid. This keeps it a strong player in the current meta, but one with rising issues.

Paladin struggles to keep board against Rogue and Warrior, and it isn’t fast enough to overwhelm Priest before it stabilizes. The rise of both Galakrond Warrior and Resurrect Priest has therefore been a problematic development for the archetype. Paladin saw its win rate fall from the very top spot, to a more modest place amongst a longer list of competitive decks.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Warlock has been constantly regressing over the last couple of months. From three viable archetypes, we’ve seen the class gradually lose its options one by one. The last bastion of competitive play in Control Warlock has now entered the process of dying out. It just doesn’t match up well to the top meta decks in the aftermath of Galakrond’s Awakening.

Handlock is long gone, Quest Warlock is a meme, and no one is taking Zoo seriously. Neither should you.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

We’re out of witty one-liners to fill space in the Shaman section. It’s a real crisis!


Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

We think Galakrond Rogue and Galakrond Warrior are the most rewarding decks you could learn to play on ladder. Both are Tier 1 performers, but they might become even stronger over the next week due to the decline of Druid. Quest Druid is the most suitable deck to counter Galakrond decks, but it is struggling to perform due to other meta trends going against it.

Galakrond Rogue is the total package, and the featured build is excellent and reliable. Boompistol Bully is an option if you’ve found yourself in a heavy Galakrond meta and don’t meet as many Hunters (typical of high legend sometimes, and not as relevant for most players).

Galakrond Warrior is another example of the total package, because it has both aggressive and defensive capabilities. It’s got a superb early game thanks to Town Crier and Eternium Rover, and strong finishing potential through Galakrond and Leeroy.

Who would have thought that hero cards would be good again?

 


Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 2,300 active contributors. Without them, this project would not be possible, so we’d like to thank all of our contributors for their help.

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Contributors

Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report:

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