Welcome to the 160th edition of the Data Reaper Report! This is the first report following the second round of balance changes to Demon Hunter.
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Class Frequency Discussion
The good news is that the second round of balance changes has led to another decline in Demon Hunter’s play rate. The bad news is that Demon Hunter is still the most popular class, by far, at every rank bracket. The seemingly unaffected Aggro Demon Hunter continues to look like the top meta deck. It has quickly adjusted to the balance changes with a tweak to its build, now utilizing Priestess of Fury. It surpasses a 20% play rate at legend and becomes extremely ubiquitous at top legend ranks. Combo Demon Hunter seems to have fallen off the map with the nerf to Kael’thas, while players continue to play Firebat’s pre-launch stream Highlander Demon Hunter, which doesn’t run Twin Slice. It’s been three weeks. Please delete that deck already.
Rogue has skyrocketed in its popularity, anticipating a more favorable meta after the balance changes. Both Galakrond Rogue and Highlander Rogue have become very common decks at all levels of play, but it seems that Galakrond Rogue has retaken its position as the primary Rogue archetype. Galakrond Rogue continues to experiment with multiple variants, and the Secret build is now significantly more popular compared to the Stealth build.
Mage is becoming increasingly focused on its Highlander deck, as Spell Mage is reduced to a fun meme that’s common at lower leagues. Highlander Mage is at an advanced stage of its refinement but is currently missing one important piece in its most popular builds.
Enthusiasm for Priest has grown. Galakrond Priest has emerged shortly before the balance changes and has become the primary class archetype since. Both Highlander and Resurrect Priest are still visible, but their prevalence has dropped with players now experimenting with the new fad.
Hunter is another class that’s attempting to make a comeback following the balance changes. Its three archetypes from DoD are all around, exhibiting similar play rates. Highlander Hunter is very close to finalizing its refinement, which is typical of a Highlander deck that’s generally easier and more forgiving to build. Dragon Hunter is mid-way through this process, while Face Hunter is far from optimized.
In the first report of AoO, we said that Enrage Warrior would have become a Tier 1 performer and a surefire Meta Breaker if no balance changes were made. The patch threw this possibility into some doubt, but the aftermath shows that Demon Hunter is still widely popular. This means that its one reliable counter from the first week of AoO (now that Warlock lost Sac Pact) is continuing to rise in popularity, especially at higher levels of play. Enrage Warrior has yet to finish its refinement phase. Most of its shell is largely agreed upon, but there are a couple of major points of divergence. The first is Injured Tol’vir vs Serpent Egg/Teron Gorefiend. The second is Livewire Lance vs Wrenchcalibur/Blastmaster Boom. We discuss this in detail later.
The nerf to Sacrificial Pact seems to have obliterated Control Warlocks, and the class has fallen off hard in its play rate. Previously deputizing Demon Hunter, Warlock’s position in the meta becomes unclear. One saving grace could be Zoo Warlock, which has seen a small uptick in play as builds continue to optimize around Imprisoned Scrap Imp.
Druid is another class that looks like a big loser of the balance changes. Spell Druid has seen its cornerstone card (Kael’thas) nerfed, while Big Druid was already on a downward spiral. The class is also very stagnant in its development, indicating that Malfurion might be running out of ideas.
Paladin has been overtaken by Murlocs, as the buff to Libram of Justice has not moved the needle when it comes to decks utilizing the Libram package (it did not address the real issues of these decks, so we’re not surprised). Murloc Paladin might be the class’ only hope at the moment, but with Demon Hunters and Rogues sitting at the top of the meta, it’s hard to envision the fishmen doing well.
Shaman has gone off the deep end. Fractured into a mixture of bad decks and bad memes, the class is in serious trouble of disappearing from the meta. Once again, with Rogue and Demon Hunter dominating early board control, decks that rely on sticking a board and snowballing it, such as Totem Shaman, are unlikely to find much joy in the current meta.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
After two sets of balance changes, Aggro Demon Hunter remains the top meta deck with a win rate that’s noticeably lower than before the patch, but still high considering its prevalence and the meta’s incentive to counter it. Nearly every deck in the game has failed to counter it despite their best efforts, with Enrage Warrior the only success story in that regard. Aggro Demon Hunter has a perfect Meta Score at every rank bracket, so a question must be asked: Has nothing actually changed?
On the surface, it might look like we’re entering the same old story for Ashes of Outland, but there’s more to it once we dig into the data and begin projecting future meta trends. The conclusion we’ve reached after our intensive internal analysis is that Aggro Demon Hunter might be the best deck in the game of yesterday, but Enrage Warrior is the best deck in the game of tomorrow. We’ll explain why:
Its refinement phase is still very incomplete, and its win rate is continuing to rise every day as players move to stronger builds. Just based on what we’ve seen from its various current builds, Enrage Warrior will very likely rise to the top of the win rate charts in the near future (at least at legend), surpassing Aggro Demon Hunter once it settles on its “optimal build”.
It is the most skill-intensive deck in the format. Many of its matchups improve at higher levels, and it exhibits a steep learning curve that resembles other notable decks of the past we’ve encountered (such as Combo Priest). Players continue to improve their ability to pilot the deck over time, which further contributes to the deck’s continuous rise in win rate.
Enrage Warrior’s matchup spread looks nearly as dominant as Aggro Demon Hunter’s. The only class that looks capable of stopping this monster is Priest, and should Warrior find a solution to Priest, it will have the matchup spread of a Tier S deck that can only be countered by the faltering Big Druid.
Major spoilers: there is a solution to Priests! We can turn the matchup into a much closer affair and potentially eliminate Priest as a reliable counter, and we talk about how we do it in the Warrior section. If this solution spreads, Enrage Warrior will shatter the current meta into pieces.
Galakrond Rogue has shot up in its performance and climbed to Tier 1. The secret build has improved and is now the superior choice within the archetype, but there are a few kinks to work out in the list and the way it’s supposed to be played. Its current matchup against Aggro Demon Hunter is right down the middle, but further refinement in Rogue could potentially give Valeera a small and precious edge.
Highlander Rogue has actually regressed. It’s the result of botched adjustments meant to improve the Demon Hunter matchup, but that ended up achieving nothing but making the deck worse. We can see the archetype climbing back to Tier 2, but it will likely remain in Galakrond Rogue’s shadow just like it did throughout DoD.
Hunter is the fourth class that looks like a top tier performer, and it’s also the most diverse one: Highlander, Dragon, and Face Hunter all look very successful.
Highlander Hunter is the most refined archetype, and it also possesses the most balanced and well-rounded matchup spread. Its ability to resist Enrage Warrior is going to become a valuable asset as the meta settles down.
Dragon Hunter has greater potential to improve its builds, but the Warrior/Priest matchups are problematic. It seems that longevity is going to become a more important trait in the current meta than an explosive early game, which is why Highlander Hunter looks like the superior dragon deck.
Face Hunter has tremendous potential to refine further, but it is completely hard countered by Warrior and Priest. We’re concerned that whatever ground it gains by optimizing its build will be lost by an inevitable rise in Enrage Warrior. We do like the deck’s close matchup with Demon Hunter, and we think it has the ability to give Rogue some serious fits when it’s built well and doesn’t play into Rogue’s strengths (current common lists are too vulnerable to Blackjack Stunners).
Highlander Mage looks pretty weak, doing fairly well against most of the meta but crumbling under the weight of Hunters and Demon Hunters. The deck does have one important caveat to consider, which is that most players have yet to include the 4th best card in the deck: Imprisoned Observer. If Observer was considered to be a core card by everyone, Highlander Mage might have been sitting at Tier 2 today. Yes, this one card makes that dramatic of a difference. We’ll see if people wake up.
Control Warlock has fallen down hard, which is the result of its Demon Hunter matchup swinging by double digits due to the Sacrificial Pact nerf. Its poor performance against Warrior and Hunter could lead to its complete disappearance too. Zoo Warlock is doing better, gradually increasing in its win rate as it continues to hone its build, but it has also benefitted from the balance changes to Demon Hunter. We don’t expect it to be a top tier deck (Warrior/Demon Hunter matchups are problematic), but it doesn’t look like a bad deck at all.
Galakrond Priest looks a little overrated. We don’t want to write it off prematurely because it’s a new deck that has the potential to improve, but we think its strong Enrage Warrior matchup has overhyped its perceived standing. If it ends up losing this big Warrior edge, it could just become irrelevant. It doesn’t beat any of the other top performing meta decks besides Face Hunter, and both Rogues and non-Face Hunters pound it to dust. Its matchup spread just isn’t very promising, and it’s striking that even Highlander Priest outperforms it at every level. Perhaps, this is indicative of a core issue in Galakrond Priest: it’s a very grindy deck that lacks lethality.
Things don’t look too good for Spell Druid. It struggles against the top two decks in the meta, and only carries a small edge against Rogue that doesn’t make up for it. Big Druid can boast about its strong Enrage Warrior matchup, but it loses to pretty much everything else besides some Tier 4 decks. Malfurion might be headed to a fringe role in the meta.
Do Paladin and Shaman even have a role in the meta? We think they just don’t. Murloc Paladin and Totem Shaman are both pretty bad in the current meta. They get completely destroyed by the trifecta of Demon Hunter/Rogue/Warrior. Unless something crazy happens, theses classes’ other archetypes will also remain in the deep dumpster.
Class Analysis & Decklists
After two sets of balance changes dedicated to nerfing its power level, Aggro Demon Hunter still emerges as the best ladder deck in the game. While it faces more competition at the top, and it might not be as dominant as it was in its previous iterations, Demon Hunter is still an extremely tough opponent to face, with only one clear counter in Enrage Warrior.
With Sacrificial Pact no longer targeting enemies, Priestess of Fury has made its return to Demon Hunter builds, and it’s an exceptionally strong performer alongside Raging Felscreamer. To make way for them, we cut Frenzied Felwing and Spectral Sight.
Felwing is now a riskier inclusion since its 2 health makes it just as susceptible to AOE as Demon Hunter’s other early game minions. Pacing ourselves and squeezing inefficient removal out of our opponent is now a more sensible approach when we carry more threats at the top end. Our ability to kill our opponents in the late game even when our early game assault is dealt with is highly potent.
Spectral Sight doesn’t work too well with a higher Priestess curve. It was good enough when our build was lean and could easily dump cards to trigger our reload outcast abilities, but our hand is now slower, which means that Spectral Sight can get stuck in our hand more often (as well as Skull of Gul’dan). In addition, maximizing card draw isn’t as important since Priestess carries a big load in the late game and Altruis isn’t as broken as it used to be (believe it or not, but the nerf did make an impact here. Altruis is still very good, but it’s no longer the best card in the deck).
Players continue to play around with Highlander Demon Hunter, but we can’t really tell how good this archetype can be when most players are running a build that was made before the expansion even launched. We’re featuring a list that’s very close to the one Impact has recently had success with.
- Demon Hunter Class Radar
- Aggro Demon Hunter
- Highlander Demon Hunter
We expected that the balance changes would be very good news for Valeera, and she has delivered. Rogue is now capable of matching Demon Hunter, establishing itself as one of the strongest classes in the game.
Before the balance changes, we leaned towards the Stealth variant in Galakrond Rogue since it was better equipped to resist Aggro Demon Hunter’s relentless early game assault. However, with Demon Hunter slowing down and utilizing Priestess of Fury, there is now a much bigger incentive to run the Secret variant. To simplify each variant’s strength: Stealth is generally better against Demon Hunter. Secret is better in slower matchups, Warrior, and the mirror. Therefore, it’s easy to understand why the Secret variant has become a better performer after the patch.
We’ve carefully evaluated the Secret build over the past week. One of the biggest questions is how many secrets can we run without hurting Hanar and Blackjack Stunner, which are amazing cards in the deck. The answer seems to be 4, and we prefer to run as few secrets as possible since they’re not very good cards by themselves. Specifically, Dirty Tricks and Bamboozle are too easy to play around and punish in common scenarios. Ambush is the best secret and we’re more comfortable running two copies of it.
In general, the mindset of Galakrond Rogue players should be that secrets are there to enable Hanar/Stunners, and not much more than that. Be very wary of keeping secrets in your opening hand. It’s usually not a smart thing to do, and a common mistake is keeping Dirty Tricks because your opponent has the coin. The most common scenario in which we can justify keeping a secret is if we have Hanar in hand already.
One card that’s being seriously slept on is Spymistress. Most secret variants do not include it with the belief that it’s only a good card in the stealth variant. That looks like a clear mistake. Spymistress is nuts regardless of synergy. In fact, we estimate that the reason why the stealth build performs better against Demon Hunter mostly comes down to Spymistress. Just play it and thank us later.
So the last two slots come down to either Eviscerates or Faceless Corruptors. Eviscerate is the better performer. It’s better in the mirror and it’s better against Demon Hunter. Shadowsteps are only good in the stealth variant because of Greyheart Sage.
With the optimization of Galakrond Rogue in its advanced phase, Highlander Rogue once again looks like the inferior archetype. However, the archetype has gone a little backward in its refinement, which hurt its win rate. We’ve seen players try builds that specifically target Demon Hunter with taunts (Khartut, Bone Wraith) and even Kobold Stickyfinder. This doesn’t work: not only are we hurting other matchups with sub-optimal cards, but the Demon Hunter matchup also does not even improve!
The reason is that Demon Hunter has a clock. It possesses inevitability and an overwhelming amount of damage. It’s not enough to fend Demon Hunter off and just try to survive. Rogue needs to turn the tables quickly in the mid-game and kill the Demon Hunter because the matchup quickly turns into a race.
If you wait too long, and focus on not losing rather than winning, you’ll eventually SEE WHAT MUST BE DONE.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Galakrond Rogue
- Highlander Rogue
Hunter is another class that has benefitted from the balance changes. Slower Demon Hunters give Rexxar more time and breathing room to assert his own game plan. The class is quite evenly split between its three major archetypes, the same ones we remember from Descent of Dragons.
Highlander Hunter might be the best of the three since its matchup spread is very well rounded and it doesn’t have any hard counters. It can force close matchups with Rogue and Demon Hunter while dominating Priest and Mage. It’s also not as vulnerable to Warrior.
A build that’s close to the one we’ve featured before the patch looks very good. We only made two changes: Frozen Shadoweaver is a more proactive 3-drop than Overconfident Orc, while still carrying valuable defensive utility. Frenzied Felwing has gotten weaker, and it’s replaced by another demon: Imprisoned Felmaw. We were close to cutting Nagrand Slam, but the card has gotten better after the patch since the meta slowed down. It’s terrible against Demon Hunter, but it’s quite good against the rising Rogues.
We’ll try to be short and to the point about Imprisoned Felmaw. It has turned out to be an amazing performer in Hunter the very moment it appeared. It’s so powerful that we can’t see any Hunter deck passing it up. Unlike most other dormant minions, its power level doesn’t even taper off in the late game. Just put it in your deck: only Zephrys and Dinotamer Brann are more impactful cards in Highlander Hunter.
Dragon Hunter has made significant progress in its refinement, thanks to Meati’s build increasing in popularity. Imprisoned Felmaw is insane in this deck. Stonetusk Boars are the best way to abuse Scavenger’s Ingenuity alongside Phase Stalker. Players just keep forgetting about Dragonbane for some reason. We’ll keep reminding you that Dragonbane is core to every relevant Hunter deck.
Face Hunter might be the most vulnerable archetype out of the three since it has hard counters in Warrior and Priest that give it a very hard time, but it’s also the least refined archetype.
We’re featuring a novel Face Hunter build that is built off our findings when analyzing Dragon Hunter builds as well as current Face Hunter builds. Imprisoned Felmaw has to be good in this deck, so try it and give us the data to confirm it.
We’re already seeing very promising signs from builds that utilize Stonetusk Boars alongside Ingenuity, and it looks like the superior approach compared to running Porcupine/Lion. Boars also allow us to keep Phase Stalkers in the mull, turning Ingenuity into a much more powerful draw in the mid-game to find us immediate damage. Leper Gnomes are weak and redundant because we have enough early game plays that are far better and more worthwhile to find in the opening hand. Animal Companions are also very slow: remember that they only make Huffers a third of the time! Scrap Shot goes face and is devastating with a Boar in hand. Unleash the Hounds is a very good card against Rogue. Pack Tactics is a game losing secret. Dragonbane is the best card in the deck.
- Hunter Class Radar
- Highlander Hunter
- Dragon Hunter
- Face Hunter
Highlander Mage’s weaknesses are very clearly defined. It has close matchups with most common meta decks but falters against Demon Hunter and Hunter. This cements Mage as a class that’s not particularly fond of this meta.
However, there is room for improvement, specifically in these matchups. We’ll reiterate what we’ve said before the patch about Imprisoned Observer. It is one of the deck’s very best cards and we’re literally shaking our heads that it hasn’t seen a significant rise in play. We estimate that Observer causes an improvement in the Demon Hunter matchup by well over 5%, and an overall improvement in the archetype’s win rate by 2%. That’s a potential rise of a full tier with just one card! Can you imagine Highlander Mage not running Reno? Well, this is what everyone is doing right now by not running Observer.
Another stride in Highlander Mage’s refinement has been the addition of secrets. Arcane Mysteries, Ice Barrier, and Flame Ward is a strong package that’s very worthwhile to include in the current meta, so we’ve updated the featured list to include them. Puzzle-Box has become stronger after the patch since Mage actually has time to cast it or cheat it out through Pilgrim/Dragoncaster more consistently.
Spell Mage has fallen off and we don’t recommend playing the deck. We’ve seen some experiments with Control Mage builds centered around Dragoncasters and Deep Freeze/Power of Creation/Puzzle-Box. So far, they don’t look very promising. Maybe if we ran Observers though…
Priest seems to be keeping up appearance as a relevant class in the meta. Galakrond Priest has emerged just before the balance changes and continued to develop afterwards. Its success is mostly thanks to its strong Warrior matchup. Enrage Warrior looks like a meta breaking deck that’s almost unbeatable but has one Achilles heel, which is Priest. Several players have enjoyed success at high legend thanks to this matchup. Galakrond Priest might be useful in these situations, but we think it’s generally overvalued because of this one unique role.
Throughout ladder, Galakrond Priest looks pretty weak. Enrage Warrior and Spell Druid aren’t very common, it doesn’t beat Demon Hunter and has a horrible time facing Rogues. Highlander Hunter is another deck that we expect to see more of and that gives Priest a very hard time.
Our featured build is inspired by Tictac with a couple of tweaks. We really like the addition of Murozond, as it can be huge in the difficult Rogue matchup. Apotheosis performs so well that two copies are likely justified. It’s specifically amazing against Demon Hunters. The 2nd Shadow Word Death is either better than Plague of Death or at least as good as it is in most matchups. We’re unsure about Sethekk Veilweaver. It only seems to be useful later in the game, so it could be okay as a single copy, but Priest might not need the value it offers. For now, we’ve excluded it but we’re open to changing our minds with more data since it could be misunderstood. Just remember that it’s a terrible early game card.
Other Priest archetypes are declining, which isn’t shocking since the meta was likely going to become worse for them. However, Highlander Priest is surprisingly outperforming Galakrond Priest at the moment, with drastically better Hunter matchups being its strongest selling point. We’ve updated its build with more removal options. Resurrect Priest is where we expected it to be: competitively unplayable.
- Priest Class Radar
- Galakrond Priest
- Resurrect Priest
- Highlander Priest
The balance changes did not impede Enrage Warrior’s rise to a Meta Breaker status. Aggro Demon Hunter is still very powerful, and Warrior offers the strongest counter to the meta tyrant. But Enrage Warrior isn’t some counter deck: it performs extremely well against every class except Priest, which can be considered a bit overrated and unlikely to grow too much in popularity unless it finds another breakthrough in its refinement.
Enrage Warrior was initially built and popularized by NoHandsGamer. Hunterace proceeded to make one important tweak, which is adding Warmaul Challengers instead of Imprisoned Vilefiend. Vilefiend is good in the early game, but weak late. Challenger is good at all stages of the game, and performs at a level of a core card. We’ve also seen players experiment with Wrenchcalibur alongside Blastmaster Boom, replacing Livewire Lance. However, this approach looks largely inferior.
Enrage Warrior’s optimal build makes a choice between two packages. We either run Serpent Eggs and Teron Gorefiend, or we run Injured Tol’vir and Grommash Hellscream. Both builds are similar in their overall performance, but vary in specific matchups, and we think the latter currently has the edge (Grommash /Tol’vir: Rogue, Priest, Mage. Teron/Egg: Mirror, Hunter).
Serpent Eggs used to be clearly better than Injured Tol’virs, but the gap closed after the patch because of the rise of Rogue. The more important difference between the builds is Grommash: he’s a game-changer in the deck’s worst matchup. Against Priest, Warrior often needs to draw its whole deck and assemble a Kor’kron/Mercenary burst combo. Having Grommash makes a huge impact because it provides another big burst finisher. We estimate that the featured build is 10% better in the Priest matchup than the Egg/Teron build (making it only slightly unfavored, if not even), just thanks to Gromm!
If you’re wondering why we don’t add Grommash to Teron and Eggs, it’s a very good question. It’s actually difficult to cut a different card outside of the egg package. Armorsmith is too important against Demon Hunter, and cutting one Kor’kron or Rampage misses the whole point regarding the Priest matchup (we need all the burst combo pieces or it’s just a sidegrade move). The card we would first try to cut in order to enjoy “both worlds” is one Bomb Wrangler. Perhaps, that’s what ends up being the right move down the road should this deck break out in larger numbers and we want to retain optimal performance in the mirror, where Teron/Eggs shine the most.
Druid is having a tough time in the aftermath of the balance changes. Kael’thas is still a very good card in Spell Druid, but one mana does make a difference. Demon Hunters are still a pain to deal with, while Warrior and Priest have risen in play and offer more headache-inducing matchups. In addition, Spell Druid is not the hard counter to Rogue that it was initially advertised as.
Spell Druid has also seen no significant innovation, so we didn’t have much to work with in terms of finding new and interesting variants to discuss. Big Druid looks like a dying archetype. The class is generally stagnating and might be in serious trouble if the Warrior/Priest dynamic becomes a core feature of the meta.
Control Warlock’s stock has fallen. Zoo Warlock’s stock has risen. They met each other in Tier 3, but could end up passing through. Zoo is now where Warlock’s hopes lie.
Control Warlock has definitely suffered from the balance changes, and it could be in serious trouble. It lost its Sacrificial Pact cheese against Demon Hunter, leading to this matchup no longer being Warlock favored. The deck is now significantly unfavored against Demon Hunter, which is a testament to how silly Sac Pact was. Add the difficult matchups against Warrior and Hunter and you have a deck that’s in danger of falling off completely since it struggles when its life total is constantly pressured. One thing that puzzles us is the persistence in playing Bad Luck Albatross. The bird is bad now, so just cut it for a playable 3-drop like Frozen Shadoweaver or Overconfident Orc.
Zoo Warlock has momentum behind it. Slowing down the meta gives it more time to do its broken things. The more we analyze Scrap Imp Zoo, the more we realize how warped the deck is around drawing Scrap Imp and Hand of Gul’dan. Your mulligan needs to be extremely greedy. Your dream opening hand is Imprisoned Scrap Imp, Hand of Gul’dan, and Expired Merchant. Everything else falls off hard. Don’t settle for a turn 1 Flame Imp. 1-drops are just there to abuse Magic Carpet in the mid-game, and your deck is filled with them. You often don’t even want to play anything until your Scrap Imp triggers, so this isn’t a standard aggro deck that curves out. This is more like the Warbringer Necrium Apothecary Rogue. Your game plan literally cannot function without Imprisoned Scrap Imp and Hand of Gul’dan, so find them at all costs.
Our featured build highlights the polarity of the deck. The entire build is just 1-drops (preferably those that scale with buffs), Imprisoned Scrap Imp, Magic Carpet, Hand of Gul’dan and ways to discard Hand of Gul’dan. You literally do not care about anything else.
The balance changes have addressed nothing when it comes to Paladin’s competitive viability. Libram of Justice is a strong card that got buffed further, but Paladin’s issues are its card draw and early game. Having a package of strong cards doesn’t mean much when you can’t draw them consistently and the rest of your deck is trash.
We suspect that the buff to Libram of Justice could eventually become problematic when Paladin actually gets what it needs to utilize it effectively in the format. Remember Plague of Flames? It saw little to no play throughout Saviors of Uldum because Warlock couldn’t effectively utilize it, but it has been permanently busted in Wild.
Murloc Paladin is kind of playable, but it’s not very good because the balance changes haven’t significantly changed the meta. It loses hard to Demon Hunter and Warrior, and it also loses to Rogue. That’s not a very promising matchup spread. If you insist on playing Paladin, we highly recommend dropping Truesilver Champion for Consecration if you want any chance of coming back to the game against Demon Hunter. The featured build tries to stop the bleeding there.
Shaman has sunk into trash tier. Its most promising archetype, Totem Shaman, has found the post-patch meta to be unbearable. Not only is Demon Hunter still extremely dominant, but Rogue and Warrior have also joined the fray to abuse Shamans even further. Totem Shaman simply cannot handle these classes, since they have such effective and easy ways to remove its totems and never let it get back to the board.
The featured list was built quite cleverly by WiRer, trying to address the deck’s flaws by protecting totems with Shieldbearer and Beaming Sidekick. However, it is impossible for Totem Shaman to flip its poor matchups no matter how it is built, so we think the archetype is basically doomed.
Not much else is going on for Shaman. All of its other archetypes are dead. The class that looked so dominant a few months ago now looks practically unplayable. With Shudderwock and Spirit of the Frog gone from the format, we could justify reverting some of the nerfs that hit Galakrond Shaman. Perhaps, something to consider? In theory, pre-nerf Galakrond Shaman has tools to handle the current iteration of Demon Hunter (the hero power kills 2 health minions, it has taunts, freeze, and life gain options with Witch’s Brew/Walking Fountain, and Hex as an answer to Priestess).
There’s a strong possibility that the meta at higher levels of play will switch from one tyrant to another. Aggro Demon Hunter might be getting all of the attention now, but we suspect that Enrage Warrior may eclipse it in the not-so-distant future. The deck has incredible potential, is extremely skill-intensive and very powerful.
The featured build takes aim at those pesky Priests who are gambling at running into us despite their inferiority against the rest of the field. Let’s punish them with Big Daddy Hellscream and show them that they’re betting on the wrong horse.
We’ve also highlighted a possible build path in case Enrage Warrior truly takes over and mirrors become extremely common, but the deck could be so difficult to play well that it might not ever be widely popular. If you liked Patron Warrior, this deck is right up your alley.
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