vS Data Reaper Report #162

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from 110,000 games.

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Welcome to the 162nd edition of the Data Reaper Report!

A Wild Data Reaper Report is coming out this Sunday, on May 17th!

A Major Hearthstone patch was released on Tuesday which broke Hearthstone Deck Tracker. An update was released yesterday to restore the program’s functionality, so we advise data contributors to make sure their plugin is still enabled after installing this update.

Our Data Reaper Project has 3,200 (HDT) active contributors and we thank them wholeheartedly. Contributing to the Data Reaper project through Hearthstone Deck Tracker or Firestone allows us to perform our analyses and to issue the weekly reports. Without the community’s contributions, there would be no project. Contributing data is very easy, so 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 110,000
Legend 20,000
Diamond 4 to 1 27,000
Diamond 10 to 5 25,000
Platinum 14,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 24,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

Although it is still the most popular class in the format at every rank bracket, Demon Hunter is finally in decline. Aggro Demon Hunter now sits at a play rate of under 25% at Diamond 4-1 (it was almost 30% last week). Progress.

Enrage Warrior is rapidly rising in play at legend, but it is still fairly uncommon at lower leagues, which is likely due to its general difficulty of play and steep learning curve. At legend, it is now the second most popular deck behind Aggro Demon Hunter, surpassing Galakrond Rogue.

Rogue players seem to be switching from Highlander Rogue to Galakrond Rogue, which is likely due to the latter’s superior performance. We’re also seeing new vanilla Galakrond Rogue builds that cut the secret package in hopes of adjusting better to the Warrior and Demon Hunter matchups.

More players are coming to terms with Hunter’s power level in the current meta, and the class has dramatically risen in play. The well-rounded Highlander Hunter is the most popular archetype, followed by the transitioning Face Hunter and the reliable Dragon Hunter.

Galakrond Priest has risen in play, which is a natural response to the rise of Warrior. Highlander Priest remains relatively fringe, while Resurrect Priest is in the process of disappearing.

Highlander Mage has shot back up in play, encouraged by the addition of Imprisoned Observer, a card that’s now highly popular in the deck. Puzzle-Box and Spell Mage are declining in play after proving to be meme decks.

Warlock is surviving in the current meta. Zoo and Control Warlock maintain a modest presence, while another archetype has re-appeared: Quest Warlock. It will be tough to accurately evaluate it in this report since its play rate is still low, but we will discuss it.

Druid continues to head into Paladin/Shaman territory. Big Druid is pretty much gone and only Spell Druid seems to keep its head above the water. We struggle to remember when three classes looked this bad in the format. It’s usually one or two classes we end up meme’ing about, but the meme keeps growing.

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion

And then there was one. Enrage Warrior is now the only Tier 1 deck at legend. Along with its increase in popularity, it continues to improve both its Hunter and Demon Hunter matchups, which is why these classes are growing weaker every day and moving further away from the #1 spot. These changes might not be felt at lower ranks, since Enrage Warrior seems to be limited by its high skill cap. However, at higher levels of play, the deck is extremely dominant.

Demon Hunter falling off of Tier 1 at legend is a pretty remarkable occurrence considering that its matchup spread is still pretty incredible outside of the Warrior matchup. Another issue Aggro Demon Hunter is running into is its own internal refinement. Many players are currently cutting Priestess of Fury, which makes the deck even worse against Warrior. Some solution is needed to re-introduce Priestess of Fury while still making adjustments that take into account the logical reasons for cutting her.

While inferior to Warrior, Hunter still looks pretty impressive. Face Hunter’s increase in win rate outside of legend (while not declining at legend despite the surge of Warriors) is a testament to its improvement through refinement. Highlander and Dragon Hunter are very reliable decks while displaying different strengths and weaknesses. There’s a strong Hunter deck for any situation, both on ladder and tournaments.

Highlander Mage is the only deck that seems to enjoy the domination of Warrior. After all, Warrior is beating down its biggest counters. The improvement in Mage’s matchup against Demon Hunter is also very noticeable, putting it in a solid spot at legend. Mage cannot be a top tier deck in the current meta, but it’s certainly a competitive one.

Galakrond Rogue is having a tough time adjusting to a meta that’s dominated by Warrior. Its main issue is that its secret variant cannot simultaneously perform at an optimal level against both Demon Hunter and Warrior since some of the cards that are strong in one matchup are really bad in the other. This has pushed a few players onto a different path that attempts to solve the puzzle it’s facing. Highlander Rogue has declined in play and subsequently seen less efforts to refine it. It’s currently stagnating at a Tier 3 position and we think it’s unlikely to improve.

Zoo has declined in its win rate as a result of Warrior’s rise. It’s certainly difficult for the deck to shine in a meta that’s dominated by its two worst matchups, so it will be biding its time until balance changes eventually arrive, and then all bets are off.

Priest’s matchup against Enrage Warrior is keeping it in the headlines, but a spread that’s littered with red makes its one asset difficult to leverage throughout most of ladder. If Galakrond Priest had a better matchup spread against the other classes, it might have been able to reign in Warrior more effectively.

A few sentences about archetypes that carry a low sample: Quest Warlock could be better than Control Warlock and sit at around Tier 3. Control Warrior is deep in Tier 4, and we struggle to see how it can establish a consistent ladder build.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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

 


For a deck that’s being heavily targeted by every other class in the game, Aggro Demon Hunter is doing fine, but it’s certainly suffering from Warrior’s rise. While some variants of some decks are capable of giving it some troubles, its overall resilience against the field cannot be underestimated. It’s another week in which the archetype is exhibiting only one bad matchup, Enrage Warrior, and this counter is keeping another potential counter from developing further (Face Hunter).

Furthermore, Aggro Demon Hunter has had important developments in its refinement this week, which led us into re-evaluating everything we know about the archetype and its card choices. Here are some important things to consider:

Beaming Sidekick has risen in play, a card that was first included in the deck by Muzzy. After having a chance to evaluate it, we can easily conclude that it is an excellent performer in the deck for a couple of reasons. The first is that we have a few early game minions that snowball hard (Battlefiend, Overseer), so protecting them with a buff can be game-winning in any matchup. The second reason is that our board development is usually very telegraphed to the opponent. They know what to expect on every turn, and they save removal/AOE as necessary. Beaming Sidekick can disrupt their removal turns in ways they cannot recover from, and help us push more damage through our minions, which is key to our victory in most matchups.

With both Warriors and Hunters rising in popularity, and the mirror remaining extremely common, Frozen Shadoweaver is becoming a stronger choice to include in a primary ladder build.

Priestess of Fury is still an exceptionally good card. Not only is she a top performer in basically every relevant matchup, she’s particularly critical against Warrior. By not playing the Priestess/Felscreamer package, we gimp our win rate against Enrage Warrior alone by around 5%. Considering that Warrior represents our only hard counter, and it is the best deck in the game, we struggle to see how cutting Priestess and worsening this matchup is a good move on ladder. There must be a better way that avoids making this sacrifice.

While Beaming Sidekick is nearly exclusively played in non-Priestess builds, the choice between Sidekick and Priestess is artificial. We don’t need to make this choice. This thought process has led us to a novel build that incorporates all that we’ve learned from the Priestess and the non-Priestess builds, what makes them work and what doesn’t. Obviously, specific cards have to make way, but we’re not actually making any compromises, and here’s why:

Frenzied Felwing is very likely a liability. It displays all the signs of a trap card. It fails to do what Beaming Sidekick does well (leveraging a lead), because it pushes us to play into the opponent’s removal. It’s a very risky and inconsistent card to keep in your opening hand, but that is usually the time we’re supposed to want it. It helps us win harder, when we’re already winning, but it doesn’t seem to turn L’s into W’s.

Chaos Strike is okay. It’s not an exceptionally good card or exceptionally weak, but we don’t particularly want to draw it. It’s not a strong tempo card. It’s not an efficient damage card. It’s not a card we actively want to draw at any stage of the game. It’s not a card that’s strong in any specific matchup. In theory, it’s just a filler cycle card that might help us find the good cards. But, if we’re building a list that’s strictly about squeezing in all the actually good cards, why is Chaos Strike considered core? Why is everyone automatically assuming it should be in the deck? Perhaps, it shouldn’t. This is our novel suggestion: cut Chaos Strike and see if you miss it.

We were strongly considering cutting Eye Beam since we’ve seen this idea floating around recently. So, we compared Eye Beam to Chaos Strike in our analysis. We’ve found that Eye Beam is more impactful in the current meta. It’s a stronger tempo play and a huge swing in lethal racing situations. Not running Eye Beam will very likely punish you in the mirror, and often leave you stranded against Hunters. It’s a game-winning card and looks too strong to cut, and is relevant against Warriors, Rogues, and Zoo Warlocks too.

There have also been calls to cut Skull of Gul’dan. We’re wary of cutting Skull because it’s a spectacular performer against Priest, it’s important in other slow matchups such as Highlander Mage, and it’s an important enabler for Altruis.

We think Warglaives is an important card in the deck. However, drawing the second Warglaives is often akin to drawing Patches. You almost never want to see the second Warglaives and it might not be worth it to run two copies just to make sure we draw one. It could also grow weaker in the near future if Frozen Shadoweavers become a common feature in the meta (this is also true for Chaos Strike). So, in order to fit everything we want while slightly reducing clunkiness that can occur from running a higher curve, cutting one Warglaives might be the correct approach.

Try this list out, and we’ll see what we find out about it next.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

After that long Demon Hunter section, it sure is nice to discuss a deck that doesn’t need to wrack its brains in order to find its optimal build. Enrage Warrior is the best deck in the game, it’s not close and it’s very hard to build it incorrectly because even the inferior variant (Eggs/Teron) is comfortably stronger than any other deck out there.

With that being said, the Non-Egg variant still reigns supreme. Meati hit #1 legend by replacing Tol’virs with Captain Greeskin and Deathwing, Mad Aspect. Both cards could prove to be upgrades, but we wouldn’t call them mandatory just yet. Deathwing is a good card in the mirror while also being strong against Rogues. Greenskin is good in slow matchups (Mage/Priest/Rogue) but can be a liability in faster ones (DemonHunter/Hunter/Mirror). It’s particularly powerful against Priest, so we do like how it improves our toughest matchup.

Control Warrior looks pretty weak and is set to disappear. We’ve spent most of our brain cells figuring out Demon Hunter this week, so we couldn’t justify finding the time to refine a Tier 4 deck. No matter what you do with Control Warrior, you’re going to have a 10% win rate against Priest, and losing to Priest is upsetting.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

While Rogue is fairly successful, it’s a bit stuck between a rock and a hard place. With Enrage Warrior growing in popularity, we felt forced to include Faceless Corruptors over Eviscerates in the secret variant of Galakrond Rogue. There are just too many scenarios in the matchup where the Rogue needs to swing back board control, and not running Corruptors will punish you for not having the option. However, cutting Eviscerates is certainly not ideal and we really wanted to include both cards, while keeping Spymistress due to its incredible performance against Demon Hunter.

One avenue we explored in the data are builds that cut the secret package and use the free space to include Shadowsteps to help us in slower matchups (that theoretically get worse without Hanar/Stunners). These builds also add Frozen Shadoweavers, which really ramp up our performance against Demon Hunter (but also Warrior). This approach was fairly popular in recent tournament line ups, and we think it could be a legitimate alternative to the secret build on ladder.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

For now, we’ve finished the refinement of Hunter for all of its three major archetypes. Over the past week, we haven’t seen any noticeable developments worth talking about. Hunter is in a pretty good spot in the meta, and it can be considered the most underrated class in the game, though players at all levels of play are beginning to see its potential.

Highlander Hunter is likely the best Hunter deck at legend due to its ability to withstand the Warrior matchup (though it is still tough). The deck generally shines in a slower meta that isn’t infested with aggression.

Face Hunter is pretty powerful on the climb to legend where Warriors aren’t rampant, as long as you run the featured build, which looks very optimized. If you want to know why it runs the cards it does, feel free to read our discussion of the archetype from the last two reports. Everything that is said there is still true today.

Dragon Hunter is a bit of a middle ground between Highlander and Face Hunter. It doesn’t lose as hard to Warrior, and it flips the Priest matchup compared to Face Hunter, while being a little better against aggressive decks compared to Highlander Hunter. It’s a very reliable ladder choice for that reason.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Priest can continue to boast about a good Warrior matchup but that’s pretty much all it has in the current meta. Enthusiasm for the class has certainly waned over the past week. Most of the other common meta decks provide unfavorables that Priest struggles to overcome. The popularity of ‘Ban Warrior’ line ups is also pushing it to the fringes of the tournament scene.

Priest builds have also stabilized. We can’t find ways to significantly upgrade the current Galakrond Priest list. It should serve you as well as the archetype can serve you. Highlander Priest is a viable alternative that we suggested could be stronger due to the availability of actual finishers (Zephrys, Alex). Resurrect Priest sucks and shouldn’t be played, unless suffering is your kind of thing.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Highlander Mage has settled down as a viable and competitive deck in the current meta, although it’s certainly not Warrior or Demon Hunter. Imprisoned Observer has helped the archetype reach a 45% win rate against Demon Hunter (after sitting closer to 35% before its appearance). However, Mage can do little to fix its horrible Hunter matchups, which is what mostly hampers its overall performance on ladder. Outside of Hunters, the deck has a pretty balanced matchup spread and can beat any opponent. After all, Puzzle Box can beat anything!

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Warlock is sitting on the fringes of the meta, but the class is competitive, with Quest Warlock offering another option for the class to find a foothold in the meta.

Quest Warlock isn’t very popular and we can’t get an accurate assessment of its performance yet, but the deck is showing decent enough initial signs and we think it could be better than the struggling Control Warlock.

The Malygos build is a significant improvement compared to more grindy lists because of its lethality and capability of bursting down opponents in slower matchups. It can put up a fight against Warrior and Demon Hunter thanks to its excellent removal and life gain tools, but we’ll be surprised if it ends being a game changer.

Not much to say about Zoo Warlock. We’re genuinely worried about this deck becoming a top contender in the case Demon Hunter and Warrior ever get nerfed. Its featured build’s core principle is to be as uninteractive and toxic as possible. If you want to make new “friends” on ladder, this is the way to do it. We’ll be surprised if Imprisoned Scrap Imp isn’t nerfed within the next 2 years.


Druid has joined Paladin and Shaman in the dumpster. To be fair, Druid doesn’t look as unplayable as the other two, but we just can’t find a reason to ever play it on ladder, which makes it… philosophically unplayable.

Furthermore, you have to admit it’s a bit amusing we’re merging the class sections like this. It’s a way to distract from the fact we have nothing to write about them. We genuinely do try to find unicorns, they just aren’t there.


Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

Enrage Warrior is the best deck in the game, and it’s extremely underplayed considering how good it is. The biggest reason why it isn’t widely prevalent is how difficult it is to play.

Meati has recently hit #1 legend with the deck by including Captain Greenskin and Deathwing, Mad Aspect. We can already tell that Greenskin is doing quite a bit of work in the Priest matchup, so we like the adjustments. It’s also very possible that this list ends up outperforming the Tol’vir build because Injured Tol’vir is an over-kept card in the mulligan.

You’re probably interested in learning how to play this deck better, so we’ll link Meati’s informative tweet, which provides a quick mulligan guide as well as a guide on how to utilize Risky Skipper, which is the strongest and most important card in the deck.

Meati has no idea we’re doing this, by the way, and we’re getting nothing in return for promoting it. It’s just quality Twitter content, a rarity these days, and worthy of some praise.

 

Enrage Warrior


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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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5 Comments

  1. Great report as usual guys. I do disagree with your insistence on priestess though. One thing you guys have not touched on is that it is extremely clunky and atrocious with altruis. Having tried it, I felt it was only ever good exactly on turn five after the felscreamer

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