vS Data Reaper Report #165

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from 140,000 games.

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Welcome to the 165th  edition of the Data Reaper Report!

A Wild Report will be published this Sunday, June 14th!

Our Data Reaper Project has 2,600 (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!

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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 140,000
Legend 18,000
Diamond 4 to 1 23,000
Diamond 10 to 5 32,000
Platinum 23,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 44,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

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Class Frequency

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Class Frequency Discussion

The Demon Hunter population has now eclipsed 20% of the field beyond Diamond 4. Aggro Demon Hunter has proven itself to be too strong for most decks in the format, and the archetype is once again taking over. Any other deck in the current meta will greatly benefit from gaining percentages in this matchup, which is something that we will focus on when evaluating two specific classes.

With multiple players finding top legend success with the deck, Spell Druid has blown up and currently sits at 15% of the field beyond Diamond 4. Savage Roar variants are the dominant choices for the archetype, and they are mostly split between Breath and non-Breath builds.

Warrior has risen in play at higher levels, backed by the success of both Enrage Warrior and Bomb-Control Warrior, offering reliable counters to Aggro Demon Hunter. Bomb-Control Warrior is continuing a productive refinement phase, with our build rising in popularity thanks to Theo hitting #1 legend with the list.

Under severe pressure and struggling to find a good answer to the top three classes in the format, Rogue is beginning to decline. Its ladder builds are still generally a mess, with the Secret variant looking more popular than the Stealth variant. Galakrond Rogue can certainly be labeled as the least refined common archetype in the format.

Hunter is also in decline, incapable of answering the meta tyrant and potentially paying the price for not having room to grow from the early days of the post-patch meta. Highlander Hunter is the class’ deck of choice, with Dragon and Face Hunter looking fringe in comparison.

Priest is holding steady, with a small uptick in Galakrond Priest that is likely a response to Warrior’s rise. Highlander Priest keeps a small presence, though we’ve said many times that the archetype has proven to be just as effective, if not more.

A small decline in Mage can be observed at higher levels of play. There doesn’t seem to be an underlying reason for the decline other than the fact that Highlander Mage hasn’t enjoyed much fanfare and exposure from content creators recently. This kind of exposure is one of the biggest factors contributing to a deck’s popularity. You may argue Bomb-Control Warrior is scaring Mage players away, but remember that Highlander Hunter (a more difficult matchup) is in decline.

The deck that should be scared by the rise of Bomb-Control Warrior is Quest Warlock, and players are certainly more wary of taking it to ladder, especially at higher levels. There isn’t much else going on within the class, so if Quest Warlock fades away from ladder, the class doesn’t have anything else going for it.

Paladin is dying out, as only the most stubborn followers of the light persist in playing the class. Shaman is waiting for Paladin to meet it at the bottom.

Matchup Win Rates Header

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Power Rankings Header

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vS Meta Score

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vS Power Rankings Discussion

It’s happening. The crown at legend is in the process of being taken away from Illidan and handed over the Garrosh. Bomb-Control Warrior’s win rate is on the rise thanks to its internal refinement, while Aggro Demon Hunter’s win rate is in decline due to the pressure it’s under by the Warrior class. Unless the meta heavily shifts against it in some way, Bomb-Control Warrior should establish itself as the best ladder deck in the game at legend by next week.

The reason why the deck is so good is pretty simple: it doesn’t really lose to any other class in the format besides Priest. While Enrage Warrior is also pretty powerful, it’s not dealing with the rise of the Druid class as well as Bomb-Control Warrior and doesn’t have the cleanest matchup spread. It also doesn’t exhibit the same scope for improvement which we still see from the slower archetype. Both Warrior decks are excellent, but Bomb-Control might be just a little better on ladder.

Hunter is slipping. Both Highlander Hunter and Dragon Hunter are losing their grip on a meta that’s increasingly dominated by Demon Hunters, and the bad news is that we can’t really identify an effective way to adjust to this matchup. Unless Demon Hunter is dramatically crippled by a rise in Warriors, Hunter might be content to keep its current position in Tier 2.

As Druid rose in play, it also attracted the attention of a field that’s becoming increasingly hostile to the class, which explains why Spell Druid has seen a decline in its win rate. The main fault lies in the archetype’s failure to adjust to the Demon Hunter matchup, as well as the rise in Bomb-Control Warrior. However, unlike Hunter, we actually see a solution that can help Malfurion fare a little better against his brother. What’s left is popularizing it.

Rogue seems to be on the verge of collapse, with Galakrond Rogue continuing to sink deeper into Tier 3. The archetype has failed to optimize its build to the most popular classes in the format. But, within the messy archetype, we can identify the solution that could lift Rogue back to a positive weighted win rate against the field. That solution was already discussed in last week’s report, and our confidence in it has been further reinforced by this week’s database. We believe Galakrond Rogue is underrated in aggregated stats, and it’s time to clean it up.

Despite not enjoying much of the spotlight, Highlander Mage is still a strong ladder deck. With Druid and Rogue attempting to figure themselves out, and Hunter suffering from a decline in its performance, Mage performs at a pretty high level for a non-Warrior/DH class. Don’t sleep on this one.

Priest stays in a lukewarm spot. Despite its strong matchup into Warrior, it just doesn’t carry an advantage against any other relevant meta deck. When you’re queuing into so many unfavorables, it’s hard to exhibit an overall positive win rate. At top legend, Priest is probably a little better since Warrior’s prevalence is much higher.

Wrenchcalibur is played by the best ladder deck in the game? That’s terrible news for Quest Warlock, which is continuing to decline in its win rate as Bomb-Control Warrior rises in popularity. Players are trying to tech an Acidic Swamp Ooze for this matchup, which has improved to a solid 25-75 as a result, but this adjustment is not preventing the archetype from sinking.

Pure Paladin isn’t good, but it’s not completely terrible either. We think the class is close, but probably needs another patch or another expansion to make its return. Give Pure Paladin additional card draw and it can go places. Shaman, on the other hand…

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Aggro Demon Hunter’s ladder dominance has been heavily challenged by the Warrior class, and it’s definitely feeling the pressure, but the deck is still performing incredibly well against any other class in the game.

There has been an interesting development in the archetype, with the rise of Bonechewer Brawlers. We’re not particularly impressed with this card as a standalone threat. We weren’t impressed with Guardian Augmerchants when they were used in the early days of the patch either. However, when these cards are paired together, they complement each other perfectly.

Bonechewer Brawler can act as a snowballing threat when buffed by Beaming Sidekick, but it needs another enabler to become a consistent threat on 2, which is something Guardian Augmerchant provides. Meanwhile, Guardian Augmerchant needed another threat it could consistently protect in the early game alongside Battlefiend and Satyr Overseer to become a good card in the deck.

The Brawler/Guardian package is a nice adjustment to some of the most common opponents in the current meta. It’s strong in the mirror, and it’s quite good against Warriors since Bonechewer Brawler is an awkward card for them to deal with. It can also be devastating against Hunter, a class that doesn’t have a strong removal toolkit and struggles to clean up a divine shield.

However, we wouldn’t say the featured build is strictly better than the Cycle build we’re already familiar with, but in the current composition of the meta, the Brawler build is likely the better choice. Brawler/Guardian is stronger against other Demon Hunters, Warriors, and Hunters. Sight/Runner is stronger against Mages, Priests, and Warlocks. The message is clear: the Brawler build is stronger in the early game and focuses on snowballing. The Cycle build is stronger in the late game and focuses on Altruis.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

As Spell Druid is exploding on ladder following the success of many top level players, so has its data, and we’ve found clarity on the best direction for the archetype as well as answers to some of its card choices.

The first finding is that the Savage Roar builds look superior to the heavier Dragon builds. While the second approach is stronger against Warrior and Demon Hunter, it gives up too many percentages in other matchups to be consistent, and the Savage Roar builds still have a way to improve the Warrior/DH matchups. For now, we will focus on the Savage Roar variants and revisit the heavy Dragon variant if it finds a new breakthrough.

The second finding is that our suspicion that Moonfire was not an important card in the deck looks correct. Spell Druid will likely become stronger if it replaces Moonfire with a card that’s more versatile and can possibly improve a difficult matchup.

This brings us to our third finding, which is that Claw is a very good performer in the archetype. It specifically improves the Demon Hunter matchup by providing another answer to an early game threat, reducing the likelihood of snowballing. It is also not noticeably weaker with Mountseller compared to Moonfire since it works very well with Innervate.

This has led to the two updated builds we’re featuring. The first is the vanilla Savage Roar build, which cuts Wraths and Moonfires for Claws and Wild Growths. Wild Growth is meant to improve the playability of Ysera (a major issue for this variant), offers a good followup to a turn 2 Fungal Fortunes, and helps us set up an earlier Glowfly Swarm on-curve. This build is generally better against most decks in the current meta since both Fungal Fortunes and Glowfly Swarm are more consistent and potent.

The second build runs Breath of Dreams alongside Emerald Explorer. Here, we cut the Wraths from last week’s build for Claws. This build is a little bit weaker in most other matchups, but performs better against Warrior thanks to Emerald Explorer. One way to potentially improve this variant is increasing Breath of Dreams’ consistency by adding a 4th dragon: Onyxia. Breath of Dreams is quite powerful in this deck, but it could be even better if it was activated more often on turn 2. Onyxia is a dragon that fits the game plan of this deck well, so she could be a good inclusion, though we obviously can’t properly evaluate her since she isn’t played. The card that would make way for Onyxia is Soul of the Forest.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Warrior is an extremely powerful class, housing two of the best decks in the game, both of which provide a reliable answer to Demon Hunters.

Enrage Warrior is the hardest counter to Aggro Demon Hunter since it is not only able to completely nullify DH’s early board development, but it also can counterpressure very effectively and kill the Demon Hunter before it’s able to find its Altruis. The Greenskin/Deathwing build provides a more balanced ladder experience since it gives you a better chance in the archetype’s weaker matchups (Priest, Mage, Druid).

Bomb-Control Warrior has made a significant breakthrough in its performance with the build we’ve featured last week. Cutting Bomb Wrangler while keeping Sword & Board turned out to be a resounding success. Theo hit #1 legend with the deck, which has a spectacular matchup spread and could be a stronger ladder deck than Enrage Warrior. Only Priests give this deck serious trouble, but Grom Hellscream and Captain Greenskin provide you with a much better chance against them. Find Corsair Cache, keep them off the board to deny Apotheosis value, and execute a strong Battle Rage turn. This will help you find Blastmaster Boom and Grom Hellscream more consistently to finish them off.

Pirate Warrior would probably be talked about more if it belonged to another class. Adding Blazing Battlemage does help its early game consistency, so we like the change we’ve made to the deck last week. It seems to be an inferior deck to Aggro Demon Hunter, but it does perform better against Warrior.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Rogue seems to be crumbling under the weight of the top three classes of the format, but many of its struggles are a result of not finding its optimal build for the Demon Hunter, Warrior, and Druid matchups. We believe that we’ve found the way to perform against these classes well enough to establish Rogue as one of the stronger (!) classes in the game, despite what current stats for Galakrond Rogue show.

The key cards to put Rogue back on the map are Spymistress and Questing Adventurer. Both of these cards are criminally underplayed on ladder. Spymistress is an exceptional card against Demon Hunter and Hunter, while Questing Adventurer gains percentages against both Druid (an otherwise difficult matchup) and Warrior.

The best variant to utilize these cards is Stealth Galakrond Rogue, since it runs Spymistress as part of its powerful synergy package. The Secret build needs to give up too much in other areas to run Spymistress, and the card scales poorly in the late game without Greyheart Sage.

We made one change to last week’s build, which is to swap out Akama for the 2nd Eviscerate. We like how Akama adds more consistency to Greyheart Sage, but Eviscerate is too important of a card in the current meta. It’s an excellent performer against Demon Hunter since it cleanly answers Glaivebound Adepts and allows you to race the Demon Hunter in the late game. It also provides you with reach in slower matchups, such as Highlander Mage and the rising Bomb-Control Warrior (both are irritating opponents when you lack burst).

If this list became the most popular Galakrond Rogue deck on ladder, we’re quite confident that the archetype would comfortably sit at Tier 2 and display a favorable matchup against Aggro Demon Hunter (~55-45). We also believe that Galakrond Rogue is a very powerful tournament choice for that reason. If you want to beat Demon Hunter without playing Warrior, this is the way to do it.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

As other top meta classes are honing their craft, Hunter is left behind. Highlander Hunter has had a strong start in the post-patch meta, but things have gone downhill since. The archetype’s issue is its inability to adjust to a difficult Demon Hunter matchup. It’s also not very flexible when responding to other developments in the current meta, such as the rise in Druid.

We’re still comfortable with the current featured build for the archetype, and we want to refresh some points about certain cards choices that are not too common in other builds but are present here, to provide you with a way to deal with some of the best decks in the game:

    • Guardian Augmerchants is one of the best cards in the deck, and one of the only ways Hunter can win the board early against Demon Hunter. Don’t sleep on this guy.
    • Bonechewer Brawler is a very solid early game minion that has neat synergy with Augmerchant. It doesn’t require us to invest more cards to make it work, like Phase Stalker, and doesn’t interfere with the Zixor tutor package.
    • Maiev Shadowsong is one of your only answers to a Druid Ironbark play, and therefore a critical card in the matchup. We really don’t like cutting her in the current meta.
    • Nagrand Slam is a critical card in the rising Bomb-Control Warrior matchup, and one of the only ways you can effectively pressure them when your highlander payoffs are shut down by bombs.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Priest is just not a particularly strong class in the current meta, but its value likely rises at top legend where Warriors are highly prevalent. This makes Priest a counter-queue class that punishes players for jumping on the Garrosh bandwagon, but it doesn’t exhibit other notable favorables. In fact, Galakrond Priest doesn’t have a single favorable matchup against any common meta deck that isn’t Warrior. Unless you run into them constantly, you’ll find Priest to be a very frustrating choice on ladder.

Highlander Priest is another choice with a similar matchup spread to Galakrond Priest, which means it runs into the same issues. By playing Priest, you assume the Hearthstone role of Robin Hood: steal wins from the rich, and give them to the poor. You may find this to be a noble cause, but you’re not going to be appreciated by the player base for fulfilling it. You’re playing Priest, after all. The poor will still be slinging rocks in your direction.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Highlander Mage’s position in the meta is pretty good. Most of the advantage created by the decline of Hunter is offset by the rise of Bomb-Control Warrior, so the field has not become more favorable to the archetype. The option is there to tech in Ooze for Warrior, but the card is pretty terrible in other matchups, including the Demon Hunter matchup. The build of Highlander Mage is quite clean and there’s very little deviation from it. It’s definitely one of the most underrated ladder decks at the moment.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

The rise and success of Bomb-Control Warrior is terrible news for Quest Warlock. Current meta developments may doom the archetype to a fringe role on ladder. In fact, Warlock could just end up disappearing from the landscape because of this horrid matchup since it has failed to develop an edge against any other top meta deck. It does not beat Demon Hunter, Hunter, Enrage Warrior, Druid, or Rogue, so what does it have to offer? Not much.

With that being said, Quest Warlock is better in tournaments where only one Warrior can be brought to a lineup and it’s often banned anyway. With multiple classes in the game looking very poorly positioned in conquest format, Warlock is actually one of the more competitive ones, so we expect to still see it in tournaments.

As for Zoo Warlock, we can tell you that crafting Lorewalker Cho and Nat Pagle is definitely a mistake (listen to last week’s podcast for context). The archetype looks hopeless. When it comes to Warlock on ladder, we can sense a foul smell of a dumpster growing closer.

Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

From a small blip in the radar a couple of weeks ago, Bomb-Control Warrior has become the best ladder deck in the game and it’s looking to dominate the field if not faced with real resistance. The deck doesn’t miss Bomb Wrangler with EVIL Quartermaster looking like the superior 3-drop in this archetype. Sword & Board keep your edge against Demon Hunter, while Grom Hellscream provides that extra lethality that opponents have to respect but find it difficult to do when their life total is pressured by bombs.

Did someone order a Meta Breaker?

Control Warrior

Reminder: Vicious Syndicate launched the Data Reaper Podcast!

A couple of weeks ago, we’ve launched the Data Reaper Podcast, in which we expand on subjects that are discussed in each weekly Data Reaper Report. If you’re interested in learning more about developments in the Hearthstone meta, the insights we’ve gathered as well as other interesting subjects related to the analysis that is done to create the Data Reaper Report, you can listen to RidiculousHat and ZachO talk about them every week. The Podcast comes out on the weekend, a couple of days after each report is published.

There can be plenty of untold information that doesn’t make it into the final written product, so you may want to tune in!

Updates on content are always announced on our Twitter.

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vS Gold is a new membership plan aimed to support our efforts towards improving our content and data analysis while receiving some bonuses and extra features.

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