Welcome to the 184th edition of the Data Reaper Report!
A Wild Data Reaper Report will be published on Sunday, January 10th!
Contributing to the Data Reaper project through Hearthstone Deck Tracker or Firestone allows us to perform our analyses and to issue the weekly reports, so we want to wholeheartedly thank our contributors. 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!
Number of Games
|Top 1K Legend||6,000|
|Legend (Excluding Top 1k)||12,000|
|Diamond 4 to 1||22,000|
|Diamond 10 to 5||30,000|
This report will be a short one, for a few reasons:
- The meta is very stale due to the imbalanced power levels that can be observed in Shaman and Rogue. The deadlock means there aren’t many developments within classes. We will mention specific decklist updates, but many classes will have empty sections.
- We’re genuinely burnt out, and expect/hope for an announcement of balance changes very soon.
- Certain real world events are more important. Consider spending some time growing your awareness of politics, and why it’s crucial that young people become more involved in shaping their own futures.
Class Frequency Discussion
Finally, we see a relaxation in the numbers of Shamans, which is most noticeable at higher levels of play. Evolve Shaman has been the main target in this meta, leading some to moved away from the archetype even though it’s still very powerful. Games decided by Stickyfingers aren’t particularly fun or interesting.
Unfortunately for the format’s diversity, the shift away from Shaman is mostly a move towards the Rogue class. Miracle Rogue has spiked in play and is now the most dominant deck at top legend, where the class nears 30% of the field. Aggro Rogue has also finally broken out in greater numbers, with different approaches being explored in order to perform better against Evolve Shaman.
Warrior is a fractured class (exhibiting many different decks) that cleans up at higher levels of play. This is where you mostly find Enrage and Control Warrior. Enrage Warrior, interestingly, is now the most prevalent Warrior deck at top legend.
Warlock maintains a strong presence following the promising results of both Zoo and Galakrond Warlock. While Galakrond Warlock is the more popular deck, Zoo is slowly getting more attention
Demon Hunter has stabilized its fall in play, and seems to be sitting somewhere in the middle, which tells us that, at least from this class’ perspective, the balance changes were well designed. Soul DH’s play rate is modest and stable. Aggro DH is the most popular deck throughout ladder before fading at top legend, where Lifesteal DH becomes the most common.
The rise in Rogue is most likely the cause of Paladin’s decline. Both Libroom and Pure Paladin have proven to possess decent matchups against Evolve Shaman, but neither deck can handle Miracle Rogue whatsoever.
Priest is also declining with none of its decks gaining any traction or displaying consistently good results. The class is split into three main archetypes, but only Highlander Priest seems to be surviving well enough at top legend.
Mage has a very similar story to Priest, where it has a bunch of decks available to it, but it’s Zephrys who keeps it truly competitive. Only Highlander Mage can be found in noticeable numbers at top legend.
Players have noticed that Hunter is fine after the balance changes, though the class is still mostly ignored. Face Hunter is picking up play, with the toxic burn variant getting more common. And of course, there’s that Zephrys deck.
No significant movements in the Druid class, which is probably the most eager one to see balance changes. The dominant duo of Rogue and Shaman have not been giving Malfurion a very good time.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
- Evolve Shaman is seeing a knock to its win rate, but it’s still very clearly powerful. The deck would likely be broken at historical levels if Kobold Stickyfinger weren’t available, though the presence of the tech card isn’t making things necessarily better for everyone else. The problem isn’t just one class. It’s two.
- With the meta trying to target Shaman as hard as possible, Rogue is benefitting. Miracle Rogue has seen another rise to its win rate, and the archetype is very closely matched with Evolve Shaman at this point. In fact, if you asked us what would be the best Hearthstone decklist you could take to ladder right now, our answer would have Rogue cards in it. Combo Miracle Rogue is nuts and practically untargetable.
- Aggro Rogue has finally entered the Power Rankings, and it looks pretty good. Its scope for improvement is very high considering the archetype isn’t refined at all. We estimate that its ceiling puts it very comfortably at Tier 1, with a potentially favorable matchup against Evolve Shaman.
- Everything else
- There is actually barely anything new to say about other classes, and our discussion of their decks would be a carbon copy of what we said about them last week. Our editor started writing this section in greater detail before quickly realizing he has nothing new to say, so we don’t feel like it needs repeating (why Warrior is better at higher levels, why Paladin is the opposite, and so on).
- The bottom line is that other classes have competitive options, but many classes that aren’t about pure aggression have to hard tech for Shaman in order to stand a chance, or they need Zephrys to act as a versatile answer to the oppressive game states that Rogue and Shaman present.
- Rogue punishes Stickyfinger and, with its efficient early game removal tools, the aggression that is aimed to target Shaman. Therefore, there is no way to target both decks, which is something we discussed in the first post-patch report and why we predicted that their grip on the meta cannot be broken without nerfs.
- The positive to take from the current state of the game is that the meta under Shaman/Rogue looks quite balanced, so it’s possible that things will become a lot better once they’re nerfed. With imminent balance changes and a mid-expansion set looming, Hearthstone could get out of its holidays slump very soon.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Aggro Rogue has multiple variants, but the most promising one that we can see lifting the archetype into Tier 1 territory runs a similar shell to Combo Miracle Rogue, but opts for more aggressive cards in Spymistress, Defias Ringleader, Wriggling Horror and Hooked Scimitar in order to pressure Shaman harder in the early game. This gives you the edge in that matchup, at the cost of percentages against classes such as Warrior and Priest.
We added back the Cache/Scythe package in Enrage Warrior by dropping Bomb Wrangler, a 3-drop that seems redundant next to the superior EVIL Quartermaster.
- Warrior Class Radar
- Control Warrior
- Bomb Warrior
- Enrage Warrior
We’ve identified Mortal Coil as a promising addition to Galakrond Warlock. The additional draw helps you heal better through soul fragments and find your Tickatus in late game matchups. We dropped Owl and Sac Pact for it. Stickyfinger is the the one tech card that’s still far too important.
- Warlock Class Radar
- Zoo Warlock
- Galakrond Warlock
- Control Warlock
- Demon Hunter Class Radar
- Soul Demon Hunter
- Aggro Demon Hunter
- Lifesteal Demon Hunter
We’ve curated the best possible Bloodweaver Control Priest, but it still performs quite poorly.
- Priest Class Radar
- Highlander Priest
- Control Priest
- Resurrect Priest
- Mage Class Radar
- Highlander Mage
- Spell Mage
- Secret Mage
Preparing our weekly article requires a significant amount of time and effort from many individuals. We would like to wholeheartedly thank our current Patreons, whose generous donations help us fund computing and server costs.
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.
Tier 3+ Patrons
Special thanks to Leo G, Aaron B, Jed M, Drew M, Alan J, Zolstar, Sean H, Steve F, Andrew N, NObdy, Alonso P, James Y, Je-ho, Ziqiao Y, Stephen H, William H, Patrick L, 1RiceBowl1, Alex S, PeejTreon, Josh G, Matthew H, Bruno B, Amir, Matthew P, nmbrthry, amenbrotep, Karhu, Fisherington, Christopher N, Eric F, Eric L, Munchma, Dunks406, and BraveLittleStove for supporting us this month.
Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report: