Welcome to the 236th edition of the Data Reaper Report!
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Number of Games
|Top 1K Legend||24,000|
|Legend (Excluding Top 1k)||24,000|
|Diamond 4 to 1||63,000|
|Diamond 10 to 5||85,000|
Class Frequency Discussion
Rogue keeps rising in play, as it seems to be the class that players at legend tend to favor more than anything else. Thief Rogue is very dominant, with a decent amount of Bomb Rogue and a little bit of Quest Rogue starting to appear. The class sits at a 30% play rate at top legend.
Druid is another class that increases in play the higher you climb ladder, but there seems to be a decline in Prestor Druid compared to last week, which fits with the deck’s lukewarm performance. Celestial Druid hasn’t lost a step, on the other hand.
Hunter gained a lot of traction this week, with Renathal taking over both archetypes of the class. Quest Hunter has become more visible and popular. It’s now even slightly more popular than Big-Beast Hunter at top legend.
Mage is slightly growing at all rank brackets, with Big-Spell Mage’s success translating into increasing popularity. Mech and Wildfire Mage shrink at higher levels of play.
Control Shaman is another deck that’s seeing a bit more play, though outside of legend, it’s still not very popular, and you see more of the aggressive Murloc Shaman.
Quest Priest has historically seen more play than it should if you were strictly judging it on its performance. It’s no surprise, then, that the deck is growing now that it’s a decent ladder option with the highest win rate it’s ever displayed. Boar and Naga Priest are fading.
Warlock’s disappointing performance has led to its decline across the board, and it’s becoming increasingly rare at legend. Those who continue to play Curse Warlock are still mostly utilizing Renathal.
Fel Demon Hunter looks stagnant, with a decline in its presence that’s more noticeable higher on ladder. The deck didn’t perform poorly last week, but the rise of Renathal Hunters could be a major factor in scaring players away.
The player base looks very disinterested in Paladin and Warrior. The disinterest in Paladin is a result of the class’ stagnation and inclination to boast decks with low agency that players at higher levels despise (and if there’s no experimentation at higher levels, players at low ranks are less likely to pick up Paladin decks they saw a content creator play). Meanwhile, the disinterest in Warrior is a result of a simpler reason: the class is hot garbage.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
- One thing you can say about the current format is that it’s very balanced. We’ve once again hit a point in which no Tier 1 decks exist at top legend. This phenomenon never happens at lower ranks, as players aren’t as decisive and effective in countering popular decks, but this rare occurrence at higher levels of play did happen a few times throughout the history of this report.
- We suspect a lot of it has to do with the low power level. Team 5 has targeted major power outliers throughout this expansion until almost none were left, while also addressing cards that generated major power spikes, even when their deck wasn’t particularly powerful (Naga Mage). The result is a field that’s very balanced but also watered down. Low player agency is another thing we’ve noticed throughout this expansion, which is drastically different from Stormwind and Alterac.
- Thief Rogue is a good deck. It’s not amazing but it’s good enough to attract a major population of players who enjoy the Maestra builds. Both variants of the archetype are good, and the gap between the two in terms of power is very small at this point.
- Bomb Rogue has gotten better at legend. The rise of Thief Rogue and Quest Hunter and the decline of Prestor Druid is helping it find better matchups. This is the 2nd hardest deck to play in the current format, only behind Boar Priest, so it’s not very competitive outside of legend.
- Quest Rogue’s low sample suggests it is playable. Pretty good at lower ranks, where it should be Tier 2. Likely to fall off at higher ranks to Tier 3.
- Prestor Druid is hovering around the 50% mark throughout ladder. It’s getting a bit worse at lower ranks while getting better at top legend, since the meta there is becoming less focused on targeting it, with the rise of some of its good matchups (like Hunter). We expect it to continue hovering around this win rate.
- Celestial Druid looks strong at top legend. It’s very happy to see more Quest Hunter and Quest Priest, as it utterly dominates these matchups, while barely seeing any aggressive opponents. Thankfully, it does get countered by some decks that aren’t particularly fast: Control Shaman, Big-Spell Mage and Big-Beast Hunter get the job done.
- Big-Beast Hunter is the strongest deck in the game throughout ladder, and it can thank the Renathal takeover for its performance holding up. The deck isn’t polarizing and generally tough to target, so it’s quite resistant to changes in the meta.
- The only thing stopping Quest Hunter from being truly scary is decks that are even less interactive like Celestial Druid, Bomb Rogue, and Boar Priest. The first two are largely responsible for slowing down this archetype’s rapid ascension. We expect Quest Hunter to settle down at Tier 1 everywhere except top legend (where these ‘solitaire decks’ are more popular). The only way to hard counter Quest Hunter with a deck that’s strong at lower ranks is by playing Mech Paladin.
- Big-Spell Mage calmed down a bit. Rising Rogue and Quest Hunter population, while Druid declined, seemed to have done a little damage, but the deck is obviously still good.
- Mech Mage has gotten worse through most of ladder but got a lot better at top legend. What’s the cause? We suspect it’s the element of surprise. It’s still a deck that is unlikely to thrive at top legend with a high play rate, but it can catch players off guard when they fully expect to face Big-Spell Mage at this rank and mull accordingly. By the way, the same is happening with Mech Paladin, since it’s more likely to be a Rogue at this rank!
- Murloc Shaman is very polarizing and sensitive to matchups. Many of its bad matchups rose in play this week while its best matchups have declined, and now the deck is significantly worse, especially at legend. There is more Quest Hunter, Quest Priest, Control Shaman, and Thief Rogue and fewer Prestor Druids. Not what it wants to see.
- Control Shaman has slightly declined. Quest Hunter’s refinement is causing the matchup to tilt in the Hunter’s favor now. Still a well-rounded deck that doesn’t fall to many opponents.
- Quest Priest’s refinement over the last week has been productive. The deck has never looked better. It’s still not great and drops off at higher levels (too many Celestial Druids) but it’s competitive.
- Naga Priest is suffering greatly. Lots of red matchups have grown more popular this week, so the deck’s win rate is finally matching up with its low play rate.
- Boar Priest had its spike in win rate at top legend, but it’s still no better than Tier 3. That Celestial Druid matchup is just a killer. You can’t outplay your way out of that.
- Other Classes
- Stagnation is what we’re mostly seeing with the rest of the field. Curse Warlock is settled at Tier 3, mostly hoping things don’t get worse. Murloc Warlock is alright, but players don’t seem to enjoy it very much. Fel Demon Hunter is taking an expected hit to its win rate due to the rise of Renathal Hunters. Holy Paladin isn’t looking great. Mech Paladin is doing well, but nobody cares. Warrior is forgotten. None of these classes show any development of new things this week, so their class sections draw a blank.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Beyond the two primary archetypes of the class, Quest Rogue is beginning to show up a bit. It sits at a reasonable power level (Tier 2 or Tier 3) based on its low sample. The featured build is the only one that sees a decent amount of play on ladder.
No changes to either Thief Rogue or Bomb Rogue. Tooth of Nefarian is clearly better than SI:7 Extortion in Bomb Rogue. The Stash variant is very comparable to the Vessel variant in Thief Rogue. It might be a little weaker outside of legend but is just as good at high MMR’s.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Thief Rogue
- Bomb Rogue
- Quest Rogue
Prestor Druid has declined in play, leading to some recovery in its win rate. Celestial Druid is one of the strongest decks at higher levels of play. The XL Renathal build makes up most builds and seems to do better overall against the field. It’s currently more important to get to cast Celestial Alignment rather than what comes after.
Beast Druid has begun to appear after the database for this week closed, but based on the last 48 hours, you’re probably going to hear more about it next week. The featured build has begun to gain traction and looks very promising (at least Tier 2). We do wonder if Oracle is necessary here, considering how weak it is without Matriarch, but we couldn’t really work on this deck just yet.
- Druid Class Radar
- Prestor Druid
- Celestial Druid
- Beast Druid
- Vanndar Druid
Both Hunter archetypes look very solidified. There’s some experimentation in Renathal Big-Beast Hunter that involves running Humongous Owls alongside two Sabers and cutting Stormpike Battle-Rams as well as Ambassador Faelin. This is a legitimate path that looks very competitive and generally makes the deck stronger in slower matchups (most notably, Curse Warlock and Quest Priest) because you have more threats. Humongous Owl works well with Devouring Swarm too, making that card a lot better.
The Quest Hunter build that we cleaned up last week looks perfect.
Not much is happening in Big-Spell Mage, other than confirmation that both Brann and Mordresh are strong cards in the deck. This might be the first deck in which Brann is underplayed and underrated since he returned to the core set.
- Mage Class Radar
- Big-Spell Mage
- Wildfire Mage
- Mech Mage
Control Shaman is a very versatile and flexible deck. It’s hard to nail down a list of 30 that’s optimal. We’re still leaning towards keeping Brann and Teachers. You can cut them to fit in Windchills, Glugg and/or Starfish. You can keep them and flex in Glugg and/or Starfish for Command of Neptulon.
- Shaman Class Radar
- Murloc Shaman
- Control Shaman
- Burn Shaman
An additional week of data helped us nail down the final slots of Renathal Quest Priest. We’ve noticed that last week’s build performed very well, better than any other build that we’ve seen. It functions near-perfectly in terms of curve consistency. However, cutting Call of the Grave and Gift of the Naaru hurts Lightmaw Netherdrake more than we would like, and we investigated the possibility of adding these spells back without hurting the progress we’ve made so far.
It’s possible, we just need to cut some luxury cards. Switcheroo is surprisingly one of them. The card is very weak past turn 3. In fact, it sets you back so much to play it at any turn later than 3 that it just doesn’t seem worth it, especially when you’d rather make a play that impacts the board on turn 3 anyway.
Another card that seems very suspect is Mi’da. You’re already stacked at the 6-mana slot and it’s the weakest turn 6 play. If you have enough time to play Mi’da without being punished for it, you’re already winning the game. The last cut is probably the hardest, so even though we like Finley a lot, it probably makes the most sense to cut it when we also cut Switcheroo. The other option is Serena.
This leads us to our final issue: the 5-mana slot. Spirit Guide is the only good 5-drop, but we would like to add another one just for curve consistency. Taelan seems to be the most reasonable option, especially if we can drop Murozond and guarantee a 7-drop being pulled. Murozond is okay, but not that great. You will usually complete your quest with Whirlpool.
- Priest Class Radar
- Quest Priest
- Naga Priest
- Boar Priest
- Warlock Class Radar
- Curse Warlock
- Murloc Warlock
Hunter is simple and effective. The class seems to benefit a lot from the low power level in the format. Huge swing turns have never been a prominent characteristic of the class, so it’s very comfortable in the current landscape where decks hit like wet noodles.
Big-Beast Hunter is thriving with Renathal. Probably the place where players least expected this legendary to fit in, but it’s taken the deck to another level because it covers up for the weak defensive tools at its disposal.
But maybe the bigger message is that you can pretty much play whatever you want. The gaps in power between decks are relatively small. Not a bad place to be as we prepare to receive a boost of power from the new expansion. The jump from Barrens to Stormwind felt like whiplash. Will it happen again?
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