vS Data Reaper Report #240

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Welcome to the 240th edition of the Data Reaper Report!

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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 650,000
Top 1K Legend 25,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k) 145,000
Diamond 4 to 1 104,000
Diamond 10 to 5 108,000
Platinum 90,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 178,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

We did warn you it was going to get worse. Before we dig a little bit into each class, the bigger meta picture is astounding:

At top legend, Rogue and Druid make up 55% of opponents. Add Mage & Priest and you have 4 classes making up 85% (!!!) of the field.

Druid and Mage combine for around 50% of the field from Diamond 4 to legend (outside Top1k).

That number slightly drops to 45% from Platinum to Diamond 5, and 40% at Bronze through Gold.

The main development in Druid is the rise of Aggro Druid across all rank brackets. It is now one of the most popular decks in the game, and yet it is still dwarfed by Ramp Druid’s presence.

Edwin Rogue has significantly declined in its numbers at every rank bracket outside of top legend. We know this deck is difficult to play and doesn’t perform as well at lower ranks (though it still performs well), so after the initial enthusiasm surrounding the Edwin buff, players outside of top legend have opted for other, less stressful choices.

No signs of Mage’s popularity slowing down. Spooky Mage is an extremely common opponent throughout ladder, while Big-Spell Mage has also become more visible, with some players experimenting with Renathal builds.

Priest has risen in play at top legend while not moving much outside of it. The class serves a role in countering Rogue with either Quest or Bless Priest but isn’t as useful in a meta that isn’t saturated with Rogues despite Quest Priest’s good matchup with Aggro Druid. The high prevalence of Mage and Ramp Druid on the climb to legend makes it tough for Priest to succeed.

Every other class, without exception, is going through a decline in play across multiple rank brackets. Warlock and Shaman are dwindling. Players are abandoning Demon Hunter after the initial hype. Hunter exhibits a glaring decline that now makes it as popular as Warrior at top legend. Warrior and Paladin look completely irrelevant.

The format is quickly headed into a dead end, with most classes showing no internal developments. The meta is very narrow no matter where you are, but the fact that most experimentation starts at top legend, and that top legend players only play 4 classes, means that other classes are not seeing any novel or exciting new builds, so we won’t have anything to say about them in their class sections. We’re 4 weeks into the expansion, and the player base is just about done exploring new possibilities in 6 classes. That’s concerning.

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion

  • Druid
    • Ramp Druid is getting countered by the increasing presence of Aggro Druid, but this is merely a band-aid to a long-term issue. The long-term issue is that Ramp Druid is always favored if it survives to the late game. Nerfing Edwin alone would likely lead to Ramp Druid getting even stronger and more dominant. We expect this to be addressed in a future balance patch.
    • Aggro Druid is getting somewhat exposed as a very matchup-dependent deck. Its increased popularity has led to its worsening performance across the board and a big dip in its win rate at top legend, as players have begun to expect it. When you look at its developing matchup spread, it loses to Mage, Rogue, and Priest, and is simply getting ‘carried’ by its Ramp Druid matchup. The bottom line is what matters in the end and Aggro Druid wins a lot, but it’s important to remember that this deck is unlikely to become an issue in the event Ramp Druid is nerfed. It is a product of the narrow format and how rewarding it is to just dominate one matchup.
  • Rogue
    • Edwin Rogue is good across ladder, but it’s very dominant at top legend when you consider this is where it gets countered the hardest by a larger population of Priests. And yet, this is where Edwin Rogue performs best since its skill ceiling is high and many of its matchups improve at this bracket. There is really no stopping Rogue at the highest level.
    • Shark Rogue doesn’t see much play, but its skill ceiling is off the charts, and it appears to be reaching a Tier 3 win rate at higher levels. Not as good as Edwin Rogue but certainly playable if you know what you’re doing.
    • Bomb Rogue seems to do nicely in an Edwin Rogue saturated field, as it wins this matchup, but it’s still a worse deck. There has been some experimentation with Renathal Thief Rogue, but it doesn’t appear to be very competitive.
  • Mage
    • Spooky Mage’s performance is stable across ladder. It never has the best win rate, but it is always solid since it is so difficult to target. A potential nerf to Ramp Druid forces you to nerf Mage as well, since Ramp Druid is its main counter in the format.
    • Big-Spell Mage generally performs better and dominates the climb to legend. It’s better against the Druid decks compared to Spooky Mage, but worse versus Rogue and doesn’t do great against Spooky Mage. It tends to beat bad decks harder than Spooky. Renathal builds have started to perform well in this archetype because of their advantage against Aggro Druid.
  • Priest
    • Quest Priest is looking weaker outside of legend because of Rogue’s decline at these ranks as well as Ramp Druid and Mage continuing to rise in play. The Aggro Druid matchup isn’t doing enough to help here. At top legend, it is still one of the best performers due to the Rogue-saturated field.
    • Bless Priest has a similar, yet more extreme story. There is no reason to touch this deck unless you’re fully dedicated to countering Rogue.
    • There is also no good reason to play Naga Priest if you don’t enjoy it. If you want to counter Ramp Druid, you run Aggro Druid. There’s nothing else that this deck accomplishes, so despite its decent win rate, it’s redundant.
    • Boar Priest is playable at top legend, though it seems to be worse than every other Priest deck. It also loses hard to Rogue.
  • Warlock
    • Imp Warlock is hanging in there and is the strongest deck in the format amongst the 6 ‘stagnant’ classes. It’s an option for players who want to counter Ramp Druid but would like to do better in the Mage/Priest matchups compared to Aggro Druid (thanks to the curse package), but its performance against Rogue and Aggro Druid makes it worse overall.
  • Shaman
    • We saw this coming. With bad decks disappearing, Control Shaman is getting exposed for the underwhelming deck it truly is in the aftermath of the Guardian nerf. It just doesn’t match up well enough against good decks. The higher you climb ladder, the more of the good decks you meet, which means Shaman is dropping like a rock. Barely Tier 3 at top legend. Tier 3 past Diamond 4. Only has a positive win rate at lower ranks of ladder where players run more of the bad decks and the field is more forgiving. There’s no competitive reason to play Shaman.
  • Hunter
    • Throughout most of ladder, both Quest and Beast Hunter are two of the best performers in the format. They fall off hard at top legend because of a very unforgiving meta, and in the case of Beast Hunter, a low skill ceiling. Still, the class is certainly viable for most players and isn’t in as bad of a shape as others.
    • We want to note that while Quest Hunter seems harmless now, it’s a deck we would like to see getting adjusted in the next patch in the likely event that Ramp Druid and Rogue get nerfed. Its matchup spread is very dominant outside of these two opponents, and this could easily be missed or brushed off. We don’t think Quest Hunter becoming the dominant deck in the next patch is a desired outcome, and we would not take that risk. Once you nerf Shaman, you need to start nerfing everything.
  • Warrior, Demon Hunter and Paladin
    • Deathrattle DH and Enrage Warrior are cleaning up and look like “real” decks, even though they’re not quite good enough in the current format. Deathrattle DH hangs around in Tier 3 throughout most of ladder, and only the high presence of Rogues at top legend is what truly cripples it. A refined Enrage Warrior could also sit in the low Tier 3 range. Balance changes to the top classes, perhaps with some small buffs, should be enough to turn them into real meta contenders. We’re less optimistic about other archetypes in these classes. Those would need more work.
    • Paladin requires a whole lot of work. It’s just completely dead.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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

 


Data Reaper Report - Druid

Ramp Druid has a ‘perfect 38’ list. Kelpkeepers are the most cuttable cards in the deck. You can run 2nd Starfish, 2nd Oracle, Battlemaster or Spammy Arcanist in these slots, depending on your preferences and certain matchups.

Aggro Druid is settled. We’ve seen players swap Crooked Cooks for Clawfury Adepts. This is a sideways move and doesn’t really affect the deck that much.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Edwin Rogue is settled. We’ve noticed the other Miracle Rogue deck, Shark Rogue, improve its performance over time, though it’s only seen at top legend. This is the hardest deck to play in the format, but its ceiling is still well below its counterpart.

 

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Though the meta isn’t diversifying, Mage as a class is finding new things to do within its two archetypes.

30 Spooky Mage is showing good results by running a very low curve, cutting Deathborne and adding Frozen Touch. Commander Sivara is only good in theory in this deck. This build performs much better against Ramp Druid, and slightly better against Quest Priests and other Mages compared to the Renathal build, but it’s worse vs Rogue and aggressive decks.

XL Spooky Mage is experimenting with cutting Kael’thas and Denathrius for Multicasters. This looks effective, as the extra draw consistency means your primary win condition comes online more often. We recommend the switch.

Renathal has never worked well in Big-Spell Mage, but recently it’s been producing results that are competitive with the 30-card version. We like the Gorloc Ravager package, as it allows you to find Finley and dig deeper into your deck, meaning you can find your key cards more often. This is the first deck we don’t mind seeing Murloc Holmes in, since it’s a decent target for Ravager.

The Renathal build is much better against Aggro Druid, which is the reason why it is now a competitive alternative in the archetype. It is worse against Ramp Druid, Mages, and Priests and there is no difference against Imp Warlock, Edwin Rogue, or Control Shaman. This means that unless you run into a significant number of Aggro Druids, non-Renathal would still be the way to go.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

The tweaks we’ve made in Quest Priest last week have helped Netherdrake a lot, though we’ve been looking for ways to add back ‘The Light! It Burns!’ since it’s a good card in the deck. The 2nd copies of Lightbomb and Condemn make the most sense. Lightbomb and Shadow Word: Ruin serve similar roles, but Ruin is stronger. Condemn isn’t that relevant even in the Aggro Druid matchup since by the time you get to turn 5, the Druid is already buffing its minions out of its damage range. The important board clear on turn 5 for this matchup is Clean the Scene.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

The Curse version of Imp Warlock is benefitting from playing slower and more reactive due to the rise of Aggro Druid, so we’ve switched the flexible pieces around.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Data Reaper Report - Paladin


At high MMR, Rogue is very hard to stop, and despite players’ best efforts, they cannot prevent this deck from being top dog. Priest is too narrow of a counter and too easily punished in other matchups.

Big-Spell Mage is a very good deck on the climb to legend. The 30-card build is the best performer in the class against Ramp Druid, while the 40-card build counters Aggro Druid.


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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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