Welcome to the 243rd edition of the Data Reaper Report! This is the first report following the launch of Maw & Disorder.
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Number of Games
|Top 1K Legend||24,000|
|Legend (Excluding Top 1k)||72,000|
|Diamond 4 to 1||86,000|
|Diamond 10 to 5||117,000|
Class Frequency Discussion
A mini-set was released last week but you wouldn’t be able to tell based on the play rate of Beast Hunter. It’s full steam ahead for the archetype as it has risen in its play rate this week. There’s a bit of experimentation with new cards but most builds have stayed the same. Rat Hunter has popped up in small numbers to try and carve out its own place in the meta, but there isn’t much traction there.
Relic Demon Hunter has drastically gone down in play, likely because of the rise of Hunter and the absence of exciting new cards for the archetype beyond Mel’Tranix. Aggro DH has attracted attention thanks to Sightless Magistrate, and the deck has become noticeable throughout ladder.
Ramp Druid has kept a stable play rate of slightly under 10% in every rank bracket, focusing most of its attention on changing its build to accommodate Dew Process, but some recent builds have passed on the card. Aggro Druid isn’t trying out new cards.
Priest hasn’t had much to play around with. Bless, Naga, and Quest Priest are identical to their pre-patch iterations, while Thief Priest is the only deck that has tried to make a new card work in Incriminating Psychic. Boar Priest sees very little play.
Imp Warlock has remained the only relevant Warlock deck, with a split between Curse and non-Curse builds. Any other Warlock deck trying out new cards has met a swift end.
Rogue is another class that has seen very little impact from Maw & Disorder. Some players are trying out Secret Rogue. Some players are trying out Scribbling Stenographer in Edwin Rogue, but that’s about it.
Paladin might be the class most positively impacted by the mini-set, with all of its new cards seeing play and experimentation. Pure Paladin is trying out different directions following the addition of Class Action Lawyer. There are “Dude” Pure Paladins running Bridge and Jury Duty. There are more defensive Pure Paladins similar to the ones we’ve seen before the mini-set, with a twist related to Order in the Court, some but not all including The Jailer. Control Paladin is a cluster that includes most Renathal Paladin experimentations, with Jailer acting as a popular win condition, but alternatives running Denathrius can also be found.
Mage has mostly received secret support in Objection and Contract Conjurer, so players have attempted to make Secret Mage work, and it has become the most popular Mage deck outside of top legend. Spooky Mage’s representation is modest, still split between 30 and 40 card builds, but Renathal is getting more popular. Big-Spell Mage sees little play.
The Shaman set looks like a complete skip, with the class ignoring new additions besides Sylvanas. Control Shaman remains the only noteworthy deck here.
Warrior is getting little attention. There are attempts to revive Control Warrior, but they don’t appear to be getting anywhere. Charge Warrior has disappeared, likely because of its oppressive matchup with Beast Hunter. Enrage Warrior added Weapons Expert but very few players care to play it.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
- Beast Hunter is even more powerful than it was before and looks nearly unstoppable! How did this happen? A weak mini-set, encouraging players to run into deckbuilding dead ends (Example #1: The Jailer) has led to the formation of a weaker field that hands out free wins to the Hunter juggernaut. If you thought winning with Beast Hunter was easy before, the difficulty has been tuned further down this week.
- Once again, there are few reliable answers to Beast Hunter. Bless Priest is the most notable one, though the addition of Sylvanas and the popularity of a specific Imported Tarantula build has seen the Hunter gain some ground there. Spooky Mage running Renathal and Denathrius is another good answer to the meta tyrant. Aggro Druid exhibits a soft edge in the matchup at higher levels of play. Some decks, such as Ramp Druid and Control Paladin, should do better against Beast Hunter after refinement. There are certainly meta trends we can identify that should reduce Beast Hunter’s win rate over time, but it’s so far ahead of the rest of the pack that it’s unlikely to cease being the best deck in the format. The top legend field might appear more “balanced” eventually, but for most ladder players, the Beast should continue to feast.
- Demon Hunter
- Demon Hunter has a Hunter problem. Both Relic and Aggro DH exhibit very bad matchups into Beast Hunter, so they struggle to stay afloat in the current format. The Jace variant of Relic DH outperforms the Topple variant, so it is theoretically closer to the 50% win rate mark, but neither is great. Hunter nerfs should greatly improve DH’s standing in the meta, so watch out for this class potentially blowing up after balance changes. We’re not too concerned about DH becoming too good, however, as both archetypes are vulnerable to other decks besides Beast Hunter.
- Ramp Druid doesn’t appear to perform well but exhibits a high scope for improvement. There has been a lot of hype surrounding Dew Process, but over the last few days, we’ve seen alternatives that suggest the card may have been a trap. Ramp Druid can significantly improve its performance, including the Beast Hunter matchup, if it plays more defensively and doesn’t concern itself with its already strong late-game. A Tier 2 placement is very possible if players stop trusting the Process.
- Aggro Druid is a relevant player in the format as it does appear to be capable of gaining some edge against Beast Hunter. However, a polarizing play experience, the absence of new cards, and the likely improvement of other decks against it as they go through refinement, should keep its play rate relatively low.
- Bless Priest is the only hard answer to Beast Hunter, and it is still favored in the matchup even when the Hunter specifically techs against it. Bless Priest’s problem is that it has some brutal matchups that just don’t allow it to play the game, and since they’re so lopsided, they make an impact even at a low play rate. The introduction of Sylvanas is also a widespread threat to its all-around performance.
- Naga Priest is good and underplayed. Quest Priest is Tier 3 with no room for improvement. Thief Priest looks pretty bad. Boar Priest might be good if players gave it a chance, but we don’t see enough of it.
- Imp Warlock is the most likely deck to take Beast Hunter’s place in case it gets severely nerfed. It’s extremely well-rounded and flexible to changes in the meta. The Vanilla build helps it dominate the early game, while the Curse build provides it with a threatening late game. It appears to be in a very good position in the format now and in the future.
- Rogue is a Tier 4 class outside of legend, and only semi-relevant at top legend, with Thief & Edwin Rogue looking ‘okay’. Secret Rogue is a complete joke. Beast Hunter is a problem for all of its archetypes, and Rogue doesn’t have a great way of dealing with it through refinement.
- Pure Paladin started this patch well but has been on a downward trajectory since the first couple of days. We have little faith in its ability to stay competitive and survive the format based on its current iterations, despite its current win rate not looking too bad just yet. Control Paladin, however, is looking quite good once it drops Virgin Jailer for Chad Denathrius. Its scope for improvement is high, so a Tier 2 placement is very likely post-refinement. In proper Maw & Disorder fashion, the ‘good build’ runs no new class cards.
- Secret Mage looks like a waste of time. Though it did get a lot better, turning from an unplayable pile of garbage into a more coherent, and reasonably bad deck, it’s not enough to turn it into a competitive ladder option. We expect its decline to be swift.
- Spooky Mage looks great. The XL variant is a legitimate (soft) counter to Beast Hunter, so a rise in its popularity is the best option the format has to self-correct for Hunter’s dominance. Big-Spell Mage is hugely underrated, which is a position it’s quite familiar with. The deck can also do better against Beast Hunter with better card choices. Mage’s mini-set might have been a skip, but the older Mage decks are thriving.
- Control Shaman is quite solid overall. Its late game falls a bit short of Ramp Druid and Relic DH, but the Beast Hunter matchup isn’t too bad and it’s pretty balanced against the rest of the field. Doesn’t see much play because there’s barely anything new in it, but it’s a decent choice throughout ladder.
- Control Warrior looks completely hopeless. There’s nothing to see here. There’s no interest in Enrage Warrior since the deck rolls over to Beast Hunter. The mini-set hasn’t done much to help the class find a more competitive place in the format. Arguably, it’s in a worse spot.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Beast Hunter looks stronger than it did before the mini-set. There’s been a debate between running School Teacher or Insatiable Devourer, but we think that you should be running both in the current meta and cut Kodobane/Tracking. The common criticism of Devourer is strange to us, as it’s a better card than Altimor in the deck, and nobody ever talks about cutting Altimor.
That leaves us with one extra slot for Sylvanas, a card that’s beginning to rise in play and looks very promising.
Another interesting card that’s seeing play is Nathanos. The issue is that it requires us to run Imported Tarantula, and likely other cards (Breeder, Swarm) for it to be consistent, and we’re not convinced this package is worth including over stronger standalone cards. This does help in the Bless Priest matchup, which is why it’s getting traction at top legend, but Sylvanas requires fewer deck slots to help in a similar way without hurting the consistency of your Collector/Saber plan.
When it comes to Relic Demon Hunter, the “Felic” variant outperforms the Topple variant, and the difference between them grows as you climb ladder, so we continue to recommend running the Jace build. We’re featuring a common Topple build for reference purposes.
The Felic variant can choose from 4 cards to include in 2 slots. Okani is commonly cut in favor of Mel’Tranix, but in the heavy Hunter meta, Okani tends to be superior. You can run both and drop Aldrachi Warblades, and you can run Smothering Starfish if you’re specifically concerned with a matchup like Bless Priest. It is likely that Mel’Tranix becomes a more important inclusion in the future should Beast Hunter get nerfed, as it is quite effective in other matchups.
Aggro Demon Hunter is currently struggling to handle the high presence of Beast Hunter, and the deck isn’t doing that well despite the important addition of Sightless Magistrate. There are two build concepts we suggest trying out, as we currently aren’t sure of the superior choice, especially after potential balance changes. The first build runs Dreadprison Glaive with Multi-Strike and is more reserved in its utilization of resources. The second build runs extra 1-drops, prioritizes flooding the board early and emptying its hand to maximize its reload tools. We like the extra 1-drops against Beast Hunter.
- Demon Hunter Class Radar
- Relic Demon Hunter
- Aggro Demon Hunter
Dew Process has sparked a lot of experimentation in Ramp Druid. There are two builds that perform equally well and take advantage of the new card: A more defensive approach runs Far Watch Post while a greedier version runs Kazakusan and Amalgams.
However, over the last few days we’ve seen a new, Dew-less build that performs better than both. It takes the Defensive Ramp Druid we’ve featured before the mini-set, drops Naga Giants for the 2nd Kelpkeeper and Sylvanas, and swaps Smothering Starfish for Attorney-at-Maw. Attorney’s cheaper cost compared to Starfish makes it quite appealing as a soft removal option, and Sylvanas is great in any Ramp Druid deck. Considering that Dew Process will likely get weaker following a certain bug fix, it might be best to switch off the card going forward, unless the meta drastically slows down for its milling potential to matter.
Aggro Druid might prefer running Composting over Crooked Cook. We will note that both cards kinda suck, and it’s about picking the least bad option. Composting is very good against Mage, and we expect the class to rise in popularity after this report.
The only Priest deck that has changed following the addition of new cards is Thief Priest, with Incriminating Psychic encouraging the deck to run Amulet of Undying with Lightshower Elemental and Xyrella the Devout. Unless you’re TicTac, this deck is bad, and you shouldn’t play it on ladder.
- Priest Class Radar
- Quest Priest
- Thief Priest
- Naga Priest
- Bless Priest
- Boar Priest
Both Imp Warlock variants are very competitive and offer two of the strongest builds on ladder that don’t run Hunter cards.
The Curse build is stronger against Mages, slow Priests (Thief/Quest) and Shamans. Basically, decks that actively try to prolong the game and get hit with the inevitability of curses.
The Vanilla build is stronger against Hunters, Demon Hunters and Druids. We like starting the curve low, and then considering whether to switch off Bloodbound Imps for some “situational” cards. Denathrius is mostly good against Spooky Mage and Ramp Druid, and it’s not very useful outside of those matchups. Gigafin is good against Bless Priest, Naga Priest, Paladins, and other Warlocks (decks that struggle to kill the 7/4 from hand). Okani is great against Demon Hunters, but terrible against Beast Hunters.
Scribbling Stenographer is not a great card in Edwin Rogue. It doesn’t actively hurt the deck, but it might not be better than Backstab in the grand scheme of things, considering its anti-synergy with Edwin and Shroud. The margins are small.
Players are mostly running Renathal builds of Thief Rogue again. It’s hard for us to compare them to 30-lists, even though we know going 30 was better before the mini-set launch. The popularity of Renathal seems to be due to the Beast Hunter matchup, and the irony is that there is no indication that XL Thief Rogue is significantly stronger than Medium Thief Rogue against Hunter. This smells like desperation. Starting at 40 may theoretically put you at greater ease against Hunter, but your own power spikes through Jackpot/Trickster/Azshara are very important in this matchup. Not finding them in time just means you’re taking more time to lose the game by running Renathal.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Edwin Rogue
- Thief Rogue
- Bomb Rogue
- Shark Rogue
Pure Paladin seems to have two “successful” approaches.
The first is a Dude deck with Dun Baldar Bridge and Stand Against Darkness. We’re debating whether the 30th card in this deck should be Stewart the Steward or Lightforged Cariel, which sounds hilarious but isn’t that crazy.
The second is a normal Pure Paladin deck that just adds Order in the Court and Class Action Lawyer. Any build that tries to run Jailer looks awful.
Control Paladin shows more promise. We’re not talking about the Jailer variant of the deck (this one is also awful), but the Denathrius variant that was already popping up before the mini-set’s launch. Sylvanas looks very strong in this deck. The featured build has a decent matchup against Beast Hunter, while the problem matchup is Ramp Druid. When the opponent’s late game is too good, Paladin still falls flat, but it handles most other opponents quite effectively.
- Paladin Class Radar
- Pure Paladin
- Control Paladin
Spooky Mage is capable of soft countering Beast Hunter by running Renathal and Denathrius, so run the featured build for the best way to deal with them outside of Bless Priest. We can see Commander Sivara being replaced by another card if there’s a good reason behind it. Going 30 loses to Beast Hunter right now, so it’s much worse.
Big-Spell Mage is very underrated right now. Run Spammy Arcanist over Theotar and Brann if you want to do better against Hunter. We even advocate running double Spammy as it’s hugely impactful in the matchup and doesn’t really hurt you elsewhere. Minion-based removal tends to be strong in BSM.
Secret Mage isn’t complete trash, but it’s not very good either. The Wildfire package produces the best results, relatively speaking.
- Mage Class Radar
- Spooky Mage
- Big-Spell Mage
- Secret Mage
Sylvanas is a perfect addition for Control Shaman. This solves the 40th card question we had before the mini-set. None of the new cards Shaman has received move the needle anywhere.
Enrage Warrior is the only deck within the class that might be playable in the current meta. Weapons Expert looks like an impactful addition, but Enrage Warrior doesn’t see enough play for us to properly refine. Just run the hero card.
Maw & Disorder was weak, leading to Beast Hunter remaining busted. We now fully expect this deck to be addressed through balance changes soon. There’s nothing that this deck does that’s super egregious when it comes to its play patterns, but it’s too well-rounded in a watered-down format in which power spikes and board swings are very underwhelming.
Remember when some players were clamoring for a board-based meta last year, with very little burst damage from hand, huge swings, and OTK’s? Your voices have been heard, loud and clear.
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