Welcome to the 245th edition of the Data Reaper Report!
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Number of Games
|Top 1K Legend||23,000|
|Legend (Excluding Top 1k)||88,000|
|Diamond 4 to 1||85,000|
|Diamond 10 to 5||96,000|
Class Frequency Discussion
Rogue feels like a class at the start of a successful expansion. An explosion of different strategies can be found. Almost every archetype seems to have two equally viable builds. A new variant of Miracle Rogue is making waves, as well as a new approach to Shark Miracle Rogue. Thief and Secret Rogue are experimenting with new cards, and even Bomb Rogue is making some noise. All Rogue decks are quite skill-intensive as well, which is why they’re highly concentrated at top legend.
Imp Warlock remains the most popular deck in the format at most levels of play, only dropping to 2nd behind Thief Rogue at top legend. This small decline might be caused by the influx of Miracle Rogues at these ranks, which Warlock is generally not happy to queue into.
Ramp Druid is in decline, while Aggro Druid has risen a bit in play. This reflects their positions in the format, as Ramp Druid hasn’t been doing particularly well in the aftermath of the Hunter nerfs.
A small decline in Mage is noticeable, which is likely caused by the uptick in Control Paladins. We can notice that Spooky Mage players have begun to aggressively target this matchup in response.
Relic Demon Hunter is experiencing a refinement reversal, with players insisting on banging their heads against the wall with unplayable builds. This has negatively impacted its performance. A small uptick in Aggro DH can be observed, with players realizing this deck is alright.
Priest is a mini-Rogue. Lots of different strategies, though they have long been figured out and refined. Bless Priest has slightly declined at top legend. Naga Priest’s rise in play is minuscule. Quest Priest appears to gain priority over Thief Priest.
Control Paladin is rising in play and transforming. Following the success of several players, new Jailer builds have appeared, noticeably different from the first few that emerged the week before. The ability to hard counter Miracle Rogue and Bless Priest has earned Paladin much respect.
Beast Hunter remains very noticeable throughout ladder, though high-level players have begun to ignore it a bit. Control Shaman is generally ignored by everyone. Warrior isn’t seen much despite Enrage Warrior’s ability to compete.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
The current meta is very balanced and diverse. Imp Warlock, Beast Hunter and Naga Priest are the best choices on the climb to legend, but there are many other decks that perform well on the climb. In fact, every class has a deck that exhibits a positive win rate at Diamond ranks. Every class has a deck that exhibits a positive win rate at Legend. When you look at the meta at higher levels, all bets are off. Only one deck appears to be slightly stronger than the rest, and almost no one cares to play it. The variety of competitive options is incredible. This is an ideal environment for a major tournament this weekend.
- Thief Rogue is looking better. Part of the reason is meta-related (decline of Ramp Druid and Relic DH) but part of it is card related. There is one card that started to appear in the archetype and looks very, very good. Find out in the Rogue section.
- We expected some decline in Miracle Rogue’s performance. Other decks are starting to target it harder at higher levels of play, with the most notable threat coming from Control Paladin. It’s still pretty good though, stabilizing at Tier 2.
- Shark Rogue isn’t handling the increasingly hostile environment as well. Its rise in play has been met with a fall in its performance. This could also be related to how difficult it is to play, but it’s fair to say that Sharkless Miracle Rogue could just be the superior choice.
- Secret Rogue refuses to go away. For some reason, this deck has initially emerged without one of its best cards, and once you include it, the deck starts to look much better too. Paladin players hate this deck.
- We don’t have enough data on Bomb Rogue, but it’s ‘likely’ to be another Tier 2 performer at top legend.
- Imp Warlock is popular and powerful on the climb to legend, but it’s not as crazy as Beast Hunter used to be. It’s a reasonable deck to occupy the top spot at some rank brackets. It is important to note that countering Imp Warlock effectively isn’t an option exclusive to high-level players capable of getting the most out of Miracle Rogue and Bless Priest. It has some underutilized counters, such as Naga Priest and Enrage Warrior.
- Ramp Druid is having a bit of a tough time. Its matchup spread just isn’t stellar at any level of play. It’s particularly struggling at the high Diamond bracket, where aggression is too common. We think that better results can be produced if you build the deck defensively, but it’s never great.
- Aggro Druid is good to have in the format. It is slightly overshadowed by Imp Warlock, but it’s a very cheap deck that produces good results everywhere on ladder.
- Spooky Mage is a very stable performer throughout ladder that has the flexibility to improve in some matchups at top legend if it wants to.
- Big-Spell Mage has been dropping off at higher levels of play, showing a bit of a low skill ceiling with worsening matchups. It’s been consistently outperforming Spooky Mage outside legend ranks.
- Secret Mage is alright.
- Relic DH is better than it looks. If you run the Felic build, you’re running a Tier 2 deck at all levels of play. The archetype is a bait magnet for bad builds. It is one of the best answers to Control Paladin, and a late-game king. You rarely want to drag the game out against a Relic Demon Hunter with Jace.
- Aggro DH is fine at all levels of play.
- Naga Priest is Tier 1 everywhere on ladder. It is also the only Tier 1 deck at top legend. Its play rate is under 3% at this rank bracket. It’s under 2% everywhere else on ladder. Cool, cool.
- Bless Priest is getting targeted. Unlike Naga Priest, it is very vulnerable to hard counters like Control Paladin. It’s still a fine deck at higher levels of play but it’s certainly matchup-dependent.
- Quest Priest is on the rise at top legend! It’s another very matchup-dependent deck, but these matchups are becoming more relevant. Between Control Paladin, Miracle Rogue, and faster Priest decks, it’s getting a lot of free wins which make up for its horrendous matchups elsewhere. Quest Priest is still underwhelming if these decks aren’t popular enough.
- Control Paladin is looking strong, thriving off the Miracle Rogue/Bless Priest matchups and benefitting from solid refinement, but it’s not overly powerful. There are certainly some good counters to it that are available. It’s keeping blowout decks in check thanks to Equality, but even its refined Jailer late game can be answered by multiple classes through removal and/or disruption. It’s a healthy deck for the format.
- Beast Hunter doesn’t appear to be regressing in its performance. Its matchup spread is balanced and resilient to changes in the meta, so it’s likely to continue doing well.
- Control Shaman should probably get more respect. The rise of Control Paladin puts it in a good position to succeed, as its disruption plan is very effective against a Jailer late game. The decline of Relic Demon Hunter and Ramp Druid helps too.
- Enrage Warrior is very competitive for ladder play, only regressing a bit at top legend as it doesn’t handle the increased popularity of Rogue and Priest well. The problem is that it doesn’t make a great case to be played over other aggressive options. It’s more expensive compared to Aggro Druid. It doesn’t perform as well as Imp Warlock. Unless you really like the deck, you’re unlikely to play it.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Thief Rogue has seen an improvement in its performance partly thanks to the rise of Sketchy Stranger. Stranger is a solid body in the early game that doesn’t break your Maestra disguise, discounts Gnoll, offers a defensive secret to repeat with Stash and helps activate Gravedigger while keeping a small package of 4 secrets in the deck. It is also a reasonable Shadowstep target. It is the perfect 2-drop for the deck. Gone Fishin’ should be the card to make way.
Last week, Theotar looked like the worst card in the deck. It got a little better this week due to the rise of Control Paladins running Jailer. Thief Rogue does fine in this matchup without it, but if you’re seeing a lot of Paladins, Theotar could slot into the deck ahead of Finley.
Secret Rogue should absolutely run Crabatoa. It is one of the best cards in the deck and makes a huge difference. It might be best to keep 6 secrets and cut Draka, as it is hard to get the most out of her. Sinstone Graveyard never got traction in this deck either.
A new Miracle Rogue variant from J_Alex appears competitive by cutting Gnolls, running both Sprint and Edwin, while including Mailbox Dancer and Frostwolf Warmaster. This build looks to further emphasize the archetype’s card-slinging turns. We’re not seeing indications that it is superior to the Edwin/Maestra build, but it’s close between the two, while Sprint/Maestra is 3rd best.
Shark Rogue does not want to run Auctioneers, as Sprint does a better job as a draw engine in the build that cuts Edwin. This also means we can run Door of Shadows and Blackwater Cutlass over Backstab/Extortion. RobotWizard still swears by Edwin, and it remains the most popular variant, though current indications are that Sprint has some edge. Sprint might be easier to play. Sprint might be better. Sprint might be both easier to play and better. It’s hard to conclusively say.
Bomb Rogue might be a bit of a sleeper deck at top legend. A Reveler build has gained some traction. It is comparable in power to the Burn list.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Thief Rogue
- Secret Rogue
- Miracle Rogue
- Shark Rogue
- Bomb Rogue
Imp Warlock is good. Impless Curse Warlock is not. Quest Warlock isn’t good either.
Resistance is futile. Give up and assimilate.
It lasted a week, but Ramp Druid can’t afford to get greedy in a format that can punish it so effectively. The defensive build is clearly the way to go now.
There’s a recent trend in Spooky Mage to run Shattering Blast and Rustrot Viper over Brann and Finley. The purpose is to target Jailer Control Paladin, Miracle Rogue and Bless Priest. These cards certainly help in these matchups quite dramatically, but we would only run them at top legend, where these opponents are more common.
Denathrius looks quite good in 40-card Big-Spell Mage. It is likely good enough in the 30-card build as well.
- Mage Class Radar
- Spooky Mage
- Big-Spell Mage
- Secret Mage
There’s no real competitive alternative to the Fel variant of Relic DH. Run it or lose significantly more games. The only decision is filling the last two slots.
- Demon Hunter Class Radar
- Relic Demon Hunter
- Aggro Demon Hunter
Priest decks have been refined and solidified for a long time, and there’s not much development this week either. Naga Priest is arguably the best deck in the game and almost no one cares. Quest Priest is making some waves at top legend due to its ability to hard counter some of the emerging decks.
- Priest Class Radar
- Quest Priest
- Thief Priest
- Naga Priest
- Bless Priest
- Boar Priest
New Jailer builds of Control Paladin have given us the opportunity to re-evaluate some of the card choices in this archetype. Notable builds coming from Meati and TicTac appear to provide a more solid basis to work with compared to the initial Thijs iteration. Here’s what we found.
Stonehearth Vindicator gets much better when paired with Service Bell. This is a case in which each card is unplayable without the other. Never keep Service Bell in your opening hand, as you want to pull it with Vindicator.
You can afford to run Knight of Anointment with only Equality as a holy spell target. This gives you 4 chances of drawing Equality, not including Vindicator. You’re less likely to draw a Knight after finding both copies of Equality because of Order in the Court and Jailer. It either gets burnt or sits at the bottom of your deck as you approach the late game.
Faelin is a good card to play post-Jailer, but Ragnaros the Lightlord is even better, and you don’t want too many post-Jailer payoffs. The healing from both Ragnaros and Reno makes it less important to run Holy Maki Roll too.
There’s a bit of a debate between Muckborn Servant and Treasure Guard at the 3-mana slot. Servant looks better throughout the game. Better stats to contest the board early while discover is more useful than draw in a Jailer/Order deck once you approach the late game. The difference isn’t massive, but it’s noticeable.
Bunker Sergeant continues to look much better than Wild Pyromancer. We were very tempted to continue to run two copies of the card, but Imp Warlock isn’t as popular where Jailer Paladin excels the most. You could run Viper for the mirror, and to counter Miracle Rogues harder, by cutting another 3-drop (Scorpid/Servant). Spammy Arcanist seems too good to cut.
No changes in the non-Jailer Denathrius build. It is generally better in faster matchups compared to the Jailer build, such as Imp Warlock and Beast Hunter. It is also better against Rogues because Ghastly Gravedigger can really mess up your Jailer plan and you don’t have time to play it against Miracle Rogues. The Jailer build excels in the mirror, and in late-game matchups such as Ramp Druid or Spooky Mage, where you want a more threatening kill plan.
- Paladin Class Radar
- Control Paladin
- Pure Paladin
Beast Hunter continues to look good throughout ladder. The balance changes successfully addressed its power level while keeping it very competitive. No changes to our recommended builds, as they look very refined.
- Hunter Class Radar
- Beast Hunter
- Quest Hunter
Control Shaman might be the 2nd most underrated deck in the format after Naga Priest. It’s a nice answer to Control Paladin too. The format seems to have a lot of options, which might be why decks that are a bit ‘older’ in their development don’t see as much play.
Warrior only appears to be a dead class, but Enrage Warrior is perfectly viable for the ladder climb. The class just needs to be more compelling, as it feels limited in its options.
- Warrior Class Radar
- Enrage Warrior
- Charge Warrior
The meta is looking quite good as we near the 24.6 patch, which has been hyped to impact the format in some way. A new expansion announcement is also likely just around the corner, so it’s an exciting time for Hearthstone.
We’ll tell you to play Naga Priest another week, and highlight that Quest Priest is beginning to grief quite effectively at top legend.
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