Welcome to the 246th edition of the Data Reaper Report!
A Wild Data Reaper Report will arrive this Sunday, November 13th!
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!
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
|Top 1K Legend||20,000|
|Legend (Excluding Top 1k)||16,000|
|Diamond 4 to 1||109,000|
|Diamond 10 to 5||73,000|
Class Frequency Discussion
With the return of Knights of the Frozen Throne to Standard, we initially saw a decline in Rogue, but things have quickly reversed course. Thief Rogue has shot up to become the most popular deck at legend once again. Miracle and Shark Rogue can also be found, while the experiment of Keleseth Rogue was quickly abandoned.
Ramp Druid might be the deck most influenced by the KFT set, with multiple cards seeing play in the deck, causing it to pick up more interest. Celestial Alignment builds have begun to creep up again and challenge the established builds too. Aggro Druid has maintained visibility, likely for its ability to counter the extremely popular Ramp Druid. Hadronox Druid is fizzling out because it’s terrible.
Imp Warlock remains popular throughout ladder, but the class finally has another archetype that is emerging. Defile has brought Phylactery Warlock back from the dead. We can see more of the deck at legend.
Big Priest has returned to Standard thanks to Shadow Essence and Eternal Servitude. However, its play rate patterns are indicative of a deck that is struggling. It is mostly visible at lower ranks of ladder, heavily declines on the ladder climb, becoming fringe above Diamond 4, and almost non-existent at legend. Top legend has more Naga and Bless Priest, but their presence is still relatively small. Thief Priest is trying out Benedictus, while Quest and Boar Priest see little play.
Demon Hunter hasn’t received new cards to play with, so it’s naturally declined. Even so, Relic and Aggro DH maintain a consistent presence throughout ladder.
Spooky Mage is trying out a Renathal build with Frost Lich Jaina, Lokholar, and Neptulon. It is not going well. The 30-build is more popular at legend. The class declines as you climb the ranks with both Big-Spell and Secret Mage fading into obscurity.
Back in the day, Animated Berserker saw no play in Standard. But with Enrage Warrior in the format, the forgotten KFT card has quickly become a crucial 1-drop, and this has sparked new interest in a deck that was previously struggling to attract players. There’s a little bit of Charge Warrior too, running Forge of Souls.
Paladin has been unaffected by the KFT set, sticking to established builds of Control Paladin. Beast Hunter is in the same spot, even shunning the infamous Deathstalker Rexxar. Shaman has been trying out some Evolve builds with its Death Knight, as well as incorporating Ice Fishing into both Control and Murloc Shaman.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
- Thief Rogue looks pretty good, and its success isn’t exclusive to the highest levels anymore. It’s doing well pretty much everywhere on ladder. At no point is it too powerful, but it’s such an attractive deck to play for many players, that its combination of ‘fun’ and ‘good’ makes it popular.
- Miracle Rogue is doing well too. The Dancer build has taken over the archetype and seems to be less punishing to play compared to Gnoll builds. Shark Rogue remains fringe in its power/play rate.
- Ramp Druid is okay, but it isn’t doing as well as Thief Rogue. Despite the addition of Spreading Plague, it still greatly struggles against most aggressive strategies in the format. They just snowball too fast for it. We will note that Ramp Druid has a lot of potential to improve through refinement, and some of the recent builds that have popped up in the last few days outperform the more popular variants.
- Aggro Druid is doing well. A dominant matchup against Ramp Druid and a decent matchup against Thief Rogue counts for a lot and means it doesn’t drop off much in its performance at top legend too.
- Imp Warlock remains very dominant outside of legend but seems to drastically drop off at top legend due to a much more hostile meta and a worsening matchup against Thief Rogue.
- Phylactery Warlock is certainly competitive. It’s also a “new” deck that may not have solved its optimal build, with promising signs regarding a small adjustment that could give it another edge.
- Big Priest is bad. Considering its zero scope for improvement as well as its continuously declining win rate, we don’t expect it to survive. It has a negative win rate throughout ladder and is basically unplayable once you hit Diamond 4. Strong signs of a limited skill ceiling.
- Naga Priest is the best-performing deck in the game at Diamond 4 and above, surpassing Imp Warlock. Bless Priest becomes 2nd in command at top legend, and these are the only decks that exhibit Tier 1 win rates there.
- Quest Priest seems to do okay, though it’s going to be an inconsistent ladder choice as it’s always very matchup dependent. Thief Priest has been dumpster diving trying to make Benedictus work. Boar Priest sees too little play to be in the table.
- Demon Hunter has been completely unaffected by the KFT set, and it may have helped it farm some wins against sub-optimal lists, while both Relic and Aggro DH are very refined and established. Aggro DH might have the best early game in the format, as it’s able to push the most aggressive decks off the board, while Relic DH dominates late-game matchups like no other deck. The class is certainly in a good spot in the meta.
- Spooky Mage is a very strong deck if you run the ‘correct’ build for it. The problem is that many players have yet to settle on its best approach, and there’s a lot of junk that hurts its performance throughout ladder. Its optimal win rate is Tier 2, at the very least.
- Big-Spell Mage has been falling off hard in the current format, and Secret Mage hasn’t gained any ground either. It seems that Spooky is the only serious option in the class if you’re solely focused on winning.
- Enrage Warrior is hard to ignore at this point. The addition of Animated Berserker has taken it to another level, and it’s Tier 1 everywhere on ladder except the place where Thief Rogue is ridiculously popular. It does have other counters, but this is the common tough matchup.
- Charge Warrior may have found a card that makes it significantly more consistent, and it could surprise if given a chance.
- Control Paladin is still quite good, despite seeing far less play this week. Players might be discouraged by the Thief Rogue matchup, or generally uninterested since it doesn’t have much to do with the KFT set, but it retains a positive win rate everywhere on ladder. Pure Paladin is nothing special.
- Beast Hunter is doing just fine. It’s not winning the popularity contest over Thief Rogue or Ramp Druid, but it sure is winning.
- The success of Control Shaman in the format establishes the fact that all 10 classes have very good and very competitive decks available to them. The Evolve Shaman stuff isn’t working out, and Murloc Shaman still looks tame, but that’s what happened to most classes trying to make KFT cards work.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Paladin | Priest | Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior
Thief Rogue’s build hasn’t changed. Theotar appears to be the most popular 40th card. Some players are experimenting with The Sunwell, and it looks like a decent fit for the deck. The issue we found is that it’s inferior to Sprint while also clashing with it due to hand space issues. If you do want the extra wackiness that The Sunwell offers, you’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t hurt the performance of the deck in a significant way.
The Dancer build of Miracle Rogue has fully taken over. We’re not sure it’s the best build, as the Gnoll iterations don’t see much play, but Miracle Rogue isn’t exactly hurting for it.
Some players have experimented with Spectral Pillager in Shark Rogue. It doesn’t look great.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Thief Rogue
- Miracle Rogue
- Shark Rogue
Ramp Druid is back on the Celestial Alignment train. Builds that run CA are significantly better and may contribute to an improvement in the archetype’s performance over time.
Card choices are complicated in this deck. Malfurion the Pestilent looks very underwhelming and a waste of a card slot. Theotar is significantly worse in a CA build, to the point where it is very cuttable. The Lich King is also weak compared to other high-cost cards.
Both Spreading Plague and Ultimate Infestation look very good. UI does clash with Miracle Growth in terms of hand space issues, so we wouldn’t run two copies of each. Alexstrasza The Life-Binder offers an important win condition in combination with Brann. Spammy Arcanist is very impactful in the deck’s worse matchups. The Jailer is the deck’s best card in the mirror matchup.
Phylactery Warlock is back to competitive ladder play thanks to the addition of Defile. There appears to be a lot of promise in builds that cut expensive cards such as Azshara and Entitled Customer for Talented Arcanist, which works great with both Defile and Grimoire of Sacrifice. There’s also an option to run Viper for the mirror/Miracle Rogue instead of one Mortal Coil.
- Warlock Class Radar
- Imp Warlock
- Phylactery Warlock
Big Priest looks bad and should fade away. It appears to be more of the same from the class, with Naga Priest looking as strong as ever, Bless Priest doing well and even Quest Priest finding a reasonable niche.
KFT cards haven’t successfully found their way into other Priest archetypes so far, but we do have a strong suspicion based on preliminary data that Spirit Lash is very good in Boar Priest. It functions as a pseudo-Pyromancer that can enable Xyrella, Cleric, and Boars. We would try to run at least one copy, while cutting Flash Heal, as initially popularized by Lynn. If the card is as good as it appears to be, running another copy is also possible.
- Priest Class Radar
- Naga Priest
- Bless Priest
- Big Priest
- Quest Priest
- Thief Priest
- Boar Priest
No KFT cards? No problem! Both Aggro DH and Relic DH are doing very well throughout ladder. Card choice recommendations remain the same as before the patch.
- Demon Hunter Class Radar
- Relic Demon Hunter
- Aggro Demon Hunter
If you run the optimal 30-card Spooky Mage, you should be well positioned on ladder. Avoid Renathal, since it makes you perform worse against both Ramp Druid and Thief Rogue. Avoid Shattering Blast/Viper, since Paladin isn’t popular anymore. Avoid Frost Lich Jaina/Elemental nonsense because it’s just bad.
- Mage Class Radar
- Spooky Mage
- Big-Spell Mage
- Secret Mage
Animated Berserker has been a huge addition for Enrage Warrior, and a build cutting some 1-drops and going heavier on the curve with Okani, Samuro, and Grom seems to be doing well.
Charge Warrior doesn’t see much play but could have a strong case to return in greater numbers with some promising low sample results. Forge of Souls works well with Outrider’s Axe and Blacksmithing Hammer.
Control Paladin may not be very popular anymore, but it’s still doing fine. Nothing has changed in the way it should be built either.
- Paladin Class Radar
- Control Paladin
- Pure Paladin
Beast Hunter quietly remains a good deck throughout ladder but hasn’t successfully introduced cards from KFT. Deathstalker Rexxar has been attempted but looks quite terrible, and the same is true for Keleseth builds.
Players have attempted to reignite an Evolve Shaman deck with Thrall, Deathseer. This looks like an experiment that’s not working out. Attempts to run Ice Fishing and expand the Murloc package in Control Shaman haven’t impressed either. Ice Fishing doesn’t even appear to be a great card in Murloc Shaman!
All in all, the class has stayed put.
Spreading Plague, Ultimate Infestation, Defile, and Animated Berserker. Those are the 4 impactful cards of KFT that have made waves in the format. Spirit Lash and Forge of Souls are also showing promise in currently fringe decks. The memorable Death Knights of yore do not hold a candle to the Mercenaries of Alterac Valley.
It’s a good thing that the most iconic Death Knight of all is coming soon to set things straight.
For now, play Naga Priest: the Meta Breaker that players refuse to break the meta with.
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 our 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, Alonso P, Je-ho, William H, 1RiceBowl1, Alex S, PeejTreon, Josh G, Matthew H, Bruno B, Amir, Matthew P, amenbrotep, Karhu, Christopher N, Eric F, Eric L, BraveLittleStove, Lime, Kaushal, David, Joshua B, Jeff C, Pi, Reharl, Scott L, Mark P, The Big Dawg, nburst, Alex S, Jess M, Peter, Lepton, Bob L, Charlah R, Chocobo, Tim B, Chad K, Alex W, Ashton F, Ethan G, Potato, Swift, Gary W, Gryffon, Logan, Leo, Fisherington, and Michael H for supporting us this month.
Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report:
For now, play Naga Priest: the Meta Breaker that players refuse to break the meta with – because its so fkin dull lol