vS Data Reaper Report #251

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Welcome to the 251st 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 1,140,000
Top 1K Legend 35,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k) 140,000
Diamond 4 to 1 136,000
Diamond 10 to 5 167,000
Platinum 162,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 500,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

We’re seeing two very different metas. The one throughout most of ladder is quite diverse. No deck outside of legend exhibits a play rate of over 10%. No class exceeds a 20% play rate. In contrast, the meta at top legend is incredibly narrow, with just a few classes seeing significant play as the others have died out.

Rogue is at the center of the top legend meta, with Miracle Rogue spiking in play and surpassing Thief Rogue’s popularity. Rogue approaches a 35% play rate at this rank bracket. Nothing else comes close.

Demon Hunter is the other popular class here, with Quest DH taking over and Sinful Brand builds becoming the consensus choice. The deck is far less common outside of legend ranks.

Death Knight remains the most popular class outside of legend. Frost-Burn is the common choice, but Blood-Ctrl isn’t too far behind. Unholy-Aggro has fallen off.

Ramp Druid numbers are very stable throughout ladder. The deck has been consistently attractive to different kinds of players over the last year. There is a mix of Renathal and non-Renathal builds, with the latter taking up a greater presence compared to last week. Aggro Druid is in decline.

Spitter Hunter is rising in play, doubling its numbers at some rank brackets compared to last week. Not very common at top legend because of the Miracle Rogue/Quest DH duo. Beast Hunter is noticeable but has a smaller presence.

There is a lot of experimentation in Mage, but Big-Spell and Aggro Frost Mage are the primary choices.

Pure Paladin is the only serious player in its class following the fall of Renathal.

Enthusiasm for Phylactery Warlock has fallen off at top legend due to the crippling matchups against Miracle Rogue and Quest DH. Outside of legend, Imps are what you mostly see.

Control Warrior is creeping up, driven by top legend publicity. Some players claim it is the meta breaker capable of countering Miracle Rogue and Quest DH. We’re sensing strong Copium vibes, but we’ll look into what’s happening here later in the report.

Evolve Shaman has proven to be one of the strongest decks on the climb to legend, yet the deck is declining. This is pretty uncommon and signals an absence of interest in the class. Some classes get hyped the moment they start looking good (Druid, Priest, Rogue), while others struggle to hold the attention of the player base for long (Hunter, Paladin, Shaman).

Priest is stagnating, settling into its historical role of the format’s biggest joke. There’s some experimentation here involving very bad decks, like Svalna and Undead Priest.

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion

Rogue

  • Miracle Rogue is completely busted at top legend, and looks clear of Quest Demon Hunter as the best deck in the game. What happened here is that the field has found ways to target Demon Hunter to some degree. At the same time, Miracle Rogue has proven impossible to target effectively. Its top legend matchup spread is at a Tier S level, only looking slightly unfavored to Quest DH (45-55) while beating or going even with every other deck. Its skill ceiling is also the highest in the format, drastically gaining percentages in some matchups at higher levels of play, similar to Garrote Rogue though not to ‘that’ extent. Make no mistake, Miracle Rogue is underplayed and should be more popular, considering how broken it looks. We expect a play rate close to 25% by next week. At top-level play, it is one of the strongest decks we’ve seen in the history of the game. This deck got nerfed in the last patch, remember!?
  • Thief Rogue is obviously very popular and a deck many players clearly enjoy playing, but it doesn’t come close to Miracle Rogue’s level. It is significantly worse in the Demon Hunter matchup. It is slower than Miracle in turning the corner and pressuring the opponent. It’s clearly a worse deck, though it still has a balanced and well-rounded matchup spread. It doesn’t lose to Miracle in the direct matchup too, which likely helps keep its play rate high.

Demon Hunter

  • Quest DH has been feeling more heat from the player base. Though it is favored against Rogue, which is a big reason why it is the 2nd most successful deck at the top legend bracket, the rapid transition from Thief to Miracle is making things relatively harder. Ramp Druid exists at a fairly high play rate just to counter this deck. Control Warrior, an otherwise trash deck on the surface, has risen in play just to try and counter this deck. Other decks that lose to Quest DH have drastically declined. This keeps Quest DH at a near Tier 1 level, but it’s obviously warping the format in an undesired way.
  • Fel DH is better than Quest DH once you step out of legend. Quest DH is also hard gearing its build to win the mirror matchup. If you’re not playing at high MMR, don’t get baited by these builds. Just run the non-Quest list, and you’ll likely find better results.

Death Knight

  • Frost-Burn DK is a fine deck to take to ladder as long as you stay out of top legend, where it’s seeing the collapse in its performance that we anticipated last week. The Rogue/DH matchups get progressively harder at higher levels of play. Control Warrior has randomly appeared to obliterate it. It’s more popular than it should be.
  • Blood-Ctrl DK is not a fine deck to take to ladder anywhere. It’s just bad.

Druid

  • Sure, Ramp Druid is a decent counter to Demon Hunter, but have you looked at its Miracle Rogue matchup? This is a brutal 30-70 affair, compared to the much more reasonable 45-55 vs Thief Rogue. The transition from Thief to Miracle is not helping things, clearly, and this is where Ramp Druid is strongest. At Diamond ranks, where aggressive decks are more popular, Ramp Druid is flirting with Tier 4.
  • Aggro Druid is not quite there. Rogue beats it. Demon Hunter beats it. Death Knight beats it. It’s understandable why it’s in decline.

Hunter

  • While Miracle Rogue has taken over top legend, Spitter Hunter is taking over the rest of ladder. Its win rate is skyrocketing as players flock to its optimal build, transforming its matchup spread into a scary one. The most effective counter to Spitter Hunter is Frost Mage, but this deck’s presence isn’t very high. Note that the only reason Spitter Hunter is not a Tier 1 deck at top legend is its unfavored matchups into Quest DH and Miracle Rogue. It has nearly free reign once those decks are not as popular, so a balance patch in which Rogue and Demon Hunter are nerfed, has to address this deck too.
  • Beast Hunter is strong at lower ranks, but Spitter looks clearly superior, so its low play rate makes sense.

Mage

  • Frost Mage remains a powerful ladder climber and our recommendation if you’re facing an increasing number of Spitter Hunters. In contrast, this deck has fallen off a cliff at top legend. It seems that Quest DH and Miracle Rogue have improved their performance in this matchup even more than we anticipated. The numbers are quite extreme. The Miracle Rogue matchup flips by over 8% from legend to top legend (!!!). Quest DH gains 4% on Frost Mage in the same rank range. That explains the fall.
  • Big-Spell Mage is another solid ladder climber. It seems to hold better at top legend because of its good Demon Hunter matchup, but Rogues are still a pain.

Paladin

  • Pure Paladin is another member of the “great ladder climbers” list that fall off at top legend because it can’t deal with Miracle Rogues piloted by the best players. Miracle Rogue gains 6-7% in the matchup from legend to top legend, turning it into a clear unfavorable. Demon Hunter also gains around 4%. These decks aren’t just powerful, they scale with player skill very substantially.

Warlock

  • Copy/paste Pure Paladin comments into Imp Warlock variants.
  • Phylactery Warlock is predictably collapsing too. You can’t do well going 30-70 against both Miracle Rogue and Quest Demon Hunter. This deck would have fallen off harder if it wasn’t for the generous Control Warrior players. However, this deck needs to be feared in the event of widespread nerfs to its hard counters.

Warrior

  • So what’s going on with Control Warrior? Is it as bad as it looks? Control Warrior is pretty bad. The deck is spiking in its win rate, showing that it has the potential to improve further. However, even at its peak, we struggle to see this archetype stepping out of Tier 4. You can build the deck well enough to give Demon Hunters a hard time, but Rogues look impossible to counter. We can see why the deck would get some hype. It’s enough for a couple of top 100 legend players to queue into just Quest DH & Miracle Rogue, boast a positive win rate against the Demon Hunters while breaking even with the Rogues, and report success. In that very narrow environment, Control Warrior could look competitive. Once you add more decks into the field, the oppressive matchups pile up. It’s a very niche deck at best.

Shaman

  • Evolve Shaman is stabilizing, remaining strong throughout ladder and managing to survive even the harshest environment at top legend to maintain a positive win rate. The Miracle Rogue matchup gets 10% worse from legend to top legend, if you’re wondering.

Priest

  • Priest sucks. Bless Priest is playable at top legend based on its low sample size, but it’s not gaining interest because it’s become unfavored against Miracle Rogue. Every other Priest deck is trash. The class looks done.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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

 


Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Miracle Rogue looks completely busted and uncontested at higher levels of play. Yet, it can still make some final tweaks to further twist the knife into the format.

Sparked by Casie’s build, we’ve seen new data coming from iterations cutting burn (Stab, Tooth) and adding Gone Fishin’ and Door of Shadows, alongside Scribbling Stenographers. This approach improves the deck’s longevity and Sinstone Graveyard’s performance since you’re less likely to run out of gas. Though cutting burn seems to hurt the Demon Hunter matchup in theory, some of that percentage loss is made up by the stronger Ghosts we’re able to develop with this build. What’s more is that the Rogue matchups, both the direct mirror and Thief Rogue, improve.

We can’t agree on cutting Crabatoa. We believe this sentiment is driven by the card’s lackluster performance against Demon Hunter, because Crabatoa is amazing against other Rogues and superb in most other matchups on ladder. Demon Hunter’s popularity doesn’t come close to Rogue’s at any level of play, so cutting Crabatoa results in a net loss of overall win rate. We’ve consistently measured the card to be a net benefit to the deck at all levels of play, including top legend.

The card that doesn’t perform well enough at any level of play is Serrated Bone Spike. Not only is it useless against Demon Hunter (worse than Crabatoa), but it also doesn’t deliver good results in Rogue mirrors since you don’t have a lot of opportunities to use it optimally. Cutting Serrated Bone Spike means you can fit two copies of Door of Shadows, Gone Fishing’ and Scribbling Stenographers, without giving up Crabatoa. This is looking like the perfect 30.

No changes in Thief Rogue. Serrated Bone Spike is a lot better in this deck because of the synergy with Queen Azshara.

Quest Demon Hunter is becoming more and more degenerate by the day, driven by the huge advantage it gets in the mirror if it cuts expensive cards to find early blowout opportunities and OTK’s. Though this approach isn’t inherently beneficial in the Rogue matchup, the Demon Hunter can reach a point of degeneracy in which it can kill the Rogue before the game has even properly started. Here’s how you maximize the mirror without hurting the Rogue matchup, something the deck currently struggles to juggle.

Both Kurtus and Jace are too slow. Jace is replaced by Abusive Sergeant to combo with S’theno for early burst/OTK turns. Predation and Dispose of Evidence are added since we’re all in on S’theno. Dispose of Evidence really pushes the boundaries on how quickly the Demon Hunter can find lethal. We drop Coordinated Strike and one Feast of Souls since they’re not very useful in the mirror matchup.

Aldrachi Warblades is huge in the mirror, so it is kept. We need to cut one more card from the deck, so the choice is one Fel Barrage. It isn’t as good once we cut Jace and it’s a damage resource that’s a bit ‘too slow’ for this build, as hilarious as that sounds.

Turns out that this exact list ended up being piloted to #1 legend by Gladio while we were figuring it out independently. Note that this build is geared for top legend, where Quest Demon Hunter is most powerful. If you don’t play at this rank bracket, you might as well go questless and run a normal Fel Demon Hunter, which performs better throughout most of ladder. The build is solved and clean.

Frost Death Knight’s build looks as good as it gets. The only possible change is to cut Vizier for Trogg, which provides you with an additional 1-drop that’s pretty good against both Rogue and Demon Hunter.

Blood Death Knight should be running Asphyxiate to deal with Miracle Rogue, so we made that adjustment in the 30 build, dropping Theotar (too slow to realistically disrupt Rogue/Demon Hunter) and Okani.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Ramp Druid should be cutting Renathal. We dropped Planted Evidence for Crypt Keeper for better defense against aggressive decks. Planted Evidence isn’t that great once you stop running Topior.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Both Hunter builds look perfect. Spitter Hunter looks like the best deck to climb to legend with. Kodobane and Ara’lon are unnecessary.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Frost Mage settled on its cleanest list. School Teachers could replace Sivara and Thalnos, but we’re not convinced it’s better.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Blood Crusader provides very little benefit to Pure Paladin in the current format, so we’re happy to leave it out another week. The featured build looks fine, if you understand that keeping Mooncatcher in your opening hand is almost always a terrible idea.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

The rise of Rogues has made us reconsider cutting Goldshire Gnoll from Phylactery Warlock. The card is an active liability against Demon Hunter but can answer Wildpaw Gnolls very cleanly. There are more Rogues than Demon Hunters, so it makes sense to leave it in.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

There have been many attempts to refine Control Warrior, but the archetype is generally unplayable due to its inability to perform in a wider field. In a very narrow top legend environment where you only meet two decks (Miracle Rogue and Quest DH), we do think the featured build can perform. Reqvam first floated the iteration, and it was slightly tweaked by McBanterFace. Don’t bother with Steamcleaner or Demolition Renovator. Far Watch Post is the ultimate ‘tech card’ against Rogue and Demon Hunter. This list seems to soundly beat Demon Hunter, while nearing a close matchup with Miracle Rogue. Possibly.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

There is nothing going on in Priest. Some players are trying out Svalna Priest, but the deck looks terrible. Any sort of Control Priest deck, or an Undead Priest deck, doesn’t look competitive. Bless Priest is ‘okay’ at top legend, but still inferior to Demon Hunter and Rogue. Concoctions have made the Miracle Rogue matchup far more difficult than it used to be.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Evolve Shaman is a very good deck. The featured build looks perfect. The player who came up with Vol’jin/Neptulon was Jambre. Of course. We should have known. Good job, Jambre.


Two tyrants are developing in the format. Spitter Hunter has become the premier deck in the format following its refinement. Miracle Rogue is broken at historical levels once you approach top legend. Both of these decks are underplayed relative to their power, and you’re going to see even more of them over the next week. Hunter can be reliably answered by Frost Mage, if you’re looking to stay a step ahead of developments. Miracle Rogue can be reliably answered by nothing. Good luck with that.


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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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