vS Data Reaper Report #256

Data Reaper Report Logo

Welcome to the 256th edition of the Data Reaper Report!

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!

Quick Links

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 1,090,000
Top 1K Legend 46,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k) 178,000
Diamond 4 to 1 171,000
Diamond 10 to 5 197,000
Platinum 166,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 332,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

[TABS_PRO id=61337]

Class Frequency

[TABS_PRO id=61338]

Class Frequency Discussion

The most impactful card in the mini-set is undoubtedly Construct Quarter. The Death Knight location card has found its way into every class archetype, giving Death Knights a sizeable boost in power and popularity. While initial enthusiasm following the launch of the mini-set surrounded Unholy-Aggro and Blood-Ctrl, a new archetype appeared a bit later, pioneered by Feno and Hunterace: Frost-Aggro DK. This deck is very different from Frost-Burn (and identified separately in our database), as it is an aggressive minion shell that resembles Unholy-Aggro and only runs a select few spells, the most important being Frostwyrm’s Fury and Horn of Winter. The deck is blowing up at top legend and quickly trickling down, a behavior of a strategy in the process of taking over the format.

Evolve Shaman has been the talk-of-the-town in the first few days of the patch. Blazing Transmutation has made Gnoll blowout turns very consistent, leading to the player base’s outcry as the deck spiked in play. However, there’s been a noticeable decline in Shaman’s play rate since Friday, when Frost-Aggro DK started to get serious traction. We expect that Evolve Shaman will remain popular but stabilize as the 2nd or 3rd most popular deck at most levels of play.

Rogue hasn’t been greatly affected by the mini-set, only slightly declining in play since new strategies haven’t gained much traction. Thief Rogue continues to be a popular deck at top legend, with Miracle Rogue boasting a small presence. A Thaddius combo deck with Bonelord Frostwhisper and Brann/Alex has been experimented with, which we’ve named Chad Rogue. Any deck centered around the great Chaddius in this report is known as a Chad deck. So it is written.

Chad Warlock has appeared. It is an evolution of the Undead Warlock deck centered on Amorphous Slime that never worked out following the release of the expansion. The great Chaddius and Rivendare offer additional enticing undead targets alongside Dar’Khan to cheat out with Flesh Behemoth. Players are digging this strategy throughout ladder, though top legend is still Phylactery’s playground. Imp Warlocks appear to have dropped off.

Undead Priest is another archetype that’s getting a bit more attention, thanks to new cards. Much like before, experiments range from resurrection-focused builds to swarm-aggressive types. Control and Quest Priest are noticeable, and utilized to answer (hopefully) the aggressive Death Knights and Evolve Shamans.

Mage’s composition looks unchanged. Big-Spell, Frost, and Wildfire are the main decks to play. Casino is the deck you play if you’re not interested in winning whatsoever. Wildfire specifically has been baited so hard by Casino-like packages that we curated its data to include only the ‘good builds’, while dumping all the garbage into the Casino cluster, so that Wildfire Mage’s performance can reflect its true potential.

Druid has gone into hiding, severely declining on the climb, with Ramp Druid exhibiting meager play rates at the upper end of ladder. Can you imagine how bad it has to be to have a 1.9% play rate at top legend? We’ll find out. Aggro Druid is completely gone.

Demon Hunter looks shattered. Fel Demon Hunter is the only recognizable face. There’s a bunch of Horsemen Demon Hunters running around with Proving Grounds.

Interest in Pure Paladin is rapidly going down. Nothing else noteworthy is going with the class, other than a Chad Combo Paladin being attempted. It doesn’t work.

Beast Hunter has been nerfed by the Beast tag being added to K9-0tron, making it incompatible with Pet Collector. Spitter Hunter has disappeared. The class looks finished.

Warrior is bottom of the barrel. The last few Enrage Warrior players have given up. Others are coping with Control Warrior. It ain’t pretty.

Matchup Win Rates Header

[TABS_PRO id=61339]

Power Rankings Header

[TABS_PRO id=61340]

vS Meta Score

[TABS_PRO id=61341]

vS Power Rankings Discussion

It’s not looking good for the format. A balance patch is needed very soon. The format is on the brink of collapse as more players find out that there’s only one deck worth playing. If nothing is done by next week, the tables and graphs in the next report are going to look much, much worse.

Death Knight

  • Frost-Aggro Death Knight is unbelievably broken. The numbers are insane here, with its win rate above 60% at Diamond 5 and below. The top legend field looks incapable of answering it too. The deck has no bad matchups and is near-impossible to counter. Its domination of the board is completely choking out any other deck that relies on establishing initiative. Its damage and reach make even the most defensively robust deck struggle to outlast it. We do see some potential in Quest Priest and Blood-Ctrl DK developing a slightly favored matchup against Frost-Aggro (we’re talking 55-45 as a ‘best case scenario’), but it’s not guaranteed as this busted deck has a way to adjust to these matchups as well.
  • Both Frost-Burn and Unholy-Aggro are decent decks, but Frost-Aggro is so much better that they’re essentially obsolete.
  • Unholy is much more vulnerable to removal since it has almost no way of dealing damage without a board. You can clearly see how it performs compared to Frost-Aggro in matchups like Blood-Ctrl DK or Quest Priest. Most importantly, it loses to Frost-Aggro in the direct matchup since Frostwyrm’s Fury locks it out of the game.
  • Frost-Burn has little minion pressure, so it’s generally easier to deal with. Frost-Aggro’s build has fewer situational cards that sit in your hand. Therefore, it is capable of more consistently pressuring the opponent. That’s important in matchups like Thief Rogue and Phylactery Warlock.
  • Blood-Ctrl looks better than ever. After all, Construct Quarter is not just a great pressure card, but an incredible board-control tool. This is one of the only decks in the format that can go toe to toe with Frost-Aggro DK. It might be able to hold a slight edge with Renathal. Add a strong matchup against Evolve Shaman, and you’ve got a matchup stew cooking. However, Blood-Ctrl’s flaws as a deck are still clearly evident. Strategies with strong late-game inevitably consistently exploit it. Phylactery Warlock in particular, is a nightmare matchup.


  • Evolve Shaman is busted too, but it’s been out-busted by Death Knight. Unlike Frost-Aggro DK, it has consistent counters. Blood-Ctrl DK, Quest Priest, and Wildfire Mage are all very effective against it, while its matchup against Frost-Aggro DK is getting worse as time passes. It’s a deck we expect to see get nerfed because of its Goldshire Gnoll play patterns and very high win rate, one that would establish it as a meta tyrant in most other formats. In the days before the emergence of Frost-Aggro DK, Evolve Shaman was in the process of creating an extremely polarizing meta. Instead of Rock, Paper & Scissors, we ended up with Rock just breaking everything.


  • Both Thief and Miracle Rogue get killed by Frost-Aggro DK, so Rogue isn’t expected to thrive in this format. Thief Rogue preys on decks that try to beat Frost-Aggro DK (Blood DK, Quest Priest) since it counters attrition game plans. Miracle Rogue is weaker in the late game against attrition but very good at racing high-lethality late-game strategies like Phylactery Warlock or Ramp Druid. Chad Rogue is a meme. Deathrattle Rogue is showing promise based on its low sample.


  • Thief Rogue is the soft counter to attrition, while Phylactery Warlock obliterates these decks. This increased effectiveness in attrition matchups, a strong matchup against Thief Rogue, and a higher overall skill ceiling make it the superior choice at top legend for players who just want to see Blood Death Knights die. But Phylactery is barely hanging on since it struggles against Frost-Aggro DK while Evolve Shaman is a similarly bad matchup.
  • Imp Warlocks are expected to die out in a format ruled by Death Knights. A total collapse here is inevitable. Chad Warlock is unfortunately not quite good enough, though it might be able to land at Tier 3 post-refinement. It actually does fine into Frost-Aggro DK.


  • Undead Priest looks like a deck just waiting for a balance patch. Its matchup spread looks very promising under the assumption of Death Knight and Evolve Shaman nerfs. Its refinement hasn’t been completed either. We’d keep the deck code ready for the day of the next patch.
  • Quest Priest has a dominant matchup against Evolve Shaman and a good matchup against the other member of the ‘attrition resistance’ (Blood DK), so you can understand why the archetype has been doing relatively well. It was primed to stand up to Evolve Shaman and become a Tier 1 deck, but the Frost-Aggro DK matchup is much more difficult. Unlike Blood DK, it has no scope for further improvement, which could become problematic.
  • Control Priest is unrefined, so its scope for improvement compared to Quest Priest is high. However, we’re not sure it’s better than Quest, even in an optimized form, since its lack of win condition is a big problem.


  • Mage is in big trouble as Frost-Aggro DK seems to dominate all of its decks. Wildfire Mage looked very promising early on, a potential meta-breaker in an Evolve Shaman format, but the emergence of Frost Death Knights has eliminated its path to greater success. It’s a decent option on ladder since it beats both Evolve Shaman and the Evolve Shaman counters, but it cannot handle the best deck in the game.
  • We anticipate a drastic decline in the performance of Big-Spell and Frost Mage over the next week, so their current numbers are very flattering. They did quite well early on since the format was unrefined, but Frost-Aggro DK destroys them.

Every other class

  • It looks awful for the remaining five classes (Demon Hunter, Druid, Hunter, Paladin, Warrior), once Frost-Aggro DK completely takes over the format. Pure Paladin is ready to collapse. Fel Demon Hunter can’t get any better than it is now. Druid and Warrior can already be declared dead. One Hunter deck ‘might’ be competitive, but that’s about it. It’s a ‘GGWP, go next’ angle.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Frost-Aggro Death Knight is completely broken. Its early board dominance and late-game burst damage is a lethal combination that makes it nearly unstoppable. Construct Quarter is the card that made it possible, giving Death Knights a way to dominate boards without the need to tap into Unholy runes, while providing Frost Death Knights with minion density that can support Marrow Manipulator.

The optimized build has been solidified, with an early game that resembles Unholy-Aggro DK. Foul Egg is the best 1-drop in the deck because of Construct Quarter. You really want to find these two cards in the mulligan, as they drastically outperform all other cards. The deck keeps a small package of six frost spells, which means that Frostwyrm’s Fury is almost always found on turn 7, thanks to Harbinger of Winter and Overseer Frigidara. The last couple of cards we recommend running are Brann and Astalor (McBanterFace’s build). Both cards provide late-game insurance that makes it more difficult for defensive decks to outlast the Frost DK. Brann/Manipulator is a disgusting win condition against a passive deck that relies on a lot of healing. Brann/Teacher is a strong value play that can be further enabled by Horn of Winter.

Frost-Burn Death Knight is a pretty good deck if you run Construct Quarter, while Unholy-Aggro Death Knight is also looking strong, but both decks are so dramatically outclassed by Frost-Aggro that they’re not even worth playing. Frost-Aggro combines the best of both.

Blood-Ctrl Death Knight is one of the only decks in the format that can provide real resistance to Frost-Aggro. It might be able to develop a slightly favorable matchup against the meta tyrant by running a Renathal build. Renathal greatly benefits the mirror matchup too, so we’re seeing the ‘fatigue tax’ play a role in forcing a control deck to run the prince.

We recommend running two copies of Death Strike because the card is going to go up in value as Frost-Aggro DK becomes more popular. It provides a clean answer to Frostwyrm’s Fury and Marrow Manipulator, which can be awkward to deal with. Asphyxiate is stronger than Obliterate since both cards are equally good against Evolve Shaman, but dealing damage to yourself isn’t ideal against the dominant burn deck. A single Body Bagger can be cut to make way, as Mistress of Mixtures and Foul Egg are more important 1-drops. Mograine is good. Rivendare is terrible.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Evolve Shaman is extremely powerful and looked like the meta tyrant before it was unseated by an even more powerful strategy. The addition of Blazing Transmutation has made early Gnoll blowouts overly consistent. Decks equipped with hard removal (Blood DK, Quest Priest) can remove the early 10-drop and have a good matchup against Shaman. Alternatively, freeze effects can help too. Decks struggle to handle the blowout if they have neither.

The optimized build ends up cutting Wildpaw Caverns to fit in Blazing Transmutation. Caverns is specifically a bad card against Death Knights running Frostwyrm’s Fury. Windchill is decent against Death Knights and great into other Evolve Shamans.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

We’ve seen attempts by Thief Rogue to respond to Death Knights by running Renathal. This switch does help against Unholy-Aggro DK but provides little benefit against Frost-Aggro while hurting late-game matchups such as Blood DK and Phylactery Warlock. It’s not worth it in the immediate term and should get even worse as Death Knights switch from Unholy to Frost. Miracle Rogue is unchanged.

Jambre’s Deathrattle Rogue looks like a competitive deck based on its low sample size. It does reasonably well against Evolve Shaman and doesn’t lose hard to Frost-Aggro DK.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Chad Warlock is not a good deck. It doesn’t seem that far away from being competitive, and the featured build has Tier 3 potential, but it’s still missing something. It’s a fun deck but don’t expect a consistent level of performance.

Phylactery Warlock is okay at higher levels of play, but the transition from Unholy to Frost-Aggro is becoming a problem. You want to run double Mortal Coil in a Death Knight format.

Nofin’s Imp-ossible is a nice card for Imp Warlock, but the archetype is quickly becoming unplayable as Frost-Aggro DK takes over the format. Curse-Imp is facing the same problem.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Mage is getting destroyed by Frost-Aggro DK. The viability of Frost Mage and Big-Spell Mage is increasingly questionable as this oppressive counter is rising in play.

Wildfire Mage looked very promising early on as a soft counter to Evolve Shaman as well as a decent answer to Evolve Shaman counters like Blood DK and Quest Priest, but the rise of Frost-Aggro DK has put the brakes on such enthusiasm.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Undead Priest is an archetype to watch out for in the event Death Knight and Shaman get their expected nerfs. The mini-set gave it some nice cards to experiment with.

The best build for the current format is the Burn variant. We’re curious about cutting Brittleskin Zombie. There’s no indication the deck needs that many undead minions (Rotting Necromancer is not a good card in this variant), and Zombie is the worst one, by far. This allows us to fit in Mind Sear, which is a strong card by all indications.

A very strong package in this deck is Incorporeal Corporal/Whispers of the Deep. It is a game-winning play in faster matchups. There’s a choice between running two Void Shards or two Shadow Word: Undeath. We picked the better card against aggressive Death Knights (Undeath).

The Swarm variant is more board reliant, which means it has a much tougher time dealing with Frostwyrm’s Fury and Construct Quarter. Rotting Necromancer and Mind Sear are very strong cards here. After a patch, however, it’s worth another shot.

Quest Priest looked like a meta breaker on the first couple of days of the mini-set since it is a reliable answer to both Unholy-Aggro DK and Evolve Shaman. The switch to Frost-Aggro complicates things. It’s a tougher matchup than Unholy because of the off-board damage the DK can dish out. Still, Quest Priest is one of the decks that gives the meta tyrant the hardest time.

Cannibalize is a really good answer to an early Shaman 10-drop, but it’s also useful against Frost Death Knights. Finley is extremely important in the Blood-Ctrl DK matchup.

Control Priest is a worse option than Quest. The absence of a reliable closer means it’s more susceptible in the late game.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

It’s easy to understand why Frost-Aggro DK presents a nightmare matchup for Pure Paladin. The Death Knight has better early board control tools. In the event it ever loses board, it launches Frostwyrm’s Fury at the Paladin’s face and rushes it down. It’s not a pleasant experience, and there’s not much the Paladin can do other than a miracle invitation.

No possible card adjustments exist that can help the Paladin. Purator has a lot of potential, but we haven’t found a Purator build that impressed us.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Druid looks very dead. Ramp Druid has completely collapsed under the weight of Death Knights and Shamans. It is ill-equipped to deal with either opponent. Death Beetle, alongside Battlegrounds Battlemaster and Lor’themar Theron does look like a promising win condition, but Druid’s problem is that it can’t survive to get there. Aggro Druid is similarly hopeless.

Druid is unplayable, guys. You can stop complaining about Guff now.

Demon Hunter got nothing. Any experiment with Rivendare/Proving Grounds looks horrendous. Fel Demon Hunter has gotten worse because it dies to Evolve Shaman and doesn’t have a good matchup against aggressive Death Knights either. Aggro Demon Hunter has been deleted.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Death Knights and Evolve Shamans farm any Hunter deck that looks to fight for board. Beast Hunter got nerfed thanks to the newly applied beast tag on K9-otron, making it clash with Pet Collector and Azsharan Saber. Spitter Hunter has collapsed.

But if you’re looking for a deck that bypasses the board, there’s a low sample of Quest Hunter that seems promising. There’s Tier 2 potential here, though it’s likely that the deck drops off at top legend.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Warrior looks finished. You can build Control Warrior to have a slightly favorable matchup against Frost-Aggro DK and Evolve Shaman, but then lose to almost everything else. Enrage Warrior has no answer to the top meta deck. The class might be dead until April.

Not a single Warrior deck is worth featuring.

This deck is giga-busted. If you want the easiest ladder climb of your life, play it until it gets nerfed. There’s not much else to add.

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 LeoJed 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, Amir, Matthew P, amenbrotep, Karhu, Christopher N, Eric F, BraveLittleStove, Lime, Kaushal, Joshua B, Jeff C, Reharl, Scott L, Mark P, The Big Dawg, nburst, Jess M, Peter, Lepton, Bob L, Charlah R, Chocobo, Chad K, Alex W, Ashton F, Ethan G, Potato, Swift, Logan, Fisherington, Michael H, WorldEight, Jacob M,  Joseph G, and Kristopher S for supporting us this month.

Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report: