Welcome to the 26th edition of the Data Reaper Report!
Number of Games
Class Frequency by Week
- While the overall number of Shamans seems to be declining, their numbers at higher levels of play continues to rise. This is a hint that the general population is somewhat bored of the class, but those who aim to win at all costs are flocking towards it. We estimate that at legend ranks, Midrange Shaman makes up over 30% of the Meta, which is pretty ridiculous. If you’re a competitive player who tries their best on ladder with the goal of grinding HCT points, you’re probably feeling the Shaman overload more than anyone else.
- The next four classes: Warrior, Druid, Mage and Hunter, have stabilized far behind Shamans. There are some small trends this week, such as Hunter slightly declining. Druid sees more play at higher levels, while Hunter is the exact opposite due to its midrange builds greatly struggling against Shamans. However, other than these small fluctuations, we don’t anticipate a significant change to these classes until the expansion hits.
- Zoo Warlock and Miracle Rogue are seeing a significant uptick in play. Zoo is re-establishing itself as a strong ladder deck, due to its good matchups against many of the common non-Shaman decks on ladder. Miracle Rogue is likely seeing more popularity due to its decent showing at the World Championship.
- Paladin and Priest are clearly the two bottom classes, and for a good reason: They are incredibly weak compared to the field, and at higher levels of play, they are nearly extinct.
We now present the updated “vS Power Rankings” table for week # 26. The numbers we report are the expected win rates of each archetype based on their matchups against the field, factoring in the frequency of all potential opponents on ladder at different rank groups over the past week.
- Looking at the table, all we’re left to do is wonder whether Midrange Shaman will hit 56% by the time we take our expansion hiatus. Is Midrange Shaman the most overpowered deck in the history of the game or was Undertaker Hunter still more oppressive? An interesting question to ponder.
- Zoo Warlock and Spell Druid are both rising. The rise is Druid’s performance is attributed to the rise of more refined lists to account for the current Meta. We’ve noticed that Druid has been improving its performance against Zoo, Tempo Mage and Secret Hunter, and this has caused the uptick in its score, which we expect to increase further in the next couple of weeks. Zoo is rising as a result of favorable matchups increasing in frequency, most notably Druid, as it remains its biggest counter.
- With many archetypes able to keep it in check, Face Hunter is undergoing a natural evolution of a new deck’s performance: Exploiting a niche in the Meta, enjoying high win rates when it is not accounted for, increasing in play, generating a response against it, and then dropping in its performance. It’s a good example of how a Meta dependent deck should behave.
- With what appears to be an array of really strong cards waiting to be released for Priest, how dramatically will the class rise in power from the dumpster it’s currently in? It’s a pretty deep dumpster to climb up from!
Midrange Shaman is so dominant that it was almost always banned at the World Championship and we hardly even got to see it played on stage. The ladder is being spammed with the archetype and the community is looking forward to the new expansion to reset the Meta. Such ladder dominance has not been seen since the days of Secret Paladin. Midrange Shaman can cover all angles against most decks at the moment and has the perfect cards to answer most lines of play which makes it so strong. It turns out that a Fiery War Axe with three charges under a very-easy-to-meet condition is pretty good. All of the Rat Race competitors used the deck to get to legend quickly, as it’s the easiest and most efficient way to grind at the moment.
However, there are some developments within the class. It appears that Aggro Shaman, which suffered the brunt of the balance changes and has since been the almost forgotten cousin of Midrange Shaman, is trying to make a comeback. Sempok hit rank 1 legend this week with a list incorporating the Spirit Claws/Spell Power package.
- Shaman Class Radar
- Gaara’s Midrange Shaman
- Eloise’s Mid-Range Shaman
- Amnesiac’s Top8 Midrange Shaman
- HotMEOWTH’s Top8 Midrange Shaman
- Pavel’s Top8 Midrange Shaman
- JasonZhou’s Top8 Midrange Shaman
- Sempok’s Aggro Shaman
Warrior remains a very popular class displaying the strongest archetype diversity of any class in the game. Control Warrior legend Fibonacci’s latest offering is an N’Zoth Control build with both Twilight Summoner and Cairne, which he piloted to Legend within five days this season. Other Warrior archetypes remain largely unchanged. Yogg-Saron, however, seems to be disappearing from the majority of Control Warrior lists, the “bug fix” causing it to overload appearing to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
With 7 out of 8 players bringing Warrior to Blizzcon it was highly likely that a Warrior deck would end up as part of the winning lineup and, sure enough, Pavel prevailed with his trusty C’Thun Warrior that got him all the way from Last Call to the title, proving that C’Thun Warrior is a very legitimate choice to bring to any tournament. The other top 4 players all brought Dragon Warrior, and although the sample size is extremely small, it performed well, showing it is a solid choice for a tournament lineup.
Sadly, the most anticipated Warrior deck of the event, HotMEOWTH’s Blood Warrior, failed to live up to expectations, being swept 4-0 by eventual finalist DrHippi. While the deck is clearly capable of winning as evidenced by creator Rage’s ladder successes, it seems rather inconsistent as well as being fiendishly difficult to pilot optimally – bringing the deck on ladder or to a tournament is a risk that might just not have enough upside. Unless you’re exceptionally confident in your ability to pilot the deck, or willing to throw caution to the wind, one would probably do better sticking to one of the “big four”.
- Warrior Class Radar
- Handsomeguy’s Vanilla Control Warrior
- Cydonia’s Top8 N’Zoth Control Warrior
- Fibonacci’s N’Zoth Control Warrior
- Pavel’s Top8 C’Thun Warrior
- Che0nsu’ Top8 Dragon Warrior
- Dr.Hippi’s Top8 Dragon Warrior
- Iddos’ Pirate Warrior
- Shoop’s Pirate Warrior
- HotMEOWTH’s Top8 Blood Warrior
Druid has remained in a similar position for the past few weeks. Druid still mainly consists of Spell Druid, specifically the Malygos variant. However, other Druid variants have also found success early in the season.
We start with the weekly Xixo netdeck, which has become the most common ladder build for the archetype. As stated last week, you can substitute the Bloodmage Thalnos for a Harrison Jones if you’re encountering a lot of weapon classes. Another notable Malygos Druid build is Feno’s latest take. A few players have used the list to get early legend this season. It is similar to Xixo’s list but has Evolved Kobold and Barnes. Evolved Kobold fulfills the same role of the previously utilized Jungle Moonkin, enabling Swipe to become a massive board clear against Shaman, without the downside of giving your opponent spell power. Evolved Kobold also helps some of Druid’s other matchups, like Hunter and Zoo, which have seen a rise in play in recent weeks.
Spell Druid was also played by every single player in the top 8 of the World Championship, most of them being Malygos variants. It didn’t have the best win rate and was the weak link in some players’ line-ups. However, certain line-ups specifically targeted Druid so it encountered some bad matchups quite often.
C’Thun Druid has seen some life this week. Muzzy hit #4 legend on AM with a C’Thun Druid build. Beast Druid also had some success this week, with Sempok piloting an Aggro Beast Druid to hit #3 legend. This deck plays considerably more aggressively than previous Beast Druid lists, forgoing Menagerie Warden for a more explosive early game.
- Druid Class Radar
- Xixo’s Malygos Druid
- Feno’s Kobold Malygos Druid
- Muzzy’s C’Thun Druid
- Dwayna’s Beast Druid
- Sempok’s Beast Druid
Hunter play dropped drastically at the top eight of Blizzcon, with most players cutting the deck from their lineup, especially since Control Warriors were expected to be cut (because of Hamster’s Priest and Paladin). Only Cydonia and Amnesiac ended up bringing Hunter, and each one brought a unique take on the secret archetype.
Cydonia’s Hunter was much more traditional, packing a six secret package alongside Secret Keepers. The one unique tech choice in the build was the Tundra Rhino, which enables Secret Hunter to better utilize its Grandmothers, Wolfs, and Highmanes, especially against Zoo and Tempo Mage, where the created tokens can often get cleared with good trades/pings.
Amnesiac’s Hunter was much different compared to standard builds, cutting a large part of the secret package in favor of always maintaining a board presence to pressure. The deck cuts out the Secret Keepers and Snipes in favor of Fiery Bats and Houndmasters. This change makes the deck more consistent at applying pressure through minions, as Fiery Bat’s 2 attack is very threatening and Houndmaster can make the small tokens much scarier. One other tech choice was cutting one Highmane in favor of a second Stranglethorn Tiger. The Tigers are more consistent with the gameplan of pressuring the opponent down, as an unpreventable five damage can steal games where even Highmane would be removed.
- Hunter Class Radar
- VLPS’ Secret Hunter
- Che0nsu’s Secret Hunter
- Cydonia’s Top8 Secret Hunter
- Amnesiac’s Top8 Secret Hunter
- Breath’s Face Hunter
- Virtus Pro’s Face Hunter
- HotMEOWTH’s Face Hunter
- Rdu’s Mid-Range Hunter
- GeorgeC’s Juggler Mid-Range Hunter
At the World Championship, Pavel was victorious with some crazy comebacks. His lineup consisted of the same decks that he brought to the opening week group stage; including the minion heavy Tempo Mage list we previously featured, that focuses more on minion pressure rather than spell combos. DrHippi reached the finals with an interesting Tempo Mage build that opts to take out Ragnaros for Archmage Antonidas, but doesn’t run the value oriented build that usually accompanies Antonidas, with Cabalist’s Tome and Emperor Thaurissan missing. Apxvoid peaked at #7 legend at the end of last season, with a Burn Tempo Mage build that seems to be the most consistent one for laddering. This deck runs a balance of direct damage spells and minions, and heavily targets Shaman by including both a Flamestrike and an Arcane Explosion.
Laughing recently tuned his Standard Torch Freeze Mage list, adapting to the current Meta by cutting out Flamestrike for an extra Ice Barrier against the aggressive field of Face Hunters, Pirate Warriors as well as the prevalence of Ragnaros.
- Mage Class Radar
- Apxvoid’s Burn Tempo Mage
- Pavel’s Top8 Minion Tempo Mage
- Dr.Hippi’s Top8 Tempo Mage
- Standard Kobold Freeze Mage
- D0nkey’s Dragon Reno Mage
- Gallon’s Reno Mage
With the start of a new season, timeless Zoo Warlock proves to be a good choice to climbing ladder early with its short games and curve-based gameplay. With its worse matchup being Midrange Shaman, Discardlock looks to prey on those queuing Hunter and Druid to ‘counter’ the endless waves of Shaman players. Card choices have not changed in the deck as tech options such as Acidic Swamp Ooze, Crazed Alchemist, and Power Overwhelming seem to be the only flex slots.
Control Warlock is going to need an abundant set of tools in the new expansion to find relevance again. Unfortunately, the Renolock archetype has not gained any traction in the entirety of this Meta and will likely remain a worse option compared to other control decks.
Wrapping up this season with the end of the HWC we’ll note three things: 1) 5 of the top 8 players decided to bring Zoo 2) Warlock made it to the grand finals and 3) Zoo scored a win in the grand finals. Although Pavel (who did not bring Warlock in his lineup) ultimately won, Dr. Hippi showed that the class warrants a spot in competitive play.
- Warlock Class Radar
- Bearnugget’s Discard Zoo Warlock
- Amnesiac’s Top8 Discard Zoo Warlock
- Che0nsu’s Top8 Discard Zoo Warlock
- NickChipper’s Reno Warlock
- Hoej’s Reno Warlock
- VLPS’ Dragon Reno Warlock
ok rogue has won 3 world championships.
THEY CAN'T KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH IT
— Keaton Gill (@Chakki_HS) November 5, 2016
Another year, another Blizzcon, and another Rogue in the championship-winning lineup. This year, Pavel triumphs on the Blizzcon stage with his Malygos Miracle Rogue deck.
Malygos Miracle Rogue remains the favorite among Rogue enthusiasts as it has decent matchups against Druid, Control Warrior, slow decks like Priest, Reno Warlock and Paladin, while also being able to hold its own against Midrange Shaman and slower versions of Secret Hunter. The “Standard Build”, popularized by ShtanUdachi and Chessdude is by far most refined and powerful version of this deck and it’s very unlikely that it will see any significant development until new cards are released.
Questing Miracle Rogue hasn’t undergone any changes either, as there is pretty much no room for refinement with the current cards. While some players are experimenting with tech choices like Harrison Jones, Swashburglar and Barnes in their lists, the deck has also reached its maximum potential and will most likely remain the same until the expansion arrives in early December.
Casie’s Combo Miracle Rogue is a very interesting adaptation for the Meta as it is much faster and not as greedy as the Malygos version, but can still put out huge amounts of burst damage through the Southsea Deckhand + Cold Blood + Faceless Manipulator combo.
While the first week of the month is over, the meta still remains aggressive in its race to Legend and Rogue is a risky choice for laddering. However, if you find yourself facing lots of Druids and Control Warriors, all of the abovementioned variants should be able to fare relatively well.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Standard Malygos Miracle Rogue
- Standard Questing Miracle Rogue
- Casie’s Faceless Combo Miracle Rogue
Hamster, our chosen Priest overlord, fell short of a world championship, but Hamster’s performance with both Priest and Paladin was truly exemplary, and we want to congratulate him one last time for doing in his run what many thought couldn’t be done. Things are looking up for the class following Blizzcon, but we don’t want to spend too much time on that just quite yet. Bunnyhopper has given us what seems like a preview of things to come with his version of Dragon Priest, a deck primed to succeed going forward. The Zetalot Shadowform list is the fun sort of list that not only can surprise people on ladder, but in the proper ban format can do some work in open cups as well. The key to playing Priest at the moment is knowing what you are playing against and teching accordingly. Priest will always have the tools to win a particular matchup, and despite all memes, a strong Meta read and good technical play can go a long way in Priest’s success.
- Priest Class Radar
- Hamster’s Top8 N’Zoth Control Priest
- Zetalot’s Shadowform Priest
- Bunnyhopper’s Dragon Priest
Paladin remains an unpopular choice on ladder due to slow Paladin variants struggling in the current fast paced Meta dominated by Shamans. These Control Paladin variants (Anyfin, N’Zoth) don’t have the raw survivability of Control Warrior archetypes, and Paladin’s removal is mostly situational, soft (e.g. Aldor Peacekeeper), or reliant on combos (Wild Pyro/Consecration+Equality), as other classes – notably Warrior – have individual cards that are suitable alone to react to a board state, as well as a hero powers that can stem the bleeding. Control Paladin simply requires too many resources to come in the right order for it to see consistent success in the current ladder environment.
That being said, if you’re looking for a change of pace, some Aggro Paladin variants could have success and are off-meta enough to be refreshing. Jambre’s, Muzzy’s, or Tars’ builds can be surprisingly powerful and filled with little tech choices that you can adapt to your own local Meta. What holds these builds back is the utter domination of Midrange Shaman, which has a very favorable matchup against these decks due to their lack of burst from hand and dependence on establishing a board presence, which is quite difficult to do against a deck boasting 4 AOE spells and 0 mana 5/5 taunts.
At BlizzCon, Hamster, the sole player who brought Paladin to the World Championship Group Stage, met his match in the Quarterfinals, going down 4-2 to JasonZhou. His Paladin deck did get a win in the series, and went 1-1 overall. Hamster’s Anyfin/N’Zoth Control deck is not recommended for ladder play, unless you are seeing almost nothing but Control matchups. This deck was specifically tuned to counter heavy Control decks and will most likely not see great success if piloted face first into a ladder filled with MR Shamans, Zoo, and Hunters.
- Paladin Class Radar
- ShtanUdachi’s Anyfin Paladin
- ShtanUdachi’s Curator Anyfin Paladin
- Jambre’s Secret Paladin
- Tars’ Aggro Paladin
- Muzzy’s Aggro Paladin
- Hotform’s Control Paladin
- Hotform’s Dragon Paladin
Time to throw in the towel.
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