Welcome to the 260th edition of the Data Reaper Report! This is the final report for March of the Lich King.
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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
|Top 1K Legend||28,000|
|Legend (Excluding Top 1k)||138,000|
|Diamond 4 to 1||131,000|
|Diamond 10 to 5||155,000|
Class Frequency Discussion
In the final report for March of the Lich King, Miracle Rogue has finally surpassed Thief Rogue to become the most popular deck at top legend, as it should. Considering that Miracle Rogue is the best deck in the game and Thief Rogue has been struggling to stay in Tier 3, it’s a bit bizarre that it has taken this long. Overall, Rogue makes up 30% of the field at the highest rank bracket.
Undead Priest has been an isle of consistency in this format. Its avid fans must be happy to learn that Darkbishop Benedictus is staying in Standard after being added to the Core set, hinting at further support for the archetype post-rotation.
Quest Druid has long established itself as the meta-defining late game strategy of the format. Malfurion will bid farewell to Wildheart Guff, one of the most impactful cards in Druid’s history.
Death Knight started its debut expansion on a whimper but quickly recovered, with all its runes playing prominent roles throughout. Despite being the worst Death Knight deck, Blood-Ctrl has held on as the most popular Death Knight deck at every rank bracket outside of top legend, indicating that a significant section of the player base is highly attracted to its playstyle.
Mage can mark this expansion as successful. Big-Spell Mage has been a modestly popular, strong, and inoffensive archetype for a long time. Frost Mage has been an important check on Undead Priest and Miracle Rogue in recent times. We’re starting to see the deck get more respect at top legend as a response to the rise of Miracle Rogue.
If Quest Druid is #1, then Fel Demon Hunter is #2. Demon Hunter’s late game thanks to the Relic package has been its strongest point. Following some nerfs that addressed its most egregious play patterns (Final Showdown, Sinful Brand), the class has returned to a more ‘fair’ playstyle that successfully produced a strong but balanced deck.
Paladin is a class that often gets labeled as a beginner class, for a good reason. Many of its decks in recent years have been known to be ‘simple’ and straightforward, teaching players basic fundamentals. The Pure archetype is symbolic of that, but Team 5 managed to add a layer of randomness with The Countess that was a nice touch. We think it prevented this deck from going stale. As evidenced by Thief Rogue’s popularity, a large section of players like having games feeling different from each other. The Countess is the wild card slapped on top of an archetype that is otherwise extremely predictable. It was an inspired design.
Warlock has been going stale. Imps have been carrying the class since Nathria. Phylactery Warlock has been abandoned at top legend due to the oppressive Miracle Rogue matchup. Chad Warlock has had its moments but is ultimately a bad deck. There are reasons to be excited for the future though, as Warlock arguably got the best Core set revamp of all classes and the most hyped card of Festival of Legends in Symphony of Sins.
Hunter struggles to capture players. A combination of old decks going stale (Big-Beast, Quest) and a new deck displaying an egregious play pattern and getting nerfed for it (Spitter) has led to the class’ current situation. All its current three archetypes are competitive, but players are not interested. The class needs a reboot button.
Shaman had a broken deck that relied on one extreme power play and became unplayable after it got nerfed. The nerf to Renathal and an underwhelming MLK set has exposed the class. A significant core revamp and a return to the overload mechanic (which Team 5 seemed to wait for until quests rotated) could help Shaman find a competitive identity.
Warrior’s issues run deeper. The class has felt lost since getting nerfed during Sunken City, while its Festival of Legends set combined with brutal rotation is not giving us much confidence either.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
- Miracle Rogue’s rise in popularity has been met with some resistance, as more players are conscious of their deck choices to beat it. Thief Rogue continues to linger in its poor performance, though terrible ETC utilizations have declined, leading to some improvement. Deathrattle Rogue is quietly competitive.
- Undead Priest is very solid and resilient, leading to strong performance across ladder. Control and Quest Priest have checkered matchup spreads so can’t be too good. Svalna Priest recovered from the ETC experiments.
- Quest Druid is the final “Big 3” member. Undead Priest sets the tone for the early game. Quest Druid sets the tone for the late game. Miracle Rogue works within the meta spectrum.
- Frost-Aggro Death Knight remains a very strong deck throughout ladder but its fall at top legend, largely driven by Quest Druid, is noticeable. Unholy-Aggro is a better choice to deal with a curated field of the “Big 3”. Blood-Ctrl is not a good choice anywhere on ladder.
- Frost Mage is getting stronger thanks to the rise of Miracle Rogue. It’s a good deck throughout ladder, but it does depend on running into the right matchups over a small sample of games. Big-Spell Mage is competitive and accessible but drops off at legend.
- Fel DH is extremely powerful on the climb to legend but limited at higher levels of play due to its struggles against the Big 3. Spell is a simpler deck that does better at lower ranks of ladder but eventually drops off.
- Pure Paladin is the best counter to Quest Druid but the difficult matchups into Undead Priest, aggressive Death Knights and Frost Mage keeps players away. Pure-Control Paladin is a good counter to Miracle Rogue but loses to Quest Druid.
- The rise of Miracle Rogue is rough for Phylactery. Imp Warlock just can’t hold up at higher levels of play to be able to counter Quest Druid.
- All Hunter decks are fine and competitive, including Quest Hunter (likely Tier 2-ish). The Vannder/Secret build’s takeover of Big-Beast Hunter has led to the archetype’s improvement in performance.
Warrior & Shaman
- It’s not looking good, my Orc brothers.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Paladin | Priest | Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior
Miracle Rogue is in the process of cutting Astalor and sticking with two Dancers. This is happening because of the rising popularity of Miracle mirrors and an increased focus on Quest Druid. Dancers help you accelerate Draka and Sinstone Graveyard to blow out your opponent early, while Astalor provides late game insurance. That insurance isn’t too necessary since defensive decks that look to counter Miracle Rogue are just not prevalent enough.
Thief Rogue may just want to stick with Ransack since Undead Priest has picked up play again. Correct ETC utilization in Rogue makes the legendary playable, but after collecting more data, it’s still not one of the best 30 cards you can play in either archetype.
Miracle Rogue loses very little in rotation, though Mailbox Dancer is a big reason why Draka has stuck around as a win condition. A combo package could end up slotting into this deck.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Thief Rogue
- Miracle Rogue
- Deathrattle Rogue
Control Priest is increasing its focus on Miracle Rogue at higher levels of play. Shadow Word: Ruin is once again a permanent inclusion, though it’s still at the fringes when it comes to power level. Another card that’s on the fringes is E.T.C. There is no indication it’s a positive contributor, but it’s not a liability either.
Svalna Priest has stopped butchering its win rate through E.T.C utilization. It’s now transitioned into the Psyfiend build, which gives it some finishing potential. It looks pretty good at high MMR, though this is the most difficult deck to pilot in the format. This deck is going to die at rotation since it loses Radiant Elemental but expect Svalna to become an even more prominent card in Control Priest thanks to Love Everlasting.
- Priest Class Radar
- Undead Priest
- Bless Priest
- Control Priest
- Quest Priest
- Svalna Priest
Guff is going out with a bang. There are certainly questions about Druid’s ability to overcome rotation, but Druid was in a similar position last year and did fine. For now, enjoy the late game powerhouse, Quest Druid.
- Druid Class Radar
- Quest Druid
- Ramp Druid
- Aggro Druid
After cutting Construct Quarter, it doesn’t look like Unholy-Aggro Death Knight is done cutting seemingly core cards. The next on the chopping block is Foul Egg. Without the location, the egg doesn’t make as much sense. There are strong indications that letting Egg/Quarter go is a positive move. Peasant is the substitute. If you like your eggs in Unholy Death Knight, you’ll likely be utilizing them permanently once Death Growl is released.
ETC is just not great in Blood-Ctrl Death Knight. No indications that it helps the deck. No band member looks great to us. The best you can do is make the card not an active liability.
Death Knight is losing nothing to rotation, so it’s in a very strong position going into Festival of Legends.
- Death Knight Class Radar
- Frost-Aggro Death Knight
- Unholy-Aggro Death Knight
- Blood-Ctrl Death Knight
The current Big-Spell Mage will be gone in rotation, but another one might appear if DJ Manastorm has something to say about it. Arcane Mage failed to make an impact this expansion, but much like Outcast DH, Mage is getting serious support with the arrival of another important burn card in Lightshow.
- Mage Class Radar
- Frost Mage
- Big-Spell Mage
- Wildfire Mage
Fel Demon Hunter will be bowing out in April with Jace rotating out, but the Relic package will remain a strong foundation for the class. Outcast DH never made it this expansion, but it is getting serious support in the next set. There’s a good chance it becomes a real thing.
- Demon Hunter Class Radar
- Fel Demon Hunter
- Spell Demon Hunter
Pure-Control Paladin started to run Bronze Explorer over Muckborn Servant to good results, while adding Order in the Court as a desperation play for late game matchups it struggles against.
Paladin is getting great core updates and some very powerful cards in Festival of Legends. Watch out for Spotlight to become a Paladin staple. Annoy-o-Troupe is an extremely powerful target to cheat out with Blood Crusader and arguably a better standalone card than Voidlord. Voidlord did have stronger synergies back in Kobolds & Catacombs though.
- Paladin Class Radar
- Pure Paladin
- Pure-Control Paladin
Warlock needs a fresh start. It’s getting it. Festival of Legends could bring the class back to the forefront of the meta if you believe the hype. A harmless deck like Chad Warlock could get very scary after rotation. The class’ late game looks like a powerhouse.
- Warlock Class Radar
- Imp Warlock
- Curse-Imp Warlock
- Phylactery Warlock
- Chad Warlock
Hunter will look very different after rotation. All of its current archetypes are gutted by the loss of cornerstone cards. There is some support for Big-Beast Hunter coming in, but losing Mountain Bear might be too big a blow. We’ll see just how strong a Monkey Hunter can be.
- Hunter Class Radar
- Quest Hunter
- Spitter Hunter
- Big-Beast Hunter
It doesn’t look good for Warrior already and another rough expansion is a serious possibility. Ironically, Control Warrior might finally be receiving strong win conditions at Festival of Legends, but this is happening just when some of its most important survivability tools are rotating out. Menagerie Warrior support is coming in, but it looks incomplete. We will try.
There is nowhere to go but upwards for Shaman. Overload Shaman is the most notable archetype receiving support in the next set, but its ability to close out games is still unclear. More subtle power from the Core set could help a Totem Shaman deck find its footing.
Get ready for our expansion content. The Comprehensive Festival of Legends Preview will arrive in a little over a week, with the theorycrafting article following soon after. What are the best cards in the upcoming set? Which classes are going to be on top? Which decks should you try out on day 1 of Year of the Wolf? Check out this website for the answers. We’re never wrong, whenever we’re right.
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