vS Data Reaper Report #266

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Welcome to the 266th 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 730,000
Top 1K Legend 29,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k) 113,000
Diamond 4 to 1 132,000
Diamond 10 to 5 156,000
Platinum 130,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 170,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

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Class Frequency

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Class Frequency Discussion

The nerf to Lady S’theno has been influential in shaping the Demon Hunter class going forward. Spell DH has almost entirely disappeared. Relic DH has once again become the class’ primary option, with the last remnants of S’theno builds gone. Big DH sees little play throughout ladder. Outcast DH is non-existent outside of top legend, where it is quite noticeable. The archetype is finally moving on from S’theno, too.

Druid has gone through an interesting couple of weeks. Chad Druid, a Big Druid deck that runs an undead package resembling Warlock, initially looked like an inferior option compared to the established Masked Reveler build. This changed once Fanboy was introduced to the deck, causing the variant to take over the class. With the balance changes hitting its primary counter in Pure Paladin, Chad Druid began to take off as a serious meta contender, becoming the most popular deck at legend.

Death Knight has declined to some degree but remains the most popular class in the game outside of top legend, where play rates are extremely balanced between classes. The popularity of Blood-Ctrl DK is unshakeable. Frost-Aggro and Unholy-Aggro exhibit smaller, similar play rates.

Control Priest is getting a lot of hype again. The deck has risen at all levels of play after the patch, with an expectation of a friendlier field after the Paladin nerfs. Undead Priest sees little play.

Hunter has not been discouraged by the nerfs to Hope of Quel’thalas and Pozzik. The Paladin nerfs have had a greater impact, pushing Hound Hunter to see more play with its biggest counter nerfed. It is a popular choice for the climb to legend. Some experimentation with Arcane Hunter can also be observed.

Spooky Mage is another favorite that hasn’t produced great results on a big scale, but it’s quite visible throughout ladder. Burn Mage sees little play. Secret Mage is beginning to show up.

Enrage Warrior was the strongest deck in the format that wasn’t nerfed, so it was tipped for success after the patch. It’s not too popular though, only showing up in greater numbers at top legend. This is Ashes of Outland Enrage behavior.

Multiple nerfs to Pure Paladin have understandably hit the deck’s play rate in a significant way. The deck remains quite popular though and shows no signs of going away. Even players at top legend continue to have faith in it. This is what off-board burst damage does to a deck.

Shaman is finally branching out. Alongside the modestly popular Totem Shaman, Evolve Shaman has returned to establish a competitive alternative in the class. This has contributed to Shaman seeing more play overall.

Rogue continues to look lost and irrelevant outside of top legend, where both Miracle and Secret Rogue have carved out a presence.

Warlock looks to be in genuine trouble, with the class disappearing from play at top legend, which is usually an indicator of a class that’s struggling for power and/or interest. There have been new experimentations with Curse Warlock running a Chad package, which seems to rival the standard Chad Warlock. Imp Warlock is not around much.

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vS Meta Score

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vS Power Rankings Discussion

The post-patch meta looks very encouraging, with a field that seems quite balanced. This means that enjoyment of the format is entirely dependent on whether you find the strategies that participate in it to be compelling. There seems to be something for everyone, so hopefully you can find your favorite deck.

Demon Hunter

  • The nerf to Lady S’theno seems to have deleted Spell DH from the format, with iterations running Crazed Alchemist looking nowhere near as competitive. However, the S’theno nerf has benefitted other Demon Hunter decks, for two main reasons:
    1. Spell DH was a counter to other DH decks, so its deletion has led to a more favorable field to a deck like Relic DH.
    2. S’theno was a trap card in other DH decks. Forcing players to cut it has led to an improvement in these decks’ performances in multiple key matchups.
  • Relic DH is the most obvious and immediate benefactor of both the Paladin nerfs and the S’theno nerf. The current format is much slower, with decks such as Control Priest, Blood-Ctrl DK and Spooky Mage seeing a lot of play. These decks get dominated by Relic DH.
  • In the case of Spooky Mage and Blood-Ctrl DK, their inflated popularity is strongly driven by player preference despite their performance, which boosts Relic DH’s performance. Relic DH is currently the best performing deck at top legend, but it is not a big balancing concern. Should it rise in play, it has clear and obvious counters, most notably the underplayed Enrage Warrior and the newcomer Chad Druid.
  • Outcast DH is being slept on, big time. This deck doesn’t see enough play to confidently place in the Power Rankings, but we estimate it is the #1 performer at top legend! The S’theno package was finally forced to be cut from the deck through a nerf, leading players to find stronger alternatives. We suspect that the deck’s high barrier of entry means it is unlikely to be a popular force outside of the highest MMR bracket.
  • Big DH is quietly doing well. It provides a viable alternative to Relic DH if Enrage Warrior spikes in play. That matchup is more bearable.


  • Chad Druid’s matchup spread looks quite dominant. It is surprisingly effective against some of the faster decks such as Hound Hunter and Enrage Warrior, while also giving Relic DH a lot of trouble. Pure Paladin and Control Priest are the two most notable counters that prevent it from spinning out of control, but there are other options such as Undead Priest, Totem Shaman, and Secret Rogue. Since its popularity at top legend is relatively higher, players have targeted the deck more aggressively there. It’s likely the reason Pure Paladin is still a common choice at high MMR. Players at higher levels are also better at anticipating its plays, as Chad Druid exhibits a below average skill trajectory with a very telegraphed game plan.

Death Knight

  • Blood-Ctrl DK’s performance behaves similarly to what we’re used to from the deck in the past. It performs decently well on the climb to legend. At legend, it starts to drop off as it runs into a more hostile environment with Relic DH, Enrage Warrior, Chad Druid and Control Priest all rising in play. At top legend, it becomes a difficult deck to justify playing. Strong player preference is a key factor that keeps it so visible.
  • Frost-Aggro DK is a decent enough deck throughout ladder. The nerf to Pure Paladin has been a big help to the deck, as this matchup has become favorable again.
  • Unholy-Aggro DK has the greatest potential of all Death Knight decks, as it is the least refined, with sub-par egg builds remaining quite popular. An optimized Unholy-Aggro DK is a Tier 1 deck throughout ladder, including top legend. Build it well and most of its notable counters, such as Control Priest, Enrage Warrior, and Frost-Aggro DK, will find this matchup to be more difficult than it currently looks on paper.


  • Control Priest looks alarmingly strong at top legend. Relic DH is the major factor stopping us from revisiting Forged in the Barrens. This one oppressive matchup currently keeps Control Priest from a Tier 1 spot. Pure Paladin maintains a good matchup against Priest, but it’s not as dominant as it used to be. Other counters do exist and are being developed, such as Secret Rogue. We also believe the inflated popularity of Spooky Mage is partially caused by the desperation to counter Priest.
  • This is something to keep an eye out for, as the last balance patch during Festival of Legends is a few weeks away. There will likely be calls to nerf Relic DH. We suggest some restraint. This is a healthy spot for Control Priest to be. There is no need to make it unbearably strong. Be careful what you wish for.
  • Undead Priest is a sleeper deck in the format, considering how strong it performs throughout ladder despite its very low play rate. Its matchup spread looks incredible. We’re aware of its low skill ceiling, which means it’s not as amazing at top legend, but this is one of the best choices for a late climb to legend at this stage of the month.


  • Hound Hunter has emerged to become the #1 choice for those who have not yet hit legend this month. The Paladin nerfs did more to help this deck than its own nerfs hurt it. The Paladin matchup has become close, which means Hunter’s matchup spread looks very strong. Its main counters at this stage are Enrage Warrior and Chad Druid, which only become more popular at legend. We also think a refined Unholy-Aggro DK beats it. Otherwise, Hunter has a free run.
  • We’ve never seen Arcane Hunter look stronger since its inception in March of the Lich King. Don’t expect a meta breaker to emerge here, but the deck can finally function at a competitive enough level. Perhaps there’s some room for further refinement that could lift it a little more. If you love this deck and always tried to make it work, it might be your time.


  • Spooky Mage is simply awful. There is no way around it. The only way this deck can be successful is if you happen to run into an endless stream of Control Priests. It has far too many oppressive matchups to be a consistently good choice. But if you’re desperate to counter Control Priest, you’re better off running Relic DH, which happens to destroy Spooky Mage too. Very hard to justify.
  • Burn Mage just isn’t great right now. It preferred the Paladin meta over facing Enrage Warrior and Hound Hunter. There’s one clear way to improve the deck, but it’s probably not enough to make it genuinely strong against the field.
  • Secret Mage is still going through its refinement, as it’s a new deck. It might be able to crack a 50% win rate. Hard to tell at this stage, but it has potential to stick around.


  • Enrage Warrior is one of the best decks in the game throughout ladder. What’s striking is that it counters the best deck on the climb to legend in Hound Hunter, while also countering the best deck at top legend, which is Relic DH. This bodes well for its future in a developing meta. Expect Enrage Warrior to continue to be one of the best performing decks at every rank bracket.
  • Considering its performance level, Enrage seems underrated and underplayed. It does have some good answers in the event it blows up, but it’s interesting that its play rate is so low outside of top legend. It’s not the easiest deck to play, but it’s also not as complex as Outcast DH or Miracle Rogue, so picking it up is not too daunting. Some of its more popular counters tend to be unpleasant experiences (Chad Druid/Control Priest), which we know can have a discouraging effect on a deck’s play rate, but these matchups are not as bad as they’re often implied to be.
  • Menagerie Warrior is not looking great. Too many decks in the format either grind it out, or punish it in the early game if it attempts to greed up to perform better in slower matchups. Control Warrior looks unplayable.


  • Pure Paladin still looks good despite eating a lot of nerfs. The balance changes did a good job of toning the deck down to the point its matchup spread no longer looks stupid. The deck seems much fairer, more matchup-dependent, finding an important role in beating down Control Priest and Chad Druid. Both Frost-Aggro and Unholy-Aggro DK seem capable of beating Paladin consistently now. Matchups against Hound Hunter and Enrage Warrior have also drastically changed.


  • Evolve Shaman looks very competitive. The archetype may have a dark history, but its current iteration doesn’t have the early game blow out potential that choked formats in the past. Both Totem and Evolve Shaman have similar matchup spreads and overall performances. Evolve Shaman may have more room for growth, as it’s a newer deck.


  • Miracle Rogue is a good top legend deck because of its strong matchup against Enrage Warrior, but its horrendous matchup into Control Priest is what likely keeps its play rate low. This is the most difficult deck to play in the game, so many of its matchups drastically improve at high MMR.
  • Secret Rogue is a developing archetype that hasn’t hit its peak form yet, so we expect it to improve. On top of being quite effective against Enrage Warrior, it seems to target the Chad Druid/Control Priest duo with its strong disruption tools. However, these disruption tools don’t seem to do enough against Relic DH, which is a tough matchup. Secret Rogue also performs worse in many of the faster matchups compared to Miracle Rogue, making it an inferior deck overall.


  • Warlock looks like the only real garbage class in the format. Curse Warlock is bad, to the surprise of no one. Malfurion has proven to be a bigger Chad than Gul’dan. It’s a sad time to life tap.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Relic Demon Hunter is currently enjoying a very favorable format. Our current recommendation is to run both Okani and Mel’tranix, while dropping Pozzik. Pozzik has gotten weaker after the nerf, while Mel’tranix can be crucial in several control matchups. It can help you lock out your opponent alongside a late-game Relic of Phantasms, especially when discounted by Relic of Dimensions. Okani serves a similar disruptive role.

Overall, the nerf to S’theno has only helped Relic DH, since its S’theno builds have been the worst performers within the archetype. Contrary to common perception, the S’theno builds were worse against Control Priest, so with players solely running builds with more standalone threats and disruption, the matchup has become even more dominant, on average.

Outcast Demon Hunter has also benefitted from the S’theno nerf. For weeks, we’ve suspected that S’theno formed a trap package in the deck, but we could never evaluate alternatives since they weren’t tested at a large enough sample. Finally, players were forced to cut the card and look elsewhere, leading to great results. Both Predation and Dispose of Evidence make no sense after cutting S’theno, with several cards being tested to fill the open slots.

Outcast DH doesn’t see too much play, so we’d like to see more data on the archetype in general. It appears that two cards display very strong preliminary results: Shambling Chow and Murlocula. Shambling Chow is strong with Rancher, Rush the Stage and Halveria. Murlocula is very easy to infuse in this deck, allowing you to clear out your hand and dump more stats onto the board.

There are no changes to Big Demon Hunter, as the deck was never too eager to run S’theno. Spell Demon Hunter looks terrible after the nerf. No, Crazed Alchemist does not circumvent the S’theno nerf.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Chad Druid has become a very influential deck in the format. There’s been a dramatic change in the performance of Doomkin after the patch. The card now looks far more playable since the format has slowed down, making its battlecry much more impactful. It’s generally a terrible card against Pure Paladin.

It comes down to whether Doomkin is better than Chitinous Plating. Plating is better in matchups that pressure your life total. Doomkin is better if you’re not under a lot of pressure. Most players split these cards 1 for 1, but if you understand the field at your rank, you can do better by committing to one of them.

One thing is certain, Fanboy should be a core card in the deck. You always run two copies.

Death Knight decks haven’t seen dramatic changes after the patch. Blood-Ctrl Death Knight’s build looks as solid as it can be. Dirty Rat is one of the most overrated cards in the game’s history. Hardcore Cultist isn’t as good in Frost-Aggro Death Knight post-patch because of Paladin’s decline, but it’s still a little better than Rowdy Fan.

Unholy-Aggro Death Knight should continue to stay away from Yodeler builds. They’re not terrible, since the archetype is strong enough to carry them through, but you’ll do significantly better (2-3%) running a more standard, egg-less build.

The only question about Unholy is which minion should replace Plague Strike after the addition of Magatha. Murlocula might be better than Bone Flinger.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Control Priest should concern itself with the Relic DH matchup. While Demolition Renovator is a low hanging fruit, the card is obviously narrow in its application. It’s a possibility should Relic DH blow up, but it doesn’t help you in many other matchups.

A card that’s being underplayed currently is Shadow Word: Ruin. The removal spell is massive against Relic DH, since the matchup can be decided by whether you found an answer to their scaling Relic of Phantasms. Current Relic DH attack you through the board, so having more removal options can be crucial. The card is also very good against Chad Druid, so it makes more sense than Renovator.

Dirty Rat is perceived to be good against Demon Hunter, but it doesn’t do much against Relic DH. That deck is very Rat-resistant. As we’ve said earlier, Rat is just extremely overrated and creates a false sense of player agency. It’s great against Spooky Mage. That’s about it.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Hound Hunter has produced some surprising results this week. Before the patch, we recommended cutting one Faithful Companion for Theron. The 2nd Companion was often weak, while Theron works very well with Hollow Hound.

Theron is indeed a good card in the deck, but it also makes Faith Companion better, to the point the 2nd Companion is worth running. This sounds greedy, but since the format has slowed down after the Paladin nerf, you’re going to appreciate the extra greed against the grindy decks that try to remove everything you play.

The way to make space for the 2nd Companion seems quite difficult. Pozzik and Hope of Quel’thalas still look like crucial pieces after the nerfs. We’ve opted to cut one Vicious Slitherspear. It’s good with bananas, but not great without them.

Another option is to add a small secret package to the deck (Costumed Singer, Hidden Meaning), while cutting Halduron and Conjured Arrow. We’re not sure it’s better, but it looks okay.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Spooky Mage is a terrible deck, but players sure love running it. Most post-patch builds run Renathal. We’re not sure that’s correct, but 30-card builds don’t see enough play to properly compare. The buffed Remixed Dispense-o-bot looks strong. Reverberation is passable.

Burn Mage should be running Star Power. Based on games from players who took our advice and tried the card, it’s likely core to the deck. The tricky part is to keep Infinitize the Maxitude, since it’s very important against the resurging post-patch Control Priest, so we opted to cut one Arcane Bolt.

Secret Mage could also be competitive. It’s currently trying different approaches. The Cosmic Keyboard/Spooky approach seems to work best, rather than going all-in on the secret package. Frozen Touch/Skeletons is just a very good win condition for a faster Mage deck.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Enrage Warrior wants more off-board burst in the current format. Crazed Wretch offers a cheap way to soak Anima Extractor buffs and turn them into charge damage. The decline of Paladin makes Frightened Flunky less important.

Menagerie Warrior is incentivized to flood the board early rather than assemble pieces to set up its late game, so a Rancher build works best now. The matchups against Blood-Ctrl DK and Control Priest are tough though.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Despite the nerf to Feast and Famine, the Horn build of Pure Paladin is the best performer within the archetype. Order in the Court is the better 30th card compared to Kotori Lightblade.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

The decline in Paladin has reversed a lot of developments in Totem Shaman. The deck wants to maximize card draw again to be able to sustain pressure against the defensive late game strategies of the format, so we ended up with the same build from before the mini-set. Backstage Bouncer is surprisingly weak in Totem Shaman after the patch.

Evolve Shaman has reappeared and looks very competitive. Initial iterations of the deck didn’t look great, but things changed once Horn of the Windlord was introduced. The card is an exceptional performer in the deck. We can’t see past running two copies of this weapon. We’d make way by cutting one Blazing Transmutation, which isn’t that good against slower decks. Pack the House is another card that doesn’t seem great, but it’s very good against Control Priest, so we left it in.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

No changes in Miracle Rogue. Cult Neophyte is not a very good tech card in the current format, so we’d stick with Fan of Knives.

Secret Rogue looks potentially competitive in a slower format, where its disruption tools can have a bigger impact. Blingtron turns Astalor into a dangerous finisher in slow and grindy matchups, so it looks like the best fit in the current format.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Warlock is the only class that looks to be in truly bad shape. Some players have tried Curse Warlock again. An iteration that runs the Chad package looks like an okay alternative to non-Curse Chad Warlock, but both archetypes look weak. Imp Warlock barely sees play.

Hound Hunter has leaped ahead of Pure Paladin to become the best deck on the climb to legend. It has shrugged off the nerfs to Pozzik and Hope of Quel’thalas, continuing to utilize these cards very successfully, while taking advantage of a format that is slow to pick up Enrage Warrior.

Outcast DH is a big sleeper at higher levels of play. It’s quite interesting to see a deck perform so well despite not coming close to figuring out its optimized build, but the important part was cutting S’theno/Predation and trying new options that synergize better with its board-based plan. We will likely have more on this deck next week, as it is expected to rise in play.

The current meta looks balanced and open for more developments. A new expansion is likely over a month away, so there’s plenty of time to play some solid Standard Hearthstone until then.

And if you need to spice things up in the meantime, Twist format is coming soon.

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