vS Data Reaper Report #269

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Welcome to the 269th edition of the Data Reaper Report! This is the final report for Festival of Legends.

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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 709,000
Top 1K Legend 35,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k) 69,000
Diamond 4 to 1 120,000
Diamond 10 to 5 148,000
Platinum 129,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 208,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

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Class Frequency

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Class Frequency Discussion (A FOL Summary)

Demon Hunter is arguably the most successful class in Festival of Legends. The class has had multiple viable archetypes that felt different from each other. The introduction of Outcast DH was a major success story. It went through multiple nerfs and several iterations before settling on the most recent, board-centric build. It looks to finish the expansion strong, growing in popularity amongst high level players and looking like a top performer. Relic DH is soon to be a year-old archetype that has captured the hearts of many Hearthstone players, proving to have a long shelf life in terms of interest. Big DH has finally become a competitive deck in Festival, after years of failure. Spell DH has been the deck that caused the most problems during this expansion, with Sinful Brand and Lady S’theno eventually getting the boot. The deck looked to re-emerge again in new form, but a bug to Fel’dorei Warband has prevented it from seeing more play recently.

Hollow Hound is one of the most transformational cards in Hunter’s history, sparking the emergence of an extremely versatile and multi-faceted deck that has proven its ability to contest opponents both in the early- and the late- game. This deck has become widely popular throughout ladder, breaking away at higher levels of play after the Chad Druid nerf. If the next set is any indication, Hollow Hound might even become a stronger win condition for the class.

The start of Festival for Warrior was rough, with the class largely disregarded by the player base early on. However, sensible buffs to the Riff package and some new cards have propelled Enrage Warrior into serious contender status. It is now one of the best decks in the game, and although it did not seem to attract a large following at lower rank brackets, high level players were happy to relive the days of Enrage Warrior in Ashes of Outland.

Bit by bit, Control Priest saw nerfs to lethality across the board over the last few months, making it slowly grow in power over time until it became the best deck at top legend for a short period before a timely patch. The Chad Druid nerf prevented the archetype from taking over, kept in check by Demon Hunter and Hunter. But Control Priest is an archetype that is highly respected, or feared, by much of the player base. Undead Priest has stagnated over time, becoming a fringe choice only for the diehard Benedictus fans.

Death Knight has persisted as the most popular class on ladder through the entire Festival timeline, though it was often surpassed at higher levels of play by stronger classes. Blood-Ctrl DK was consistently popular despite not delivering the best results, while Frost and Unholy had an internal battle for a long time to determine the superior aggressive DK deck. Though seemingly forever popular, we do sense a small dent in Death Knight’s play rate across ladder, perhaps indicating that the player base could be ready to consider it a class amongst the other classes soon, rather than the hottest new thing to play with.

Rogue had major struggles finding a new identity in recent months. Its Festival set completely bombed, leaving Miracle as the only competitive choice, a deck that was exclusively played at high MMR. It was only after the most recent patch that Secret Rogue emerged in greater numbers, spiking over the last week and overtaking Miracle Rogue, due to its strengths against both Warrior and Priest.

Mage had a strange time at the Festival of Legends. Spooky Mage was consistently its most popular deck, but never looked any good. Burn Mage was the strongest Mage archetype but was a bit mediocre and players were not taken in by its playstyle. The addition of Costumed Singer has eventually led to Secret Mage adopting the Spooky package and becoming the premier aggressive Mage deck. But lately, there have been Naga Mage rumblings at higher levels of play, with ZachO making big claims about the deck in our most recent Podcast episode. Since then, the deck’s play rate has significantly risen at top legend.

Pure Paladin has been a favorite choice for many players on ladder, but while its iteration in the first half of Festival was strong, it was Horn of the Windlord that propelled it to become an overpowered monster. The off-board burst damage served as the perfect foil to its strong board control tools, until the deck was hit with multiple nerfs to stop its dominance. Even after getting severely hit, Pure Paladin continued to be a popular choice throughout ladder. Even at top legend, players trusted the deck to beat the notorious pairing of Control Priest and Chad Druid. With this duo broken, Pure Paladin has finally calmed down.

Druid has gone through a chaotic period. Zok Druid’s emergence at the launch of Festival was very influential, as the deck’s late game was extremely dominant, true to Ramp Druid decks of the past. Its polarizing matchup spread and play experience have annoyed the player base enough, with Team 5 opting to “lightly” touch Anub’Rekhan, the cornerstone card of the deck that enabled its late game swing. Unfortunately for Zok Druid, this light nerf was enough to delete the deck’s competitive functionality, but the class was not done. A buff to Death Blossom Whomper, intended to diversify options in the class, has led to the emergence of Chad Druid. Chad Druid has arguably proven to be a greater play experience outlier, blowing out opponents as early as turn 5. The player base has collectively cried out again, pushing Team 5 to revert the buff and send the deck, and the class, back to oblivion. After causing mayhem twice, Druid is now in purgatory, waiting to make its next move with Eonar by its side.

Shaman’s Festival of Legends set flopped, so it ended up relying on Totem Shaman as its sole competitive representative. While the deck has proven to be very competitive, it was never the best choice and didn’t really capture the player base. Towards the end of Festival, Evolve Shaman has appeared, offering a different spin to Shaman’s plan of seizing board control. It had a few good weeks, but never truly took off. Shaman’s thirst for late game prowess seems critical to make it a more compelling choice.

Warlock was a failure throughout Festival, never really becoming a meta contender. An outdated Imp Warlock did not hold much interest. Chad Warlock lacked both the survivability tools and the late game power to compete in the format, even after a buff to Symphony of Sins. Indeed, Festival was a forgettable time for Gul’dan. He will now look to seize power at TITANS and return to previous glories.

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vS Meta Score

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vS Power Rankings Discussion

The format is largely settling down. As the field becomes more curated, refined, and competitive, we’re seeing most decks decline in their win rates, including some of the top performers. The major exception is Control Priest, which is trying to hit a 50% win rate at top legend following a rise in Enrage Warrior.

Hound Hunter is the deck to beat outside of legend, while Enrage Warrior and Outcast DH surpass it at higher levels of play. The meta is relatively balanced, with most classes having at least one competitive deck. You can have success with different classes as well as different playstyles.

Under the seemingly calm field, a crazy story is being written in Hearthstone history. After slowly gaining a small population of dedicated players, Naga Mage’s win rate began to rise. It’s a common phenomenon for skill intensive decks in the past, so there was an expectation from Naga Mage to improve its performance over time, as players learn to play it better. However, this improvement in performance even caught us off guard. Its trajectory was so steep that Naga Mage was trending to become the best deck at top legend!

Armed with this information, ZachO proceeded to tell the world: Naga Mage is the most skill intensive deck he’s seen since Garrote Rogue and potentially the best deck in the game. After this podcast, Naga Mage’s play rate rose, and a new population of players began to pilot the deck. They… have done poorly. Since Naga Mage requires an abnormally long time to learn, the deck’s aggregated win rate quickly tanked, it returned to a Tier 3 placement and might even fall off further.

Of course, based on this observation, it’s expected that Naga Mage should once again recover in its win rate once these more recent pilots go through the full learning experience (or give up). But this deck is so difficult to play that we might never see a mature Naga Mage population this expansion. It’s probably too late for that. Naga Mage is possibly the best deck in the game at higher levels of play. We think it is, but we can’t show it black on white.

And so, the Festival of Legends chapter will soon come to its close. We’ll be off on our expansion content break. A podcast episode, a comprehensive preview and a theorycrafting article are on the menu once the entire TITANS set is revealed. Oh, and there’s a new meta breaking Naga Mage build that you should know of. That’s the only update we have for this week’s decklists. But seriously, don’t play it unless you know what you’re doing.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Data Reaper Report - Mage

Optimization of Naga Mage, one of the most unique and skill intensive decks we’ve ever seen, continues. DeadDraw hit #1 legend with a Rainbow Glowscale build that looks to more consistently OTK opponents. By utilizing Reverberations on Spitelash Siren, the Mage can have  liberating amount of mana to spend in a single turn, making it easier to burst the opponent down with infused copies of Frozen Touch. This build looks significantly better than the one we featured last week, but this is still a terrible deck unless you’re highly proficient with it. Even if you’re playing at top legend, you’ll likely take a significant time to learn the deck. We recommend checking out streamers.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Looking for a strong legend climb? Play Hound Hunter. It’s the most well-rounded deck in the format. Looking for the best performing decks at higher levels of play? Enrage Warrior and Outcast DH will serve you well.

Looking for a way to rapidly lose ranks while developing a migraine? Naga. Spell. Naga. Spell. Naga. Spell.

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