vS Data Reaper Report #271

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Welcome to the 271st 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 1,435,000
Top 1K Legend 49,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k) 146,000
Diamond 4 to 1 251,000
Diamond 10 to 5 313,000
Platinum 284,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 392,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

The Hunter takeover is in progress. The class has risen in play throughout ladder, backed by its two highly successful strategies in Hound and Secret Hunter. Hound Hunter was the best-performing deck before the patch and saw its biggest competition nerfed. Secret Hunter has significantly advanced in its refinement through the incorporation of the Arcane package. Hound tends to be more popular, but Secret is still a very influential player in the meta.

The Solid Alibi nerf has reduced Rainbow Mage’s play rate to some degree, but the archetype remains quite popular throughout ladder. Builds are mostly split between Star Power and Solid Alibi, with Alibi becoming a consensus pick at top legend, likely due to the popularity of Nature Shaman. Another bit of interesting development is the re-emergence of Naga Mage at top legend. The deck seems to be popping up there once again.

Nature Shaman has gone through a lot of cleaning up over the last week, leaving the archetype with two main variants: The common Standard build and the more maverick Prescience build. Totem Shaman exhibits a low play rate, typical of decks with few or no new cards.

The Lab Constructor nerf has hit Mech Rogue’s play rate quite hard, but the archetype seems to be recovering and maintaining visibility. Recent builds have dropped Lab Constructor for alternative card choices such as Scourge Illusionist. Other Rogue decks such as Miracle and Secret Rogue see little play.

For the first time since the early March of the Lich King days, Death Knight is not the most popular class in the format across all ranks, falling below Hunter. Blood-Ctrl and Plague are its two prominent archetypes, but neither impressed last week. Our suspicion is that the class’ play rate is still inflated relative to its performance due to the attractiveness of these strategies. Frost and Unholy don’t seem to share this trait.

Demon Hunter is relatively quiet on the outside. On the inside, Relic DH is a messy archetype with many different card choices and packages. Outcast DH is a cleaner deck, running the familiar build from Festival of Legends, but it doesn’t see much play.

Warlock seems to be encouraged by the balance changes, with two of its strongest counters nerfed, and Chad Warlock known to handle Hound Hunter quite well. Curse is the second most popular deck in the class. However, Warlock’s play rate remains relatively low at top legend, likely discouraged by the higher presence of Mage and Shaman.

Drum Druid has emerged and is in the process of taking over the class as its premier archetype, running the list we’ve highlighted in last week’s report. However, its rise in play is relatively slow, with players possibly hesitant to trust the class that performed so poorly during the first week of TITANS. The deck is more popular the higher you climb ladder.

The decline in Priest is quite noticeable, especially at top legend, which is usually where Control Priest sees the most play. Faith in the archetype seems to be lost in the face of such a high lethality format. Hunter, Mage, and Shaman form a triumvirate of difficult matchups that are hard to overcome.

Pure Paladin is beginning to attract more interest, rising in play throughout ladder thanks to its Dude variant gaining traction. This variant is known to do well against Hunter, so it’s being picked up as a weapon to fight off the dominant presence in the format. Mech Paladin is falling off as the less desirable option.

Warrior is sinking to the bottom. Enrage Warrior is picking up a little bit of interest, but its play rate remains low throughout ladder. Control Warrior is slowly dying out after failing to make an impact.

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion


  • Hunter is just busted, with Hound and Secret Hunter representing the #1 and #2 top-performing decks throughout ladder. What’s striking is that these decks don’t carry a lot of overlap. The class is just loaded with strong cards. It’s very likely that Costumed Singer will get hit in the next patch, considering it’s a top performer in both decks.
  • Though Hound Hunter does seem incredibly strong, it also benefits from the player base’s deck choice preferences. Counters do exist for Hound Hunter, but most of them tend to be underplayed. Pure Paladin, Mech Rogue, Drum Druid, and Chad Warlock appear in the data as great counters. Enrage Warrior and Outcast DH are other counters that see very little play. The message is that you need overwhelming blowout capabilities to overcome Hound Hunter consistently. Beating Hunter through incremental advantages is very difficult.
  • Secret Hunter might appear second best, but this deck scares us more. Its trajectory of improvement through refinement is steep, thanks to continuing work on the Arcane build. Unlike Hound Hunter, it is extremely difficult to counter. Besides an unfavorable matchup against Hound Hunter, there aren’t any notable answers. A nerf to Hunter that impacts both archetypes equally might not hurt Secret Hunter too much.


  • Rainbow Mage seems to have fallen to a healthy place in terms of power level, hovering under the 50%-win rate mark throughout ladder. This is the kind of deck that’s going to be perpetually popular due to its attractive playstyle, so it doesn’t need to be too strong. The rise of Hunter and the decline of Mech Rogue/Control Priest have led to a more hostile format for Mage. Speaker Stomper has risen in play, which also had an impact. Of course, the Solid Alibi nerf did its part too.
  • Naga Mage is showing the potential to be very competitive at higher levels of play, even superior to Rainbow Mage, while running a Spell School package. Its current performance is of a Tier 2 deck. It’s hard to predict where the archetype goes from here, considering how skill intensive it is. It might continue to improve its performance over time and hit Tier 1. Alternatively, it could attract more players, leading to a fall in the level of pilots and a decrease in its win rate. Watch out for this one.


  • Nature Shaman’s momentum has been stopped by the rise of Hunter, something we did anticipate, but Shaman’s refinement is producing another alarming matchup spread that could explode in the event of Hunter nerfs. Beyond the difficult Hunter matchups, there’s very little that can stop Shaman. Rainbow Mage’s advantage has been tightened by the nerf to Solid Alibi. Then, you’re looking at the fringe Miracle and Secret Rogue that carry a small advantage. Considering Shaman’s ability to OTK opponents very early in the game, making it a play experience hazard, we would expect a nudge to Shaman to accompany any adjustments in Hunter.
  • Totem Shaman continues to look quite solid throughout ladder. The deck is likely to decline during the second week of a patch since it doesn’t have room for improvement through refinement, but a patch seems to occur every other week, leaving it with an unrefined format to take advantage of.


  • Mech Rogue seems to be successfully brushing off the nerf to Lab Constructor. The deck’s matchup spread has become weaker in a vacuum, but meta trends are favoring it. The rise in Hunter and Druid, paired with a decline in Mage and Priest, would explain why the archetype has managed to stay a Tier 1 performer. We did notice that it’s not as dominant at lower rank brackets as it used to be, a product of a less janky format and the loss of some of its early blowout potential through Lab Constructor. There’s a chance this deck will get hit with another nerf in the future due to how dominant and punishing it is against certain strategies.
  • Miracle and Secret Rogue don’t look too hot, despite a decent Shaman matchup. They just don’t beat many of the good decks.

Death Knight

  • You could make a sound case for Death Knight being one of the worst classes in the game. True to lore, the class is a bit of a zombie, walking around with a high play rate despite looking competitively dead. Plague DK is not a real deck. Blood-Ctrl DK is underwhelming once you step out of Platinum, but it’s the best the class has to offer.

Demon Hunter

  • The underwhelming performance of Relic DH is a bit deceptive. We have a case of a popular yet terrible build that drags down the archetype’s performance. This build runs Ignis alongside Mechagnome Guides on top of Fizzle/Jotun, performing at the level of Odyn Warrior. Normally, poorly performing variants disappear over time, but this case of Hearthstone terrorism refuses to go away. Delete that thing, please. An optimized Relic DH is a Tier 2 performer, quite comfortably.
  • Outcast DH is being ignored, but the deck is showing signs of being one of the best decks in the game, especially at higher levels of play. It’s strong against both Hunter archetypes, Mech Rogue, Drum Druid, and surprisingly effective against Mage, despite the availability of Inquisitive Creation. Its matchup spread is meta-breaking, but the absence of any new cards seems to make it unattractive.


  • Warlock is generally having a good time, exhibiting a positive win rate throughout ladder. The only exception is at top legend, where the increased presence of Mage and Shaman makes things uncomfortable. Chad Warlock enjoys the high presence of Hound Hunter. Curse Warlock is less successful due to the decline of attrition decks.
  • However, these happy days could be short-lived. Chad Warlock’s matchup spread is not of a well-rounded deck, but of a deck that’s being carried by one specific matchup. A nerf to Hound Hunter is likely to lead to a more hostile environment for the class. Under the surface, the class is on the brink of being pushed out again.


  • As discussed last week, a refined Drum Druid is a very strong deck. This finally shows up in the aggregated data this week. Drum Druid’s matchup spread is quite polarizing, but strong matchups into Rainbow Mage and Hound Hunter are major factors contributing to its success. It is a Tier 1 performer throughout ladder, only slightly dipping at top legend due to the heightened Nature Shaman presence.
  • Aggro Druid is also showing competitive potential, rising in its performance across ladder thanks to productive refinement. The catalyst for its recent success is running a Drum Circle package. That’s probably not too surprising.


  • It’s looking very bad for Control Priest. The matchup spread is just impossible to overcome. The meta has so many kill threats that its grindy game plan just doesn’t work. The most popular classes in the format are Hunter, Mage, and Shaman. All of them give Control Priest a very hard time, to the point the deck seems unplayable at a competitive level.
  • Undead Priest is a solid deck, but once again, it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of exciting new cards, so it doesn’t interest many players.


  • Pure Paladin is another deck that suffers from the absence of new cards, but it performs very well at all levels of play. The deck is a strong counter to Hound Hunter and works decently against Secret Hunter. It destroys Drum Druid as well. The matchups against Mage and Shaman are the tougher ones, which is why its performance slightly dips at legend.
  • Mech Paladin is outclassed by both Mech Rogue and Pure Paladin. There’s no great reason to play it.


  • Control Warrior might be terrible, but Enrage Warrior looks strong based on the low sample we have of the deck. It’s very likely to be a Tier 1 performer. It’s another strong, underplayed counter to Hound Hunter that also gives Nature Shaman a difficult time. Some high-level players have noted its sleeper status, so we’ll see if more players bite.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Data Reaper Report - Hunter

The disruption-leaning Hound Hunter build from last week looks very good. Probably the best deck you can play on ladder currently. Some players opt to run Observer of Myths over Star Power, but Observer isn’t great. Cutting Star Power makes you much worse against Mech Rogue, which seems like an unnecessary move in the current meta. Cutting Stomper for Observer makes more sense if you’re not encountering a lot of Shamans.

Secret Hunter looks incredibly strong thanks to the Arcane build. We’ve had a chance to look at Hydralodon this week, and we’re surprised to learn that it’s not that great in this deck. This is the first time the colossal is not a slam dunk card in a Hunter deck. It’s good enough to be the 30th card in the build, but there are other cards seeing experimentation that interest us more.

Ancient Krakenbane has started to appear, usually replacing Arcane Quiver (which is an underwhelming card). Krakenbane provides us with more off-board damage to complement Starstrung Bow. Another card that’s beginning to show up is Awakening Tremors, which adds more pressure on the opponent’s life total. Cutting Urchin Spines may seem unintuitive, considering its strength against Druid, but the matchup isn’t that popular. Tremors also happens to be a good card against Druid.

There’s some experimentation with the secret package too. Cat Trick is a viable alternative to Bait and Switch and makes more sense in a Krakenbane build. Some builds are trying to run four secrets, but we like the increased chance of finding Hidden Meaning from a turn 1 Singer. Hidden Meaning is still stronger than any other secret.

The featured build comes from Feno, but we’ve kept Astalor over Prison of Yogg due to its strength against Mage. Currently, we’re not convinced Prison is a good card in the deck. It’s quite bad against Hunter, Mage, and Shaman. A change in the meta could alter its performance, such as a rise in Druid and Priest.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Our suspicions from last week have proven to be relevant. Star Power tends to be better in Rainbow Mage outside of legend ranks, where Shaman and Druid aren’t popular, but Solid Alibi becomes the better card when these matchups spike at top legend.

The decline of the mirror matchup has led to Norgannon becoming a better card in the deck. Much like Solid Alibi, it’s very powerful in the Druid and Shaman matchups. The decline of Control Priest and Death Knight has also slightly tempered the strength of Lady Naz’jar.

However, we cannot say Norgannon is superior to Lady Naj’zar at top legend. Even though these matchups become more popular, the mirror matchup also becomes more popular. Drawing Norgannon in the mirror is worse than drawing Renathal. This weighs down the TITAN significantly in our metrics. It can be a very polarizing card, while Naz’jar is a more stable performer. You can opt to run both by cutting Solid Alibi or Star Power.

Naga Mage is returning to the format and looks quite promising at higher levels of play. The Spell School package looks like a great fit for the deck. Sif provides it with massive burst damage potential, while Inquisitive Creation offers a board swing. The featured build is the most common list. Interestingly, the deck does not run Reverberation. We have no way to optimize this deck through data at this stage. Samples are too low.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Unexpectedly, we’re very happy with both variants of Nature Shaman and haven’t found a reason to tweak them further. We’ve also received a lot of data on them, allowing us to evaluate the differences in their matchup spreads and provide an answer on which variant is better at which rank.

The Prescience build is better against Death Knights, Hunters, Rogues, and Priests. It seems to shine in slow matchups against attrition decks as it’s smoother in executing its OTK if not being pressured. It’s more resistant to Speaker Stomper, and it might be easier to pilot too. It tends to be the best variant to run outside of legend.

The Standard build is better against Druids, Shamans, and Warlocks. The list tends to be less consistent in executing its OTK but more explosive when it goes off, giving it an advantage in the mirror and in matchups where the opponent tends to execute big swings of its own. Once again, we meet the Druid and Shaman pairing more often at top legend, so it might be a little better than the Prescience build there, but it’s generally very close.

Evolve Shaman is starting to pop up a little bit and looks like a viable option if you enjoy the archetype. The Horn/Overload package looks promising.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Mech Rogue has found a solution to the Lab Constructor nerf, with a build from Glory that replaces the card with an Illusionist/Mothership package. Illusionist previously saw experimentation with Containment Unit, but the 7-drop makes less sense if we’re not running Lab Constructor.

This build keeps Mech Rogue in a powerful position in the format thanks to the rise of Druid and Hunter, though the deck has become slightly weaker in a vacuum and more matchup dependent than before.

Death Knight is poorly positioned in the format. We do like the Ignis package in Plague Death Knight, but it’s not enough to make the deck competitive. Blood-Ctrl Death Knight is the best-performing deck in the class, which is a sign of the class’ current plight.

Some meta developments are encouraging Relic Demon Hunter to run a disruption package by default. The decline of Control Priest and Blood-Ctrl DK is making Fizzle and Jotun look unnecessarily greedy. Xhilag is falling off due to the popularity of Hollow Hound. The final cut is either Astalor or Thalnos. We’ve opted to cut Thalnos due to Astalor’s importance against Mage.

This provides the room to fit in Stompers, Okani, and Mel’Tranix. We recommend this build across all of ladder, since at least two of the cards that we’ve cut look like active liabilities. This is a terrible meta for Fizzle and Jotun.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

The Chad Warlock build we’ve settled on last week looks perfect, but the decline of Mage has made us want to re-include Dar’Khan and Finley in Curse Warlock. A bigger factor in their return to the build is the decline in performance of both Mortal Eradication and Reverberation. It becomes a choice between the two for the final slots.

Mortal Eradication is better against aggressive decks, which have declined in play since the first week of TITANS. It’s a particularly strong card against Paladin, while being quite good against Mage too.

Reverberation mostly shines against Chad Warlock, Priest, and Rogue. The decline in Reverberation’s performance can also be observed in Chad Warlock and Rainbow Mage, but its versatility as an offensive weapon in these decks keeps it a core inclusion. Curse Warlock can’t take advantage of the spell in the same manner.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Drum Druid looks like a fantastic deck, but it turns out that Aggro Druid also looks strong if it runs a Drum Circle package. The featured build looks clean, running Drum Circle as the only Choose One card in the deck. If you have Disciple of Eonar, you do not need to forge Embrace of Nature. It simply becomes a 1-mana tutor for the best card in your deck. Blood Treant further boosts a potential Drum Circle turn.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Control Priest doesn’t suffer from a build issue, it suffers from a meta issue. We like the Ignis package in the archetype, but it doesn’t change the fact that the deck’s matchup spread is horrendous. Steer clear.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

The Dude variant looks like the superior version of Pure Paladin thanks to its strong matchups into Druid and Hunter. Further experiments are occurring, attempting to find upgrades on the deck’s weaker cards, such as Seafloor Savior.

A build from Reqvam has caught our eye, running Jukebox Totem. The card is very powerful in the early game but falls off late. We’d like to see more data on this 2-drop, it has some neat synergies with Warhorse Trainer and The Purator.

Amitus and Anachronos are also worth discussing. Amitus has seen plenty of play in this archetype but seemed a bit shaky during the first week. It looks more powerful thanks to the rise of Hunter, which it is very effective against. Anachronos is normally not a great fit for this variant but is backbreaking against Druid.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Enrage Warrior is picking up a little bit of traction. Crazed Wretch is getting favored over Grommash Hellscream since it’s better against Drum Druid, Hound Hunter, and Relic DH. You could run double Wretch and cut a Treasure Guard if you want to completely focus on beating Druid, but Guard is a good card against Hunter.

We’re content with our Control Warrior build. This is as good as it gets until it gets buffs or new cards. We’re quite confident it will get buffs in a future patch since Team 5 wants to make it work. It just needs an upgrade on its removal toolkit. The finishing potential is there.

Hunter should be considered the undisputed best class in the game. Hound Hunter is extremely powerful, but we think Secret Hunter could be even scarier, considering it’s so difficult to target.

However, there are some things most players are not aware of.

Despite running no new cards, Outcast DH has not been power crept out of the format. In fact, it is showing signs of incredible strength against the field, with many strong matchups into some of the best and most popular decks in the format.

Another notable story is Naga Mage. Its new build, incorporating a spell school package with Sif, is quite fascinating. If you’re a high-level player, it might be time to give this deck another run and commit an incredible number of misplays in a single play session.

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