Welcome to the 272nd edition of the Data Reaper Report!
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Number of Games
|Top 1K Legend||33,000|
|Legend (Excluding Top 1k)||180,000|
|Diamond 4 to 1||154,000|
|Diamond 10 to 5||170,000|
Class Frequency Discussion
Control Warrior has completely transformed the format. The archetype has been massively boosted by buffs to four of its cards, leading to its play rate exploding throughout ladder. Its presence peaks at top legend, where it nears a 20% play rate. The prophecy of Odyn was true.
Hunter has declined because of nerfs to Costumed Singer and Hollow Hound, but the dent in its play rate has been relatively small. The most notable development post-patch is that Secret Hunter has become more popular than Hound Hunter at Diamond through Legend. This isn’t too surprising considering that Hound Hunter was double nerfed, and it was one of Secret Hunter’s only counters.
Mage has declined throughout ladder. Despite this significant setback, Rainbow Mage continues to be one of the most popular decks in the game, even in the face of a hostile Control Warrior matchup. Naga Mage has picked up more traction and become a very noticeable deck at top legend.
Mech Rogue is beginning to behave like notable Rogue decks of the past. It sees modest play throughout ladder, but spikes at top legend to a near 10% play rate. There have been some top legend success stories with the deck, so high level players seem to have taken a liking to it now. Secret and Miracle Rogue don’t see much play.
Warlock seems comfortable in the format, with multiple archetypes seeing play. Curse Warlock is the deck that initially gained traction after the patch, but Chad Warlock has stuck around, despite the change to its cornerstone card. Imp Warlock has re-appeared, attempting to carve out a place in the new format. A new Control Warlock build has also just recently popped up, so data on it will be presented in the next report.
Control Priest is unmoving, seeing similar play rates throughout ladder. There’s no hint of a change in its performance level judging by its play rate. Undead Priest sees very little play, while experimentation with the buffed Astral Automaton has not taken off.
Interest in Demon Hunter is low. The class only picks up more play at top legend but is otherwise the least popular in the format. Relic DH sees the most play, followed by the often-underutilized Outcast DH.
The steady decline in Death Knight continues, but the class remains very popular at lower ranks. Blood-Ctrl and Plague are mostly what you see, but Unholy-Aggro DK is attempting a comeback behind its Festival of Legends build.
Some development is observed in Drum Druid, where a new build cuts Lifebinder’s Gift and Topior to go all-in on Drum Circle. However, that doesn’t seem to attract more players to the archetype. A Moonbeam Druid running Unending Swarm and a spell damage package has recently appeared.
Paladin is mostly “business as usual”, with Dude Pure Paladin making up most of the class’ play rate. However, there’s a new “Impure” Aggro Paladin that is beginning to creep up, offering a similar playstyle. Earthen and Mech Paladin haven’t gained much traction after the patch.
Shaman has suffered a brutal decline in play. Nature Shaman seems to be going extinct after the nerf to Bioluminescence. Most Shaman players were coping on Big Shaman, before that deck also somehow got nerfed with a hotfix. Totem Shaman has been left to hold down the fort.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
- Control Warrior has quickly developed into a serious meta contender, hitting a Tier 1 win rate at top legend. This is both a result of a more favorable field (more Mages/Rogues, fewer Hunters/Paladins) and productive refinement. Its refinement phase is far from over, so the deck has significant room for internal improvement. Considering its high popularity and performance levels already, that is quite an intimidating prospect. This is a massive turnaround compared to its performance before the buffs.
- However, the meta is beginning to react to Warrior and there are multiple decks that can do better in this matchup with simple card adjustments. The deck’s matchup spread doesn’t seem overly dominant or scary, offering several developing counters. We expect a response from the field which may restrain Warrior’s trajectory of improvement. It’s going to be a battle between its internal refinement and the external pressure.
- Enrage Warrior is estimated to be a Tier 2 performer. We know you don’t care.
- There are two different reactions to the nerfs to Hunter. Throughout most of ladder, Hunter seems almost completely unaffected and remains the most dominant class in the format. At top legend, some cracks are beginning to show with both Hound and Secret Hunter dramatically losing percentages in key matchups, making them look ‘fair’. Considering Hunter’s dominance throughout most of ladder, it’s likely that the class will get further adjustments, even if they risk the class’ standing at top level play.
- Secret Hunter has leapfrogged Hound Hunter to become the best performer. It is the best deck on the climb to legend, only tapering off to Tier 2 at top legend. Its matchup spread is extremely resilient. No deck provides a hard answer to it.
- Hound Hunter did become worse in faster matchups because of the nerf to Hollow Hound. Its edge against Secret Hunter has also gotten smaller.
- Rainbow Mage will continue to see play on ladder because players really enjoy its playstyle, but its power level has taken another hit with the patch due to the rising Warrior matchup. There are some things the deck can do to improve this matchup, so it’s a question of whether players will take up these tools or continue to run the same build out of inertia.
- Naga Mage is a very competitive deck at top legend, currently superior to Rainbow Mage. The deck doesn’t seem capable of getting better through refinement, so we’ll see whether it can hold up or even improve its performance over time thanks to its high skill ceiling.
- Surprisingly, Mech Rogue is the best performing deck at top legend. It is quite unfavored against Control Warrior and Control Priest, but the rest of its matchup spread makes up for these weaknesses. Interestingly, it doesn’t display a drop-off in its performance at higher levels of play. It holds up much better than Hunter in that regard.
- Miracle and Secret Rogue seem quite weak. There’s a good reason they don’t see much play. Miracle Rogue does not enjoy the Warrior matchup.
- There’s a lot going on in Warlock. The most surprising development is that Chad Warlock may have gotten stronger after the patch. The nerf to Thaddius might have been tough, but it’s compensated for by its superb and increasingly popular Warrior matchup. Add a strong Hound Hunter matchup, and Chad Warlock looks well positioned despite not having the most balanced matchup spread.
- Curse Warlock is a steadier deck, but it experiences a dramatic decline in its performance at top legend. It seems that high level players are better at recognizing their role in the matchup and play more aggressively to beat the Curse Warlock’s clock. The Control Warrior and Rainbow Mage matchups, for example, see quite a shift against Warlock at high MMR’s.
- Control Warlock may not yet be included in the Power Rankings, but our initial impression from observing its data in the last couple of days is that this deck could be stronger than both Chad and Curse Warlock. This is a potential Tier 1 meta breaker. You should probably check out the build in the Warlock section.
- Imp Warlock looks like it’s back on the map. It has a positive win rate from Diamond to Legend, where its build is ‘clean’. It performs well against Control Warrior. Its matchup spread is generally very balanced. The one oppressive matchup is Mech Rogue. There’s quite a bit to like about this deck now.
- Control Priest looks dumpster tier through most of ladder but becomes shockingly competitive at top legend. A high skill ceiling cannot be the only explanation for this phenomenon. Top legend is where two of its key matchups spike in play: Mech Rogue and Control Warrior. It’s a known counter to Mech Rogue, but over the last week, it has been able to flip the Warrior matchup to its advantage at top legend, despite looking unfavored against it throughout the rest of ladder.
- Dirty Rat utilization on the curated and optimized Warrior builds, the ones geared to find Odyn more consistently, is doing work here. This means that despite its red matchup spread, it manages to keep its head above water.
- Undead Priest is having major issues with the rise of Warrior. The massive armor gain is something it doesn’t want to encounter. The deck is suffering throughout ladder but is getting particularly obliterated at top legend.
- Relic DH does fine if it doesn’t run garbage. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of garbage in this archetype. On top of that, players continue to run builds that are geared to beat Shaman, in a Warrior meta. That obviously has a negative impact on its performance.
- Outcast DH looks like a Tier 1 contender based on its low sample size. Yeah, you guys don’t care.
- Blood-Ctrl DK is bad. Plague DK is bad. There’s nothing new there, but did you know that a refined Unholy-Aggro DK is potentially a Tier 1 contender? Refined Unholy-Aggro DK means running no new (bad) cards and only adding The Primus to its Festival of Legends build. This build looks very strong, but the absence of new cards makes us skeptical that it gains much traction. It is a more accessible deck than Outcast DH and is also a Death Knight deck, so maybe.
- Drum Druid is another top performer that doesn’t see much play. Adding to its strong Hound Hunter matchup is a very strong Warrior matchup, though this matchup could shift because of developments in both archetypes. Drum Druid has further scope for improvement since its new variant looks very promising and might be less polarizing.
- Moonbeam Druid doesn’t look like a real Hearthstone deck currently.
- Pure Paladin is another deck that benefits from having decent matchups against both Hunter and Warrior. The decline of Mage has also been helpful for the deck’s performance, which holds up well throughout ladder. We can see a scenario in which Pure Paladin becomes the premier choice on the climb to legend if Hunter gets hit again with nerfs. Its modest popularity is a function of Hunter looking like the stronger class currently.
- Nature Shaman’s performance looks grim. Unless a skill-driven turnaround or adjustment happens out of nowhere, the archetype is doomed to disappear. The deck found competitive relevance by being the fastest OTK in the format. Once its OTK has been pushed by a mana cost increase, it crumbled.
- Totem Shaman is a very similar deck to Pure Paladin, so it’s very successful on the climb to legend, before declining in its performance at top legend. The main problem is that players aren’t likely to pick it up. Much like Undead Priest, it’s an old deck. If there’s anything worse than being an old deck for ladder popularity, it’s being an old, aggressive, and board-centric deck.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Control Warrior has become the most influential deck in the format. Builds are mostly split between 30-cards and 40-cards. The 30-card variant looks superior in most matchups on ladder due to the increased consistency of finding Odyn. The 40-card variant is stronger against Hunters and Death Knights. We recommend running 30 cards, as it is currently the stronger variant at all levels of play.
30-card builds are quite varied, with many cards seeing experimentation. The featured build’s approach is to maximize Odyn consistency, by running a very small minion package alongside the Riff package. This increases the tutoring value of Chorus Riff, a card that seems to worsen as you increase the number of minions in your deck. The only downside to minimizing the number of minions in your deck is reducing your resistance to disruption effects such as Dirty Rat and Patchwerk. We’ll see if that becomes a more serious factor over the next week.
Some notes about many of the possible card choices in the deck. Steam Guardian looks very underrated and superior to From the Depth at the 3-mana slot. Prison of Yogg is highly overrated. The deck doesn’t need its finishing potential or its comeback mechanics. Finley is very good in a build that doesn’t run Chorus Riff, but redundant with Chorus Riff since its main purpose is to dig for Odyn. An alternative, more disruption-resistant build would cut Chorus Riff for Finley and Astalor. Khaz’goroth and Minotauren are a bit slow. Bash is a must have in this build, even more so than Shield Slam. Thori’belore doesn’t seem impactful enough. Ignis is the 30th card in the deck and is quite polarizing, a liability in some matchups (Hunter, Rogue), while a superstar in others (Mage, Priest, Warlock), so we’ve kept it.
The 40-card build is much easier to refine, since there aren’t many tough choices we need to make. Naga Giant is very good in this deck. Mechagnome Guide is needed for Ignis consistency.
- Warrior Class Radar
- Control Warrior
- Enrage Warrior
Hound Hunter can make a small adaptation to the Control Warrior matchup by adding back Barrel of Monkeys. It’s a very good card against Odyn and Trial by Fire. However, players often misutilize it by keeping it in the mulligan. It is not good in the early game, but it’s a utility card that becomes stronger in the later stages of the game.
Secret Hunter’s build looks perfect, especially now that Astalor has become essential due to the Warrior matchup. You need all the damage you can get. Awakening Tremors is fantastic against Warrior.
Rainbow Mage needs to find solutions to the Control Warrior matchup, and it does have potential for improvement there. The key is Lady Naz’jar. Not running this legendary looks like a massive blunder in the current format. You need the ability to set up a quick OTK, or alternatively, increase your reach against the armor gain of Warrior if the game drags on.
Solid Alibi has fallen off after the disappearance of Nature Shaman. It’s hard for us to justify it at any level of play in the current meta. Its only decent matchups are Mech Rogue and Drum Druid. It’s not a good card against Warrior, since you’re less likely to win by dragging out the game. Star Power isn’t great either in the current format. The Mage needs to be decisive and accumulate combo pieces quickly, so we prefer running double Volume Up and Astalor. Astalor gives you more damage against Warrior to soften them up and looks promising based on preliminary data.
Norgannon is a popular card, but it looks quite bad unfortunately. The mirror matchup has declined, which should help the Titan on paper, but its best matchup in Nature Shaman has disappeared. The biggest problem is that it’s a terrible card against Warrior. It does next to nothing against them.
Naga Mage is continuing to develop. An alternative build has appeared that cuts some Spell School payoffs (Creation, Wisdom) to fit in Reverberation and Treasure Guard. Both variants look equally effective. One thing we’ve noticed about the archetype is an infatuation with Zola the Gorgon. We’re a bit suspicious of its usefulness. It might be better to run a 2nd Enforcer/Reverberation instead. It’s hard to say.
Nothing has changed in Rogue’s card selection. Mech Rogue’s Illusionist build looks like the strongest approach, but we’re not attached to this package whatsoever and willing to cut it if we find something better. We’re not too impressed with generic “Flex Tape” cards such as Astalor, Prison of Yogg and Pozzik.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Mech Rogue
- Secret Rogue
- Miracle Rogue
Warlock is looking up, with a plethora of strategies seeing success.
Chad Warlock has massively benefitted from the sudden arrival of Control Warrior. We recommend replacing Tour Guide with Armor Vendor to sustain it a bit better against burn. Mortal Eradication is quite important in the current format due to the popularity of Awakening Tremors.
Curse Warlock, same deal. Mortal Eradication outperforms Reverberation because it’s much stronger against Hunter. Reverberation is very weak against Warrior, so the card has fallen off a bit.
A new build of Control Warlock by Xepho has recently emerged and looks extremely promising. We’ve tweaked the build by cutting Loken (not very consistent in this list) and Thalnos for Mechagnome Guides. Ignis appreciates additional consistency.
Imp Warlock looks to be coming back to the format. A fatigue package build seems to work best. Prison of Yogg looks terrible in this archetype, so we’ve replaced it with Finley, which tends to perform well in decks that run Symphony of Sins.
- Warlock Class Radar
- Chad Warlock
- Curse Warlock
- Control Warlock
- Imp Warlock
Control Priest looks surprisingly competitive at higher levels of play due to its strong matchup against Mech Rogue and a steadily improving matchup against Control Warrior. Dirty Rat is paramount to the Warrior matchup, especially if you can find it with Creation Protocol.
We feel very confident in our featured build. Ignis is fantastic alongside 4 Forge cards. It might be the best card in the deck (even better than Aman’Thul and Behemoth). Watcher of the Sun is performing extremely well. Identity Theft is overrated. Holy Nova is an essential answer to Awakening Tremors.
Relic Demon Hunter should be getting back to its standard, greedy build after the patch. The fall of Shaman and rise of Warrior has highly encouraged this.
Outcast Demon Hunter continues to quietly perform well. Some players include Argus in the deck. It doesn’t look impressive, but there’s not much data to establish its performance. If you do want to run the Titan, the card to make way would be Rush the Stage rather than Vicious Slitherspear.
- Demon Hunter Class Radar
- Relic Demon Hunter
- Outcast Demon Hunter
Blood-Ctrl Death Knight could pivot to an Ignis package to help its late game, especially against Warrior. The sacred cow that’s cut from the featured build is Screaming Banshee, which is very weak in the current meta.
Ironically, the Ignis package is starting to underperform in Plague Death Knight to the point our original build for the archetype seems like a better alternative at some ranks. The main difference between the variants is the Hunter and Warrior matchups. The Original build is much better against Hunter, while the Forged build is much better against Warrior.
Unholy-Aggro Death Knight is the best hope for the class. A Festival of Legends build that adds The Primus as the only new card is performing very well across ladder. If Unholy drops its garbage builds, it might elevate to Tier 1. This deck doesn’t seem to have any hard counters and even gives Control Warrior a hard time. Control Priest might be its worst matchup (40-45%).
- Death Knight Class Radar
- Blood-Ctrl Death Knight
- Plague Death Knight
- Unholy-Aggro Death Knight
A new Drum Druid build has trickled into ladder from the tournament scene, one that cuts both Topior and Lifebinder’s Gift for Lingering Zombie and Plot of Sin to maximize Drum Circle consistency from Embrace of Nature. It looks superior to the established build despite the fact it is weaker against Warrior and Priest. The rest of the matchup spread is better since Drum Circle is the deck’s primary win condition. If your opponent does not have a natural answer to the card, this build is better. The meta could be trending towards removal over the next week though, so things might change.
Aggro Druid sees little play and is suffering from refinement issues which are weighing down its aggregated win rate, but the featured build performs at the level of Drum Druid.
Pure Paladin is a good choice if you’re looking to challenge Hunter and Warrior at the same time. The Dude variant is quite strong. One tweak to the deck is replacing Grimestreet Outfitter with Hand of A’dal.
An Aggro Paladin from WuLing is performing at a similar level to Pure Paladin, with the same concept of early game snowballing to leverage Crusader Aura.
- Paladin Class Radar
- Pure Paladin
- Aggro Paladin
- Mech Paladin
Nature Shaman unfortunately looks dead after the nerf to Bioluminescence. We’re hoping Shaman’s strong TITANS set can support another win condition soon.
Totem & Evolve Shaman are fine decks that look competitive on ladder, but they don’t capture much interest. The class is suffering from visibility issues after losing its most exciting strategy.
Control Warrior is the new enemy of the format and the deck that is shaping the current meta in the most dramatic fashion. Can the meta respond to it, or will Control Warrior become truly dominant through refinement? Regardless of the outcome, we think players are extremely thirsty to play Odyn, so the archetype is guaranteed to be popular, much like Rainbow Mage.
There are a lot of developments still occurring, with sleeper decks mentioned in this report that could rise in play and make their own mark. Pay close attention to the new iteration of Control Warlock in particular. It’s also very possible that further balance changes are imminent, which will give Standard another firm shake-up.
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