vS Data Reaper Report #274

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Welcome to the 274th 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

A Comprehensive Fall of Ulduar Preview will be out on Monday, September 18th!

Yes, the article in which we try to guess how impactful the new cards are going be, is coming back in mini-set form. It’s obviously not going to be as big as an expansion article, but it’s still worth checking out if you want an idea of how the new cards may affect existing strategies or create new ones.

Number of Games

Overall 930,000
Top 1K Legend 42,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k) 61,000
Diamond 4 to 1 174,000
Diamond 10 to 5 211,000
Platinum 162,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 280,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

The popularity of Warlock continues to rise throughout ladder, but especially at Diamond ranks, where it’s by far the most popular class. Control Warlock surpasses Curse Warlock in play rate at most rank brackets. Chad is 3rd, while Imp sees little play. Warlock’s presence is less dominant at top legend, where Control maintains a strong play rate but Curse/Chad fall off.

Mage is slightly rising in play, perhaps encouraged by the further decline of Warrior and rise of Warlock. Rainbow Mage is the class’ primary archetype up until top legend, where Naga Mage spikes and becomes slightly more common.

Control Warrior’s numbers seem to be kept in check by the popularity of Warlock. Chad Warlock is the only hard counter to Warrior, while the matchup is slightly unfavored to Control and close against Curse. The idea of facing Sargeras seems to be psychologically daunting.

No major changes in Mech Rogue. There’s a slight rise in play at top legend, with the archetype proving to be deceptively powerful at high MMR’s.

A small rise in Control Priest can be noticed throughout ladder. Control Priest is decently positioned against Control Warlock and Mech Rogue, so that might be causing the archetype to look more attractive.

Nature Shaman has doubled its numbers at top legend compared to last week and has become quite noticeable there. Elsewhere on ladder, Shaman is relatively uncommon, mostly represented by Totem Shaman.

Arcane Hunter is holding firm, not looking like it’s going anywhere after proving it’s still very competitive after the nerfs. Hound Hunter has drastically declined and isn’t seen much past Diamond 5, after its win rate collapsed.

Demon Hunter is attracting very little interest on ladder, despite boasting two competitive archetypes. The class’ play rate is suffering from a poor TITANS set that didn’t bring anything particularly exciting to the table.

No major changes in Paladin’s play rate across ladder. Pure Paladin is the main option. We’ve noticed Aggro Paladin has declined, which might be caused by Warlock’s rise.

Drum Druid is the main competitive option for its class, but its play rate continues to be very modest. A niche population continues to try winning with Moonbeam Druid.

Death Knight continues to defy its performance levels with relatively high play rates throughout most of ladder. Only at top legend the class becomes less noticeable.

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion

The meta hasn’t changed too much compared to last week, which isn’t a bad thing. The field is quite diverse with many different classes and playstyles, all seeing play and success. There’s no significant power outlier that’s limiting the format. All decks have answers if you have a priority to beat them. This is a good spot to be, just before the mini-set.


  • Warlock is perceived to be the best class by many players, which lends to its popularity, but for a ‘best class’, it sure looks tame. While it’s certainly strong at significant portions of ladder, it doesn’t seem dominant in its overall win rates or matchup spreads when you compare it to real meta tyrants of the past. All Warlock strategies have effective answers and all of them grow weaker as you climb higher up the ladder. Shockingly, all Warlock decks fall out of Tier 1 once you hit legend, and none of them exhibits a positive win rate at top legend. Their skill ceiling is very limited, comparable to Paladin and Hunter decks in how much they drop off. When it comes to the highest MMR bracket, Warlock is not even particularly good.


  • Mage is in a very healthy spot for a popular class, exhibiting a performance level close to the average. Rainbow Mage is a very steady deck throughout ladder, while Naga Mage becomes very competitive at top legend. There is some understandable negative sentiment when it comes to Naga Mage, but the good news is that the deck’s popularity at high MMR’s seems to have hit saturation, while its performance doesn’t seem to be egregious either.


  • Control Warrior doesn’t need to fear the large presence of Warlock. While it does negatively affect its win rate, there are many good matchups that make up for it. The deck continues to look fine through most of ladder, turning elite at top legend thanks to a more favorable meta. The improved performance here is not caused by a high skill ceiling, as the deck doesn’t gain percentages in key matchups at higher levels of play. Its skill ceiling looks ‘average’.


  • Mech Rogue is unflappable. You’d think the high presence of defensive control decks would dent its performance levels, but the deck looks extremely resilient. It’s become the most popular and most powerful deck at top legend. This deck is the closest thing we have in the format to a “power outlier”, but it’s not there.


  • Despite the rise of Warlock supposedly helping Control Priest on paper, it’s offset by the rise of Mage and Shaman. High lethality decks have improved their performance against Priest through refinement, with Priest not able to respond to it in kind. Still, Control Priest doesn’t need to be too good to see play. It’s getting plenty of visibility despite a steady 48% win-rate across ladder. Undead Priest performs fine, yet barely anyone wants to play it.
  • On that note, it’s far more important to design a deck that people are excited to play, rather than design a deck that hits a perfect power level. Power level can always be addressed through buffs or nerfs, but designing a deck that’s compelling is the challenge. See: Odyn.


  • The story of Shaman is quite simple. Totem Shaman is the good deck outside of legend ranks. Nature Shaman becomes the good deck at top legend. Neither of these decks attract a large population of players, but they’re both very viable and competitive.


  • Arcane Hunter has stabilized at a good performance level, remaining a Tier 1 performer across ladder, before dropping to Tier 2 at top legend. Those who enjoy the deck do well with it. There is an argument that some of the nerfs Hound Hunter was hit with, should be reverted, considering the archetype’s current performance level.

Demon Hunter

  • Demon Hunter is more than fine. It’s quite a strong class, but it has a difficult time convincing players. Relics have been a successful package for over a year. Outcast has been around since the beginning of Festival of Legends. Freshness is what it needs more than anything.


  • Pure Paladin is doing fine. Aggro Paladin may have suffered a setback resulting from Warlock’s rise. One thing we wish to happen in the future is the emergence of Earthen Paladin. We sense a hunger amongst the player base to make this archetype work. Not to the same extent as Odyn Warrior, but Earthen Paladin has potential to be a modestly popular and well-designed strategy if it hits the right power level. Some help here would be welcomed.


  • Drum Druid is slightly suffering from Mech Rogue’s rise at top legend. The deck has a certain ceiling of popularity because its late game doesn’t seem compelling. A deck centered around Eonar/Freya as a late game combo would have been far more popular if its performance allowed it to be. Drum Circle is too ‘bland’ as a cornerstone piece to have wide appeal. Druid players like their late game combos and inevitability. They don’t like losing to mass removal.
  • Moonbeam Druid is trying its best through refinement and improved piloting, but its best is not enough.

Death Knight

  • Death Knight has no visibility issues. Players are eager to play the class, but it is desperate for a power level injection.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Some Renathal builds of Control Warlock have appeared over the last week, but they don’t seem to perform better than the refined 30-card build. Beyond an improvement in the Control Priest matchup, strictly caused by the extended fatigue clock, Renathal doesn’t seem to give an edge. The featured build looks optimal and clean.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Reverberation is starting to see more play in Naga Mage and the card looks good. One copy seems strong, but adding a second copy might be reasonable too. The blow out potential of a Siren/Reverb turn is quite valuable.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

There is an attempt to revive the Renathal variant of Control Warrior, but once again, there doesn’t seem to be a great reason to run 40 cards in this archetype. The difference might be small at lower ranks of ladder, but the higher you climb, the worse running Renathal gets compared to an optimized 30-card build.

The featured build looks best, with From the Depths offering a slightly worse alternative.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Mech Rogue players should be eager to find out whether the mini-set provides them with potential upgrades on the Illusionist/Mothership package. If the archetype gets some playable cards, it’s an easy decision to try new things instead.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Rather than wish for new cards, Control Priest is hoping that new high lethality win conditions don’t emerge from other classes because of the mini-set. Undead Priest is desperate for some refreshing additions to revive interest in the archetype.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

The most difficult deck to play in the format is Naga Mage. The 2nd in line is Nature Shaman. The archetype is very competitive at higher rank brackets thanks to the disappearance of Hound Hunter but note that the deck has become more difficult to navigate because of the Bioluminescence nerf.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Celestial Shot is likely going to be a very powerful card in Arcane Hunter, but Hound Hunter is unlikely to re-emerge because of new cards from the mini-set. The rich get richer here.

A disruption package in Relic DH has gotten stronger this week, but it still isn’t quite better than the standard build. We’ve marked down 5 cards that you can cut to make way for the 4 disruption cards. We think Jotun and Fizzle are quite important in this format due to the popularity of Control Warrior, Control Priest, and Control Warlock.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

The further rise of Warlock this week has made life more difficult for the Snowflipper Penguin variant of Aggro Paladin, so we’ve had to revert to the original build. This rise has also pushed Pure Paladin ahead of the Impure path in terms of performance, which is a big change compared to last week.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Cutting Nourish in Moonbeam Druid doesn’t seem to lead to undesired side effects. Your mulligan priorities are Frost Lotus Seedling and Dew Process. Should you find these cards, you’ll have no card draw issues.

Death Knight needs high impact cards in the mini-set. Players want any excuse to play Death Knight, so if it gets some good cards, it’ll have no problem seeing play.

Fall of Ulduar is coming next week, but that doesn’t mean our content is slowing down. Check out our Comprehensive Fall of Ulduar Preview on Monday, but stay tuned… there might be more.

Mech Rogue is good, by the way.

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