Welcome to the 275th edition of the Data Reaper Report! This is the first report for the mini-set of Fall of Ulduar.
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Number of Games
|Top 1K Legend||37,000|
|Legend (Excluding Top 1k)||178,000|
|Diamond 4 to 1||185,000|
|Diamond 10 to 5||202,000|
Class Frequency Discussion
The introduction of Sanitize has expectedly pushed Control Warrior to become the deck to beat in the format. It is the most popular archetype across all of ladder, with a play rate surpassing 20% past Diamond 5. Alongside Sanitize, Yogg-Saron is another new addition. The Old God has instantly become the most influential card in the format, driving massive changes across multiple classes.
Yogg-Saron and Chaotic Tendrils have revitalized interest in Miracle Rogue. The archetype is shockingly more popular than Mech Rogue across ladder. Yogg seems so attractive to players that even those at lower MMR’s have dipped their fingers in an archetype they normally wouldn’t try.
Druid is back on the map. With Yogg-Saron offering Druid the best comeback card in the format, the class has soared in interest. Miracle Druid running Gadgetzan Auctioneer with Lasher/Cake as mana refreshers has taken over high MMR ladder, winning through Ignis Windfury shenanigans in a fast-paced style that resembles Stealer Warlock back in Stormwind. However, a very recent development that started just as our database for the report was closing on Tuesday, is the re-emergence of Tony Druid. The Tony/Jailer combo, which died with the Anub’Rekhan nerf, has returned thanks to Yogg-Saron. We will discuss it but can’t present data for it in this report.
Mage has declined significantly across the ladder, likely discouraged by the rise of Warrior. It’s one of the classes that didn’t change much internally. Rainbow and Naga Mage haven’t experimented with new cards as much as other decks. Naga Mage remains the more popular deck at top legend while not being very visible elsewhere.
The introduction of Celestial Shot has boosted Arcane Hunter. Other Hunter decks haven’t gained traction from the mini-set. An Egg Hunter deck has disappeared as quickly as it appeared.
Priest doesn’t see much change, slightly declining in play. There is relatively little experimentation going on, with the most notable development being the addition of Soulburner Varia to Undead Priest.
Warlock’s popularity has significantly declined, with its play rate dropping drastically at top legend. This is an interesting development considering Warrior’s rise and an indication that matchup dynamics may have changed due to the introduction of Sanitize.
There’s not too much going on in Death Knight, especially when it comes to new cards. However, Plague Death Knight has curiously managed to maintain a steady presence at top legend, a rank bracket it’s normally unplayable in.
Paladin doesn’t seem to attract much interest. There’s notable experimentation with Earthen and Big Paladin, but neither archetype has gained much traction. Pure and Aggro Paladin are unchanged.
Experimentation in Demon Hunter seemed to have fallen flat. Only Relic DH maintains a small presence in the format, as is usual.
Totem Shaman sees some play outside of legend. Nature Shaman sees a little bit of play at top legend. Other Shaman archetypes have not emerged.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
- The addition of Sanitize has put Control Warrior over the top. The deck looks extremely powerful and dominant throughout ladder, with several key matchups improving thanks to its card choice upgrades. It seems incredibly difficult to counter Warrior these days because its big weakness has been addressed. The Control Warlock matchup, for example, has become 50-50. Chad Warlock remains a hard counter, while Druid has also been developing effective answers to it at top legend, but there’s nothing else. The deck is getting nerfed for a good reason.
- Enrage Warrior, as usual, doesn’t receive much attention, but the deck seems quite strong, thanks to a new build that leverages Battleworn Faceless.
- Some things don’t change. That’s Mech Rogue performing at a Tier 1 level throughout ladder, while looking like the best-performing deck at top legend. Even though the matchup against Warrior is unfavored, the rise of Druid at high MMR’s has given Mech Rogue a very important matchup to take advantage of. The deck’s high performance level over a long period of time has also led to it getting nerfed.
- Miracle Rogue’s performance doesn’t seem great, but it’s suffering from refinement issues. Yogg-Saron is fantastic, but leveraging Chaotic Tendrils any further looks like a trap that hurts the deck’s performance. The deck isn’t in the best position currently, considering it’s significantly unfavored against Control Warrior, but it has a high scope for improvement through refinement. We can say that Miracle Rogue is back to being competitively relevant, at least at high MMR brackets.
- Secret Rogue is a bit of a sleeper deck currently, not seeing much play but looking quite strong when refined. The addition of Yogg-Saron and Secret Rogue’s disruption tools align quite well with many strategies that heavily rely on single-card win conditions.
- Yogg-Saron has completely transformed the Druid class since it solved the class’ primary issue of being overwhelmed through the board. If there’s one class Yogg-Saron has helped the most, it’s undisputedly Druid.
- Miracle Druid’s emergence in the first few days has been alarming. The deck initially looked weak, but the addition of Harmonic Mood to complement its Ignis-centric win condition has caused a spike in its performance. Combined with a very high skill ceiling, one that is comparable to Naga Mage, Miracle Druid’s performance has been on a very steep upward trajectory. Its performance against Control Warrior, for example, has improved daily, becoming a real counter to Odyn. Considering its capability of killing opponents as early as turn 5-6 with surprising consistency, making it a very egregious play experience outlier, it’s understandable why it’s being addressed so quickly.
- Tony Druid has only appeared in significant numbers around Tuesday, which is why it’s absent from the Power Rankings. Judging by the last 48 hours, the deck might be even more powerful than Miracle Druid. It looks like a very hard counter to Control Warrior, which is helping it excel on ladder. It’s too early to predict where it could land after balance changes, but we’re hoping it doesn’t become overbearing in its own way.
- Don’t sleep on Moonbeam Druid, either. The archetype has been slow to refine, but the build in this report performs vastly differently from its older iterations. A refined Moonbeam Druid with Yogg-Saron may have a positive win rate in the current meta.
- Drum Druid is the only Druid deck on the losing end of the current format since Sanitize has flipped its matchup against Control Warrior to become unfavored. This has led to a decline in its performance, even though Yogg-Saron is a superb card in the deck.
- Rainbow Mage is struggling to deal with many decks in the current meta, so it’s not performing too well. It has some scope for improvement since it needs to be running Yogg-Saron, but Control Warrior, Arcane Hunter, and Druid are not ideal opponents.
- Naga Mage is doing fine at top legend, but those days are coming to an end. If Miracle Druid is eating a nerf for its play experience concerns, Naga Mage is a partner in crime.
- Arcane Hunter may not have the play rate or the hype of Control Warrior, but it is the best-performing deck throughout most of ladder, only dipping to a Tier 2 performance level at top legend. Its matchup spread is alarmingly strong, as only Control Warrior can beat it with any consistency. A Starstrung Bow nerf makes a lot of sense, given that its only counter is getting nerfed, too.
- Hound Hunter continues to look okay at lower ranks and weak at higher ranks. It didn’t get anything new in the mini-set, so it’s understandably stagnant.
- Control Priest has lost its edge against Control Warrior, and the matchup is dead even. This is likely due to the addition of Yogg-Saron to Warrior. Combining this with the high lethality observed in other classes, this is not an ideal format for Control Priest.
- Undead Priest isn’t doing too hot either because any format in which Control Warrior is the most popular and meta-defining deck is not great for a burn-centric aggressive deck to thrive in.
- Warlock’s fate is directly tied to its performance against Control Warrior.
- Since Chad Warlock has remained a very strong counter to Warrior, it continues to excel on ladder. It is one of the best decks on the climb to legend, only sitting behind Warrior and Hunter. Thanks to the Warrior matchup, it remains strong at top legend, where it normally tends to worsen.
- Control Warlock has lost its edge against Warrior, so its performance levels have dropped across the board. It’s still a fine deck on the climb to legend, but it seems clearly inferior to Chad, becoming increasingly questionable at high MMR’s.
- Curse Warlock is now unfavored against Warrior, leading to its performance tanking in the harshest way. The deck sinks under a 50% win rate past Diamond 5 and looks unplayable at top legend.
- Imp Warlock’s performance is uniquely affected by the addition of Encroaching Insanity, which is one of the worst cards added to an established deck we’ve ever seen, leading to a massive collapse in its performance. Old iterations of Imp Warlock are nowhere near this bad.
- Plague DK looks strangely more viable at top legend, thanks to its strong Miracle Druid matchup. Its Control Warrior matchup is also quite okay, so it manages to hold its own despite the rest of its spread looking quite weak.
- Unholy-Aggro DK is okay, but it has an issue with a deck recipe build infecting its win rate. We wonder if that list is ever going away because it’s been terribly stubborn in sticking around.
- Some developments in Frost-Aggro DK exist, with a new Mech build popping up and looking viable. We’re not sure this is going to gain any traction.
- Blood-Ctrl DK is just bad.
- Pure Paladin seems to have lost significant ground in the Warrior matchup, becoming unfavored thanks to Sanitize when it previously contested Warrior quite well. This has negatively affected its overall performance, though it’s still a good deck outside of top legend.
- Based on their low samples, both Earthen and Big Paladin have drastically improved their performance thanks to mini-set additions. It might not be enough to establish themselves currently, but they’ve gotten closer. Earthen Paladin could be a Tier 3 performer in the current meta. That tells us that it’s very close to breaking out. A single buff or two, or nerfs across the board to the competition, might be all that’s needed.
- Relic DH’s performance has tanked due to weak new builds, but even its best build doesn’t look good anymore either. The increased power amongst the competition has taken its toll, and it has fallen off.
- Outcast DH has also fallen off, while every new DH deck has failed to gain traction. Spell DH with Yogg isn’t it.
- Much like Demon Hunter, Shaman has completely stagnated. Its established decks are more viable than Demon Hunter, but still not looking great. Totem Shaman is decent at lower ranks but falls off past Diamond 5. Nature Shaman is questionable even at high MMR’s. Other experiments surrounding Yogg have not worked out.
Class Analysis & Decklists
Control Warrior looks incredible with the addition of Sanitize. The ‘From the Depths’ variant has taken over since it has more synergy with Yogg-Saron. A nudge to Sanitize, which seems to be the change coming imminently, is not too likely to change the archetype’s optimal build. In some matchups, you might be less incentivized to keep the card in the opening hand.
Enrage Warrior is not very popular, but it is still seeing some development, with a new build that cuts the Riff package to accommodate a full charge package with Battleworn Faceless. Since Chorus Riff doesn’t work too well with Faceless, it makes sense that one has to make way.
Yogg-Saron is an incredible card in Rogue, but any Chaotic Tendril card that isn’t Tentacle Grip looks like bait. This is the common theme we see in the class.
Miracle Rogue has two variants that seem to be close in power. The established Mimiron variant should simply drop Crabatoa to make space for Yogg. The common cut is Queen Azshara, but Azshara is better into the Druid/Warrior pairing currently.
Opting to skip the mech package looks like a real option. Just don’t bother running Chaotic Tendril, Eye of Chaos or Breakdance. They look like clear traps for the variant. A sleeper card that looks very promising based on a low sample size is Prison Breaker. We suspect that there will be a rise in the card’s play rate across multiple classes once its potential is fully understood. It is currently extremely underrated and underplayed. In Miracle Rogue, it’s very easy to activate, providing the deck with a powerful board clear.
Prison Breaker could also be very good in Secret Rogue, alongside Yogg-Saron.
Mech Rogue has passed over the mini-set cards and is highly encouraged to run a disruption package to fill its final slots. Blademaster Okani is a very powerful card in the current format that some decks might be underutilizing. With Speaker Stomper and Pozzik, the deck has multiple ways to irritate a Warrior headed for their key turn 5.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Mech Rogue
- Miracle Rogue
- Secret Rogue
Miracle Druid is a flame that burnt very brightly at top legend this week, but it’s likely to be extinguished with a Gadgetzan Auctioneer removal.
Tony Druid has emerged very recently and looks extremely promising. We didn’t have much time to work on this archetype or evaluate its card choices, so we’re providing a prototype list that looks strong. Prison Breaker looks good, while Lifebinder’s Gift might be interfering with Embrace of Nature more than it is helping. We’ll provide a more extensive discussion on it next week if it doesn’t get nuked by nerfs too.
Drum Druid needs Yogg-Saron too. The Topior build looks superior currently because of the Warrior matchup.
Moonbeam Druid is finally looking like a serious competitor thanks to the additions of Yogg-Saron and Prison Breaker. They provide the comeback potential and board swings that this deck has been missing, improving its standing against aggression.
- Druid Class Radar
- Miracle Druid
- Tony Druid
- Drum Druid
- Moonbeam Druid
Yogg-Saron looks incredible in Rainbow Mage, but most players haven’t added the card to the deck! Based on its performance, they absolutely should. Another card that looks very good in the archetype is Void Scripture. Both Lady Naz’jar and Norgannon have fallen in their performance after the mini-set launch. Norgannon is very vulnerable to an opponent’s Yogg-Saron, while the format seems a bit too fast for Naz’jar to make an impact.
Naga Mage hasn’t experimented much with new cards and is about to get deleted from the format with Spitelash Siren getting nerfed again.
Celestial Shot is a top 3 card in Arcane Hunter and looks like a core addition to the deck. However, Yogg-Saron does not perform well in the archetype. The deck doesn’t benefit much from its abilities, and it comes online too late to make enough of an impact. To make way for Celestial Shot, we cut Astalor and Star Power. Star Power doesn’t seem great in this format, since there isn’t a lot of board pressure.
Hound Hunter still doesn’t look great. It didn’t get anything from the mini-set. The featured build cuts some removal for more pressure. Egg Hunter doesn’t seem to be strong enough to be competitive.
Soulburner Varia looks quite strong in Undead Priest. The card to make way might be surprising. Aman’Thul’s performance has fallen off a cliff in the archetype due to the prevalence of Yogg-Saron, which causes the Priest TITAN to backfire horribly. Its performance has also declined in Control Priest, but it’s still a good card there.
There is some experimentation with Control Priest builds focusing on a Fizzle/Yogg infinite game plan, but there’s still very little data on that idea. In the established Control Priest build, Yogg looks surprisingly tame.
The main adaptation we can find in the class comes from Curse Warlock. The worsening matchup against Control Warrior has led to the archetype imitating Control Warlock and running Forge of Wills/Imposing Anubisath alongside Doomkin to perform better against Odyn. Okani is another good anti-Warrior card we’ve added that’s quite effective into their turn 5 or turn 8. We do not like Ignis in this archetype, as it seems redundant as a win condition alongside the Curse package.
Some players have tried putting Yogg inside ETC in Control or Curse Warlock to bypass Symphony/Sargeras, but the class isn’t quick enough to discount Yogg for it to be an impactful addition, especially behind an ETC tax.
- Warlock Class Radar
- Control Warlock
- Chad Warlock
- Curse Warlock
- Imp Warlock
Strange things are happening in Death Knight. Plague Death Knight has developed into a surprisingly viable counter deck to the Miracle Druid/Control Warrior pairing at top legend. The featured build runs Glacial Shard and Speaker Stomper to improve these matchups further. Viper is not great into Druid, despite being a common choice. Okani is a better card for that matchup.
A new build of Frost-Aggro Death Knight has appeared, aiming to counter Druids with a mech early game. Running Mistake appears to be a mistake, though.
Death Knight is a very weak class that found a fragile niche this week, but the nerf to Miracle Druid may delete its role. The upcoming changes to the Plague package could release the class from its current stagnant state.
- Death Knight Class Radar
- Blood-Ctrl Death Knight
- Plague Death Knight
- Unholy-Aggro Death Knight
- Frost-Aggro Death Knight
Both Earthen and Big Paladin are showing signs of drastic improvement on their previous unplayable states. The new mini-set cards have been a big boost. They may not be great decks in the current format, but they’re much more competitive, with Earthen Paladin showing potential to be Tier 3 post-refinement. Their main selling point is that they both seem to be developing into strong Control Warrior counters.
Earthen Paladin can take advantage of Keeper’s Strength by running a 1-drop package with Boogie Down. Pelican Diver and Foul Egg are good enablers of the 4-mana spell, especially Pelican Diver.
Starlight Groove is an amazing counter to Odyn. Alongside a sizeable Holy spell package and Garden’s Grace, this build can apply a lot of pressure while protecting itself from off-board burst. A discounted Garden’s Grace is also a strong Keeper’s Strength enabler.
Big Paladin is an even harder counter to Warrior, at the level of Chad Warlock. The best-performing build currently runs a defensive minion shell that does not contain the Front Lines/Rivendare win condition.
- Paladin Class Radar
- Pure Paladin
- Aggro Paladin
- Earthen Paladin
- Big Paladin
Relic Demon Hunter is desperate to run the disruption package in the current format. You must choose to keep one of three cards: Astalor, Thalnos and Xhilag. Xhilag is the worst card on average but the best card against Warrior.
Other Demon Hunter decks do not look competitive. Even Outcast Demon Hunter has fallen off.
- Demon Hunter Class Radar
- Relic Demon Hunter
- Outcast Demon Hunter
Nothing seems to have changed in Shaman. Attempts to revive Control Shaman with Yogg-Saron have fallen flat.
The balance patch that’s coming today will be very impactful, since every strong deck in the format is getting nerfed. This is why it’s a bit hard to predict which deck is going to come out the strongest.
However, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t worried about the current trajectory of Tony Druid. Based on its current performance, it’s the most dangerously powerful deck in the format. It’s getting one of its stronger cards in Contaminated Lasher nerfed, but if it can adjust to that nerf, it should become the deck to beat in the first days of the patch.
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