Welcome to the 276th edition of the Data Reaper Report!
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Number of Games
|Top 1K Legend||43,000|
|Legend (Excluding Top 1k)||47,000|
|Diamond 4 to 1||187.000|
|Diamond 10 to 5||251,000|
Class Frequency Discussion
Tony Druid looked like an absolute menace at higher levels of play, but the Jailer ban did not put a stop to Druid’s overbearing presence at the highest rank bracket. Ramp Druid dropped the Tony/Jailer combo and opted for alternative win conditions (Astalor/Fizzle). The archetype is modestly popular on ladder, but spikes very hard at top legend, reaching a 25% play rate. Other Druid decks, such as Drum and Moonbeam Druid, are seeing little play.
Rogue is shaping up to be a very diverse class. Secret Rogue has gained quite a bit of traction this week, joining Miracle and Mech Rogue with similar play rates. There’s a Dagger Rogue deck too, looking to kill opponents with weapon buffs. Non-Mech Rogue decks have been taken over by Prison Breaker and Yogg.
With Naga Mage gone, Rainbow Mage has been left to pick up the pieces, boasting a healthy play rate throughout ladder. It tends to be popular if it’s allowed to be. The decline of Control Warrior, as well as the Jailer ban, has helped this archetype enjoy more breathing room.
Plague Death Knight has been a popular deck on ladder since the rune restriction change on Tomb Traitor and Down with the Ship, leading players to experiment with Triple Unholy or one Blood builds. It’s largely perceived to be an answer to Ramp Druid.
Control Priest has a modest, steady presence throughout ladder. Undead Priest’s presence significantly declines at top legend. Control Priest is largely focused on improving its Ramp Druid matchup.
The fall of Control Warrior has been dramatic. Rather than being caused by its recent nerfs, the culprit has clearly been Druid’s presence. The deck is still popular on ladder but shrinks once it approaches the 25% play rate of Ramp Druid at top legend. Enrage Warrior, on the other hand, has finally gotten some traction.
There’s a lot going on in Arcane Hunter, an archetype that has been experimenting with several paths. The Arcane package, the Secret package, Monkeys and Bananas, as well as the Prison Breaker/Yogg package all find themselves chopped and changed in different builds. Hound Hunter’s position in the meta remains fringe.
Pure Paladin is also undergoing changes, emerging with a new Buff-focused, Garden’s Grace build that’s meant to provide a harder answer to Ramp Druid.
Warlock is quite popular throughout most of ladder, with Control, Chad and Curse Warlock all seeing play. However, the class collapses at top legend, where Ramp Druid’s domination might be too hard to deal with.
Totem Shaman is the only notable deck left in its class, following a further decline in Nature Shaman and the failure of any Control Shaman deck to gain serious traction. Totem Shaman fades at higher levels of play.
Demon Hunter is almost completely gone from ladder. Relic DH, the last bastion of the class, has fallen off.
vS Meta Score
vS Power Rankings Discussion
- Ramp Druid is clearly very dominant at top legend, with a matchup spread that nearly has no weaknesses. There are many decks you’d expect to be able to counter the deck, such as Mech Rogue or Plague Death Knight, but they are unable to boast a win rate that’s better than 50%. Only Pure Paladin, and perhaps Aggro Druid, show clear favorability against Ramp Druid.
- The situation is mostly contained to high MMR brackets. Elsewhere on ladder, Ramp Druid is a strong deck, but not an oppressive force. The deck does have some scope for improvement through refinement, as absurd as that sounds, but it’s generally not as scary outside of top legend ranks.
- Some players have questioned the temporary Jailer ban and whether it did anything to curb Druid’s power. It genuinely did, but it just wasn’t enough. Tony Druid looked even more scary than Ramp Druid because some of its matchups against slower decks were oppressive. Tony Druid looked like a hard Tier S deck post-refinement, at the level of Thief and Poison Rogue during Alterac Valley. The Jailer ban softened many of these matchups, giving some classes more breathing room, relatively speaking. Ramp Druid’s late game is still very strong, but it doesn’t dominate the late game nearly as much as Tony Druid did.
- What didn’t change are obviously the faster matchups, where the Tony/Jailer combo was irrelevant. Druid’s ability to turn the corner and stabilize, thanks to Yogg, hasn’t been affected, so Druid remains a class that’s difficult to reliably counter through aggression. Having said that, we did identify ways in which multiple decks can perform better against Ramp Druid and, perhaps, develop a clear edge.
- Drum Druid is also quietly very strong, hilariously outperforming Ramp Druid at every rank bracket other than top legend. Drum Druid massively benefits from the overpopulation of Death Knight, which it tends to obliterate, at lower rank brackets. Its matchup spread has clear weaknesses though, which is part of the reason why Ramp Druid may feel more resilient or appealing. Mass removal and board-centric aggression are genuinely effective against Drum Druid.
- Moonbeam Druid is a bit stronger than it looks, since it’s still not completely refined, but the deck is obviously a much weaker late game option than Ramp or Drum Druid.
- Aggro Druid seems to have potential in countering Ramp Druid, leading to a strong performance at top legend. We don’t think players will be too eager to play it though.
- Secret Rogue has emerged as a very strong deck across ladder, even challenging Ramp Druid’s #1 position at top legend. Disruption is the name of the game in this format, something the archetype excels at thanks to Ghastly Gravedigger. However, we can’t ignore how much the additions of Prison Breaker and Yogg helped the deck fight off aggression, something it previously struggled with.
- A refined Miracle Rogue piloted by high level players is a good deck. Currently, it seems to struggle against Ramp Druid. However, we have reasons to believe the deck can do much better in the Druid matchup without sacrificing much elsewhere.
- Mech Rogue doesn’t beat Ramp Druid. We’ve already seen this development with Tony Druid turning this matchup into a 50-50 affair before the Jailer ban. But once again, Mech Rogue can do something obvious to regain some edge. Following the Coppertail Snoop nerf, it looks like a very balanced deck.
- Dagger Rogue is the weakest Rogue deck since it has the worst matchup into Ramp Druid, but it does look competitive.
- Rainbow Mage looks okay, with a win rate hovering close to the 50% mark. The deck was getting destroyed before the Jailer ban because the Tony Druid matchup was oppressive. The matchup against Ramp Druid isn’t great, but much more tolerable. Considering the decline of Control Warrior, things are not too bad, but Mage can’t afford to hard tech for Druid without making big sacrifices in other matchups.
- Plague DK is neither a strong deck, nor does it beat a refined Ramp Druid. It gets progressively worse at higher levels of play because it’s incapable of dealing with top meta decks. The archetype is unrefined and certainly has some room for improvement in other matchups, but we haven’t identified a viable path for it to consistently counter Ramp Druid.
- The Control Priest vs Ramp Druid matchup is 50-50. Druid isn’t the one stopping Priest from being strong. The issue comes from other competitive decks such as Arcane Hunter, Rainbow Mage, and the rising Secret Rogue. These decks keep Control Priest looking tame, to the relief of many.
- Undead Priest is a very strong deck on the climb to legend, but it gets obliterated by Ramp Druid at higher levels of play. Its diminishing play rate there is no accident, as it falls under 50% and isn’t as appealing of a deck as Rainbow Mage or Control Warrior.
- Control Warrior’s matchup into Ramp Druid is surprisingly close. The Tony/Jailer combo is what made the Druid matchup unbearable. Still, Warrior can’t enjoy constantly running into Druids, nor does it enjoy the annoying presence of Plague Death Knights, the loss of its matchup advantage against Rainbow Mage, or the rise of Secret Rogue. Odyn’s dominance is over even in a hypothetical post-Druid format.
- Enrage Warrior is quite strong at all levels of play. It does benefit from the Death Knight inflation to an extent, but it does have some good matchups into significant players in the format, such as Arcane Hunter and Rainbow Mage. It loses to Ramp Druid though.
- While Ramp Druid dominates top legend, Arcane Hunter tops the charts in the more diverse field seen throughout the rest of ladder. The Ramp Druid matchup is the biggest obstacle that drops Arcane Hunter to Tier 2 at top legend. At high MMR’s, Ramp Druid seems to gain further percentages in the matchup. However, a refinement breakthrough may help Arcane Hunter reach another level, specifically helping its Druid matchup as well.
- Nothing changed in Hound Hunter’s behavior. Since it was hit with multiple nerfs, it’s been relegated to a fringe presence that dwindles in play rate and power as you climb ladder.
- Pure Paladin represents the most reliable counter to Ramp Druid, especially with its new Buff variant. This keeps the class relevant even at higher levels of play, where it normally sinks. The edge against Ramp Druid does come at a cost though, as Buff Pure Paladin can hardly be described as a well-rounded choice. If you’re fully focused on countering Druid, there is no better choice. If you’re faced with a more diverse field, you’d rather run the established Dude variant.
- Warlock has been on a path of regression for the last few weeks. The only deck that seems to stay afloat past Diamond 5 is Chad Warlock, since it doesn’t completely roll over to Druids. Control Warlock is having great difficulties dealing with top meta decks, while Curse Warlock is basically Death Knight deck.
- Totem Shaman is a decent deck up until Diamond 5, before falling off. We find the fact it doesn’t beat Ramp Druid incredible and a testament to the power of Yogg-Saron. When Ramp Druid goes 50-50 with one of the hardest snowballing, board-centric aggressive decks out there, you know things are a bit crazy. Nature Shaman has fallen off and disappeared. Control Shaman, based on its low sample, is a clear Tier 4 performer.
- This class is just gone. It’s a bit strange, because we really don’t think it’s “that” bad, but players are absolutely fed up with Illidan.
Class Analysis & Decklists
There were two developments in Tony Druid that caused its win rate to spike, helping the deck take over the format before the Jailer ban.
The first was cutting Lifebinder’s Gift, guaranteeing a Nourish draw from an Embrace of Nature. The guaranteed combined Nourish in the early game was much more important than whether the second Embrace of Nature did something later in the game.
The second was the introduction of Prison Breaker, which proved to be extremely powerful, helping the Druid stabilize in the mid-game, before Yogg-Saron can come online.
It is very curious that both developments have been “forgotten” when it comes to Ramp Druid. Perhaps, the deck is so busted at higher levels of play that it’s difficult to notice a potential improvement angle on its build, but two things are clear based on its data: it doesn’t seem very different to Tony Druid when it comes to Gift and Breaker.
An Embrace of Nature drawing Nourish leads to a significantly higher chance of winning Hearthstone games, so Lifebinder’s Gift blocking this outcome from being guaranteed seems like a handicap. We would still need data to confirm how the deck performs without Gift to be certain, since Ramp Druid functions differently in the late game than Tony Druid, but there’s clear merit in testing it out.
Prison Breaker performs exceptionally well in Ramp Druid. This is true at all levels of play, including top legend, where some players may intuitively scoff at its usefulness in the mirror matchup. This point is wildly overblown. It’s rare to find a spell-heavy deck that doesn’t want to run Prison Breaker. The card is just busted and grossly underplayed.
When it comes to Druid’s late game, replacing Tony and Jailer with Fizzle and Astalor gets the job done. ETC looks bad. Don’t worry about tech cards. Druid doesn’t need tech cards. Druid is the class that forces other classes to play the tech cards.
Drum Druid also looks quite strong, despite being nowhere near as popular. With the fall of Control Warrior, the non-Topior build looks superior again. Much like in Ramp Druid, Lifebinder’s Gift blocks the guaranteed favorable outcome from Embrace of Nature. Drum Druid needs to play Drum Circle as soon as possible against Ramp Druid before it can discount Yogg. If you don’t run Topior, you don’t run Gift.
Moonbeam Druid isn’t particularly good, but it’s dramatically stronger when it runs Prison Breaker and Yogg.
Aggro Druid might be a soft counter to Ramp Druid, since it can flood the board very quickly and snowball hard before Yogg comes online, but the deck isn’t too well-rounded.
- Druid Class Radar
- Ramp Druid
- Drum Druid
- Moonbeam Druid
- Aggro Druid
Secret Rogue looks like one of the best decks in the game. The Breakdance build has become stronger after the Jailer ban, likely because Yogg-Saron in Rogue has become even stronger with the absence of immune boards. Secret Rogue doesn’t beat Ramp Druid, but Gravedigger’s disruption utility helps carry the matchup to a close 50-50 affair, even without fringe tech cards such as Cult Neophyte or Speaker Stomper. Try to shuffle the combined Nourish back into the Druid’s deck. This play drastically slows down their game plan.
In faster matchups, the combination of Prison Breaker and Yogg-Saron gives the archetype the board swings it didn’t have access to previously.
Miracle Rogue is a good deck when refined, but the Ramp Druid matchup is very difficult without tech cards. Running both Cult Neophyte and Speaker Stomper is not a bad idea, especially if you’re playing at top legend, where most Miracle Rogue players reside, and Ramp Druid is extremely popular.
To make way for this package, we cut Tentacle Grip, Crabatoa and Azshara. Grip and Crabatoa are very weak cards against Druid. Azshara can be good against Druid in the early game, but her impact on the matchup falls off later in the game. For Miracle Rogue to win this matchup more consistently, it cannot let the Druid play cards. Constant disruption through Neophyte and Stomper, especially when the Druid has Nourish in hand, is important. If they cannot play spells efficiently, they don’t discount Yogg quickly enough to blow you out of the game.
Even Mech Rogue doesn’t beat Ramp Druid without tech cards. Druid’s resilience is crazy, so running a Neophyte/Stomper package is acceptable in this archetype too. Just don’t keep these cards in your opening hand. You still need your early game mechs to snowball. A Neophyte/Stomper on the Nourish turn is when you can lock them out of the game.
Dagger Rogue has popped up and looks like a competitive deck. The game plan is to constantly buff your dagger and increase its durability with Air Guitarist/Shadowstep. The deck has a lot of damage and Breaker/Yogg offer those sweet board swings, but this is the worst Rogue deck to queue into Druid.
- Rogue Class Radar
- Mech Rogue
- Miracle Rogue
- Secret Rogue
- Dagger Rogue
The Jailer ban helped Rainbow Mage quite a bit in avoiding a completely miserable time against Druid. The matchup has become drastically closer. The importance of Lady Naz’jar has also lessened, making the featured build the cleanest one for ladder. Norgannon and Naz’jar can be added instead of Infinitize and the 2nd copy of Elemental Inspiration if it floats your boat.
A full teched out Renathal build has recently appeared out of the desperation to perform better against Druid. Dirty Rats, Solid Alibis, Rustrot Vipers and even a Theotar can be found. That list does perform better against Druid, but at the cost of tanking every other matchup. We can’t recommend it at the moment.
Following the Jailer ban, Plague Death Knight leaning into a Blood rune to run Patchwerk has lost its purpose. The stronger move seems to be going triple Unholy.
However, we are not impressed at all by builds leaning into Grave Strength with early aggression. The Plague package just doesn’t seem to synergize well with a board flooding game plan, while those builds can’t even beat Ramp Druid consistently. A better idea seems to be running the Neophyte/Stomper package, which gains a lot of percentages against Druid. The third Unholy rune is worth it just for Marrowgar.
- Death Knight Class Radar
- Plague Death Knight
- Blood-Ctrl Death Knight
- Unholy-Aggro Death Knight
Control Priest is desperate to improve its standing against Druid. The Jailer ban has changed the approach to the matchup. Instead of running non-targeted removal such as Shadow Word: Ruin, the focus is on disrupting Druid’s revised late game. Rustrot Viper remains important for Ignis, but a Steamcleaner to deal with Fizzle is also recommended. Steamcleaner also happens to be very good against Plague Death Knight.
An ETC that includes second copies of Viper and Cleaner, as well as the situational Svalna, seems sensible enough. Theotar has become worse after the Jailer ban. Holy Nova is very important in some matchups (Paladin, Hunter).
Undead Priest remains mostly the same. Aman’Thul has taken a big hit in its performance since the introduction of Yogg-Saron in Druid, but the rise of Rogue has improved its standing over the last week.
Control Warrior needed to change its build to adapt to Tony Druid by running Brawl, but the Jailer ban has reverted its build path on ladder to the original From the Depths variant. The matchup against Druid has become much more tolerable since, but Druid still represents a problem for the deck and avenues for adjustments aren’t great.
Enrage Warrior is now the superior deck in its class, but Druid similarly represents an issue. The build hasn’t changed and there’s been no effort from the player base to tech harder for the Druid matchup.
Arcane Hunter has seen a lot of experimentation over the last two weeks. The main conundrum that faced the archetype is the incorporation of Yogg-Saron and Prison Breaker. Both cards didn’t perform well if slapped on top of the original Arcane Hunter build but became much stronger when supported by Barrel of Monkeys and Bunch of Bananas.
However, the problem was that Monkeys and Bananas somewhat clashed with the Secret package and required us to cut much of the Arcane package. WuLing may have figured out the dramatic solution, which is completely cutting the Secret package instead. The result is the featured build, which has proven to be the best Hunter deck on ladder, as well as the best performer in the Ramp Druid matchup.
While the Secret package is strong, it isn’t particularly good against Ramp Druid, as secrets aren’t quick to trigger in that matchup. Instead, we run Vicious Slitherspear, which helps us snowball the early game through Monkeys and Bananas.
Due to the efforts in finding counters to Ramp Druid, a new iteration of Pure Paladin has emerged, highly focused on buffs and Garden’s Grace. The goal of this build is to snowball a single minion into a giant threat that the Druid cannot deal with through multiple buffs. It seems to work well in the matchup, making Buff Pure Paladin the best counter to Ramp Druid.
The featured list removes from the original build some of the reactive cards, Great Hall and Flash of Light, that don’t synergize with the deck’s game plan. We’d like to see data on Blessing of Kings, since it’s a good follow up to Boogie Down. There’s a build that cuts Countess to run Click-Clocker and Spotlight, but we’re not convinced it’s a move that makes the Druid matchup any better. We would try one Spotlight and see how it performs with 4 Divine Shield minions. Resistance Aura is generally a bad card, but it’s very strong against Druid and the whole point of this deck is to counter Druid, so we kept it.
- Paladin Class Radar
- Pure Paladin
- Aggro Paladin
- Earthen Paladin
Warlock has been getting rolled over by Druid. The only deck that provides stronger resistance in this matchup is Chad Warlock, which is why it has been able to stay afloat. Not much else is going on in the class, as card choices haven’t changed. Lord Jaraxxus turned out to be a bad card in Control Warlock.
- Warlock Class Radar
- Control Warlock
- Chad Warlock
- Curse Warlock
- Imp Warlock
Shaman is close to complete irrelevance. It’s quite incredible that Totem Shaman can’t beat Ramp Druid consistently. Nature Shaman has fallen off, while Control Shaman iterations don’t appear playable.
Demon Hunter has been completely abandoned. We can’t even tell how good/bad Relic or Outcast DH are. Our guess is that they aren’t great.
- Demon Hunter Class Radar
- Relic Demon Hunter
- Outcast Demon Hunter
The current format is split into two. It’s surprisingly diverse throughout most of ladder, with many viable decks and options. At top legend, things get extremely narrow due to the resilience of Ramp Druid, though even at these ranks, there’s some room to improve the field’s standing against the meta tyrant.
Arcane Hunter, behind its new Secret-less iteration, looks like the strongest deck on the climb to legend. This new build also helps the deck’s standing against Druid.
Secret Rogue has emerged with great promise behind its established disruption tools, combined with the board swings offered by the two most influential cards in the mini-set: Prison Breaker and Yogg-Saron.
Ramp Druid is the big bad at top legend and may have not even hit its final form if it proves to be stronger with Prison Breaker and without Lifebinder’s Gift. We’ll know next week what’s up with that.
There are some signs that an expansion announcement could be coming next week, so hang tight. Where is Hearthstone headed next?
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