vS Data Reaper Report #287

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Welcome to the 287th 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 1,088,000
Top 1K Legend 47,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k) 400,000
Diamond 4 to 1 235,000
Diamond 10 to 5 137,000
Platinum 108,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 161,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

Deck frequency data now includes the Asia server, but not because the bot problem in Hearthstone has been alleviated. It’s because the America server has become almost as bad, so there’s little point excluding one of the servers. It does make the ladder climb much easier for the average Hearthstone deck, but the botting plague might be the most serious problem currently facing the game. We noticed the most recent ban wave, but bans need to come in more frequently and at a bigger scale for this issue to be dealt with effectively.

The last balance patch of Badlands has caused a massive decline in Druid and Warlock, while pushing other classes to the forefront of the meta. Excavate Rogue is currently staging a major comeback at higher levels of play, alongside Secret Rogue. We strongly suspect that Mech Rogue’s rise in popularity on the climb to legend is driven by bots, so there’s not much else to say about it.

Mage has been completely revived by the buff to Energy Shaper, turning the card into a major cornerstone of new iterations of Rainbow Mage. Experimentation within the archetype is heavy, with the deck becoming the most popular at top legend.

Warrior has been greatly encouraged by the fall of Ramp Druid. Both Reno and Control Warrior are format staples. Their play rates are similar across ladder, with the exception of top legend, where Control Warrior takes over and Reno falls off.

Death Knight remains a very popular class, sitting at a play rate of around 20% across multiple rank brackets. Plague DK continues to be more popular than Rainbow DK, even though the latter has proven to be the superior deck before the patch. It seems that the class’ top legend wall hasn’t disappeared though. Instead of Ramp Druid curbing its popularity, it seems that Rogue and Mage have taken on the role.

Sludge Warlock’s play rate is drastically down, but the deck has not disappeared and enjoys a healthy play rate at higher levels of play.

The buffs have led to the emergence of Thief Priest, a deck that’s very heavy on generation, usually runs a 30-card build, and skips most of the class’ removal. It has become slightly more popular than Reno Priest. Automaton Priest is another deck that’s likely being heavily automated by bots. Mech Rogue and Automaton Priest, true to lore!

Ramp Druid has fallen off hard, but a noticeable population of the archetype persists at top legend, where players attempt to adjust to the nerf to Shattered Reflections. Dragon, Treant, and Reno Druid see little play across ladder.

Naga Demon Hunter has died out, but in its place, Spell Demon Hunter has returned thanks to buffs to Mark of Scorn and Deal with a Devil. Most players are not aware of the deck just yet.

Shaman is the least active buffed class. Some players have been experimenting with various Big Shaman builds. Reno Shaman interest is low.

Paladin and Hunter are largely unchanged. Aggro Paladin has stayed a relevant player in the format. Hunter continues to be ignored.

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion

The balance changes have successfully toned down power outliers, while reviving a class that was previously irrelevant. The meta at higher levels of play is looking very balanced, with no deck exceeding a 52% win rate at top legend, as well as plenty of competitive options. With both Mage and Rogue looking to set the tone with high generation archetypes, you could call the final weeks of Badlands “the Casino format”.


  • Rogue has benefitted from the fall of Ramp Druid, with Excavate and Secret Rogue looking like the strongest decks at top legend, though neither deck looks like a power outlier currently. Considering that Excavate Rogue is less refined than Secret, it’s safe to say they are essentially tied in power. Neither deck boasts a scary matchup spread either. Both Warrior and Mage seem to handle Rogue quite well. Rogue’s biggest selling point is how it performs against Death Knights.
  • Miracle Rogue, based on its low sample size, could become a relevant top legend player too.


  • Energy Shaper has become a game changer. Rainbow Mage now looks like one of the most influential decks in the format, with further scope for improvement through refinement. The archetype handles most matchups well, with Warrior becoming the main pain point, much like it is for Rogue.


  • You’d think that with Rogue and Mage looking so strong and popular at higher levels of play, Warrior should surge in power thanks to its late game prowess. However, both Control and Reno Warrior exhibit oppressive matchups against Plague DK, which prevents them from looking dominant. The 40-card variant of Control Warrior is the only list that can handle this matchup reasonably well, but it’s not necessarily the best option overall, since it loses out percentages in other matchups (such as the Warrior mirror).
  • It’s interesting to note that Reno Warrior currently outperforms Control Warrior across ladder, while looking equally powerful at higher levels of play, despite the fact most top legend players opt for the 30-card build of Control Warrior. However, we do notice a declining performance trend for Reno Warrior over time, which could land it near the 50% win rate mark within a week. The deck’s skill trajectory is just very low (nearly as low as Plague DK) in comparison to Control Warrior (above average for this format, which is admittedly low on player agency).

Death Knight

  • The decline of Druid hasn’t changed Death Knight’s general behavior on ladder. It continues to look strong on the climb, but get exploited at higher levels of play. Plague DK may have dominant matchups into Warrior, but its matchup spread at top legend is very weak against most other decks, especially Rogue and Mage. Rainbow DK is superior across ladder because it’s more well rounded, with a balanced matchup spread that has very few weaknesses, but similarly hits a wall against stronger players (to a less severe extent than Plague DK).


  • Sludge Warlock has been properly balanced, remaining a competitive deck that’s no longer a power outlier. It’s strong against Mage, surprisingly effective against Warrior, but vulnerable to Rogue and Death Knight.


  • Thief Priest doesn’t look good.  The deck seems to lose to every archetype in the format that is being played by human players. We’re not sure it can improve its performance through refinement either, as we have yet to identify a build that outperforms others. Reno Priest is also having a difficult time, with Reno Warrior and Rainbow Mage looking like oppressive matchups.


  • Ramp Druid could be alive and well, though obviously less powerful. Despite the hit to Shattered Reflections, we’re seeing signs of recovery from the archetype at top legend, where players are effectively adjusting its build to the change. We’ll see if its refinement helps it keep up with other competitive decks in the field. It has a reasonable chance of displaying a positive win rate next week, considering how close it is to 50% already. Still, the field is providing some solid resistance. None of the matchups against the top classes are easy.
  • Reno Druid is mediocre and doesn’t have the same potential we see in Ramp Druid. Not much has changed in the behavior of Dragon and Treant Druid.

Demon Hunter

  • Naga DH looks dead, but Spell DH has returned and looks quite good. The deck stands up well to Mage, Rogue, Death Knight, and Warlock. Warrior is proving to be the major problem, unsurprisingly.


  • Reno Shaman is very poorly positioned in the format. It has been completely outclassed since the launch of the mini-set, looking like a poor man’s Reno Warrior. We don’t see that changing anytime soon.
  • Big Shaman running From De Other Side might be able to compete at a Tier 3 level with the right build. It’s not a good deck, but it’s drastically stronger than its previous position as a meme. Totem Shaman doesn’t see much play, but looks strong based on its low sample size. Players just haven’t cared for a while.


  • Even though Druid dropped off, Aggro Paladin still looks like a strong deck across ladder, with the exception of top legend. It now looks like a better choice than Sludge Warlock for the climb to legend. The two decks are generally very similar in their matchup spreads, but Paladin notoriously falls off harder at the top. Other Paladin decks aren’t looking very good.


  • Hunter is very good at beating bots. Not so good at beating strong human players.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Data Reaper Report - Rogue

The main difference for Excavate Rogue in this patch is that it aims to be greedier to be able to deal with the popularity of Warrior, a class that can give it some trouble as the matchup approaches the late game. Breakdance getting stronger is the biggest signal to that.

Another card that performs very well in the current field is Sketchy Stranger. Finding Objection or Counterspell can be a game changer against Warrior, especially when considering its synergy with Tess. We are not impressed by Harth Stonebrew.

Initially, the Thunderbringer package looked like the best approach. However, the top legend meta is becoming less Warrior focused and more Rogue/Mage focused. This is making Cult Neophyte a more prominent choice there. Another card that sees quite a bit of play is Antique Flinger. It’s a solid card, but we’re not sure the emerging field is demanding a lot of single target removal from Rogue. It could depend on how Ramp Druid further develops.

The Secret Rogue build looks clean, no changes there. Mech Rogue has been flirting with Harth, but it doesn’t look like a clear winner. Where Harth Stonebrew could be strong is in Miracle Rogue, but we’re not entirely sure.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Rainbow Mage has been completely transformed by the buff to Energy Shaper, with the card’s power level now looking insane. There has been a lot of experimentation of Mage builds. Initially, a Renathal approach looked best, but we suspect the cause of its superior performance in the first couple of days of the patch is that it’s less likely to have glaring deck building errors. No great sacrifices are made if you can run “everything”.

But all indications in recent days is that 30-card builds are superior, especially when they’re more likely to find Energy Shaper. Our analysis suggests that Mage needs to be bolder when leveraging Energy Shaper. Minions that generate spells look strong. Miracle Salesman and Greedy Partner are the best ones, since they can enable an instant swing turn with Energy Shaper. Remixed Dispense-o-bot is also quite promising. In contrast, minions that don’t generate spells look weak, to the point cutting Inquisitive Creation and Arcane Artificer isn’t such a crazy idea.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

The main development for the Warrior class is the addition of Garrosh’s Gift. While not a top performer, it looks good enough to squeeze into most Warrior lists, often replacing Slam.

The best Reno Warrior build hasn’t changed beyond adding Garrosh’s Gift, but a Renathal build looks surprisingly close in power to the 30-card build.

Garrosh’s Gift performs best in the fast cycling, 30-card Control Warrior variant. It doesn’t see much play in the 40-card variant, where Slams are valued as Blast Charge activators.

The name of the game for Plague Death Knight has been to cut defensive cards and run a more proactive early game. Aggressive decks are far less popular after the patch, so Plague DK needs to take the initiative before it gets blown out by Mage and Rogue’s swing turns.

Miracle Salesman, Mining Casualties and Thassarian are good proactive cards that we’ve added to the build, while cutting Magatha/Hardcore Cultist/Nerubian Vizier (the worst performers in this format).

Rainbow Death Knight shouldn’t significantly change. We’ve dropped one Quartzite Crusher for a 2nd Chillfallen Baron. The weapon is nice, but card draw is the most important thing for Rainbow DK to have in a very greedy meta.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Sludge Warlock is down, but not out. The popularity of Warrior does encourage Warlock to run a greedy build in theory, but the emergence of Rogue and Mage on top of Death Knights dictates otherwise. You want the Fatigue package back for these matchups, especially against Rogue.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

For Reno Priest to survive in this format, it needs to be incredibly greedy, so our build cuts a bunch of survivability for extra threats and value. Yes, Sister Svalna is back on our primary list and we even run Maruut.

Thief Priest doesn’t look strong. It’s a pile of value without much survivability. We’ve investigated the possibility of adding removal to the deck, fitting it into the archetype with the help of Renathal, but early signs are not promising for this direction.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Ramp Druid is showing signs of being able to cope with the nerf to Shattered Reflections, but it needs to adjust. Cover Artists should be added to give us those Eonar blowout turns. We initially liked Naga Giants to offer an alternative target for Shattered Reflections, but we’re not convinced about them.

There’s a strong case to cut Naga Giants and simply run a single copy of Shattered Reflections. For the sake of the Warrior matchup (where you might need to combo twice to win a game) and the consistency in finding the first copy, you could run two copies without Giants. If that’s the case, you drop a copy of Planted Evidence to make space, which isn’t as strong without Topior. If you’re mostly worried about Rogues and Mages, one Beetle combo is enough.

Reno Druid might also be okay, but the ceiling on this deck isn’t as high as Ramp Druid’s.

Spell Demon Hunter is back and looking strong. Deal with a Devil is a legit card now. The popular build on ladder looks mostly correct, except for running one copy of Quick Pick. You want two copies, because it’s the best performing card in your opening hand. Same story as From the Depths in Warrior. Drop one Chaos Strike to make space.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Much like Reno Priest, Reno Shaman needs to be far greedier than it currently is to get anywhere. Weapon damage is your best shot at winning late, so we’ve added Ignis to the deck. Harkener of Dread looks like a solid standalone card now. Thrall’s Gift seems fine too.

Big Shaman’s best direction, which could land it at Tier 3, is the Undead build.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

A swarming Dude-Pure build of Aggro Paladin now looks equally competitive to the full Excavate build, so we’re featuring it as an alternative. In this variant, Keeper’s Strength looks underwhelming, so we’ve kept it as a single copy just to keep opponents honest.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Hunter’s got nothing new to report.

The current meta is very balanced and it’s hard to separate decks from each other. Rogue may seem like the top dog at the moment, but its matchup spread has clear flaws that can be exploited.  Rainbow Mage may exhibit more potential than Rogue and eventually take the #1 spot, especially considering that its scope for improvement is higher. We don’t know if the “Perfect 30” for this archetype has been found, but the featured build is a good place to start.

Mulligan tips. Find Energy Shaper. Miracle Salesman is the only other high percentage keep. Greedy Partner can occasionally be fine. Pitch everything else if you don’t have Shaper in the mull. This deck is all about blowing out the opponent through Energy Shaper transformations. Sif is a strong secondary win condition, but she’s been relegated into a back up plan now.

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1 Comment

  1. Have mixed feelings about insanity lock in the current state. I’m kinda happy players are sleeping on the deck, I just don’t get why. It’s probably not the safest choice at top 50, although the chart shows it has a higher playrate at top 1K than at the rest. For the rest of the ladder it’s been quite comfortable for me so far: got my first top ~600 from 2500 last season and at the current month it’s been the fastest climb from the bottom to the top ~330. Players assume it’s sludge which gives a slight advantage, the meta is less aggressive, it opresses warriors unless the rat/theotar become a popular tech, I have a good WR against DK (except for blood with rat/theo/patchwerk) and rogue (secret’s the worst), an ok WR with mage, it has insane popgar swing which greatly helps me survive till turn 10 and deal +60 dmg. Sometimes an op is killed with just an early tempo imp+conductors+popgar. Defenitely not a tier 1, but a very comfortable, fun, and rewarding deck once you get to know how to navigate it and is definetly more worth mentioning in the report than Ignis Dh or any hunter deck imo. 65%WR with 200 games, maybe i’ve just gone insane (pun intended) having decided to play this deck and caring too much about it. Of course, once this lock gains more popularity, it’ll decline with the amount of disruption available, but I assume it’ll never happen during the last days. Anyway I personally would like to get some advice on current tech choices with mage uprising if you have any thoughts

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