vS Data Reaper Report #289

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Welcome to the 289th edition of the Data Reaper Report! This is the first report for Whizbang’s Workshop.

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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 2,946,000
Top 1K Legend 88,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k) 1,002,000
Diamond 4 to 1 510,000
Diamond 10 to 5 428,000
Platinum 352,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 566,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Reminder: The graphs in the report are screenshots. You can see all the data, hover over graphs for more information, and select additional bracket filters, in the original tableau files on the website. Clicking on the screenshots in the report, or navigating through the website toolbar, gets you there.

Class Frequency Discussion

A balance patch will arrive once this report is out, but we think the information gathered from the first week of the expansion is still very valuable. Decks in this report were built according to the data we had, but we will talk about the potential impact of balance changes on these decks, whenever necessary.

Paladin has been front and center during the first week of Whizbang’s Workshop. Handbuff Paladin is the most popular deck in the format across all levels of play. Some Aggro Paladin, mostly running the Showdown/Sea Giant combo, exist as well. Reno Paladin sees little play.

Initial enthusiasm in Warrior has been centered on Reno Warrior and its various approaches. The most popular one has been the tentacle build. However, Odyn Warrior has been gaining more traction at higher levels of play and becomes increasingly popular the higher you climb at top legend.

Plague Death Knight has looked settled since the expansion’s launch, changing very little in its build. Rainbow Death Knight has two approaches, with some overlap between them. The first is a normal beatdown build as theory-crafted on this website. The second is a defensive minded control build, which becomes more popular at top legend as an answer to Warriors.

Demon Hunter has been gaining significant traction in recent days, focused on an Umpire’s Grasp/Window Shopper build. In addition to Shopper DH, Reno DH has just started to emerge in the last couple of days, taking after the more aggressive archetype by running two copies of Grasp/Shopper. The class is shooting up in its play rate rapidly, in a way that’s difficult to appreciate in a graph that measures play rates since the beginning of the expansion. Over the last 24 hours, Demon Hunter’s play rate at top legend has already eclipsed 20%.

Warlock has been full of surprises. Wheel of Death is one of the biggest stories of the first week of the expansion, with Wheel Warlock emerging as one of the most popular decks in the format. Meanwhile, Nemsy has completely flopped, with Demon Warlock builds floundering. Sludge Warlock does exist, but at a low play rate.

Shaman has three main archetypes. There has been a lot of enthusiasm for Tentacle Shaman initially, but this deck is currently in decline. Reno Shaman exhibits a modest play rate across ladder. Nature Shaman is the most popular Shaman deck at legend ranks, with recent iterations running a very low curve and Kobold Geomancers.

Hunter has largely been focused on its Token archetype, leveraging Jungle Gym and R.C. Rampage. There’s been experimentation with various card choices, with the deck trying to find the fastest and most ruthless build.

Rogue has been messing around with many different builds. There are Pirate/Boat decks, mostly with a weapon-based win condition. There are Weapon Rogues without Boat. Gaslight Rogues have tried to devise a way to competitively discount Playhouse Giants with Gaslight Gatekeeper and copy them with Celestial Projectionist. Excavate Rogue has also been attempted. None of these decks see much play.

Priest has been the messiest class, with most of the focus on leveraging Zarimi. Zarimi Priest has gone through a lot of iterations, but might have settled on a board flooding, aggressive shell.

Spell Mage has very quickly fallen off, with most attempts to find a competitive Mage deck in recent days lying at the door of Rainbow Mage.

Druid is the one class that appears to have given up already, unable to deal with the aggression of some of the top classes in the format.

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion

Remember what we say in the beginning of every expansion. Some archetypes are less refined than others, so they may not look strong in the first week of the expansion. We will note which decks have the highest scope for improvement. They happen to be the ones lower in the table.


  • Handbuff Paladin is clearly a powerful deck with a very strong matchup spread, but we do find it interesting that it’s no longer the best performing deck at any rank bracket. It’s been eclipsed by Token Hunter across most of ladder, with Hunter looking like one of its most reliable counters. At top legend, it’s been bested by Odyn Warrior. With four of its cards getting nerfed today, we can expect a significant decline in its popularity and performance.
  • If it were given another week, we estimate that Aggro Paladin would prove to be the superior Paladin deck. It’s the strongest counter to Handbuff Paladin and shows tremendous potential without even being fully refined. The Showdown/Sea Giant combo is extremely powerful in the current format. The nerfs should affect this deck too, with Deputization Aura the only card it doesn’t run.


  • Odyn Warrior is the best performing deck at higher levels of play, for a good reason. Its matchup spread is scary, gaining a few percentage points against several common opponents. While Handbuff Paladin is a slightly unfavored matchup, Odyn dominates other late game strategies while maintaining strong matchups into most aggressive decks. The primary Warrior counters are the Death Knight archetypes. Plague DK is well known for its ability to counter Warrior, but the new defensive minded Rainbow DK is also proving to be an effective answer. The deck is getting hit with significant nerfs, including a nerf to its most important card, so its competitive standing should be very different.
  • Reno Warrior is weaker and more vulnerable. Its relatively lower skill ceiling pushes it into unplayable status at top legend. We’re not convinced this is something that can be improved through refinement.

Death Knight

  • Plague DK is the same deck it’s been for the last few months. Decent on the climb, falls off hard at higher levels of play, to the point it’s non-viable. Despite its good matchup into Warrior, it’s too easy to exploit.
  • Rainbow DK holds up better. It’s able to counter Odyn Warrior just as reliably as Plague DK, but the rest of its matchup spread is more resilient. Its defensive build also gets better at higher levels of play. There’s a future in the format for this archetype.

Demon Hunter

  • Shopper DH might be the most dangerous deck in the game. Not only is it a Tier 1 performer across all levels of play, it’s the only Tier 1 deck that is not getting nerfed in today’s patch. In addition, its only two counters, the ones that prevent it from spiraling completely out of control, are getting nerfed as well. With Odyn Warrior and Handbuff Paladin potentially weakened, there’s nothing on paper that can stop Demon Hunter from completely taking over the format. Its matchup spread is extremely dominant outside of these two matchups.
  • New innovations have to come up clutch and stop this menace from becoming an uncontested, Tier S tyrant. There’s always a chance that new discoveries will provide solutions to the problem that Demon Hunter imposes, but the spike in its play rate over the last 24 hours is no coincidence. Players are practicing, with full expectation that this will become the deck to beat.
  • Furthermore, the newly emerging Reno DH, which we had a chance to only briefly evaluate, is also exhibiting the performance level of a Tier 1 deck. The interaction between Grasp and Shopper is proving to be busted, to the point other cards in the deck don’t matter that much.


  • Wheel Warlock is very strong across most of ladder. Its future success comes with a caveat. It has two horrendous matchups into Shopper DH and Nature Shaman. Its standing in the post-patch format depends on what happens to these decks after the patch. Their emergence in the last few days at top legend is the primary reason why Wheel Warlock has fallen to Tier 3 there, despite being a Tier 1 performer elsewhere. The Paladin nerfs could help.
  • Sludge Warlock looks weak, outclassed by better aggressive options out there.


  • Nature Shaman is a terrifying deck against any strategy that can’t kill it by turn 6, or stack huge amounts of armor to outlast it. The meta at higher levels of play has more decks that can accomplish one of these two things, so Nature Shaman looks tame there. However, it remains to be seen how the balance patch impacts Shaman. Will nerfing some of Shaman’s damage make up for the potential decline in Warrior’s popularity? This is a 10/90 matchup that Shaman could potentially get away from.
  • Reno Shaman is relatively unrefined. It’s an archetype that we think might be able to handle Shopper DH well in the post-patch format. While it doesn’t look like that in the current stats, Reno Shaman can be built to have a decent matchup against Demon Hunter. The nerf to Odyn is also big, as the Odyn Warrior is absolutely miserable for Reno Shaman.
  • Tentacle Shaman is unfortunately terrible. Reno Warrior does tentacles better.


  • Thanks to its strong matchup into Handbuff Paladin, Token Hunter has been able to leapfrog its rival and become the best performing deck across ladder, with the exception of top legend, where Odyn Warrior was able to block its path to the throne. An aggressive Hunter deck frontrunning early while punishing unrefined decks? We’ve been here before. It’s worth noting that Token Hunter currently displays the lowest skill ceiling in the format, losing an average of 6% in its matchups between Diamond ranks and top legend. To simplify it, if we apply its Diamond matchups to the top legend field, its win rate would be close to 59%. Instead, its win rate is under 53%.
  • Some would say that Hunter’s win rate exceeding 60% at lower MMR’s is unacceptable. This expansion is unique due to the popularity of Whizbang, which inflates the win rate of competitive decks quite substantially. Whizbang was very popular even at Diamond ranks and lower Legend ranks in the first few days. There are “janky” decks at the beginning of every expansion, but this expansion has taken it further beyond. This is important to note because many players have lamented the high win rates that some decks have displayed, ignoring the Whizbang effect. Handbuff Paladin is not a historically broken deck. Neither is Token Hunter. Regardless, both are getting nerfed.


  • Gaslight Rogue is one the least refined decks in the Power Ranking table, so its Tier 3 placement isn’t discouraging. It may not be one of the better decks in the format, but its refined form shows the potential to be very competitive. The Odyn Warrior nerfs could be a huge help too, as this is an oppressive matchup for the Rogue (30-70). Toy Boat may have flopped, but Rogue does have a competitive path through Gaslight Gatekeeper.


  • Priest may have started slow, but it’s figuring itself out. Zarimi Priest is the least refined deck in the table, so its scope for improvement is the highest. Its most refined form might be the biggest sleeper in the format. We estimate it is very comfortably a Tier 2 deck today, only sitting behind the top 4 classes in the format. Its oppressive matchup against Shopper DH is the major obstacle of its future success. A nerf to Demon Hunter in this patch and we might have given it the Meta Breaker title.


  • Spell Mage was dead on arrival, but Rainbow Mage has not thrown in the towel. Much like Priest and Rogue, Mage is taking more time to figure itself out, which is why its performance is lagging behind other classes. A refined Rainbow Mage is closer to the 50% win rate mark than current aggregated stats suggest. We see potential for success with the class in the aftermath of the balance changes, especially if one particular build gets the buff we think it might be getting.


  • So there’s hope for Rogue, Priest, and Mage. In the current format, there is no hope for Druid. Its best deck, at its peak potential, is still a Tier 4 deck (Reno Druid). Boomkin Druid is fighting Spell Mage for the honor of being the worst deck in the game. The patch needs to massively improve Druid’s standing for the class to be competitive, but the Shopper DH matchup seems horrible.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Handbuff Paladin is split into two variants: The Excavate build and the Deckhand build.

The Excavate build is slower and more value centric. It is inspired by the build we’ve concocted in our theorycrafting article, with a few adjustments. Instrument Tech tutors Painter’s Virtue, while Gold Panner is a 2-drop that helps us maintain our hand size for handbuffing. This build doesn’t need more than one Instrument Tech (the second one is much weaker and turns Painter’s Virtue into an awkward mulligan keep). Our focus on hand size makes Living Horizon a strong card.

Grimestreet Outfitter and Muscle-o-Tron haven’t impressed in this variant since the deck already takes things slow and naturally buffs its minions through the Azerite Dragon in the late game. A Ticking module on Zilliax is also stronger than a Perfect module because it’s faster. We’ll see how a Ticking module nerf possibly changes things.

The Deckhand build is faster and focuses on charging the opponent with burst damage. This variant wants to run two copies of Instrument Tech because it’s far more reliant on the weapon to close out games early (both Tech and Virtue are blind mulligan keeps in this variant). Outfitter and Muscle-o-Tron are also stronger cards in the deck since you want to buff your chargers as much as possible. Outfit Tailor forms a strong pairing with Deckhand and enables ridiculous burst damage through Shroomscavate.

We suspect that taking away Windfury from Shroomscavate could negatively impact the Deckhand build more, perhaps even making it non-competitive. A Deputization Aura nerf could risk its inclusion in Paladin alongside Trinket Artist, since the card is not even particularly strong in its current form (it’s the strangest Paladin nerf). A nudge on Tigress Plushy should keep the card viable. We recommend running the Excavate build after the patch, and potentially finding upgrades on Dep Aura/Trinket Artist if this package proves to be too weak.

Aggro Paladin focused on the Showdown/Sea Giants combo is showing incredible promise, with the potential to become stronger than Handbuff Paladin. The most common build is not even refined, with Harth Stonebrew stinking up the place. Leeroy Jenkins is quite weak without handbuffs too. We recommend running Flash Sale and Prismatic Beam. A single copy of Boogie Down might be correct, as the second copy is very weak when we’re running 6 1-drops. Hi Ho Silverwing makes sure you find it consistently.

A Shroomscavate nerf likely kills the card for this archetype, so we would probably run Hand of A’dal instead.

Reno Paladin looks very weak when it tries to play defensively, and quite strong when it tries to imitate Handbuff Paladin. The featured build does the latter.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Odyn Warrior has proved to be extremely powerful at higher levels of play, leading to its cornerstone card seeing a nerf.

The most notable development of the deck this week is Trial by Fire being cut from many builds, as Sanitize has proven to be the more important board clear in most matchups on ladder and receiving a significant power and consistency boost thanks to Safety Goggles. Safety Goggles is one of the best cards in the deck. Garrosh’s Gift has proven to be invaluable in the Paladin matchup thanks to granting access to both Execute and Brawl.

An Odyn nerf is very likely to be a mana nudge rather than an ability rework. This should still have a significant impact on the deck’s late game prowess, as a single turn can often make a difference in many matchups. As an example, Wheel Warlock should become a more difficult opponent. We wonder if this will push Control Warrior into a Brann/Boomboss direction. An Aftershocks nerf doesn’t only hurt Warrior’s survivability, but also its ability to draw with Acolyte of Pain.

Reno Warrior has seen experimentation with many builds. The most popular and successful one has been the Tentacle build (though not writing off other Reno Warrior builds). The goal of this build is to generate or copy as many Chaotic Tendrils as possible and ramping them into casting Sunset Volley. With Caricature Artist and Taelan, this build finds Deepminer Brann very consistently. The ETC is meant to be played post-Brann to generate a lot of Tendrils.

No changes to our theory-crafted Plague Death Knight from last week, save for swapping the Twin module to the Ticking one in Zilliax. Plucky Paintfin is a decent card in the deck, while Scarab Keychain looks a little better than Miracle Salesman.

Rainbow Death Knight has two different builds, meant for different parts of ladder, though there’s a surprising amount of overlap between them that prevented us from splitting them reliably. We’ll see if we can do this in the future.

The first build is the classic Bride build. A change we would make from our theory-crafted list is to swap Corpse Farm for Army of the Dead. Army of the Dead is proving to be a better corpse spender judging by its performance in the other Rainbow variant. A Perfect/Ticking Zilliax is a very good stabilizing tool with Army of the Dead or Crop Rotation. Dr. Stitchensew is proving to be a disappointment so far.

The second build is defensive minded, playing a more controlling style. This list was concocted with the intention of targeting Odyn Warrior at top legend. One peculiar trend we’re seeing in this variant’s builds is the inclusion of one copy of Threads of Despair. This is one of the clearest cases of Hearthstone terrorism we’ve seen this week. Threads of Despair is one of the best cards in the deck. Two copies should be the consensus.

Another card that doesn’t see enough play is Quartzite Crusher. The mentality seems to be that “we can just discover it from Runes of Darkness”. A single copy is still extremely valuable to have in the Odyn Warrior matchup. It completely shuts the Warrior down for three turns after Odyn is played. If we do find more from Rune of Darkness, then the Warrior just cannot win. The card is also quite powerful in other matchups, such as Demon Hunter. Viper doesn’t have the same impact here.

There is another Control Death Knight build that goes BBU to gain access to Soulstealer and Corpse Explosion. It looks significantly worse than Rainbow. You might think Climactic Necrotic Explosion isn’t too important for a defensive minded build (it’s still very good), but the bigger loss is Reska. That’s the best card in the deck. We’re not giving up that Frost rune easily.

Shopper Demon Hunter has proven to be a very powerful deck, strictly through the interaction between Umpire’s Grasp and Window Shopper. When evaluating this deck, other card choices seem to matter very little. The only thing you care about in the mulligan phase is finding Grasp, or finding Instrument Tech that can draw you Grasp.

The rest of the deck acts as “filler”, giving you plays when you have mana to spend on cards that aren’t Window Shopper or its discovered demons. Kayn looks good and should see more play. Going Down Swinging looks like the 31st best card. It might be redundant because of Magtheridon discovers. Ball Hog was very close to being cut as well, as we never realistically want to play it on turn 4. If you’re not playing Shopper on 4, it usually means you’re in trouble.

With the deck solely focused on two cards, while the rest of the deck matters very little, it makes sense why Reno Demon Hunter is suddenly emerging. Recent builds imitate Shopper DH’s game plan, running two copies of Umpire’s Grasp and Window Shopper. Once you find Grasp, you can activate both Kurtrus and Reno. This is the first time a Reno deck with duplicates is clearly stronger than a pure Highlander alternative. Kurtrus is a valuable disruption tool in several matchups, such as Odyn Warrior, so Reno DH has become a hot trend at top legend where Odyn is popular. We’ll see if Kurtrus finds similar value after the Odyn nerf.

We’ve made a minimal number of tweaks to the original build. Data was limited for this deck, as it is very new, so we offer two builds: The original build with a few tweaks of poorly performing outliers, and a more theory-crafted build that tries to imitate Shopper DH more closely. Once we get more data, we’ll see where things land.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Wheel Warlock’s best builds leverage Loken with a curated pool of big minions. We’re quite confident about 27 cards in the deck, with the last slots going to Imposing Anubisath and Reverberation. Anubisath offers a good Forge of Wills/Loken target, while Reverberation is strong in several key matchups (Paladin/DH/Mirror). The Perfect/Recursive Zilliax choice looks very good.

Warrior and Paladin should help this deck in theory, but it depends on the status of Nature Shaman and Shopper DH, which are very painful matchups. Dealing with Demon Hunter will likely become Warlock’s priority. We wonder if Siphon Soul becomes a serious consideration to deal with the mid-game 6/5’s that Warlock often struggles to clear.

Sludge Warlock looks at its best running the same list we’ve proposed in the theorycrafting article, with Doomguard added.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Nature Shaman’s most successful builds run a very low curve, even without including Golganneth. Ancestral Knowledge isn’t great but performs better than Dryscale Deputy.

With Lightning Bolt likely being replaced in Thrall’s Gift, we wonder what the adjustment could be. Overdraft performs quite poorly, so we’re not too eager to run it as it’s mostly a Hail Mary against Warrior. Wandmaker gets worse but might still be good enough to include since we need more damage. Cactus Cutter didn’t make the cut but is another option if the deck wants to compensate for the loss in its consistency.

Nature Shaman does lose a significant amount of damage post-patch, but if Odyn Warrior’s popularity falls, it might end up being a net positive change for the deck. Only time will tell.

Reno Shaman is very unrefined. We cleaned it up with the featured build, which seems surprisingly competitive. The deck should become stronger after the balance changes and offers a decent matchup against Shopper DH (when refined).

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Token Hunter is the strongest deck in the format outside of top legend, surpassing Paladin over the last few days. A nerf to Ticking Zilliax will be impactful for every board flooding deck, but we expect the deck to be able to handle it, as well as the nerf to Awakening Tremors.

The best approach for the archetype has been to cut Mantle Shaper along with Monkey and Bananas. Rather than focusing on spells, it’s better to focus on overloading the board for R.C. Rampage and Jungle Gym. For that purpose, we like Ball of Spiders. Scarab Keychain becomes better than Vicious Slitherspear once we cut Bananas.

Camouflage Mount is very easy to land, so it’s a nice alternative turn 4 play to Rampage if we don’t have a lot of minions in play. Kill Command is superior to Leeroy Jenkins. The legendary charger is proving to be a questionable choice in any deck that’s not Handbuff Paladin. Barak Kodobane is a bit too slow.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Gaslight Rogue looks very competitive once it’s refined, with the balance changes possibly opening more space for it to succeed thanks to Warrior’s expected decline.

The best build is a hybrid Mech variant that runs Mimiron alongside From the Scrapheap and Drone Deconstructor. Playhouse Giants are also mechs, so they can be found more consistently with Pit Stop and copied with Celestial Projectionist, as well as Shadowstep/Breakdance.

To quickly discount Giants, we need a big hand size before we play Gaslight Gatekeeper. From the Scrapheap is great for that purpose, but Quick Pick is also very important. In our search for additional turn 2 plays, we’ve been impressed by Gold Panner. Mic Drop is another popular inclusion but missed the cut for Gold Panner and Dig for Treasure. It’s a little bit clunkier than those two cards.

Zilliax’ inclusion is up in the air. It can be quite powerful against board flooding decks in combination with Projectionist, but it does dilute the Pit Stop pool. With Ticking module likely nerfed, we might opt for a different card. It could be Mic Drop or Fan of Knives. Alternatively, we’re curious about Zola the Gorgon. This deck is very reliant on copying Playhouse Giants to beat slower decks. Even though Zola isn’t as clean when used with Shadowstep, the redundancy with Projectionist could be valuable. Zola also allows us to stretch our threats, since we’re not obligated to play all the copies in the same turn. Food for thought.

Excavate Rogue isn’t as bad as it looks in the stats but even its best build doesn’t come close to the potential Gaslight Rogue exhibits. Pit Stop is your friend in this deck.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Zarimi Priest looks to have massive potential once it’s fully refined. The deck just needed time to figure itself out. An all-out aggressive approach that floods the board is showing a lot of promise with Magatha offering the draw engine that the class was struggling to find.

We’re relatively confident about 28 cards here. The main search has been for good 2-mana plays. We like Dreamboat a lot. This card can become huge when we’re fast to get to the board and snowball. It also has nice synergy with Crimson Clergy. Faerie Dragon and Starlight Whelp are ‘okay’. They’re reasonable inclusions if you’re looking to maximize your dragon count, but it’s not a big priority for this deck to run more than 6 dragons. With Scale Replica and Whelp Wrangler, Zarimi gets activated consistently.

One card that’s not being played at all is Shadow Ascendant. Considering the nature of this deck, it’s hard to believe that it wouldn’t be a strong inclusion. We suggest trying it out, and if it doesn’t work out, we fall back to some combination of Faerie Dragon and Starlight Whelp.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Rainbow Mage may seem like it’s floundering, but there’s some cooking going on that makes us think the class has not thrown in the towel yet. We’re particularly curious about a Frostbolt build that runs Watercolor Artist. Artist helps us discount a Frostbolt to 0-mana, which allows us to OTK opponents more easily with a Sif/Reverb play.

The potential of this build rises if Frost Lich Cross-Stitch sees its mana cost reduced. In this case, we would cut Watcher of the Sun and Infinitize the Maxitude for a second Artist and Cross-Stitch.

The MVP of this deck is another elemental. Sleet Skater is an amazing stabilizer and the second-best card in the deck, after Sif. The Excavate package doesn’t seem worth it anymore.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Druid is the only class that does not exhibit the ability to compete in this format. The closest thing it has is Reno Druid, as Reno can offer the class a bail out card to save its skin against the unrelenting aggression in this format. But Reno Druid is still, at best, a high Tier 4 deck.

We’re somewhat confused how Demon Hunter was left alone in this balance patch, when it was already well known. The balance patch is theoretically placing Demon Hunter as an immediate format tyrant, one that exhibits no counters beyond two decks that are being hit hardest with nerfs.

Shopper DH is a Tier 1 performer today, despite the popularity and strength of its current counters. Unless new discoveries are found to answer it effectively, its rise to the top is uncontested.

Reno DH’s success in the last couple of days is proof of how strong the interaction between Umpire’s Grasp and Window Shopper is. The power is largely concentrated around two cards, so it doesn’t matter if the rest of the deck goes highlander!

If you want free wins after the patch, Demon Hunter is the best choice. We just hope that some innovation and luck find us ways to stop it.

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