vS Data Reaper Report #291

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Welcome to the 291st 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 2,491,000
Top 1K Legend 83,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k) 233,000
Diamond 4 to 1 508,000
Diamond 10 to 5 514,000
Platinum 390,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 763,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

Demon Hunter is trending in different directions, depending on your rank. Its numbers have slightly increased at Diamond ranks. However, it’s seen a drastic decline at top legend. From nearly 35%, the class now sits at a play rate that’s slightly over 20%. That is a strong indication that Shopper DH’s power may have come under some level of control at higher levels of play. The composition has also changed, with Reno DH going through a relatively bigger decline in its popularity.

Last week, Reno Warrior was tipped as the most obvious counter to Shopper DH by the aggregated numbers. In response, Warrior numbers have grown across ladder and equalized Demon Hunter at legend. The Boomboss build has taken over the archetype, pushing out the Tentacle build.

There hasn’t been too much movement in Death Knight. Rainbow DK is the deck of choice at high MMR’s, while Plague DK maintains its popularity at lower ranks. Rainbow DK has been focused on perfecting its build to target both Demon Hunter and Warrior.

It seems that the drastic decline of Demon Hunter at top legend has had a positive impact on Wheel Warlock’s play rate at this rank bracket. Warlock hopes to avoid Demon Hunter, while targeting both Reno Warrior and Death Knights with great effectiveness.

Rainbow Mage has seen its presence decline at top legend, but looks unaffected elsewhere. The archetype has not impressed last week, but its inherent popularity amongst players is well known.

Rogue’s viral infection has begun to spread. Virus Rogue is now the most popular and visible Rogue deck across ladder, with Gaslight Rogue taking the second spot.

Nature Shaman has gone through a massive transformation, after looking like a completely dead archetype last week. The winds of change started blowing around Thursday, with new iterations gaining traction very rapidly. It is now the fastest growing strategy at top legend, threatening to eclipse a 10% play rate by next week.

In a similar story to Warlock, the drastic decline in Demon Hunter has made Zarimi Priest raise its head, with more players becoming aware of how strong it can be when it doesn’t constantly queue into Window Shoppers.

Dragon Druid has picked up slightly more interest, with plenty of experimentation ongoing, as players attempt to bring the class back to a competitive level.

Hunter has been very quiet, but we did notice a slight increase in its play rate in response to Demon Hunter’s decline. Its position in the format often mirrors Zarimi Priest.

Paladin looks dead. There’s almost nothing going on there.

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion

Demon Hunter

  • Lining up with top legend trends, Demon Hunter’s power level has relaxed across ladder. The power gap between Shopper DH and the rest of the field has clearly shrunk. Shockingly, its position as the best deck at top legend is already under threat, with Zarimi Priest looking like a serious challenger, taking advantage of Demon Hunter’s decline in play.
  • Alongside Reno Warrior, Rainbow DK was able to create a reliable advantage in the matchup against Shopper DH in the aggregated data. Several other decks have also gained percentages against it. Shopper DH is still highly influential in the format, with players at lower ranks struggling to deal with it, but it has come under some level of control that prevented it from completely destroying the format.
  • Having said that, Demon Hunter is attempting a pushback at top legend, with a new Naga variant that runs Grasp/Shopper alongside the Blindeye Sharpshooter shell. This variant is stronger into slower decks, including Shopper DH’s main counters (Reno Warrior, Rainbow DK). In fact, Naga Shopper DH is slightly favored into Reno Warrior! This does come at the cost of percentages lost in faster matchups (Zarimi Priest, Token Hunter). If you’re playing at top legend, we recommend the Naga variant.


  • With Warrior matching Demon Hunter’s play rate at top legend, it has become just as rewarding to counter. The rise of Wheel Warlock, encouraged by Demon Hunter’s decline, has had the biggest impact on Reno Warrior’s performance, kicking it out of Tier 1. Rainbow DK has also managed to carve out a clear advantage in the matchup thanks to Down with the Ship, while Zarimi Priest represents a deceptively difficult opponent to beat. Reno Warrior’s matchup spread is well-rounded, but players know how to make it bleed. The archetype’s rise in performance outside of top legend is the result of the Tentacle build being replaced by the Boomboss build. It’s not an indication of the field becoming more favorable to the archetype, but its own internal improvement that we’ve highlighted last week.

Death Knight

  • You would think Rainbow DK should look stronger, considering it’s the only deck in the format with a favored matchup into both Reno Warrior and Shopper DH. While this is an impressive accomplishment, Rainbow DK is a sitting duck to opponents with more effective late game lethality. Wheel Warlock, Rainbow Mage, as well as the newly emerging Nature Shaman are big problems for the archetype, keeping its win rate in the Tier 3 range.
  • Plague DK looks terrible outside of low MMR ladder brackets. It has sunk further down with the rest of the field optimizing.


  • Wheel Warlock’s rise in play was exclusive to top legend. This is also the only place it improved in its performance. It’s not rocket science. It’s an amazing counter to both Reno Warrior and Rainbow DK, while it’s terrible against Demon Hunter. We’re not concerned with its power level after a Demon Hunter nerf. There are numerous other counters to Wheel Warlock that should be able to keep it in check. In fact, most competitive meta decks beat it. Its matchup spread is very vulnerable and reliant on the popularity of Warrior and Death Knight to succeed.
  • Pain Warlock is the sleeper deck no one is talking about. While the archetype’s play rate is very low, making it hard for us to measure its accurate performance level, we see massive potential in its competitive prospects following a Demon Hunter nerf. This is the best counter in the game to Zarimi Priest!


  • Rainbow Mage’s performance is collapsing. Its role in the format looks redundant, considering the superior standing of Nature Shaman as a faster OTK deck that beats it in the direct matchup. It’s also gone through a setback in its refinement, with Khadgar being cut from a very popular list. Even in peak performance though, Rainbow Mage might become competitively irrelevant.


  • Rogue manages to compete despite poor matchups into Demon Hunter and Warrior. Virus and Gaslight Rogue take advantage of strong matchups into Warlock and Mage. There is also potential for further improvement through refinement in these decks. However, Zarimi Priest might become a big problem for Rogue in the near future. That matchup could make Rogue players miss queueing into Demon Hunter.


  • An incredible turnaround in Nature Shaman has lifted the class from the Hearthstone graveyard to the very top of the meta within days. The deck’s top legend win rate has shot up by nearly 8% within one week. You don’t see that very often, the result of a breakthrough in new builds that look vastly superior to its older iteration. It is now the 3rd best performer after Shopper DH and Zarimi Priest at high MMR’s, but we don’t even think it’s fully refined. Its Shopper DH matchup has shot up to 50-50. The Reno Warrior matchup is now only 40-60 too. Besides Warrior, nothing reliably beats a refined Nature Shaman. It has almost instantly become a terrifying deck.


  • Zarimi Priest has decided to give us an early preview of what should happen next week after a Demon Hunter nerf. It was enough for Demon Hunter to decline to a 20% play rate at top legend for Zarimi Priest to challenge for the #1 slot. The switch to the Naga variant in Shopper DH is also helping the matchup become more bearable. A format that sees Demon Hunter collapse should establish Zarimi Priest as a nearly uncontested top performer. There is only one clear counter in the format to Priest, one that sees little play in Pain Warlock. Besides that, you have to hope that more Rainbow DK players wake up and put two copies of Threads of Despair in their decks. It’s about time.


  • Dragon Druid has not been able to climb in its performance. Warlock and Warrior represent late game issues, while the board flooding capabilities of Zarimi Priest have tempered optimism following a Demon Hunter nerf.


  • Although it is very subtle, Token Hunter has looked surprisingly stronger at top legend. It’s a similar to story to Zarimi Priest. You have less Demon Hunters, while the remaining ones are switching to the Naga variant, which is inferior in faster matchups. Hunter should benefit from a Demon Hunter nerf on paper, but the main problem is that Zarimi Priest beats it in the direct matchup. Token Hunter should become even more powerful on the climb to legend, but Zarimi Priest could prevent it from gaining further visibility at higher levels of play.


  • How about we revert the Deputization Aura nerf and forget it ever happened?

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


The Mech variant of Shopper Demon Hunter looks slightly superior for general ladder play. We made one adjustment, which is swapping out a Ball Hog to fit in Pozzik.

A new build has emerged running the Naga shell with Blindeye Sharpshooter. This build is superior at top legend play due to increased difficulty in its execution, as well as its better matchup into slower decks. The Naga variant is slightly favored against Reno Warrior, flipping that matchup around. It’s slightly unfavored in the Shopper mirror and performs relatively worse into faster decks, such as Zarimi Priest and Token Hunter.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Reno Warrior’s build looks settled, but the deck is facing increased hostility from the field that has curbed its power level to some extent.

Rainbow Death Knight is a deck that might need constant updates with the changes in the field. The collapse of Rainbow Mage is making Dirty Rats significantly weaker than they were last week. The rise of Nature Shaman is urging a return to Maw & Paw, alongside a Chillfallen Baron that helps a bit with card draw. Maw & Paw is the best card in the Shaman matchup.

Glacial Shard and Death Strike are equally impactful in the Demon Hunter matchup, but we preferred Death Strike due to its superior performance in non-DH matchups. This seems to be changing with the relative popularity of the Rainbow DK mirror, which tends to devolve into a Quartzite Crusher battle. A Glacial Shard can help you break a freeze chain from the opponent and start one of your own.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

We’re happy with the Turbo Wheel Warlock build we settled on last week. The only variants that can compete with this list are Standard builds that run Glacial Shard to improve the Demon Hunter matchup, but Glacial Shard tends to be useless in other matchups.

Considering that Demon Hunter will get nerfed next week, it’s very likely that Turbo Wheel will establish itself as the superior approach. It’s currently the best performer in the mirror matchup, on top of being the best performer against Zarimi Priest. Both matchups should become more common.

Pain Warlock looks very promising according to its low sample size, but we need more data on the archetype if we want to be confident on its best build. If Zarimi Priest takes over, this is the deck you want to play.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Rainbow Mage has fallen off due to meta trends, as well as self-inflicted sabotage. A recent build has taken over the archetype that drops Khadgar and runs Aqua Archivist, with the idea of discounting Sleet Skater.

Aqua Archivist doesn’t seem great, but the bigger problem is that Khadgar is the 2nd best card in the deck, after Sif. You never, ever cut Khadgar.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Virus Rogue continues to make further tweaks to its spell-heavy build to reach an optimized state. Backstab and Stick Up look like better standalone cards than Tar Slick and Valeera’s Gift. Dart Throw might also be a serviceable way to get a Zilliax out a turn early. Harth Stonebrew is increasingly likely to be a trap.

Gaslight Rogue is showing more promise with a new, minion-light direction that follows a similar principle to Virus Rogue. This idea seems to come from recent iterations that try to hard counter Shaman at top legend with Speaker Stompers. The build does successfully lock down Shaman with Stompers, but the positive impact of a minion-light approach on other cards makes us wonder if it’s correct to run 6 minions in the deck and turn Dig for Treasure into a more consistent tutor of Gaslight Gatekeeper.

The featured build assumes we don’t have great interest in countering Shaman. Shell Game looks like a great setup card for Gatekeeper. If you want to hard counter Shamans, run Stompers over a card like Fan of Knives, but this worsens the deck in other matchups because Stomper is a weak draw off Dig.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Nature Shaman has gone through one of the most dramatic one-week turnarounds we’ve ever seen. From an unplayable mess, the deck has shot up in its win rate by nearly 8% at top legend thanks to the emergence of new variants that have replaced the finite burn approach.

The strongest variant currently is the Fizzle build. Fizzle helps you unload two combos on Warrior, with Flowrider and Cactus Cutter able to find the Snapshot. Accumulate a damage combo and play Fizzle before you play Flash of Lightning.

Fizzle is not too important in other matchups, but it improves the Warrior matchup substantially (40-60), to the point Shaman is no longer crippled by it. This new iteration is also stronger against Demon Hunter (50-50).

We’ve made one tweak to the most common build, which is swapping out Amphibious Elixir for Gold Panner. Elixir is the worst card in the deck, while Panner is a proven performer in the archetype.

Another approach is the Jive variant. This deck can OTK like a normal Nature Shaman, but it also has access to a Conductivity/Jive combo that can be enabled by Pop Up Book and Jazz Bass. Initially, this variant looked inferior to the Fizzle build, but it has room for improvement through refinement that we can’t ignore. Its ability to unload damage and hit a Jive combo on the same turn also makes it stronger against Reno Warrior, to the point the matchup is dead even at 50-50. The sacrifice is a worse Demon Hunter matchup (40-60), but this tells us that the Jive combo might become more relevant after the patch next week.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Zarimi Priest is primed to become the deck to beat after Demon Hunter gets nerfed. We wonder whether the field will be able to properly respond to it. The featured build looks perfect. Glacial Shard could replace Starlight Whelp, but it’s dependent on facing many Demon Hunters. Unless that number reaches 30-35% at your rank, it’s better to run Starlight Whelp.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Dragon Druid hasn’t been able to evolve enough to compete in this format. Still, we’ve found some ideas that offer upgrades to our initial build last week. It’s indeed correct to cut the highlander payoffs and go into a more aggressive direction. The featured build attempts to maintain a large hand size with card draw and card generation. This is to enable Dragon Golem, as well as its biggest late game power play, which is the Aviana/Gatekeeper combo!

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Token Hunter seems to benefit from the addition of Glacial Shard more than Zarimi Priest, likely because Shard is a relevant factor in the Rainbow DK matchup thanks to Quartzite Crusher. This deck can get under the Naga Shopper variant at top legend.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Magatha does seem like a good choice for Handbuff Paladin these days, alongside a Mech package. Still, this deck is unlikely to gain traction because it’s not very good.

With Demon Hunter receiving an expected nerf on the 16th, it’s hard to look beyond Zarimi Priest as the new deck to beat. Its matchup spread is insane and will require an appropriate response from the field. If you want to get ahead of everyone, Pain Warlock might be the galaxy brain deck to queue on the 16th.

The other terrifying deck is Nature Shaman. From looking like the worst class in the game last week, Shaman has instantly become a top meta contender. The Fizzle build will likely serve you better in the coming days, but the Jive combo is an intriguing option in a post-DH format, depending on the size of the Warrior population. Note that these new builds are far more difficult to play than the previous iteration of the deck, which mostly required you to count to 30.

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