vS Data Reaper Report #298

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Welcome to the 298th 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 1,616,000
Top 1K Legend 105,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k) 469,000
Diamond 4 to 1 309,000
Diamond 10 to 5 273,000
Platinum 178,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold 282,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

The major story in Hearthstone this week is the explosion of Dragon Druid, a previously fringe archetype that has skyrocketed in popularity following the introduction of Marin the Manager. Marin offers Dragon Druid a big payoff for its ramping capabilities, improving its late game and encouraging it to fully commit to ramp with Doomkins. Dragon Druid’s play rate at top legend is growing so quickly that we anticipate it to come close to 30% next week. Outside of legend ranks, the deck is relatively unknown, but that’s quickly changing.

Warlock has drastically changed. At top legend, Pain Warlock is taking over the class at the expense of Insanity, likely due to its strong matchup against Dragon Druid. Even Warlock is the most notable Baku/Genn deck in the format, but its play rate is still relatively low.

Warrior and Rogue are going through a decline of play, with Dragon Druid taking up most of that space. Excavate Rogue and Reno Warrior are trying out Marin.

Shopper DH is finally receiving more recognition at top legend, becoming a serious player in the format. The class remains unpopular elsewhere.

Paladin has gone through a notable decline in play, with Handbuff Paladin facing a surprising level of resistance in the Dragon Druid matchup.

Rainbow DK has discovered a new build that cuts corpse spending and CNE for the Excavate package.  This build is taking over the archetype, pushing away the Reno iterations.

Reno Priest is collapsing in play where Dragon Druid is popular, as the matchup is proving to be difficult to deal with. At top legend, the class has fallen off the hardest.

Spell Mage is continuing to gradually decline. There have been attempts to revive the class through different directions, but none of them have picked up traction.

Shaman and Hunter are stagnant.

Matchup Win Rates Header

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vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion


  • Dragon Druid is extremely powerful and might completely dominate the format following today’s balance changes, as its strongest counters are all getting weakened due to the nerf to Celestial Projectionist. Considering that its popular build is clearly suboptimal in some card choices, it’s hard not to see Dragon Druid becoming the clear best deck in the game, even with Virus Zilliax getting nerfed. Its matchup spread looks nearly flawless. The deck is trending upwards so hard that every other deck in the game will be judged in this report based on how they deal with Dragon Druid. We’re going to sound like a completely broken record, so be warned.
  • Reno Druid is sharply declining in play over the last few days, as it’s clearly inferior to Dragon Druid. The nerf to Reno may completely kill it. Treant Druid looks playable thanks to a good matchup against Dragon Druid. Even and Boomkin Druid look weak.


  • Pain Warlock is the strongest counter to Dragon Druid in the game, which is largely why it’s performing at such a high level and sits at the #1 spot at top legend. We’ll have to see whether it can maintain its standing after a Projectionist nerf.
  • Insanity Warlock struggles against Dragon Druid, which is why it has fallen in priority behind Pain Warlock. Even Warlock is the only Genn/Baku deck that looks genuinely competitive, on top of having a decent Druid matchup.


  • Excavate Rogue maintains a Tier 2 standing, as it manages to survive the Dragon Druid matchup. Gaslight Rogue has a strong matchup against Dragon Druid, but the Projectionist nerf likely hits it the hardest.


  • Reno Warrior is currently surviving, but it’s hard to see the deck doing well after nerfs to two of its most important cards, on top of facing an increasing number of Dragon Druids. Odyn Warrior running Baku is special levels of bad.

Demon Hunter

  • Shopper DH is one of the only soft counters to Dragon Druid that does not rely on Celestial Projectionist. Its strong matchup against Pain Warlock has established it as a top choice at higher levels of play. The deck is still mostly ignored at lower rank brackets, but does well everywhere on ladder. We expect it to see more play, especially at top legend, over the next week.


  • Handbuff Paladin does not beat Dragon Druid. In fact, the matchup leans in favor of Druid at higher levels of play. The nerf to Reno and Virus Zilliax should help it on paper, but it might be hard for Paladin to re-establish itself as the top dog when Dragon Druid is expected to be so dominant.
  • Aggro Paladin does have a decent matchup against Dragon Druid, but there’s not much interest in the deck after the Showdown nerf. Reno Paladin tanked its performance because of Baku experimentations.

Death Knight

  • The Excavate build of Rainbow DK is currently superior to Reno variants by a significant margin, so it should completely take over after the Reno nerf. However, the Dragon Druid matchup is very painful. Not much has changed in Plague or Handbuff DK.


  • Reno Priest is getting destroyed by Dragon Druid. It could die off completely after the Reno nerf. Zarimi Priest is in a fine spot, but few players care and it’s seeing Projectionist nerfed. The class may struggle to find visibility after the patch.


  • Dragon Druid beats a lot of decks, but it seems to punish Mage more than most classes, so we don’t have a lot of optimism that the class can succeed in the near future.


  • Dragon Druid beats all three Hunter decks. It is deceptively strong defensively, unlike most Druid decks we’ve known in recent months, so we can see Hunter falling off where Druid is most popular. Does not bode well for the class.


  • Reno Shaman looks unplayable and is likely to be erased. Nature Shaman has a terrible Dragon Druid matchup. Not much hope here.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Excavate Rogue is mostly concerned with the Druid matchup, where single target removal is precious. Antique Flinger and Dubious Purchase have become stronger after the patch. Flinger is better against Druid, but weaker in slower matchups, so we’ve balanced it with a 1-1 split. Two copies of Dubious Purchase are always too much.

Some players run Neophyte, but it’s not particularly good against the new iteration of Dragon Druid, which has plenty of minions to develop on the Neophyte turns. Marin isn’t great either, due to hand space issues.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Dragon Druid will likely become the best deck in the game following today’s patch. We think this deck is not even refined, with Puppetmaster Dorian looking like highly questionable bait. We’re not impressed with the spell damage package either. Marin does a great job of taking care of the deck’s late game, along with Yogg and Eonar, which are mandatory.

Some players are beginning to cut the spell damage package for board-centric cards. Cactus Construct and Spinetail Drake are the most promising options.

The featured build has one copy of Malfurion’s Gift. Swipes are less powerful with less spell damage available. It’s not a great spell to draw with Chia Drake. Most importantly, it is not a good card to mulligan for. Splish-Splash Whelp is the ramp card you care about. The deck’s win rate goes up by 10% when you have it in the opening hand, compared to when you don’t.

Marin is strong in Reno Druid too, but the deck isn’t as successful. Treant Druid does okay in the current meta because it has a good matchup against Dragon Druid.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Even Warlock is the only competitive Genn/Baku deck in the format. The archetype is successful because it can leverage the synergy between Dark Alley Pact, Forge of Wills and Endgame. Wing Welding is a useful board clear to survive faster matchups.

Insanity Warlock should drop Domino Effect considering Handbuff Paladin has significantly declined in popularity.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Marin is a decent card in Reno Warrior, so we’ve included it. Baku versions of Odyn Warrior are atrocious.

We’ve made a small tweak to the vanilla variant of Shopper DH, which is to cut Vicious Slitherspears for Kayn and Leeroy. Shopper DH wants more reach to kill Druids, before their ramp helps them run away with the game. Kayn is also a good bailout card against Zilliax in some situations.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Reno Paladin has tanked its performance because of experimentation with Baku builds. The established list is still okay. Handbuff & Aggro Paladin are solved archetypes.

A new iteration of Rainbow Death Knight drops corpse spending and CNE for the Excavate package, which leverages the best card in the deck and the real reason why going Rainbow is necessary for a control archetype: Reska.

This archetype is not refined. The original build runs too many single copies of cards for no good reason. We tried to clean it up while being mindful of a likely rise in Dragon Druid. Viper is a useless card in the matchup. Frost Strike is a little better than Down with the Ship, but both are weak. Toysnatching Geist is borderline, along with Marin and Helya. We’ve added Marin to Plague Death Knight too.

The best direction in Handbuff Death Knight involved bouncing a Frail Ghoul to your hand with Saloon Brewmaster, buffing it in hand, then copying it with Sinister Soulcage to OTK the opponent.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Reno Priest needs mass removal again because Pain Warlock and Dragon Druid pound its face with threats. The featured build goes full defensive mode, just like it did when Pain Warlock peaked in power after the release of the mini-set.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Not much is going on in Mage. Players have tried an Excavate Mage build with a very greedy late game curve. It doesn’t work.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Reno Shaman looks awful. The deck is so bad and unpopular that we can’t even tell if Marin is worth running in it. Nature Shaman isn’t in a great spot, even at top legend.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

Hunter hasn’t changed at all in the last couple of weeks.

There’s a chance Dragon Druid develops into a Tier S threat following today’s patch. The deck isn’t particularly difficult to play, so we think it’s likely to blow up across ladder and not just haunt top legend players, where its play rate over the last couple of days has been extreme (~30%). The nerf to Virus Zilliax does weaken Druid’s stabilizing power, especially when 8-mana Zilliax worked so well with Doomkin, but the nerf to Celestial Projectionist may end up offsetting this, as it hits most of the deck’s counters.

The scariest thing is that the deck is not even refined. The spell damage package performs poorly. Dropping it for some strong board control cards may lift Dragon Druid further up in power. If you want an easy climb, no matter where you are on ladder, Dragon Druid is the choice. Mull for Splish-Splash Whelp and you’re in the right direction on how to pilot this deck.

Dragon Druid

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