vS Data Reaper Report #35

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from over 76,000 games.

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Welcome to the 35th edition of the Data Reaper Report!

For your convenience, this report has been translated into the following languages: русский, and 한국어.

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Class/Archetype Distribution | Class Frequency | Matchup Winrates | vS Power Rankings | Class Analysis & Decklists | Meta Breaker of the Week | How to Contribute | Credits


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 Number of Games

Overall 76,000
Legend 9,000
Ranks 1-5 21,000
Ranks 6-10 23,000
Ranks 11-15 11,500

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency by Day

Class Frequency by Week

27% Overall. Nearly 30% at legend. Nearly 35% at ranks 1-5. There are more Shamans in the game right now than there were before the expansion’s release. The rise in the number of Shamans this week, however, is not attributed to the Aggro archetype; Mid-Jade and slower Control Shaman builds are becoming more popular. Both archetypes are changing rapidly every day and haven’t settled down just yet, so we’re monitoring them closely as their build variance is quite high at this point in time. We’re in the midst of a significant shift in the Shaman class.

The other eight classes don’t look much different from last week. If you’re not Shaman, you’re either stagnating or declining. The only exception is Anyfin Paladin, which has seen an uptick in play likely due to the hype that has been surrounding the deck recently.

We can observe that both Reno Mage and Control Warrior are declining at legend ranks, and this is likely due to the increase in midrange variants of Shamans that aren’t countered by these decks. This is a worrying trend that may be the launching pad towards a Meta that is more one-dimensional than before.

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

You may have noticed our lack of enthusiasm earlier, and perhaps the Power Rankings provides a good explanation. Aggro Shaman has skyrocketed in its score at legend rank to the point where we can no longer see any suppressing effect on its performance exerted by the rest of the Meta. In addition to that, Mid-Jade Shaman has also jumped to Tier 1 before it’s even settled down in terms of build consistency (unlike Aggro Shaman, which is very much at a refined stage, Mid-Jade builds are more varied and different from each other at the moment). How did this happen? There are two key factors we can identify that are causing this.

Contrary to popular belief, Aggro Shaman has a very high skill cap. While it is true that the archetype has a low skill floor, meaning it is very easy to pick up and play while posting decent results, the deck can perform exponentially better at higher skill levels. There are many ways a player can miss damage and throw games due to decisions that seem trivial at first glance but have an underestimated impact on the outcome. As time went on, we’ve noticed that Aggro Shaman is becoming more efficient, and is improving its performance in multiple key matchups.

Mid-Jade Shaman is the second, and perhaps bigger, culprit. Over the last week, the archetype has been seeing more play and experimentation and is providing us with some indication that it has the potential to dominate the field. The reason why it is so strong is that it fares well against every single counter deck to Aggro Shaman. The problem it’s creating is simple: If an Aggro Shaman player encounters his biggest Meta obstacles, he can quickly switch to a Midrange build and completely negate their advantage. This is causing a decline in the present counters to Aggro Shaman, further enabling its dominance. In a way, Aggro-Jade and Mid-Jade make each other stronger against the field because they seem impossible to effectively counter with one deck. The effect this has on Control Warrior, for example, is quite evident.

Our decision to not reboot the win rates of Anyfin Paladin based on one week’s performance appear to be correct. The archetype has crashed down back to earth which correlates with its increased profile. While it has potential in the tournament scene, the ladder Meta is less kind. It is less kind to everyone.

Class Analysis & Decklists

Druid | Hunter | Mage | Paladin | Priest | Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior



Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Aggro Shaman continues to sit on its throne with little threat of being knocked off. The Jade and Pirate tools it has received simply put it over the top, as it boasts incredible consistency in its early game which is hard to match by any deck. Tunnel Trogg and Small-Time Buccaneer are arguably two of the best 1-drops ever printed in Hearthstone, and when you combine them with Totem Golem, Flametongue Totem and Jade Claws, as well as the deck’s multiple forms of direct damage, you have a lethal combination.

Most players are basing their builds off of Amnesiac’s list, with a few flex spots. Maelstrom Portal is a strong card in aggressive matchups. Focusing on these matchups could justify running two copies, but the Portal is weak against Reno decks and Miracle Rogue. Finley’s merits are debatable, and some players have opted to cut him for a second Azure Drake. There is also an option to run a Doomhammer in order to improve the matchup against Rogue, cutting one Flamewreathed Faceless due to its weakness to Sap.

Mid-Jade Shaman sacrifices the insane burst potential of its more aggressive cousin for a more robust board presence and removal. This archetype is a strong option should you encounter decks that are designed to counter Aggro Shaman, since Mid-Jade Shaman fares much better against them with its ability to last well into the late game. RayC’s build is a good example of more recent Mid-Jade Shaman builds that include the entire arsenal of the Jade mechanic as the primary win condition instead of other finishers like Rag, Al’Akir or Bloodlust. These builds maintain a Pirate package but do not include Tunnel Trogg or Totem Golem. Now that’s incredible!
Players continue to experiment with slower Shaman decks that utilize the Jade mechanic. This week we’re also featuring StrifeCro’s Hybrid Jade Shaman, with which he peaked at around rank 30 legend. His list eschews Elemental Destruction and Devolve for a more straight forward curve, which makes it play out like a Midrange deck. The Jade mechanic allows the build to hold enough value and threats to challenge the control decks in the Meta while still maintaining numerous defensive tools against aggressive decks.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Warrior remains a staple class both on ladder and in tournaments of all sizes. It is the second-favorite class everywhere on ladder but legend, with its 3 main archetypes driving it forward.

Pirate Warrior is as good as ever, with most players settling on Southsea Captain builds, with a few flex spots usually held by Leeroy Jenkins, Naga Corsair, Mortal Strike and Bash. This archetype hasn’t been under much experimentation recently, with many considering it to be largely figured out, much like Aggro Shaman.

Dragon Warrior is in a similar spot when it comes to refinement, with two main approaches: the Hybrid Pirate builds or the Midrange Curator builds. The deck continues to have solid yet unspectacular results, sacrificing the raw power of Pirate Warrior in matchups against Miracle Rogue and Reno Warlock, to have a better chance against Aggro Shaman and decks that look to counter it, like Reno Mage and Control Warrior.

Double Gorehowl is becoming quite common for Control Warrior for its extreme utility against any deck not named Aggro Shaman or Pirate Warrior, with NaviOOT’s list seemingly setting the standard. Cruel Taskmaster can be dropped for a second Revenge, with the latter’s importance in aggressive matchups in mind.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Questing Miracle Rogue has established itself as the standard Miracle build, with most players banking on the blow out potential the deck possesses in the tough matchups against aggressive decks. Nevertheless, Rogue is certainly performing worse than it did during the early weeks of the expansion, with players attempting to shore up these weaknesses with their own tweaks, though with the class’ lack of healing and AOE, there is a limit to what can be done. Cards such as Southsea Deckhand, Shaku and even Genzo the Shark have been experimented with. In the tournament scene, however, Miracle Rogue is an absolute menace, since a single ban turns the archetype’s matchup spread nearly green across the board.

Other Rogue archetypes are very scarce. Aggro Pirate Rogue has a lot of early game power, and with more and more Aggro Shaman builds cutting one Maelstrom Portal, it may have potential to do well on ladder.


Data Reaper Report - Priest

Is it already that time? It feels like we could literally copy and paste everything from last week to this week as the Meta has really started to stale out. For the most part everyone has decided on what they believe is the very best ladder deck going forward, and for Priest players that choice is almost always Dragon Priest.

We are fans of Zetalot’s Dragon Priest build. The addition of Defender of Argus plays to the archetype’s strengths while also shoring up one of its most significant weakness, which is stabilization against aggression, especially against Pirate Warrior. Remember that Dragon Priest’s success lies in its ability to curve out pressure and retain the initiative, so it’s usually correct to take aggressive lines with the archetype, while having its resource generation tools to fall back on.

Reno Priest is slowly becoming more relevant in the Meta, with most of its builds based around the Dragon Skeleton, being very lean and without nearly any cards beyond a 6 mana cost. That is the reality of being able to survive in a Meta dominated by Patches decks.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Renolock, the only real Warlock deck on ladder, has been brought to a standstill. With the top 4 Meta decks being extremely prominent, Renolock just does not have the resources to keep up a positive winrate against them. While the Warlock does have early game tools to deal with those pesky pirate decks, it still finds itself losing almost every time if it can’t draw these tools and Reno in the correct order. Reno Warlock is still very popular in tournaments, and its biggest advantage is a good matchup spread against the rest of the field other than the top 4.

A favorite deck-builder of the community, J4ckiechan, has been experimenting with the archetype and created a combo-less list that utilizes a heavy late game topped off at Soggoth the Slitherer, a card which hasn’t been seen in the deck since the expansion’s launch. Soggoth gives the deck a game ending tool against Rogue and is a very strong follow up to a Twisting Nether. It’s also useful in the mirror since it can shut down the Leeroy combo threat.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Nothing much has changed for Druid this week. The class either dies on turn 6 to Patches decks or lives long enough against Kazakus decks to build their Jade army or pull off an insane Kun combo. The class can be stronger in tournaments due to bans and how it can target control decks, but even then it is quite lukewarm.

Savage Roar is starting to see play in some Jade Druid lists, as there is a story going around that in the NA vs. CN series, one of the Chinese players submitted the wrong list and meant to play Feral Rages instead, but the mistake worked out pretty well for him. It’ll be interesting to see whether players adopt this concept and build on it, with a Jade/Token Druid hybrid that tries to end games more quickly than the standard builds.

There are many cool things that the class can do, and it’s exhibited by the archetypes based around Kun. Malygos and C’Thun Kun decks have the ability to abuse control matchups, especially the StanCifka C’Thun build that has milling elements to it with Coldlight Oracle and Naturalize. The problem is surviving to the point where you can execute your game plan, which doesn’t happen often when you’re running into Shamans, Warrior and Rogues.

Feno is continuing to have success with his Zoo Druid, featuring Finja, reaching top 50 on EU. Other players on ladder haven’t really been playing this list so it can gain a slight edge due to the surprise factor, but Feno maintains that this is the best ladder Druid deck out there, and we don’t find it to be an outrageous claim, meme or not.


Data Reaper Report - Mage

Reno Mage remains in a very good spot in the Meta. It provides the most consistent ladder solution to a player frustrated with having to deal with Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman, without having to sacrifice performance in other matchups. The archetype’s flexibility allows you to build the deck in ways that enable focusing on specific matchups while maintaining consistency over the rest of the field. This makes Reno Mage one of the best decks in the game, both on ladder and in tournaments, with its biggest enemy being the heavily suppressed Druid.

The three most popular approaches to Reno Mage haven’t undergone many changes recently. You can either run a value package that minimizes cycle in order to maximize the deck’s longevity well into fatigue, or you can run a burn/cycle build that looks to end games by actively bursting down your opponent, with an Inkmaster Solia/Pyroblast package being a viable flex option for this approach.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Paladin has one viable deck: Anyfin Paladin. It’s entirely powered by a gimmicky 10 mana cost spell that’s rotating out in a couple months, but nevertheless, we have a functioning deck. We’ll spend our time this week talking about this archetype as all other archetypes remain underplayed and/or underpowered.

There appear to be two somewhat distinct approaches to crafting your Anyfin decklist. The first is the “Standard” way, which is mostly the decklist from pre-MSG with Finja, The Flying Star being the critical addition. ThijsNL recently had success at legend ranks using a decklist that famously 6-0’d Alliance in the Trinity Series. Anyfin has always been a good deck in a control heavy Meta, as the OTK gameplan can be reliably achieved with the amount of cycle, life gain, and efficient board clears that can stall the game to the point where you can run them over with your murloc stampede.

The second approach, pioneered by Senfglas and recently seeing MrYagut pilot to #4 Legend, is defined largely by the inclusion of Mistress of Mixtures, which seems to have sprung up largely in response to the worst matchups that this deck can have, which is unrelenting aggressive decks. There are other small tech choices that appear in these lists that aren’t really being experimented with in the first approach, such as varying quantities of Aldor Peacekeepers, whether Wickerflame Burnbristle is worthy of a deck slot, and most notably, forgoing Tirion “Best Card in the Game” Fordring.

It should be noted that LvGe played Anyfin Paladin at last week’s CN vs. NA tournament, but his list was tournament-specific and geared heavily towards his expected matchups, going with pretty greedy cards such as Bloodmage Thalnos, Hammer of Wrath, and Lay on Hands. These kinds of inclusions can be punishing on ladder when running into Patches, so we would advise against them.

Once Pirates get their nerf then maybe there could be a different Paladin unicorn deck out there, but in the meantime if you want to play Paladin on ladder you will probably want to be playing Anyfin.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

There is very little new to say about Hunter. It remains deep in the dumpster, where very few players are attempting to innovate. NickChipper is the only person still trying with Hunter, constantly switching around his lists. He recently reverted back to his Y’Shaarj Secret Hunter, with one unique inclusion, Dart Trap. Although the inclusion of Dart Trap was primarily for fun, the trap also throws off opponents who have gotten used to the standard package of secrets over the last half year. In addition, Dart Trap allows the deck to gain more (albeit inconsistent) burst, providing more lethal potential before Reno Jackson is allowed to appear. In the hands of NickChipper, the deck hit legend, an impressive feat for any Hunter deck at this point. If you don’t wish to vie for a high rank towards the end of the season, you are still welcome aboard the Barnes-Y’Shaarj meme train.

Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

In the famous words of Valeera:

I give up.

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live (Beta) has over 2,400 active contributors. Without them, this project would not be possible, so we’d like to thank all of our contributors for their help.

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Special thanks to Leo G., Chungfr, Kognar and Bill C. for supporting us for the month of January.

Contributors

Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report:

EndofDayswwlosrenzcheesee-hunterHC015pdeegz-warriorspacemonkey-paladin russkipapa-rogueTzachiFenomlookitzjoeNaramoSentenza

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10 Comments

  1. Hey, I signed up to contribute my games with my track o bot data a few weeks ago, is there some way to tell if I actually did everything correctly and the games are being submitted? I put my email in the form, so should I have recieved something?

      • Sorry for the late response. rough-infernal-8406.

        I think it would be an incentive for people to contribute if they recieved an email or something every week/month telling them how many games they contributed or just that they contributed at all. If it isn’t too much work, maybe that’s worth a thought if you want/need more contributers.

  2. Would you consider separating this data between servers (NA, EU, Asia)?
    Maybe the meta is different from one to another.

  3. Looking at the matchups, it seems like Reno Mage should really be on top of the meta. It’s only bad match-ups see little play and it does really well against a lot of popular decks. Am I missing something here?

    • It’s a reactive class.

      Also a huge reason why Reno Mage is not the go-to pick is actually game length. If you want to grind ranks with the limited amount of time you have, having an edge of couple % in winrate is not worth the extra 5 minutes you spend on each game.

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