vS Data Reaper Report #8
Welcome to the eighth edition of the Data Reaper Report!
Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live (Beta) now has over 1000 contributors. Over the past five days, we’ve compiled 33,000 games. If you have not done so already, please sign up with your Track-O-Bot information here:
We begin with our deck frequency charts for games recorded between July 1 and July 5. This week was shorter than usual since we extended last week’s data to conclude with the end of the June season. The first chart shows all ranks, the second can be switched between different rank groups. We’ve recorded about 6.5k games at ranks 1-10, and over 25k games at ranks 11 and above.
‘By Rank’ Games
Next is a graph displaying the popularity of classes during the last eight weeks: since the Data Reaper Project launched.
Class Frequency by Weeks
Some notes we take from the data:
- Dragon Warrior continues its surge. It is now the most popular Warrior archetype in the game, and at higher levels of play, it is the most popular strategy amongst all classes. All other Warrior archetypes have fallen into fringe status, except for C’Thun Warrior, which remains a very strong deck in the current Metagame.
- Welcome to Warriorstone. Warrior is the most dominant class overall, making up a quarter of ladder opponents, and over 30% at the higher levels. We haven’t seen the class showing any signs of decline just yet.
- Druid is showing signs of resurgence, particularly at higher levels of play, due to the emergence of Yogg Druid. It is an archetype that is on a very steep upward trend, and we observe its growing numbers every day. We expect that trend to continue due to its inherent strengths against the field.
- Shaman, Hunter and Warlock’s numbers are all gradually reducing. Hunter in particular is a class that seems to be relatively ‘disliked’ at higher levels of play compared to the rest of the field.
- For the very first time since the inception of the vS Data Reaper, the frequency of Priests on ladder has grown from the previous week. Paladins are also showing a very slight upward trend on the back of more players experimenting with Secret Paladin.
We now present the updated “vS Power Rankings” table for week # 8. The numbers we report are the expected win rates of each archetype based on their matchups against the field, factoring in the frequency of all potential opponents on ladder at different rank groups over the past week.
After three weeks at the top of the vS Power Rankings, Dragon Warrior has finally been unseated. The archetype was initially deemed by this report as statistically the best deck in the game when it only made up about 2% of the Metagame, so it has certainly come a long way. In addition to that, as a deck becomes more popular, it runs into mirror matches more often, which naturally pushes its expected win rate towards 50%.
The new #1 deck in the rankings could be quite surprising to many people in the community, but not to us. Yogg Druid has demonstrated consistently improving performances in the past couple of weeks. Looking at its matchup win rates, it simply has no hard counter in the current Metagame. It wins over 46% of the games against its very worst common match ups, so it’s a very well rounded deck capable of beating everything in the field. It also has a very flexible build: changing a few cards could significantly improve specific matchups, which is a big advantage. The one difference between Yogg Druid and Dragon Warrior is that the latter is much easier to pick up and play, so we’ll have to see how quickly Yogg Druid is embraced by the masses. It is already being embraced by players at the highest level, so watch out for this archetype to start breaking out.
Mid-Range Hunter also joined Tier 1, enjoying favorable match-ups against the increasing number of Warriors. At higher levels to play, C’Thun Warrior tops the vS power rankings. This is again, not surprising to us, as it is the ultimate “Anti-Warrior” Warrior deck. It boasts the best listed win-rate against Dragon Warrior in particular, and it is also favored against Yogg Druid. Should Yogg Druid continue to increase in its numbers, look for C’Thun Warrior’s inherent strength against the field to grow even further.
At this point in the Metagame it’s safe to say that Dragon Warrior has excelled ahead of its competition and has become the most popular Warrior deck. Around the end of last season, people started including Deathwing in their Dragon Warrior lists. Noblord and Tripp both managed to finish top 10 legend on the Americas server with a list created by Bearnugget. Deathwing provides a late game comeback mechanic for when you lose the board, a weakness the archetype has without it. Against classes such as Shaman and Druid, Deathwing can single-handedly win the game, especially if you can bait out their single target removal.
Other Warrior archetypes seem to have lost steam recently, but C’Thun Warrior is still ever-present on the ladder. In fact, it has a fairly good matchup against Dragon Warrior, so it’s definitely a strong deck to ladder with at the moment.
Strifecro achieved high rankings last season with his variant of the archetype, which is not your standard vanilla list. His deck plays Crazed Worshippers, which is a nod to all the mid-range and aggressive decks infesting the Metagame at the moment. The logic behind playing these over Beckoner of Evil is that the Worshippers are stronger against mid-range decks. If you manage to control the board in the early game, having a strong proactive 5-drop to play on curve can provide you the tempo needed to stay on par to close out the game. Beckoner of Evil isn’t good at all against Dragon Warrior since Alexstraza’s Champion and Fiery War Axe both trade favorably with it.
Shaman still remains a powerhouse both in tournaments and ladder, with Aggro Shaman being the dominant archetype to play. Recent results in many tournaments have backed up this claim. This week, we will focus on some innovations in other archetypes of the class.
In the month of June, Dengxu finished 2nd on the Americas server with a Mid-Range Shaman deck. His build stays true to the archetype but utilizes some interesting cards such as Argent Horserider and Stormcrack, the former mostly seen in Aggro Shaman. The idea is that Horserider can make favorable trades with minions, helping to keep board control, which the deck heavily relies on. Stormcrack serves a similar role. There are many 4-health minions in the current Metagame, such as Frothing Berserker, Totem Golem and Azure Drake, so this makes it a viable removal tool for the deck.
Another interesting deck to check out is Amnesiac’s N’Zoth Control Shaman, one of three decks he used to climb to top 30 legend last month. There are quite a few N’Zoth Shaman variants out there and it could get tricky figuring out what’s the best one to play. Shaman class cards complement the N’Zoth strategy, with Healing Wave providing strong sustainability and Elemental Destruction providing a massive board clear, allowing you to stall into the late game where your win condition thrives. The deck also utilizes cards such as Far Sight which hardly sees play otherwise but makes sense in a deck with a high curve.
This past week, ladder has seen a slight overall decrease in Zoo while Reno has remained the same. There is a pretty simple explanation for Zoo’s decline: laddering is not as easy in a Metagame infested with Warriors. The swing of a Fiery War Axe hurts.
Last week, we saw Fr0zen take Hoej’s Dreamhack N’Zoth Renolock list to finish #1 Legend on the Americas server. One reason for its success was that the build destroys most Warrior decks. At the highest legend ranks, Fr0zen encountered Warriors in 40% of his games, and was able to farm their tears all the way to rank 1.
Both archetypes remain viable tournament decks. Zoo is almost an auto-include while with Renolock you may want to have a ban option and a lot of prior experience since it has numerous problematic matchups against non-Warrior classes.
The Hybrid variant of Mid-Range Hunter is getting more popular on ladder amongst high level players. It has only been a few days since the July season started, but Team Celestial’s SilentStorm already hit legend and peaked at #4 on the Americas server with the deck.
In comparison to last week’s successful Hybrid builds that we featured from Amnesiac and Mitsuhide, we can see a few tech choices in Silentstorm’s build that can make a difference. Firstly, it omits one Abusive Sergeant for a Flame Juggler, which improves the early game against aggressive decks such as Zoo, Aggro Shaman and the Hunter mirror. It is also interesting to see that he has only one Deadly Shot. Deadly shot is a strong card against control decks that sometimes play a single big taunt that is hard to bypass. However, it is a weak card against decks that often flood the board with small minions. SilentStorm’s list is very refined, and we can see great success in the future with this variant, both on ladder and in tournaments.
For Mid-Range Hunter, NickChipper seems to hit the mark. NickChipper is a popular streamer who specializes in the Hunter class. He finished #11 on EU for the month of June and already reached legend this season, placing #6. Though he changes his list constantly, we will feature the list he used to reach legend in July.
Finally, there is a more unconventional Mid-Range Hunter build doing work on the Asian server. Kyo reached legend early this season with a build including Azure Drake, for spell synergy with On The Hunt, Quick Shot and Kill Command. Kyo utilizes On The Hunt instead of Fiery Bat in the 1-mana slot, which gives the deck more removal as well as reach in the late game to find lethal. It seems to be a relatively popular card in Asia, with KillerHero previously bringing it to the APAC Spring Championship as well.
C’Thun Druid remains the most popular archetype of Druid. The archetype saw some innovation this month in China with the inclusion of Aviana. This card enables some crazy combos like Aviana/Innervate/Brann/C’Thun in one turn. This variant of C’Thun Druid works best in a slower Metagame which gives the deck enough time to set up these combos, so results on the Western servers may vary.
Yogg Druid has been gaining popularity mainly due to multiple players making top legend finishes with the archetype. We believe that Yogg Druid could end up overtaking C’Thun Druid as the most popular Druid archetype in a few weeks due to its performance on ladder. It has already seen success early in the July season with some players hitting legend with the deck on the first few days of the month. Senfglas reached legend on EU in four days using his build, which we featured last week as the Meta Breaker.
Finally, Dog piloted Ramp Druid to rank #1 legend this season. This deck also includes Yogg, but utilizes a heavier curve without relying on token synergy. Although it is still early in the month, it is nice to see the relatively fringe archetype having some success.
We believe that in general, Druid is a powerful class in the current Metagame and should definitely be considered in a tournament lineup. Its mana cheating mechanics can make it feel unstoppable against any class if it draws correctly, which can happen quite often!
With the new season starting, this being the last month ladder feeds into Blizzcon qualification, as well as multiple major tournaments coming up (Starladder Finals in China, Dreamhack Valencia, Seatstory 5), we’re excited to see the variation in both current mage archetypes and how they perform on these stages. One would probably expect more Tempo Mage than Freeze Mage after the Metagame has shifted over the last few months and the success Tempo Mage has had during the last Dreamhack with RDU’s victory. Freeze Mage still has a spot in the tournament Metagame but it will probably only be played in specific strategies and lineups. There hasn’t been any advancement in decks mostly because of the time of the month, but we’re sure there will be plenty of those coming up for the class.
With Warriors of various flavors making up around 25% of the ladder Metagame, it forces other decks to play a more grinded and strung out game. The way to beat the Warrior class in general is to have more questions than they do answers. Miracle Rogue has an easy adaptation to improve the matchup against various Warrior decks, as well as some mid-range decks.
We saw the rise of the N’Zoth Miracle Rogue a few weeks ago, which was made popular by SuperJJ, Sjow and MrYagut. The deck has the same core cards as Miracle Rogue, utilizing Auctioneer as a draw engine combined with cheap spells that Rogue has access to. The big difference that separates this deck from traditional Miracle Rogue is the win condition, opting to exclude Leeroy and Cold Blood in order to play more deathrattle minions in combination with N’Zoth to re-summon them. This strategy provides you with longevity against the control and mid-range decks as opposed to the finite amount of damage a Leeroy package provides.
Praise be to the brave souls of the weekend who brought Priest to any tournament or ladder events. One of said souls was Ignite; bringing an old school Zetalot-inspired healing build. This build is perfect for combating Zoo and other floody type board decks, so it makes a lot of sense to see it in some capacity.
In its current state, Priest remains sort of a Swiss army knife class. You can build a Priest deck to beat any one deck in the Metagame, but unfortunately it means you are heavily unfavored against the majority of the other decks in the field. The most common Control Priest variant still seems to be the N’Zoth Control one, and if you haven’t tried HeisnotAxel’s build from the APAC Spring Championship, we recommend it. It’s a fun deck that can punish the Meta with the right draws; it just lacks consistency since it is so tool-dependent.
We fear that the lack of faith in the class is keeping people from even experimenting in possible Priest builds, even though a genuinely strong Priest deck could still be out there waiting to be discovered. Don’t completely give up on Anduin yet, we can find the deck for him together!
Paladin remains absent amidst a variety of innovation in the top legend ranks. Priest may offer some insights into why Paladin has been facing difficulties recently. The current top Meta decks are all well-rounded: Dragon Warrior, C’Thun Warrior, Zoo, Yogg Druid, etc. mostly have winrates against each other of between 40% and 60%. Priest’s strong cards, like Entomb and Cabal Shadow Priest, are narrowly targeted, pushing Priest decks into imbalanced winrates. Without Shield Minibot and Muster for Battle, Paladin is in the same boat: neither the Secret builds with Divine Favor and Mysterious Challenger, nor the N’Zoth builds with Equality and Forbidden Healing, have enough versatility to achieve strong results against the entire field.
Last week, we featured Yogg Druid as the Meta Breaker of the week. Since then, archetype has launched into the very top of the vS Power Rankings. We believe it is a very strong deck to play on ladder at the moment provided that the player has some proficiency with it, but instead of repeating ourselves from last week, we’d like to stay one step ahead.
C’Thun Warrior might be the best way to combat the evolving Metagame. C’Thun Warrior has many good matchups across the field, showing a significant weakness only to Mid-Range Hunter and Reno Warlock (and even in those matchups, it does better than classic Control Warrior). It dominates other Warrior decks and is also strong against Druid due its proactive curve of minions, further enhanced by StrifeCro’s inclusion of Crazed Worshippers, as well as its incredible life gain which helps it outlast decks based around spells and Yogg-Saron. C’Thun Warrior is the strongest control deck at the moment and if you’re looking to play it slow, this is the deck for you.
Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report: