vS Data Reaper Report #86

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from over 50,000 games.

Data Reaper Report Logo

Welcome to the 86th edition of the Data Reaper Report!

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 3,200 active contributors. Without them, this project would not be possible, so we’d like to thank all of our contributors for their help.

Quick Links

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

Sign Up to share your game data with us using ToB or HDT!

Number of Games

Overall 50,000
Legend 14,000
Ranks 1-4 16,000
Ranks 5-9 14,000
Ranks 10-14 5,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

[TABS_PRO id=12938]

Class Frequency

[TABS_PRO id=12939]

Class Frequency Discussion

The main takeaway this week when it comes to the class frequencies is a signficant decline in Priests at all levels of play, while Paladins and Hunters are on the rise. This trend is magnified at legend ranks, where we see the biggest drop-off in the Priest population. Big Priest is the only archetype to have risen in play within the class.

Paladin’s rise at legend is attributed to Murloc Paladin. As the month draws to a close, it makes sense that players will begin to flock towards the archetype that boasts the highest win rate in the game. It’s just a powerful deck that’s very safe and reliable.

Secret Hunter has spiked in popularity following its recent success which was also observed in last week’s report. The archetype is becoming more aggressive. Spell Hunter hasn’t moved in its play rate in comparison, which is slightly surprising since it’s very powerful at the moment.

A decline in Priests and a rise in Paladins/Hunters have to be good news for Warlock, and we do see a rise in the class’ popularity at legend in response to the trends we’ve mentioned above.

Other classes don’t have many usage trends that are worth discussing. There’s a slight increase in Quest Rogues at legend, which is likely a result of its recent tournament success. Control Warrior is in decline, while Pirate Warrior is seeing slightly more play. Mage, Druid and Shaman are as boring as ever.

Matchup Win Rates Header

[TABS_PRO id=12940]

Power Rankings Header
[TABS_PRO id=12941]

vS Meta Score

[TABS_PRO id=12942]

vS Power Rankings Discussion

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen Priest eclipse and suppress Control Warlock’s performance against the field. However, as time went on, several Priest archetypes have seen a drop in their win rates. We saw it with the relatively young Control Priest and now we’re seeing it with Combo Priest. The two Priest archetypes that perform best against Warlock, Big and Spiteful Priest, are the ones that have increased in win rate this week. Both of them also perform very well against the rising Hunter class.

Warlock is the biggest winner in this week’s report. Considering the rise in the stock of Paladins and Hunters, as well as the fall of Priest, it was not difficult to predict a rise in the Void Daddy’s win rate. Control Warlock is now sitting pretty in the Tier 1 spot at legend ranks, alongside three powerful archetypes that it consistently beats. Warlock is very strong right now, and unless Priest gains back what it has recently lost, it’s unlikely to possess the capability of suppressing Warlock once again

Secret Hunter’s rise in play rate has led to a pretty big crash in its win rate, which might indicate that recent experiments with the archetype are not working out. Indeed, despite the recent success and viability of aggressive variants, Kathrena might still be the optimal build path for the archetype.

Control Paladin is in a similar spot where it has quite an effective build path (Beardo OTK) but is currently being experimented in other directions that hurt its overall win rate. Another issue it might have going forward is that the archetype feels every increase in the Warlock population, since its matchup against the Void Daddy is quite horrible.

A further rise in Warlocks could also hurt the overall diversity of the meta. We’re already beginning to see it with the ruthlessness forming at legend, where there are fewer and fewer strategies breaking the 50% barrier. This is certainly a good time to bring out a new expansion!

Finally, a small tidbit about Pirate Warrior. It is still too scarce for us to accurately evaluate, and it also continues to display a discrepancy in its play rate at legend ranks (far more popular there). Based on our estimates of where it would be if it became more popular, we believe it’s a strong enough deck to be competitive on ladder. It has also seen a pretty big spike in its win rate over the past week. So, if you’re interested in playing some Pirate Warrior before it rotates out of standard for old times’ sake, it’s certainly not a bad choice. It’s fair to say that at the end of K&C, the worst class in the game is Shaman rather than Warrior.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Priest remains the most popular class at legend. All of its archetypes match up fairly well against late game Warlock strategies, making the class one of the strongest ladder options in the game.

Combo Priest has solidified its build as we reach the final stage of the K&C timeline, with most builds agreeing on 28 or 29 cards. Sooni recently hit #1 legend with an alchemist build that swaps one Book Wyrm for the 2nd Tar Creeper. You will rarely find larger deviations from the lists we’re featuring.

PaperNinja hit #1 legend with a Control Priest list that swaps Elise for Alexstrasza and runs Primordial Drakes over Twilight Drakes. While the value centric Cabal builds are sound options for ladder, the Velen burst build pioneered by Zetalot is performing incredibly well at the moment.

Big Priest and Spiteful Priest are unlikely to change from what we already know, and complete the plethora of options available for Priest. The class is guaranteed to turn upside down once rotation hits, so it’ll be interesting to see in which direction it’s headed. From the cards we have been shown so far, combo Priest strategies are the ones receiving support.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Warlock’s biggest highlight this week is Dog’s 39-0 run with the standard Cube Warlock featured in this report. While he was beating up on people far below his usual spot on ladder, it’s still a very impressive feat that shows how well rounded the deck is. From defensive tools to the right amount of proactivity, Cube Warlock is one of the strongest and most versatile decks in the game.

Defensive Control Warlock decks are still viable options for ladder, but are outclassed due to their vulnerability to counter strategies such as Control Priest. The standard list is also fairly refined, with Dirty Rat vs. Gnomeferatu being the primary source of debate.

Zoo Warlock takes advantage of wrong mulligans from the opponent expecting a slower deck. Fungalmancer has been seeing more play due to the success of Matteo as well as several other players hitting high legend ranks with identical or very similar builds.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

The Paladin class is having a good time, and will likely have a good time post-rotation since it’s not losing two of the best cards in the game: Call to Arms and Sunkeeper Tarim.

Murloc Paladin is a very strong deck, and its #1 legend achievements appear to be routine. The standard build featured is a reliable choice at any level of play, and most players only make slight deviations from it. Riyuu hit #1 legend by swapping one Hydrologist for Blessing of Kings and one Maul for Vinecleaver. Tholwmenos hit #1 dropping one Hydrologist for the 2nd Spellbreaker. These are small tweaks intended to improve slower matchups. Spellbreaker and Blessing of Kings are notable Warlock techs while Vinecleaver is particularly strong against Priest.

Dude Paladin sacrifices the Warlock matchup for a stronger matchup spread against the rest of the field. Its ability to continuously refill boards with must-answer threats is unrivaled and it’s an archetype that utilizes both Call to Arms and Sunkeeper Tarim to their maximum potential.

Control Exodia Paladin is a fun deck that is about to rotate out due to the loss of Burgly Bully and Auctionmaster Beardo. Thijs, Caravaggio and Mr.Yagut all had great results with it in recent times and it is surprisingly effective against the current field. Caravaggio has even begun to experiment with Millhouse Manastorm as a CTA target to high legend success.

Branching out from Control Paladin, an interesting list built by Ike has taken him to #9 legend. This “Rally Vally Pally” utilizes Val’anyr as a late game value engine alongside Saronite Chain Gang, as well as the underrated finisher that is Lynessa Sunsorrow.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Mage has proven to be one of the stronger classes in the K&C meta thanks to Aluneth and the piled up secret synergy it has received over the past couple of years. Much of the secret synergy will be lost in the upcoming rotation, though Aluneth remaining will likely enable an aggressive deck of a different kind at some point in the upcoming year.

While it does suffer from poor Paladin matchups, Secret Mage does perform well against Warlocks, securing it a solid spot in the meta. Totosh has had great success with the archetype recently, hitting #1 legend multiple times with a build that deviates slightly from the standard list. Potion of Polymorph is a strong Warlock tech, while a 2nd copy of Arcane Intellect is included over an Apprentice. If you don’t see a lot of Paladins or Hunters, Secret Mage becomes a much stronger ladder choice, so keep that in mind when running the archetype.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

While Spell Hunter play rates have stayed the same, Secret Hunters have been popping up in increasing amounts and have been finding good success on ladder.

The latest Secret Hunter build comes from Pymbette, who took it to #3 legend, while Qwerty97 took it to #1 legend. The build notably cuts Animal Companions and some early game minions for more flexibility. Venomstrike Trap, Hungry Crab, Tracking, and Deathstalker Rexxar all make appearances. Since the list also omits Bittertide Hydra, it performs much better against Paladins and other aggressive decks. The inclusion of the Death Knight provides it with the ability to take the game long as well. If you’re not hitting Paladins, consider replacing the Hungry Crab for either Secretkeeper or Alleycat in order to snowball better in the early game.

Spell Hunter is one of the best decks in the game, and the list has solidified to a largely agreed core of 29 cards. The flex spot sees some deviation, with Odemian’s list running Grievous Bite after Rhok’delar has fallen out of favor.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Rogue’s ladder position as a niche counter class is unchanged. Miracle, Kingsbane and Quest Rogue all target slower strategies and look to avoid the aggressive decks of the meta. In the tournament scene, the class becomes much more competitive since the availability of a ban gives it the opportunity to shine in both Conquest and LHS formats as a very reliable control counter. Quest Rogue in particular has seen its stock rise from HCT Bangkok to HCT Oslo. Ryvius, one of the most notable pilots of Quest Rogue, took his standard build to #6 legend while Zanananan took the same list to #38 legend.

Data Reaper Report - Druid

This week, Thijs and Level9001 took Mill Druid and Spiteful Druid to high legend ranks, ending a barren period in which it was a struggle to find any new developments with the class.

Level9001’s #23 legend Spiteful Druid is teched with all of the hate cards you can jam in a deck: Hungry Crabs, Dragonslayers, Mind Control Techs, Spellbreakers, Eater of Secrets and even Gluttonous Ooze. The purpose of the deck is to curve out minions while seeking blowout turns through the techs, making up for the inefficiency they create in normal circumstances.

Thijs took Mill Druid to #29 legend, opting to run a Curator package with Hungry Crab, Coldlight Oracle and Primordial Drake. The build’s defensive tools help put up a surprisingly good fight against Paladins and Priests, though Cube Warlock is still a struggle that the class has not been able to deal with effectively since K&C’s launch.

“I don’t know about you, Garrosh, but I’m excited about this expansion. I think good things are going to happen to us!”

Thrall and Garrosh were sitting at the patio of their home, holding fruity drinks in hand while browsing the internet on a laptop that rested on the table. The sun was setting, and the skies were darkening, donning beautiful and soothing shades of red.

“I agree,” Garrosh replied “I feel like the feedback we gave Blizzard hit home. I have a feeling we’re about to get really good cards”.

Thrall smiled and nodded to his companion “Indeed. Hagatha is not a bad late game card. She might help me in value battles and I’m interested in trying out an even-cost deck. Totems for 1 mana seem really good and that Eel is very powerful”.

“Maybe having cheaper totems will help you against Gul’dan!” Garrosh continued.

“Yes. Defile is so unfair against me right now!” Thrall groaned.

“Defile…” Garrosh clenched his fist as he uttered the word, his expression quickly turning sour and he was shaking his head.

“But hey, that’s in the past!” Thrall quickly broke the silence. He noticed Garrosh’s anger beginning to build up and decided to brush off his own frustration and stay positive “You’re getting Warpath too. It might seem like a weaker Defile, but it’s still a good, flexible AOE spell”.

“Yes!” Garrosh nodded, warming up to Thrall’s words “I can’t expect them to print a card as powerful as Defile again, so Warpath is nice”.

“And they did say they were keeping an eye on Gul’dan” Thrall continued “so he shouldn’t be getting crazy cards again”.

The two Orcs nodded to each other and smiled, taking a sip from their drinks and relaxing in their seats, feeling reassured.

Suddenly, a buzzing sound was heard, and both Orcs were looking around them. Thrall gestured to Garrosh, signaling it was coming from him. Thrall took out a cell phone that was tucked under his belt and looked at its screen.

“Speaking of Gul’dan, he just sent me a text.”

“What does that fel junkie say?” Garrosh wondered.

“He says…” Thrall paused for a moment “Check Twitter, suckers.”

Garrosh frowned, while Thrall looked irritated at the message. He quickly shoved the cell phone back under his belt and reached for the laptop. The two Orcs glanced at the loading browser and scrolled through the Twitter timeline. It didn’t take long for them to find a picture of a new Warlock card.

“Lord Godfrey,” Thrall began to read “7 mana 4/4. Battlecry: Deal 2 damage to all other minions. If any die, repeat this Battlecry”.

The Orcs sat silent for a few moments, wearing blank expressions.

“This is basically a stronger Defile…” Garrosh started.

“Yes,” Thrall interrupted.

“With a body on top of it…”

“Yes!” Thrall sounded more agitated.

“That’s harder to play around….”


“And also kills all of your totems!”

“YES!!!” Thrall’s final scream echoed far in the distance. A pack of birds darted out of nearby trees, chirping in panic while flying away from the scene.

Garrosh stopped, as Thrall was closing all applications and shutting down the laptop. An awkward silence ensued for a minute as the two Orcs finished their drinks. Garrosh looked at an expressionless Thrall and finally mustered up the courage to speak once again, twiddling his thumbs.

“So… want to play some Overwatch?”

Thrall sighed at the suggestion, before speaking again.

“Are you going to let me pick Hanzo?”


Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

Priest is slipping, and Warlock is taking advantage, raking in the wins. This is especially true at the top end of ladder where there are more Paladins and less Mages around. The Cube variant is very well rounded, with the defensive tools necessary to fend off aggression while carrying the lethality enabled by cheating out Doomguards. This lethality puts an incredible amount of pressure on both control decks, and combo decks looking to counter Warlock. The meta is quite favorable to Warlock right now, so it’s a very good choice if you want to beat the best decks while not leaving yourself up to be hard targeted by more niche strategies.

Warlock is just a very strong class that’s dictating the late game meta while also carrying fantastic tools against the early game meta. This is unlikely to change in Witchwood, considering what the deck is losing in rotation (very little), and what it’s possibly gaining. New strategies will have to rise in order to beat the Void Daddy, so we’re interested to see whether combo decks centered on burst damage (bypassing taunts) could be viable in the next meta.

Until next week, make sure to draw your Skulls by turn 5.

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 3,200 active contributors. Without them, this project would not be possible, so we’d like to thank all of our contributors for their help.

Preparing our weekly article requires a significant amount of time and effort from many individuals. We would like to wholeheartedly thank our current Patreons, whose generous donations help us fund computing and server costs.

vS Gold is a new membership plan aimed to support our efforts towards improving our content and data analysis while receiving some bonuses and extra features.

Tier 3+ Patrons

Special thanks to Leo GChungfr, Kognar, Aaron B, Jed M, Drew M, Alan J, lalasong, Eric L, Steve F, Batz, Jeffee83, Zolstar, Pink Mage Diaries, Connor L, Eric H, Lim E, Stefan D, Audun K, Sean H, asHram, Andrew N, NObdy, Mark S, Andrew, Alonso P, and msKang for supporting us for the month of March.

A HUGE thank you to our Tier 5 Patron(s): ByteCookie, and Curt S!


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

EndofDayswwlosrenzcheesee-hunter pdeegz-warriorspacemonkey-paladinTzachilookitzjoeNaramoSentenza


  1. I second that the control warlock and cube warlock need to be separated. They are very distinct in terms of playstyle and matchups. Both are commonly played.
    How hard can it be – just pull out all the decks that play carnivorous cube and group them separately.

  2. Too bad the software can’t differentiate cube warlock from classic control warlock, it appears to be a big problem to me :/
    Also, I still love the garrosh/thrall dialogue, its’ still so funny !
    Cheers from France.

Comments are closed.