vS Data Reaper Report #9
Welcome to the ninth edition of the Data Reaper Report!
Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live (Beta) now has over 1,200 contributors. Without them, this project would not be possible. We would like to thank all of our contributors for willingness to help with this project.
Over the past week, we’ve compiled 40,000 games. If you have not done so already, please sign up with your Track-O-Bot information here:
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We begin with our deck frequency charts for games recorded between July 6 and July 12. The first chart shows all ranks, the second can be switched between different rank groups. We’ve recorded about 1.3k games at legend rank, 7k games at ranks 1-5, 11k games at ranks 6-10 and over 17k 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 upward trend with no signs of slowing down. The archetype is now only second to Zoo in overall popularity, and it is the most common opponent on the bottleneck to legend. Decks that don’t match up well enough with Dragon Warrior are not recommended for the grind.
- For the first time since the Data Reaper’s inception, Shaman drops from the top 2 and makes way for Warlock, with both Zoo and Reno significantly increasing in numbers. Though the Shaman class is still very strong, it’s been feeling the effect of Dragon Warrior’s rise to power.
- Yogg Druid is breaking out. It has eclipsed C’Thun Druid in numbers and is particularly popular at higher levels of play, where it is one of the most common decks on ladder.
- The Hunter class is being kept in check by the fast-paced nature of the current Metagame. Control decks are almost non-existent, save for C’Thun Warrior and Reno Warlock.
- Mage, Rogue, Paladin and Priest are showing signs of stagnation, retaining their relatively modest spots.
We now present the updated “vS Power Rankings” table for week # 9. 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.
Dragon Warrior and Yogg Druid are surging forward, leaving the rest of the Metagame trailing behind them. The explanation is simple; both archetypes do not have reliable counters and are generally very strong against the field. C’Thun Warrior is the only deck in the game that boasts favorable matchups against the two decks, but its numbers are too low to provide significant resistance to their rise. Yogg has the slight edge at the #1 spot, and we are also observing that the archetype is improving its performance against Shaman, a class which previously appeared to be a soft counter, but not anymore.
Mid-Range Hunter and Zoo are seeing drops in their scores. The former is being bumped off Tier 1, while the latter is drifting further away from the elite. Dragon Warrior poses a difficult challenge to Zoo, while Yogg Druid is another deck that can throw Hunter off their comfort zone.
Interestingly, the forgotten Tempo Warrior archetype is the story of the week, launching itself into Tier 1. Tempo Warrior has many favorable matchups in the current Metagame, but what prevents it from becoming popular again is the redundancy effect. Dragon Warrior is simply the stronger deck across the board, and there is rarely a good reason to play Tempo Warrior over it. The one matchup where Tempo Warrior shines brighter is against Zoo, as it’s a stronger counter to it. We’ll have to see whether or not a new Tempo Warrior build can help steer the archetype away from the shadows of Dragons.
This week has only reaffirmed our conviction that Dragon Warrior has surpassed all other Warrior archetypes. Our Warrior expert, Rayc591, was able to get to legend in fewer than 200 games with the deck by the third day of the season and has come close to taking rank 1 legend with it numerous times, hovering around top 10 all week. While C’Thun Warrior does have a strong matchup against Dragon Warrior, their numbers on ladder are not enough to deter from playing Dragon Warrior. With how dominant Dragon Warrior feels, at least in the legend ranks, we expect it to increase further in popularity.
StrifeCro’s variant of C’Thun Warrior didn’t seem to catch on and everyone appears to have reverted back to a more standard list similar to what Neobility has been running recently. The archetype is strong against midrange decks such as Dragon Warrior and is solid against the rest of the field. C’Thun Warrior has all but overshadowed the traditional Control Warrior build with The Golden Monkey finisher and has become the standard for Control Warrior archetypes. The Doomcaller/Brann combo to add two C’Thun’s to your deck is more than enough fire power to end a game and the C’Thun cards are just too strong to ignore at the moment.
Lately it seems that all other Warrior archetypes have faded into irrelevance for the time being outside of Tempo Warrior being played in tournaments. J4ckieChan found success with a unique Tempo Warrior variant that is worth considering. It is a strong build, and even though it’s likely to be inferior to Dragon Warrior, it’s an interesting option if you are interested in mixing it up while still being able to climb efficiently.
Zoo remains a good choice on ladder and in tournaments while Reno is primarily a tournament deck, though it might be viable on ladder in the case of a particular pocket Metagame heavy with Warriors.
This week, we did see yet another form of a successful Zoo variant. Xixo managed to place 1st at Starladder Season 2, using an aggressive Zoo deck originally made by Darkshadow & SensoR. This variant utilizes a few uncommonly used cards including Young Priestess, Lance Carrier and Argent Commander. Like other previous unique variants we have shown before, it may not gain any momentum to establish a permanent spot in the Metagame, and may be forgotten in a week; but it continues to provide another example of the many forms Zoo can take and still be successful.
The Shaman class has had a good week in the tournament scene, as Xixo was victorious at Starladder Season 2, including Dengxu’s Mid-Range Shaman in his line-up, with which Dengxu finished #2 legend for the month of June. Mid-Range Shaman has been out of favor recently, and these latest results show that the archetype can still be viable in this Metagame. This is important in order for other players to put their faith in the deck. We believe Mid-Range Shaman is slowly finding its optimal list and this was a step forward towards achieving that goal.
Meanwhile, Control Shaman is still inching its way into the scene as another interesting list emerges from Thijs, meant to target Aggro Shaman and Zoo, with its massive board clears and life gain.
The Hunter class had several good performances in tournaments this week, as Mid-Range Hunter and its hybrid variant are becoming more refined.
At Starladder Season 2, Xie Shuai took Mid-Range Hunter all the way to the grand finals, through the winner’s bracket, placing 2nd. Throughout the tournament, he had great success with his Mid-Range Hunter list, which complemented his strategy of targeting control decks. He beat Xixo down to the loser’s bracket with his Hunter, but later on in the grand finals, Xixo banned his Hunter instead of his Reno Warlock, a move which ended up helping him clinch the series.
Mitsuhide used his Hybrid Hunter build, which we featured in a previous Data Reaper Report, to win the Hearthstone Festival in Lille. Speaking about his line-up strategy, Mitsuhide commented on the Hybrid variant being faster, cutting slower cards like Stampeding Kodo in order to keep up with more aggressive decks.
On ladder, Nick Chipper successfully held rank 4 legend with Hybrid Hunter and Zoo. His Hybrid Hunter build has no Abusive Sergeants, opting to feature 2 Argent Squires and a slew of 2-mana minions. These early game minions, along with Unleash the Hounds, synergize with Dire Wolf Alpha to establish a strong early game. Tundra Rhino, an unconventional card choice, is also included in his deck, to provide it with further reach for board pressure as well as damage while ahead, synergizing with strong mid-game cards that gives control decks trouble, such as Stranglethorn Tiger and Savannah Highmane.
This has been a big week for Druid due to its increased relevance on ladder. As predicted last week, Yogg Druid has overtaken C’Thun Druid as the most popular archetype, especially at the higher ranks. Yogg Druid is one of the best decks in the current Metagame, having favorable or even matchups against most decks on ladder. Most notably, it has a very slight edge against Dragon Warrior, one of the most dominant decks on ladder. Yogg Druid has also seen success in tournaments, with Xixo using Senfglas’ list to win Starladder Season 2, replacing Cenarius with Onyxia. Onyxia’s advantage is that it has a bigger immediate impact on the board, and often sets up a Savage Roar lethal, though both cards can still find their place in the same list.
C’Thun Druid hasn’t had any notable new developments due to the popularity of Yogg Druid, which most players believe is the overall better deck. However, Chinese player Xie Shuai finished second at Starladder using a standard C’Thun Druid, showing that the deck can still be powerful in the right lineup, often one that targets control decks.
Freeze Mage has dropped in popularity in tournaments as it sometimes struggles to find favorable matchups in the format. A new variant utilizing Reno Jackson has popped up for ladder play since it’s one of the ways to combat the Dragon Warrior epidemic while keeping up a decent win rate against the rest of the classes. Reno gives you flexibility and less polarizing matchups, which is what you want when you are trying to hit win streaks in order to climb to high ranks on ladder. This Reno build seems to be optimal for ladder while the non-Reno build is better suited for tournament play when the field of decks varies.
Xixo won the Starladder finals with a slightly different build of Tempo Mage. He opted for an Archmage Antonidas variant that has been gaining popularity recently. Polymorph and Faceless Summoner were also notable inclusions in his build. Mage is expected have a small amount of players representing the class at the upcoming Dreamhack this week because it’s not considered one of the four strongest classes at the moment. While the class still has a place in specific tournament lineup strategies, both Tempo Mage and Freeze Mage are in questionable spots in the current Metagame.
Rogue has remained unchanged this week with no new innovations from the class. As a whole, Miracle Rogue decks have become fully optimized, and the variance between lists is few and far between. For Miracle Rogue, we feel the best strategy at the moment is using deathrattle minions in combination with N’Zoth for added longevity. We still believe that Rogue has potential and can at any instance grab a top rank on ladder. With the resurgence of the heavy board based Zoo decks, some of them not running Forbidden Ritual, and players starting to favor Mid-Range Shaman instead of Aggro in order to combat Warriors better, Rogue has potential to re-emerge and improve its standing in the Metagame.
It’s been over 80 days since the release of standard, and with the light of the Deathlords and Sludge Belchers gone, the night is truly dark and full of terrors. We write this with a heavy heart and a clear mind: Anduin, our former champion, has fallen. N’Zoth hacked hard through the night of dreams, but since the discovery that face is in fact the place, only the consistent control champions have prevailed. We sign off knowing one thing; Murloc Priest is not the answer as Wwlos’ rank 14 can report.
Ben Brode recently came out and said that there is an overpowered Priest deck somewhere out there that no player has found at this point. Players such as Firebat flew all the way down to rank 20 searching for this unicorn, but to no avail. Many of us have tried, and many of us are failing. The truth is, this class has no true identity outside of stealing other’s identities, and the lack of consistency in this strategy has led to the downfall of a class no one, including the developers, know what to do with.
HeIsNotAxel’s Control Priest seems to be a reasonable tournament option in a ban format. It can handle the slower Warriors and Zoo Warlock pretty well, so if that is something you are targeting, the deck might be the right call if you’re feeling brave.
Kibler is still trying to make Dragon Priest work, and his build has had some mild success on ladder. The Twilight Darkmender is one of the better C’Thun cards from WotOG, so C’Thun Priest can be played; it just has yet to make any real splash outside of Super JJ’s top 8 outing at Dreamhack Summer.
Purple recently took an N’Zoth variant of Anyfin Paladin, originally created by Senfglas, to rank 6 legend on the Americas server, based on the deck’s strong matchup against Warriors. On the one hand, this may be a strong Meta call, as we may be in a Metagame lopsided enough for decks with a few specific favorable matchups to climb easily. On the other hand, results at this time of the month with relatively untested decks should be taken with a grain of salt. If Paladin finally has a list that can contest the kings of the current Metagame, the rest of the season should make that clear.
We believe that both Yogg Druid and Dragon Warrior will continue to increase in popularity in the weeks ahead as their inherent advantage against the field is very significant. While Dragon Warrior has begun to define the Meta, Yogg Druid is on its way to a similar fate. These two archetypes are the best choices to pick up if you’re interested in tearing up the ladder and only C’Thun Warrior appears to have the potential to keep them in check.
Here are all the people that participated in bringing you this edition of the vS Data Reaper Report: