vS Data Reaper Report #92

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from over 85,000 games.

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Welcome to the 92nd edition of the Data Reaper Report! This is the first report for The Witchwood after the balance changes.

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 4,400 active contributors and we thank them wholeheartedly. Contributing to the Data Reaper project through either Track-o-Bot or Hearthstone Deck Tracker (recommended) allows us to perform our analyses and to issue the weekly reports. Without the community’s contribution, there would be no project. Contributing data is very easy and takes a few simple steps, after which no other action is required. If you enjoy our content, and would like to make sure it remains consistent and free- Sign Up!

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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

A Thank You

  1. Over the past two weeks, we have received a significant boost in contributors, of well over a thousand. We want to thank the people who have heard our call in the last report and joined our contributors to allow the Data Reaper reports to be published on a weekly basis.
  2. Special 고맙습니다 to the Korean community, which has really stepped up to the plate with many new sign ups, as well as to the Wild community, which has tripled the pace of games we receive in the format. This means that the next Wild report will likely be a fully fledged data report.
  3. We are working on other ways to reward our contributors and make them feel that their help is very meaningful to us. Hopefully, we will have more to say on this subject in the near future. For now, you can join the team by signing up to share your game data here.

Number of Games

Overall 85,000
Legend 25,000
Ranks 1-4 30,000
Ranks 5-9 20,000
Ranks 10-14 5,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

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Class Frequency

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Class Frequency Discussion

Welcome to The Witchwood. A new expansion has essentially launched following the balance changes, and we may finally be able to bid farewell to what felt like a repeat of the Kobolds & Catacombs meta. At first glance, the game has drastically changed. Many new archetypes are being experimented with and old archetypes are undergoing rennovations. The meta is in its honeymoon stage where every deck seems “viable” and every class is played. At this stage of the meta, it is foolish to draw massive conclusions from how decks are currently performing. As we will be discussing throughout this report, there are many changes likely coming to both the overall meta composition, and internal builds of specific archetypes.

The early frontrunner of the post-patch WW meta is Druid. It is the most popular class in the game from rank 4 onwards, and exhibits eye opening diversity. Six different archetypes are noticeable. Taunt Druid is the most popular Druid deck, followed by Spiteful Druid and the newly emerging Token Druid. Devil(saur) Cube Druid, Malygos Quest Druid and Togwaggle Druid can also be observed. Yes, King Togwaggle and Azalina Soulthief have found their way to the standard format.

(A note: After the writing of this report and the closing of the weekly database, a non-Quest Malygos Druid has begun to appear in more significant numbers. The stats and discussion for Malygos Druid in this report is only relevant to the Quest build. If necessary, we will be making adjustments in our descriptions related to the new build next week)

A handsome streamer once called the Rogue class “The Cockroach of Hearthstone.” No matter how often it gets stepped on by Team 5, it refuses to die. Shrugging off the 2nd nerf to The Caverns Below, Rogue has actually increased in play after the balance changes, launching to the 2nd spot overall. Miracle Rogue, a deck we will thoroughly discuss later, has essentially taken Quest Rogue’s place in the meta. Odd Rogue is one of the most popular decks in the game and the primary aggressive deck of this meta.

From rank 5 downwards, Mage is the most popular class, still primarily consisting of its pre-patch archetypes, Aluneth Mage (Tempo Mage renamed) and Big-Spell Mage. At higher levels of play, the class’ popularity drastically declines as a result of Aluneth Mage’s declining frequency pattern. Big-Spell Mage maintains its numbers across the board.

Warlock has been heavily affected by the balance changes, and has undergone a face lift. Even Warlock, the spiritual successor of Handlock, has taken over and is one of the most popular decks in the game. Cube and Control Warlock are drastically less prevalent. However, this comes with a caveat. Cube Warlock is rapidly climbing in popularity as this report is being prepared. Judging by the pace of this re-emergence, Cube Warlock will likely become much more popular by next week, especially at higher levels of play.

Jaws are biting. Claws are catching. Shaman has made a grand return to the Hearthstone landscape. Both of its archetypes gained a lot from the balance changes. Just two examples: Shudderwock Shaman no longer has to deal with the crippling Quest Rogue matchup, while the overall decline in Warlocks is helping Even Shaman breathe easier. Shudderwock Shaman is currently seeing a few slightly different approaches, and one of them looks clearly better than the others.

Another class that thanks the stars for the balance changes to Warlock is Hunter. Previously crippled by the Warlock matchup, Spell Hunter’s popularity has shot up and it’s one of the most prominent decks in the game at every rank bracket. We’re also intrigued by the emerging Kathrena Hunter archetype, which is still relatively unrefined and sees heavy experimentation.

Paladin, unsurprisingly, looks like an entirely different class. Even Paladin has been almost completely deleted as a result of losing Call to Arms. The primary archetype for the class is now Odd Paladin, with Murloc Paladin displaying more modest representation. The days of Paladin’s domination of the meta seem to be over.

Priest’s popularity has fallen, following the declines in Paladin and Warlock. It has also undergone a pretty big internal change with the emergence of Quest Priest alongside Control Priest. Before the balance changes, we noticed that Quest Priest was already displaying good results. The patch has sparked curiosity amongst the player base and it is now seeing significantly more play. Quest Priest is the ultimate fatigue deck, capable of outlasting any opponent, unless it’s the mirror. In that case,  you waste 30 minutes of your life for a draw.

The balance patch seems to have passed over Warrior. It is the least popular class at all levels of play by a significant margin, and it has barely seen any rise in play following the balance changes, unlike other previously neglected classes. The only archetype seeing consistent play is Taunt Warrior, while other experimentations have failed to gain traction. It looks like Warrior may suffer a few more months on the sidelines, hopelessly outclassed by the rest of the field. Just kidding. Keep reading.

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vS Meta Score

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vS Power Rankings Discussion

Taunt Warrior is #1 on the table. At every rank bracket. Everything you once knew about Hearthstone is gone.

Why is Taunt Warrior performing so well in the early post-patch Witchwood meta? Looking at its matchup spread provides the answer. It demolishes board centric decks that spread wide and punishes passive control decks. This combination, alongside the disappearance of some of its worst matchups carrying stronger late games than Ragnaros shots, has translated to an incredible score for the archetype. It is particularly effective at lower skill levels, where the meta is even more favorable to quickly climb the ranks. We do not think Taunt Warrior will maintain this win rate, but it’s a sign that the class’ long battle with depression could be over. Garrosh is back in business.

Token Druid’s emergence is fully justified. This deck is extremely effective at gaining board control and snowballing a lead, demolishing decks that do not have great comeback mechanics. While it is very powerful, we expect Token Druid’s rise to shift the meta heavily against it. The archetype has some very punishing counters, including Taunt Warrior, so we do expect its win rate to drop back to earth as time goes on.

Even Warlock completes the trifecta of the 3 best performing decks at legend ranks. The archetype is, once again, very good at dealing with board centric strategies and midrange strategies, and only falters against heavy late game or heavy burst decks. Defile is a hell of a card and while Gul’dan is not nearly as powerful in an even cost deck, it’s still powerful enough to often be a game ending play.

Cube Warlock looks quite strong despite the balance changes and is flirting with a Tier 1 win rate at legend. There is also another very important factor to consider: Based on our observations, the meta is becoming more favorable to Cube Warlock every day, matchup wise. In addition to its ongoing increase in prevalence and the meta’s lack of tech against it, its win rate is also increasing. We would not be surprised if, after all the dust settles down, Cube Warlock ends up being the best deck in the game.

Control Warlock, on the other hand, is suffering. What we can conclude from these results is that previous builds solely banking on Possessed Lackey/Voidlords interaction are not working. This doesn’t mean the archetype cannot work or improve, which is why in the Warlock section, we’re suggesting a different approach that might be better in the post-patch meta.

Big-Spell Mage has been surprisingly effective in the early post-patch meta, though we will mention that ongoing meta trends are unfavorable for the archetype. The expected rise of Taunt Warrior, Token Druid and Cube Warlock, all very poor matchups for Big-Spell Mage, should knock it down a peg or two. It will likely remain the best Mage deck in the format and a pretty strong choice overall. Aluneth Mage, in contrast, is suffering from a very poor matchup spread. It is one of the worst decks in the game at dealing with common early game openings, and the disappearance of Even Paladin has not helped it whatsoever.

The dominating Even Paladin has been replaced by Odd Paladin. The deck shines at lower skill levels, but is already displaying a pattern of falling off at the highest levels. There is interest in refining the archetype further, so we will have to wait and see whether these efforts bear fruit. For now, Odd Paladin is a reliable ladder climber that we don’t expect to come out of the honeymood period as one of the stronger decks in the game. Considering its terrible matchups against the T1 decks, this just seems unlikely.

The Hunter renaissance is here. Spell Hunter is enjoying a strong win rate at all levels of play and will likely remain a meta staple going forward. It’s very effective at fending off early game decks, while its weakness is dealing with the slower, late game focused strategies. In addition, we see a lot of promise with Kathrena Hunter too. This archetype has a significant scope for improvement should it settle down on its best performing build. We discuss it in more detail in the Hunter section.

Shaman has also shot up the win rate charts, and both of its archetypes exhibit competitive win rates. Shudderwock Shaman is nowhere near its previous meme status, and it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which it collapses. Even Shaman, on the other hand, may face difficult challenges should the meta move in a direction that counters board centric strategies.

Rogue is a very interesting class to discuss. Odd Rogue seems like the dominant aggressive deck in a meta where aggressive decks are at a relatively low point in the history of Hearthstone. Miracle Rogue is, somewhat surprisingly, sitting at a win rate of slightly below 50%, despite it enjoying plenty of success at top legend ranks throughout the first week of the patch. There is a logical explanation which can be observed in its matchup spread. Miracle Rogue dominates many of the late game decks in the meta, similarly to what Quest Rogue used to do, albeit in less extreme fashion. Miracle Rogue mostly struggles against aggression. In an erratic meta where aggressive decks can nosedive in play, the archetype performs much better, and this erratic environment is often observed at high legend ranks. The archetype has become the go-to counter to late game decks, since it’s also very effective against another common control counter: Shudderwock Shaman.

Another surprisingly lukewarm performer in the current meta is Taunt Druid. We think it has a good excuse, for now. Players are not building it correctly, even at higher levels of play. The late game dragon package is very strong but not very common, and we can’t help but cringe when we see lists running two Tar Creepers. This is why we’re going to wait before judging Taunt Druid harshly. If dragons show up in greater numbers and it still looks mediocre, it’s another story. We don’t expect Taunt Druid to suddenly explode in its win rate, since it can be heavily countered, but it’s better than it looks since there’s a big difference between the dragon lists and the non-dragon lists.

Priest is, so far, not handling the new patch too well. As a heavily reactive class that’s punished for wrong tech, it’s not surprising that it is struggling to perform well in a fairly diverse meta where narrow tech is usually not worth it. Quest Priest is currently performing better than Control Priest and some of it might have to do with this issue as well. However, we do think both decks have a fairly decent spot in the meta and there is no danger of them completely losing their grip. The encouraging sign of the early days of the post-patch meta is that there are no dead classes. There are at least, for now, two competitive decks to play for every class.

We round out T3 with some less talked about decks. Zoo Warlock continues to be neglected and unrefined, yet it’s really not that bad. Murloc Paladin is certainly feeling the nerf to Call to Arms and looks like an inferior choice to other aggressive decks. Spiteful Druid has also felt the balance changes, and considering its tendency to decline in a refining meta, we don’t believe it’s a particularly promising deck. Malygos Quest Druid is an interesting combo deck that serves a similar role to Quest Rogue by countering late game strategies and may become a bigger force in the tournament scene.

With the meta being so young, there are some low playrate decks that did not make it to the table, but are worth mentioning:

  • If you’re wondering what is the second competitively strong Warrior deck we’ve found, Big (Recruit) Warrior looks like the real deal, with a win rate surpassing 50%. We think it definitely merits more play than it sees.
  • Quest Rogue might be weaker, but it’s actually not a dead deck at all, with a win rate that would place it around T3. We wouldn’t be surprised if it finds a way to come back, even if it’s done modestly.
  • Togwaggle Druid looks like a legitimately competitive deck, though it’s hard to say how it comes out of the honeymoon period. In the current state of the game, it should be taken seriously. Watch out for Druids who aggressively cycle into fatigue with seemingly no win condition. You’re likely about to get Waggled.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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

Data Reaper Report - Druid

Druid has launched itself to the top of the meta following the balance changes, with an unrivaled plethora of archetypes seeing play and experimentation, resembling the Warrior class during Whispers of the Old Gods.

Taunt Druid was the first deck to come out of the gates after the balance changes. With Quest Rogue being mostly gone from ladder, and a good matchup against the rising Even Warlock, Taunt Druid finds itself in a more comfortable setting. However, hard counters for the deck still exist, which will likely prevent it from growing in popularity. In terms of builds, we strongly recommend running the Dragonhatcher/SleepyDragon package. If you’re not running at least one Dragonhatcher, you’re doing it wrong. We also think going all-in might be the best approach.

Ultimate Infestation and Tar Creeper are overrated pieces in the deck. UI is very hard to actually cast since you often run into hand size issues with the deck. Tar Creeper weakens your Oaken Summons and your resurrection pool for Hadronox. It also indirectly decreases the chance that your Oakheart will pull Hadronox (you’re more likely to have Ironwood Golems left in the deck).

Token Druid has erupted, boasting an incredibly strong win rate against the field. The deck dominates early game like no other, pushing aggressive decks off the board while presenting consistently threatening boards against slower decks. Branching Paths is an incredible card in this deck, since having 4 copies of Savage Roar means it’s impossible to ignore the danger whenever the Druid spreads wide. The only classes capable of beating Token Druid consistently are the supreme AOE classes: Warlock, Priest and Warrior.

Spiteful Druid is still around, though it’s certainly not as prevalent after the balance changes. We don’t believe there is any need to deviate much from the pre-patch list, although we recommend running Cairne at the 6 slot in order to better bridge into a turn 7 Spiteful.

With Quest Rogue’s numbers dwindling, Quest Malygos Druid has become a more enticing combo deck to pilot. This deck might become particularly prevalent in anti-control conquest line ups since it’s quite adept at punishing slower decks. The second list, which includes Naturalizes, deals with Warlocks better while the first list hedges against aggression. Should Cube Warlock make a return to prominence, Harrison Jones is also a consideration.

The balance changes have sparked very interesting experimentations, birthing new archetypes. Zanananan hit #21 legend with Casie’s Devilsaur Druid, which utilizes Witching Hour in order to resurrect Charged Devilsaurs before Cubing them, in a similar way to Warlock’s abuse of Doomguards.

Finally, King Togwaggle may have found his way to competitive viability. Mirroring the famous Togwaggle/Azalina combo Druid decks in Wild format, the standard version of Togwaggle Druid utilizes Twig of the World Tree in order to execute the combo, filling Aviana/Kun’s roles. This deck is surprisingly effective at both fending off aggression and punishing some of the slower decks in the meta that cannot consistently pressure you before you reach fatigue and execute the swap.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Quest Rogue seems to be mostly gone, at least for now, but the class still seems capable of fighting back through other means, and it’s established itself as the 2nd most popular class at higher levels of play.

If you are a fan of making a board filled with 4/4’s, then you don’t need to re-craft the Caverns Below. Look no further than Faldorei Strider and Miracle Rogue. Miracle Rogue had largely been marginalized in the pre-patch meta since it wasn’t as good against control decks as Quest Rogue, and wasn’t as aggressive as Odd Rogue. Now, the old stalwart of the Rogue class is back in full force, with the deck seeing reasonable representation across all ranks.

Regulars of the report will be familiar with the name Gyong when it comes to Miracle Rogue, and it was no surprise to see him reach high legend ranks, alongside others, just days after the patch dropped. Miracle Rogue is often a frontrunner when the meta is in flux, and takes a step back after things get refined. This patch seems to be no exception, but we do think Miracle Rogue will likely remain a competitive participant in the upcoming meta.

Odd Rogue is the other Rogue archetype that has thrived post patch, becoming the most common aggressive deck in a meta where aggressive decks do not particularly shine. Lists are mostly unchanged from before the patch, though Ironbeak Owl is a liability in the current meta.

Tempo and Kingsbane Rogue see minimal play. Tempo Rogue continues to be overshadowed by Odd Rogue’s similar playstyle, while Kingsbane Rogue is a weaker counter option to control decks than Miracle Rogue.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

The balance changes have decreased Warlock’s representation on ladder, but the class is clearly still very powerful. Whether the current ladder diversity sticks, or whether Warlock returns to terrorize the meta, remains to be seen.

Even Warlock is the newest and currently, most successful Warlock archetype. The deck leans on Genn to enable a turn 3 Mountain Giant on the coin, which is difficult for many decks to handle. Along with big Twilight Drakes as well as Hooked Reavers resembling Molten Giants, the deck feels like old school Handlock. It is a “ramp” beatdown deck that pressures slower decks while possessing enough defensive tools to play the control game against faster decks. Make no mistake, however, it is not a control deck and will usually find itself in unfavorable spots if it ends up fighting a drawn out battle against true control decks possessing more longevity. We’re featuring Monsanto’s #1 legend list, which was very much inspired by Sjow’s early success with the deck.

While Cube Warlock is not anywhere near as prevalent as it once was, its current low prevalence could be temporary since the deck is still very good. Cube Warlock is also enjoying a slower meta with significantly less silences and weapon techs, which compensates for slower Lackeys and less healing available from Pacts. Gaby59 hit #1 legend with a Stonehill Defender list that looks very much like pre-nerf Cubelock. His build cuts a Doomsayer for The Lich King, which we generally don’t agree with. Doomsayer is very good in the current meta since it’s not only strong against aggressive decks, but it’s also a very good card against Even Warlock, denying their turn 3-4 Giant and giving you more time to reach your own power turns.

While Stonehill Defender makes more sense in the current state of Warlock, since it helps you bridge into your slower mid-game, we think Prince Taldaram is still a very good card in the deck. An alternative take would add Prince and a different defensive card at the 30th slot. Rotten Applebaum at the 5 mana slot is an example that would serve a similar purpose to Stonehill Defender: stalling until you can drop a Lackey on the board. Another option is running a Plated Beetle.

Control Warlock is still an option to counter board-based decks, though much like before, you could find yourself ruthlessly countered by various meta powerhouses, since Rin often isn’t fast enough to deal with the variety of powerful late-game finishers seeing play at the moment. The lists we’re featuring are inspired by Gaboumme #5 legend build, but look to add back recruiting power through either Possessed Lackey or Master Oakheart. With Possessed Lackey nerfed, Skull of the Man’ari helps speed yourself up against aggressive strategies. Skull requires more demon support, which makes Despicable Dreadlord the perfect addition to the deck. It’s both a solid turn 5 play on its own and can cripple token decks if left unanswered. Be mindful whether you want to equip Skull against slower decks if the Rin path is available.

Zoo Warlock is showing up in very small numbers, and much like before the patch, it hasn’t received much attention. Our featured list, unchanged from before the patch, is the best approach for the archetype, running Sea Giants in order to deal with the various token decks in the current meta.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Shaman is back to Hearthstone relevance. The class is one of the biggest winners of the balance changes, which weakened some of its worst oppressors. The class’ usage has shot up over the past week, and its numbers consist of two primary archetypes.

Shudderwock Shaman, a deck that almost disappeared before the nerfs, has come back roaring. While many different iterations are being tested, the best variant includes Keleseth, which can be somewhat unintuitive considering the combo centric nature of the deck. Zyrious hit #4 legend with a build that includes Lightning Bolts over Fire Fly, a decent early game removal tool. Remember that without Murmuring Elemental, the Shudderwock combo could fail if the Grumble battlecry procs before Saronite Chain Gang. Try to re-play Saronite Chain Gangs (play both copies, Grumble them or Zola them) if possible in order to reduce the chances of the combo failing. Against aggressive decks, this isn’t as important since the deck can win through survival. Hagatha the Witch is great in these scenarios.

Genn Greymane found a new best friend, switching off Uther to focus his attention on Thrall. With Even Paladin weakened by the nerf to Call to Arms, Even Shaman offers an equally meaningful turn 1 hero power. Meati hit #21 legend with the featured build which includes an Elemental package enabling Kalimos.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

Mage is a tale of two archetypes. One is of disappointment, and the other is of promise.

The first is of Aluneth Mage, formerly known as Tempo Mage, a name which we’ve stuck with throughout Witchwood despite it having nothing to do with what the deck actually does.  This deck was tipped to be one of the strongest in the game after the patch due to its primary predator, Even Paladin, being gutted. However, Even Paladin’s disappearance and the weakening of Warlocks has made space for even more counters to Aluneth Mage to emerge. The matchup against Even Shaman, for example, will cause you to miss playing against Paladins. Spell Hunter, freed up from Warlock oppression, destroys Aluneth Mage. Token Druid, same story. In contrast, Quest Rogue, the easiest matchup for Aluneth Mage pre-patch, is now gone from ladder. All of this has translated to a very negative impact on Aluneth Mage’s win rate.

But there was another Mage archetype we thought had a lot of promise as a result of the balance changes, and this one did not disappoint. Big-Spell Mage is very well positioned in the current meta. Its powerful AOE and defensive removal lines up well against most of the current board flooding decks, save for the extremely resilient Token Druid. It also handles Even Warlock far better than it ever handled Cube. The deck does get punished by Taunt Warrior and Shudderwock Shaman due to its extremely passive nature. TicTac had success with a post-patch list we feel is suitable for the meta. Geist is a Taunt Druid tech that helps you walk all over this matchup, since denying Naturalizes makes it impossible for the Druid to execute its late game plan without his Hadronox being turned into a sheep. Gluttonous Ooze can be replaced by another generic defensive card, such as Plated Beetle, Tar Creeper or Rotten Applebaum.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

With its biggest enemy in Warlock weakened, and the meta’s early game slowing down a notch, Spell Hunter has risen greatly in playrate, with Hunter becoming a fairly competitive class in the still developing meta. Most Spell Hunter lists are very similar to the pre-patch lists, with small variations. While Grievous Bite and Wing Blast are toyed around with, we believe Arcane Shots are probably the best 29th and 30th cards available.

The other Hunter archetype which has emerged in greater numbers following the patch is Kathrena Hunter. The Kathrena package includes Charged Devilsaur, King Krush and Witchwood Grizzly. These beasts become very strong offensive and defensive threats when cheated out by Kathrena. There are two conceptually different builds that look to utilize this package.

The first and more popular one, was taken by Chunchunner to #18 legend. It runs a secret package alongside Carnivorous Cubes. Play Dead combos with Cube (and Kathrena) much like Dark Pact enables Cubes in Warlock, generating either a wall of taunts or massive burst damage through charge effects.

The second build is actually the better performing build, and hasn’t been explored as much. It runs an early game vanilla minion package alongside Keleseth, Silver Vanguard and Seeping Oozeling. Oozeling copies the deathrattle of either Kathrena or Vanguard. Alongside Play Dead and Stitched Tracker, the deck is able to cheat out threats much more consistently. We believe this particular list is a sleeper hit deck that merits more play, and could be the strongest deck available to the class overall.

Data Reaper Report - Priest

Priest strategies maintain significance after the balance changes, though the class might not be the big winner that some were predicting. The drop off in Paladins seemed to have mattered more than the disappearance of Quest Rogue, as several other control counters emerged to give Priest a hard time in the latter’s place.

Control Priest, aka “Mind Blast Priest”, is a reasonably strong ladder deck and performs well against many of the board-centric strategies in the meta. However, with the proliferation of Shudderwock, Hadronox, and Auctioneer, there are more natural predators to Priest. Since the meta is more diverse, narrow tech options are not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Twilight Acolytes become a staple due to their strength against Even Warlocks, while Cabal Shadow Priest shines in the Acolytes’ presence and in the generally slower meta.

Quest Priest has seen a big uptick in play, and for a good reason. The quest reward is very powerful against both burn decks as well as low pressure control decks. Your ability to outlast opponents increases dramatically when you include Archbishop Benedictus. Combine that with Zola to create a backup copy of either Benny or Amara, and you have a classic fatigue Priest deck for the ages. Be warned that this deck falls prey to the current meta’s primary combo decks in Shudderwock Shaman and Miracle Rogue. Save for these two truly terrible matchups, Quest Priest does adequately everywhere else.

Some fringe Priest strategies have made appearances in smaller numbers. NafBen hit top 50 with a Inner Fire/Divine Spirit Combo Priest build that has a sizeable early game curve alongside its burst finisher. It even takes a page out of Mind Blast Priest’s book by running Alex and Psychic Scream. Spiteful Priest is noticeable at lower skill levels, but at higher levels of play, its presence is miniscule.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

The Call to Arms nerf has largely dismembered the Paladin class, as Even Paladin has mostly disappeared, while Murloc Paladin has sunk into dormancy as well after a short early period of notable success.

It was easy to predict Even Paladin ceasing to exist, but Murloc Paladin’s failure to gain any ladder traction is somewhat surprising. Even at 5 mana, Call to Arms is the best card in the deck and will continue to be the best card in Paladin decks that utilize it. The question is, can a Paladin deck find a strong enough shell to surround the card with?

Odd Paladin is the suviving archetype of the class and has largely benefited from the balance changes. Before the patch, this deck was outclassed by most of the early game decks as well as Even Paladin. Now, its early game is much more powerful relative to the field. The one significant trait of Odd Paladin is its extremely polarizing matchup spread. It dominates aggressive mirrors in incredible fashion, but completely rolls over to AOE wielding classes, including Druids with Spreading Plague.

In terms of builds, most Odd Paladins stick to the vanilla pre-patch list. Oloninho hit #31 legend with the featured build that runs the familiar arena minions the deck has already introduced to constructed. However, Odd Paladin may not be fully refined and there are attempts to breath new life into the deck through the efforts of players such as Rafael and Zhandaly. The core of these efforts look the 3-slot package. Stonehill Defender and Raid Leader are slow cards that are often very lukewarm plays on turn 3. Instead, we run King Mukla, Vicious Fledgling and Tinkmaster Overspark to potentially turn one of your turn 2 recruits into a menacing 5/5 on curve. The featured Banana build is inspired by the efforts of multiple players and is worth trying out if you happen to have these odd legendaries in the drawer, but we wouldn’t craft them just for the sake of tasting the new flavor.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

Warrior is the sleeper hit class of the post-patch meta, with Taunt Warrior displaying one of the highest win rates in the game. With Even Paladin gone, popular early game and board flooding decks are extremely susceptible to the plethora of defensive tools available to Warrior. In addition, Taunt Warrior punishes control decks that are too passive to threaten its life total. Add the nerfs to intimidating late game threats, Quest Rogue and Cube Warlock, two of Taunt Warrior’s worst matchups, and the archetype suddenly shoots up to the top of the power ranking charts.

Builds of Taunt Warrior have yet to stabilize since the archetype is still relatively under the radar, but the correct direction for the archetype is a cheap curve that can quickly complete the quest. Casie’s build is a good example of a strong Taunt Warrior list. Scourgelord Garrosh is surprisingly a very good card in the deck since it allows you to close games out in aggressive matchups where the quest reward is not particularly useful.  If you’re looking to tear down Token Druid, one of the biggest stars of the post-patch WW meta, Taunt Warrior destroys it like no other deck in the game. The weakest card in Casie’s build is Primordial Drake. Other options include Ooze/Harrison, Blackwald Pixie, Rotten Applebaum, Azalina Soulthief or the Lich King.

The onus on Warrior is pressure. Odd-Control Warrior has fallen to the wayside since it’s not able to pressure a deck like Shudderwock Shaman out of its game plan. Active win conditions are needed, and another promising Warrior archetype that carries one is Big Warrior. Before the patch, it made a few showings in the tournament scene, but now it may find a competitive spot on ladder. Zalae’s build runs Charged Devilsaurs for the aforementioned reason: killing your opponent by hitting them in the face with big stuff is good.

Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

Let’s consider the following logic. Two of the strongest and most underrepresented decks in the game are Token Druid and Taunt Warrior. Both will likely increase in popularity over time. You could consider them to be meta breaking decks. However, there is another Meta Breaker running around, one that’s already solved them both.

It’s called Cube Warlock. This deck seems like a bit of a meme. It utilizes slow, mana cheating cards such as Skull of the Man’ari and Possessed Lackey to summon Doomguards, then kills them with Carnivorous Cubes to spawn more Doomguards. Then it revives all of the Doomguards with Bloodreaver Gul’dan.

We know, this plan seems quite optimistic and farfetched, but it apparently works and might be worth trying out after the balance changes. We usually feature safer decks in the meta breaker section, and decided to stick our neck out this time, but be aware that we don’t refund stars or legend ranks.

Cube Warlock

Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 4,400 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.

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Special thanks to Leo GChungfr, Aaron B, Jed M, Drew M, Alan J, Eric L, Jeffee83, Zolstar, Pink Mage Diaries, Eric H, Lim E, Sean H, Steve F, Andrew N, NObdy, Mark S, Alonso P, msKang, Andrew R, and Andrew H for supporting us for the month of May.


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

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  1. In the past you’ve been adamant in your dislike of Dragoncaller Alana in Big Spell Mage, but it is in your decklist this time. What changes in the meta have made this card worth running?

  2. A while back I got an email from you that you haven’t been receiving games from me anymore. Is there any way to know whether it works now? I disabled and enabled the deck tracker plugin, but not sure if that fixed anything. I love your work, so I’d gladly contribute my games, even if I play less than I used to.

  3. It seems that the meta has never been so diversified. It’s been a while since I enjoyed the game so much. We are much likely to criticize Blizzard when they do mistake. This time we should applaud them with this more than welcomed patch!
    Short question: am i the only one play Paladin Quest Ding Dong? I have had lot of succes to reach rank 5 with it even if druid token got me higher (rank 3.
    I’ll participate to VS (been lazy till now) but thanks a lot for the great job, not only showing us numbers but giving a real analyse.

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