vS Data Reaper Report #93

A weekly Hearthstone Meta Report based on data from over 90,000 games.

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Welcome to the 93rd edition of the Data Reaper Report!

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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


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Number of Games

Overall 90,000
Legend 11,000
Ranks 1-4 27,000
Ranks 5-9 38,000
Ranks 10-14 11,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

The Druid class has risen at all levels of play, establishing itself as the most common opponent at every rank bracket. Druid’s diversity continues to impress, although the player base is beginning to gravitate to two main archetypes: Taunt and Token Druid. Taunt Druid is the most popular deck in the game at legend ranks, and considering it makes up just slightly over 8% of the meta, is a testament to the current strategic diversity in Hearthstone. Shades of Un’Goro. For now.

The Rogue class is undergoing changes. Odd Rogue is in decline at most levels of play outside of legend ranks, while Miracle Rogue is seeing increased play. Both of these archetypes exhibit very stable builds with little deviation from standard lists. It’s safe to say that Rogue will remain a staple in the Witchwood meta, with both its primary archetypes serving significant roles in the Hearthstone landscape.

Warlock is recovering from the fall in popularity suffered at the hands of the balance changes, and its numbers are gradually climbing back up. Cube Warlock’s prevalence has doubled at most levels of play, and its presence is particularly felt at legend. The current trend is signaling that Cubelock could eclipse Even Warlock’s numbers at higher levels of play next week.

Hunter is showing no signs of struggle in the current refinement phase, and its popularity has increased at all levels of play. This is the result of Kathrena Hunter’s rapid growth. The archetype is still developing, with more focus and attention being directed at the Keleseth/Oozeling variant. Along with the more stable Spell Hunter as well as Midrange Hunter, Hunter has three distinct playstyles to choose from, a luxury it could never seem to afford in the past.

Shaman, much like Rogue, has two main archetypes displaying contrasting trends. Shudderwock Shaman is seeing more play across the board, while Even Shaman is in decline. Both of these archetypes look “solved” when it comes to their builds. Both of these archetypes have shown that they are legitimate competitors in the post-patch meta. Shaman is no longer a joke and must be taken seriously.

Mage has significantly declined this week at all levels of play, which isn’t surprising considering the weakness Aluneth Mage has exhibited in the current meta. Most of the class’ decline is attributed to this archetype. However, Big-Spell Mage has also declined in play, which could hint that the deck’s promise at the launch of the patch has been replaced by new obstacles.

Paladin is settling into a comfortable, yet unspectacular spot in the meta. It is the least diverse class in the game, with only one archetype seeing a significant amount of play in Odd Paladin. Both Murloc Paladin and Even Paladin are a very rare sight these days.

While Taunt Warrior has not risen in play as much as some people would expect, its rise in play is still quite significant:  around 85% more play at ranks 4-1 and roughly 50% more play at legend compared to last week. Warrior is also no longer the least popular class in the game, narrowly edging out Priest from rank 4 onward.

This brings us to Priest. It is the class that has suffered the biggest decline in play over the past week, a pretty spectacular crash affecting all levels of play. Both of its primary archetypes, Control and Quest Priest, have shrunk in size. Combo Priest, an archetype currently displaying a much smaller share of the meta, is under heavy experimentation resembling a launch of an expansion. It will be difficult to assess with confidence at the moment, but it’s important to note its internal shift.

Matchup Win Rates Header

Power Rankings Header

vS Meta Score

vS Power Rankings Discussion

We warned you! Cube Warlock now displays the highest win rate at legend ranks, and we expect this performance to start trickling down the ladder ranks. Cube Warlock is relatively stronger today than it was before the balance changes, an incredible result that has two very logical explanations.

Some of the top performing meta decks today simply cannot handle the Cube Warlock matchup. Token Druid and Taunt Warrior are very good examples: both are decks that were barely played before the patch and are now meta staples. Common strategies used to be completely focused on performing well against Cube. Right now, Warlock is having its way with a field not able to deal with it whatsoever.

Tech cards. Spellbreaker has fallen off in play and so have weapon destruction cards. Cube Warlock’s relatively low prevalence is leading to “complacency.” When the deck’s game plan is not being actively disrupted, it runs amok. The Doomguard charge mechanic abuse through Recruit and Carnivorous Cubes is still extremely difficult to deal with. A Possessed Lackey dropping on turn 6 uncontested is stronger than a turn 5 Lackey that meets silences in nearly every game.

In addition to what we’ve mentioned above, it’s important to note that Cube Warlock is currently displaying a noticeable difference in its performance across skill levels. At the very highest levels of play, it’s performing significantly better since the best players have adjusted to the changes quicker. What’s particularly scary is that Cube Warlock’s most popular build at all levels of play, is not even the optimal one for the current meta. With Prince Taldaram chosen over Stonehill Defenders, Cube Warlock would run away with the game. It wouldn’t even be close.

One post-patch difference that may signal that the meta is capable of handling Cube Warlock’s potential rise is that unlike before, there are pretty reliable counters to the archetype. The deck is much more susceptible to burst damage and pressure on its life total due to the delayed Lackey and the reduced healing on Dark Pact. Miracle Rogue, Odd Rogue, Aluneth Mage and Control Priest beat Cube Warlock consistently. These archetypes are likely to see their stock rise over the next few weeks, perhaps with the exception of Aluneth Mage, since it has so many glaring weaknesses to overcome.

Going over the other Tier 1 decks at legend, it is easy to understand why Taunt Warrior and Token Druid have seen their win rates decline. Should Cube Warlock explode in popularity, they may find themselves pushed out of the elite group. Even Warlock is still very powerful, but the meta is shifting into one where Even Warlock is great, Cube Warlock is busted and Control Warlock sucks, so Even Warlock may find itself surpassed.

Odd Rogue is “the” aggressive deck of this meta, and recent trends translate quite favorably for the archetype. The deck’s strong matchup against Cube Warlock, along with poor matchups against decks that fall prey to Cube, means that its future could be very bright. If you like playing aggressive decks, there is no better choice, especially once this report is out.

Cube Warlock is certainly the rising star of this report, but there are two other decks that could find themselves at Tier 1 sooner or later. Taunt Druid has skyrocketed in its performance against the field over the past week. Dragonhatcher builds are taking over, and this has given the archetype a massive boost in its win rate. Judging by the observed trajectory of its win rate, Taunt Druid should be a Tier 1 deck next week unless the meta composition shifts heavily against it (which is certainly possible).

Second potential Tier 1 deck? Kathrena Hunter. Much like Taunt Druid, the shift into the stronger Oozeling variant is translating into a very big win rate spike that is still ongoing, and will likely result in the deck breaking the 52% barrier. This deck is no fake news; it is a real threat that completely destroys some late game strategies. In order to stop Kathrena Hunter, the meta needs to speed up rather than slow down.

There is no doubt that the meta is about to be completely opened up, and some classes are already feeling the effects. Shaman is a prime example. Despite the prevalence trend observed within the class, the archetypes’ win rates are contradictory. Even Shaman is improving its score against the field due to the rise of Taunt Druid and a few other good matchups, while Shudderwock Shaman is having a more difficult time due to the rise in Cubelock, Kathrena Hunter, Token Druid and Miracle Rogue. Shudderwock Shaman is still a fine deck with a matchup spread that should keep it around, but we think its growth should be brought to a halt, while Even Shaman could be slightly underrated.

Paladin is also surprising, with the completely ignored Murloc Paladin suddenly showing promise. The deck is extremely erratic and it’s hard to judge how it will look after the upcoming shift, but it’s certainly competitive. Odd Paladin has had a more difficult time recently. While it actually handles Cube Warlock far better these days, Token Druid and Taunt Warrior provide huge problems. Looking into the future and considering what we’ve already said, things should be better for Paladin.

Who’s suffering from the recent shifts and will likely suffer in the upcoming shifts ahead? Big-Spell Mage looks weaker every day, meeting more opponents that heavily punish its passivity. For the same reason, Quest Priest is also in decline since fatigue is becoming a weaker win condition overall with the “infinite value” decks rising. Spell Hunter stands to lose much if a heavy late game meta is in the works, with both Taunt Druid and Cube Warlock comfortably beating it. While it remains somewhat of a sleeper, Big Warrior hates playing against Warlock too.

Who’s looking more promising? We’re looking at two specific candidates. Valeera is rubbing her hands, licking her lips at the prospect of a Cube Warlock/Taunt Druid axis, a meta in which Miracle Rogue would absolutely thrive. Control Priest may find a way to come back as well should Cube Warlock become public enemy #1, though it will have a bigger struggle if Taunt Druid continues to rise.

Any comments on low play rate decks? Quite a few.

Combo Priest might be an experimental mess, but it’s an experimental mess that actually wins games at a pretty good pace, hovering around the 50% mark and looking like the strongest deck available to the class at the moment.

Zoo Warlock. It’s not even hidden; it is right in front of us. That win rate is nowhere near bad and it’s a bit strange how no one seems to be talking about it. Zoo is a pretty decent deck right now.

Out of the various Druids decks running around at a low play rate, Malygos and Quest Druid have displayed the highest win rates this week, but both aren’t too impressive (under 50%). Togwaggle enters the power rankings table just after it fell off hard from a Tier 3 spot and Devilsaur Druid would sit close to it. Malygos Druid was heavily hyped over the past week but it seemed to do much worse once it became an anticipated threat. With the likely rise in weapon tech targeting Cubelock, Druid decks utilizing Twig of the World Tree should be caught in the crossfire.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


Data Reaper Report - Druid

Druid has firmly established itself as one of the dominant classes in the post-patch Witchwood meta. Not only is the Druid class leading all challengers in terms of prevalence, but it is also the most diverse class in the game, boasting strong results with a long list of archetypes.

Taunt Druid has looked stronger this week with increased play of the Dragonhatcher package. Nordavind teammates, Jarla and Hunterace, both finished top 10 legend on two servers for the month of May running this variant. The double Hatcher/Sleepy build we’ve featured last week is also very strong, considering the rise of slower decks in the current meta.

Token Druid continues to be a force on ladder. Last week’s featured build will serve you well. We believe that Wrath is slightly overvalued on ladder. It’s a low impact card that’s only strong in your already good matchups, while it’s a poor draw against slower decks that fare better against you.

Pokrovac peaked at #3 legend towards the end of May with the surprising Togwaggle Druid. His build omits Ferocious Howl in order to run both Innervate and Arcane Tyrants, cards that usually compete with each other for the last two spots in the deck.

Quest Druid is a strong counter to the slower decks of the meta and it has continued to develop, but this week’s patch has put the deck’s competitiveness going forward into question. Both Ginky and Pblcb finished early June legend runs with the archetype. Ginky ran a fairly standard build while Pblcb spiced things up with Mukla and two weapon techs.

Non-Quest Malygos Druid is the new kid on the block. Feno, BoarControl and Glaser all finished top 25 legend in the May season with the archetype, running double Faceless, Starfall and one Innervate. StanCifka piloted his build to an early #1 legend this month. His list cuts Ferocious Howls and one Faceless Manipulator for Bloodmage Thalnos, Prince Taldaram and a 2nd Innervate. The idea behind this decision is to enable a cheaper, 12-mana combo that can also be used without the Twig, requiring the Innervates instead. Taldaram also enables more burn spells to be played in a single turn with the Twig, in order to deal more damage to decks with armor gain such as Taunt Druid.

Data Reaper Report - Rogue

Rogue has managed to maintain a healthy position in the meta. There are two primary, and largely settled Rogue archetypes, each with its own game plan. Despite their differences, they both leverage the power of the best card that Rogue has played with in The Witchwood meta, Hench Clan Thug.

Hench Clan Thug is the best 3 drop in Rogue, and is a mulligan priority no matter which deck you play, but it particularly synergizes with Odd Rogue’s game plan. No card rivals the pressure that Hench Clan Thug is able to mount, and it curves out perfectly with the upgraded hero power which very often helps protect the Thug and allow it to continue to snowball.

Hench Clan-Thug is the only new Witchwood card to make its way into Miracle Rogue as well, unanimously pushing out Blink Fox in the 3-slot. Miracle Rogue’s excellent matchups against late game decks makes it a particular force in the tournament scene. In Last Hero Standing, there are very few decks that can rival Miracle Rogue’s place as part of an ‘anti-control’ pairing. At Dreamhack Austin, 8 of the top 16 included Miracle Rogue in their lineup.

Odd Rogue has seen a small development that might end up being the push it needs to survive in the increasingly slower meta. Rafael stormed to an early legend with a build that runs King Mukla and Face Collector instead of Tar Creepers. Tar Creeper is the weakest card in current Odd Rogue lists and it tends to be overvalued across many archetypes at the moment. An aggressive deck that constantly runs into slower decks is heavily penalized running a 3-drop that produces no immediate pressure on opponents. Mukla is a very strong card against decks that do not challenge early board control, while it’s weaker in the increasingly less frequent aggressive mirrors. Face Collector can be considered a 6-drop that provides you with longevity in those control matchups. The featured Banana build omits Emerald Reavers from Rafael’s list, to bring back two copies of Scalebane and Blink Fox. We believe this might be the best approach for Odd Rogue in the evolving meta.

Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Warlock is making a steady climb back to the top of the meta. Even Warlock remains the most popular Warlock archetype, though Cube Warlock is quickly closing the gap, especially at higher levels of play. Even Warlock has not changed much in its build, though one interesting development is Muting teching Skulking Geist and Twisting Nether in order to improve the difficult Taunt Druid matchup.

Just as predicted in last week’s report, Cube Warlock has seen a significant rise in both play and success. A favorable meta alongside a lack of hostile tech, is leading to Cube Warlock performing even better against the field than it did before the balance changes. While the most popular Cube Warlock variant at the moment runs Stonehill Defender, we once again want to bring your attention to the potential of Prince Taldaram. With the meta slowing down, the need for defensive cards lessens. Taldaram is an extremely powerful card in late game matchups. This is particularly true in the Taunt Druid matchup, where your win condition absolutely requires cubing a Doomguard in the mid-game and copying the Cube. Being a cheaper card than Faceless Manipulator, Prince Taldaram can very often snowball the game out of control. This is why we expect Taldaram to outperform Stonehill going forward (it’s already happening). The Taldaram list runs 1 flex card. Our suggestion last week, Rotten Applebaum, has done very well in this slot, but it can be replaced by either Plated Beetle or a specific tech.

Control Warlock is having a much more diffcult time, and as it continues to struggle, it’s seeing some success by getting a little weird. Hoej peaked at #9 legend last month by running Tinkmaster Overspark in order to hedge for the Taunt Druid matchup. The deck also runs Skull of the Man’ari to accelerate out Voidlords.

Data Reaper Report - Hunter

These are goods times to be a Hunter player! For what seems like the first time in forever, Hunter has three competitive archetypes, with each one being strong enough to propel players to high legend finishes and early legend placings in the new month.

Starting with the most popular and optimized deck, Spell Hunter lists have only changed slightly in the past week. The stanard list featured is the most popular build, with Arcane Shot established as the best choice over Wing Blast and Grievous Bite. However, some players have been getting tricky by including a Rat Trap instead of a Freezing Trap in their lists. The jury is still out on Rat Trap as a meta card, but it has been performing well in the deck, partly because it’s unexpected by opponents. Watch out for the fat rat.

Kathrena Hunter has become far more optimized over the last week, with more players switching over to the Keleseth/Oozeling build and the archetype is spiking in its popularity . Playing Prince Keleseth into a turn 3 taunt offers survivability against aggressive decks, while pressuring slower decks better due to an increased minion density. Theo hit #1 legend with the archetype, slightly modifying the standard build by adding Hunter’s Mark. Weapon tech could also return to the deck in response to the rising threat of Cubelock.

Finally, Hybrid Hunters have been seeing some love recently, popularized by Gyong’s push to become the first legend in June. His build cut some of the synergy-depedent cards, including Scavenging Hyena, Candleshot and Hunter’s Mark, in favor of a stronger mid-game through Bearsharks and Flanking Strikes. Both of these additions allow the deck to snowball the mid-game much more easily, although the deck does become weaker when it falls behind.

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

My jaws that bite, my claws that catch… #1 legend?

That’s right, Shudderwock Shaman is showing that it isn’t a fad in the post-nerf meta, though it might have a more difficult time should Cube Warlock take over the game. The deck has remained stable in its builds, save for one specific tweak that has proven to be a positive direction for the archetype. Hemet, Jungle Hunter has made his presence known in Meati’s list, which took xBlyzes to the top spot on the legend ladder this week. This build is the gold standard for the archetype.

Hemet helps accelerate the deck towards the combo, which is what the deck is all about, replacing Sandbinder. Gluttonous Ooze is a must-play in the current meta, with the rise of Cube Warlock, a difficult matchup for Shaman to handle. Hagatha remains in the build to serve as the alternative win condition often required against the aggressive decks remaining on ladder. Don’t leave home without it.

Meanwhile, Even Shaman is a strong choice in the current meta, though there are a few matchups keeping Even Shaman from becoming the powerhouse some expected it to be. While it may not be a powerhouse, it’s certainly competitive in both ladder and tournaments, and was part of Amnesiac’s Dreamhack winning line up.

Data Reaper Report - Mage

The two Mage archetypes continue to exhibit contrasting trends. Big-Spell Mage started strong in the post-patch meta, but the increase of its predators that also happen to be the some of the best decks in the game (Cubelock, Token Druid, Taunt Warrior) is making success with the archetype more difficult. Meanwhile, Aluneth Mage’s performance against the field continues to look grim, but it happens to be the strongest available counter to Cube Warlock. This means that players might be able to find high legend success with the archetype. Aluneth Mage beats both Cube Warlock and Miracle Rogue comfortably. That’s pretty much all it does well, and that could be enough to merit some play.

In terms of builds, it is safe to say that the Mage class is the one that has seen the least amount of development over the past week. Aluneth Mage has long been solved, with some variation on the 30th card, which is the 2nd Amani Berserker in the featured build. Big-Spell Mage has also settled to a fairly standard shell with at most, 2-3 debateable cards. Dragoncaller Alanna is stronger than it was before the patch since the meta is slower. Sindragosa is a better late game threat than the Lich King in this deck. Alexstrasza allows you to pressure your opponent’s life total once a board lead is established.

Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Odd Paladin seems to be the only game in town for the Paladin class. Murlocs are hibernating, Control is alt-deleted, Dragon has no support (yet), Even is barely seen. The class went from one of the most dominant classes to one of the most one-dimensional. Adding one mana to Call to Arms made a huge difference.

To be clear, Odd Paladin is quite a successful ladder deck, and it has a pretty binary matchup spread. The deck powers through most other aggressive or midrange decks with an absurd winrate, but gets absolutely smashed by any deck with recurring AoE removal. It is not worth teching your deck to be stronger in these Control matchups, as it’s probably better just to change the deck, though we still like the alternative 3-drop package shown in the Banana build. Retired Hearthstone player and now Hearthstone Game Designer, Chakki, peaked at #4 legend towards the end of the month, adding Leeroy to the Vanilla build.

Data Reaper Report - Warrior

While it is picking up in popularity, Taunt Warrior’s play rate still has some catching up to do with its win rate. It is one of the strongest decks in the game across all levels of play and its success comes down to the popularity of board centric decks, such as Token Druid and Odd Paladin. Warpath’s ability to handle wide boards, and to effortlessly deal with Soul of the Forest turns with which most decks struggle, is unparalleled. As time goes on, we expect Taunt Warrior to continue its steady increase in play until the environment becomes hostile enough to halt its progression. Rising decks such as Cube Warlock and Kathrena Hunter have proven to be oppressive matchups, so be mindful of their prevalence when taking Taunt Warrior to ladder. When it comes to the standard build, it’s time to add Harrison Jones to the deck. Skull of the Man’ari requires an answer.

Warrior’s other promising archetype in the format, Big Warrior, is also seeing some success. Fibonacci hit #16 with a fairly standard list that runs Reckless Flurry alongside a single Brawl. Much like Taunt Warrior, Big Warrior merits more play than it sees, considering its performance against the field is quite decent.

The Warrior class is currently in its best spot since the nerf to Fiery War Axe, with two competitive archetypes producing good results on ladder as well as performing very well in the tournament scene. We wonder, how does Garrosh feel about all of this?

Data Reaper Report - Priest

This isn’t exactly Priest’s finest meta, but the class has been through worse days. Although its low play rate is a cause for concern, its win rate suggests the class is not nearly in as bad of a shape as it may look. Its meta breaking days are likely over, but you can definitely have ladder success with the class, and you can do it with multiple archetypes.

Quest Priest has a pretty good matchup spread, exhibiting strong win rates against popular meta decks such as Spell Hunter, Odd Paladin and Token Druid. Its biggest issue is dealing with combo decks: both Miracle Rogue and Shudderwock Shaman are horrendously bad matchups that keep its win rate down.

Control Priest’s struggles center on its poor matchups against Miracle Rogue, Taunt Druid and Taunt Warrior. For this particular archetype, proper usage of tech is extremely important. In the featured build, consider the 2nd copies of Cabal Shadow Priest and Holy Fire to be the flex slots. Harrison Jones helps deal with the rising Cubelock population, while Skulking Geist helps improve your standing against Taunt Druid. Your plan against Druid is to force them to play a stranded Hadronox (by deleting their Naturlizes), then steal it with the Acolyte/Cabal combo.

Greedy decks give opportunities for combo decks to shine, and Combo Priest has reappeared through Affie’s early #1 legend hit for the month of June. Combo Priest’s prevalence is currently very low, but the deck does have potential to claim a larger share of the meta. It will be interesting to see whether it can gain further traction in the near future.


Data Reaper Report - Meta Breaker

Cube Warlock is slowly taking over the game, and as time goes on, the message written here will trickle down across the ladder ranks: The deck is still busted. You will not be able to run away from it; therefore you must deal with it.

Two more rising stars have been spotted this week. Taunt Druid has correctly embraced dragons and isn’t twiddling its thumbs for six seasons before finally invading Westeros. Kathrena Hunter is the breakout deck of the week, embracing Hunter’s own mana cheating tools to claim a stake in the late game battles that lie ahead.

The meta is getting BIG. Are you ready for it?


Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 4,700 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, 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 June.

Contributors

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

EndofDayswwlosrenzcheesee-hunter pdeegz-warriorspacemonkey-paladinTzachilookitzjoeNaramoSentenza

6 Comments

  1. What are your thoughts about the even version of big warrior? I personally prefer it to the standard version, because the 1 mana hero power really helps in the balance between controlling the board and armouring up in the early game, whereas in the standard version, I found it awkward to decide between going for armour or using my removal.

  2. Very well written, you all deserve a lot of respect for all the work you’re putting in this project. Especially how you manage to write so interestingly and funny yet still containing a lot of information at the same time; that is awesome. Thank you!

    • If you are using android device, install arcane tracker. It can save your games to hs deck tracker and/or track-o-bot; both of them can be contributed

  3. The featured Control Priest list does not have a Skulking Geist despite the write-up. There won’t be a Hadronox to steal if they can Naturalize it. :p

    BTW, congrats on getting 90,000 game contributions for this week’s report. This almost twice as much as in VS #91. I’m glad to be one of the new contributors to your report. Keep up the good work!

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