[Wild] vS Data Reaper Report #12

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

Wild Data Reaper Report Logo

Welcome back to the Wild vS Data Reaper Report! We’re the experts from r/WildHearthstone, and we have partnered with Vicious Syndicate to create the Wild Data Reaper Report. We will be contributing the write-ups and analysis for the report, backed up by the statistics that Vicious Syndicate has become famous for. The data presented in this article is based on 50,000 games.

We’re excited to bring you the first Boomsday Project Data Reaper Report for the Wild format. As expected, we’ve seen a huge shakeup since the last report. However, it wasn’t the shakeup many were hoping for. With mech synergies not being as strong as anticipated, we’ve seen the meta settle into a few clusters. At the time of our last report, most classes had a strong deck to represent them. Now, there are 3 kinds of decks: Combo Druids (A), decks that beat Combo Druids (B), and decks that beat group B but lose to group A (C).

Before we move on deeper into the report, we encourage you to contribute your data, especially in a new expansion season. The more games you submit, the more data we receive, making the reports more accurate and comprehensive.


Quick Links

Class/Archetype Distribution | Matchup Winrates | vS Power Rankings | Meta ScoreClass Analysis & Decklists | How to Contribute | Credits


Class/Archetype Distribution

Druids are 15% of the meta at all ranks, and 20% of the 4-legend bracket. This might seem high, but it’s not that different from previous metagames warped around an archetype. When Cube Warlock and Giants Warlock were the decks to beat, Warlock was even more represented on ladder than Druid is now. In the 4-legend meta, four different Druid archetypes see significant play, more than any other class. Newcomer Aligner Druid is the most popular by a significant margin, representing a staggering 11.5% of those climbing from rank 4. Togwaggle Druid, Jade Druid and Malygos Druid all maintain their presence as different options.

But it’s not just Malfurion’s party. Even Shaman is at 9.5% representation across all ranks (making it the most played deck) but jumps up to a whopping 16.5% of the metagame in the 4-L bracket. Most of the other Shaman decks are Shudderwock Shamans.

Renolock continues to dominate Warlock play with Zoo seeing a small resurgence likely due to the many tools that the archetype received. There are remnants of Even Warlocks and Cube Warlocks with no real additions to these other archetypes.

Rogue is maintaining a strong position in the metagame with many different archetypes present at all ranks, including strong showings from most to least, Kingsbane, Odd Rogue, Big Rogue and strangely, Miracle Rogue. However, as we climb to rank 4 and above, the tables turn for the class with Odd Rogue leapfrogging Kingsbane as the most played at around 6% of the meta with Kingsbane dropping to 3%. Most other archetypes fall from relevance once we get to the competitive ranks, something that should be expected.

Mage continues to be an Aluneth one trick, as Reno Mage got minimal tools with not the most favorable meta. When we look at Paladin, the mech synergies introduced in The Boomsday Project were not nearly enough. While we see a significant amount of the reported games experimenting with Mech Paladin, the main archetype for the class continues to be Odd Paladin.

Priest has taken a step back when it comes to popularity compared to previous metagames, but still has its loyalists for the myriad of archetypes available to the class. Big Priest does remain the top deck for Anduin and Tyrande while Reno Priest and Inner Fire Dragon Priest have modest representation.

Hunter has only seen a slight bump in play rate with the expansion, even with the numerous tools that it has received. The new, popular archetype is Mech Hunter with many new mechs enabling the strong Metaltooth Leaper to carry the deck. Secret and Spell Hunter both got boosts and we could see the play rate of the class going up as more and more experimentation occurs.

Poor Garrosh remains at the bottom of the class play rates and by a large margin, as per usual. What’s unusual is that Control Warrior has suddenly usurped Pirate Warrior as the crown jewel of the class. Dr. Boom, Mad Genius and perhaps, a more favorable meta game, has brought Control Warrior to relevance for probably the first time ever in the Wild meta.


 

Meta Scores

Druid may be strong, but the meta has a target on it. Of the combo Druid archetypes at ranks 4-legend, only Togwaggle makes its way into Tier 1. Shockingly, it’s not even the highest win rate archetype! Across all ranks, new boogeyman of the format Aligner Druid makes its way into Tier 1, as do Secret Hunter and Odd Paladin, but these decks drop to Tier 2 at higher levels of play.

The highest win rate belongs to Odd Rogue, and the highest Meta Score belongs to Even Shaman, which is the most popular single deck on ladder and the 2nd highest win rate archetype in the game. Big Priest rounds out Tier 1 at 4-legend, which means Tier 1 contains the format’s premiere aggro, midrange, control, and combo deck. Rarely have all four metagame archetypes found themselves in Tier 1 at the same time, especially when looking at the more competitive bracket of ladder. It’s the Model T of formats – you can play any playstyle you want, as long as it can handle Druid to some degree.

For the first time in this report’s history, there are NO Tier 3 decks. Tier 1 contains the strongest decks in the format, Tier 2 has game against Tier 1 decks, and the rest of the field simply doesn’t. There’s more to deck power than this, but any deck that can’t beat Druid or Druid’s natural counters is in a rough place. Tier 4 is populated by decks with key poor matchups, such as Zoo Warlock, Kingsbane Rogue, Reno Mage and other unrefined archetypes. From 4-L, though, a real blast from the past tops Tier 4 – Control Warrior, which can make enough armor to simply shrug off a Star Aligner combo and can run Dirty Rats to outright disrupt it. Unfortunately, current builds of Control Warrior don’t seem to beat the format’s powerful aggro decks, but it’s a remarkable showing for a deck many have assumed to be dead. Control Warrior is currently a bit of a messy archetype, so perhaps with more work and refinement it could become a real player.

Juicy Psychmelon has indisputably warped the format around it (and around the Aviana-Kun combo Druids that run it), but the format does seem capable of suppressing its performance to a degree where it’s not out of control. There’s only one Psychmelon deck in Tier 1, and it isn’t the one that’s seeing the most play (and hype).

Class Analysis & Decklists

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


There’s a new kid in town, and he’s taking no prisoners – Aligner Druid. Juicy Psychmelon has warped the Wild meta in a way we haven’t seen since Naga Sea Witch’s dominance. Juicy Psychmelon enables Aligner Druid to easily draw the main pieces of their combo (Star Aligner, Medivh, Aviana and Kun) which, when combined with Brann and bounce effects, can easily clear any opponent’s board and do upwards of 40 damage to their face. But when we look at the data, Aligner Druid is only Tier 2 at higher levels of play! While the deck is undoubtedly powerful, the player base is very focused on employing strategies that do well against it.

This puts Wild balance in a predicament similar to other situations of the past. Will Blizzard leave the format alone since current data suggests that Combo Druid decks are not oppressive in terms of power level? Or should the warping effect of Combo Druids be addressed due to interactivity/diversity issues? The debate will likely continue. We do have some evidence that Blizzard are currently looking into the state of Druid.

Jade Druid is in a decent spot now, mainly because it can beat Aligner Druid and has a fairly balanced matchup spread, but Togwaggle Druid has turned out to be the best Druid deck in the current meta, sneaking into Tier 1. Not only does it consistently beat Aligner Druid, it also effectively contests the popular aggressive decks, such as Aluneth Mage, Odd Paladin, and Odd Rogue. H1J0 reached #1 legend with both his builds of Jade Druid in August and Togwaggle Druid in September.

It’s finally happened: Hunter has more than one Tier 2 or higher deck in Wild! Well, across all ranks, that is. Despite being one of the least played classes in the current meta, the Boomsday project has breathed new life into Rexxar, pushing traditional powerhouse Secret Hunter to the cusp of Tier 1 and 2, and making new kid on the block, Mech Hunter, a respectable force on ladder. Both decks are significantly less powerful between Rank 4 and Legend, which helps explain their low representation at those ranks, but as Mech Hunter falls off all the way to Tier 4, Secret Hunter remains one of the strongest decks out there at all levels of play.

While only two decks have been able to feature enough data for the power rankings, old favorites Spell Hunter, and Deathrattle Hunter have seen some marginal play, invigorated by strong yet somewhat niche new cards like Secret Plan and Spider Bomb. There’s definitely further room to refine these archetypes in the future.

Secret Hunter has undergone a significant change from previous reports. New Boomsday Legendary Subject 9 has pushed the faster variants of the deck over the previous Kathrena builds for the current metagame. While this was beginning to occur as early as the last report on the Asia server, it has now reached other servers, with Atlas taking his version to top 10 Legend. The fuel, deck thinning and tempo that Subject 9 provides in combination with Cloaked Huntress is just too powerful to pass up.

The new archetype, Mech Hunter is a high-risk, high-reward successor to previous Face Hunter strategies. The new Mech cards released in the Boomsday have finally created a shell for Hunter’s forgotten stalking horse, Metaltooth Leaper, allowing for insane burst potential. With Mechwarper and Galvanizer discounts, Mech Hunter can assemble a large sticky board by turn 3 or 4. While the deck is still not fully optimized, as seen in the number of differences between the two featured lists, there is a clear core comprised of Goblin Bombs and other low-cost Mechs with Jeeves for reloading.

Aluneth Mage is seeing an increase in win rate in the current Boomsday meta. Aluneth Mage is uniquely positioned to successfully counter Aligner Druid’s game plan with Potion of Polymorph, Ice Block and Explosive Runes. Although the deck still struggles against the other aggressive decks of the format, Boomsday has helped the deck’s overall consistency and flow.

Reno Mage has become fairly stagnant in the meta and has too many terrible matchups against some of the popular meta decks. There is a Reno Mage build featuring Luna’s Pocket Galaxy that has some growth potential, by helping the Reno Mage successfully combo down an opponent in slow matchups. Two procs of Leyline Manipulator after creating several fireballs with Archmage Antonidas is incredibly potent even if it is a bit on the slow side.

Exodia Mage has seen some minor improvement with the expansion. The release of Research Project has given the deck some additional cheap cycle that doesn’t discard important spells. The recent change to copy effects has also improved Simulacrum in the deck. Now when you use Simulacrum to gain an additional Sorcerer’s Apprentice after receiving a Thaurissan tick it will keep the discount. This has significantly changed the dynamic of when it is appropriate to play Thaurissan, and the speed at which the combo can be concluded.

Mech Mage saw some amount of play at the start of the expansion, using additional cards from The Boomsday Project, but has performed poorly for the most part, and therefore lacks sufficient data to comment on specific lists, although they appear to be fairly similar to the ones of the past with a few additions like Book of Spectres and Aluneth.

For the first time in months, Paladin doesn’t have a single deck in Tier 1 (from 4 – Legend that is). While Odd Paladin finds itself in Tier 1 across all ranks, it drops down to Tier 2 at the most competitive ranks like Secret Hunter and Aligner Druid. With Paladin being less effective against the current meta, we’ve also seen its play rate drop; it’s now the 6th most frequent class from 4-L and an astonishing 8th most frequent across all ranks.

Applecat hit #27 legend with Mech Paladin last month. His build uses a typical Midrange Paladin core, with Kangor’s Endless Army, Mad Scientists, and Calls to Arms. Mech Paladin hasn’t managed to gain significant traction on ladder, and Baku remains a superior choice.

Odd Paladin saw some innovation with Magnetic Mech and Kangor’s Endless Army builds at launch, but they don’t seem to have stuck around. The featured lists this month eschew Zilliax and Kangor’s for Patches, Corridor Creepers, and the other cards that emerged as the previous core of the list. Underwhelming matchups against Even Shaman, Big Priest, Renolock, and Combo Druids have pushed one of the former champions of the format down to Tier 2. Strong matchups against the other aggressive decks of the format, however, mean that there is still a niche for the Silver Hand to occupy.

Aggro Paladin (sometimes called Breakfast Paladin) hasn’t changed much with the new meta. But now, with even the bots having swapped over to Even Shaman, there really isn’t much Aggro Paladin running around anymore.

Murloc Paladin continues to see little change. It still lacks a recovery mechanic or form of card advantage. We don’t recommend it for climbing the Ladder.

Early indications suggest that The Boomsday Project was not kind to Anduin. Priest, as a class, has dropped significantly in popularity since the last report. Previously one of the top three classes in Wild, Priest falls to the bottom half of all classes in this report. This decline is likely due to Priest gaining very little from the new expansion. Some of the early tinkering in Standard spilled over into Wild, with APM and Mecha’thun builds of Priest registering in the report, but not nearly enough to make an impact on the metagame.

Big Priest remains the class’ best option and is very powerful in the format despite its struggles against Combo Druid decks and a matchup spread that has grown to be quite polarizing. Its current success is the result of its very strong matchups against Reno Warlock and Even Shaman, two of the most popular decks in the game.

Once a mess of an archetype, three major sub-archetypes of Reno Priest are beginning to present themselves within the Highlander Priests. In addition to the Combo-oriented decks once popular on both the Standard and Wild ladders, slower, more reactive builds featuring either Dragon or Deathrattle minions are becoming more common. Reno Priest does have answers to some of the daunting boards common in Wild making it a reasonable option for climbing the ladder. Low sample estimates place the deck in a tentative Tier 2.

Most builds of Dragon Priest are now leaning towards the Divine Spirit, Inner Fire Combo. The Dragon package gives the deck a chance to manage the board-centric decks common in Wild, while the burst potential of the Combo can end the game quickly once a board advantage is gained. Still, this archetype remains towards the bottom of the low sample tier estimates, struggling to gain a footing in the current meta.

Rogue’s growing ladder success wasn’t interrupted by the Boomsday Project, with Odd Rogue securing the number 1 ranking of decks in Wild, both in the 4-L meta and across all ranks. The only other archetype that is seeing significant representation is Kingsbane Rogue. In addition, there have been many experiments this expansion leading to the creation or consolidation of a range of other archetypes that just haven’t quite made the cut in terms of frequency or consistent performance, such as Big Rogue, Quest Rogue and Miracle variants.

Odd Rogue is, despite what is being said about Druid, the current king of the Wild format in terms of sheer power. Featuring a slew of flexible and high impact 1 and 3 drops, the deck is able to seize board early and start sending serious damage to the face, a strategy that preys upon the weak early game of some of the most popular decks in Wild currently. The two featured lists were piloted to the top ranks of legend in August and September, and show the range of different ways that the deck can be built to tech against certain opponents. Interestingly, despite its power, the deck is not seeing a lot of play yet, perhaps because it does not tend to include many new cards.

Kingsbane Rogue, on the other hand, is a highly specialized deck with very polarizing matchups which places it towards the bottom of Tier 4. Despite this, it is seeing a significant amount of play, particularly at lower skill levels, where it actually outnumbers Odd Rogue. The data indicates that it appears, in the Ranks 4-L meta, primarily as a counter to slower decks. In turn, Kingsbane is incredibly vulnerable to the more aggressive decks of the meta. The featured list was piloted to Top 10 Legend by Aoierias, and features two copies of Evasion, perhaps as a means to patch up those unfavorable matchups, and to secure its success against Aligner Druid.

While The Boomsday Project hasn’t given Shaman many new playables, the class is by no means in a bad spot, with former heavyweight Even Shaman regaining its placement in Tier 1. Across ranks 4-L, Shaman is the second most played class, likely because of its main archetype Even Shaman’s ability to deal with the omnipresent Druids and its well-rounded matchup spread.

Even Shaman is an explosive Midrange deck that uses a combination of well-statted minions, board buffs and powerful AoE for huge tempo swings that steal the early game. A range of different players such as Awedragon and Gorky have had success with the deck in the August and September seasons, with the two featured builds having reached top 5 legend. The marginal differences between the two highlight a few different tech options that can be used for specific matchups, while also making clear the strength of its core cards.

While Shudderwock Shaman is sitting at the absolute bottom of the power rankings in both the 4-L meta, and across all ranks, it is still seeing some experimentation, particularly in the lower ranks, because of its synergy with a few of the new cards. The first featured list was used by mtgsquirrel to reach #17 legend. The second is a generic Reno Jackson build that aims to win by sticking a giant board of Shudderwocks.

While Warlock maintains its strong play rate and reasonably high power ranking from the last expansion, the builds and lists have started to change dramatically with the arrival of the Boomsday Project. Now primarily represented by Renolock and Zoolock, previous staples Even Handlock and Cube Warlock are almost nowhere to be seen. A few new experimental archetypes involving cards like Mecha’thun or Glinda have started to pop up in the lower ranks.

Old favorite Renolock has shifted with The Boomsday Project to become the premiere anti-aggro deck in the format, while still running a few tools that can attempt to disrupt the more popular combo decks. This results in some lists cutting strong top end cards such as N’Zoth, and adding powerhouse cards in Giggling Inventor and the slightly more niche combo hate cards such as Demonic Project and Deathlord in addition to Dirty Rat, and Gnomeferatu. Again, the power of a Highlander-style deck like Renolock lies in the flexibility to adapt to different matchups based on the opponents you run into. More control decks in the meta? Pop back in N’Zoth. More aggressive decks? Pop back in a Demonwrath or your Ooze of choice. Renolock isn’t just a deck; it’s an idea.

Zoolock, the proverbial cockroach of Hearthstone, just never seems to go away. Its significant rise in popularity and the marginal increase in winrate can likely be attributed to the many new tools it was given in this expansion such as Soul Infusion and The Soularium. While still not enough to take the deck out of Tier 4, its favorable matchups against Combo Druids and Control Warriors who likely mulligan for Renolock cement it a solid place in the metagame, where it can take advantage of opponents’ slower starts to create significant board pressure.

Astonishing! Warrior has seen a drastic change in class identity thanks to the Boomsday Project. While everyone’s favorite swords-and-smorcery deck Pirate Warrior remains a viable and played archetype, the majority of the data for the class registers as Control Warrior for the first time since we’ve been writing these reports. What’s more, is that in this report, it finds itself at the very top of Tier 4, almost enough to enter that fabled Tier 3, instead of scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Even with the many different styles and builds of the deck running around, the role of the deck as an anti-combo control deck gives the deck clear identity, and more importantly, gives people a reason to dust off their Brawls. With lots of room for refinement, Control Warrior has the potential to be a mainstay in the Boomsday meta.


Our Data Reaper Project, including the Data Reaper Live has 5,400 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.

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.


Contributors

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

3 Comments

  1. if there is no tier 3 then druid needs to nerfed for diversity reasons. Aviana and kun are the issues here.

    Big priest is polarizing and unanswerable with slow non combo decks.I think it should be nerfed as well for diversity reasons.

    Honestly kingsbane needs an answer card for it as it is unbeatable for slow non combo decks.

    Jade druid is also very polarizing and doesn’t create interesting games imo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.