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 45,000 games.
Since our last report, we’ve had some balance changes, got some buffs for the first time ever, and got a new, free, golden, legendary card in SN1P-SN4P. These changes shook up the meta much like a new expansion.
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The “discovery” and refinement of the new, Cyclone-driven Quest Mage seems to be catching on and trickling down the ranks. At legend, Quest Mage is the most popular deck in the format, and it’s more popular than 5 individual classes. Other archetypes of the class see more modest play, with Aluneth Mage, Exodia Mage, Reno Mage, and Odd Mage registering in the meta radar.
Though Warlock is still very common, it isn’t dominated by a single archetype but is fractured into many different archetypes, each with relatively little representation. When you meet a Warlock on ladder, it could be literally anything: Reno, Mecha’thun, Cube, Even, SN1P-SN4P, Darkest Hour, Zoo… There are so many different Warlock decks that it’s hard to keep up.
Shaman is the most popular class on the climb to legend from rank 4, which might be the most competitive bracket since many players resort to “fun” decks once they reach legend, especially in Wild. Murloc, Even and Shudderwock are the class’ main representatives. Players have recognized the power of both Even Shaman and Murloc Shaman, as their play rate significantly increased compared to our last report.
Priest continues to be the Big Priest class. However, we have seen some decrease in the play rate of Big Priest, especially at legend. While the infamous deck has proven to be competitive in the format, its performance hasn’t been oppressively dominant, and perhaps that is beginning to influence its popularity.
Rogue has taken a major step back after the balance changes, which dealt a heavy blow to Kingsbane Rogue after the nerfs to Preparation and Raiding Party. Odd Rogue, a very underrated deck before the balance changes, took up the mantle and is the largest representative of the class. However, outside of Mill Rogue, no other Rogue deck is seeing meaningful play.
Paladin is another class defined by a single archetype. Odd Paladin’s play rate has dropped off significantly compared to our last report. There is a sentiment amongst the community that it’s not as powerful as it used to be. Experimentation with other aggressive Paladin decks, outside of Odd Paladin, did not last long.
Druid has suffered from a severe decline in its play rate, and its two primary archetypes (Jade, Aggro) have both lost stock as a result of the balance changes.
Hunter is one of the less popular classes in the format, but experimentation with the class has picked up. Mech Hunter is seeing more play, and there’s a fair number of Hunter enthusiasts experimenting with Spell Hunter and Deathrattle Hunter builds.
Warrior remains the least popular class in the format, which is nothing new to us. While the class is enjoying a golden age in Standard, the class is relatively stale in Wild, where it either opts for hyper-aggression with Pirate Warrior or turtling with Odd Warrior.
vS Meta Score
Players may try to will Odd Paladin into a lesser meta standing, but it’s not happening. Another set of balance changes may have shaken up the meta, but Odd Paladin remains a constant at the top of the Power Rankings. The deck’s consistency is often underestimated, and it truly shines over a large sample of games rather than a short burst of a few. There are very few decks that can beat Odd Paladin consistently. The ones that do have the potential to give Paladin problems, carry extremely efficient answers to board flooding and proactively fight for the board: Even Shaman has Devolve/Maelstrom Portal, Jade Druid has Spreading Plague and Inner-Fire Priest has Duskbreaker.
Odd Rogue pairs with Odd Paladin at the very top, and while the deck was far less popular before the balance changes, this top pairing was the same. Odd Rogue’s rise in popularity was simply a case of growing awareness to its power level as a result of Kingsbane Rogue being nerfed. It’s always been strong.
The rest of Tier 1 is nearly exclusively comprised of aggressive decks: Aluneth Mage, Mech Hunter, Even Shaman and Murloc Shaman can be found there. The reason why these decks are so successful mostly comes down to their performance against the two most popular decks in the current meta. Both Big Priest and Quest Mage shine when they’re given time to execute their power turns but run into difficulties when faced with unrelenting aggression. When the meta is defined by two anti-control decks, SMOrc becomes the way.
Speaking of Quest Mage and Big Priest, you can find them in Tier 2 at legend, and both decks are not doing as well as some may expect since they’re the prime targets of the meta. Quest Mage is at its worst at ranks 1-4 due to the increased popularity of aggressive decks at these ranks, while Big Priest’s positive win rate at legend is mostly the result of Warlock’s heightened popularity, and it’s stuck at Tier 3 almost everywhere else.
Inner-Fire Priest is certainly a sleeper Tier 2 deck that’s flirting with the upper tier. The buff to Extra Arms has increased interest in the archetype and it’s proving to be a versatile deck with a balanced matchup spread. While Mind-Blast Priest can’t make it to the Power Rankings due to its smaller sample size, it’s another promising archetype built around the dragon shell. In fact, we estimate that both decks are superior to Big Priest in the current meta.
Druid’s stock has certainly fallen, with both Jade Druid and Aggro Druid falling to Tier 3 at most rank brackets. Jade Druid’s matchup spread looks quite strong in faster matchups, but it gets demolished by Big Priest and is also unfavored against Quest Mage, and those stick out like a sore thumb. The rise of Odd Rogue and Even Shaman are the big hurdles for Aggro Druid’s success.
Pirate Warrior did not appreciate trading Kingsbane Rogue for Quest Mage, and Zoo Warlock remains mediocre. SN1P-SN4P Warlock makes its debut at Tier 3, but this is one case where its current statistical performance does a disservice to its potential. This new deck aims to abuse infinite, zero-mana SN1P-SN4P’s to either OTK or set up a massive, unanswerable board. Since it was still in a process of refinement, its win rate is weighed down by drastically sub-optimal builds. There is one specific direction that shows the potential to be much stronger than others, and it’s one that has been picking up traction at higher levels of play. The archetype’s potential is at Tier 2, if not Tier 1.
Mecha’thun Warlock and Reno Warlock are simply too slow to have a consistently good showing in a meta defined by Big Priest and Quest Mage. Cube and Even Warlock are significantly stronger options within the class, despite seeing less play outside of legend. Exodia Mage looks significantly inferior to the new Quest Mage, Shudderwock Shaman remains a “fun” experiment, and Mill Rogue is still quite bad.
Class Analysis & Decklists
While balance changes have not directly impacted the Druid class, they have indirectly hurt both of Druid’s primary archetypes. The class was fairly popular at higher levels of play in the last report but dropped off quite significantly since.
Jade Druid has fallen to Tier 3, which seems unintuitive due to its matchup spread looking strong at first glance: its various defensive tools help it shine in faster matchups (Murloc Shaman’s extreme snowballing ability is one exception) while the infinite value from Jade Idol helps it perform very well against slower decks. Jade Druid’s big problem is that the two most popular decks in the format happen to be its bad matchups: Big Priest is a miserable opponent while Quest Mage has also proven to be difficult to overcome.
Aggro Druid’s playstyle is very different. It relies on flooding the board with tokens and cheap minions, leveraging them with AOE buffs and pushing damage to win the game. The deck can punish Quest Mage quite severely since it’s usually allowed to develop its board uncontested in the early game, but falters in some of the popular aggressive mirrors and doesn’t consistently beat Big Priest. Devolve and Maelstrom Portal destroy the deck’s game plan, giving Even Shaman a big edge, while Odd Rogue is also very effective against Aggro Druid due to its upgraded hero power and common tech cards like Dark Iron Skulker.
SMOrc is king, and a previously lukewarm Mech Hunter has snuck up to Tier 1 thanks to its performance against Quest Mage and Big Priest. Also, the addition of SN1P-SN4P provided it with some reload potential, a major weakness of the deck. Mech Hunter lines up well into Mage, Priest, and Warlock archetypes since they allow the deck to freely load the board in the early game, something it struggles to do in aggressive mirrors. When taking its extremely low cost into account, Mech Hunter should be a good craft for new players looking for a cheap, strong deck to climb ladder with.
Our low sample estimates put all other Hunter archetypes at Tier 4. Midrange Hunter is a stagnating archetype with nothing much to tell. Deathrattle Hunter got a slight buff with the change to Necromechanic, but its synergy with Nine Lives doesn’t compensate for the weakness to the aggressive decks in the meta. Spell Hunter has seen some innovation with Barnes/Y’Shaarj builds opting to include Sylvanas in the package alongside Nine Lives/Play Dead to help against slow Warlock decks and Big Priest.
- Mech Hunter
- Duwin #44 Legend Deathrattle Hunter
- Midrange Hunter
- FardHast #8 Legend Nine Lives Spell Hunter
Mage skyrocketed from being one of the least popular classes in the format to one of the most prominent, due to the emergence of Cyclone Quest Mage.
Quest Mage utilizes Mana Cyclone alongside Sorcerer’s Apprentice, much like the deck’s quest-less version in Standard. With a build full of cheap spells, the Mages can reload their hand with random spells, all while making progress on completing Open the Waygate and discounting Arcane Giants. This game plan is quite effective against slower decks, mostly found in Priest and Warlock. However, Quest Mage’s lack of powerful defensive tools makes it vulnerable to aggression, often relying on a big Flamewaker turn to carry it through its unfavorable matchups.
Exodia Mage is essentially an inferior Quest Mage in almost every matchup. It’s similarly strong against slower archetypes and weak against aggressive archetypes. However, assembling Sorcerer Apprentices, Molten Reflections and Archmage Antonidas is a much slower and more one-dimensional win condition in comparison to the versatility that is offered by Mana Cyclones and Arcane Giants.
Aluneth Mage might be the most underrated Mage deck. Much like Quest and Exodia, it shines in slower matchups while struggling against aggression. However, it obliterates both Quest Mage and Big Priest, which counts for a lot in the current meta. Add great matchups against the entire Warlock class, and you have a deck that’s surprisingly effective against the field, without much fanfare.
Reno Mage doesn’t look very promising. We suspect that it can perform relatively well against aggressive decks, but its late game doesn’t hold up in slower matchups. The Reno Mage build we feature attempts to mitigate its weaknesses by using Archmage Antonidas alongside Luna’s Pocket Galaxy to enable a more intimidating finisher while keeping some strong tech cards against faster decks.
The days of a Paladin class with multiple popular and competitive decks are long behind us. The class is currently very much defined by a singular archetype: Odd Paladin. Fortunately for Uther, it remains one of the strongest options in the format.
Odd Paladin boasts the highest win rate in Wild. The deck is incredibly consistent, and players have largely settled on refined builds that have continued to produce excellent results. Over the course of the Rise of Shadows expansion, Ironbeak Owl and Seal of Champions have increased in popularity while Never Surrender! has become a staple inclusion, boosting Paladin’s performance against Warlock in particular.
Aggro Paladin and Mech Paladin each makes up less than 1% of the meta at higher ranks, and our estimate suggests they belong in Tier 3. Although the featured Aggro Paladin build should be familiar, current iterations of Mech Paladin are quite new to the format. Interest in the archetype was sparked by the buff to Crystology, which is now one of the strongest draw engines in the game. Crystology naturally fits into a more swarming, flooding style of play, offering Mech Paladin strong incentive to move away from decks that focus on Call to Arms that we have seen in the past.
The Priest class might be the most hated class in the Wild community, due to the antics of Big Priest. It’s understandable. After all, Big Priest is the most popular deck in the format at every rank besides legend, where it is only eclipsed by Quest Mage. The lower you drop in ranks, the more popular it becomes, too. At ranks 14-10 for example, Big Priest is more popular than every other class, and well over two times more popular than every other deck. It just seems to be extremely popular amongst the casual Hearthstone audience. If you ever decide to climb the Wild legend ladder, you will inevitably meet a tale of glorious redemption, a tale of wonder & magic, or a tale of terrible tragedy, at least a few times.
However, Big Priest’s win rate is quite average, and it’s often worse than average. Big Priest sits at Tier 3 throughout most of the climb to legend, and reaches Tier 2 at legend. This isn’t because high-level players are more skilled at drawing Barnes on 4, it’s because the meta at legend isn’t as aggressive, and the deck particularly shines against Warlock. Big Priest folds to numerous aggressive strategies while struggling against Quest Mage, which is not a recipe for consistent success in the current meta. Indeed, Big Priest’s issue has more to do with toxic gameplay and less with an oppressive power level.
The biggest story for the class is Inner-Fire Priest, a deck that’s heavily flirting with a Tier 1 status. It utilizes dragon synergies to control the board, look for a minion to stick and then use the Divine Spirit/Inner Fire combo to deal massive damage to the opponent, often finishing the game on the spot. With a well-rounded matchup spread (one of the least polarizing in the game) thanks to its ability to contest the board against aggressive decks, the deck can do quite a bit of work in the current meta.
This isn’t where the Dragon Priest tribe’s success ends. Mind-Blast Priest, also utilizes dragon synergies to fight for the board in the early stages of the game. However, this deck runs a completely different win condition, with Shadowreaper Anduin, Mind Blast and Velen/Thaurissan offering over-the-top burst damage. Based on its low sample, it sits at a promising Tier 2 spot, and likely merits more exploration.
A deck that has pretty much fallen out of favor is Reno Priest. Previously meta warping, this deck can dish out a lot of damage through the combination of Raza and Shadowreaper Anduin. However, its inconsistency at contesting the board and vulnerability to the currently popular Big Priest/Quest Mage duo makes it a weak choice in the current meta. If you want to pew-pew opponents in the face, Mind-Blast Priest does a better job.
- Exogenesick’s #36 Legend Big Priest
- Corbett’s #7 Legend Inner Fire Priest
- Corbett’s #9 Legend Mind Blast Priest
- Ruisura’s #36 Legend Reno Priest
Rogue has experienced a significant dip in popularity after the balance changes and the targeted nerfs of key cards that significantly impacted Kingsbane Rogue. Yet, the class is still a veritable force to be reckoned with and is very competitive in the current metagame.
Specifically, Odd Rogue is one of the stronger decks in the game, well after it lost Cold Blood months ago. Its upgraded hero power provides incredible consistency at controlling the board in the early game and leveraging that board control into damage. Odd Rogue’s only genuinely poor matchups seem to be Odd Paladin and Jade Druid. Odd Paladin’s button happens to counter Odd Rogue’s button, alongside the deck’s tendency to flood the board beyond the Rogue’s control, while Jade Druid’s massive armor gain and defensive stalling can also give Rogue fits.
Kingsbane Rogue may have been hit with a nerf that should have killed the deck in theory, but it’s showing signs of life. Based on its low sample, we have a good reason to believe that an aggressive pirate deck fueled by Raiding Party is very much alive and has the potential to find a place in the meta.
Lastly, we must mention an old fan favorite, Mill Rogue, and the emerging flavor of the month in Thief Rogue. Neither looks competitively viable, sitting deep in Tier 4.
Even Shaman is in its familiar spot as one of the top performing decks in Wild, displaying a Tier 1 win-rate across all rank brackets. As is the case for every Genn/Baku deck, consistency is the key to its success. It simply has very few poor matchups. Even-Shaman excels at seizing board and denying opponents from snowballing any advantage they can muster. Following the buffs, Even-Shaman players have experimented with Thunderhead. Thunderhead is best in aggressive matchups where its tokens can pick off opposing minions and solidify board control.
Murloc Shaman has also continued to flourish. Enabled by the release of Underbelly Angler and Toxfin, Murloc Shaman is now one of Wild’s best counters against passive archetypes. The fish men are overwhelming when given any opportunity to develop onto the board unhindered, having highly favorable matchups against the slower Quest Mage and Big Priest. However, Murloc Shaman struggles against Genn and Baku decks that are more consistent at seizing the board.
In the last report, we discussed the variety of options available to Shudderwock Shaman. Although Jade and OTK variants failed to produce strong results, a new Corpsetaker version provided hope. The good news is that players are now playing more Corpsetaker builds and it is the strongest and most popular version that we’re seeing. The bad news is that it’s still not doing well enough overall. Shudderwock Shaman remains in Tier 4 across all ranks.
- Standard Even Shaman
- Gorky’s #9 Legend Thunderhead Even Shaman
- xtuliop’s #38 Legend Murloc Shaman
- XxFroBro45xX’s #21 Legend Shudderwock Shaman
While the Warlock class maintains a relatively high play rate, thanks to its robust archetype composition, the win rates of Warlock decks don’t necessarily align.
SN1P-SN4P Warlock is a brand-new deck, brought to us by the newly released namesake legendary. The deck aims to utilize infinite zero-mana SN1P-SN4P’s via Mechwarper/Portal shenanigans to either build an insanely large board that can’t be dealt with or OTK the opponent if there happened to be a mech that stuck to the board.
There are currently a few variations of the deck, and we’ll mention the two most worthwhile of discussion. There’s a defensive Voidcaller variant with SN1P-SN4P acting as one potential win condition, and there’s a much faster, “turbo-cycle” version with a ton of card draw and SN1P-SN4P acting as the primary win condition. We estimate that the “turbo-cycle” variant is the best performing one and is likely the correct direction to take the deck moving forward.
While SN1P-SN4P Warlock currently sits at Tier 3, it’s important to note that the deck is new and is likely weighed down statistically by inferior variants. We suggest giving time for this archetype to refine, as it looks very promising at higher levels of play where development of the deck is at a more advanced stage. Note that it is the only Warlock deck that looks capable of beating both Big Priest and Quest Mage, and for this reason alone, we would keep an eye out for it.
Both Cube Warlock and Even Warlock see little play overall, but they become the most popular Warlock decks once you hit legend, and their performance suggests that this isn’t a coincidence.
Unlike slower Warlock decks, both Cube and Even Warlock are capable of pressuring opponents. Cube Warlock stands a much better chance against Big Priest and Quest Mage because its game plan has aggressive lines of play that can catch them off-guard. It’s also likely that the decrease in weapon removal, thanks to Kingsbane Rogue’s disappearance, is allowing players to more consistently get value off their Skull of Man’ari. While Cube Warlock mostly shines as an anti-control deck, Even Warlock is still a great option to stifle faster opponents thanks to its swings turns through Hooked Reaver and Molten Giant. Plus, its ability to pump out large threats early gives it a decent chance in slower matchups.
Passivity in the current meta is punishing, and therefore both Mecha’thun Warlock and Reno Warlock find themselves in the deep red. They simply have no strong enough counter-play options against Big Priest and Quest Mage, giving these all the time in the world to do whatever they want. When these two decks have a larger influence in determining which strategies are strong, you’re in trouble as a fan of slow Warlock decks.
Darkest-Hour Warlock has declined in play, but it remains hovering under the 50%-win rate mark. It’s still very much a coin flip deck, that can beat anything and lose to anything depending on what it happened to draw. Since there are so many options within the Warlock class, the archetype has simply fallen out of favor for new, shinier things.
Treachery Warlock is one of those shinier experiments that’s beginning to creep up. It’s a deck that aims to combo Fel Reaver with Treachery in order to burn the opponent’s deck. Treachery can also be used with Doomsayer as a board clear, or to dilute Priest’s resurrect pool. There’s not enough data to confidently estimate how strong this deck is, but it’s worth mentioning it because the strategy found success with quite a few players at high legend ranks, across multiple servers.
Finally, we have a deck as old as Hearthstone itself. Zoo Warlock will continue to see play in some form on ladder, fueled by the power of Magic Carpet and EVIL Genius. It’s unlikely to ever be better than a Tier 3 deck, but it’s serviceable.
- Darius #11 Legend Turbo-Cycle Sn1p-Sn4p Warlock
- GetMeowth’s #2 Legend Cubelock
- Even Warlock
- Gergo’s #14 Legend Mecha’Thun Warlock
- Ksr #2 Legend Reno Warlock
- Hijodaikan’s Darkest Hour Warlock
- Memnarch’s #1 Treachery Warlock
- Solem’s Zoo Warlock
Warrior is the least represented class in the format. Despite its current power level in Standard, it is struggling to find a strong footing in Wild, where the mechanics and synergies are just much more powerful.
Warriors are mostly forced to fall back to Pirate Warrior in order to keep a competitive edge, but the deck has barely changed at all since Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. The recent balance changes haven’t been kind to it either since it doesn’t beat Quest Mage, a deck that’s full of stalling and freeze effects. Add Pirate Warrior’s well-known weakness in winning the board during aggressive mirrors, and Pirate Warrior is struggling to find a real niche. Beating down Big Priest is pretty much all it does in the current meta.
The second Warrior archetype worth mentioning is Odd Warrior. Odd Warrior has always been very powerful against aggressive decks but has always struggled to beat late game strategies that pack a big value punch. This polarizing nature makes it very inconsistent and success with it can largely vary depending on the opponents you happened to run into. It’s estimated to sit at Tier 3.
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