Welcome back to the Wild vS Data Reaper Report! The data presented in this article is based on 100,000 games.
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As we move into the second month of Darkmoon Faire following the first balance changes of the expansion, we’ve seen two classes pull away from the rest of the pack, establishing themselves as the ones to beat.
Priest remains one of the most influential classes in the format. Big Priest is the predominant archetype for the class outside of legend, a go-to favorite for many. Reno Priest becomes the more popular Priest deck within legend, even with a nerfed Lorekeeper Polkelt slightly slowing the deck down.
Mage is the second meta defining class, and it has transitioned away from its previous diversity. All other archetypes within the class have declined, making way for Secret Mage to become the most prevalent deck in the format. There may be a few contributing factors to Secret Mage skyrocketing in play rate: 1) Aggro Druid, the most popular aggressive archetype in our last report, got nerfed due to Voracious Reader moving to 3 mana and 2) As we saw in our last report, Secret Mage is a very strong deck, and players have picked up on that information.
Warlock’s diversity remains a longstanding trait. Outside of legend, Reno Warlock is the most popular deck, followed by Disco Warlock. However, within legend, Darkglare Warlock becomes more noticeable, and we’ve seen the deck go through a refinement process in the last few weeks, including cards such as Power Overwhelming and Cheaty Anklebiter. Besides generally proving to be very good in the deck, they help in the Reno Priest and Secret Mage matchups, respectively.
Druid’s play rate has significantly declined, in large part due to the nerf to Voracious Reader. Previously the most popular deck on the climb to legend, Aggro Druid has seen a huge decrease in play following the nerf, and it may drop even further.
Following the fall of Aggro Druid, Rogue’s matchup spread is now looking much better, giving Valeera some space to breathe in Wild. The primary beneficiary has been Kingsbane Rogue, most co-opting the powerful Foxy Fraud/Swindle/Plunderer/Secret Passage combo of cards that’s been swarming Standard format.
Paladin maintains a reasonable presence throughout ladder, with the usual decline at legend. Odd Paladin is the flagbearer of the class and the only Paladin deck exhibiting meaningful levels of play.
Warrior is another diverse class, but one that has no deck that is firmly established in the meta and really caught on among most players.
Shaman is a class that you see less of as you climb ladder, with a messy assortment of archetypes which, much like Warrior decks, haven’t established themselves as answers to any of the top meta decks.
Odd Demon Hunter seems to have suffered collateral damage to nerfs direct at Standard yet again, with the class sitting at the bottom of play rates.
Hunter continues to struggle to find relevance at higher ranks. Secret Hunter looked to be a potential brighter spot for the class in our last report, but its weaknesses against the top decks in the meta seem to have prevented it from getting off the ground.
vS Meta Score
If there were any lingering doubts when Secret Mage was displayed as our top deck last report, there absolutely cannot be anymore. Secret Mage not only looks like the best deck in the format, but it looks like the best deck by a mile. It has developed into an absolute powerhouse exhibiting an absurd matchup spread. The meta has yet to effectively adapt to fight back against Secret Mage, but tech cards such as Kezan Mystic and Eater of Secrets may soon become a necessity.
Far behind Secret Mage, but still in a strong spot, is the ol’ reliable Odd Paladin. Aggro Druid was one of the best counters to Odd Paladin, and the nerf to the former has allowed the latter to flourish. But there are a few caveats when we talk about Odd Paladin being the second-best performing deck in the format. Its matchup spread shows that it heavily punishes weaker decks (it essentially farms many of its wins by destroying memes) but doesn’t line up well against the most popular decks in the format: Secret Mage, Reno Priest and Big Priest. In a more refined, high-level meta, Odd Paladin may not look as impressive.
Kingsbane Rogue, another beneficiary of the Aggro Druid nerf, has risen from what we estimated to be a Tier 2 deck in our last report, to a Tier 1 deck in this report. Its strong matchups against both Big and Reno Priest are big factors contributing to its success. However, if Secret Mage rises further in play in the aftermath of this report, Kingsbane Rogue’s poor matchup against it could prove to be costly.
Darkglare Warlock has gone through a productive refinement process, resulting in improved matchups against a large percentage of the field. It remains vulnerable to getting burst down by the aggressive Secret Mage and Kingsbane Rogue, preventing it from becoming an unstoppable monster at the level it was before the Darkglare nerf.
Reno Priest seems to have lost some steam over the last few weeks, and the nerf to Lorekeeper Polkelt may only have been a small factor. The loss of its strong matchup against Aggro Druid, a worsening matchup against the improving Warlock class, and the increased hostility of the meta leading to the rise of a counter such as Kingsbane Rogue, have all had their impact. Reno Priest remains one of the best decks in the game, but it’s certainly not as dominant as it used to be earlier the year.
Discard Warlock remains in Tier 2, unable to combat other aggressive decks that can keep it off the board in Secret Mage and Kingsbane Rogue and looking inferior to Darkglare Warlock.
Pirate Warrior is the class’ greatest hope for a competitive spot in the meta. It has great matchups against other aggressive decks due to its excellent board control tools. It mostly struggles against Priest, but it might be the only deck in the format that looks like a reliable answer to Secret Mage, which is worth noting moving forward.
Reno Warlock has improved a bit from our last report, gaining significant percentages in the Reno Priest matchup thanks to the proliferation of tech cards dedicated to beating Reno Priest with a disruption package of Grizzled Wizard, Sir Finley, Gnomeferatu, Dirty Rat, and Tickatus. However, the deck maintains poor matchups into other pillars of the format: Secret Mage, Big Priest, Darkglare and Discard Warlocks represent problematic opponents.
Big Priest may have remained one of the most popular archetypes, but its performance has certainly nose-dived since our last report; poor matchups into many of the dominant decks in the format leave it lingering at the bottom of Tier 2.
Tier 3 features Reno Mage, which mostly runs a secret variant that looks to emulate Secret Mage’s success (but its ceiling is nowhere near as high), as well as the nerfed Odd Demon Hunter/Aggro Druid archetypes.
Class Analysis & Decklists
After disappearing from Wild throughout Scholomance Academy, Demon Hunter resurfaced with the release of Darkmoon Faire. However, while Odd Demon Hunter was initially well-positioned, a combination of nerfs and unfriendly meta trends have left it in a much less desirable situation.
One of the bigger strengths of Odd Demon Hunter is its ability to handle Aggro Druid. Sadly, Aggro Druid’s play rate was halved following the nerf to Voracious Reader. Meanwhile, Secret Mage has doubled in its play rate, which is only more bad news for the archetype.
Regarding balance changes, the nerf to Dreadlord’s Bite was expected to be a significant hit. However, the card might still be necessary, and players shouldn’t be in a rush to cut it unless clear upgrades are found. New builds utilizing Voracious Reader have been experimented with, but this testing hasn’t proven to be definitively stronger than the pre-patch builds, which we will continue to feature.
The nerf to Voracious Reader was devastating for Aggro Druid. Previously the most popular deck at the bottleneck to legend, Aggro Druid has seen a huge decrease in play following the nerf and this trend can only be expected to continue. While it remains somewhat competitive, the deck has lost significant percentages in almost all matchups.
It’s difficult to see the possible niche Aggro Druid could carve out in the format. The archetype now lines up poorly against all the stronger decks, except for Disco Warlock, and seems to mostly find success simply beating up off-meta experiments. That said, Aggro Druid is still the best the class can do.
Jade Druid continues to be an unrefined mess, lacking any ability to consistently deal with early-game pressure or cheated-out threats. We could spend time theorizing about support Jade Druid could receive from the soon-to-be-released mid-expansion set, but the best solution for the deck would be a time machine to send it back to 2017.
Finally, last month we saw that Aviana Druid was a fringe-viable option at legend. Now, it is dead, with Secret Mage sending its regards. Only proceed if you’re willing to farm Priests at the expense of everything else (including your rank).
The weakest class in the format, Hunter hasn’t been able to establish any competitively viable decks.
In the previous report, we saw that Secret Hunter was performing at a decent level. However, we outlined concerns about how the deck dealt with the stronger decks of the format. Ultimately, these issues seem to have borne out and Secret Hunter has failed to make any major footprint in the meta.
Secret Hunter is still likely the best option the class has, given the nerfs to Reno Hunter and the struggles of Deathrattle Hunter. The class has little representation overall and is currently fractured into numerous unsuccessful archetypes. As always, it’s a sad time for Rexxar in Hearthstone’s eternal format.
Last time, we told you Secret Mage was an absolute monster. Don’t worry, it’s gotten better since then. The deck looks completely broken.
Secret Mage has been rapidly refined and taken over Wild. It is now the most popular deck at high diamond and legend ranks, making up over 15% of the field. Its matchup spread is close to flawless, with nothing that could be considered a clear counter. The archetype is utterly unopposed.
The list featured in our last report has become the go-to choice on ladder, with small variations seen, typically involving changes to the secret-package itself. While these changes are fine, there doesn’t seem to be any pressing reason to deviate from the featured build which has so far performed spectacularly. Every player should have Secret Mage at the forefront of his mind when it comes to both deck and card choice. If Secret Mage’s numbers continue to stay this high (and perhaps rise even higher), this might be a rare situation where hard tech cards are not only justified, but completely necessary, as recently observed in Standard format concerning Evolve Shaman.
Most Reno Mage lists continue to be based on secret-synergies. While they perform decently well, so far, they’ve looked completely inferior to the non-highlander Secret Mage lists. Then again, so does everything else. A fun new twist is that some high-legend players have been hybridizing the Secret and Luna’s Pocket Galaxy variations, decks which already heavily overlapped and may make for a natural pairing.
Quest Mage is meme-tier. Completely outpaced and dominated by the aggressive decks of ladder, and there have been zero noteworthy developments in the archetype. Steer clear unless you’re only looking for a quick and dirty hit of nostalgia.
The year is 2028. Odd Paladin is a Tier 1 deck, right behind Freeze Monk and Shuffle Hunter. The player base still refuses to accept it’s any good. What else is new.
Odd Paladin is once again one of the best performing decks in Wild, with a play rate that doesn’t quite match, though its matchups against the meta-defining decks of the format could be the main cause. The core of the deck has become well established, with lots of variation in the remaining flex spots.
Other Paladin decks, such as Murloc and Mech decks, have faded away. At lower ranks, there are Pure Paladins carried over from Standard, but little besides that. A more refined Wild version of Pure Paladin could be worth testing. For now, we’re listing a Libroom list if you’re simply looking to try something else beyond Baku.
Reno Priest is still doing very well, but it has had a small dip in its win rate since the balance changes. This may seem purely attributable to the Lorekeeper Polkelt nerf, but there have been some shifts in the meta which have increased the meta’s hostility towards the archetype.
For starters, Secret Mage has both dramatically increased in play while also greatly improved in the Reno Priest matchup. This is now a matchup that is firmly in the Mage’s favor, with the adjustments in the Mage build to include two copies of Rigged Faire Game and Occult Conjurer. Kingsbane Rogue has also emerged as another counter to Reno Priest, but this is mostly only an issue at higher levels of play.
Reno Priest still maintains one of the highest Meta Scores in the format, which confirms its influence on the meta, but it is no longer tyrannically overseeing the entire format.
Big Priest has also shown a decrease in its win rate but is overall still doing quite well. The deck finds itself in the lower end of Tier 2 at higher ranks of play, with strong matchups into control decks and a mixed bag against aggro. Big Priest was a deck that may have benefitted from being figured out very early upon expansion release, but there are still some adjustments that could be made.
With the format becoming even more aggro-centric, Mass Resurrections are likely excessive and could be cut in favor of more removal or healing. Another potential option is Zilliax. There’s very little information on Zilliax in the current iterations of Big Priest, but it has been played in previous versions and may be worthwhile in a Secret Mage-dominated format.
Kingsbane Rogue is performing very well and has seen a small uptick in play. The deck becomes more popular as you move to higher ranks. This aligns with an increase in Reno Priest and Darkglare Warlock, two of the deck’s better matchups. Regarding weaknesses, it has problems with other aggressive decks, including a horrific matchup against Odd Paladin. However, given the historical reluctance of players to play Odd Paladin regardless of its strength, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue moving forward. Looking into card choices, Ship’s Cannon is a fine option in the deck, which provides a comeback mechanic against other aggressive decks, but is far from necessary.
Once again, we can’t provide an accurate estimate of the strength of Odd Rogue. However, our slightly speculative guess is that the deck is solid and without doubt, much better than the Mill and Thief Rogues of the world.
Shaman remains in shambles, with no archetype having much success in the current Wild climate. Evolve Shaman has seen a port to Wild in thanks to the popularity of the deck in standard. Just like in Standard, the deck takes advantage of Cagematch Custodian and Boggspine Knuckles, but also has Evolve to combo with Desert Hare, Corridor Creeper and Doppelgangster. While the deck picks up a few toys in Wild, it’s not nearly at the power level of its standard counterpart and the very recent nerf to Boggspine Knuckles has likely pushed it further down in power.
The traditional Even Shaman builds have struggled to gain a foothold in the meta, largely due to the popularity of Priest. Historically, Even Shaman has been good against archetypes such as Odd Paladin and Kingsbane Rogue but struggled against defensive decks. The same comments should hold true for Big Shaman, given that Kingsbane Rogue players aren’t running Saps.
Reno Warlock remains the most popular archetype largely due to its historical recognition and flexibility. The deck can steal any game thanks to its singleton build-around as well as core Warlock cards. Perhaps, the biggest selling point for many players though is an extensive and effective package of tech cards against Reno Priest. However, the inclusion of these tech cards results in Reno Warlock not being an effective choice against other popular decks.
Darkglare Warlock remains susceptible to burn-centric aggressive strategies such as Secret Mage and Kingsbane Rogue, but its matchup spread is otherwise flawless, establishing it as one of the best decks in the format. The deck is still capable of pumping out giants in the early game consistently, which makes it feel quite unfair in many moments.
Disco Warlock is a strong deck, sitting in the middle of Tier 2. Many players have landed at cutting Darkglare and Raise Dead from their lists to include both Boneweb Egg and Fist of Jaraxxus, which helps the Priest matchups. The main issue that plagues Discard Warlock right now are the other aggressive decks in the meta, namely Secret Mage, which tends to outpace it and burst it down.
Pirate Warrior is the current torchbearer for the class, thanks to the ability of Ship’s Cannon to hold its own against other aggressive decks. The deck struggles facing the healing and removal available in Priest, but it’s a deck to keep an eye on moving forward if the popularity of aggressive decks, especially Secret Mage, continues to rise.
While Dead Man’s Hand Warrior and Galakrond Warrior haven’t really caught on in popularity, Odd Warrior is another archetype to keep an eye on. Odd Warrior is a popular archetype in the Chinese server as (allegedly) one of the most reliable counters to Darkglare Warlock with a potentially reasonable matchup into Secret Mage. While Odd Warrior has inherently polarized matchups, it might play an important role in the future if these matchups become more prominent.
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