[Wild] vS Data Reaper Report #26

A Hearthstone Wild Meta Report based on data from 160,000 games.

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Welcome back to the Wild vS Data Reaper Report! The data presented in this article is based on 160,000 games since the nerf to Hysteria, following the release of the Darkmoon Races.

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Class/Archetype Distribution

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Mage is clearly the most popular class outside of legend and sits neck-and-neck with Priest and Warlock at legend. Secret Mage dominates play rates throughout ladder and is the most popular deck in the format. However, Secret Mage isn’t the only Mage deck you might run into on ladder as other archetypes, such as Reno Mage and Mozaki Mage (the latest OTK Mage deck to appear), are seeing play.

Priest is the most popular class at legend, and the second most popular class through the rest of ladder. The class’ composition hasn’t changed, with Big Priest and Reno Priest remaining the two primary archetypes.

Warlock rounds out our usual top 3 popular classes, with a similar tale to boot. Outside of legend, Reno Warlock is the most popular archetype, followed by Darkglare and Discard Warlock. At legend, there’s a noticeable increase in Darkglare Warlock.

Rogue has seen a massive spike in popularity following the release of the Darkmoon Races thanks to Nitroboost Poison. Originally, players were flocking towards Kingsbane Rogue, for a good reason. However, as the meta continued to develop, we have seen Odd Rogue rise in popularity. Mill Rogue has also attracted more interest, particularly at legend, likely a result of the addition of Armor Vendor.

Druid seems to have brushed off the nerf to Voracious Reader and is attempting to recover. While the nerfed Aggro Druid remains the most popular archetype within the class, we’ve seen experimentation to slightly up its curve with Arbor Up. Furthermore, the spell-heavy Token Druid has emerged as an off-meta darling that has carved out a small presence in the format and offers an alternative to Aggro Druid. We’ll talk about whether this deck is a fad or not in this report.

Paladin maintains a middling presence throughout ladder, with the usual decline at legend. The Darkmoon Races mini-set did not provide Paladin with enticing build-around cards, so there’s not much excitement within the class. It is mostly comprised of Odd Paladin, with a few fringe decks following it.

Warrior is also exhibiting several fringe archetypes, with Pirate Warrior looking like the most popular deck. But, even though Nitroboost Poison has been a significant addition to Warrior as well, it’s generally looked over in favour of weapon strategies in Rogue. Odd Warrior carved out a small presence on ladder following the addition of Armor Vendor, and it’s become a well-known counter to the menacing Secret Mage.

Shaman drops off in popularity as you climb ladder, likely due to the rise in Priest, a class that generally gives Shaman decks problems. There doesn’t seem to be an established Shaman deck in the format.

Hunter and Demon Hunter see minimal play at higher ranks, but their situations are very different. Hunter is a messy class filled with unrefined jank and none of its decks are established. Demon Hunter is mostly centred on Baku, with Odd Demon Hunter seeing a modest amount of play and looking like a fleshed-out deck.

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vS Meta Score

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A tight Tier 1 throughout ladder is exhibiting a noticeable change at legend where Darkglare Warlock seems to be pulling ahead. The deck has seen steady improvement in its performance, which is a combination of players getting more comfortable with the deck (which noticeably improves in several matchup at higher levels, such as Secret Mage and both Odd/Kingsbane Rogue) as well as the refinement of its build. The only meta deck that seems to be regularly getting the better of Darkglare at higher levels is Reno Priest, while the very fringe Mozaki Mage and Odd Warrior are the hardest counters.

Secret Mage still looks extremely dominant, with many players on ladder finally targeting their tech hatred away from Reno Priest and towards Secret Mage in the form of Kezan Mystic and Eater of Secrets. Secret Mage only sees its power curbed at legend, where it isn’t as absurdly powerful. Its biggest counters are Odd Rogue, Odd Warrior and Pirate Warrior.

Wild’s old guard is still very much in business: Odd Paladin and Odd Rogue see relatively little play when considering how strong they are, but we’re already very aware of the Wild player base’s ‘Baku fatigue’. Odd Paladin has a very well-rounded matchup spread and tends to destroy Rogue decks. It even does quite well against Reno Priest, while its bigger obstacles are Big Priest and Reno Warlock. Odd Rogue is vulnerable to board-based strategies but performs very well against some of the most popular decks in the format: Secret Mage, Reno Priest and Kingsbane Rogue.

Another deck that’s thriving is Kingsbane Rogue. Kingsbane Rogue’s explosive openings give it a stronger advantage against Priest decks and help its Darkglare Warlock matchup when compared to Odd Rogue. But it’s very vulnerable to tech and its less consistent early game also loses it percentages against aggressive decks such as Secret Mage.

Token Druid makes a promising debut at Tier 2, and certainly has room for refinement considering its early stage of development. However, we can’t get carried away when it comes to its potential since it exhibits discomfort against many of the top meta decks.

Big Priest and Reno Priest sit in Tier 2, and the latter development might be surprising considering how strong Reno Priest is perceived to be. There is a good explanation for it, which is the introduction of Nitroboost Poison and the rise of Rogue, as Reno Priest seems to struggle against both Odd and Kingsbane Rogue. It might be carrying more value at top legend due to its good matchup against Darkglare Warlock.

Big Priest seems to be gaining strength, with Hysteria providing a strong anti-aggressive tool for a deck hoping to stall until a Shadow Essence can win them the game. Big Priest’s main weaknesses are hyper-aggressive decks with off-board damage and combo decks that don’t care about the board, such as Reno Priest.

Pirate Warrior and Discard Warlock continue their stay in Tier 2, as they are strong decks that just can’t beat the best of the best consistently. Pirate Warrior does have a little bit extra going for it, as it is one of the few decks with a strong matchup into Secret Mage.

Odd Demon Hunter has benefitted from the addition of Illidari Studies, one of the strongest cards in the 1-drop heavy list. The deck also benefits from the rise in Kingsbane Rogue and has a decent matchup against Secret Mage.

Reno Warlock rounds out Tier 2, with different builds being refined. However, regardless of whether you run Tickatus or Willow, some tech cards or just plain good stuff, the deck has a major issue running into Big Priest and Darkglare Warlock that prevents it from being top tier.


Class Analysis & Decklists

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

This may come as a surprise to many, but Odd Demon Hunter is performing quite well right now! Although the deck is still showing a low play rate, its stock has certainly improved since our last report.

While there aren’t many sweeping meta changes that have brought about this improvement, there appear to be two main factors. One is the addition of Illidari Studies from Darkmoon Races, which is now one of the strongest cards in the deck. This has given Odd Demon Hunter a small nudge in the right direction across the board.

The other factor is the more significant gain the deck seems to have made against Kingsbane Rogue, coinciding with Valeera’s increased presence on ladder. This has been aided by Kingsbane Rogue cutting early-game such as Ship’s Cannon and Parachute Brigand, but from the Demon Hunter side it’s largely been driven by Glacial Shard becoming an inclusion in most lists.

Token Druid is one of the most slept-on decks in the format, but is it a meta-breaker?

With the release of Arbor Up in Darkmoon Races, Token Druid has managed to carve out a small presence in Wild and its win rate relative to its play rate is one of the most disproportionate among all archetypes. It has a reasonable matchup-spread, generally being just slightly unfavoured against most aggro decks, except for Rogue matchups where it excels. However, while it’s certainly exciting to see such an underplayed archetype showing this level of strength, it’s doubtful that it can cause much of a shake-up overall.

While Token Druid is explosive and Odd Paladin ceaseless in its board development, ultimately the two share many of the same strengths and weaknesses. This shows itself in their respective matchup spreads, which are highly similar. The difference being Odd Paladin is simply better right now, and Odd Paladin itself is already a deck that players don’t flock towards with much enthusiasm.

That said, as a newer archetype, Token Druid may have some room for refinement left. In addition to the Gibberling variant players are currently using, we are also featuring an Oaken Summons list. Doubling up on Oaken Summons with Vargoth is still one of the best early-game swings in Wild, and it would be interesting to see what effect this build would have if it were to propagate.

Aggro Druid also finds itself interested in Arbor Up. Although there were some understandable reservations about including a 5-cost card in a deck that typically topped out at 3 mana, it turns out that Arbor Up is just that damn good. This inclusion hasn’t caught on completely, mostly gaining steam over the past couple of weeks.

There are still some questions regarding its build, such as whether Savage Roar is a worthwhile inclusion alongside Arbor Up. However, given Aggro Druid’s current position, it’s doubtful there will be enough interest in the archetype to answer these queries before set rotation.

Jade Druid, Malygos Druid, and other slow Druid archetypes have shown us nothing of promise.

Writing the Hunter section each report is depressing for both us and Rexxar. We know it’s going to be bad. You know it’s going to be bad. But once again, it’s time to look at what has been brewed up in the Hunter laboratory.

The latest experiment is Deathrattle Hunter, centred around Darkmoon Tonk. Please sell all your Tonk Stonks. Immediately.

Hunter’s hopes lie in the next expansion and nerf reverts. The class is absolutely starving for better options. Let’s hope it gets them.

Secret Mage remains incredibly dominant, as one of the strongest decks in the format and the most popular at all rank brackets. Funnily enough, this is a small step back from where the deck was prior to the release of Darkmoon Races, when it had a nearly flawless matchup spread and was peerless at the top of the power rankings.

Having gained no new tools from the last mini-expansion, some other decks have been able to make small gains in their direct matchup with Secret Mage. Additionally, Odd Rogue is a new obstacle, emerging as one of the few clear counters to Secret Mage.

Other Mage lists haven’t shown very much promise. Reno Mage using secret-synergies remains solid but strictly inferior to the non-highlander version, and the already small representation it had on ladder continues to shrink. Sadly, this seems to still be the best approach for Reno Mage, as both Luna’s Pocket Galaxy and Quest variants have made zero signs of progress.

Looking elsewhere, Mozaki Mage and Quest Mage each fill a very similar role on ladder. They both donate wins to other players.

Mozaki Mage dominates Big Priest and does well enough into both Reno decks and Darkglare Warlock. However, the weakness to aggressive decks cannot be overstated. The deck falls on its face with the slightest touch. Quest Mage certainly isn’t doing any better.

In a truly shocking turn of events, Odd Paladin is once again both good and underplayed.

The dramatic increase of Rogue has been a welcome sight for Odd Paladin, which feasts against the class. Already performing very well previously, the near doubling of Rogue’s play rate has resulted in Odd Paladin becoming the best performing deck within Diamond ranks! Hilariously, Odd Paladin’s popularity has slightly decreased. The deck does drop off marginally at legend but is still one of the absolute best options there.

Paladin sadly looks very one-dimensional. One potential archetype that players may want to try is Handbuff Paladin. While the play rate is far too low to get any statistical idea of its performance, several players continue to main the deck at high legend. It certainly appears to be a worthwhile option if you’re simply looking for some variety within the class.

Reno Priest remains a strong deck but is far away from the dominant display it showed last year. It’s certainly no longer public enemy number one, and this can be seen in a matchup like Reno Warlock, which has drastically improved as Reno Warlocks have started to drop the Finley/Wizard package. However, despite the player base’s laser focus drifting away from Reno Priest, the deck has faced other issues which have curtailed its attempt to climb back up the tier list.

Reno Priest is not the aggro-destroyer that some would have you believe. On the contrary, its worst commonly seen matchups come from these aggressive decks. Previously this was Secret Mage and Kingsbane Rogue, but now Odd Rogue has also entered the fray. These decks have huge reach over the top, which mitigates Reno Priest’s biggest strength – keeping the board under control.

There’s not too much going on with Big Priest. Both its presence and performance have remained consistent. Its major points of weakness come from Reno Priest, Kingsbane Rogue, Darkglare Warlock, and combo jank. A way to address at least one of these issues is Wave of Apathy, which is an excellent card against Darkglare Warlock.

Regarding other card choices, Idol of Y’Shaarj was dismissed very quickly by the player base upon release but has shown small positive signs. We would be interested to get even more information on the card in the archetype. Big Priest’s absolute reliance on Shadow Essence may mean a more expensive version is still very playable.

Rogue has been the big winner from Darkmoon Races, and it’s all thanks to Nitroboost Poison.

Kingsbane Rogue has seen a significant rise in play throughout ladder. It’s not one of the absolute most popular decks, but its impact is clearly felt, and many players have made tech adjustments accordingly.

The stock list for Kingsbane Rogue has largely been settled. There have been some very recent developments though, with the inclusion of Pen Flinger in the list. Only a tiny subset of players is trying this change, and we’ll have to wait and see if it proves worthwhile with wider use.

If we had to point out the biggest difference between the meta before and after Darkmoon Races, it’s Odd Rogue. Odd Rogue is extremely powerful! The archetype was practically non-existent previously. It now has a meaningful presence, and it should only grow from here. The last two cards in the deck haven’t made themselves obvious yet. Wand Thief, Sinister Strike, Evil Miscreant, and Glacial Shard have all been tried. Nothing looks like a total standout right now though, so players should feel free to pick-and-choose.

Odd Rogue’s matchup spread is unique in the current environment. It has strong matchups into all three of Secret Mage, Reno Priest, and Kingsbane Rogue, something no other deck can claim. It does lose ground against Darkglare Warlock at higher levels of play, and Odd Paladin is a nightmare as always. Overall, the deck is one of the strongest in the format.

The same cannot be said for Mill Rogue, an archetype which is truly horrific, even after adding Armor Vendors.

The impossible has happened. A class may be more dead than Hunter in Wild. No, surely that’s taking things way too far.

Right now, Shaman does not have a single deck with a play rate above 1% at legend. Its most popular deck is Reno Shaman, which we cannot discuss further in good conscience.

It wasn’t too long ago that Big Shaman was a meta-breaker, with good matchups into many aggro decks. The rise of Priest has certainly hurt the archetype, but it simply hasn’t picked up meaningful additions to the list for some time. The same is true for Even Shaman. Genn can only look on with jealousy at what Baku has been receiving.

Shaman’s archetypes aren’t completely hopeless, there are powerful foundation pieces that can easily be built upon. We just have to wait and see what the Year of the Gryphon brings.

The best deck in the format at the highest ranks is Darkglare Warlock.

Players are now more comfortable piloting the deck and builds have become quite refined over the past few weeks. The deck also displays a steep learning curve, with players at higher ranks doing particularly well against aggressive opponents. At these levels of play, Secret Mage, Kingsbane Rogue, and Odd Rogue aren’t big issues for the deck.

The counters that do exist aren’t a big deal either. Odd Warrior is held back by other archetypes. Mozaki Mage is a laughing stock. The only minor issue in the current meta is Reno Priest, which players are already attempting to address with Zephrys or by reintroducing Leeroy.

Darkglare isn’t SN1P-SN4P Warlock, but it’s not a bad imitation.

Reno Warlock is clearly overplayed, but it’s still a decent option. There has been some differentiation in builds, with players either pushing towards more of a Tickatus game plan or continuing a normal curve-out, value-centric style. For most players, there doesn’t seem to be much incentive to go full Tickatus given how aggressive the meta skews overall.

Finally, Disco Warlock is performing adequately. Lists are generally very similar, with the most notable difference being whether a small Darkglare package or further discard-synergy cards are used. Darkglare and Raise Dead have never been outstanding additions to the normal Disco Warlock shell. We speculate that this is likely due to a lack of support, with only a handful of self-damaging cards and no healing or other pay-offs. For that reason, we are also offering a hybrid list, which leans further into the Darkglare-synergy and focuses less on the discard-payoffs.

Surprise! Pirate Warrior is now an excellent option at the bottleneck to legend, experiencing a small bump in win rate and moving into Tier 1. Interestingly, this hasn’t quite translated to legend itself.

Pirate Warrior’s improved performance in Diamond is largely due to the increase of Rogue. The deck dominates the Kingsbane Rogue matchup and does very well against Odd Rogue. However, at legend, the meta becomes slightly more hostile towards Pirate Warrior.

Despite Secret Mage being the most popular deck at legend, its play rate still drops by over a third compared to how prevalent it is at upper diamond. This isn’t great news for Pirate Warrior, which is quite comfortable seeing that opponent. Unfavorables also begin to pop up a bit more often, with legend players more inclined to play Darkglare Warlock and Reno Warlock, two decks Pirate Warrior can have some trouble against.

Meanwhile, Odd Warrior is very strong into Darkglare Warlock, Rogues, and Secret Mage. And it’s still terrible. The immense struggles it has against Priests and Reno Warlock are just too much to overcome. Being good into one portion of the meta doesn’t outweigh being horrendous into another portion. There’s also nothing Warrior can do to try and rectify the situation. Silas combos have fallen flat. The Brann and Coldlight mills are a total pipe dream.

Expansion season is coming up and for the hundredth time, Odd Warrior players are free to fantasize. Maybe this expansion is when they finally get a real finisher. This time for sure.


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