[Wild] vS Data Reaper Report #7

A monthly Hearthstone Wild Meta Report based on data from over 40,000 games.

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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 for which Vicious Syndicate has become famous. The data presented in this article is based on 40,000 games.

The Wild meta has been heavily impacted by changes to Corridor Creeper, Patches, Raza, and Bonemare. It’s almost as if we’re in a new expansion. Warlock has the keys to the kingdom with Cubelock and Giantslocks running rampant. But unlike some previous top tier decks, they are eminently counterable. All sorts of Paladins are abusing Call to Arms. Big Priest has overtaken Reno Priest as Anduin’s top deck, and Aluneth is carrying aggressive mage builds on the road to the face.

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Class/Archetype Distribution

Following the nerfs, we can not only see more class diversity than we have been seeing, but more archetype diversity within the classes as well. Warlock, Paladin, and Mage take up about 60% of the meta from R5-L with the rochambo between the three classes acting to stabilize the micro-meta. Warlock is geared to beat Paladin, Paladin is inherently favored against Mage, and Mage has the tools to pressure Warlock’s life total and burst it down.

Warlock has overtaken Priest as the most popular class on ladder with two of the top meta decks – Giantslock and Cubelock. With Reno Priest and Aggro decks in general dropping in power after the nerfs, Warlock has more of a free reign. Renolock and Zoolock are still present in the meta, but at relatively low numbers at higher levels of play.

Mage is consistently played at all levels of play with Aluneth Mage being the main archetype post rank 5. Reno Mage and Exodia Mage round out the class’ numbers.

Priest is still seeing a large amount of play with many different archetypes. Big Priest is the most common archetype at all ranks, making up almost 8% of the R5-L bracket. Reno Priest has almost dropped completely out of the meta, while we also see some Combo Priests and Dragon Priests.

Paladin is the 4th most prevalent class overall, and jumps to 2nd most prevalent in the 5-L bracket.  Paladin has 5 recognizable archetypes in the current meta, the most of any class. Secret Paladin has seen a huge resurgence in play to join Murloc, Aggro, and Dude as the most played Paladin decks.

Druid is lagging behind the other big 4 classes just a bit, but sees more play at R5-L. However, Shaman, Hunter, Rogue and Warrior are seeing relatively little play. Aggro Shaman and Pirate Warrior are the most played archetypes of their respective classes, while Kingsbane Rogue makes up most of its class’ numbers after Tempo Rogue took massive hits. Hunter has numerous archetypes seeing fringe play with Spell Hunter being the most prevalent at R5-L.

Have we realized that Call to Arms is an extremely powerful card yet? The top 3 decks in the current meta are Paladin variants with Dude Paladin leading the charge. The super explosive early games and the tempo that Call to Arms generates, alongside the general power level of Paladin’s early game make the class’ early-game far superior to that of any other class. Aggressive Paladins flood the board quickly, refill with Divine Favor and keep pushing damage while Dude Paladin is able to snowball early board control with AoE buffs, making its board resilient to clears. With Call to Arms escaping the nerf bat, we anticipate that Paladin will maintain its place at the top for a while to come.

Filling out Tier 1 at R5-L are the two main variants of Warlock and Aluneth Mage. While no one is surprised to see Warlock in Tier 1, they might be surprised to see it not being the highest win rate class in the format. This is due to the nature of the meta, warped around rushing down Warlock before it’s able to reach its power turns, or alternatively, using specific answers (Poison Seeds, Lightbomb) in order to counter Giants boards.

Aluneth Mage is probably the most consistent counter to Warlock due to the tempo generation of the secret package, the fuel provided by Aluneth, and the potential to burn down the Warlock quickly by bypassing Voidlords with direct damage. However, Cube Warlock gives the Mage a harder time than Giants Warlock due to its more consistent defensive capabilities.

Pirate Warrior keeps taking the nerfs but still keeps swinging despite losing favor among the player base. Pirate Warriors are generally able to just smack Warlocks and Mages in the face fast enough and hard enough before they can execute their own game plan.

Meta Score

Class Analysis & Decklists

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

Malygos Druid is a powerful Druid archetype. Defensive tools such as Spreading Plague, Oaken Summons, and Malfurion the Pestilent paired with the Aviana-Kun-Malygos OTK allow Malygos Druid to have solid matchups against both aggro and control decks in the current meta. Double Poison Seeds has become core to the deck in order to deal with large boards enabled by Naga Sea Witch. One point of debate for the deck is which cards to run in the finisher package, the options being second Faceless Manipulator, Ixlid, or Alexstrasza. Double Faceless is the current flavor of the month due to the flexibility of the card. While Malygos Druid’s win rate may seem unimpressive relatively to the powerhouse classes of Warlock/Paladin/Mage, it is still strong enough to see success in the right meta and in experienced hands.

Jade Druid is in a similar situation to Malygos Druid. In fact, the two decks share roughly the same 20 core cards! Because of the board-centric nature of the deck, Jade Druid fares better against some of Malygos Druid’s tougher matchups, such as Aluneth Mage, Secret and Murloc Paladin. Although Malygos Druid is a better choice in a Big Priest/Cube Warlock meta, Jade Druid is a stronger deck to climb with overall.

Aggro Druid does not see much play on ladder at the moment. However, it is still a strong deck to climb with. The main problem Aggro Druid faces is the spread of Paladin decks. Some players have found success by teching Hungry Crabs which improves the win rates against Murloc Paladins.

In the post-nerf metagame, Aggro Hunter has performed decently, with an even matchup against top dogs, Aluneth Mage and Giants Warlock, and a favored matchup against Big Priest, another common competitor in the format. It uses tools such as Animal Companion, Alleycat, and Glaivezooka to take early board control and get in underneath opponents’ Naga’s, Aluneth’s, and Barnes’. Hunters then finish their opponents off with Kill Command, Quick Shot, and the hero power. Unfortunately, it struggles against many other decks in the meta, such as Malygos/Jade Druid and Cubelock, which are capable of stabilizing more effectively, and Paladin decks that are much better at taking over early board control, and can push for lethal before the inevitable burn catches up with them. This puts Aggro Hunter at Tier 3.

Giants Hunter has fallen out of favor with the populace, being replaced by Giants Warlock as the Naga-abuser of choice. However, Giants Hunter is still a very strong deck, and has a favorable matchup against the aforementioned Giants Warlock. King’s Ellek, Stitched Tracker, and Tracking are very good cards when digging for the Sea Witch and her giants, making a turn 5 uber-board more consistent for the Hunter. Deathstalker Rexxar is another powerful late game tool, providing the Hunter with insane refill and turn-on-a-dime potential in the event that your giants are cleared. Giants Hunter is generally worse at dealing with aggressive decks, but has more longevity against slower ones. While we do not have enough data for the deck to put it in the Power Rankings, as it is very uncommon, the data we do have suggests that Giants Hunter is a Tier 1 deck in the current meta.

Secret Hunter is a midrange deck, which uses secrets, along with powerful synergy cards such as Secret Keeper, Mad Scientist, Cloaked Huntress, and the Emerald Spellstone to create powerful mid-game tempo turns. The archetype also runs a Kathrena package, full of very strong late-game beasts, like King Krush, Charged Devilsaur, and Savannah Highmane. Secret Hunter also makes use of everyone’s favorite Death Knight, Deathstalker Rexxar, to generate inevitability against decks that can’t simply kill it. This makes the deck another strong, under-the-radar contender, with a Tier 1 win rate, despite the low play rate.

Deathrattle Hunter uses egg cards alongside activators such as Glaivezooka, Spawn of N’Zoth, Spiritsinger Umbra, and Feign Death, to create massive boards of Nerubians and Devilsaurs to snowball them into a victory. The deck is uncommon, and has a low winrate, but when it wins, it wins overwhelmingly. It only just manages to scrape into Tier 4. We advise Hunters who want to create large, swingy boards to play Giants instead.

Spell Hunter, once considered a meme at KnC release due to the infamous To my Side! has become a real deck. Ironically enough, it doesn’t run To My Side!, and it often chooses not to even include Rhok’Delar, the other no-minions payoff card. Instead, the deck runs the Barnes Y’Shaarj combo, as a 4 mana 14/15 is just a little bit stronger than two animal companions for the price of two. The deck also makes use of secrets and the Spellstone, but cannot use any of the secret synergy minions due to the limitations of the Barnes/Y’Shaarj package. Despite being able to highroll at times, the deck doesn’t have a consistent stream of threats, and it does display a Tier 4 win rate. We recommend running Secret Hunter instead, as it is a far stronger deck, trading one really good threat for an army of more expensive but just as powerful ones.

The recent nerfs have caused Mage to see a significant increase in play rate. The casus belli? Aluneth Mage. The other two Mage archetypes are currently in the gutter, but can be played occasionally to deal with specific meta games.

Aluneth Mage is currently one of the main contenders to deal with the rise of Giants Warlock and Big Priest. With the ability to run Explosive Runes and Potion of Polymorph, the Giants Warlock’s Naga Sea Witch or Voidcaller turn can be easily denied. Once that happens, Aluneth Mage can finish off the opponent with a slew of burn spells. Aluneth Mage can also deny Big Priest’s resurrections with Counterspell, allowing the Mage to easily overwhelm the Priest player. Aluneth Mage is weak to other aggressive decks, especially from the Paladin class. These decks flood the board and push the Mage off of it through favorable trades and weapons, and deny it the space it needs to execute its game plan.

Reno Mage is doing very poorly in this Warlock- and Priest-heavy meta. Decks that want to win a long, grindy value game need special tools to deal with the immediate blowout turn of Naga+Giants, and Reno Mage doesn’t have them. Reno Mage sits at Tier 4 due to its inability to deal with the various mana-cheat decks in the meta. However, Reno Mage can still be a potential option to counter aggressive decks, besides Aluneth Mage, such as Aggro Shaman. Much of the end game was cut to more consistently beat aggressive decks, as it already loses to most Warlock and Priest archetypes.

Exodia Mage is currently a solid option for a specific meta. It is strong against Big Priest and Warlock archetypes other than Giants Warlock. The deck usually has ample  time to find the combo in those matchups. Even though it is unfavored against Giants Warlock, it can still find wins because of the Frost Nova and Doomsayer combo. For a similar reason, Exodia Mage is a viable option against Paladin decks. The Paladin archetypes flood the board but don’t carry burst from hand, leaving them vulnerable to AOE freeze effects.

Patch 10.2 brought the nerfs to Patches the Pirate and Corridor Creeper, and with them, the slight fall of Aggro Paladin and the upbringing of Dude Paladin. Uther stands strong with multiple Tier 1 archetypes filling the role that Aggro Paladin had played in the previous meta alone.

Dude Paladin has once again clawed its way to the top, having notably high win rates against many of the top tier archetypes, and being the overall highest win rate deck in the format. With its ability to adapt to local metas, Dude Paladin lists are quite diverse, and run many tech options in order to improve their win rates against many of the popular meta decks. Dude Paladin can be built to beat almost any deck in the game. Pair that with its very powerful and consistent game plan, and you’ve got a deck that will be a contender in the Wild meta for a long time.

Secret Paladin has also shown plenty of potential, being able to carry the Anyfin Package in its shell to pack a punch in control matchups. With its overall gameplan being very similar to Dude Paladin, it is quite obvious why the deck shows similar win rates against the same archetypes, while also carrying a better win rate against Malygos Druid since Secret Paladin can go taller on the board than Dude Paladin can. Secret Paladin is a deck that you would play in order to target specific matchups rather than bring to target the entire field since it’s on a slightly lower power level than Dude Paladin. But, of course, it can still tear through ladder just fine, possessing one of the strongest win rates in the game.

Aggro Paladin is still standing strong despite the nerfs, holding the third highest win rate of all Paladin archetypes. The balance changes have hurt its ability to recover from board clears, and that has caused a decrease in its win rate in comparison to the past.

Based off of the collected data, Murloc Paladin is purely just a weaker version of both Dude and Secret Paladin, with no specific matchups where it shines significantly brighter than the other two. While it is currently the most played Paladin archetype, its power level does not follow through. It could be overestimated by players who might not be privy to the power level of Murloc Paladin’s alternatives.

Control Paladin is the lowest tier Paladin archetype tracked, with good reason. In the current meta, Control Paladin lacks the power of other control archetypes in the game. Its ability to clear minions in the early game in limited in comparison, and it possesses a weaker end-game finisher, with no real new tools to help the archetype from KnC.

Priest’s popularity has diminished significantly. For now, Anduin has relinquished the throne as the most common class on the Wild ladder. Still, Priest has a few viable archetypes in the format, even with the decimation of Reno Priest in the recent balance changes.

As predicted, indications suggest that Big Priest is now the class’ most viable option in the Wild format (much to the chagrin of many players). Despite the generally negative attitude towards the deck, Big Priest has seen a rise in popularity since the last report, clocking in as the third most frequent archetype across all ranks. Big Priest lists haven’t changed much, other than favoring Lightbomb and Psychic Scream as mass removal options over Dragonfire Potion due to the prevalence of Giants decks. Overall, the deck’s insane blowout potential, paired with its ability to consistently layer massive threats in the late game, make it likely that Big Priest will be a contender in Wild for the foreseeable future.

Combo Priest remains a reasonable, mid-tier option in Wild. Both the vanilla Inner Fire Combo builds and those running Dragons are viable decks in the format. The former offers additional explosive power, while the latter has a few more tools to manage aggro decks thanks, in large part, to the availability of Duskbreaker. What makes Combo Priest an attractive deck choice, however, is the favorable matchup against Giants Warlock. Both variants can pull quick wins against decks light on single-target removal. With the right draws and matchups, Combo Priest can take you up the Wild ladder in a hurry.

Borrowing from effective strategies in the Standard format, many Wild Dragon Priests are opting for the Spiteful Summoner package to complement the slew of valuable on-curve minions. While the relatively late swing turns the deck presents make it a bit less effective in Wild than Standard, it does regain some interesting synergies in Brann Bronzebeard to double up Battlecries and Blackwing Corruptor to make up for the deck’s lack of removal. Unfortunately, the strategy of applying steady pressure isn’t enough to give Dragon Priest a favorable matchup against many decks, with Malygos Druid being the only good matchup among common decks.

And then there’s Reno Priest. Unsurprisingly, Reno Priest has fallen out of favor after the nerf to Raza the Chained. What is surprising, however, is just how much the archetype has plummeted. Previously, the most common deck in all of Wild, Reno is now Priest’s least popular archetype to register in the report. The deck can still pile on some huge burst in a single turn, but victories seem harder to come by after losing access to zero mana hero powers. Perhaps the one redeeming factor for the deck is its ability to answer Giants Warlock, one of Reno Priest’s few relevant favorable matchups.

Time continues to be unkind to Valeera and Maiev. While Rogue has seen a bit of a jump in play recently, it is the only class to have all archetypes stuck in tier 4. There is a glimmer of hope coming from players like Bananaramic and Hel who were able to have success in the Wild Open with Rogue in their lineups, but things are bleak in the shadows.

Tempo Rogue has fallen off the map since the balance changes. People are unwilling to explore the archetype since the nerfs to Patches, Bonemare, and Corridor Creeper. However, as previously mentioned, a few players have found success with the deck. Bananramic’s build, with which he qualified for regionals, is quite similar to his pre-nerf build. Perhaps the list could grow in popularity helping Tempo rogue regain some of its KFT glory.

Kingsbane Rogue is now the most played Rogue archetype on ladder. The deck is quite similar to its standard counterpart, using weapon buffs and the Mill package to bully slower decks. Kingsbane Rogue does have positive matchups against the slower Priests and Druids while being able to hold its own against Warlock. However the Paladin (and aggro matchups in general) are still miserable even with the nerfs to Corridor Creeper and Patches. Because of this, Kingsbane Rogue is strictly a control counter deck.

Miracle Rogue has fallen into Kingsbane Rogue’s shadow as a go to control killer. For the most part, Miracle Rogue has very similar matchups to Kingsbane Rogue: it folds to aggro while being favored against control. Miracle’s matchups are slightly less polarized than Kingsbane’s; it has more of a shot against aggressive decks while not being as strong against slow decks. One place where Miracle has a real edge over Kingsbane is the Giants Warlock matchup. Miracle’s early pressure from Questing Adventurer, Tomb Pillager, and Fal’dorei Strider give the deck a better chance of killing the Meta Tyrant before it’s able to play its oppressive turn.

Aggro Shaman has seen a rebirth in this post-nerf meta. It’s not intuitive that an aggressive deck could get a huge boost in the meta after aggressive cards such as Corridor Creeper and Patches were nerfed, but these changes have allowed Shaman to adapt a burn-heavy game plan to punish the meta’s greedy and passive decks. Aggro Shaman still struggles to deal with decks that challenge its early game, such as Paladins and Aggro Druids. Current lists are reminiscent of GVG-TGT Aggro Shaman, with Doomhammer, Rockbiter Weapon, and Whirling Zap-o-Matic all returning to the limelight. If you want to give all those Big Priests and Giantslocks a hard time, Aggro Shaman is one way to go.

Control Shaman, Murloc Shaman, and Token Shaman are all seeing marginal play, but not enough to accurately categorize them in the power rankings. Their relative win rates place them around tier 4, and rightly so. Control Shaman has the tools to be good against the aggressive board flood decks present in the meta but the combinations and synergies of the deck just come out too slow to compete with decks like Giantslock and Big Priest. Murloc shaman has insane snowball potential but is still just not able to compete with other board based aggressive decks (i.e. Paladin with Call to Arms). Similarly, Token Shaman hasn’t been able to compete with Paladin and doesn’t have the same refill potential after board wipes from control decks.

Following the most recent balance updates, Warlock has become the undisputed king of wild, at least when it comes to its prevalence; sporting a wide range of successful archetypes, the class’ distribution across ladder is hardly a surprise.

Since our last report, Cubelock’s popularity has diminished slightly, leaving Giantslock with the keys to the kingdom. While Warlock has always, in one way or another, been able to take advantage of some of the various Giants printed in the past to great effect, the change to Naga Sea Witch and the new cards given to Warlocks in KnC have led to the formation of a powerhouse of a deck. Giantslock’s ability to create a monstrous board on Turn 5 (or 4 with the Coin) as well as summon a set of monstrous Taunts is what allows the deck to have such favorable matchups across the field. The deck has gone through a lot of experimentation and tweaking in the past few weeks, and has not only had incredibly success on ladder, but also in the recent Wild Open. The featured list from Jonahrah was used to secure his spot in the regional finals, with the innovative inclusion of Doomsayers and Shadowflames to cement mirror matches.

Though Giantslock has taken most of the spotlight, Cubelock has maintained its strengths and remains just as powerful, if not more than Giantslock on ladder. Both of these archetypes are being relentlessly teched against on ladder, preventing them from becoming truly oppressive. Although its builds have stabilized significantly since the last meta report, Cubelock is still being tinkered with: our featured list was piloted by Roffle to high legend off of the back of Power Overwhelming, and may lead to that card becoming more common.

Zoolock is an archetype that has decreased a lot in popularity, a trend accelerated by the nerfs to Patches and Corridor Creeper. There are multiple ways to build the deck, and it is in a heavy experimentation phase with few lists having reached any significant levels of success and play in the higher ranks. The list featured this week is a rather unconventional list and was piloted by Cooky from Rank 5 with a rather impressive win rate. The deck aims to use Bloodbloom to activate huge tempo swings in the early game, using cards such as Demonheart, Bane of Doom and Arcane Tyrant, as well as Hooked Reaver to great synergistic effect.

Renolock, once a ladder staple, is an unpopular choice in the current meta, due to its unfavorable matchups against Cubelock and Giantlock in particular. This has caused lists to start running certain tech cards such as Tinkmaster Overspark and Loatheb to secure additional value and answers against them. The featured list was recently piloted to legend by IndianNinja, showing that despite having some unfavorable matchup, it can still be a competitive choice for ladder because of its ability to counter the aggressive decks in the meta. SighTed brought an interesting Renolock list to the Wild Open with two Kobold Librarians. It’s an interesting choice, but Warlock’s first real cantrip is a tremendously powerful class card and SighTed wanted both copies.

Pirate Warrior just keeps taking the hits but stays on fighting, even though it is as hit-or-miss as ever nowadays. It’s still strong against Big Priest, Giantslock and Secret Mage but struggles to put up a fight against other aggressive decks.

Some people are still playing Control Warrior, presumably for nostalgia’s sake. The deck’s game plan of exhausting the opponent of resources and removing threats just doesn’t work in a meta where every deck has too many threats coming out too easily and quickly for Warriors to deal with.

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  1. This is the worst wild meta I have ever seen since I joined in 2016.
    There is basically no point in playing anything but broken shit. It’s either cheat out fatties, call to arms or combo…

    Blizzard has just lost my playgroup of 6 players, good job Brode…..

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