vS Data Reaper Report #118: Decks That Stump, but No Stump Decks

Play Mode Discussion
https://www.vicioussyndicate.com/vs-data-reaper-report-118/

Class Frequency Discussion

The transition in Hunter continues, as well as the class’ overall decline in play. Spell and Cube Hunter are dropping, while Hybrid and Midrange Hunter are relatively more common. Secret Hunter, which is the older Subject 9 deck that utilizes secret synergy minions such as Secretkeeper and Masked Contender, has completely disappeared.

Priest is catching up and is very close to reaching Hunter’s numbers at higher levels of play. At legend, Resurrect Priest has risen further in play to become the most popular deck by a fair margin, heavily influencing the meta and perhaps incentivizing a potential rise of some of its hardest counters in the future. Control Priest, last week’s meta breaker, has stabilized in its play rate.

Paladin has also increased in play, thanks to the emergence of a new archetype: Holy Wrath Paladin. This deck initially appeared at the beginning of the expansion but fell flat on its face. Now, it has re-reappeared after the balance changes in a slightly different form and has been given a lot of attention by high-level players. Not only has it blown up at legend within days, it is also a popular participant in the upcoming Americas’ playoffs, after being absent from last week’s European playoffs.

Odd Rogue has declined at all levels of play, and Tempo Rogue has sunk further into obscurity, but Miracle Rogue is seeing renewed interest with the Auctioneer variant rearing its head.

After declining in its win rate last week, Cube Warlock has crashed in popularity. Warlock is now a fractured class with no less than 5 different archetypes seeing play. Thankfully, Mecha’thun Warlock has slightly risen in play and given us a better chance to evaluate its builds. There are two main variants to remember from last week: The Voidlord version and the Corpsetaker version.

There’s not much to say about the Warrior class, which is continuing its decline in play. The one encouraging sign is a recovery in its numbers at legend. Odd Warrior and Odd-Taunt Warrior dominate representation of the class, though there are a few experiments seen with non-Baku Warrior decks.

Druid’s representation has risen at lower levels of play, but declined at legend, with Miracle Druid losing some favor amongst the player base. Following Miracle Druid, there’s a noticeable presence of Malygos Druid, but it’s still quite small.

Mage looks very stagnant, with most of its archetypes gradually declining as the class appears to have run out of ideas. Big-Spell Mage’s numbers are very modest at all ranks, while Odd Mage variants are a very rare sight at legend.

With an increased interest in the Druid class, Shaman has now sunk to the bottom of play rates, despite having a very competitive deck. It seems that the player base simply cannot embrace Even Shaman, the only noticeable Shaman deck on ladder. Experiments with other Shaman decks are few and far between.


vS Power Rankings Discussion

Both Hybrid Hunter and Midrange Hunter are top tier, and the choice between them comes down to the matchups you’re seeing. Hybrid Hunter has a more stable matchup spread and performs better against faster opponents. Midrange Hunter has a more polarizing matchup spread and shines against slower opponents. With more Resurrect Priests and less Odd Rogues this week, the pendulum has swung in favor of Midrange Hunter. The difference in the Resurrect Priest matchup specifically is drastic. Hybrid Hunter goes 50-50 with the Priest. Midrange Hunter demolishes it with a win rate exceeding 65%.

Cube and Spell Hunter have fallen behind the first two Hunter decks, but they’re still very good. Cube Hunter performs better at legend, where the meta is slower, but things are a bit more difficult for it on the climb. Spell Hunter is strong all around, despite being outclassed in its own class.

Uther is here to remind you that Genn and Baku are still busted. Both Odd and Even Paladin are firmly entrenched at Tier 1 until something significant changes in the meta. Things are worse for Exodia Paladin, which is continuing to suffer from recent meta shifts that have pushed out Spell Hunter in favor of other Hunter decks and brought in more Resurrect Priests and Mecha’thun decks. It finds itself at Tier 3 at all levels of play.

Tier 3 is where Holy Wrath Paladin also makes its debut in the table. However, Holy Wrath Paladin is a new deck that hasn’t had a chance to finish its refinement phase, so based on our experience, there’s a good chance it will improve in its win rate over the next couple of weeks. It looks like a viable, competitive option for the class as it stands. It has good matchups against non-Cube Hunter decks, Odd Rogue, Odd Paladin, and Control Priest. Its biggest problem is the popular Resurrect Priest matchup, which is hurting its win rate at legend the most.

With Resurrect Priest becoming public enemy number 1, it’s unlikely to increase in its win rate. It’s a strong deck but it has some very hard counters that would immediately rise in popularity at the first sign of the deck growing too popular, and these decks are all Tier 1 at legend (Odd Rogue, Even Paladin, Midrange Hunter).

Control Priest is harder to counter, which is why it’s the stronger ladder deck and the more successful tournament deck. Its skill cap is very high, born out of a very complex playstyle that requires often unintuitive decision making. It reminds us of Hybrid Freeze Mage back in Un’Goro, a deck that utilized both an Alexstrasza burn plan and a minion development plan.

The new emergence of Miracle Rogue doesn’t seem too promising, though the archetype does have a very strong matchup against Resurrect Priest, which boosts its performance at legend. The ironic story about the Rogue class comes from Tempo Rogue. It has dropped below the threshold to be presented in the table, but its decline mostly came down to the disappearance of the non-Hooktusk builds. With its smaller, but cleaner sample of Hooktusk Rogue, we can more confidently say that the deck belongs in Tier 2, and it is probably the most underrated deck in the game.

Cube Warlock is the best Warlock deck, but this is not saying much considering other Warlock decks are languishing with unimpressive win rates. The one, very important insight we’ve gained about the class this week comes from Mecha’thun Warlock. The archetype hasn’t made progress in its refinement, but we’re now much more certain that the less popular Corpsetaker version is significantly better than the Voidlord version. If only the Corpsetaker Mecha’thun variant was played, we estimate that its win rate would be close to 50%. It’s unlikely to be one of the stronger decks in the meta considering its very poor Priest matchups, but it doesn’t belong in the dumpster.

We anticipated that Miracle Druid could improve by a couple of percentages and were pleasantly surprised that it’s made a more significant gain this week thanks to the meta slowing down. With Miracle Druid jumping to Tier 3, Druid is out of the dumpster! Furthermore, the low sample of Malygos Druid is giving us signals that this archetype isn’t dead and could be competitively viable. We would like more data on Malygos Druid before making a more conclusive statement since it’s been mostly tested by players at higher levels (which might have boosted its performance). Nevertheless, the deck is worth a shot considering the increasing popularity of Priests and Paladins, two classes that Malygos Druid generally does very well against.

Warrior looks firmly locked at Tier 3. It performs better at lower ranks where aggressive decks are more popular but has a miserable time against the horde of OTK decks present at legend. Queuing Odd Warrior on ladder is walking a tightrope that most players don’t seem to appreciate.

Big-Spell Mage is stuck at Tier 4, while other Mage decks are not even prevalent enough to confidently evaluate. Even Shaman is seeing its win rate collapse across all ranks, making it even less likely that players will pick it up, despite the fact that its performance against the field is still good. These are sad times for Jaina and Thrall.


Meta Breaker of the Week

Much of the spotlight has been put recently on Hybrid Hunter, but Midrange Hunter is showing us that a Hunter deck can still be powerful even when it doesn’t run Spellstone or Cubes. With the meta slowing down, and Priests becoming more prevalent, Hunter is incentivized to run a deck that’s more punishing to late game strategies.

Emerald Spellstone is an extremely powerful, meta defining card, but it does have two weaknesses. The first is that it requires us to run secrets, which are low-pressure cards against decks that can afford to sit back and play defensively. The second is that it’s a very predictable card that can be anticipated by decks capable of clearing it with AOE spells. This makes Hybrid Hunter less effective at beating late game strategies utilized by Priests, Paladins and Warlocks.

Midrange Hunter gives up Spellstone to increase its threat output consistency, making it harder for slower decks to outlast its board development, but giving up Spellstone means it’s much worse against aggressive decks that rely on leveraging initiative.

We expect the Hybrid-to-Midrange pendulum to swing back and forth as the meta speeds up or slows down, but one thing is certain: Hunter is a very good class and it’s not going anywhere.


Midrange Hunter: https://www.vicioussyndicate.com/deck-library/hunter-decks/midrange-hunter/
Hybrid Hunter: https://www.vicioussyndicate.com/deck-library/hunter-decks/hybrid-hunter/
So we're still in "Play Hunter or play Hunter counter" meta?

Wake me up when the meta is over.
01/17/2019 11:59 AMPosted by Awkward
So we're still in "Play Hunter or play Hunter counter" meta?

Wake me up when the meta is over.


To do my Daily I had to play vs

Hunter Secret
OTK Paladin
Hunter Secret

Very exciting. Dk Rexxars and Dk Uther.
01/17/2019 12:09 PMPosted by Zuljinisop
01/17/2019 11:59 AMPosted by Awkward
So we're still in "Play Hunter or play Hunter counter" meta?

Wake me up when the meta is over.


To do my Daily I had to play vs

Hunter Secret
OTK Paladin
Hunter Secret

Very exciting. Dk Rexxars and Dk Uther.


This entire meta is a lesson in "if you're gunna nerf a whole bunch of things, make sure you nerf EVERYTHING".

The December patch was a mistake.
I really, really do not want to see Resurrect Priest take off in Playrates in the single-digit ranks. We need those counter decks to become more common.

It isn't that I necessarily hate the strategy of Resurrect Priest it is just that there becomes ZERO ways I can really tech Hakkar against the deck that makes rational sense to me.
If the strongest decks in ladder aren't hunters, is it hunterstone or isn't hunterstone :v?
01/17/2019 12:31 PMPosted by Brandon975
If the strongest decks in ladder aren't hunters, is it hunterstone or isn't hunterstone :v?


still nearly 28% hunter.

3 classes already off the ladder, another 3 below the mark and still falling day by day.

meanwhile, hunter still reigns supreme in % and the only 2 hard counters of it are rising (still not even close to hunter numbers though)

so, take it as you want it, but more than 1/4 hunter and the only classes that are rising are the hunter counters.

personally, i'll say it's as huntermeta as it can get (i.e. much more than what ever pirate warr, shaman stone, and etc were)
01/17/2019 12:31 PMPosted by Brandon975
If the strongest decks in ladder aren't hunters, is it hunterstone or isn't hunterstone :v?


Did you read the report? The top two decks in Legend win rate are Hunter decks.
Oh, good, it's a priest and OTK meta again. Good thing blizzard doesn't care if anyone plays this game anymore.
Well all I encounter are priest hunters and warriors on the ladder. Cube hunter is very strong when played well im at a 60% winrate with mine over 80 some games all in ranked mode. I will say I'd rather play against hunters than priest lol. I hate playing against a priest that just snatches the cards out of my deck and hand the whole game and still manages to complete the amara quest.
Still haven't lost to one but they suck to play against. Ive never been a fan of the copy a card from your opponents deck hand or class mechanic.
I really think if all these hunter decks didn't have the DK, we would see more classes. The DK's value alone is insurmountable by other entire decks. It's cheapness makes it the second best 'dead draw' of all the DK's too. Resurrect priest is prevalent because hunters allow it to be IMO.
Data Reaper Report:

For the 98th week in a row, the top 4 classes have shuffled around slightly as the meta tries to counter the counters to counter the top deck. The other 5 classes are twitching slightly in the dumpster. Something-something Odd Rogue... Cube Warlock... Odd Paladin... other decks you've seen over a year ago. Something-class is dead after over-nerfs.

I mean, no offense to these guys, they're doing a great job, but the game is just the same old week after week.
01/17/2019 03:52 PMPosted by DarkSeph
Data Reaper Report:

For the 98th week in a row, the top 4 classes have shuffled around slightly as the meta tries to counter the counters to counter the top deck. The other 5 classes are twitching slightly in the dumpster. Something-something Odd Rogue... Cube Warlock... Odd Paladin... other decks you've seen over a year ago. Something-class is dead after over-nerfs.

I mean, no offense to these guys, they're doing a great job, but the game is just the same old week after week.


4-5 good classes
4-5 dumpster classes

rinse and repeat
This confirms exactly what I’m seeing. Hunter priest paladin. Hunter dominating priest countering Paladin thriving. Prevalence of hunter and paladin suppressed tempo. But prevalence of hunter and paladin encourages priest. That’s the cycle. We’ve let the meta develop for rough four weeks since the balance patch and what? It’s worse than before. Less diversity. Less counters. This is what happens when people call for nerfs as an emotional reaction in response to personal confirmation bias.
01/17/2019 12:27 PMPosted by Lykotic
I really, really do not want to see Resurrect Priest take off in Playrates in the single-digit ranks. We need those counter decks to become more common.

It isn't that I necessarily hate the strategy of Resurrect Priest it is just that there becomes ZERO ways I can really tech Hakkar against the deck that makes rational sense to me.


Exactly right.

The deck is just irritating to play against because their entire gameplay is them hoping the RNG gods are good to them.

They have to hope they get gallery before drawing their velen, elementals, and maly.

If they draw any of those, they then have to pray to RNG gods that their rez grabs those specific 4.

If they still don't get those RNGs, they hope that Lyra gives them the winning spell.

RNG to RNG to RNG hoping one of them lands. And it's not really something you can tech against.
01/17/2019 05:47 PMPosted by Schyla
01/17/2019 12:27 PMPosted by Lykotic
I really, really do not want to see Resurrect Priest take off in Playrates in the single-digit ranks. We need those counter decks to become more common.

It isn't that I necessarily hate the strategy of Resurrect Priest it is just that there becomes ZERO ways I can really tech Hakkar against the deck that makes rational sense to me.


Exactly right.

The deck is just irritating to play against because their entire gameplay is them hoping the RNG gods are good to them.

They have to hope they get gallery before drawing their velen, elementals, and maly.

If they draw any of those, they then have to pray to RNG gods that their rez grabs those specific 4.

If they still don't get those RNGs, they hope that Lyra gives them the winning spell.

RNG to RNG to RNG hoping one of them lands. And it's not really something you can tech against.


If only we still had weasel tunneler. It would destroy all these cheat out minions with recruit decks lol
01/17/2019 12:27 PMPosted by Lykotic
I really, really do not want to see Resurrect Priest take off in Playrates in the single-digit ranks. We need those counter decks to become more common.

It isn't that I necessarily hate the strategy of Resurrect Priest it is just that there becomes ZERO ways I can really tech Hakkar against the deck that makes rational sense to me.


It’s not a very fun deck to play in any case

Your entire deck revolves around draw RNG
Then if that fails. Play your big stuff. Let them die
And go on the next clown fiesta of the RNG from the Spellstone and other revive mechanics
Then if that fails just get lyra onto the field with a radiant and bless even more RNG to find a lethal.

It’s a very silly concept for a deck the be that heavily reliant on draw RNG then only be competitive because it has Physic Scream and Shadow Visions to find either an extra scream or your Legendary Spell to play on 9

I’m not a fan of this deck whatsoever
It either looses real bad or wins real bad. So the experience for either player is generally bad
I am surprised to see no mention of elemental Mage. I wasn't progressing much with my death rattle paladin (36-37 w/l) so I decided to try elemental mage. The deck feels quite good against most hunter decks (although it struggles a bit against cube hunter). Early Mountain giant provides a chance against OTK decks. It is definitely my favourite at the moment.
Rez priest embodies the worst of what RNG can do to this game. It cheapens the experience for both players. The deck depends so heavily on draw that there are games where the pilot feels helpless. But, when RNG smiles, you literally get the perfect draw and cloning from your deck such that it ends the game. Or you get Lyra and she gives you a mind blast for every spell you cast. It’s ugly and results in bad emotional reactions. The pilot feels entitled from all of the poor RNG from games prior. The opponent feels helpless and discouraged and comes to the forums to vent. No one wins from this experience.

I’m not advocating to eliminate all RNG but it does need some regulation in HS. RNG shouldn’t have the ability to singlehandedly steal games. There’s no strategy or skill in that.
01/17/2019 06:24 PMPosted by Balmain
Rez priest embodies the worst of what RNG can do to this game. It cheapens the experience for both players. The deck depends so heavily on draw that there are games where the pilot feels helpless. But, when RNG smiles, you literally get the perfect draw and cloning from your deck such that it ends the game. Or you get Lyra and she gives you a mind blast for every spell you cast. It’s ugly and results in bad emotional reactions. The pilot feels entitled from all of the poor RNG from games prior. The opponent feels helpless and discouraged and comes to the forums to vent. No one wins from this experience.

I’m not advocating to eliminate all RNG but it does need some regulation in HS. RNG shouldn’t have the ability to singlehandedly steal games. There’s no strategy or skill in that.


This is very well said and addresses the exact problem. It's RNG crazy and something your opponent has no control over.

Turn 9 if they get gallery in hand and maly velen and elementals both in deck and mind visions both in hand, it's 40 damage. There's no prep they do for this, all they need is draw luck. Hope and pray to RNGesus that the next card you draw is not one of those four minions.

Then, if by chance you do draw them, you hope your spellstone believes in RNGesus as well to bring those specific ones back.

And what can your opponent do during all this? Just go face and hope you don't get the nuts draw.

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