vS Data Reaper Report #299 – Vicious Syndicate (2024)

vS Data Reaper Report #299 – Vicious Syndicate (1)

Welcome to the 299th edition of the Data Reaper Report!

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Class/Archetype Distribution | Class Frequency | Matchup Winrates | vS Power Rankings| vS Meta Score | | Meta Breaker of the Week | How to Contribute | Credits

Number of Games

Overall1,191,000
Top 1K Legend54,000
Legend (Excluding Top 1k)232,000
Diamond 4 to 1132,000
Diamond 10 to 5155,000
Platinum144,000
Bronze/Silver/Gold474,000

Class/Archetype Distribution

Class Frequency

Class Frequency Discussion

Standard is spiraling into a format completely dominated by a single deck. As always, meta developments start at the top and then trickle down, so when a meta tyrant forms, its presence will be most unbearable at top legend first. Druid has hit a 40% play rate at high MMR’s, which is comparable to the most dominant classes in the game’s history. Dragon Druid is relatively simple to play and accessible to all players, so its popularity is easily spreading to lower rank brackets at a very fast pace. Upper Diamond Druids should hit a number close to 35% over the next week. We don’t think anyone attempting a legend climb will be able to escape a ridiculous number of Dragon Druids.

Most other classes are experiencing collapse. Some are dealing with it relatively better than others, such as Excavate Rogue stubbornly holding onto its declining popularity. Shopper DH is one of the only decks boasting a positive matchup into Druid that weren’t affected by the Celestial Projectionist nerf, so it’s become quite popular at top legend. Rainbow DK, utilizing its new Excavate build, is another deck that seems to exhibit a modest upward trajectory.

vS Data Reaper Report #299 – Vicious Syndicate (12)

vS Meta Score

vS Data Reaper Report #299 – Vicious Syndicate (18)

vS Power Rankings Discussion

Dragon Druid looks utterly broken, to the point every other deck is pointless to play if you want to maximize your chances of winning. Future trends suggest that things are likely to get worse. At top legend, there is a reasonable chance that Dragon Druid will remain a Tier 1 deck boasting a 53%+ win rate and a 35-40% play rate, while all other decks in the format regress to a Tier 3 placement. Yes, we might have one Tier 1 deck and every other deck looking no better than Tier 3. The reason is that some of the other, more “promising” decks in the format, are cannibalizing each other more than they can effectively answer Druid. We’ll give you some examples supporting our pessimism.

Shopper DH has a slightly favored matchup into Dragon Druid. However, the deck struggles against both Rainbow DK and Excavate Rogue, the two other modestly popular decks at top legend. This curbs the gains made in the Druid matchup. It’s likely that Demon Hunter falls into a Tier 3 placement next week at that bracket.

Pain Warlock’s edge against Dragon Druid has softened due to the nerf to Celestial Projectionist, while it gets hard countered by Shopper DH and beaten by Excavate Rogue. The Celestial Projectionist nerf, in the short term context of the current meta, undoubtedly had a negative impact on the format. The disappearance of Gaslight Rogue and Zarimi Priest was the disappearance of two other solid counters to Dragon Druid.

Odyn Warrior was showing early promise at a low sample size, but its matchup into Rainbow DK is so terrible that it’s unlikely to gain serious traction. Aggro Paladin barely sees play at top legend, yet looks favorable there due to it decent matchups into Druid and Demon Hunter. However, the Death Knight matchup is highly problematic again.

From the sound of it, Rainbow DK seems to be in a decent position, but it ultimately loses to Dragon Druid, so it’s expected to get worse as the meta tyrant continues to explode in popularity. Rather than a meta breaker, it’s more of an enabler. Excavate Rogue is in a similar position, with its matchup against Dragon Druid worsening following refinement on the Druid side.

Things will be less extreme at lower rank brackets, but Dragon Druid is still expected to establish itself as the best performer across ladder, by a significant margin. Yes, Handbuff Paladin is quite strong on the climb, but Dragon Druid should be a better choice, because nothing consistently beats it.

It’s ironic that Whizbang, an expansion in which a huge number of cards were nerfed for balance and play experience reasons, will end with its most broken and unpleasant format yet. We think this is an appropriate end to the expansion, one that serves as a case study in how change for the sake of change does not create balance, nor does it promote strategic diversity. Change for the sake of change just… changes things. More often than not during Whizbang, change for the sake of change made the game worse. This is a weak format that was constantly battered with nerfs and watered down to the point every single boost in synergy somewhere could potentially exploit the power vacuum and dominate.

But the counter argument is perfectly valid too. Perhaps, we just needed one more nerf, bro.

Class Analysis & Decklists

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

The explosion of the mirror matchup to historical levels has skewed the performance of some cards in Dragon Druid. Dorian and Malfurion’s Gift are liabilities in most matchups, but they are projecting to be the 29th/30th best cards in the deck due to their relatively reasonable mirror performance. The build we’ve settled on last week has been performing extremely well so far, but with Druid numbers expected to spike further, the new featured build with Dorian is becoming a strong alternative.

Another developing trend is replacing Virus with Twin Zilliax. With their cost now equal and the popularity of Yogg-Saron remaining high, players are preferring the module with the lower upside but also the lower chance of backfiring.

Reno Druid is the best Reno deck in a field of weak Reno decks. Play Dragon Druid if you care about winning.

  • Druid Class Radar
  • Dragon Druid
    • Ramp Dragon Druid
  • Reno Druid
    • Aviana Reno Druid
  • Boomkin Druid
    • Dorian Boomkin Druid

There’s not much Excavate Rogue can do to improve the Dragon Druid matchup. We prefer Antique Flinger over Cult Neophyte due to its stronger Druid performance. Dragon Druid doesn’t care too much about spell disruption.

  • Rogue Class Radar
  • Excavate Rogue
    • Greedy Excavate Rogue

The best approach for Shopper DH is to bring back Power/Haywire Zilliax with the early game mech package to cheese some Druids on turn 3. The Naga variant has become unplayable because it’s too slow in this matchup.

  • Demon Hunter Class Radar
  • Shopper Demon Hunter
    • Mech Shopper Demon Hunter

Celestial Projectionist is still a useful card in the Druid matchup, so we’ve kept it in Pain Warlock. Insanity Warlock is having a really rough time in this matchup, so we can’t recommend the deck. We’ve been searching for an upgrade on Speaker Stomper and Sunspot Dragon in Even Warlock, but couldn’t find one. Those are very cuttable cards that do little against Druid.

  • Warlock Class Radar
  • Insanity Warlock
    • Fizzle Insanity Warlock
  • Pain Warlock
    • Mass Pain Warlock
  • Even Warlock
    • Forge Even Warlock

It’s very hard to refine Rainbow Death Knight. The deck is torn between maintaining strong matchups into some decks and running a build that stands a better chance against Druid. Quartzite Crusher is an example of a card that’s very strong against DH, but is very weak against Druid. The featured build is an attempt to strike a balance between the two.

Death Knight seems to be cutting Virus Zilliax for Ticking, as it doesn’t have the ramping capabilities to support Twin Zilliax.

  • Death Knight Class Radar
  • Rainbow Death Knight
    • Excavate Rainbow Death Knight
  • Plague Death Knight
    • Excavate Plague Death Knight
  • Handbuff Death Knight
    • OTK Handbuff Death Knight

A refined Odyn Warrior can do some work in this format. It has close matchups with Excavate Rogue and Dragon Druid, while soundly beating Pain Warlock and Shopper DH. Double Brawl, double Sanitize, double Gift is the key to run the Druid out of threats. We’ve initially thought this deck could become a meta breaker. The issue is that the Death Knight matchup is unplayable (~20%). Even a 7% DK play rate is enough to temper Warrior enthusiasm.

  • Warrior Class Radar
  • Reno Warrior
    • Kobe Reno Warrior
  • Odyn Warrior
    • Control Odyn Warrior

Handbuff Paladin is a great ladder climber but you’ll ultimately run into a wall of Dragon Druid and wish you were playing that deck instead. It is remarkable that the matchup is Druid favored. Aggro Paladinwill not pick up traction because its Rainbow DK matchup is terrible.

  • Paladin Class Radar
  • Handbuff Paladin
    • Charger Handbuff Paladin
  • Aggro Paladin
    • Showdown Aggro Paladin
  • Reno Paladin
    • Excavate Reno Paladin

Reno Priest looks atrocious. Between the Reno nerf and the Dragon Druid matchup, things are not fun for Priest. We have no idea what’s going on with Zarimi Priest. Deck is gone.

  • Priest Class Radar
  • Zarimi Priest
    • Aggro Zarimi Priest
  • Reno Priest
    • Defensive Reno Priest

Don’t make us talk about Mage, Shaman or Hunter. Sometimes, silence is our best option.

  • Mage Class Radar
  • Spell Mage
    • Burn Spell Mage
  • Shaman Class Radar
  • Nature Shaman
    • Jive Nature Shaman
  • Hunter Class Radar
  • Token Hunter
    • Rampage Token Hunter
  • Reno Hunter
    • Thunderbringer Reno Hunter
    • Secret Reno Hunter
  • Secret Hunter
    • Mantle Secret Hunter


vS Data Reaper Report #299 – Vicious Syndicate (19)
If you’re not playing Dragon Druid, you put yourself at a competitive disadvantage. It’s possible that high legend players will cook up some fringe Druid counters that might work when they’re facing the deck 60%+ of the time. We’ve seen some mentions of Mech Rogue and Overheal Priest. Don’t hold your breath on these decks translating to the rest of ladder.

Splish-Splash Whelp on 2.

  • Dragon Druid

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vS Data Reaper Report #299 – Vicious Syndicate (20)

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vS Data Reaper Report #299 – Vicious Syndicate (2024)
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