Welcome to another edition of the Standard Meta Report, this time covering the week between March 8th and 15th, 2020. As always, the Report is based on an analysis of statistics from HSReplay, along with personal game experience at high ranks.


The Overview

Rogue has thoroughly overtaken Hunter as the class of choice at higher ranks. Valeera shows no signs of flagging. The most influential archetype on the ladder, Galakrond Rogue accounts for around 30% of the Legend meta. No change in the general picture is expected until rotation.  

In a trend most notable at lower ranks, Galakrond Warrior continued to decline this week, falling to an aggregate representation of 7.5% between ranks five and Legend. The archetype finds more favor at higher ranks; Warrior now accounts for over 10% of the Legend meta. 

Hunter remains the most popular class at ranks four and five, but only barely. With the near-total disappearance of Face Hunter and Quest Hunter, only Dragon Hunter and Highlander Hunter are left as standard bearers for Rexxar, who has been edged out in total popularity by Valeera at higher ranks. Dragon Hunter saw growth at all ranks this week. 

Embiggen Druid saw a modest increase in popularity this week, but Quest Druid continues to struggle at lower ranks. Druid’s chances would look much better if Galakrond Warrior were played at a level befitting its power level. As it stands, Warrior is under-played, especially at lower ranks, robbing both Quest Druid and Embiggen Druid of an outstanding matchup. 

Highlander Mage is now the second most played archetype at Legend. Leveraging competitive matchups against everything outside of Hunter, Jaina’s experienced notable growth at lower ranks over the last week.

With Embiggen Druid gaining new ground near the rank five floor, Mech Paladin continues to present strong reasons for play at lower ranks, but the dominance of Galakrond decks at the top of the ladder has become a serious problem. The archetype is nearly absent at Legend. 

Beset on all sides by Rogue and Highlander Mage, Resurrect Priest has been driven from the Legend meta. Like Paladin, Priest is a strong option for play at lower ranks, where Rogue thins out and winning matchups against Druid and Hunter keep Anduin afloat. 

Shaman and Warlock blow hard. 


Druid

After nearly two months of steady declines, Embiggen Druid rebounded a bit this week, rising to an aggregate playrate of 8.36% between ranks five and Legend. Most of the archetype’s growth has come near the rank five floor, where the meta opens to a wider range of strategies, dampening the effects of poor matchups against Highlander Mage and Dragon Hunter. At lower ranks, Galakrond Rogue remains a steady source of victories for Embiggen Druid.

Despite aggregate gains, Embiggen continued to flag at Legend, falling to a representation of 5.71% in another week of contraction at the highest levels of play. 

Many of the archetype’s most notable strengths, including an exceptional matchup against Galakrond Rogue at lower ranks, are flattened at Legend due to superior opponent play (please, Shadowstep your Flik Skyshiv). The Galakrond Rogue matchup, for example, becomes roughly even at Legend, even as the relative prominence of Highlander Mage, which currently accounts for nearly 12% of the Legend meta, further depresses Embiggen Druid’s performance. The archetype’s deficiencies against Mage and Hunter have not, as of yet, been balanced out by favorable results against Galakrond Warrior. 

Quest Druid remains an important piece of the puzzle at Legend, where outstanding performance against Galakrond Rogue recommends play, but has failed to carve out a niche at lower ranks. Topping out near 6% at Legend, the archetype’s playrate falls to a measly 3.17% at rank five. 

Quest Druid’s matchup against Dragon Hunter, in particular, is absolutely terrible; over a sample of 5,100 games between five and Legend, Malfurion has managed to win in only 39.4% of cases. Since Dragon Hunter’s popularity increases as you rank up, peaking at rank 2 with a representation of 15.91%, climbing with Quest Druid may be more trouble than it’s worth, especially given the outsized presence at higher ranks of Highlander Mage, another pitiful matchup. As is true of Embiggen, Quest Druid’s outstanding play against Garrosh has not been enough to buoy player interest in the archetype. 

Token Druid fell to a playrate of 1.89% between ranks five and Legend this week. Outclassed by Galakrond decks, Dragon Hunter and Highlander Mage, the archetype has struggled to find its footing in what increasingly looks to be a solved meta. It sees almost no play at Legend. 


Hunter

Hunter remains the most popular class near the rank five floor, but has been outpaced at higher ranks by Rogue. Galakrond Rogue alone now controls nearly 30% of the Legend meta, dwarfing Rexxar’s contributions by over 10 percentage points. 

After a slight dip in popularity two weeks ago, Dragon Hunter gained ground across all ranks this week, rising to a popularity near 13% between ranks five and Legend. Despite recent volatility, the archetype saw modest growth at Legend, where Rexxar’s premier aggressive strategy now commands over 11% of the format.

Uneven results against Galakrond Rogue and the underplayed Galakrond Warrior aside, Dragon Hunter continues to present a positive matchup spread in the current meta. 

Embiggen Druid’s recent growth at lower ranks, along with the continued decline of Mech Paladin, is a boon for Rexxar. Much the same can be said for the implosion of Warlock, which once proved a substantial impediment to Hunter’s success. Even more important, however, is the outsized role of Highlander Mage at higher ranks. Dragon Hunter crushes Mage, as it crushes Druid, ensuring a steady stream of victories for the archetype.  

With the meteoric rise of Dragon Hunter, player interest in Highlander has certainly flagged in recent days. Dragon Highlander Hunter saw modest declines across all ranks, falling to an aggregate playrate of 3.53% between ranks five and Legend. Despite these slight losses, Dragon Highlander Hunter remains a strong choice in the current meta. It’s better than Dragon Hunter against both Galakrond Rogue and Galakrond Warrior, while maintaining the latter archetype’s edge over Druid and Mage. 

Face Hunter and Quest Hunter are both minuscule presences on the ladder. 


Mage

Jaina is doing fine, boasting competitive winrates against most meta decks outside of Hunter. And she’s certainly popular, far more popular than many of us expected her to be. 

Despite a modest decline in representation over the past few days, Highlander Mage is the second most played deck at Legend, accounting for over 11% of the format at the game’s highest ranks. We’ve observed notable growth for the archetype at lower ranks, especially ranks one and two, contributing to an aggregate playrate over 9% between ranks five and Legend. 

The power level of Mage is such that every matchup, except maybe for Hunter, feels winnable. Luna’s Pocket Galaxy is a hell of a card, especially when you’re cheating it out on turn 5 or 6 through Dragoncaster. This level of mana-cheating is frankly obscene. 

We’ve beaten this point to death over the past few months, but Jaina has no game against Rexxar. Absolutely none. Highlander Mage’s results against Hunter are deplorable. And Dragon Hunter is almost as bad a matchup as Face Hunter once was. That’s certainly rough at a time when over 23% of the meta is dominated by Rexxar, but outside of this one opponent, Mage enjoys a balanced matchup spread, including competitive winrates against Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior, Druid and Priest. 


Paladin

Mech Paladin continues to lose players, dropping to a playrate of 3.35% between five and Legend. Thanks to strong matchups against Druid and Hunter, Mech Paladin remains a competitive option for the climb from lower ranks, but Galakrond is becoming even more of an impediment to Uther’s success. 

Galakrond Rogue, in particular, presents a severe challenge; over a sample of 7,500 games between five and Legend, Mech Paladin has only managed to win 43.7% of matches against Rogue. Alongside Valeera’s admirable early-game removal, Sap is a sure-fire Magnetic-killer. Galakrond Rogue’s dominance at the top of the ladder has driven Mech Paladin almost entirely out of the Legend meta. 

Despite struggles against Rogue, we believe Mech Paladin’s matchup spread has improved a bit this week, in light of Galakrond Warrior’s continued decline. Over the past two weeks, Garrosh’s meteoric resurgence has been hell on Uther. Warrior outarmors Paladin’s reach and out-tempoes the archetype’s fast starts. Over a sample of 3,200 games between five and Legend, Warrior has trounced Mech Paladin, earning a winrate of 64%. The recent downturn in Warrior’s playrate should soothe Uther’s spirits, especially at lower ranks, where Paladin is more than happy beating up on Hunter and Druid. 


Priest

With Valeera everywhere, Anduin isn’t feeling safe. 

Despite considerable volatility at Legend, the class’ strongest archetype, Resurrect Priest, held steady this week at a representation slightly above 4% between ranks five and Legend. At lower ranks, where Rogue’s influence wanes, Anduin is strong against both Hunter and Druid, but these matchups alone aren’t sufficient to buoy Priest’s depressed winrate. 

At Legend, where Rogue is truly omnipresent, Resurrect Priest commands a paltry 2.35% of the format. Add to the Rogue problem a pitiful matchup against Highlander Mage and it looks increasingly unlikely that Priest will ever break back into the Legend meta. Nor is it much use for the climb; Priest’s matchup spread only worsens the further up on the ladder you reach. 

And things may be about to get worse. With the decline of Warrior over the past week, Priest is on the verge of losing an outstanding matchup. The modest return of Embiggen Druid is unlikely to balance things out, even though Anduin maintains a strong winrate against Malfurion. 


Rogue

Galakrond Rogue remains the most popular archetype at the highest ranks of play, topping out near a representation of 30% at Legend. The archetype’s popularity drops steadily as you approach the rank five floor, where Rogue captures over 16% of the format. Given the archetype’s power level, Galakrond Rogue is likely underplayed at lower ranks, though the deck’s relatively high skill cap is sure to scare away some players near the rank five floor. 

Dragon Hunter, Resurrect Priest and Highlander Mage have maintained their popularity across all ranks, ensuring that Valeera finds an ample supply of winning matchups. At the same time, Galakrond Warrior is on the backfoot this week, which is a good thing for Rogue players looking to climb as we near the middle of the month; this is a losing matchup for Valeera at lower ranks, though one that becomes far more competitive at Legend. 

The minor uptick in Embiggen Druid’s representation is likely insufficient to cause Rogue any problems, but it’s a trend to watch out for; given the omnipresence of Rogue, further growth in Druid’s playrate could be a possibility. 

Remember, Boompistol Bully remains an option if you’re facing a lot of mirrors and / or Galakrond Warrior. Just replace one Sap

For a brief moment, it seemed as though Highlander Galakrond Rogue was making a triumphant return to the format. At the beginning of the week, we observed a substantial increase in Highlander’s popularity, but the surge of interest seems to be over already. 

From a recent Legend peak of 5%, Highlander’s playrate has fallen once again to a low of 1.52%. This trend, a surge then recession, was mirrored at lower ranks. Highlander’s playrate today stands at 1.72% between ranks five and Legend. Dragon Hunter and Galakrond Rogue are likely too popular for this archetype to find sustained success in the current meta. 


Shaman

We’re running low on snark, but Shaman still sucks. Here’s hoping the reboot of Sludge Slurper can give the class a much-needed boost. 


Warlock

Warlock sucks, too, to be honest. 

Thanks to poor matchups against Galakrond Warrior (pitiful, actually), Galakrond Rogue (m’eh) and Highlander Mage (solidly bad), Control Galakrond Warlock’s winrate has tanked. This week, the archetype’s playrate fell to a new low of 1.79% between ranks five and Legend. Sure, the recent decline of Galakrond Warrior will help, but not by enough. 

Competitive matchups against Embiggen Druid, Dragon Hunter and Galakrond Rogue make Zoo Gul’dan’s best archetype at the moment, but that’s not saying much. In any event, no one’s playing the deck. That’s especially true at Legend, where Zoo’s representation is below 1%. 


Warrior

Galakrond Warrior has entered a second week of decline at lower ranks, falling to an aggregate playrate of 7.6% between ranks five and three. Players at higher ranks are more bullish on the archetype; after a week of significant declines at Legend, Galakrond Warrior’s losses tapered off this week, stabilizing at a healthy playrate over 10%. Warrior’s popularity steadily climbs as you rank up, reaching a peak of 12.73% at rank one, before falling back to 10.25% at Legend.

Outside of Druid, Galakrond Warrior’s matchup spread remains strong. Dragon Hunter is a snap. Paladin doesn’t stand a chance. Shaman and Warlock are bad jokes. Even Garrosh’s poor matchups are competitive. Galakrond Rogue is a tussle, but Warrior is thoroughly capable of edging out Rogue. Highlander Mage presents a challenge, but wins out in only 51% of cases. Embiggen Druid’s continued decline at Legend is yet another positive sign for Garrosh. 

While some of these matchups (Rogue and Mage, specifically) worsen at higher ranks of play, Warrior continues to be well-positioned to take advantage of the current meta.


Halfway through March, the Standard Meta is probably getting a little stale. Thank the Old Gods we have a new rotation to look forward to. March 17th can't come soon enough. What do you think will be revealed? Let us know in the comments!