How Good is Skulking Geist? (275K Plays Analyzed)

Skulking Geist

One of the most interesting parts of the Knights Of The Frozen Throne card set is the number of new tech cards like Nerubian Unraveler, Doomed Apprentice, and Mindbreaker that have been included in the set. Today we are going to take a look at the tech card I am most excited about, Skulking Geist. The analysis is based on 276,752 instances of the card being played in ranked standard between August 10th, 2017 and August 14th, 2017.

Impact By Opponent Class

The table below shows the base win rate verse each of the nine opponent classes, how that win rate is affected when Skulking Geist is included in the player's deck, and how that win rate is affected when the card is actually played in the game. The final column shows on average how many cards Skulking Geist destroys when it's played.

Opponent Class Base Winrate Winrate When In Deck (Delta vs Base) Winrate When Played (Delta vs Base) Average Number Of Cards Destroyed
Druid 45.92 49.22 (+3.30) 56.44 (+10.52) 3.34
Hunter 51.37 46.40 (-4.97) 55.40 (+4.03) 1.47
Mage 53.29 50.64 (-2.65) 50.76 (-2.52) 0.87
Paladin 47.16 47.79 (+0.63) 52.93 (+5.77) 1.09
Priest 49.70 47.08 (-2.62) 45.04 (-4.65) 2.46
Rogue 54.08 52.03 (-2.05) 56.63 (+2.55) 2.34
Shaman 48.61 49.51 (+0.90) 59.96 (+11.35) 2.21
Warlock 52.33 55.80 (+3.47) 56.99 (+4.66) 1.71
Warrior 51.70 52.75 (+1.05) 61.79 (+10.09) 1.66

The card's strength against Druid and Shaman is unsurprising since the card acts as a hard counter to both Evolve and Jade Idol. What is more surprising is how effective it is against Warrior, and how ineffective it is against Priest, where Inner Fire had become a common include in the Un'goro Meta. To understand what's happening, let's take a deeper look at what's actually getting destroyed.

Top 3 Cards Destroyed By Opponent Class

The table below shows the Top 3 cards that are getting destroyed most frequently for each class by Skulking Geist.

Opponent ClassCard DestroyedTimes Destroyed
DruidJade Idol82,620
DruidEarthen Scales44,601
DruidMark of the Lotus19,271
HunterPlay Dead2,820
HunterHunter's Mark2,482
MageBreath of Sindragosa2,940
MageMirror Image1,853
MageArcane Missiles1,118
PaladinGetaway Kodo4,486
PaladinSmuggler's Run3,033
PriestPotion of Madness103,266
PriestPower Word: Shield17,427
PriestPint-Size Potion2,565
RogueCold Blood2,753
ShamanLightning Bolt1,899
ShamanEarth Shock523
WarlockMortal Coil63,204
WarriorShield Slam14,625
WarriorBlood To Ichor7,714

We can see that Priest is explained by Inner Fire actually dropping out of the meta to a significant degree. The most commonly destroyed card is the anti-aggro Potion of Madness. I suspect Skulking Geist is often run in more control oriented decks, in which case you might be doing your opponent a favor by thinning this dead draw out of their deck. Warrior can likewise be explained once we see that Skulking Geist is removing both a key targeted removal spell in Shield Slam and a key activator in Whirlwind. The loss of either of these cards is likely to be debilitating for a Warrior deck that is running them.


Overall, Skulking Geist seems like a flexible tech card that can be used to effectively target Druids, Shamans, and Warriors. Next time you find yourself struggling against any of these classes on ladder, I hope you'll consider teching in Skulking Geist and then smile gleefully every time it stops your Jade Druid opponent dead in their tracks.


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Very nice analysis. BTW is it possible to colaborate with you guys to make this kind of analysis? Im a financial and data analyst that plays some hearthstone on its free time. I love this site so maybe we can make something work out. I'll add you to your battle tag and see if we can talk about it ;)
i was looking for some of that kind of analysis since last month, hopefully i found it. really enjoyed. waiting for more content os KOFT XD
I think you may be reading too much into some of these numbers. It's very possible that e.g. Shaman suffers from survivorship bias. Shaman decks are typically pretty aggressive, so it might be that the when-played winrate is high not (just) because Skulking Geist is particularly good in the matchup, but because any game vs. Shaman where you feel comfortable playing a 6-mana 4/6 is probably going your way already. I think adding some more stats, principally winrate when drawn (before and after turn 6) and average turn played would help determine whether the card itself is pulling its weight or its true effect is being obscured by other factors.
Note also that priest running it on turn 6 or more destroy generally their own potion of madness and power word shield... That explain maybe this huge number for priest.
Shouldn't crystalline oracle be included for priest?
Warlock does pretty poorly against the geist too.