Born out of a disgust for the current meta and the lack of creativity plaguing the ladder was this experiment – the idea that you could take a series of different and unique decks to ladder and still perform well enough to satisfy your hunger for victory and maintain some dignity. I was starting to feel bored with the game and disillusioned with the ladder grinding experience so I came up with this concept to spice up my personal gameplay and the viewing experience for my Twitch regulars.
My name is Matt but you may know me as RiverYowie. For those who don’t, I am a full time Legends streamer and have been grinding the ladder for 40+ hours a week, live on stream, since November 2017. This month I decided I would play as many different decks as I possibly could whilst also giving each just enough time to get a reasonable feel for it. I recorded all results; what I played against and whether I won or lost. The decks, at least up until this point, were all nominated by my sometimes punishing subscribers. Some gave decklists and others just gave ideas. This is how my first week went.
Mid Assassin – 19 wins, 13 losses (59.38%)
This is a deck I am quite familiar with. When heyDogDude said he wanted a Mid Assassin I immediately had a good idea as to what it would look like.
This was based on a deck I used in March which utilised combinations with Swift Strike, Heirloom Greatsword, Breton Conjurer, Assassins Ritual and Lesser Ward. The deck is blue heavy to accommodate Baron of Tear and some control elements to make it to the later turns where the combinations would become accessible. The original iteration of this deck was reasonably successful on both ladder and in tournaments. It caught opponents by surprise as they weren’t used to calculating the kinds of lethals this deck was going to present. It’s a tough deck to ‘play around’.
The deck is great against control and can hold its own against aggressive decks. It fell short against curve based mid range decks as it couldn’t keep up a sustained value based game on a consistent curve. It went well against Scout (2 from 2) and reasonable against Hlaalu (4 from 7).Mid Dagoth, Warrior and Battlemage were all issues.
With refinement and practice with the deck I would expect it to get to 70% win rate but the inconsistent nature of the combinations would prevent it from going higher.
Classic Ramp Scout – 12 wins, 11 losses (52.17%)
This idea was given to me by my good friend and long time contributor Illuminanii. The rule was to have no Odirniran Necromancers and no Ulfrics Uprising. This was Ramp Scout (almost) back to December before it was nerfed.
It still had the, arguably, most painful elements of Scout. Paarthurnax loops, fat Giant Bats and balanced Drain Vitalities. Merchant’s Camel was added to simulate the modern ease in finding those key shouts. Galyn being the only post-nerf addition to the deck. This was all about Ramp. I felt it under performed slightly. I expected something closer to 60-65%. This is a deck I wasn’t new to so there shouldn’t have been any learning on-the-fly. It struggled against the things it should’ve. There weren’t any surprises in terms of match ups. It beat most control that wasn’t modern Scout and lost to decks that were fast and/or had reasonably large health creatures to somewhat resist the Drain Vitalities.
The deck felt viable but there is zero reason to play it without the Necromancer and Uprising added in. They are unequivocal improvements to the deck.
Aggro Sacrament Archer – 36 wins, 32 losses (52.94%)
This was a deck provided by the mad scientist that is Bujinnovation. I may end up saying this a lot in this series but that’s because I’m hard on myself. This deck under performed. I did this deck no justice. Unlike the Scout, I felt more time with it would’ve improved the win rate.
The deck is not bad, or at the very least, the aggressive archer is not a bad idea. It does well in the meta. It gets under Hlaalu before its value engine goes into overdrive and it has the punch to deal with Scout. I’m not completely sold on the Blood Sacraments but when they worked, they really worked. The reach when combined with House Kinsman is huge. If it’s established you hit for 3, cast for 2, sack Kinsman for 3 and cast for another 2. That’s 10 damage for 3 magicka. Under the right circumstances. It’s also a solid tech against other aggressive decks and can be the difference in a race given you get the heal as well.
Again, I did this deck no justice and I expect the win rate in more experienced hands would be better. It was also a lot of fun to play with so if you’re an aggressive player I recommend trying this if for no other reason than to try something with a twist.
Ragedoran – 16 wins, 16 losses (50%)
I’m not going to claim I did this deck no justice. It’s a flawed archetype. But ImmortalKing1982, friend, fellow streamer and moderator of my channel, insisted on punishing me by trying to make this work. It wasn’t awful but I didn’t see a huge amount of potential in it. It couldn’t possibly do anything better than Rage Archer or Dagoth.
The control in this deck wasn’t consistent enough to keep up with a lot of the aggressive decks going around at the moment and beating control felt like it came down to too much luck. There was some reliance on my opponent not guessing that there was a Rage coming or their lack of ability to play around it, even if it was obvious. Occasionally wins came from a solid mid range curve and beating the opponent with large stats and value.
Ragedoran does nothing better than another class would do itself. Perhaps there is a shred of hope for the viability of this deck and there may have been a lack of creative on my part but I would struggle to see this deck performing well in the current meta. The combinations I wasn’t overly familiar with so given more time the win rate would certainly increase but I am confident it would be capped at a level unacceptable for a ladder climbing control deck. More suited to tournaments… maybe.
Dwemonk – 21 wins, 14 losses (60%)
The strongest performing deck for the week much to everybody’s surprise came in the form of a Dwemer Monk deck. The idea was given to me by the great nerazzurri. He is one player I respect a huge amount in the game and fear greatly when in opposition so to receive an idea from him was going to be an honour. Until he said the word ‘Dwemer’.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Dwemer. They feel like they over perform every time. They are underrated. The shame you feel when you lose to them is unwarranted. It’s a genuine monster. If you curve out Halls of the Dwemer and your opponent doesn’t answer it; you have probably just won the game.
It high rolls in a sort of – kind of way that Hlaalu does in the sense that the value from its key support card will carry the game and make the difference. The problem for Dwemer and the biggest difference is it comes at turn 6. Up until that point you are throwing garbage at your opponent and hoping they don’t have what are reasonably simple answers. If you want to win with Dwemer you’re probably going to have to play quite smart in the early turns. This is made more difficult by the fact as soon as you drop a Dwemer on the field your gameplan is obvious. For some reason though, people still don’t give it respect and play against it like they should. Playing against it correctly means treating it like Tokens. That is – remove everything. Don’t let one of those little robot bastards live because it will bite you in the arse with their steel teeth.
The bulk of the wins here came in an 8 game winning streak against a series of slower decks. Telvanni control, mid Redoran, Redoran Doomcrag etc etc. I doubt any of them played against the Dwemer correctly despite seeing the Halls coming. It even won 4 games out of 6 against that same old Hlaalu deck we’re all used to seeing.
If you haven’t played Dwemer: do it. It’s a lot of fun and you will win more often than you think. Despite being somewhat surprised by the result I still feel the win rate is about right for the deck. It’s genuinely solid and just suffers from some minor consistency issues.
The results were somewhat surprising in that if I had predicted the win rates for each deck before I played them I would’ve got them all wrong. I achieved the goal of being positive (equal to or greater than 50%) with all decks however I barely scraped by with 3 of those so that was disappointing. On some level I feel like I’ve taken positive steps towards my hypothesis that you can be creative on the ladder and still manage a reasonable win rate.