Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of Beyond the Top Eight! My name is Tim, otherwise known as Tchamber5 on ladder!

This weekend, we had another ECQ come to pass, and a ton of cool decks were brought to battle in the top 64. Let’s break it down!

The story of the tournament was definitely the strong showing of Hooru, as well as the continuation of the Winchest and Jennev archetypes. Take a peek at these numbers(borrowed from Paradox on Twitter):

paradox graph

Perhaps at first glance, this meta is actually very healthy! Three distinct archetypes and faction combinations take the top three spots, as well as nine other archetypes showing up in various amounts, proving that there are many viable deck building options. There are a couple of things in particular that I’m excited about this week, so let’s discuss.

Feln Mid/Control – The best deck that you probably shouldn’t be playing.

Second Place Deck List

I’ll start by saying that I love Feln Control. Every turn will usually have a decision point that matters at some moment in the game. It takes an intense amount of skill to pilot, and rewards experience with the archetype. However, this is exactly he reason that I didn’t play it this weekend, and you should plan on putting in the hours if you intend to take it to your next tournament. I talked about Feln with my team mates on TRS several times, and we agreed it was very good. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a build I was happy with, and given my time restraints as a dad of a newborn, I decided to go with something that I had more recent practice with and that we had tuned much more finely. All that being said, Vara plus removal spells is very good right now, and will remain good if Hooru stays in power. The second place decklist looks surprisingly stock, though it rocks a duo of Honor of Claws, and a full four Suffocates, which seems like a lot, especially with the lack of dark returns in the deck list. I suppose that Vara in the market serves roughly the same purpose as Dark Return and if you are playing Dark Return in this deck, it will probably be on turn seven or eight anyway. Overall, a very cool deck that i suspect will at least hang out in the meta for a few solid weeks. If you have a chance, go back and watch the VOD on twitch and you will see some very tight play.

FTP/FJS – Same old, same o…..wait, they nerfed Xo???

1st place Jennev by Poptito

Winchest Mid by Dunkelwerk

I won’t go super deep here because These decks honest;y changed very little, I do want to point out the uptick in Scorpion Wasps in Jennev though as I think that’s a very smart meta call against Hooru without giving up any game against the field. FJS remains the same more or less, though the proper build will always be changing from week to week. As an aside, If Korovyat Palace hadn’t been released, and Xo still got his nerf, I think that We would see numbers very similar to the last couple of ECQs, with Half the field made up of Jennev and Winchest Decks. The nerf was simply not enough in my opinion, though it looks like the strategies are currently appearing in more reasonable amounts.

Auralian Rat Cage – More than a meme

Batteriez Rats – Top 64

As far as I know, Batteriez is the creator of this deck. This is one of those decks that you see and laugh at first, thinking to yourself, how could this possibly work? Then you pay a game and realize that it actually functions. You play a few more and realize that the deck has some deep complexity to it. I almost played this deck myself, and then chickened out at the last minute, defaulting to FJS. People were cheating on relic hate this weekend, cutting bore and shaving on disjunction, and this deck will thrive in that scenario. It can also win out of nowhere with Bazaar Stampede or Clock of the Stolen Hours, giving the deck a way to quickly turn the corner. The other powerful thing about this deck is the resiliency. Hailstorm is often not enough against multiple Rat Cages since its easy to rebuild a board with your all relic deck. Severin also works like a charm in this deck, and I feel like I am winning when I can curve Rat Cage into relic into Severin. If you haven’t played this deck yet, I highly recommend giving it a whirl.

Praxis Mid – Still Solid

TemporaryWitness’ Praxis Mid

This deck seems to pack all the best Praxis units into one deck, with a small pledge payoff in Gunrunner. There are enough units here to usually have a pledge on turn one, so I’m curious about the reason for not running Glasshopper in the deck. Glasshopper would allow you to cheat out all of your pledge threats a turn early as well as negate the primary drawback of pledging a unit on turn one.  That being said, I do appreciate that the deck is almost all four-offs, lending to consistency. I wonder how good Darya is in this deck, as I haven’t played many games with her, but in theory she could create some very busted turns.

FJS – Yushkov Bringing the Spice

FJS by JockeD

I know I said I didn’t want to talk about FJS that much, but this is a fresh spin on the archetype. While the deck packs all of the core cards of the faction combo into the deck, you’ll also find Yushkov, Highwayman, and Caiphus. Yushkov has always been powerful, though I have never been impressed with any of the decks that he has popped up in. This seems like a good shell for him, and I love that you can go Yushkov into Caiphus. Dark Return really shines here, and you will usually seal up the game after playing a recurred Caiphus. The only thing I don’t really like is the Market Brel. It checks out as a late game threat, but I think there are better options like Martyr’s Chains or even Icaria the Liberator.

Skycrag Aggro – I thought you said this deck was bad

Skycrag Aggro by SirTroyMoon

Another pet deck of mine, Skycraggro, made the top 16 of this event, despite everyone, including myself, saying that aggro is dead. It’s worth noting that this is the same pilot that took the exact eighty cards to a top eight finish in the last ECQ as well. Is that a fluke? Probably not. Don’t sleep on this archetype, and don’t underestimate the level of skill required to play it effectively.

We also had the ECL Sunday Challenge this weekend, which was populated with some very good players this time around, including Mrmeseeks, Kroge, NotoriousGHP, Magikarp, Myself Tchamber5 and CaptainTeembro. Take a look at a couple of sweet decks from the top 4:

Feln Scream – Yas.

Feln Scream by CaptainTeembro

I love this archetype so much that I always try to make it work at the beginning of every new set release. It usually doesn’t go well, but perhaps there is hope. Every unit in the deck is Haunting Scream-able, and also a t least somewhat efficient on it’s own, making opponent’s removal much worse. Miris Nightshade is an interesting Idea for a two-drop in this deck, though I’m not sure how much better than Territorial Elf it is. I do appreciate the inclusion of acquisitive crow which has the potential to provide you with some great card advantage. The market is where things are really spiced up though, with a copy of bloodlust and Dizo’s Office. Office seems like a nigh uncastable cardin this deck, though perhaps it counts as a little flood insurance. Bloodlust is just hot fire, and you cant convince me other wise.

Combrei SMORC – The Truest of Karp decks

Magikarp’s SMORC

This deck is as aggressive as they come, utilizing the power of Siraf’s Beacon to it’s fullest, usually being able to trigger it’s ability the turn it comes down. This deck is especially good in a meta where people have stopped playing hailstorm and it can run over a lot of decks if they have even a somewhat slow draw. The deck doesn’t play well from behind though, and would be in a very awkward place if the meta was much faster. For no though, we can enjoy SMORCing.

Overall, It as a pretty sweet weekend, and we have several top decks emerging. As per usual though, I feel like there is still a ton of room to beat these decks and brew!

That’s all for me today folks! Thank you so much for tuning in and reading my article! As always, feel free to leave any questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions below in the comment section! Thank you!

-Tchamber5

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