Hello everyone and WELCOME to another edition of Beyond the Top Eight! I’m very excited to be returning after a long leave of absence while I was studying for my Certified Sommelier examination (I passed, and it was one of the hardest things I have done in a long time). However, I am back and ready to dive into some sweet decks. It’s also the perfect week to come back, since thirty-two of the best players in Eternal came to battle with their deck of choice in the ETS invitational.
Today, I’ll be highlighting my top five decks from the weekend, but first, I wanted to share some quick thoughts about the big tournament of the weekend as well as the Eternal meta game in general.
First of all, one statistic in particular stood out to me, and that’s the continued dominance of FJS decks. I will admit, there is a reasonable amount of variation with the Faction combo, but when fifty out of seventy-five of your cards are essentially locked in because they are too good to cut, it starts to feel a little stale. A lot of people have been airing their grievances with the “eight-merchant meta” as well, and I think it’s a reasonable stance to have. Though some players are starting to try out decks with fewer merchants, I can’t help but feel as though playing eight merchants plus Xo, The Endless Horde is the best thing you can be doing in the Eternal meta-game right now. That isn’t to say that it’s a bad thing to have a “best deck” in a format, in fact I feel like that’s perfectly healthy. What I think is problematic is when you feel like you are getting punished simply because you aren’t playing it, and that’s how Myself and a lot of players have been feeling lately. I don’t mean for this to turn into a rant though, so let’s dive into some sweet decks.
There were a ton of cool innovations this weekend, and even though not all of the following decks made day two of the invitational, keep in mind that the competition was extremely steep this weekend, and everyone who qualified brought their A-game to the tournament, Some were just more successful than others.
#5 – Elysian Nightmaul, piloted by Magikarp and Aetherllama from Team Rankstar
Two copies of this deck made day two of the tournament, one of which went on to top eight. Magikarp is a god when it comes to piloting aggressive decks, and has a very good head on his shoulders when it comes to deck construction. Aetherllama is no slouch either and it makes sense that both players did well with the deck. In addition to being able to quickly dump units onto the board and win the game with chip damage, The main win condition is casting a huge Maul after forcing your opponent to draw a ton of cards through nightfall triggers, while bouncing units back to their hand with various cheap spells. This isn’t necessarily a new concept, and I am waiting for the day that people start believing that this is a Tier one deck. Is it always good? Maybe not, but in the meta of FJS and Temporal, where greed and card advantage are prized, this deck really shines, and will probably remain a great choice for the immediate future.
#4 – Xenan Midrange by I_Am_Monstrum and NotoriousGHP of Team Rankstar
I promise I’m not playing favorites.
If you have been paying attention in the eternal community lately, you’ll probably have noticed a bit of contention surrounding this deck. Some people love it (I have seen a good amount on ladder over the last couple days) and some people have said it’s just a worse version of FJS. I think that the deck is great personally, and it made 9th place piloted by I_Am_Monstrum. The deck looks to use the all stars of the Xenan faction (Sandstorm Titan, Moonstone Vanguard, Azindel, etc.) and supplement them with some of the Sites from Defiance. I have always thought that Xenan Temple was great, though I never found a good home for it, I think it fits in nicely here. As the meta continues to be shaped week to week, presenting a threat that’s hard to deal with while synergizing with your other units is an invaluable thing to have. Dizo’s office also shines in this deck, coming down and killing a unit and probably gaining you life or giving you card selection before all is said and done. Overall, a very sweet deck with a solid core, though I think the numbers probably need some adjusting.
Another sweet Xenan based mid-range deck? Sacre Bleu.
This is one of the decks that I am most looking forward to taking on ladder this week because it looks super fun. Though basically just the greatest hits of FTS colors, this deck has some neat new cards like Amaran Stinger, Xenan Temple and Dizo’s Office. The deck utilizes Xo and Heart of the Vault for some card advantage along side a full set of Quarry. Some of the really smart additions here are Statuary Maiden and Vara’s Choice, though for different reasons. Statuary Maiden Is great in this meta of recursion and reanimating and is also a house against Haunted Highway. I still think maiden is underplayed in general, but the two-of here seems fine. Vara’s Choice is also a great card that I am surprised hasn’t seen more play lately. Silencing units is very good right now, and the fact that you can be proactive or reactive with it depending on the situation is very cool. This deck looks very powerful, and I fully suspect that we will see it more moving forward.
I wasn’t going to talk about FJS that much today, but this is a really cool synergistically driven build that deserves a little attention. You can see the core of the deck in eight merchants, Xo, and Display of Ambition, and friends, but this time, with a twist. Here we have four copies each of Anointer of the Faithful, Hojan Crownbreaker, Throne Warden, and Brel Solist Apostate, allowing for some really crazy starts, including a turn three Brel. I’m not sure if this is better than regular ol’ FJS, and in fact, it probably isn’t, but it certainly looks like a blast to play. On the downside of the deck, I will say that it doesn’t seem like there is a full commitment to the paladin game plan, with there being very few ways to trigger the renown ability on Hojan, though maybe having Anointer of the Faithful is enough.
My favorite deck of the week.
This deck is wild, and I’m not even sure if it’s good, but gosh do I want to take this right to ladder. The idea is pretty simple, but I imagine that it is quite difficult to play. The eight-merchant package is present with Xo, as well as the full four Regent’s Tomb. After that, there are a slew of one-offs that provide different levels of utility for different situations. Need relic removal? Ruincrawler Yeti. Impromptu removal? Magenta Wisp. Silence effect or sticky threats against control? Valkyrie Enforcer and Makto. This game-plan is enabled by Rise to the Challenge in the market, which allows you to draw whatever you need for the situation. I think it’s a little awkward that there is only one copy in the market, but I love the idea nonetheless. I love Grimfan decks for their creativity, and this one is no exception.
Overall, We had a sweet roster of decks at the invitational, and I’m looking forward to see how the meta shapes up in the following weeks. Are there any decks you wanted to see highlighted? Any additional thoughts on the brews that I talked about? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!
Thanks So much for reading! See you next time!