Thanks for stopping by and reading this weeks edition of “Meta Monday”! It is the last week of the month, so right now things are all over the place. For some, this is the highlight of the month, a playground of jank! For others, this is the home stretch to masters, and making an appropriate meta call with a specific deck can be challenging. On weeks where there is an ETS, you can somewhat predict what you will see based on the decks that performed well in that tournament. With the Invitational last week, there was no ETS over the weekend. Instead, we got a new weekly in the form of “Casual Fridays” put on by The Great Parliament, and the 2nd “Stranglecat Open” featuring mono faction cards only!
SecondBlue took down the “Casual Friday” event with their take on Xenan Mid, which seems like a great choice for a late season ladder deck, as well as a friendly tournament. Ripknife Assassin has really added a new element to Shadow, granting the faction a really powerful early game threat that plays great defense. I underestimated how fantastic this card would perform, but it is really showing through as a powerhouse from the most recent expansion. Another deck that really shined through was NotoriousGHP’s most recent iteration of “Screaming Rindra Brigade“. An earlier version of the deck blew the meta wide open when it came on the scene, so much that it can likely be credited for the Vara nerf. While the Haunting Scream-centric combo deck might not be as powerful as its former self, I believe the deck is capable of some really strong starts with Direwood Beastcaller, and can go the distance with the card draw and lifegain from Rindra/Gorgon Fanatic. My gut tells me this deck is a great choice for the end of the month and can easily push you over into masters.
The deck we chose for this weeks video, is a familiar face: Icaria Blue. Coming out of a pretty control heavy meta, this deck has a lot of favorable matchups, rumbles with midrange, beats up on other control decks and can make short work of aggressive strategies. With loads of early game removal in the form of Torch, Vanquish, Hailstorm, Auric Runehammer and a single Polymorph, this list boasts plenty of answers. This decks strengths lie in its overall versatility. It’s primary wincon, Icaria, is a must-answer powerhouse, that can usually close out the game on her own. If you are able to get her from your deck using Rise to the Challenge, that can often speed up the clock enough to force your opponent into unfavorable plays. In Cold Blood has made it more challenging to lean heavily on our favorite rebel leader, but like other Armory variants, the deck has some other haymakers to clean things up. Starsteel Daisho is strong by itself, couple it with Rise to the Challenge and Throne Warden to gain some extra armor, you can pack 12 damage to distribute as you see fit. Generally, you try and clean up the board with Harsh Rule before going in with weapons, but if that is not possible, you can beat up creatures with your swords, then go for your opponent. It can often be correct to wipe the board, and play a Runehammer to start beating in, so do not hesitate to do that, especially if your opponent has few or no cards in hand. Even if they kill it the following turn, the damage points can help inch you closer to victory via your big weapons. Sword of the Skyking sets this list apart from Traditional Armory. It’s a big beat stick that feels incredibly satisfying to clock your opponent with.
While Sword of the Skyking is a fantastic finisher for this list, it can be swapped out for something else if needed for budget constraints. A 2nd Daisho or even Molten Fist could fit in this slot. While not optimal, Fist synergizes fairly well with your gameplan, and can be equally as satisfying, especially when following up a Throne Warden or two. One of the perks of Icaria Blue as an archetype is its flexibility. So long as the core remains in tact (removal, selection, Rise to the Challenge, Icaria, some big weapons), there are about 6-8 “flex slots” that can be whatever fits your playstyle or the meta. Kaleb’s Choice, Eilyn’s Choice, Polymorph, Valkyrie Enforcer, – some of the options that can change in numbers or be swapped out completely as you like. Personally, I don’t like leaving home without 4x Throne Warden, but that could be very wrong in the world of In Cold Blood.
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
2 Kaleb’s Choice (Set2 #188)
4 Strategize (Set3 #165)
4 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
2 Eilyn’s Choice (Set2 #220)
3 Hailstorm (Set1003 #11)
1 Polymorph (Set1 #211)
1 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
3 Auric Runehammer (Set1 #166)
4 Rise to the Challenge (Set1 #320)
4 Harsh Rule (Set1 #172)
3 Throne Warden (Set1 #514)
1 Starsteel Daisho (Set1 #328)
4 Icaria, the Liberator (Set1 #329)
1 Sword of the Sky King (Set1 #186)
2 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
3 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
2 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Cobalt Waystone (Set3 #151)
4 Crest of Fury (Set3 #266)
1 Emerald Waystone (Set3 #101)
1 Rakano Banner (Set1 #427)
1 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
4 Seat of Glory (Set0 #56)
4 Seat of Order (Set0 #51)
If you are looking for some tournament “Best of Three” practice, Kaelari has set up a really great resource that is open 24/7: here.
Don’t forget to let us know what you think via our contact and recruitment page or in our Discord!
-Aphelion and ThatResolves
Here is a little bit of bonus content for you, if you’re trying to make a last minute dash for masters then this could be your solution: Mono Time Mid!
Playing huge dinosaurs and sentinels ahead of time and giving your opponents the business with your oversized threats paired with a reasonable amount of disruption with Xenan Initiationand Venom Rider. Interaction isn’t why you’d pick this over Praxis or Xenan – this is a response to expensive slow-speed removal as you’ll be able to outpace it all with your really high threat density, every unit being capable of ending the game in a few turns. You also are very capable of grinding opponents out with Worldbearer Behemoth and Mystic Ascendant alongside an always turned on Dawnwalker. Turns out TTTT is fairly trivial in this deck, who knew?!
Tired of getting hit by Hailstorm and Harsh Rule? Well look no further as every single threat is a closer here – even the Initiate of the sands can throw some hands when we’ve got our Xenan Obelisk going! Also, the list in the video features Praxis Displacer, which is something we tested, but is totally a meta call.
4 Initiate of the Sands (Set1 #74)
4 Power Stone (Set1002 #4)
4 Xenan Initiation (Set2 #44)
4 Ageless Mentor (Set1 #90)
4 Dawnwalker (Set1 #86)
4 Reliquary Raider (Set1 #110)
4 Sandstorm Titan (Set1 #99)
4 Venom Rider (Set1003 #5)
4 Xenan Obelisk (Set1 #103)
4 Worldbearer Behemoth (Set3 #87)
4 Mystic Ascendant (Set1 #116)
4 Predatory Carnosaur (Set1 #118)
20 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
3 Amber Monument (Set1 #420)
4 Amber Waystone (Set3 #51)
Maybe, it’s time for you to pick up a new deck?