Meta Monday – In the Shadow of Alessi

Greetings, fellow Eternal players! It’s that time of the week again—Meta Monday here at Team Rankstar! We will be going over the top eight decks of this weekend’s ETS, some thoughts and predictions for ladder, and a link to a brilliant video from ThatResolves with an associated decklist.

So to preface this week’s article, there’s a great quote from my fellow Team Rankstar member NotoriousGHP, “I figured out how I should have won the last match. Play more Alessis’.” He said this after he lost in the semi-finals to camat0 who was playing Combrei Alessi. This is an attitude that is sadly correct right now. Yes, other decks can win the ETS and do well, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that Combrei Alessi is anything but far and away the best deck right now. So with that off my chest, let’s dive into the top eight.

As you can guess, the top deck for this week (which was met in the finals with a very similar list) was Combrei Alessi (manus 80). It was piloted by camat0, who is arguably the best player in the world right now. This deck is all too familiar right now, so I’ll point out what differentiates the two Alessi decks that met in the finals. In the winning deck there are zero Vanquishes, three more power (including the full playset of Temple Standards), two fewer finest hours, and two Find the Ways, which were not in the second place deck at all. This version is all about making sure it hits its power every turn and having as little interaction as necessary to beat the opponent. This in turn leads to the very linear gameplan of playing Alessi and company and protecting them and smashing face that much more powerful. Between the top two decks of the tournament the better option is this one due to its single mindedness. It looks to just play it’s gameplan and ignore the opponent as much as possible, and that right now is the winning formula.

In second place, we have another Alessi deck piloted by SooNo of SeekPowerGaming and aptly titled Brain has melted, hopes are gone, morals been corrupted, and the faith is stricken. It’s a super long deck name but it fits my feelings towards this deck right now. This version of Combrei Alessi has a bit more interaction than the winning list with two Vanquishes and two more Finest Hours. As with any Combrei Alessi deck it is super powerful and linear. This particular version has a bit more interaction albeit very little. I prefer the winning list more due to its wholehearted focus on its gameplan and having more power and more standards in its power base. One question I would ask is if you’re playing power in your market (like this deck is) would it be wise to just play more power in your main deck? Not playing enough power is done too often in deckbuilding and will create issues. Also if you draw too much power that’s where the merchants come in super handy turning your unneeded power into more gas. Regardless, this is still an Alessi deck so as the runner up finish demonstrates it’s still a great deck.

We have another great finish by the SeekPowerGaming team with BruisedByGod taking his deck titled Turn 5 Icaria #2 to the semifinals. The deck he chose to bring this week was a version of Rakano Valkyries with some sweet additions and a questionable choice or two. First off the good, Rolant’s Intervention. This card is a 1 cost Protect spell for all units in this deck besides Bulletshaper and Winchester Merchant. The ability to hold up a protection spell for just one power against matchups like Kennadins is invaluable. I love this addition a lot. The second addition from previous versions of this deck was Valkyrie Spireguard. It’s a four cost 6/6 flyer most of the time because of its synergies and can end games quickly. Another sweet addition was the proliferation of Deepforged Plate. This card has seen some small amount of play, but here it does wonders, turning opposing Permafrosts off as well as making any unit a potential game winning threat. Now the card choices that I find questionable. First is only running twenty-five power in a deck when you’re wanting to curve out from three all the way to seven.  Secondly, only having two Privilege of Rank in the main and one in the market. This deck is incredibly power hungry and the ability to combo Privilege of Rank with Bulletshaper is what can make this deck crazy powerful and fast. Not playing the full playset of Privilege in this type of deck seems like a massive missed opportunity. Regardless, a great player like BBG had a great result with this deck so definitely keep it in the forefront or else it will meet you in a dark alley putting turn three Amillis on the board while you weep.

Rounding out the semifinalists we have Team Rankstars very own NotoriousGHP piloting a deck surreptitiously named NotoriousGHP’s Skycrag Ag. Skycrag Aggro was an excellent choice for this weeks metagame and with some brilliant piloting he made it to top four only to be knocked out by the boogeywoman of this format, which lead to the excellent quote mentioned earlier. This deck has not had a ton of additions of late but the ability to merchant for powerful game ending cards like Obliterate and Flamestoker is fantastic. Also, Shugo Standard is pretty helpful to help grind out the last few points of health from your opponent. However, the best addition was the full playset of Longbarrels. The ability to give threats like Rakano Outlaw and Vadius, Clan Father overwhelm is a massive improvement. Being able to spellcraft a Piercing Shot from it is just added value and helps chip in as much damage as possible. This is a very solid deck that punishes bad draws or too much durdling. This is a great ladder deck if you’re needing to push through and just want to smash face.

At the top of 5th through 8th place we have BassoonBuffoon playing Skycrag Large Dragons Midrange or as what is more commonly referred to as Kennadins. This is now the third top eight in a row for this deck and it is clearly a contender. The deck is fairly similar to the winning deck from last week but there were some changes made that may have hurt the decks power level. The biggest change is only playing two Channel the Tempest vs the four in the winning deck last week by Erik9099 and adding a Molot and Nakova in the main. One questionable card choice in this deck was Jotun Hurler as a two of. Yes it can help with popping aegis units but its rather medium otherwise. Overall this deck is just super solid against most decks and it really only loses to not drawing Combustion Cells or End of Hostilities. Any deck that just plays big threats will lose to this deck due to its ability to just make doubles of whatever big unit the opponent plays and then turn their own units against them.

Next up we have a surprise top eight from robotdinosaur playing a deck named A-space and Salt Manufacturing Plant better known as Praxis Tokens. This deck has been absent from ETS top eights for the past couple of weeks but it made a comeback this week to a good result. Everyone is familiar with this deck but there are a few notable card choices. I really appreciate the inclusion of two Arcanum Monitor in the main and a third in the market. It is essentially another copy of Xenan Obelisk and also can be a huge overwhelm threat. I love the statement being made by playing three Obliterates in the main. Obliterate is really awesome for either dealing with a big blocker or just going to the face after beating the opponent down with Grenadins for multiple turns in a row. Praxis tokens is a deck you must always respect or else it will punish opponents for not being prepared. The general lack of Hailstorms in this tournament helped out a lot and proved this deck choice a good decision. As soon as people (like me) thought tokens was dead it comes back from the grave and will stomp their way to a top eight like it did this week. Respect the tokens or die to the tokens.

Another week and another hardcore control deck in the top eight. That deck would be Temporal Control run by DISCisLIFE. This deck was an astounding choice this week because it goes over the top of all the midrange decks while having Hailstorms, Harsh Rules and End of the Story to protect against more aggressive decks. However the weaknesses to this deck is super aggro decks or Teacher of Humility and Stand Together, and since Combrei Alessi plays both of those cards it is a really rough matchup. Scorpion Wasp is a highly underrated card right now and I am super happy to see a full playset in this deck. It is great against big dumb midrange and fantastic against Icaria as well as helping the dismal matchup with Combrei Alessi. Big control decks like this really thrive in an environment filled with midrange and this tournament was an excellent opportunity for this deck to shine. Sadly, it faced up against one of its worst matchups in the first round and lost to Skycrag Aggro in a close five games. Temporal Control is a tough deck to pilot, it rewards excellent play and punishes misplays far harsher than other decks. If the ladder meta you’re in is super midrangey this deck will do super well, however if there’s a lot of Alessi and Aggro decks run the other way.

Last but not least, we have MarvinTheImp bringing a deck titled Elysian Somerange. This is an Elysian Midrange deck looking to get quick starts with Initiate of the Sands into False Prince and start pumping out big threats turn after turn. Some of the things I love about this deck is having two Unseal and the singleton Crystallize in the main. One other thing I appreciate about this version of Elysian is that it plays Auralian Merchant so it has access to powerful cards like Sandstorm Scarf, Equivocate, and Passage of Eons in the market. This deck fits the fair but powerful  archetype that is Elysian Midrange. Now there are deck building decisions that seem a bit contradictory. The big thing that stands out to me is that you’re trying to ramp out units using Initiate of Sands but then this deck plays the full playset of Hailstorms. I would imagine it is for matchups like tokens or Kennadins, but it seems antithetical to the game plan by killing your ramp unit in the process. This deck would seem to be better with Powerstone instead? Also, the lack of Permafrost seems unusual. However, this deck did have a good finish so it just shows how great curving out into big bad threats like False Prince, Sandstorm Titan, Worldbearer Behemoth, etc. truly is. 

So from this top eight we can see that Combrei Alessi is the tier zero deck and everything else is below it. Still, there were a lot of midrange decks with one each of aggro, control. and combo decks in this top eight, so there is definitely space for some more aggro/control decks to maybe get there against all the midrange decks. Sadly, none of those archetypes have great Alessi matchups, so they are held back by that. Not one shadow card in all of the top eight decks again illustrates the complete incompetence of shadow vs all of the decks in the format right, now especially with Alessi, Teacher and Stand Together all in the same deck. If you’re looking to ladder up right now Alessi Combrei is the deck I would recommend going with. It’s just clearly the best deck right now. Praxis Tokens and Rakano Valkyrie are other really solid options as well. Maybe there is a shadow deck out there that can win, but as of right now it has not been found and I am guessing it won’t be unless the shadow deck just accepts they’re never going to beat Alessi.dec and focus on all the other decks in the format.

Until next time feel free to check out my twitter https://twitter.com/JaredDPoole where I will be tweeting out random Eternal stuff or other nonsense. On Twitter I will also be keeping everyone up to date on when I will be streaming next at https://www.twitch.tv/i_am_monstrum

To end this on a high note, check out ThatResolves playing NotoriousGHP’s Skycrag Aggro deck through some ladder.

4 Grenadin Drone (Set1 #5)
4 Longbarrel (Set4 #5)
4 Oni Ronin (Set1 #13)
4 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Pyroknight (Set1 #16)
4 Snowcrust Yeti (Set2 #105)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Champion of Fury (Set2 #187)
2 Ornate Katana (Set1 #23)
4 Rakano Outlaw (Set1 #20)
4 Ixtun Merchant (Set4 #21)
4 Shogun’s Scepter (Set1 #26)
4 Vadius, Clan Father (Set2 #191)
7 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
5 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)
4 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
2 Shugo Standard (Set4 #1)
3 Skycrag Banner (Set2 #186)
————–MARKET—————
1 Rally (Set1 #33)
1 Cloud of Ash (Set1 #39)
1 Obliterate (Set1 #48)
1 Flamestoker (Set2 #32)
1 Skycrag Banner (Set2 #186)

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