The third week of the ETS season 3 was on Saturday, the top 8 deck lists can be found here. There was a lot of diversity in the top 8 and a wide variety of decks seem to be viable. Over 20 different types of decks appeared in the tournament, TJP was the most popular with 11 copies of TJP Alessi and 5 copies of TJP Fliers.
Tobboo won with his Big Rakano Valkyries deck featuring Amilli, Rizahn, and Icaria. Rakano Valkyries was fairly popular in the first week of set 4 but had dropped off since then. There were no other Rakano decks in the tournament, others are playing Icaria in either FJS or FJP. Tobboo decided to cut some of the Valkyrie synergy cards like Rolant’s Intervention, Sower of Dissent, and Valkyrie Spireguard for Whirling Duo and Harsh Rule, which are more powerful stand-alone cards. Icaria, Valkyrie Captain can buff all the Valkyrie in hand and is the only remaining Valkyrie synergy card. It can be a bit awkward playing Harsh Rule in a deck with so many units, but the deck can fall behind in the early game and has enough powerful threats to regain control in the late game if it can last until then. Overall, its a well-balanced deck with a solid chance in every matchup.
The only deck with 2 copies in the top 8 was Praxis Tokens, a very good performance as only 3 Tokens decks entered the tournament. Tokens was one of the best ladder decks before set 4, but it used to do worse in tournaments because of sideboarding. With markets replacing sideboards in the ETS, Tokens improves quite a bit in tournaments, so it was a great choice this week as players were skimping on sweepers and relic removal. There was a midrange variant with Auralian Merchant piloted by Robotdinosaur (2nd place) and an aggro variant with Ixtun Merchant piloted by IAmMonstrum (5th place). Its difficult to say which list is better. I prefer Auralian Merchant since it survives Hailstorm and can get Xenan Obelisk from the market, but I like the aggro variant’s Praxis Displacer and Obliterate over the midrange variant’s Arcanum Monitor and Humbug Swarm. Either one of these decks or even some hybrid version should do well on ladder, especially while the meta contains relatively few Hailstorms and relic removal. IAmMonstrum and Robotdinosaur both lost to one of Tokens’ lesser known counters: Rakano. I sympathize with them as I’ve also had my ETS top 8 run with Tokens ended by a rogue Tinker Drone Dropper deck.
Drolicheck got 3rd place with Icaria Blue. This deck has plenty of removal, which should make the TJP Alessi matchup favorable. It even has 8 relic weapons to deal with aegis units. Big Time decks could be pretty difficult to beat since a lot of the removal deals 3 or 4 damage and the only answer to Dawnwalker is Bring Down. Icaria Blue sometimes plays Throne Warden or Rizahn, but Drolicheck decided to only include Icaria and Winchest Merchant as his units. FJS Icaria decks were more popular in this tournament, but Drolicheck outperformed them all this week.
The other 3rd place went to DrPringles with his Feln Berserk deck. Its a bit strange to see Haunting Scream without Gorgon Fanatic, but this aggro deck prefers to have the high damage burst over extra card draw. Who needs cards when they’re dead anyway? The combination of Rapid Shot and berserk can lead to some very high damage out of nowhere. Nightfall will usually benefit this deck more than the opponent because its cards cost less and the extra card draw can help assemble a combo burst turn.
Lv13david brought Xenan Killers. This version is slightly different than the other Xenan decks I’ve seen. Most notably, Lv13david included Trail Maker and omitted Dawnwalker. Temple Standard is another interesting inclusion, I thought this was the weakest of the standards, but it can be used to save your units from removal and even reset killer. Blistersting Wasp and Scorpion Wasp seem well positioned to deal with TJP Alessi. Alhed has a lot of sweet synergies in this deck. Dark Return allows you to trigger his inspire right away. He buffs Auric Interrogator to get the card draw engine rolling. You can even ultimate Alhed to reset the killer on one of your other units. Overall, this is an interesting take on Xenan and seems to be decent in the current meta.
TheRocke was the only one of the 16 TJP players to make the top 8. His version of TJP Alessi includes 3 Valkyrie Enforcers, which is the standout difference from Mouche’s deck that won the week prior. TJP is really strong, it has so many great cards that you can’t fit them all in one deck, but it doesn’t perform that well when it has a target on its back. TheRocke managed to top 8 in a hostile metagame, but on average TJP performed much worse than expected.
Darkhannds made top 8 with his FTP Moment. Draft all-star Wurmcalling makes its ETS debut here. I didn’t think this card was constructed playable, but maybe its an upgrade over Trailblaze, which was part of the set 3 Moment deck. The only other difference since set 4 is the addition of Auralian Merchant. There is even a Wurmcalling in the market, quite an endorsement from Darkhands. I will have to try it out in Alessi Moment as a potential improvement.
I played Sentinel Reanimator to a 3-3 finish this week. Its a lot of fun and has been doing pretty well on ladder. Being able to play Stirring Sand, Grasping at Shadows, and Auralian Merchant adds a lot of consistency to the deck.
The meta is wide open. Play something you enjoy, there are plenty of options!
4 Levitate (Set1 #190)
3 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
3 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Strategize (Set3 #165)
4 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
3 Hailstorm (Set1003 #11)
3 Jennev Merchant (Set4 #169)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Auric Runehammer (Set1 #166)
4 Harsh Rule (Set1 #172)
4 Rizahn, Greatbow Master (Set4 #246)
4 Icaria, the Liberator (Set1 #329)
1 Sword of the Sky King (Set1 #186)
2 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
4 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
2 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
2 Crest of Fury (Set3 #266)
4 Crest of Glory (Set4 #243)
4 Crest of Order (Set4 #253)
3 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
3 Seat of Glory (Set0 #56)
3 Seat of Order (Set0 #51)
1 Starsteel Daisho (Set1 #328)
1 Vision of Austerity (Set1002 #17)
1 Hailstorm (Set1003 #11)
1 Thunderstrike Dragon (Set1 #243)
1 Eilyn, Clan Mother (Set3 #263)
1 Hooru Banner (Set2 #216)
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