This is Isochron presenting Meta Monday.
The following people made this article possible:
This article will serve to set a precedent for future meta Mondays, but I am willing to accept input on any of the following. Last week we combined all Ixtun variants into Ixtun sites and both midrange TJP decks into TJP pledge/midrange. Although we aimed to split these archetypes up this week, and although the submitters did a really good job with providing detailed descriptions, I don’t think this is convenient or precise enough. Unless someone is aware of all deck lists in the metagame, they cannot be expected to distinguish every variant of every archetype in a single faction combination. So, going forward we are going to be combining decks that have a very similar play style, like we did with Combrei ramp back in the day. Combrei ramp was always mainly Combrei chains, but I still lumped in big combrei decks due to the overlapping cards and play styles. I have made similar calls with aggressive Skycrag decks, as they have both yeti and non-yeti variants, but I still represent aggressive Skycrag as one archetype.
Right now we have reached a point where there are two TJP decks with very few overlapping cards, but very similar play styles. Making a TJP Midrange composite should lessen the burden on me when it comes to interpreting data and submitters when it comes to compiling data. Furthermore, even without this policy, archetypes will bleed into each other. Making this decision just ensures that the audience is aware of this bleed. The same goes for Hooru fliers/midrange, and Ixtun midrange/control/pledge. The meta breakdown will be more inaccurate when it comes to seeing which precise deck lists are seeing play right now, but it will create a better visual representation for the archetypes that are seeing play and will minimize inaccuracies caused by human error. Keep in mind that decks that play differently from the baseline strategy (such as pledge rod or Hooru control) should be denoted as a unique deck.
In practice, this will not change the format of Meta Monday, but will just codify everything that was already happening into a more readable form. However, when strategies diverge massively (For example, if the next build of Ixtun control stops having anything in common with the other Ixtun decks by further doubling down on the armory aspects as has been the trend.) we will still re-introduce distinct categories. However, as long as archetypes play similarly, they will be counted as one archetype.
Also, I have been looking for a way to publish our data set in a way that outside observers are able to data analysis on. So going forward, Meta Monday will have a link to an organized version of our raw data. There are many possible drawbacks to releasing the complete raw data that we collect, so I will only be releasing the cleaned up version.
As always, if you want your name in the article, make sure to submit your games to our form (which you can find by clicking here). If you have a large data set (over 50 games), you can DM it to /u/IsochronEternal on Reddit or to [TRS] Isochron#0801 on discord. If you want to look at the data we collect in a spreadsheet form, you can do so here.
(Tier 0 – Overwhelmingly popular, this is the deck you’re most likely going to face on ladder.)
Tier 1 – Very popular, a sizable minority of your ladder games will be against tier 1 lists.
(Tier 1.5 – Meta defining lists that are not quite dominant enough to be tier 1.)
Tier 2 – Popular decks that you should keep in mind.
Tier 3 – Obscure decks that you’re unlikely to run across.
Tier 4 – Very rare decks, only one person could be playing them.
Feln Control 1.7%
TJP Alessi 1.7%
FJS Paladins 1.7%
Haunted Highway 1.7%
Diogo Invoke 1.1%
Stonescar Aggro 1.1%
FJS Camrin 1.1%
JPS Control 1%
Mono Shadow 1%
There are quite a few decks in the breakdown this week, so lets keep it short and sweet. First off, Hooru Midrange and Ixtun Sites are exactly what we expect to be in tier 1, but Hooru Control came out of nowhere and took over the ladder metagame. This is a very powerful deck, and one that most people should try out.
Tier 2 is not that different either, but FJS and Jennev Peaks are recovering from the blow they took last week. Rakano Aggro and Xenan Midrange are the usual suspects, and I’m not expecting them to leave the top tiers any time soon. Xenan Midrange has proven itself to be more than capable of putting up great results on ladder, and it will continue to be popular until the meta changes drastically.
Auralian Relics shot straight up from the bottom of tier 4 into the very top of tier 3. This is a powerful deck, with a lot of passion behind it. I have no doubt that it will get improved and innovated upon even further. TJP Midrange fell moderately out of contention for the top spot in the metagame, but it’s still a powerful option to try out. Skycrag Aggro, Feln Reanimator, and Combrei Ramp are just the regular slightly off-meta choices for the people who don’t want to get too crazy, but don’t want to play what everyone else is playing. Praxis Midrange continues to be a solid tier 3 option, while Auralian Pledge has been overtaken by the relic variant. Jennev Midrange is another new deck that utilizes pledge to its advantage, although I’m unsure whether it’s on par with the conventional Jennev Peaks build.
In tier 4, we have some expected decks, but also a few surprises. Feln Control and TJP Alessi keep being viable in the fringes of the dat aset, while Haunted Highway, Maul, FJS Paladins, and Stonescar Aggro are just reliving their glory days in the lower ranks. The interesting deck lists are the FJS Camrin, JPS Control, Diogo Invoke, and Mono Shadow ones. All of these are interesting archetypes, and they will hopefully put up more of a fight in the future.
Eternal Championship Qualifier
Deck Spotlight – Feln Control
My favorite deck of this whole event is the fairly basic Feln Control list by Johnkkez, we don’t need to go too in-depth with this as Feln Control is a well established archetype, but it has changed a lot since the last time it was viable.
The main reason why this deck is good again is the addition of Desecrate and Honor of Claws into the game. These are phenomenal for Feln Control, and help flesh out areas where it was previously lacking. The deck still runs the classic card draw spells in Wisdom of the Elders and Strategize, and the solid removal package of Suffocate, Annihilate and In Cold Blood. These all make for a powerful core for the deck, even though the new cards improve it tremendously.
This build runs both Vara, Vengeance-Seeker and Champion of Cunning as win-conditions, alongside Black-Sky Harbinger. These have been the premiere Feln units for a long while, so it’s completely understandable why they still would be used as ways to win. But if this top end isn’t enough, Dizo’s Office provides additional late game.
Instead of running any Seek Powers, this deck simply runs four copies of Vara’s Favor, which I think is the right way to play Vara’s Favor. I’m not a big fan of this card, but without any Seek Power, it becomes something to do on turn 2 with barely any chance of flooding yourself out. The last card that fleshes out the deck is the Kerendon Merchant, with a very solid market. Dark Return, and Vara, Fate-Touched are good ways to convert excess removal into pressure, while Steward of the Past and Burglarize are ways to deal with specific threats. Mug is another great answer to decks that aim to rely on any specific cards, while not being consistently good enough in the main deck.
Overall, this is just a perfectly updated version of the classic Feln Control archetype, the only real issue I have with the deck is running Suffocate over Permafrost, but with Palace being the defining card of the metagame, it’s hard to justify running Permafrost. Furthermore, the top decks run enough merchants that Suffocate always have targets, and when combined with Strategize and merchanting, the card will never be completely useless. Big congratulations to Johnkkez for managing to put up a second place result and getting invited to the Eternal Championship.
This has been Isochron with Meta Monday.
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