This is Isochron presenting Meta Monday.
The following people made this article possible:
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.
I removed the category for rank in the spreadsheet, we haven’t been tracking ranks for quite some time, so it was just vestigial at this point. This should be a minor quality of life upgrade to the people who submit games. Furthermore, April having 5 Mondays has made this a good point to make meta-metagame monthly take place at the end of the month instead of the beginning.
The quality of the metagame breakdown depends entirely on how many submissions we get, these are the various significant thresholds:
0-222 games – I am not confident in the data I have, the quality of long term analysis will deteriorate greatly.
223-399 games – I am confident in the value of my data, the articles will function perfectly in a normal capacity.
400+ games – I am confident in the accuracy of my data, I will use more precise rounding and include tier 4 decks.
This week we have a sample size of 252 games.
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 2.5 – Decks that are an important part of the metagame, but not very popular.
Tier 3 – Obscure decks that you’re unlikely to run across.
Tier 4 – Very rare decks, only one person could be playing them.
Stonescar Aggro 20%
Praxis Midrange 11%
Well, turns out I was wrong about Stonescar Aggro. Even though no one has made a really desirable deck list, there are just so many variations of the deck around that anyone who wants to play a specific build can do so. Since it has gone up to 20% of the metagame, which is the highest any deck has been in the history of the metagame breakdown, I just had to put it into tier 0. But this does not mean that it’s the most powerful deck in the metagame, far from it. It’s easy to counter it from multiple angles, so it shouldn’t be a large threat to anyone. However, it is a viable classic aggro deck for anyone who wants to play classic aggro decks, which is most of its appeal to long-time players. It has been quite a while since a no-frills aggro deck was so powerful, as Rakano aggro relies on Warhelm shenanigans and Skycrag has the yeti synergies. Playing pure, all-in, classic aggro has a very specific appeal. So while I think that Stonescar is vastly overplayed right now, I don’t think it has to be nerfed until it starts being a very powerful deck, and we won’t know that before it puts up any tournament results or starts feeling oppressive on ladder.
On the other hand, Praxis midrange comes in with a much lower player base, but a much stronger quality. The builds that people have been working on have gotten to the point that it’s refined enough to be a serious player in the metagame. The experimentation with Glasshopper Praxis has made Praxis a truly incredible deck, and landed it the sole tier 1 spot on this breakdown. It feels like the deck came out of nowhere because it practically did, and since it’s a pledge deck, I will probably never play it, but it’s definitely up there in terms of raw power alone.
In tier 1.5 we have the decks that I expected to be tier 1, Jennev Peaks, Ixtun Sites, and Hooru Control. These three decks are just the best ones out there when it comes to sheer refinement and quality. But they can’t stand up to how fun Stonescar aggro is for most players, and how strong Praxis midrange is at taking down these types of decks. Although Stonescar aggro is not generally strong, it can be very hard to beat for greed piles, so it’s expected that all of those decks have taken a dive. It feels like Stonescar aggro is correcting the metagame to be something actually fun by curbing the ability for any greed pile to dominate the metagame.
Tier 2 is just full of the aggro decks that have been outclassed by the power of Stonescar, with FJS still having been forced into obscurity due to how much people just don’t want to play it anymore. The strangest part of tier 2 is how well represented Argenport midrange is. This deck was resurrected due to the lack of greed piles, and has returned to it’s spot as a decent contender.
Auralian Relics has fallen to tier 3, which might just be the hype dying down. This was never the most powerful deck, and it feels like it won’t be tuned to be the most powerful deck either. So it makes sense that it took that particular plunge again. However, I’m still holding out hope for it to be a popular deck. Feln Control also fell to tier 3, probably because of the lack of good anti-aggro tools in the most common versions of the deck. Feln Control still mainly targets greed pile type decks, and extract isn’t the best card against aggro.
Hooru Midrange fell off the meta due to how much better Hooru Control has turned out to be, so we find it currently residing in tier 3. TJP Midrange and Xenan Midrange are just decks that can fluctuate a lot depending on the meta, and they are both no longer on the upswing. Jennev Midrange goes in and out of tier 3, so finding it in tier 3 is completely expected.
Welcome to Meta-Metagame Monthly, the corner where Isochron makes insane and convoluted charts to show a better picture of the metagame. This month, we’re starting off with the worst chart of them all. Legends say that this chart is so convoluted, that trying to read it will be impossible to any mortal man.
This really puts the rise of Stonescar Aggro and Praxis Midrange into perspective, and also wonderfully illustrates the fall of FJS. If you have a solid 10 minutes to spend on just trying to understand the twists and turns of the metagame since February, starting at this chart is a very good way to do it. But now, onto the more interesting and legible charts.
Next up we have just a chart of the last four weeks. But this just lacks so much context that I don’t think we can draw that many meaningful conclusions from it.
What we truly need is a chart that illustrates the residual effects of homecoming in a larger context, and to do that, I think the best way is to just grab the data from the week before homecoming to today.
The legend to this chart is fairly simple, the dotted or dashed lines are decks with uninteresting stories, the small lines are unpopular decks while the large lines are popular decks.
This chart is a great representation of the recent metagame. FJS and Jennev Peaks have been in decline since homecoming, and Ixtun Sites alongside Hooru Midrange and Control have been defining the homecoming metagame. Stonescar Aggro came with the new buffs, while Praxis Midrange took a while of tinkering to reach the heights it’s currently at.
I have been writing these articles for half a year by now, and I feel like I have earned the right to take some space to put out something that I built myself. Last week, we went over a JPS deck that performed very well in the ECL tournament. After writing that article, I took that very list and aggressively reworked it to make something I personally like. I present to you all, Isochron’s JPS Control. I have been having a lot of fun winning with this deck on ladder, so I really suggest giving it a spin. It’s tuned against aggro and midrange, so it has a bit of a tough time with other control decks. Also, it’s usually correct to put a site in the market after playing a merchant, as the deck is likely to draw another site by the time you would have played the first one. I hope you all enjoy this deck as much as I do.
This has been Isochron with Meta Monday.