Hello everyone and welcome to another installation of Meta Monday! Before I continue with the introduction, I just have to go over the West-Wind Herald in the room. The winning deck of the ETS speaks to my soul. As a brewer at heart, seeing such a niche and previously unplayable deck tuned to its peak is everything I want to see in Eternal. But before we can afford to devote more attention to the best deck, let’s continue with a general overview:

The definite break-out hit of this format has been Vara, Vengeance-Seeker. And, she continues to put up results. Her effect can’t be easily countered, no matter what the opponent does. Modular cards usually face the problem of choice. When you want to achieve a goal, your opponent can disrupt it. But, Vara circumvents this limitation in two ways. First, decks with a lot of disposable units to sacrifice to Vara are the most threatened by her. Even when Vara stays as a 3/4, her lifesteal prevents efficient go-wide strategies. Furthermore, decks with disposable units do not usually run too many removal spells, which allows Vara to stay on board. And when it comes to decks without disposable units, a 5/6 deadly lifesteal is as devastating. Allowing Vara to get deadly lets her trade up, and shut down any board state. The only time Vara can be countered is with Vanquish, but that’s never a guarantee.

Speaking of Vanquish, both FJS and Argenport mid-range made their mark in the ETS. These decks have fallen under the radar for quite a while. The popularity of Valkyries left FJS in the dust, and Argenport mid-range could not stand up to temporal and did not have a curve on par with time based decks. But with Vara in the four drop slot and control pushed out of the meta-game by Haunted Highway, Argenport mid-range can shine again.

And on the topic of haunted highway, the deck was represented in both the ETS weekly and the ECL invitational. Although, not as dominant as it was last week, the deck is still as powerful as ever and has managed to push out most control decks from the meta-game. But even though control is no longer as popular as it once was, Feln is making a comeback. The Feln Mid-range list that was kicking around even before Caiphus has found a complete form. The faction pair has always suffered from a lack of good finishers, and Caiphus slots in perfectly. And, as it were, it seems like this will be the home of Caiphus going forward, as most of the experimentation surrounding him has died down.

Now, let’s break down the ETS weekly top 8, which was completely dominated by SeekPowerGaming with TonyGeeeee, Sifudanny, IIIserbIII, and theovermaster all putting up great results:

In first place, we have player Almost with his Another West-Wind Herald deck, the definite coolest deck to come out of the ETS in a long while. This list should serve as inspiration to any brewer, as it combines the best of experimentation and tuning. The core of the deck is built around having a mirror image in the void, playing an Iceberg Scattershot and a West-Wind herald, dealing 12 damage to the opponent and filling up the board with 2/2 aegis fliers. If you manage to play more than one Scattershot or reduce the opponents health total, this combo can even serve as an OTK. But what makes this deck work is not the combo itself. It uses Haunting Scream to generate a value engine with Jennev Merchant or Gorgon Fanatic. This, combined with Wisdom of the Elders and Quarry allows the deck to be both consistent and explosive. The deck also runs a good removal package which allows it to survive the early turns against aggro. Overall, it is a masterclass in how brews should be made and a refreshing FPS deck to see among a sea of FPS scream.

In second place, we have TonyGeeeee on feln mid-range. This deck has been around as a niche brew for a while, and runs Champion of Cunning combined with Rindra, the Duskblade to create an amazing value engine in the late game. With Caiphus and Black-Sky Harbinger in the mix, the deck creates an authentic mid-range game plan. And, since this deck has been demonstrating good results, Feln joins Combrei as a faction which can be tuned for aggro, mid-range, and control. Despite the printing of Shakedown, Feln Mid-range chooses to run Sabotage for hand disruption. TonyGe5s deck has plenty of other niche calls. It runs Dark Return, 4 of Annihilate, and a full suite of Rindra’s Choice between the main deck and market. Whether or not these choices will end up being optimal for the deck list remains to be seen as the archetype is still fairly new and un-tuned.

Inthird place, Kartoffel runs another Haunted Highway list, without many significant changes. Since Haunted Highway has remained prevalent since last week, I will not discuss it in-depth, it’s one of the defining lists of the current meta game and a much better overview of it can be found in last weeks’ Meta Monday, which mostly focused on the great results the deck has put up.

Also in third place, we find a fairly innovative take on FTJ piloted by Sifudanny. FTJ has historically only put up results as Alessi Moment or Charge Rod. This particular list focuses mainly around combining a good mid-game with a great draw engine in Cauldron Cookbook. Torch, Purify, Vanquish, and Harsh Rule allow a complete control over the board state. In this way, the deck is similar to some Icaria Blue strategies. Similarly to Icaria Blue, this deck functions in two halves. In the early to mid-game, the deck strives to stack up value and damage with Cookbook, Ixtun Merchant, and Zuberi. Once the deck has generated the value it needs, it can fire off a Harsh Rule and move onto the late game. In the late game, the game-plan boils down to dropping fat units and retaining control over the board. Heart of the Vault, Rizahn, and Icaria are all good sticky units that generate value when they come into play.

Starting off the fifth place, we have Kangbreath on Argenport Mid-range. The biggest innovation in his particular list is smoothing out the early curve with Fenris Nightshade, and running an Emerald Monument to top out the influence curve. One other interesting choice is to run no Seek Powers or even Lingering Influence, opting for a full 27 power cards (and Vara’s favor). Argenport mid-range is definitely well placed, as Unseen Commando, Bloodletter, and Vara allow for enough lifesteal to shut down most aggressive strategies. This is combined with a dominant removal package consisting of Slay and Vanquish, which allows it to deal with any large units the opponent decides to play. Kangbreath’s list also has an interesting market. The list opts to have its only copies of Runehammer, Inquisitor’s Blade, and Makto gated behind a merchant. However, this allows the merchant to be able to fetch a lot of powerful cards, and streamlines the main deck for a more aggressive strategy without having to worry about excessive bloat in the 4 or 5 drop slots.

Look at them, melting down Grenadin to make better stuff…

Continuing in fifth place, we have IIIserbIII with his take on FJS. This is definitely a very controlling deck, running both Icaria and Sword of the Sky King. Cauldron Cookbook shows itself again as a valuable draw engine in this list. Interestingly enough, Sabotage is once again chosen over Shakedown. And this is the second deck in the ETS top 8 that has chosen to run Devastating Setback. The core of FJS remains the same as it always is, the deck can run both Slay and Statuary Maiden, beating out everything else in the ability to shut down the board around the time when most decks are prepared to enter the mid-game. Vara helps significantly in furthering this strategy by coming down at the same time, and beating out most other mid-range units. The deck also runs a both Harsh Rule and End of the Story. This puts a harsh end on whatever plan the opponent might have had before playing its win cons and Rizahn. Privilege of Rank has been used as a draw spell in Icaria lists before, but only having Quarry as a discard outlet means that it will usually just draw two power cards from the hand. This list is definitely solid and adds to the hostility that the meta game seems to have against time-based mid-range.

Continuing fifth place, DrPringles from The Great Parliament is on a very different FJS list. The deck lists are similar on a very surface level, but small choices make all the difference. Instead of running control, this is a pure mid-range list. Albeit one that runs 4 Harsh Rules. Vara gets along really well with Dark Return in this list. Statuary Maiden is only a 2 of, with more room in the four drop slot for Auric Runehammers. The curve is fleshed out by a removal package of Torch, Annihilate, Vanquish, and Slay in the low end. As win conditions, the deck runs three of both Caiphus and Rizahn, making up a healthy curve at 6. The market contains Statuary Maiden and Rizahn, both great cards. But what really distinguishes the deck is the Deepforged Plate in the market. This allows for some great lifesteal plays with both Rizahn and Vara, and can create a dominant board state by itself.

And, finishing up the ETS top 8, we have theovermaster on another Haunted Highway list. There isn’t much to discuss here either, so the only thing left is to congratulate SPG on the good results that its members put up this week.

The other big event was the ECL invitational, with our very own NotoriousGHP making top 4.

The winner of this event was The_Joker, who made the meta call that it’s right to run an all aggro lineup. He took down the tournament with fairly standard lists for Haunted Highway, Combrei Aggro, and Skycrag aggro. The only card of note is Sheriff Marley in the Combrei Aggro list. Aggro has returned in full force, despite a long run of being dormant.

The second place in the ECL invitational, DankyMcBuds, has provided the best pun names seen this season. He chose to run Big Combrei, Skycrag Aggro, and Feln Mid-range. When read in the order that would be spelled out on Eternal Tournaments, his names spell out “Big Daddy Caiphus”. Referencing the significant size of his Combrei units, the Vadius in Skycrag, and the Caiphus in Feln. This in itself is a spiritual victory that overshadows the actual winner of the event. His deck naming skills are exemplary and inspirational. His lists themselves are also well placed, with a regular conquest strategy of an aggro deck and two mid-range decks. Speaking of mid-range, Telut combrei is an odd choice, with Vodakhan usually occupying the 7 drop slot alongside Mystic Ascendant. But, Telut is also a good Combo with Mystic Ascendant, and can provide a lot of value by itself. Copperhall Bracers and Sheriff Marley are not usually seen in Big Combrei, but seem to do a lot of good work in this deck list. Another interesting choice is not running any of Worldbearer Behemoth in the main deck, although it is represented by a copy in the market.

NotoriousGHP placed third with another Combrei Telut list, splashing shadow to play slay and a market Azindel. He chose to run a Marshal Ironthorn in his 5 drop list and a full set of The Great Parliament. This is definitely a unique take on Big Combrei, and one that uses faction splashes to the fullest. NotoriousGHP’s lineup also included standard Praxis Tokens and Haunted Highway.

The other occupant of the third place slot is sifar, with Talir Combo, West-Wind Combo, and the most deep Maul deck that anyone has ever made. Since we already covered west-wind herald, and Talir Combo has been a standard big combo deck since it was tuned, we have to focus on the draft chaff Maul brew. The deck only runs 15 cards that are not power, do not trigger nightfall, and are not maul. It runs cards like Gloaming Wisp, Nocturnal Creeper, and Winter’s Grasp just to trigger more nightfall and to make Maul more powerful. The entire focus of this deck is to turbocharge Maul, by any means possible, and it seemed to work out well, leading sifar to a good finish.

This has been Isochron bringing you Team Rankstar’s Meta Monday. To give yourself some flair and have your favorite Eternal Bae by your side, head over to Inked Gaming and get a custom mouse pad made with code TRS12 for 12% off your final purchase.

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