This is Isochron presenting Meta Monday
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As always, if you’d like to contribute data and have your name featured in the article, make sure to submit your games to both the Throne Ladder and Expedition Ladder forms. If your opponent was on an off-meta deck, please just write a little bit of information about it to make my job a little easier. If you have a large data set, you can DM it to /u/NotoriousGHP on Reddit, [TRS] NotoriousGHP#6765 on discord, or email me at [email protected].
It seems that with Endra being seriously nerfed, most people have decided to return to old favorites. The meta is still incredibly open, as evidenced by the diversity of decks in tiers 2 and 3, but the tier 1 decks are all ones we have seen before. Combrei Aggro was the best anti-Endra deck, and it turns out it’s still good without Endra. Combrei Midrange is always pretty good, but only has a limited amount of chances to really shine, and it seems like right now is one of those chances.
The two most popular decks are ones that defined a lot of last year, FJS and Stonescar. Their popularity makes a lot of sense, they’re both universally powerful decks that can be relatively meta independent. FJS can win games based on the quality of it’s removal and units in the mid to late game. Stonescar has the same amount of card quality, except in the early to mid game. Both of these decks lost a lot with the Torch nerf, but they still have some of their most powerful tools.
I can’t be that specific about most of the meta since I haven’t really played much throne this week. But it does seem like quite a few decks have been brought over from expedition. Elysian Tempo is gaining in popularity with a lot of lists choosing to forgo maul for a more expedition-like gameplan. And in Tier 3, we see Linrei Curses show up, which is one of the most popular decks in Expedition, but in my opinion, the gameplan really doesn’t translate to Throne.
Praxis Midrange, Grodov, Skycrag Aggro, Feln Reanimator, and Even Paladins are other popular decks from last year, but they’re a lot lower on the list than Stonescar and Winchest, this is because they’re far more meta-dependent than the aforementioned decks. They can have a lot of really powerful games, but they rely on the opponent being somewhat unprepared for them.
Makkar Endra has not completely left the meta either, there are still decks that play the storm strategy and can win games. They’re nowhere near as powerful as they used to be, but the power of Endra has not been diminished enough to completely erase her from existence. And of course, the round of buffs did create a new deck in Throne, Elysian Dinosaurs. At this point I still feel generally positive towards the game supporting tribal strategies more and more. However, this can be a dangerous path if DWD keeps introducing more tribes and powering up tribal strategies. Right now I think tribal is in a really healthy place though.
The top decks haven’t changed much from last week, although all of them have managed to gain in popularity. Less decks are trying to hate out Linrei Curses, so the deck has been able to grow even more in popularity. Elysian is similarly gaining players, this is probably in part due to the good matchup it has against Linrei. Big Argenport is the third big deck and has a great matchup against the rest of the metagame, but can sometimes struggle against Linrei and Elysian. This might turn out to be an unhealthy spiral, but there is plenty of innovation in lower tiers that can shake things up.
Xenan Cultists was completely reworked with the turbo-Vara strategy that has been made possible by the buff to Arcanum Hourglass and the genius of Isomorphic. This alone has made the deck skyrocket from being in the process of falling out of favor to one of the more popular ladder decks. Skycrag Dragons is another big new deck. It plays similarly to Stonescar Dragons, but gets to use a more flexible toolkit due to being in primal.
Other than those two decks being created, nothing much has changed, but it doesn’t really have to. I would say that Xenan turbo-Vara and Skycrag Dragons could be some of the best decks in the metagame with innovation and practice. It wouldn’t be the most surprising thing if next week we saw both of them in tier 1. Right now, they’re still a bit underplayed in comparison to their powerlevel, but that’s expected of most new decks that haven’t been shared in an explosive manner.
I feel comfortable sharing this knowledge because these decks have showed up in streams and have been really popular on ladder. I would encourage everyone to try them out and see how they perform for you. Both of them have really unique gameplans that a lot of people might enjoy. If you liked playing Xenan Cultists, turbo-Vara is definitely a deck you will enjoy a lot. It combines the traditional Cultist gameplan with a sharp focus on the Vara strategy. The deck does take quite a bit of learning and can’t be picked up in only a few games, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a really fun deck to play.
And if you like tempo decks and dragon decks, skycrag dragons is definitely for you. It’s not really a tempo deck in the same way that real tempo decks are, but every deck in Expedition has been trending away from tempo and towards midrange anyway. So if you want a more tempo-y dragon strategy, skycrag is the place to be.
*The list here should probably be the sandglass juggernaut/endurance deck. However, I did not find any lists that included juggernaut on EWC.
This has been Isochron with Meta Monday