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 your enemy is playing an off-meta deck, please clarify some specific cards they used. 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.
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 492 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.
Combrei Aggro 1.6%
Jennev Midrange 1.6%
Feln Midrange 1.4%
Praxis Tokens 1.4%
Combrei Midrange 1%
Combrei Ramp 1%
JPS Control 1%
Xenan Midrange 1%
I hope that the nice audience of Meta Monday can forgive me for going on a rant here, but I don’t really know how else to express my opinions on the state of the game. Having looked closely at the metagame for about five months at this point, this is the least change I have seen. Not on a small scale, because week to week there are new decks and new strategies popping up constantly. However, it seems that only a few decks have the ability to show up in the tiers. Hooru Control might be less popular than Stonescar Aggro-Mid on any given week, but all of these decks are still consistently on the tier list. And even when we see new decks show up on the tier list, they are just new builds of old decks.
This might just be personal bias due to having spent so much time looking at the metagame, but I feel like it didn’t used to be like this. Even back in set 5, while tier 1 was set in stone, it felt like there was a lot of innovation and creativity in tiers 2 to 3. But now it just seems like brews don’t get adopted anymore, and good decks keep getting more popular. And I remember back in set 4, when I was following the meta albeit not as closely as I am now, there were constantly new things being built and widely adopted by the Eternal community.
So, in my mind, there are three potential issues with the current metagame. First is that the official tournament scene has promoted stagnation. People want to play decks that did well in tournaments, and don’t want to spend the time and energy to figure out something new. Personally, I partially fall into this mindset myself. So it would stand to reason that the few original decks that enter the metagame do it because they did well in a tournament. And even then, these decks are basically unable to cross the 5% barrier to actually become big players in the metagame. There are also the Katra Combo/Even Xenan decklists, but all of those are stuck at the very bottom of the metagame breakdown.
Most teams are also not trying to come up with new decks, as long as there are extremely important tournaments going on. Since these tournaments exist, going for a stable deck is usually the right choice. There are obviously exceptions like ddddd rocking a mono fire list, but the tournament scene is no longer a hotbed for innovation. This is not to fault the teams, as the strategy they follow is objectively correct. However, it seems like there really isn’t any place for brews in the tournament scene in the past months.
But this might not be a problem intrinsic to tournaments, as both Hooru Midrange and Feln Reanimator were breakout successes when the tournaments first started happening. It might be that the Eternal community just isn’t really looking for new decks anymore. The general mentality seems to have shifted from trying to find new decks from the pool of cards to playing whatever has a 52% win rate. This is also an objectively correct strategy to maximize the rate at which the ladder can be climbed. However, I still think this is an issue for the games’ longevity. But here we have an obvious question, what changed?
And this is where I have to talk about rotation. Not because I think a large shakeup is necessarily the only solution to bring more innovation to the metagame. Rather, the card pool is just too big to brew anymore. Any new set will only be 15% of the card pool at this point. So unless DWD prints a core contingent of deliberately overpowered cards (like they seem to be doing in campaigns nowadays), I don’t think there’s really a way to solve this issue without rotation. When there are almost two thousand cards, trying to find a big interaction that can change the entire landscape of the game becomes a lot harder. So what ends up happening is that only the most surface-level interactions are found and it’s hard to discover decks by really taking a deeper look at the entire card pool of the game.
Or this might all just be baseless complaining, and the current meta might be the problem. It’s not that there’s any issues in mentality or the size of the card pool compared to the size of the playerbase, it’s just that the current meta is inherently stagnant. Any of the explanations could be right, but the end result is the same, we see the same decks on the breakdown each week, and only a select amount of decks cross the 5% barrier.
Regularly scheduled Meta Monday with in-depth analysis will hopefully return next week.
So, now that we have established that there’s not much different this week, we have to look at the things that are actually different. Stonescar is at the top of the meta again, and Hooru Control is a bit more popular. The big change in the top of the metagame is that FJS is a deck again, and rapidly went from the bottom of the breakdown to the very top of it. FJS is an archetype full of some of the most powerful cards, so seeing it becoming popular again is not shocking.
When it comes to lower tier decks, Ixtun Sites and Even Xenan Katra don’t get any spotlight this week. Some things got shuffled around between tiers too. The big changes are that Auralian Relics and Argenport Midrange are more popular now than they have been for a bit. Auralian Relics had a concentrated push behind it, which explains its popularity. Argenport Midrange is just a solid deck, and tends to follow behind FJS when it comes to trends. Overall, not a lot has changed in the low tiers either. And when we look at tier 4, we find various former tier 3 decks. Instead of being abandoned, they just lost most of their player base.
Eternal Championship Showdown
Eternal Tournament Series
This has been Isochron with Meta Monday.