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.
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.
223-285 games – I am confident in the value of my data, the articles will function perfectly in a normal capacity.
286-399 games – The metagame breakdown will include any tier 4 lists I have enough data for.
400+ games – The sample size is big enough to use more precise rounding.
This week we have a sample size of 186 games.
Tier 0 – This deck defines the entire metagame.
Tier 1 – A sizable minority of ladder games will be against these 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 – Relevant decks that are less popular than tier 2 decks.
Tier 3 – Obscure decks that you’re fairly unlikely to run across.
Tier 4 – Everything below tier 3.
No tier 1 decks. This might just be a quirk of the incredibly low sample size, but Stonescar is even more popular than before, and the next most popular deck is more than 10% behind it. So it would be insane to call anything tier 1, as there’s only Stonescar at tier 0, and everything else so far below. Funnily enough, I think that this might be the healthiest meta the game has seen in a long while. There’s so much change going on and there are new decks being introduced that are genuinely innovative again. The fact that Stonescar is tier 0 has evened up the playing field.
Even Feln Midrange has gone all the way from tier 3 to tier 1, so has Rakano Midrange. Even Feln was a thing last week, but I never expected it to skyrocket as much as it did. Then, Hooru Control rose a few percentages, but nothing really significant. Praxis Midrange Fell, and Skycrag Aggro gained a few percentages. This is exactly the kind of instability I have been looking for. Decks are getting throned and dethroned left and right. Mono Fire Aggro also dropped, as the tournament effect wore off. FJS is stable, Even Xenan Katra is stable, Hooru Midrange is stable, and Feln Control is stable. So the real action is happening in the lower and upper ends of the scale, while the relatively mid-tier decks manage to keep the metagame above a solid foundation.
Praxis Tokens is also back in contention, and it’s nice to see a deck that has been with us since set 1 manage to stay in contention. I would have never thought that Stonescar, Praxis Tokens, and Feln Control would battle it out for meta dominance such a long time after the game started. But here we are, and so it happens to be. Although Stonescar is winning by such a long shot it’s not even funny.
Eternal Tournament Series
Remember when we used to do full recaps of the top 8? Well, this week we won’t do quite that, but we’ll get close. This is because there were so many innovative decks over at the ETS this week. Oh also, congratulations to everyone who placed in the top 8, but didn’t do it with a brew.
Deck Spotlight – Even Argenport Sword
This deck by DrPringles wasn’t quite popular enough to make it to the breakdown, but it did show up on my radar when I was sifting through the data. Now I find out that it’s an ETS deck, and a pretty great one at that. The basic idea of the deck is to take the Sword Reanimator combo, which doesn’t usually pay off enough to be worthwhile, and combine it with Evenhanded Golem. The combo is still perfectly intact, but the deck has some card advantage and momentum. Last Chance and Memory Dredger make it even more powerful, as they are able to make Evenhanded Golem redundant, even if it gets milled by Sporefolk. They also help a bit with ensuring consistent access to Auric Reclaimer.
The deck has plenty of good cards that help make the strategy stick, such as Vara and Nullblade. Reweave, Devour, and Back-Alley Delinquent ensure that there’s always more consistency in whatever the deck is trying to do. Annihilate, Lost Scroll, Vanquish, and Vara’s Favor are all excellent 2 drops for everything the deck is trying to do. And finally, Stormhalt Knife and Sword of the Sky King are great targets for reanimation. And it’s not even unlikely that the player of this deck will play Stormhalt Knife from their hand fairly regularly.
Deck Spotlight – Mono Shadow Midrange
Tasbu is a good card, so it’s worth making a deck that can play Tasbu. And this is exactly what Rhay_v3 did. The player of this deck can always have the influence requirements when basically all the sources of power in the deck are shadow sigils. Although this perfect array of purple is only disturbed by Seal of Devotion and Veteran Mercenary. Both of these offer a fairly good payoff for playing a mono faction deck. The Seal doesn’t help cast Tasbu, but it does draw a card when warped. And Veteran Mercenary always provides a free card on top of a 4/4 body. Although there’s no guarantee that the free card will be any good.
The deck can also run Marionette Cross, which is like a massively better version of False Prince, if the influence can handle it. Considering that False Prince hasn’t really shown up in a while, it’s a joy seeing it’s upgraded version make some waves. Marionette Cross is somewhat fragile, but it doesn’t really matter if it hits the board on turn three. It will probably still do enough damage to leave a dent in the opponents’ total health.
The rest of the deck is basically just more good cards, Vara, Rhysta, Instigator, Warleader, and Ripknife make up a very solid core of units for the deck. Suffocate, Annihilate, Desecrate, and Vara’s Favor are all good cards for removing any chance of the opponent having units stick on the board. Shakedown can even deal with them before they manage to come into play. The final part of the deck is the market, where there are just even more good cards. The market has an additional copy of Desecrate, and Burglarize and Nullblade for various utility reasons. And since the deck lacks a proper top end, Dizo’s Office and Big Vara are great additions to the market. Overall, this is a great midrange deck and one of the most solid mono faction builds we have seen so far.
Deck Spotlight – Kerendon Midrange
Bikespokes comes in with one of the least appreciated faction combinations, Kerendon. His deck is just full of all the new cards we got from Dark Frontier. But before we get to that, let’s go over all the old stuff. Dark Return, Seek Power, Annihilate, Desecrate, Hidden Road Smuggler, Stonepowder Alchemist, Crownwatch Press-Gang, and Small Vara area already a really enticing combination. It’s just a bunch of removal, recursion, and power. But what is the deck getting with Press-Gang?
Ghar and Street Urchin of course! When I saw these cards, I remembered them immediately as something I glanced over when Dark Frontier released. Ghar triples as a flier suppressant, a total blowout if the opponent still has units when Ghar is shifted, and a decent one drop. Street Urchin triples as a source of card draw, burn, and a decent one drop. Both of these are cards that can easily be played on turn 1 and fetched with Crownwatch Press-Gang, and they will be good regardless of the exact circumstances. The deck also has reveave, so the player can cycle through whatever units need to be cycled through.
And these too, have some new faces present. Vishni is a great flier and a massive combo with Dark Return. It can also disrupt any void based strategies, and come down fairly late in the game to play a small army. It’s a very flexible and useful card. And of course, the deck tops off with Tasbu, because Tasbu is just such a great shadow card now. It’s guaranteed to be card neutral, and with enough of these recursive cards, it’s going to be a powerhouse.
Deck Spotlight – Skycrag Midrange
Our very own ThePlatypusKing came to the ETS swinging this week, and he brought Skycrag Midrange. It’s basically a classic Dragonsmith deck, except it has an actual curve of dragons. Going from Turn 3 Firemaw (or Poaching Drake), to Turn 4 Eclipse, to Turn 5 Thunderstrike is a far-fetched dream, but totally possible with this deck. And even if only one dragon can be played off of Dragonsmith, that still leaves a bonus 3/2 quickdraw unit on board. To make the dragons sting a bit more, the deck also plays Dusk Raider. There’s nothing worse than a dragon with berserk that can come down a turn too early.
The deck also runs Zuberi, just so the dragons would have even more bite. So even if there’s no Dusk Raider out, the deck can have dragons with double damage alongside a 4/5 body. Wisdom of the Elders puts some more oomph into the inspire effects, and also works really well with Eclipse Dragon. And like every good midrange deck, this deck has a solid removal package in Torch, Permafrost, and Ice Bolt. So even if there’s no Poaching Drake to deal with early units, there will be other cards to do the job. The market also has some great cards in Flame Blast to close out games with burn, Swift Refusal to prevent the Dragonsmith from getting torched, and Royal Decree to erase whatever the opponent might have been holding in their hand. And if the market needs to be used to win the game, it has both Howling Peak and Molot & Nakova.
This is my final Meta Monday article for now, and I’m happy it ended with such a great week. The meta is being shaken up both on ladder and in the tournament scene. Things are looking up. But basically what happened is, I quit social media. Even when I hated the meta, I kept playing because it was something to talk about. However, since I’m no longer on social media, this drive just doesn’t exist anymore. So I basically have to quit Meta Monday as I’m unable to measure the pulse on the ladder. I will still be hanging around Gold II every month, but that’s probably as far as my time with Eternal will go.
Overall, this should be very exciting news since NotoriousGHP will be taking over Meta Monday again. He’s definitely going to bring in some more knowledge about tuning, matchups, and the competitive scene in general. So this will mark the beginning of a new era for Meta Monday. But the Metagame Breakdown isn’t going anywhere, that part is here to stay. It’s just that now it will be GHP who’s going to be looking over all of your submissions. And I’m going to ask everyone to be real nice to him and send in plenty of games, because this week we only got 186, so hopefully next week there will be more as a housewarming gift for GHP. I’ll be forwarding any games that were sent to me during next week, but he’ll put his own contact details into Meta Monday when he takes over.
This has been Isochron with Meta Monday.