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.
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 394 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.
So, last week I talked about how overplayed Stonescar aggro was, and this week the numbers are in. The amount of people playing the deck has almost been cut in half, and it’s way more back in line with the representation we would expect. If we were judging by power level, the deck might even be solidly tier 3 due to how fragile it is, but the inherent excitement of this deck has managed to keep it in tier 1. The rest of tier 1 has also unfolded as expected, anyone who has been playing on ladder has noticed an uptick in Hooru Control, and it reflects in the statistics. It has doubled in player base during this week, so I was completely sure that it would rank high on this list. However, the surprise is the performance of Praxis Midrange. It reached a higher peak than FJS ever did during it’s dominance. This might be because unlike FJS, it lacks a direct competitor. During the FJS meta, the Jennev Peaks served as a counter-balance as it was a very similar deck with a favorable match-up, this ensured that FJS would never be quite this dominant. But Praxis Midrange is just the most reliable time midrange deck, and has a relatively good shot into any other time based strategy.
The jump from tier 1 to tier 1.5 is even more severe than it was last week. And none of it is out of the ordinary. FJS, Rakano Aggro, and Hooru Midrange have been reliably popular decks for a while. The same trend of having unsurprising deck percentages continues into tier 2 with Skycrag Aggro, Ixtun Sites, Xenan Midrange, and Jennev Peaks. I would have expected higher percentages for Jennev Peaks and Ixtun Sites, but the percentage drop isn’t emblematic of any larger problem. Simply put, these two decks are just fluctuating completely normally.
Tier 3 is where things get a little more interesting. While Feln Control and Argenport Midrange are fairly expected to place somewhere around this tier, both Elysian Midrange and TJP Control came out of nowhere. With Elysian Midrange, the answer is pretty clear if we look into it, the overwhelm rod build of the deck has been gaining a lot of traction, so it’s just showing up on ladder. But I have no clue what made TJP Control popular again. It’s been a month since it crossed the 2% barrier the last time, but it’s always good to see it back in the metagame.
What’s fairly noticeable is how this metagame represents the classic Eternal experience. Many players were rightfully frustrated with the 3F greedpile dominated metas, but this meta has a much more refreshing feel to it, almost as if Eternal had never changed trajectories in set 4. Even if I had not disliked the FJS meta, this would be one of my favorite metagames yet, just due to how it suits the palate I developed playing the game over two years ago. I’m usually not on the side of the people who want Eternal to go back to the way it used to be, but sometimes it’s good to revisit the spirit of the game as it used to be.
I’m personally incredibly excited for the new set to come out. I was not quite ready to have it release so soon, as I was expecting it to come out in the summer, but going into it with a roster of 2F decks is extremely promising. Although 3F decks will always be a core part of the Eternal experience, getting back to 2F being the established norm with Dark Frontier is a very exciting prospect. No matter what happens when the set releases, the metagame will be changed forever. From the spoilers we have already seen, the cards in the new set seem to be on a completely normal power level, but knowing DWD, we will get some incredibly powerful spoilers just before the set releases, and some of the best cards in the set will have to be found after the set comes out.
With a new meta, what is viable becomes completely open. If you have an idea for a deck and enough Shiftstone to build it, go for it. The new decks in a new metagame can be built by any player with enough creativity. I know that I’ll personally spend the first few days losing with whatever new JPS deck I decide to build, but with enough luck and passion, any player (even me) can change the composition of the entire meta. I wish everyone luck in finding the coolest Dark Frontier brews as I prepare to embark on what will be an unprecedented journey for me with managing the Metagame Breakdown during the new set release. I hope everyone keeps track of their games, and gives me enough data to make this something special in the Meta Monday history books.
Congratulations to ManuS for winning the ECQ. More congratulations to TonyGeeeee for coming in second, HashtagEternal and theovermaster for coming in fourth, and AleshaKills, spiffirific, darkrevenger, and Ilyon for coming in eighth.
Deck Spotlight – Stonescar Midrange
ManuS may have taken the first place in the ECQ, but he did it on his own terms with a fairly spicy brew. This aggressive Stonescar midrange deck is definitely a sight to behold. It combines burn, discard, removal, pressure, and threats in a combination that much more resembles traditional midrange from Magic: the Gathering than what we have started to expect from midrange decks in Eternal.
The goal of this deck is to constantly mount pressure on the opponent to force them to start playing at the Stonescar players speed. It’s not a deck that wants to necessarily win by grinding out value, but plays more like an aggro-control list. This is basically what midrange looked like in Magic before it became its own separate archetype. In that sense, this is a very innovative deck since its modeled completely differently than what most people are playing.
It’s also extremely non-linear as far as midrange decks go. The deck can choose to go for burn, value, or tempo. The best part is that all of these game plans are completely viable and the deck has a solid core to go for any of these with any given hand. The range of the deck is especially good since all of the strategies can quickly shift between one another and every card in the deck can help with any strategy. Even if the hand pulls you towards trying to play a value game against an aggro deck, pulling an Argenport Instigator will not hurt. And even if the deck is forced to just put up tempo plays turn after turn, Flame Blast can always be played on curve.
I have no idea if this list will survive Dark Frontier, but if it does, I am very excited to see how it will evolve.
Deck Spotlight – FTS Midrange
The winning deck of the ETS was no less novel than what took down the ECQ. Flippyflop put up an excellent result with an excellent deck. This one is a completely linear midrange deck on the chunkier side. The core of it is a fairly standard Xenan Midrange lineup, with splashing fire for Heart of the Vault and torch. But the deck makes its paper-thin power base work. According to the Eternal Power Calculator, the chance of playing Heart of the Vault when the deck reaches 6 power is just under 50%, which is very good for what is basically a Xenan Midrange deck. This comes at the cost of scaling down time and shadow influence to balance everything out.
What is more interesting that this Xenan Midrange deck with a fire splash relies on putting Xo in the market using Kerendon and Ebon Dune Smuggler. I’m pretty sure this deck almost never wants to cast Xo, and if Xo is in the market, it’s just not coming out again. This removes a lot of the perks that might come from 8 merchant Xo decks, but as a midrange deck, this list has no need to juggle Xo. Just generating enough value using Xo and merchants in a more intended way is enough.
But the fire cards aside, the core itself is extremely solid. It takes the best cards from Xenan Midrange, and just drops the early game. Although the Xenan archetype has many good aggressive cards, a greed pile of this magnitude can not afford to be aggressive. This deck is revolutionary due to being a 3F greed pile with a 2F midrange core, the greed is just tacked on to the core strategy. And the parts that just have to come out of the deck are the aggressive cards. The power base would never work, and going aggressive isn’t really important if the deck can curve Heart of the Vault into Dizo’s Office.
I definitely hope we see more of this deck in the future, just due to how innovative and interesting it is.