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 326 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, Hooru Midrange is now popular again thanks to Sediti. Hooru Control still remains popular, so we might see a Hooru death-spiral where there’s so much Hooru on ladder that no one can stand seeing justice and primal sigils in the same deck for the next three months. However, let’s hope that this doesn’t happen. As I predicted, Stonescar isn’t here to stay, and with the meta being a bit shook up, is already on its way out.
Feln Control remains relatively stable, although it’s popularity has declined a bit. However, what’s interesting about the current meta is the rest of tier 2. Both Even Xenan and Rakano Midrange were previously never even on the breakdown, and now are solid tier 2 decks. Rakano Midrange is self-explanatory, as it was a good deck back in set 4, and getting new toys has just reinvigorated an already great shell. With Even Xenan, the tale is a bit more strange. Such an unreliable deck shouldn’t be anywhere near as popular, and when we look at Tier 3, we can also find Even Xenan Katra. These are both decks that rely heavily on Evenhanded Golem. There’s a giant catch to this. These decks can’t be anywhere near on par with normal decks without either drawing the infinite combo or chaining Evenhanded Golems. Losing access to the market, alongside having to always play a 2 drop on turn 3 is fairly brutal for any deck trying to play a fair game. This is why I personally think that Even Xenan Katra is here to stay, while normal Even Xenan will pass.
Although it’s refreshing to play a completely different deck than what most players are used to, Even Xenan does not really have any staying power. Xenan just doesn’t have the same sort of recursion as Feln does, so it’s just a generally worse Evenhanded Golem deck. Furthermore, it’s an inferior midrange list when compared to Praxis Midrange. However, by adding an unfair infinite combo wincon, the deck may have some actual teeth. The main problem with Xenan Katra is the lack of card draw, which is perfectly solved by Evenhanded Golem. Furthermore, giving up merchants is nowhere near as bad as it seems, since the normal Xenan Katra deck could not really utilize its merchants fully. Merchants have a lot of drawbacks. They are usually bad for your card advantage, board presence, and tempo. And the Xenan Katra deck simply couldn’t play a game long enough to actually pull off it’s combo reliably if it had to always use merchants. When it comes to Evenhanded Golem, it’s an excellent card for card advantage, board presence, and tempo. Although this deck will likely never be tier 1, I think it might have some potential.
The other new deck is the Combrei Aggro list. However, this is basically just the old Combrei Aggro list, so I don’t think it’s worthwhile to spend much time on it. The only important thing to note is that it’s as popular as FJS, which is pretty funny.
This month, I’m going to take a different approach to meta-metagame monthly. This is because it’s time to officially retire the previously used monstrous chart (at least until the end of the year). So, I would like to introduce all of you to the Post-Homecoming chart, or what I like to call “New Monstrosity”.
So, since it’s hard to gather information from a chart this messy, I’m going to explain the entire story of the metagame that has transpired since Homecoming. (The gray line in the middle of the chart roughly denotes the release of Dark Frontier.)
First of all, we can look at the stories of Ixtun Sites and Hooru Midrange, which defined the early Homecoming meta alongside the now nearly extinct FJS decklists. Ixtun Sites only lasted as a meta-defining deck for a single month, and then faded quickly into relative tier 3 obscurity. On the other hand, Hooru Midrange seemed to be following the exact same path until the last few weeks. This deck was saved by people realizing that Sediti is a phenomenal card, reinvigorating the entire archetype.
But even though Hooru Midrange became obscure for a while, Hooru Control maintained those factions as a top tier deck. When Hooru Midrange was in decline, Hooru Control became one of the most popular decks ion the game. This was until it was quickly eclipsed by Stonescar Aggro. But Stonescar Aggro would not last either, as the deck got reworked into an aggro-midrange list, cementing it’s popularity as a long-term part of the game. But when this transition was taking place, Praxis Midrange quickly became the next biggest deck. Although it’s popularity was quickly fading and almost completely unimpactful in the long term. The deck went from a tier 3 list to a tier 2 list.
This entire metagame was underlined by Skycrag and Rakano Aggro decks consistently being popular low-tier decks. And now we have reached a point where no deck is over 10% of the metagame for the first time in a while. However, the Hooru revolution 2.0 is upon us, and I would expect one of the Hooru variants to drastically increase in popularity in the next few weeks, unless unforeseen meta changes take place.
Speaking of unforeseen meta changes, there have been quite a few over these last months. This week alone, we saw four previously unseen decks break the 2% tier 3 threshold for the first time. But there were quite a few impactful decks that didn’t quite pierce the metagame. The chief among which was the Auralian Rats deck. This was never one of the most powerful decks, nor the most popular decks, but it was a deck. And no one can deny that. It showed up on ladder in droves and sadly left as fast as it arrived.
Many similar fates befell other decks, such as both Auralian and TJP Pledge. These seemed to be momentarily impactful parts of the metagame, but never quite solidified enough to become staples. Their pledge mantle was taken up by Praxis Midrange, and so the spirit of having most of the game determined by turn 1 lives on. But this is still nothing compared to the drastic splintering of Xenan.
It used to be that Xenan Midrange was a single respectable deck. It was the epitome of a serious tier 2 contender that gracefully bowed out of the meta when its time was up. But in its wake, three rowdy grandchildren took up the Xenan mantle. Even Xenan, Xenan Katra, and Even Xenan Katra have become actual parts of the metagame. Although the opposite in play style to the dignified Xenan Midrange, these brews have left their permanent mark on the Eternal meta.
Ranked Masters Challenge
This has been Isochron with Meta Monday.