The following people made this article possible:
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 them to /u/NotoriousGHP on Reddit, [TRS] NotoriousGHP#6765 on discord, or email me at [email protected]
The quality of the metagame breakdown depends entirely on how many submissions we get. These are our significant thresholds:
0-222 games – I am not confident in the data we have, the quality of analysis will deteriorate greatly.
222-285 games – I am confident in the value of our data, the articles will function perfectly normal in 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 for more precise rounding.
This week we had a sample of 513 games for Throne Constructed and 153 for Expedition Constructed.
Throne Meta Breakdown:
Grodov (FTJ) Midrange: 14%
Stonescar Aggro: 11.7%
Praxis Midrange: 10.33%
Elysian Maul: 5.3
Rakano Aggro: 4.5%
Jennev Control: 4.1%
Skycrag Control: 2.92%
Ixtun Control: 2.92%
Winchest Midrange: 2.73%
Elysian Midrange: 2.34%
Xenan Cultist: 2.34%
Stonescar Midrange: 1.95%
Combrei Aggro: 1.6%
Mono Fire Aggro: 1.6%
Skycrag Aggro: 1.37%
Skycrag Yeti’s: 1.37%
Argenport Even Paladins: 1.37%
Argenport Control: 1.17%
Combrei Midrange: 1.17%
Now that players have shifted there focus back to Throne, we are starting to see this meta develop as we approach the Throne ECQ. This week we see a massive surge from Stonescar Aggro, a deck many have been refining and picking up as one of the primer decks for climbing ladder with a strong win rate. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Stonescar has all the appropriate tools to deal with Praxis Midrange and Elysian Maul, while having plenty of game against Grodov. There’s been a lot of different versions floating around, so let’s discuss the two most popular variants.
Joey recently took to Eternal Warcry and Reddit to talk about his variant of Stonescar, claiming to have went from Gold 2 to top 25 masters in one day, a impressive feat in itself. This seems to be the most popular variant right now, as is the norm when a deck gets this much publicity and is a throwback to the heavy one drop Stonescar builds using cards like Oni Ronin and Grenadin Drone. This list caught me off guard when I first saw it, as there’s a ton of interesting deck building decisions I may not entirely agree with. Let’s take a look at those.
Joey’s Powerbase is a weird one, playing 0 Seat’s. Instead, it tries to max out on Emblems and plays 3 Granite Waystone instead and only 2 Sigils. Although I’ve been a fan of decks without Seats and Sigils, a deck this aggressive playing 4 copies of Crest of Chaos is incredibly suspicious. I’ve recently been exploring trimming some number of Crests in decks such as Jennev Control, while also cutting them entirely from Aggressive decks as curving out has become such a huge component to the Throne meta, and Crests are very good at making you play off the curve. Although it is the much more boring route, I think this list needs to move back towards Seats, and likely remove all Crests and Granite Waystone for some additional Sigils, as i don’t think the removal of Seats is helping play units on curve at all.
The other big note is Street Urchin, a value-orientated unit often played the same turn it can be twisted in order to generate card advantage. Often referred to as a 7 cost Wisdom of the Elders, Street Urchin is not what I would consider a strong aggressive unit. The inclusion of this feels awkward, as this list is not trying to grind out the opponent, and certainly doesn’t kill the opponent particularly fast. There’s a lot of solid one cost units in Eternal, and in a world where Pyroknight sees zero play. Street Urchin simply doesn’t fit the fundamental strategy of this deck, and I suspect should be removed for another 1 cost unit.
Gold47 recently took down an event with a relatively stock variant of Stonescar Aggro, with the Shift unit package. The only abnormal choice in this list is Livia, Hexweaver over Shakedown. Although I am not a fan of this change, there is a decently large group of players out there who believe Shakedown is an unplayable spell. Stonescar Aggro has been shifting towards a more efficient, build-up to Bandit Queen style using the Shift Units to have stronger topdecked units, turn on Stonescar Banners, unblockable late-game damage and harder to interact with units over cards such as Oni Ronin. This reduces the speed in which the deck can close games, but makes the deck much more resilient to removal including Snowball, the ultimate feel-bad answer to an Oni Ronin.
Stonescar is going to be one of the top decks moving into the ECQ, the question is how will players build it? I’ve personally preferred the shift package, although there are many unexplored and unrefined builds out there such as a build utilizing Rally or Mastery units.
Expedition Meta Breakdown:
Xenan Cultist: 22.1%
Elysian Midrange: 19.5%
Hooru Aggro: 10.4
Rakano Oni: 6.5%
Stonescar Midrange: 5.19%
Argenport Decimate: 3.9%
Combrei Aggro: 3.9%
Stonescar Mastery: 3.2%
Approaching the potential upcoming balance changes, we see Cultist and Elysian standing tall, while Stonescar Mastery falls so far it makes the earth look flat. With the new campaigns being added to Expedition, Elysian Midrange rising in popularity once again is no surprise, as it got a number of new tools that give the deck a lot more flexiblity, most notably, Sodi.
Sodi was added to Expedition at the last minute as Dire Wolf swiftly refused Saber-Tooth Prideleader from entering the Expedition ques. This was a change myself, and many other players were hoping to see, as we believed Prideleader would overall hurt Expedition. With this in mind, adding in Sodi was a surprising change and I’m still not sure the reason why it was originally not going to join the format, but now that it’s arrived it has certainly helped certain primal decks. Between it, and Ripknife assassin variants of Feln Midrange have started to pop up, alongside more grindy variants of Elysian and Skycrag Midrange. In general, new decks becoming viable should overall be a good thing, and I do not think Sodi will be considered to oppressive pushing out sites or flyers, speaking of which, potential balance changes?
Dire Wolf mentioned we should be looking at balances changes near the end of seasons instead of randomly, and many players expect to see some changes to freshen up Expedition. Cultist is the clear most dominate deck, and many players such as Camat0 have gone as far as to say playing anything else is wrong, and I’m not sure I disagree. With a dominate ECQ performance, and is what almost every single player I know played in the last QCP event, changes need to happen. Here are some of my ideas for balance changes, but I do not recommend making all of these, but some would be welcome.
Ark of Sol: 2 Cost:
This card creates horrible play patterns, causing players to waste cards such as Conflagerate on one half of Nahid’s Choice and sacrificing a unit can even a be an upside, I’m talking about you Slumbering Stone. I don’t know why this card exists, and I wish it didn’t.
Worthy Cause: 2 Cost or Slow Speed:
This card does it all, and although Cultist doesn’t play a ton of removal, this one’s pretty insane. Silence is extremely valuable, permanent debuffs are very important, Sacrificing units such as Slumbering Stone or a Cultist with Karvet in play can be a positive, and in the late game is just one cost delete a unit. I think this card creates a lot of feel bad games and having a deck like Cultist have a strong early, mid and late game can be problematic.
Incarnus: 3/2, 2/3 or 2/2.
The 2 attack variants change the mastery to mastery 6. Potentially reveal what is gotten off the listeners.
I personally don’t mind Incarnus, but this card is an auto-include in basically every Shadow deck, and creates some pretty feel bad games. There are a ton of great hits off of Incarnus, and there’s way to many possible cards to play around from. This card can break board stalls, block decently and allows for sites to be snipped, and unblockable almost never feels good to play against. This is likely the most questionable card to change, but I suspect for the sake of Expedition’s deck Variety, Incarnus will be changed.
Sodi’s Spellshaper: Spellcraft 3.
Speaking of feels bad cards, Sodi’s Spellshaper feels horrific to play against, especially in Expedition. This is because Expeditions removal is very medium and expensive, but Spell shaper snowball’s games extremely quickly, and allows for its controller to both develop and remove units in the same term. This card can also be played turn 3 off of Trail Maker, leading to the classic feel bad of ramp unit living into further snowballing. This will hurt Elysian quite a bit, but with the new killer synergy being added, I don’t think Elysian will be to hurt.
I’m not sure if Dire Wolf is considering removing cards from Expedition, but two cards stand out to me if they are open to this idea; Xenan Temple and Vara Fate Touched.
Xenan Temple goes in the category of extremely snowbally, and does so many crazy things for the Cultist decks. It synergizes crazily with Karvet, and in Expedition Scare is a no joke. This card is very reasonable in Throne and i don’t want to see it changed there, but in terms of Expedition this should help make the format less snowbally, while not killing off any archetypes.
Vara Fate Touched should have never made it to Expedition, as it’s almost impossible to answer a board played from Vara, creating a 1 card win condition. Almost every Shadow deck is topping the curve with a market Vara, and many of the Shadow mirrors are a race to Vara. Cultist can ramp to it, but for the sake of the format as a whole, Vara’s gotta go to open up more opportunities for other expensive cards to be played to close out the game. One card should not be how almost every midrange or control deck wins.
Thanks for reading this week’s Meta Monday! Now that players have started to focus on Throne more, the meta should keep developing and I am expecting to see some more interesting decks show up in the coming weeks. I’m not sure what to expect from potentially balance changes, but for the sake of Expedition, hopefully, next week we can spend discussing the changes.
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