Editor’s Note: With all of the craziness of multiple conventions around the U.S. we are sorry for the delay in Meta Monday this week. We hope to be back on schedule next week as we get journey closer to Xulta.

Welcome to Meta Monday, presented by NotoriousGHP.
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As always, if you want to contribute data and have your name featured in the article, make sure to submit your games to this form. If your opponent is on an off-meta deck, please specify some pieces to their deck. If you have a large data set (Over 50 games), you can DM it 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 have a sample of 449 games.

Meta Game Breakdown:

Tier 1:
Skycrag Aggro: 12.03%
Tier 1.5:
Jennev Peaks: 8.91%
Xenan Midrange: 7.79%
Combrei Midrange: 6.90
Praxis Midrange: 6.49%
Tier 2:
Stonescar: 5.79%
Tier 2.5:
Skycrag Control: 4.89%
Feln Control: 4.23%
Winchest Midrange: 4.01%
Diogo Combo: 4.01%
Tier 3:
Argenport Midrange: 3.79%
Hooru Midrange: 2.89%
Tier 4:
Reanimator: 1.78%
Elysian Midrange: 1.56%
Rakano Aggro: 1.56%
Mono Fire: 1.56%
FTJ Alessi: 1.34%
Argenport Control: 1.11%

Meta Analysis:

This week’s Meta Monday starts off the same way it has for many weeks where I mention Skycrag Aggro variants being the only tier one decks, then we move on to the interesting parts. We see quite a bit of fluctuation in tier 2 this week, with Praxis Midrange being the only remaining deck from last week, but most notably all 4 archetypes are playing time. Normally, this is instead fire and every deck playing torch, but instead Xenan, Combrei and Praxis midrange are all time based midrange strategies that rely on playing big and powerful threats each and every turn to over power the opponent. We also see Jennev Peaks continuing to be the best good stuff pile deck, as it’s overall card quality is higher then most while having a lot of flexibility in builds.

Jumping into the world’s shortest tier 2, we see for the first time I can remember, Stonescar being lower then tier 1.5. This is likely due to the deck not seeing any major innovations lately, dropping down its popularity alongside Jennev Peaks being strong against it. With this in mind, I do think Stonescar is still one of the top decks of the format and if we start to see more ranked ladder format tournaments, I expect it to show up more again.
This week’s tier 2.5, is made up of a lot of the decks that keep fluctuating in popularity with Feln Control, Winchest Midrange and Diogo combo. The interesting addition to this is Skycrag Control. This is a deck we highlighted last week, and I am not surprised in any way that this deck has really picked up in popularity, because it has shocked me with how powerful it is. Garden of Omens did wonders for this deck and I think moving forward a consistent 2 faction control deck could be one of the places to be in this Meta Game filled with decks that aren’t trying to grind you out.

Archetype Analysis – Time Midrange

Why did Time Midrange variants perform so well this week? Although it may be my least favorite archetype to pilot, Time based strategies haven’t been overly popular for a while now since many decks do more efficient yet just as powerful things. This week saw quite the drop in Stonescar popularity, one of Time’s natural enemies in the format. Stonescar is fast enough to get on the board early, yet grindy enough with strong top end options such as Ghodan or Tasbu, to keep up in the late game, topped off with an amazing set of removal spells against an almost all mono color unit archetype. As Stonescar fell off a bit, Time Midrange has an opportunity to shine, being quite good into Skycrag Aggro, while also having cards like Amaran Stinger that make decks like Jennev Peaks struggle. So the question is, which one should you play?

There are really three playable Time decks right now, Combrei Midrange, Praxis Midrange and Xenan Midrange. Let’s break them down!

Combrei Midrange: Combrei Midrange is the most ramp reliant strategy of the three, lacking cards like Heart of the Vault or Xenan Temple for insane swings, it instead relies on stronger effects that happen the turn the card is played. Cards like Telut or Marshal Ironthorne, for instance . Combrei Midrange also goes over the top the best, with access to cards like The Great Parliament, Martyr’s Chains, Siraf and Marshal Ironthorne Combrei likely plays the best long game. It’s also the only deck with strong sweeper interaction, although all have access to market Dissociate, Combrei has Sword of Unity and Stand Together to destroy someone relying on a sweeper.

Praxis Midrange: My least favorite deck, is the one that is usually the most explosive of the three. Having access to cards like Torch, Amaran Stinger and Heart of the Vault, Praxis has access to the most cheap interaction while also benefiting the most from a early Initiate of the Sands. Praxis relies on getting on board early, and slamming more threats to stay ahead instead of attempting to grind, but always threatening its terrifying Heart of the Vault. Heart of the Vault holds this archetype together, as one of the best units in the game that can help keep you in any game when you find one showing up on the top of the deck. Praxis is definitely the worse of the three options at surviving board clears, but is the only archetype with a strong standard, Shugo Standard. Shugo Standard allows Praxis to have additional reach and is the only one of these decks that can utilize combat tricks, and in some variants creates insane situations with Darya.

Xenan Midrange: Xenan Midrange is the slowest of the three Archetypes, but is the one who gets to play the most cards at Fast or Ambush speed. Often playing cards like Ebon Dune Smuggler, Ayan, Xumucan and Saber-Tooth Prideleader combined with removal in Banish and Annihilate, Xenan gets to be the most flexible strategy of the three. Xenan also has access to the only Site, Xenan Temple. This card is excellent, and allows Xenan to both outgrind most decks, and play interaction in the same card. This card is also great to play right after playing a unit with Ambush at the end of turn. Xenan doesn’t often rely on ramp cards, as its cards typically stop at 5 cost unlike the other 2, trying to hit 6 or 7 power.

Which one is best? To me, the answer is clear, Xenan. Xenan Midrange has the most interaction while also getting to play at fast speed often enough making it quite difficult to play against. I use to rate this deck quite low, but it has certainly grown on me.

This has been NotoriousGHP with Meta Monday.

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