Welcome back to TES:Legends Meta Snapshot! Aside from the FrostySpark expansion, not too much has changed since August. However, this time there will be ratings, both popularity and power level, to back up the tier list. These ratings are determined by top ladder and tournament players.
Optimized and adaptable decklists – these decks dominate the high legend ranks and are very popular in high ladder play.
Power Level: 9.3
Did you know that 70% of the top 10 ladder finishers used Telvanni, and 5/7 of these Telvanni were TC conscription.Telvanni has access to some of the best control tools in the game; it has both spell based and board centric control tools, immense amount of cycle, and tempo in the form of shackle, ramp and loads of cheap minions. All these factors make it an extremely flexible deck versus aggressive decks. Combine these tools with engines and finishers such as Namira’s Shrine, Necromancers and Tullius Conscription, it not only becomes an efficient deck versus aggro, but has one of the best game with conscription reading “win on 11.”
The only decks that can overcome its late game are Ramp Warrior, Nix Combo, or Abomination. It is impossible to out grind Conscription and Journey, and even if you’ve Twilighted Conscription, they still have cycle or Namira’s Shrine to cycle their whole deck.
With months of refining and experimentation, it has evolved into a very efficient at dealing with both midrange and aggressive strategies, with Mid Sorcerer being its only real weakness due to large amounts of wards. Unfortunately, Mid Sorcerer struggles versus the other half of the meta, and so Telvanni Conscription runs rampant on ladder.
Plzdonhakme’s Conscription: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/51305/shrine-cons-telvanni
Power Level: 9.2
In my (EndoZoa) opinion Hlaalu very well might be the best deck for high level ladder. In the past month or two many of TESL’s top players have put a lot of work into the deck and as a result it has ascended beyond the point of power that it had during the Masters Series qualifiers, no longer just a high rolly explosive deck that can win any match up, but now a resilient, interactive aggressive deck, able to maintain tempo parity with any other deck in the game even with average draws, while retaining the classic Hlaalu god draws that just end the game on turn 3. Some key innovations like increasing the density of 1 drops, with the adoption of key cards like Deepwood Trapper, have given the deck a more consistent curve both early and late, as it is now easier than ever to weave the right reactive tools in where they are needed. Hlaalu has significant resource extension which makes it so that the win condition of running it out of cards is much harder to achieve than it is against many aggro decks.
Hlaalu has access to so many tools that it can be teched for any matchup. The combination of a low curve, resource extension, and burst means that Hlaalu is favored against midrange decks that don’t have such tools and rely primarily on board development. It also seems to be a strong choice against Telvanni since it can win several turns before conscription/nix-ox is a factor. It most often loses to itself rather than a matchup mismatch by nature of playing many cards with highly variable strength and being a 75 card deck.
Joe’s jlkjlk: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/51260/jlkjlk
*Credits to Endozoa
Power Level: 8.4
Aggro Warrior has established itself as a very strong deck and has been tier 1 for a while now. It has had much success on both ladder and in tournaments. The archetype offers very strong and efficient board development plays in turns 2-5, so it usually develops a board before the opposing control deck can find the right removal. We’ve seen some versions include catapults to combat the deck’s natural weakness against lower curve decks (i.e. tokens). There are many versions floating around but they all try to do the same thing – play very efficient big minions on curve and go face as soon as the board has been won.
Aggro Warrior is very difficult to control as it usually plays cultist on top of very large minions such as bleakcoast troll or sower of revenge – so it’s usually favoured against any slower or spell-based controlish deck though the deck is somewhat susceptible to lethal minions. Against other midrange decks, it can go either way as the matchup is largely dependent on the ring and individual skill. Warrior’s main weakness is that it doesn’t have any comeback mechanics – so it’s difficult to win games against faster, lower curve decks – such as tokens or hlaalu – as they usually develop a board earlier and take value trades.
Frenzy’s Aggro Warrior: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/50065/aasdastrz
Either not as strong or as popular as decks in tier one, they still see plenty of play and can find favorable matchups against tier one decks.
Power Level: 7
Tribunal has the best control spells in the game, but lacks a consistent finisher, as opposed to Conscription. Piercing Twilight gave it extra tools to deal with other late game decks, but traditional control decks has always struggled on TESL ladder, as it loses to unknown decklists and greed.
Pathmage Tribunal has the ability to outtempo conscription and other control decks with Doppelgangers and Pathmage spam. Eyenie’s Prophecy Tribunal utilizes fervor and Atromancers to turn into a greedy midrange deck against conscription. Unite Tribunal uses Riften Pickpocket to cheat a green to gurantee Unite combos with Jarl Balgruuf. These win conditions make tribunal have a decent chance versus other control decks.
Tribunal shuts down aggro when it hits its removal and guards on curve. It will struggle against Cultist, or when its removal is awkward and loses to a snowballing board.
Thuldir’s Pathmage Tribunal: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/46944/2-legend-july-2018-pathmage-tribunal
More niche (weaker) Tribunal lists:
Eyenie’s Prophecy Tribunal: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/51743/clown-fiesta-control-tribunal
Warriors7’s Unite Tribunal: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/47508/jarl-unite
Power Level: 7.2
Midrange dagoth is a scary deck that has been doing very well on ladder. When compared to other midrange decks, dagoth shines with flexibility as it has access to lots of card techs to beat both aggro and control. However, this also means that it’s difficult to build the deck correctly and a lot of the choices are meta calls. It has access to difficult to control minions and the many drains mean that it often outraces lower curve decks. Hand of dagoth is still a scary powerhouse. While people have been experimenting with many different archetypes in dagoth, the midrange version has shown the best results. Compared to hlaalu, it has higher curve but is also more difficult to control.
Midrange dagoth has access to so many drains that aggro/other midrange is usually not a problem to beat. This is probably the best deck to pick up if you are looking to combat midgro warrior as the combination of a good curve, hand of dagoth and tel vos makes the match very favoured. However, this archetype somewhat struggles against decks with a lot of hard removal – such as control tribunal. It can also lose to bad draw when facing faster board-based decks – such as tokens.
Power Level: 9.3
Very few people run Nix Telvanni on ladder, probably due to either being on mobile or past client bugs causing the combo to end early. It remains one of the strongest decks, having a two card combo, Pathmage and Dark Rebith on 13 Magicka, to just win the game. At the end of the day, it is a Telvanni Control deck and can simply win that way.
It is has the best late game finisher in the game, and is very hard to interact with its combo finisher unless with hand/deck/graveyard hate that can potentially disrupt the combo. Even then, it just has insane amount of cycle and value generator (Divayth Experiment, Uprising) to win the game through sheer value and tempo.
Warriors7’s Nix: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/43929/nix-ox-revitalised-otk-20
Power Level: 9.2
Abomination, as well as Telvanni Nix, almost did not make it to the meta snapshot due to the extremely low popularity ratings. However, since the power level of these decks are so high, it felt it would be unfair to leave them out. FrostySpark has buffed the archetype by introducing Karthspire Scout and Shadowmarking, allowing the deck to have an even lower curve. The goal of the deck is to use Disciple of Namira, combined with Thieves Guild Fence, to cycle your whole deck by crushing your own creatures to Journey them as early as turn 7.
Since this is currently the best Journey deck, it can beat most late game decks. It will struggle versus rage decks, as it cannot answer rage targets such as Vigilant Giant, Child of Hircine etc.
It does well to stop bleeding versus midrange with its various small guards, as it can stall and if a Thieves Guild Fence or Disciple sticks, it is game over. Drain Vitality is still very powerful, especially versus Catapult decks. It can struggle versus tokens or Hlaalu, where the small guards are mitigated by their tokens.
Petamax’s Abomination: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/37653/petamax-abomination-30
Power Level: 6.9
Aggro Crusader is a deck that sees a lower representation on ladder than it likely deserves to, capable of starting very aggressively with a number of high tempo plays available to it out of the gate, utilizing cards like natural Nord Firebrands and Pit Lion to get way ahead of the curve. It enjoys a high density of buffs from cards like Fifth Legion Trainer, Orc Clan Captain, and Steel Scimitar, with a low curve to take advantage of them. What sets this deck apart from the top tier Aggro Hlaalu lists that run many of the same cards, is the even higher density of those critically powerful cards that allow it to sustain pressure throughout the game. Withered Hand Cultist makes action oriented responses to its board states even more inefficient, cards like Crusader’s Assault, Eastmarch Crusader, and Ash Berserker offer significant resource extension, and buffs from Divine Fervor make the deck even more difficult to answer as games go late.
The single relevant introduction to the deck from the FrostSpark expansion was Green Pact Ambusher. Ambusher can increase Crusader’s prophecy density, and represents a free +4 to race math. The implications in aggro mirrors alone make it highly worthy of consideration.
Aggro Crusader is a difficult deck to control with its ability to go wide fast, and lockout Ice Storm with Cultists or quickly refill with its prodigious resource extension. It’s rare that a control deck will be able to win via attrition, as with Divine Fervor and Ash Berserker in particular, it is a legitimate risk that the Crusader deck can both snowball board and outresource the opposition. However, with timely answers to its value engines, gaining board advantage or stalling to a wincon is possible. Against other aggressive decks, the most critical factor, aside from ring, prophecies, and player skill, are how light the early draws are for the crusader deck. With FLT or OCC online, or a timely Steel Scimitar, Firebrands, Marked Men, and Mudcrabs make for incredible early tempo, and can be quickly snowballed by Pit Lions, Cloudrests, and Hive Defenders.
*Credits to immortalaugust
Average in terms of power level or popularity. Still have a significant meta presence.
Power Level: 7.2
Mid sorc’s gameplan is to get on board on turn 2 at the latest and aggressively use ring charges to curve out hard from turns 1-4. The gameplan is to chip face against slower decks while taking trades to play around board wipes as much as possible and against aggressive decks play a more mid bm style of heavy board control with negation, the few guards available, and either set up to win with mentor’s ring on barrows stalker or a big lethal push backed by bone colossus being played, hopefully on an even board state coming into turn 7. This is the one deck that Wild Incarnate could potentially shine, as sorcerer has lacked resource extension towards the late game.
Mid sorc has a favorable matchup against telvanni, conscription and nix ox. This is due to its very aggressive control of the board and the plethora of wards in the deck. Telvanni’s removal suite is generally very poor against mid sorc with the big exception of sorcerer’s negation. Playing around ice storm is very possible with this deck so a smart player should be able to hold onto the board post board wipe and finish the game before telvanni can get online.
Mid Sorcer can struggle versus the Tier 1 aggro decks, which limits its power level. It doesn’t have the speed of Hlaalu to go under, or the burst potential of Warrior to close out games.
Burnthesky’s Sorcerer: https://imgur.com/vlp139b
*Credits to BurntheSky
Power Level: 5.5
Ramp Warrior is a very popular deck since the expansion, due to the new Sword of Inferno. The Sword has given the deck the removal it needs, as well as having slay, and self-slay synergy. It is a very board centric control deck, and if it manages to control field lane, Unstoppable Rage will completely dominate the shadowlane. Its ability to ramp is insane, with tools such as Tree Minder, Venomtongue, Pure Blood Elder, and the Sword of the Inferno.
Since it uses lethal minions to control board, it is weak versus aggro with curse, ward or calm effects. Otherwise its lethal minions are quite good at controlling board, while Unstoppable Rage combined with Ramp will close out the game versus aggro.
Against control, it can outtempo, outdraw or simply kill the opponent with Rage combos from hand. Even graveyard hate isn’t even enough to stop this deck with the sheer amount of ramp and draw the deck can generate when given the time to assemble the combos.
Warriors7’s Ramp Warrior: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/52095/raging-batferno
Power Level: 7.1
Tokens have fallen out of favor in terms of popularity recently. However, the power level of the deck relative to other decks has not changed all that much. The strongest control decks in the meta currently all run Ice Storm, which is typically thought of a death sentence for tokens. However, with smart play and resource management, all is not lost (well, unless your opponent with 75 cards happens to draw into the second and/or third Ice Storm). The Token Mage list that I shared can easily maintain top 100 status in the current meta, and feels good for climbing. I think the prevalence of people testing archer decks recently actually increases the power level of Token Mage specifically, allowing the wards provided by Daggerfall Mage and Wardcrafter to shine. Token Spellsword is arguably the best of the tokens at the moment, with several additional inclusions that temper the ability of Ice Storm to completely ruin your gameplan (Windkeep, Catapult, Spirit, Mammoth).
Tokens of all classes have the ability to snowball relatively quickly, and therefore run under most control decks. Further, with the inclusion of Bruma Profiteer, have the ability to go slightly more mid range and control the board until dropping a Divine Fervor allows for a 1-2 turn kill. One of the other weak matchups for tokens is Mid BM, which also isn’t seen much on the ladder lately. Why play tokens when you can run Aggro Hlaalu with more card draw and more reach? Well, a 50 card deck should provide consistency across time, which is one of the most important characteristics to a deck for me. Last, but certainly not least, you get to play Resolute Ally, who has the coolest attack voice line… “Prepare to die!”
Sample Decklist: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/52504/token-mage
*credits to Dukemo
Power Level: 6.7
With the release of FrostSpark, slay archer has risen the ranks and become as close to a meta deck as it has ever been before. It uses the lethal gambit package to defend itself early against aggressive decks, then uses Torval Extortionist as a backbone in order to play out multiple large threats per turn between turns 6-9 and often times finishing the game with either a rage combo or with reach from Aspect and Tazkad.
Archer is generally favored against aggro decks such as warrior and hlaalu but it can sometimes draw a janky hand and get run over. Conscription Telvanni is also usually a favored match up because of the weak threats they play presenting multiple slay opportunities, as well as their lack of direct removal options giving a lot of opportunities to end the game with rage in the later stages of the game. This deck struggles the most against combo decks such as abomination and nix ox as they can often stall long enough for their combos to end the game.
Frenzy’s Slay Rage Archer: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/52260/0-win-meme-deck
*Credits to Frenzy
Power Level: 7.3
Mid BM is one of the strongest and most popular decks in high level tournament play. And yet on the meta snapshot it falls to the bottom of tier 3, why? For starters, Mid BM’s lack of popularity is somewhat astonishing. It is quite rare to see someone other than a tournament player playing the deck on ladder, despite how much visibility it has had in the competitive scene. In addition, the deck actually is significantly weaker on ladder than it is in tournaments. The biggest weakness of Mid BM on ladder is its biggest strength in tournament play: its flexibility. Mid BM can take on many different roles and the way it plays out each game can be quite unique. Playing the constant dance of aggressor and defender is something the deck excels at, and this flexibility and ability to adjust to what the opponent brings to the table allows the deck to massively reward pilots who are able to find the best ways to adjust to their opponent’s gameplans. Unfortunately, on ladder your opponents deck list is not available, and while you can reasonably deduce a good number of the cards in your opponent’s deck based off the first few they play, you will have very little information going into the mulligan (which changes dramatically matchup to matchup) and will not be able to play around your opponents specific tech choices or try to read their hand as effectively as you will not have context to observe their play with. All of these things cause linear proactive decks to have big boosts in power on ladder, and Mid BM is anything but a linear deck. It is still extremely powerful and a deck you should learn if you intend on playing in tournaments but ladder is not where it is best positioned.
Mid BM fills the classic ccg midrange matchup distribution of “53% against the field”. It’s win rates in different matchups are much closer than some other decks with very polarized matchups. Depending on tech choices, BM pilots can adapt the deck for their expected metagame. The density of cards like skaven, cradle, and quartermaster can influence the aggro matchup while tech like stronghold eradicator to add additional 5 density or belligerent giant can help improve the deck’s proactive ability.
Endozoa’s Battlemage: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/51335/seyda-queen
*Credits to Endozoa
Prophecy mage used to be the very top of the meta back in the days when atromancer was 9 magicka. Unfortunately, it seems to have fallen out of flavour. Part of that is that it’s too heavily reliant on hitting the prophecies – and there is nothing as frustrating as not hitting them when you most need them. Even though Wilds Incarnate (moose) helps with resource extension, it still sometimes struggles against control decks because it doesn’t have the early board development plays of, say, a warrior or hlaalu.
Power Level: 5.8
Tempo Assassin is a pretty heavy meta call in the sense that it is one of the best decks in the game to take into a very aggressive field, possibly being the best deck at the aggro mirror, but has major weaknesses to efficient aoe and guards. One of the big benefits the deck has in tournaments as opposed to ladder is that it can be put in lineups planning to ban tribunal, one of its absolute worst matchups, and so can be used more in situations where it can shine. On ladder, the days where you run into a lot of hive defenders and firebolts will be rough, but the deck when piloted well can squeak out wins in very surprising positions and will absolutely dominate the matchups where it excels. The deck has very low popularity so you don’t generally have to prepare to face it on the ladder at the moment but it is a powerful tool to have at your disposal when the meta is right.
Endozoa’s Tempo Assassin: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/51342/viper-con-queso
*Credits to Endozoa
Power Level: 4.6
Redoran Conscription is a deck that has seen little experimentation and refinement compared to most other decks in the meta, despite its relative popularity. Though it has the potential to be a higher tier deck, in current iterations it suffers most from inconsistency. What defines the deck is its end game; through the use of area buffs and Praetorian Commander’s summon ability, the deck aims to create overwhelming pressure when it conscripts, both through an extremely difficult to control board state and immediate burst. Because of the lack of standardization however, the early gameplan tends to vary between lists. Some lists choose to include a very high density of hard removal, which, while effective against midrange strategies that look to apply pressure by going tall, is exceptionally vulnerable to refined aggro strategies. Refocusing on efficient creature combat utilizing buffs and pings, better allows it to deal with early aggression, and Doomcrag Vampire is a possible inclusion that can synergize with these pings to enable extremely grindy gameplay. Redoran shines when it has the opportunity to be proactive – when it has room to breathe, it can make value plays and assemble pressure, setting itself up to close out games strong. It makes particularly effective use of Odirniran Necromancer, as after a buff it can chain itself for immediate board presence, bring back a Hive Defender to defend against aggression, or bring back Praetorian Commander to further secure late game value. It should be noted that Namira’s Shrine is a possible inclusion that can help mitigate TC Redoran’s low curve and inconsistency.
Against control decks TC Redoran needs to find its draw and its buffs. If it can manage its resources well and get its buffs online before the opponent reaches their own win condition, then it can close games out – if it can’t do so in time, then it is going to struggle. When navigating games where there is significant late game pressure, and conscripting comfortably is not an option, then given the density of buffs it can apply a pseudo-Math Crusader strategy. By amassing reach and bursting the opponent down in 1-2 turns from hand, Redoran doesn’t even need to cast conscription. Against aggressive decks, Redoran will survive if it finds its early high tempo plays to maintain board parity and answer threats efficiently. Bruma Profiteer, Redoran Forerunner, and Barrow Stalker provide lifegain tools to stabilize with, and given the right conditions, in conjunction with a strong board state, they can be used to safely flip pressure onto the aggro opponent. If it can reach its conscription turn, Redoran can effectively stabilize with said lifegain tools as well as the possible inclusions of Nord Firebrand, Ashlander Zealot, and Stormcloak Vanguard to help clear the board.
immortalaugust’s Shrine TC Redoran: https://www.legends-decks.com/deck/52626/shrine-tc-redoran
*Credits to immortalaugust
A very budget friendly deck that is able to climb the ladder very quickly. Experienced players will know easy navigate around this deck, but it still has the potential to go under and burst opponent’s deck. Its gameplan is to race opponents by having prophecies in deck, and simply smash every damage into face, using burst such as Alit, Camlorn Hero and Lightning Bolt to close out games.
Quick Tip: You don’t need to play 30+ prophecies like some lists probably do! The point of the prophecies is to race aggro decks and hitting 2/5 will likely be good enough to win most games. Adding more just damages your already weak control matchup for very little gain in the aggro matchups. Hit face really hard, make sure to use battlemace before you run out of stuff on board.
BurntheSky’s Prophecy Battlemage: https://imgur.com/C9l1WIR
*Credits to BurntheSky
Top 10 Finishes
- Traitor-Joe: Hlaalu
- TheSirChoate: Telvanni Conscription
- Warriors7: Telv Ox, Jarl Unite
- Frenzy: TC Telvanni
- ThallionDark: Telv Ox
- Thuldir: Telvanni Conscription
- Gumchoo: Hlaalu
- Jele77: Telvanni Conscription
- Plzdonhakme: Telvanni Conscription
- RedSoX: Telvanni Conscription* (puts telvanni to 80% in top 10)
We did a community ratings on the decks this time! Here are the results if you’re interested: https://goo.gl/FNFkEs
Meta Snapshot Discussion
Here is the VOD to the meta snapshot discussion with Karakondzhul and Warriors7. Timestamps are provided below for the different parts.
Thanks to Traitor Joe, BurntheSky, Dukemo, immortalaugust, FierceInfinity and petamax for the decklists and writeups!
Thanks to Team Listeners, Team Rankstar and the community for the help with the ratings!
Use the code “TRS12” to get 12% off your order at InkedGaming.com and support Team Rankstar directly!