Another week, another ETS dominated by Stonescar! As everyone’s been saying for the last month, the only good decks are based in Stonescar on ladder and in ETS, and this event proved that out again! … Wait a second …
Nope! While Stonescar did represent a large portion of the field, it didn’t achieve the same level of success it did at last week’s event. While Fire was in every deck in the top 4, it was primarily partnered with Justice this week in the form of Armory and Rakano. Quarry did make it into the decks of both finalists, which is possibly to be expected as the most versatile of the cards added in Jekk’s Bounty.
As always, the bracket and decklists for all events from Season 3 can be found on our tournament results page.
While these number seems high, both decks were only brought by 4 players, with 2 pilots from each making top 8. Those numbers are more indicative of very those successful runs. Going into Round 3 of the Swiss, all 4 Rakano players were 2-0, where they then started to encounter the mirror and some of the Armory players in the upper half of the bracket. The Armory players went 5-1, 5-1, 4-2, 2-3, with the 4-2 not making Top 8 on tiebreakers.
- Burn: 66% (Single instance of the deck brought)
- Midrange: 64%
- Jito Queen: 33%
- Burn Queen: 50%
- Sacrifice: 25%
Unfortunately for the Burn Queen and Jito Queen players (or fortunately for the Armory players), they were never paired up against Armory decks. Bringing either Queen deck feels like a meta call that didn’t pan out.
Stonescar Sacrifice also performed poorly – it could be that Bait is a bit too all-in, as both players that brought it had Bait in main deck, whereas Illunga only had it in his sideboard last week. It could also be that Scraptank is truly the MVP of the deck, as neither player included it in their 90, whereas Illunga has Top 8’d with four copies of Scraptank in two consecutive weeks.
- Finkel 4F: 60%
- Nicto: 20%
- Icaria Blue: 36%
- TPJ: 44%
Big Combrei: 50%
Feln Control: 40%
Felnscar Control: 36%
Felnscar Control also seemed to be a victim of the pairings, mostly getting “teamkilled” by other Control decks. All the pilots of Felnscar only managed to hit a single Stonescar opponent.
VSarius, a 4F Control pilot, has claimed that he believes 4F can be the dominant slow deck in the format – its winrate does show promise. In a format with sideboards, it does have extreme flexibility in card selection choice.
You might be wondering – if so few Control decks performed well, how does Control have a positive winrate for the tournament? As a somewhat controversial classification, I have Armory as a control deck in my stat tracking program. This has two effects: Armory winning is a win for Control and Armory vs a different Control deck is considered a mirror match and thus is not counted for stats.
Once the classification for Armory is changed, this number drops to 42%. Armory’s nature of being the anti-Control Control deck certainly shows here, as it did knock out a number of Control decks in the Swiss portion of the event.
1st: komodo (Traditional Armory) 2nd: ExKirby (Traditional Armory) 3rd: Unearthly (Rakano Plate) Sorlix (Righteous Rakano) 5th: CATalyst (Big Combrei) Illunga (PraxiScar Sacrifice) JadePhoenix (Stonescar Midrange) TheSkeeJay (Vodacombo)
Illunga returns to the Top 8 this week with a modified version of his Stonescar Sacrifice deck from last week, this time adding in Time for Ephemeral Wisps and Vault of the Praxis. As a proponent of PraxiScar Kalis for the same cards, I found this deck to be incredibly creative. While it has some of the game-ending strength of versions with just Stonescar, it goes late much better thanks to the Ephemeral Wisps stalling games and turning sigils into cantrips with Vault of the Praxis. A highlight showing off this deck’s sweet synergies was made by aReNGee and can be found here.
JadePhoenix also returns to the Top 8 for the second time this season, falling just short of his third career 6-0 in Swiss after a loss in Round 5. Unfortunately, he would have had a very hard time in Top 8 regardless of seeding, facing a field generally favored against Stonescar Midrange.
CATalyst and TheSkeeJay both represented Combrei, with CATalyst on a more traditional Big Combrei list and TheSkeeJay on a Vodacombo list. CATalyst’s list had more low to the ground options, in Marisen’s Disciple and Awakened Student in his side board.
Vodacombo has seen a rise in popularity with Combrei Emissary. TheSkeeJay did not include Combrei Emissary, going for a more traditional build with more interaction such as Harsh Rule and Desert Marshal. Multiple styles of this list have been tested, with RNGEternal writer, NeonBlonde, discussing his thoughts on the matter in his recent article.
Finally, I want to give a special cool deck shoutout to ZoochZ who brought Xenan Control. Sadly, he went 4-2 and took 9th place on tiebreakers, so he barely did not make Top 8. It’s an interesting list with a surprising way to defend the two Last Words he included in the list – Steward of Prophecy to silence ambush units, Sabotage to get rid of burn spells, and Subvert to generally pull cards from his opponent’s hand.
4 players brought Rakano to this event, 2 of them, Unearthly and Sorlix, made it to the Top 4. How about that conversion rate, huh?
The most interesting of these decks is Unearthly’s list, which he’s personally named “Cheers, Loves, the Cavalry’s Here!” in honor of the inclusion of Crownwatch Cavalry. This card saw some play at the beginning of Open Beta, when Pantsless Rakano was the popular style of Rakano, but quickly fell out of favor as Rakano Plate and Righteous Rakano variants became the faction’s answer to Shimmerpack and Burn.
Unearthly teched his deck primarily against Stonescar, and including Illunga’s PraxiScar deck, he went 3-0 against Stonescar. The inclusion of a sticky flying threat in Familiar along with a support package for it certainly helped against the wall of Ephemeral Wisps Illunga was looking to use as defense.
Sorlix’s list was a more standard Righteous Rakano list, but with a Jekk and Bailiffs. His wins in Swiss were almost exclusively against Stonescar lists, with his one loss to ExKirby on Armory.
BobertJoe and Toth201 were both on lists that attempted to split the difference between Plate and Righteous.
4 players brought Armory to this event, 2 of them, komodo and ExKirby, made it to the Finals. How about that conversion rate, huh?
Armory is a very interesting deck to customize, as it can take a tool-box approach using Rise to the Challenge as a tutor for all of its high impact cards aside from Harsh Rule and Smuggler’s Stash. This allows players to include silver bullet answer cards, such as komodo’s 1 Furnace Mage in his sideboard or ExKirby’s 1 Scraptank in his sideboard (… hmmm…). Both komodo and Juaspas included 4 Rise to the Challenge in their main deck, while ExKirby and PALLiD_MASK only ran 2.
Juaspas’s list was the most unique of the lists. It was more “Icaria Black” styled, with less of a focus on weapons and more units. It ran the full 4 Rakano Artisans.
Two of the four armory lists cut Armorsmith, with only ExKirby including 4 in main deck with PALLiD_MASK including 3 in his sideboard.
Komodo’s list, without Armorsmiths and with 4x Rise to the Challenge, was certainly the best equipped of the Armory decks to go long, but it can result in a bit of softness to fast decks – in the Swiss, ExKirby went 2-0 against Rakano, but komodo actually lost to Sorlix. Both, however, 3-0’d in their Top 8 match against Rakano.
Nerf Champion of Chaos! Nerf Argenport Instigator!
I’m glad to see Armory has risen from being a deck that’s unintentionally countered by the meta, as it’s been one of my favorite deck styles for a long time. It does have weaknesses, but whether or not our players can find a way to make those weaknesses less glaring remains to be seen!