This tier list is valid for Patch 1.31.6 (First Blood Draft Event)
Dead Reckoning Tier List # 2 – April 30th, 2018
Welcome to the “It’s still April” edition of the Tier List! aReNGee is back for this edition of the tier list, about a month after the last one. There have been a few changes since Dead Reckoning, but none of them were major sources of shifts. FTP Moment has gone from meme to staple to meme again in the course of this month (at least in tournaments), and some set two decks like Chalice have been making a comeback. The bottom fell out of the durdle market and aggro came back, and we’re back to seeing mostly decks that do things before turn 5.
As a note, the usual contingent of players I use to source the metagame have been absent for this tier list, so we’re trying out a new batch. Let us know how well we did!
The Tier List
Keep in mind that in a rapidly evolving metagame a single piece of new technology can throw everything out of whack, but the following list should be a good snapshot of how things were the week of the First Blood Event.
Explanation of Tiers
Tier 1 – These are the most successful and prominent ladder decks at the moment.
Tier 2 – These decks are powerful and great ladder choices, though noticeably less popular or powerful than tier 1 decks.
Tier 3 – These decks are usually quite powerful when they go off, but need a strong draw to work or have some other exploitable weakness. Fine choices for the ladder, especially if the metagame favors them or you minimize their weaknesses.
Tier 4 – These decks are less powerful than Tier 3 decks or are wildly inconsistent.
Decks in italics were not on the previous Tier List.
Official Tier List
No decks are tier 4 this list.
Explanation of Tiers
The more things change, the more they stay the same. We’ve gone full circle and the metagame has regressed back to a rock-paper-scissors trifecta. Argenport Midrange, as always, bullies the other midrange decks and sets itself up as the king. Skycraggo goes underneath everything and punishes anybody without Hailstorm and Titans. Praxis, especially the new token lists, works as a catchall to punish anything planning on beating Argenport and Skycrag. These three decks work together to push every other archetype around, with this faster, more aggressive Praxis list in particular moving the critical turn slightly earlier than we saw in past versions of this metagame. Nobody has yet found a way to beat all three of these decks at once, so the rest of the decks are judged based on how they stack up to the Big Three.
If this was Set Two Argenport, both Chalice and Grenadins would be having a ball. Both decks are extremely good at gumming up the ground and outlasting the midrange opposition, both are also pretty bad at controlling the skies. With the release of Inquistor’s Blade, the cows have claimed the skies as well and so both decks are relegated to Tier Two. Speaking of claiming the skies, TJP Fliers is the spiritual successor to Flight School – fliers, Stand Together, and a lot of leeway to ignore what your opponent is doing. Unlike Flight School, this deck plays a lot of individually powerful cards in addition to its powerful strategy, which would make it a fine tier 1 candidate – it certainly crushes most of Tier 2. However, build variance and a less consistent powerbase (than the two faction decks) leave it a hair too hit or miss for me to definitively put it tier 1 – its definitely head and shoulders above the rest of tier two, however.
Behind these three decks we have three control decks – FTx Moment, Feln, and Icaria Blue. I don’t have anything clever to say about Feln that I haven’t said before (too reliant on champion, can only build to beat two decks and there are three tier 1 decks, etc) and Icaria Blue is as Icaria Blue does. IBlue has not changed much since set three – Hailstorm is well positioned at the moment, but the Praxis matchup is more of a tossup and even Argenport can sometimes power through.
FTx Moment is the most interesting deck to talk about, especially since we haven’t had it on this list before. FTP Moment is the version most people are familiar with, though we’ve also seen FTS Momenet before. Basically, the strategy is: play a bunch of removal spells, then play Heart of the Vault into Moment of Creation into Molot and Nakova. You have generally either won or lost the game by this point. It sounds pretty simple, but actually piloting the deck is complex – all of your removal is damage based or permafrost, so you have no wraths to fall back on, and this deck leans harder on Hailstorm than any other serious deck I’ve ever seen. You need to be clever with your Equivocates and micromanage each turn – you need to sculpt the game to ensure you curve out perfectly every game, which is super weird for a control deck. Well played, the deck looks amazing, poorly played, you might as well load up Calderan Cradle.
It has been a rough month for Set One decks. Every Set One faction but Feln shows up at the bottom of our tier list while Set Two factions run the roost. Never in the history of Eternal have staples like Rakano, Combrei, Stonescar been less playable. Let’s break down why.
Yes, you can play Elysian and Xenan if you want to. I’m just hard pressed to find the reason why. You end up with all the weaknesses of the Tier 1 midrange decks with none of the advantages, and also an even worse Aggro matchup unless you’re on Hailstorm Elysian or some other nonsense. Given that these decks play out like significantly worse versions of Tier 1 decks, they’re down in Tier 3.
It took some doing, but two months of Hailstorm was enough for Rakano. With a removal suite of Torch, Vanquish, and literally no other cards, its easy for Rakano to get bogged down by a single unit, and former powerhouses like Unseen Commando and Whirling Duo aren’t surprising anybody anymore. Rakano will need to evolve, but there just don’t seem to be any cards there for it to do so at the moment.
Speaking of decks that die to Hailstorm, Stonescar. Given the popularity of Torch, it’s difficult for Stonescar to establish a board presence, and both Skycrag and the new Praxis Tokens deck can put it on the back foot. This can be an effective deck for punching through Argenport, but it struggles against the rest of Tier 1 as well as the majority of the decks trying to beat the tier 1 decks.
Finally, we come to Combrei. We say this a lot about Combrei, but receiving essentially no new cards (Auric Record-Keeper (aggro only) and time staple Worldbearer Behemoth aside) since The Empty Throne has left Combrei a bit long in the tooth. As with Rakano (or as I complain about with Elysian) the deck really hasn’t changed much and anything that survives nowadays can beat it. Turn 3 Combrei Healer into Turn 4 Titan just isn’t enough to beat aggro anymore, and it certainly isn’t enough to compete with midrange. Protect nerfs were the final nail in the coffin for traditional Combrei archetypes, and Control version are exercises in masochism.
Last, but not last on the tier list, are the Mask decks. More a point of historical interest than an actual tier list deck, a couple mask variants popped up for a few weeks during this time period. The coolest was a deck that used the long forgotten Amaran Camel to power up Mask, and relied mostly on Mask ultimates and Katra to actually win the game. The deck started out as a tournament success and moved to ladder for the two days it took to find out it wasn’t worth the effort. Eventually we’ll get more cheap ways to trigger mask multiple times, until then players have left this deck on the bench.