This tier list is valid for Patch 1.25 (Tales of Horus Traver)
Omens Tier List #4 – October 19th, 2017
The metagame may have been settling towards mid September, but Tales of Horus Traver threw the metagame for a loop. The biggest, baddest cow on the market sharped his horns and Argenport’s winrate, giving every deck in the format a new problem card to think about. Horus Traver brought four more meta cards in Cinder Yeti, Crimson Firemaw, Power Stone, and Auric Interogator, giving every faction but Primal some powerful new toys to play with. Decks that could make best use of the new cards rose, and decks that couldn’t adapt to the new metagame fell hard. In particular, decks that can’t beat Tavrod have a tough climb ahead of them in the metagame.
With Argenport Midrange leading the way, midrange soup is back. Surviving aggro decks push hard and fast in an attempt to go under midrange, which forces “control” decks to lower their curves or play some anti-aggro cards that are less effective at going over the top. Some players have had success moving to the extremes of the spectrum, but the majority of decks right now are focused on brawling in the midgame and grinding out the lategame.
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 a week before Patch 1.26 probably comes out.
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 noticable 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
Explanation of Tiers
Tales of Horus Traver gave Argenport Tavrod, and Argenport Midrange seems to be the best shell to exploit him. While this is the obvious Tavrod deck, Argenport just does too many unfair things to honestly say its better to be on the other side of the table. Unanswered, Bartholo and Tavrod can both win the game on their own and this happens to be the faction best able to answer enemy Barts and Tavrods as well. Two lifesteal weapons makes racing a nightmare for aggro decks, making it tough to go underneath. The Tavrod decks do have weaknesses – flooding on weapons, mass removal, a weak late game in the absence of a good start – but the deck packs enough pure power it consistently puts opponents on the back foot. Play it, or play something that beats it.
Tavrod Armory reworks armory into more a midgame beatdown deck, with the difficult to stop curve of Tavrod -> Daisho -> Icaria at its fingertips. Tavrod plus weapons is a combo, and Quarry enabling turn 4 Tavrod is just unfair. Relic Weapons are extremely well positioned against Bartholo and its removal keeps Tavrod in check, then goes over the top. It is susceptible to fast starts because it can’t race with lifesteal like Midrange can, and is sometimes vulnerable to being ground out with Dawnwalkers (although Maiden builds have answers).
Praxis Midrange is a controversial Tier 1 inclusion, as it lacks answers to both Bart and Tavrod. While not great vs the other tier one decks, Praxis Midrange is the best non-Argenport midrange choice. Power Stone and Initiate let the deck skip past its awful early game and push towards the powerful higher cost units Praxis has access to. One of the best Dawnwalker decks, the deck packs enough late game punch to outgrind most opponents and warp means even an empty hand is unsafe. A more aggressive build with Soulfire Drake and Crimson Firemaw give the deck more midgame punch but less late game power.
Stonescar gets a marginal upgrade to Impending Dooms in the form of Crimson Firemaws (if you played Doom) but didn’t improve too much otherwise. However, with the metagame going full midrange, a low to the ground Rally deck can put opponents away quickly. Very few decks pack Lightning Storm, so you can freely go wide with Grenadin and Bandit Queen to victory.
Xenan decks are looking as good as they have ever been – Dawnwalker, Ayan and the new Interrogator give the deck lots of grindy 3 drops, and Banish is a fantastic card against everything but Tavrod at the moment. Xenan’s top end is a bit bland with only Champion of Mystery as an exclusively truly Xenan threat, and it lacks a truly broken card like Heart or Tavrod, which makes it the third best midrange deck at the moment.
Chalice decks slide a fair amount this patch – Tavrod forces them to switch to proactively using removal and they have limited ways to interact with Bartholo. Praxis and Xenan decks are both ready to go long, and Stonescar can go under. Chalice as a deck did not improve and now faces a ton of midgame pressure from current decks – no more can it rely on just grinding opponents out with 4/xs.
Traditional Armory decks hold fast and don’t play no cows. Unfortunately, Tavrod is pretty good, so you’re giving up a fair amount by not playing him. This maintains most of the strength of Tavrod Armory decks (relic weapons, Daisho + Icaria, mass removal) and usually has better weapons, but definitely lacks the pure power Tavrod offers. This version of the deck is fast falling by the wayside as players sharpen their
Skycrag decks are as strong as they’ve ever been – picking up two powerful new cards for Horus in Cinder Yeti and Crimson Firemaw. Unfortunately, the metagame is decidedly anti-yeti. Tavrod can’t be killed, Bart is impossible to race, the other midrange decks are dropping Titans in your way, and Aegis means nothing vs Armory. You need a very fast start to go underneath and you’re good at doing that, but Permafrost is not well positioned at the moment and most players are looking into Stonescar’s Rapid Shots and Queens.
Feln was in a much better place last week. The control decks are now going over the top of you, Armory has picked up popularity and that’s a horrific matchup, and there’s enough low to the ground aggro decks that its not safe to up your curve. You still excel at crushing the midgame matchups, but Chalice/control are Gift Waiting Room games and you can even lose to midrange if you’re unlucky enough not to have a removal spell for Tavrod on turn 5. Or they draw 2.
Elysian Midrange should be king in any midrange dominated metagame, right? While this was absolutely true a year ago, Elysian decks haven’t changed at all since then and everything else has gotten better. The fourth best midrange deck and far back at that, Permafrost not dealing with Tavrod might be the nail in the coffin. Argenport has Favor for prince and Slay for Cirso and Crystallize don’t win you the game when you have no board.
Rakano is not a happy camper, watching jealously as Argenport does Rakano’s weapon thing. You can’t race Bart or other aggro decks, Armory punches your units, and you’ve got exactly Vanquish for Tavrod. Too slow to be aggro but too low curve to be midrange, regular Rakano decks have suffered greatly in this metagame. Some players have responded by dropping their curves and going for a Rally style, but at that point you’re basically trading Queen and Rapid Shot for Finest Hour and Vanquish.
Combrei decks (big and small) aren’t the most popular at the moment. They can brawl with midrange but everyone has good late game now so they lack their previous inevitability. Like Elysian Midrange, the decks just haven’t improved in the last few months while everything else has gotten better. Perhaps some fresh new tech will invigorate the archetype. For what its worth, going full Vodacombo seems to be the most successful style of Combrei at the moment.
Tavrod Reanimator is a three, sometimes four color abomination that’s all about Tavrod and Vara. Toss stuff in the yard, play Grasping at Shadows and build into a board of units again and again. Good inevitability against boardwipes and a constant flow of power from Privilege of Rank, the majority of the deck is focused on enabling the combos so it lacks early game or proactive removal. A proactive deck that can beat Tavrod or a turn 5 Vara should have little trouble with it.
Xenan Control finds itself lacking in mass removal, and sitting back on its heels makes it more exploitable than its more aggressive Midrange cousin. It does pack good late game power and as Xenan does, grinds with the best of them, but if your cards don’t line up its liable to fall to aggro or even midrange decks before it really gets jamming. Also lacks the realiable 2 for 1s and card draw that keeps a control deck ahead of a midrange deck in the late game.
Hooru Control is not a deck that many see on ladder, but Finkel has been tearing it up with it. Maybe there’s something there?
Your horns must be this sharp to enter the format.
For the most part, these deck’s horns weren’t sharp enough. Attachements became Midrange and the other mediocre midrange decks died out. Owl Ramp seems to have been a flash in the pan, as was 4F Pile – the hoped for development did not occur.