Tier lists are now updated on a monthly basis. The next update will be posted on January 25th, 2018.
This tier list is valid for Patch 1.27 (Dusk Road Release)
First Dusk Road Tier List – January 4th, 2018
It’s a whole new world! The third Eternal set, the Dusk Road, crashed into the Eternal metagame in a big way this December. Nearly 250 new cards, many of the powerful, and importantly, new options for power bases! Two color decks are now extremely consistent and can play XXXYYY cost cards with ease, and Champions are routinely activated on curve. Omens of the Past introduced a lot of reactive cards (Slay and Banish in particular) but Dusk Road introduces a whole bunch of new threats to put opponents on their back heels.
There has been a ton of experimentation and iteration since the set dropped on December 18th, and so much was still going on last week that we decided to let it settle a little more before we attempted to define it. There’s still plenty more to experiment with, but the meta has settled enough that we are able to call out where the major archetypes have landed – though they’re likely to shift again once the first couple tournament results come in.
There’s lot of important new cards to talk about, but we’ll get to those in the individual deck sections. Midrange was falling out of favor towards the end of Omens, and that trend continues here. Rather than the pure midrange lists, we have mostly aggressive decks and midrange leaning control. Single target removal is not at its best – banish, in particular, is out of its comfort zone as units are often cheap and replaceable or expensive and well defended. Decks are asked to deal with a wide variety of strategies – its the powerful linear decks and the flexible generalist decks that rise to the top.
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 first week of 2018.
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
MrNoTimeMan called it. Royal Burn, the new name for the Stonescar Burn decks, tops the charts at the very top of Tier One. The reason for both the name and the success are owed to one card, Vicious Highwayman, the so-called Bandit King. The rest of the deck hasn’t changed much, but he alone is enough to push the deck back to its former heights. Alongside Bandit Queen, you now have eight charging 4 drops that allow you to put a lot of pressure on slow decks even from an empty board. Against aggro, he’s even better – pinging a small unit is already value, but upon unit death he becomes impossible to block and gives you health back, making him impossible to race. Besides the new addition, the rest of the deck is just pure aggressive power – a solid plan when everyone is testing untuned decks. It’s not by a huge margin, but this royal duo deserve their place on the throne.
The more things change… Argenport Midrange returns as Tier One. Argenport didn’t gain a ton of powerful new cards from Dusk Road, but the consistency added by Crest of Vengence and the stability of a powerful, stable shell is enough to push it into the top. Able to play the triumvirate of Sabotage, Slay, and Protect, Argenport covers all angles at very low cost. A little weak against aggressive starts and vulnerable to flooding, when it draws well Argenport is a terror to behold.
Night has fallen! At least for a turn cycle, anyways. Feln Midrange has finally come into its own as a legitimate deck, vindicating Calmadir a full year later. The ability to play Champion of Cunning active on curve thanks to the crest, plus the addition of a few new powerhouse cards, has pushed this deck into the top echelons of play. While Feln Tempo fell off fairly quickly, Feln Midrange is able to play a slower gameplan backed up by high quality threats and answers. With card draw, removal, and powerful, resilient single card threats, Feln Midrange is difficult to survive and tougher to outlast.
Much in the same vein as Feln Midrange, Feln Control is sitting pretty. As always, its very good at clamping down on aggressive decks, and it also benefits from an easier-to-activate Champion of Cunning and the death of Armory. While it often plays fewer threats than Feln Midrange, it plays more answers and higher value cards that allow it to go longer against midrange and control decks without losing ground against aggro. However, it is a slower deck that is less effective at putting pressure on the opponent, so if it runs into a harder control deck it can quickly find itself in trouble.
Stonescar Gearcruncher is the real deal, but its not quite as strong as it would be in a more midrange based environement. It’s well set up against any ground based midrange deck, with ample blockers and removal. Eventually it will grind them out with an army of expenable robots. However, it falls flat against fliers and needs to chump early or is vulnerabe to being burned out, something both Feln and Royal burn can take advantage of. If you’re not teched for control, that matchup can be difficult as well.
Charge forward! Skycraggro is another aggressive deck that gets on the board early and pushes hard. The fastest aggro deck at the moment, Permafrost is an unfair card and double ChaFury draws kill very quickly. However, the deck has a lot of trouble punching through large units, especially Sandstorm Titan and Tavrod, and has difficulty finish the game if it falls behind. Survive the early onslaught, and Skycrag will run out of gas.
Another deck that survived Dusk Road with few changes is the omnipresent Big Combrei. Combrei did get a big boost in everyone’s favorite Ramp Dino, which does some really gross things with Marshall Ironthorn and Mystic Ascendant as well as just being a powerful card on its own – something Big Combrei is certainly in the market for. A whole lot of beef, relatively inexpensive cards and powerful lategame pull Combrei through. The meta can change but the OG dinosaurs remain strong.
Speaking of ancient decks that DID undergo major changes, meet Unseen Rakano. It turns out a lot of Rakano units have two battle skills, which turns Unseen Commando into nearly a Xenan Obelisk. Rakano moves away from the all-in weapons strategy that often left them with weapons stranded in hand, and instead opts for a fast go wide strategy. They’re now packing plenty of lifesteal, which makes them effective in the aggro mirrors, but they lack large haymakers, preferring to chip the opponent down. Vanquish means Titans are not a problem, the the deck is vulnerable to running out of gas and being unable to finish the job.
While not pictured here, Xenan Lifeforce actually got a ton of powerful additions. Dreamsnatcher and Amber Waystone are obvious includes, and even the innocuous Premonition Wisp has found a home. Xenan’s removal may not be at its best, but lifegain is a strong strategy against aggro and there’s enough power there to punch through control.
The deck nobody plays, Combrei Aggro has a whole lot of beef for not a lot of power. That’s a pretty good deal, and being able to abuse some of Combrei’s busted cards like Xenan Obelisk and Stand Together is another good draw. What the deck lacks is a good way to break through the ground – if it runs into bigger midgrange decks, its going to run into trouble. It’s also a bit weak to being rushed down early and burned out due to its low interaction. However, it punches early and hard and keeps hitting until its opponent falls down. It has a good shot of bashing through control and giving small midrange decks the boot.
A little slower and a little bigger than its Lifeforce brother, Xenan Midrange is a powerful deck, but not quite as good at doing what it does than other decks. It’s removal isn’t quite as efficient as Argenports and it’s not as good at abusing Worldbearer Behemoth and Mystic Ascendant as Combrei. Being second best in all its fields lands it in the third best category.
How the mighty have fallen. Once top tier, now Praxis Midrange scrapes by as a mediocre deck. Its weak early game forces you into either an aggressive strategy (which makes it difficult to play the powerful 5 and 6 drops Praxis is known for) or a Power Stone jump to 4 strategy, which is vulnerable to being overrun. You can fill in your early game with Torch and Purify, but then you get run over by X/4s, or you can play early units and hope to muddle through. There are plenty of powerful 4+ cost units to play, but Praxis generally finds itself behind on board before it can bring them to bear, and without the removal necessary to reclaim the board.
Armory comes in three different flavors, and all of them are flawed. FJS Armory (Traditional) has a solid decklist, but many weaknesses. FJP Armory (Icaria Blue) has fewer weaknesses, but no solid decklist. FTJ Armory (Visage) combines aspects from both of the other two decks, leaving it with no decklist and plenty of weaknesses. Armory’s crop was fairly sparse this set – bountiful in spells, perhaps, but barren in terms of good relic weapons, sources of armor, and payoffs for playing many relic weapons. Relic Weapons find themselves more and more often supplementing a control deck rather than taking center stage, and that’s likely to continue as more go wide decks and charge units appear.
The premiere fatties deck, Elysian Midrange got a new angle with Daring Pioneer. Combined with the stallbreaking power of Crystallize and the newfound usefulness of Permafrost, that carries the deck a ways. However, it remains week to aggro and control alike, preying merely upon the midrange decks – and that not very well. The core of the deck hasn’t changed since August 2016, and that’s whats really holding it back.
Winds, protect me! Hooru Control could use some protection, because while it got some cool new toys on the top end, its early game could use some work. Hooru Control is mostly Harsh Rule or bust at this point, and sometimes its just not in the top 20 cards. Hooru is really looking for a solid early game blocker to help it survive until its powerful lategame comes into play – much is gained by adding another faction.
Meet the new most hated deck in the game. Temporal Control is a control players dream, being nothing but draw and removal, and players hate losing to slow decks because the game drags on and on. However, Temporal games generally don’t drag on that long since once Temporal lands its namesake card, it generally Channels your face three times over two turns and you’re dead. Still, the deck isn’t too different from any previous TJP control deck in terms of the tools it has available, and has added weaknesses to relic removal. If it can’t reach 8 power, it literally can’t win, and there’s lots of decks out there that can punish something as durdly as this. Again, if Harsh Rule isn’t in the top 20, you’re in trouble.
I’m contractually obliged to add Spellcrag to the list, but I’ve never seen it and don’t think it’s very good. Here’s Neon’s take on the deck:
Spellcrag is a tempo deck that attempts to beat down with high-impact threats like Champion of Fury, Jotun Feast-Caller and Kaleb, Reborn supported by cheap interaction, good card velocity, and plenty of burn. Your aggro match ups are typically managed through cheap removal spells like Torch, Permafrost and Rockslide, while the density of aegis threats and counters makes your control match up quite good. Big endurance units like Sandstorm Titan and Tavrod can sometimes be challenging to take head-on, but you can often go around them and just burn your opponent out of the game.