Omens Tier List #3 – September 14th, 2017

This tier list is valid for Patch 1.24 (Faction Progression)

Omens Tier List #3 – September 14th, 2017

Hello all! It’s been nearly a full month since the last tier list and it is befitting that the Tier List is now moving to a monthly schedule. The metagame between June and August didn’t change to such a degree that there were major variations every two weeks, and while late August and early September happily came with a number of new decks we’re able to address them all here. September has been brutally busy and I wasn’t here at all for August, and in my absence Seek Power Gaming stepped up and wrote their own tier list. They used a slightly different system for ranking decks than we do (focusing more on power and less on popularity) and of course all lists are subjective and prone to their own biases, but HiThar and company did a commendable job of capturing the metagame.

I left the internet just as patch 1.23 hit, and while I speculated on the changes on the last tier list, it is now possible to discuss the actual effects of that patch. Aid of the Hooru became a real card at last, giving birth to the new Owl Ramp decks. Banish got a large buff that pushed it into Slay levels of efficiency, which improved the Xenan decks but doesn’t seem to have solved any of their underlying problems. Copper Conduit, a popular Xenan card alongside Dark Return, also took a significant hit this patch which may have contributed to Xenan Killers’ continuing decline in popularity. Armory was specifically targeted in the last patch and was indeed hit hard, but players quickly adapted to a more unit heavy build and the deck remains a staple, even if not at the same power level it was pre-nerf. Finally, aggressive Fire based decks that had been previously relying on Flame Blast and Charchain Flail for reach were mostly scared off of using either of these cards, and have moved to higher curves with more Obliterates and the like to compensate.

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 right after Patch 1.24.

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

Tier 1

Burn Queen, Chalice, Elysian Midrange, Praxis Midrange

Tier 2

Feln, Rakano, Skycrag, Armory Blue, Combrei Aggro/Midrange, Hooru Flyers

Tier 3

Argenport Attachments, Owl Ramp, TJP MidrangeBig Combrei/Voda, Xenan Control, Traditional Armory, 3F Midrange, Haunting Scream, Hooru Control

Tier 4

4F Pile

Unlisted

Argenport Hero, Shimmerpack, Xenan Midrange

 

Explanation of Tiers

Tier 1

Stonescar Queen may have lost Flame Blast, but it kept its Queen. One of the only decks in the game still able to play a go-wide strategy, it aims to end games quickly – but packs less punch than it used to. Many variants are adding more midgame cards for the games in which they don’t get the fast starts they need, which slows down the deck overall. For now, its given them an extra layer of power, but the meta will adapt to the slower, beefier Queen decks in time.

Chalice decks just keep looking better. Adept at grinding out midrange and control alike, its very difficult to go over the top of this deck while still having game on ladder. With aggro decks usually unable to sneak under chalice and midrange, the rock-paper-scissors game continues. At the moment midrange is keeping aggro in check and Chalice is grinding out everyone. Where will we go next? Owl Ramp and 4F (Greed) Pile seem to point at super top end control…

Elysian decks weren’t on this list at all last month, now they’re foremost on everyone’s mind. Whenever midrange soup appears, Elysian Midrange isn’t far behind. The deck hasn’t really changed over the months. Dawnwalker annoys control, False Prince is oversized for its cost, and Cirso or Crystallize can beat midrange on their own. With a very winnable Chalice matchup, midrange-killer Elysian is well positioned assuming you can survive against aggro.

Praxis Midrange isn’t nearly as good as it once was. Shatterglass Mage continues to be a solid player and Heart of the Vault is so good people “splash” for it, but the rest of the deck is a bit ponderous at the moment. If you emphasize midgame cards you lose a lot of ground against aggro, but emphasizing early game cards generally leaves you praying for topdecks against slower decks. It’s got poor matchups against Burn Queen and Elysian, which lands it solidly in fourth place, but is still one of the most popular ladder decks due to its power, flexibility, and the Heart of the cards Vault.

Tier 2

Feln finally has something to aim at that it can actually hit. Feln has always been a deck that’s very effective when built to specifically target one or two archetypes, and it finds that success now. Finkel, as is his way, found a solid targeted list. When you’re willing to sacrifice certain matchups for focused success, Feln can be a powerful player – this deck is quite powerful against aggro and certain kinds of midrange. Armory decks losing some punch helps Feln immensely, but Feln still has its weakness. This build lacks long game power seen in some other lists, though that can be adjusted to preference.

Rakano moved up as predicted, but not quite as much. Chalice’s omnipresence means the deck either needs to dedicate itself to flying over, which loses you ground in many other matchups, or hope to bash through with an early Plate. Burn Queen is also somewhat troublesome for Rakano, as the larger versions can still beat you even if you stabilize against their early aggression.

Skycrag keeps sliding down the list. Losing access to Flame Blast is a hit to its reach as Skycrag lacks good ways to break through a stalled board. Relying on speed and quickdraw doesn’t work when opponent after opponent is dropping Titan as early as turn 3 and stalling out. Obliterate has come out in force to try to solve that particular problem, but while you can edge out midrange some of the time you also struggle battling Chalice if they find their life gain units.

Armory Blue sounds like Icaria Blue, but it’s not. Reforge is a real card, especially now that Stash has been hit, and this deck takes advantage of it to the fullest. FJP control decks have been around for a long time in Omens and the weapon focus of this particular version allows it to step into the spot formerly occupied by Traditional Armory.

Low Curve Combrei decks take the next spot, and being low to the ground is important to keep up with aggro. A faster start can take some of the slower decks by surprise, and Stand Together is a key card at keeping Harsh Rules at bay. This deck often finds itself in a race, which is a tough place for a deck with no reach to be. Larger variants like Big Combrei run into both aggro and The Chalice Problem, which makes this the Combrei flavor of choice for the moment.

Hooru Aggro is a deck that many players began experimenting with again due to the release of a man on a bear, but it seems that Pearlescent Drake may be the card that breaks the deck into the prime time. Decks often have a flyers theme and include the cards we’ve all come to expect from Hooru Aegis, with most of the same strengths and weaknesses.

Tier 3

Aggressive Argenport decks take shape as players search for a fast deck to sneak under Midrange and Chalice. Play as many blockers as you like, chuckles the unblockable Bart. Aegis and Attachments have been a powerful combination before, but Argenport decks are notorious for awkward draws and running out of gas. We’ll see if the builds can come together in the long term.

Owl Ramp is a difficult deck to place, best summed up in the finkel quote, “I have seen it win, but not when I pilot it.” Playing the deck can be a frustrating experience as Aid of the Hooru would be a great card to cast if you weren’t stuck on 8-10 power with no other cards in hand. Turning the corner is a fantastic feeling and may be part of the deck’s popularity, but it sucks to play your twelve power card and still get ground down by Chalice, never mind all the aggro you must battle through. If the lists can evolve such that Aid of the Hooru was a reliable turn 8 play, the deck has wings, but otherwise I think its too much work for now.

TJP Midrange is the best of the unsuccessful midrange decks, is one way to put it. With reliable, powerful cards combining the best of Elysian and Combrei, the deck is certainly a powerful one. However, in the current metagame it adds to its vulnerabilities with weaker aggro matchups and power troubles compared to straight versions of either and ends up more or less diluting a solid Elysian list.

Big Combrei/Voda is one of the premier losers to The Chalice Problem. You’ve gone over the top of midrange, and then you just get ground out by 4/7s that draw cards. Without a good way to pressure Chalice or lock out other Midrange decks, its a lot tougher to turn the corner nowadays and aggro is always a problem for a deck this high on the curve.

Xenan Control is fun as hell and got better at killing things, but still lacking a real win condition. Mystic Ascendant is good and all, but it’s a value card, not a win condition in the same way Siraf or Icaria is. Without a win condition or real mass removal, Xenan Control is still missing a few pieces that would turn it into a legitimate control deck.

Traditional Armory is not dead, but I also think its not where you want to be. Dawnwalker after Dawnwalker forces you to play Maidens and at that point you’re better off going with a more unit focused build. Without Inspire and with a new, weaker Flail, its harder to get huge weapons, and a slower Stash doesn’t help matters.

3F Midrange decks are basically everyone not yet discussed. Dark Heart, Dark Combrei, Dragon Heart, Black Rakano, you name it, its in here. They’ve got their strengths and weaknesses but most of them are worse against both aggro and Chalice than decks higher on this list, which ends up with most pilots admitting they’d best look elsewhere to improve their matchups. Still, many of the decks are fun and not fully explored, so its a great place to go if you’re looking to brew.

Haunting Scream is only sometimes a real deck, but Minotaur Lighthoof is a legitimate card for pushing damage and infiltrators through and gives a bit of life back to the archetype. With everyone playing a million units its hard to get free attacks in and the deck has a lot of difficulty closing out games, but there’s few decks with a more unstoppable nut draw.

Hooru Control has a better late game card in Aid of the Hooru, but still isn’t any better at getting there. 12 is a lot of power for a non ramp deck and Channel the Tempest isn’t in the best place. You can slide over top of some Midrange variants but lack the flexibility to be a strong choice against a variety of decks. You’re also hard pressed, as many control decks are, to beat Chalice. A deck that needs some more work and a more favourable metagame to move up.

Tier 4

4F (Greed) Pile takes the best of everything and crams it all in there! Well, that doesn’t quite work as well as it used to now that good cards have influence costs associated with them. (Generally, anyways. I’m looking at you, Mystic Ascendant). Without the freedom and flexibility of closed beta Secret Pages, the power base is a real concern and the deck should only be played by the most stout-Hearted of players. Heart of the Vault into Aid of the Hooru? A man can but hope that this madness passes swiftly. That said, Finkel 4F was one of the strongest decks at the end of closed beta and it had similarly terrible-looking beginnings, so keep an eye on this one.

Unranked

Argenport Hero ended up being a card or two off for consistency and slid back into obscurity. Argenport lacks a draw engine more than anything and the nerf to inspire didn’t help. Shimmerpack is a forgotten favorite that doesn’t do so well in a world with more relic hate. Finally, Xenan Midrange/Lifeforce affectionados have more or less given up and turned to other midrange decks to find better results. Katra is still a good card, but a slow one, and many can build a strong board to contest it nowadays.