Thursday Tier List #10 – January 12, 2017 (Open Beta List #4)

Thursday Tier List #10 – January 12, 2017 (Open Beta List #4)

Hello all! I’m aReNGee, and I’m happy to present our very first Tier List of 2017. I hope you all had a happy non-denominational holiday, and a very happy New Year! Not much has changed with the coming of the new year, but change is on the wind. The purpose of this Tier List is to give you an overview of the metagame as a whole – high tier decks are both popular and successful, so you should be aware of them when playing ladder. Highly successful but unpopular decks do not show up on the tier list, while popular but less successful decks will show up on the tier list. There is a waiting period after a deck’s inception before it is added to the tier list, to see if it’s an actual new archetype or just a flavor of the week.

The tier list is developed by combining the opinions of four top players: Finkel, Unearthly, Neon, and myself. We keep track of what kinds of decks we face on ladder and how we did, then use that information plus our personal opinions to rank the decks. Finally, all four opinions are combined to form the final tier list. While this is of course an imprecise method, skewed by personal biases and deck choice, until we get real stats from the whole of ladder this is the best I can do. Opinions have been formed based on the following assumptions:

  1. Decks have been ranked into their tier based on both win rate and popularity. The most popular and successful decks are Tier 1. A very successful but unknown deck will not show up on this list, while a popular but unsuccessful deck will show up but will be lower tiered.
  2. There is no special formula for weighting popularity vs win rate, each player has their own opinions.
  3. Decks are listed within their tiers in approximate order of success. Therefore, a deck at the top of a tier is at least slightly better than the deck below it.

Explanation of Tiers
Tier 1 – These are the best decks right now, both in terms of representation and win rate.
Tier 2 – These decks don’t have either the representation or the winrate to be considered Tier 1, but are all powerful decks and great choices for ladder.
Tier 3 – These decks are usually quite powerful when they go off, but need the a strong draw to work or have some other exploitable weakness. Fine choices for 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.

Official Tier List

Tier 1
Elysian Shimmerpack
Righteous Rakano
Felnscar

Tier 2
Stonescar Midrange
Aggressive Combrei
Stonescar Burn
Big Combrei
Stonescar Jito
TJP Shimmerpack
Feln Control

Tier 3
Traditional Armory
Elysian Midrange
Xenan

Tier 4
LOA TJP Control

Newly Unranked
Icaria Blue/FJP Control
Haunting Scream

Tier One Decks

While Wump remains absent from the majority of straight Shimmerpack decks, the deck continues to rise in popularity. Its power is now a known quantity, and ladder players must be prepared to face Shimmerpack or suffer the consequences. No more can this matchup be ignored (Armory players, I’m looking at you).

If the history of this game is any indication, I’m going to have to make up new things to write about Rakano here every week. I’m not aware of any particularily new or innovative technology, but I believe that more plates are the way to go. The deck is powerful and incredibly popular, especially among players with limited collections. Don’t be unprepared by any of the many ways to play T1 Oni Ronin.

Neon writes about a deck, Ilyak spikes a tournament with it, and the deck explodes all over ladder. Felnscar replaces Combrei Aggro as this week’s “deck of the week”, and again its staying power remains to be seen. Felnscar has a number of good matchups against top decks, but the powerbase is more of a concern than people admit and the deck is poor against the high-curve control decks that are inching back into style.

Tier Two Decks

Stonescar Midrange gets differentiated from Felnscar as Felnscar goes more or less full Feln, giving Stonescar Midrange an actual identity. The deck is very strong against midrange unit based decks, reasonable against cheap aggro, and even has the tools against Shimmerpack. That said, it has a tough time against control decks and struggles much more than Felnscar against Combrei’s silences without Felnscar’s Withering Witch. While not quite tier one, Stonescar decks are quite popular at the moment.

Aggressive Combrei’s stock continues to fall by the minute. While not a bad deck by any means, it seems to have been a “deck of the week” based popularity spike, and most of those players are flocking to Felnscar. Combrei Aggro isn’t excited to see the army of deadly units staring it down, but still has the silences and beefy units required to break though.

Stonescar Burn’s predicted resurgence wasn’t quite this week, but it’s popularity is on the uptick. As players mess about with slow midrange (Felnscar) and control (Feln, TJP), Burn chuckles as it Flame Blasts for 12. The metagame is slowing down, and that definitely favors Burn.

The metagame slows and players look for ways to go over the top. Well, Big Combrei goes way WAY over the top. With by far the biggest top end of any deck, Combrei grinds all the midrange decks beneath its sheer bulk. Withering Witch isn’t exactly what Combrei wants to see, and I can’t say I’d seek out the Shimmerpack matchup, but Big Combrei definitely has space to make a serious impact on the metagame.

With Control coming back into style, Jito players start to get excited, but quickly sober up when all of the popular varients (Feln(scar), TJP) are running the full package of Lightning Storm. A “do you have it” coin flip is inevitable when playing this deck, but with so many decks running the answer, it may not be Jito’s time to all in turn 2.

TJP Shimmerpack continues to fall in popularity, as Shimmerpack players have generally favored straight Elysian versions. The deck is a Shimmerpack deck, with all the power and weaknesses that implies, but the third color changes the deck’s matchups depending on what, exactly, is splashed. On the whole the third color seems to hurt matchups slighly more than it helps, which combined with the lower popularity puts the deck in a lower tier.

Someone found the “best build” of Feln Control, and it turned out you needed a third faction. Felnscar does just about everything Feln Control does with its own distinct advantages. However, as we move more into a high curve controlling metagame, “hard” Feln Control is poised to make a comeback with its fantastic anti-control options and solid removal.

Tier Three Decks

Is it good or is it bad? Armory chops through decks like Rakano and Felnscar, but wants nothing to do with go wide or go big strategies like Shimmerpack, Jito, and Big Combrei. With plenty of favourable and unfavourable matchups on ladder, Armory is truly a gambler’s choice at the moment. For reliable winrates, stay far away.

Elysian Midrange returns this week as a fatty midrange deck. Very little innovation has occured on this front, it’s just a bit better now that players are playing a bit slower. It struggles a fair amount with its straightforward gameplan and inflexible removal, and is barely popular enough to make the list at all. Not advised.

Xenan continues to slide in popularity. Felnscar’s void hate plus removal taking over ladder was really bad for Xenan, as was the return of other high curve decks that can go over the top. With a metagame mismatch, Xenan’s performance suffers.

Tier Four Decks

The newest kid on the block, TJP Control just barely sneaks onto the list in last place, mostly on the back of interest in LightsOutAce’s new article. It remains to be seen if this was just a one day interest spike or if this version of TJP Control really has the tools it needs to compete.

Newly Unranked Decks

Icaria who?

More seriously, Icaria Blue has fallen way off the popularity list, as it doesn’t match up particularily well with whats popular. Eye of Winter isn’t at its best, and the deck struggles in the current metagame.

Haunting Scream continues to be unplayed, but is left on the list because I have a soft spot for it.