Thursday Tier List #11 – February 2nd, 2017 (Open Beta List #5)

This tier list is valid for Patch v1.16 (including Promos)

Thursday Tier List #11 – February 2nd, 2017 (Open Beta List #5)

Hello all! I’m aReNGee, and I’m finally ready to present our second tier list of 2017. Patches dropping immediately after tier lists is something I’m quite familiar with (sometimes just hours after) but major patches just before a tier list are unusual. We thought it was best to push the tier list back a bit and see what sort of impact the new cards made, to make the tier list more useful going forward. Please keep in mind that most of the results on this list are tentative predictions of what’s actually good, as people haven’t had time to figure out the best builds yet. Next week’s tier list should solidify the tier placements.

As always, 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 an imprecise method, this is the best that we can do until we can get real stats from the ladder. 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.
  2. There is no special formula for weighing 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.

The tiers have been restructured!

Explanation of Tiers
Tier 1 – These are the most popular of the top decks.
Tier 2 – These decks are powerful and great ladder choices, but lack the widespread popularity of Tier One.
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.

Official Tier List

Tier 1

Rakano Plate
Stonescar Jito
Stonescar Burn

Tier 2
Felnscar
Traditional Armory
Feln Control
Big Combrei
Elysian Shimmerpack
Stonescar Midrange

Tier 3
TJP Shimmerpack
Aggressive Combrei
Xenan
Elysian Midrange

Tier 4
No decks are Tier Four this week.

Newly Unranked
LOA TJP Control

Tier One Decks

Tier 1 is a little bit odd this week – none of the decks are clearly better than any of the Tier 2 decks in terms of power or success. Indeed, all of the Tier 2 choices are legitimately Tier 1 in power level and all fine choices for battling on ladder with. That said, decks are ranked in terms of popularity as well as success, and these three decks are head and shoulders above the rest. Results are a bit skewed due to the last week containing both the end of a season and the beginning of a new one, both times when players sleeve up fast aggressive decks to climb as quickly as possibly.

Rakano’s back in the top spot, but it’s a tenuous one. The return of Armory does not add a positive matchup to Rakano’s list, and it’s already staring at Tier 2 that’s filled with deadly blockers and removal spells. Selecting Rakano won’t grant many free wins in the current metagame, but an experienced Rakano pilot can still take the deck far. This is especially true after the metagame slows down a bit and people continue to experiment with Find the Way.

Speaking of being aggressive: the most aggressive deck of them all, Stonescar Jito, is back in force. Capable of winning or conceding on turn 3, if you want a great game-per-hour ratio, this deck will give that to you. Two of the main control decks run Storm, but it generally outraces the rest of the top tier. Have a game plan for Jito, or accept some turn three losses.

Burn players have generally tuned their lists to follow in the footsteps of KampfKrote’s Burn Queen lists. First written about back in November by LighteningBall, Burn Queen takes the sometimes clunky Stonescar Burn deck and streamlines it. It becomes an aggressive tokens deck that finishes its opponents off with Flame Blast or Obliterate. The transition hasn’t been complete, and there are still old school burn decks kicking around. Don’t be surprised to see Grenadin Drone and Bandit Queen in the same deck as Flame Blast.

Tier Two Decks

Many of the more recent Felnscar builds have have dropped Champion of Chaos, and Statuary Maiden and Torch are frequently the only remaining Fire cards. The deck plays like Feln Control, but exchanges power stability for access to powerful cards. The deck has one slight wrinkle – it’s really, really bad against the Armory decks that are gaining in popularity. Whether Felnscar decks will adapt or fall out of favor remains to be seen.

Speaking of Armory:  Throne Warden is the real deal and gives Armory a ton of resilience against the aggressive decks on ladder. While the deck still struggles against go-wide decks like Jito, Shimmerpack, and fat midrange units, it chops through Rakano and Control alike with 7/8 swords. Now, if Rakano Artisan could just have its second point of health back please…

Hard Control Feln is back… sort of. With the “press A” strategy most of ladder is employing, Feln decks have tuned their curves way down to compensate. They remain competitive in midrange matchups due to Withering Witch and removal spells, but are fast enough to contest early aggression. Some interesting card choices differentiate Feln from Felnscar, Champion of Cunning returns to lists as a very powerful finisher, and some players (mostly me) have turned to the new promo Borderlands Waykeeper to annoy aggro decks.

Big, bad Combrei is back! As we have determined, a lot of the power of this deck was tied up in the power consistency offered by Secret Pages, and its depleted cousin Find the Way steps in to fill that role. With control tuning its curve down, Big Combrei has the best late game plan of any deck, perhaps barring a multiple Obelisk Shimmerpack draw. If you can survive the early to mid game, the game is yours to win.

Welcome to the world of 8 cost 4/4s. Determined to be too strong at 7 power, Shimmerpack receives the bump up to 8. This has slowed the deck down and given players a fair amount of breathing room – it’s much easier to race or ignore Scouting Party when you don’t need to worry about dying on the backswing. If this deck doesn’t draw Obelisk, it has a tough timing winning.

A fourth choice for players running Seat of Chaos, these Stonescar decks are really hard to distinguish from each other as they’re generally running all the same cards. The general signal for this deck is Statuary Maiden, as the only other “Stonescar” deck that often runs Maiden is Felnscar. Stonescar Midrange’s preferred prey is grinding Midrange decks, especially those relying on void recursion. As those are in short supply, it’s forced to fire everything at aggro or race control, neither of which is it an optimal choice to do. Consider packing Plague to handle tokens.

Tier Three Decks

TJP Shimmerpack is hit hard by the Shimmerpack cost increase – the card you are splashing for is now worse, and is playing Shimmerpack on 8 really better than using Siraf’s ultimate ability? In general, players have decided that no, it isn’t. Most have moved on to Big Combrei proper, leaving only a small contingent of dedicated players. Find the Way did boost three color decks though so we may see a redesign.

Remember when Aggro Combrei was Tier 1? This deck continues to fall on the tier list, nearly entirely on the back of its low popularity. Understandably the high interaction control decks or parades of deadly units aren’t quite what it wants to see, but the deck should still be able to compete.

Xenan a cool new option in Xenan Cultist,  but its low interaction and void focus stares at the aggressive or hate decks in the top tiers and shudders. With a metagame mismatch, Xenan’s performance suffers.

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.

Tier Four Decks

No decks are Tier Four this week.

Newly Unranked Decks

From the last tier list: “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.”

It was the former.