Thursday Tier List #18 – June 1st, 2017

This tier list is valid for Patch 1.20.6 (Localization Update)

Thursday Tier List #18 – June 1st, 2017

Chalice is fading fast, both on ladder and in the Eternal scene. A one week wonder or a lasting if no longer dominant archetype? Time will tell. I have nothing major to report on extenuating circumstances regarding this tier list – it was ready ahead of time and there are not patches to screw it up. We’re all collectively holding our breath for Set Two – next tier list will likely be an exciting one!

What is the Purpose of the Tier List?

The tier list is essentially a metagame snapshot of what you can expect to see on ladder, with added comments from me explaining what decks are doing well and why they are doing well. For some players, this is very useful – they can pick up a deck that’s doing well right now and experiment it. For brewers, it’s even more useful – they get an easy checklist to see what they need to be prepared for and can tune their decks appropriately.

How do I use the Tier List?

The most important thing you can do to enhance your use of the Tier List is to read my in-depth explanations. As I said before, data without context is useless, so it does you no good to know that a deck dropped a tier without knowing WHY it dropped a tier. I put plenty of information about new tech cards to watch out for or play patterns, so make use of that information! Even if a deck didn’t move much, I’ll usually have something useful to say about it. Once you’ve got all the information, you’re better equipped to make a decision – is this week’s top deck a flash in the pan? Should I play it? Play something that’s good against it? The decision of how you want to attack the metagame is yours to make.

How is the Tier List created?

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 best deck varies moment to moment and is difficult to predict, but all Tier 1 and Tier 2 decks are reasonable choices for climbing the ladder.

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.
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
Rakano Plate
Traditional Armory
Feln Control

Tier 2
All aggressive Stonescar Decks
TJP Chalice
Elysian Midrange

Tier 3
Big Combrei
Elysian Shimmerpack
Praxis Tokens
Icaria Blue

Tier 4
Stonescar Kalis

Newly Unranked
Feln Aggro

Metagame Overview

Old decks this week! Three longtime format pillars took the top slots this week, representing the holy trinity of aggro, control, and no midrange decks (my favorite!) We  a major reduction in the number of Tier 2 decks this week – Rakano is having enough metagame impact to focus players and push most of the decks that are weak to Rakano down the list. Tier 4 gets a playmate for the first time in a long while – Kalis is probably not where you want to be right now.

After last weeks Chalice shakeup, the metagame is settling into the more familiar territory, with a fast aggro deck dictating the pace. Decks have adapted and we’re seeing something of a Stonescar Renaissance, as players look to burn out anyone still durdling around with Chalice. Look for the average deck curve to slide right back down in the coming weeks as a response to these two omnipresent aggro decks.

Last week’s prediction: I expect players to try to go over the top until curves get too unwieldy and a low to the ground aggro deck runs everyone over and the cycle starts all over again.

Next Week’s Prediction: If you’ll allow me to call Rakano a low to the ground aggro deck, I was a little more accurate this week. Players tipped their Feln and Combrei decks up up up the curve until Rakano just bopped everyone on turn 4. For next week, players are going to target Rakano hard – Armory is already doing so, and it’s only a matter of time until other decks to too. Fatty midrange decks usually come back around this time period, so that’s my prediction of what you’ll see next week.

Tier One Decks

Rakano is Tier One and while we’d normally turn directly to Unearthly, another former #1 also had something to say on the matter. Silverwing plus Hammer is tough to stop and near impossible to race, and most decks really don’t want to see you land a Deepforged Plate. Rakano turned to flyers to go over Chalice decks, and it seems the rest of the metagame was similarly week to an air attack. As always, it will adjust, but if you like Rakano and can stand the mirror I’d say this is your climbing deck du jour.

Aegis is a very powerful ability that is totally invalidated by Relic Weapons. Rakano rises up to take top spot, but Armory, a traditional Rakano counter, isn’t far behind. Its got the tools to shut aggro down and the weapons to chop control up. With few fat midrange decks and token decks to slow it down, Armory’s stock is way up and rising.

Feln decks profited massively from having a single deck (Chalice) to target, and ended up quite well tuned to beat it. Rakano and Armory attack from very different angles, which leaves Feln players scrambling to adapt. Feln’s in pretty good shape against the decks its metagamed against, but can easily fall to even a mediocre draw against other decks. If you’re facing the right half of the meta, Feln will dominate.

Tier Two Decks

Vodakhombo remains the dominant Combrei deck of choice this week. It’s early game might be a little soft to aggro, but once it gets going, it REALLY gets going, and it has enough late game to go over the top of even Feln and Chalice. Go low or be ready to face 12+ units that you must kill on sight.

After a couple nerfs, Stonescar rebuilds itself and returns to popularity. There’s actually four different decks in this category, from super all in Jito style decks to high curve Big Burn decks. All of them are fairly close to each other, and end up about here on average. While there’s a fair amount of difference between the actual cards, the core remains the same: Flameblast, Oni Ronin, and a desire to click on face.

From rogue deck to Public Enemy Number One, Chalice decks got targeted hard after last week and they did not respond well to the attention. Slow decks have plenty of late game options now to keep up with your card draw, and fast decks shut you down before you get started. Taking a turn off to play chalice is actually punishable now, and the exhaust clause on Chalice hurts the deck a lot more this week. Still good if you know what you’re doing, but popularity and success are both taking hits.

The sole surviving midrange deck is the most midrange of them all. With Steward far less ubiquitous, Dawnwalker actually has a chance to strut his stuff and Crystallize gives you a solid gameplan against decks that try to slow you down. It doesn’t have many anti-aggro options and no real late game plan, but Elysian Midrange has the beef to just power through those weaknesses.

Tier Three Decks

Vodakhombo decks namesake card brings a ton of power to the table and doesn’t really give up that much in terms of deckbuilding. With a metagame that often lets you get to 7 power, Vodakhombo has mostly taken over as the Combrei deck of choice. Big Combrei still hangs about, but 8 is a lot more than 7 and the lower amount of threats coupled with the deck’s slow pace allows the high curve decks to go over the top. When Big Combrei is getting out lategamed, it’s not in good shape.

Shimmerpack decks have the same weakness as Chalice decks – none of their blockers fly! With Rakano decks taking to the skies, this leaves Shimmerpack with a much worse gameplan verses aggro. Simmerpack decks still prey on Armory, but the late game decks actually go later than Shimmerpack itself, forcing you to play out units aggressively. Obelisk is still a hell of a card, but its rapidly becoming a crutch for the deck rather than an enhancer.

Praxis Tokens lacks the quick start of aggressive token decks or the high end of a slower deck like Shimmerpack. If it can fill the board with 3/3s, it can get by, but every game is an uphill battle. Once again Obelisk becomes a crutch propping the deck up rather than a powerful card the deck exploits. The more burn heavy versions do a little better, but at that point why aren’t you just playing Stonescar?

Icaria Blue is in an odd place right now, where like Shimmerpack it’s not actually the superior late game deck in several matchups. Getting aggressive is not something that Icaria Blue does very well, so if Icaria or a huge Diasho don’t end the game you rapidly run into trouble. IBlue is one of the decks that has its diehard fans, so it’s overrepresented on ladder compared to how well positioned it is at the moment.

Felnscar decks are a little better than last week, but just a little. Torch is fantastic verses aggro and Armory but not very useful anything slow. Besides Torch, you’re mostly in Fire for Statuary Maiden and sometimes Quarry – nice to have, but overall the inconsistancy of the third faction generally outweights the slight power boost that you get from playing the additional color. Most players are sticking to straight Feln at the moment.

Tier Four Decks

For the first time in many lists, Tier Four has a deck! Kalis is another deck with a fan following that over represents how good it is – and its not great at the moment. Every game requires the correct draws just to have a chance, and Kalis doesn’t have a card nearly as strong as Obelisk to prop it up.

Newly Unranked Decks

Feln Aggro is no more. The loss of Rapid Shot pushed most of the players off the deck and Rakano/Armory coming back sent the rest packing. The deck, or one like it, will probably come back in the future, but for the moment it’s been sidelined.