Thursday Tier List #1 – September 09, 2016

Hello all! I’m aReNGee, and welcome to another tier list article! The metagame has had more time to adjust to Scouting Party and the Party Hour deck and its counters are now widely known. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have many counters, which leads to many decks being pushed down the list or off it entirely. This week, I was assisted by Grimfan, Neon, Wafflez, and Zurrior. Their opinions have been combined to form the final tier list, which is 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.

This tier list is also broken down in a video, for those that want more in depth information or less reading.

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. Many budget decks end up in this tier simply due to the lower power level.
Tier 5 – There is always a better option than decks in this tier.

Official Tier List

Tier 1
Party Hour
Aggressive/Tempo Combrei
Rakano Warcry
Midrange Combrei
Stonescar Jito

Tier 2
Combrei Eight or Better
Elysian Midrange
“Traditional” Stonescar Queen
Mono Justice
Flight School

Tier 3
TJP Control
Red Hour
Stonescar Weapons
Stonescar Midrange/Stonescar Control

Tier 4
Traditional Armory

Tier 5
Mono Fire Aggro

Unlisted due to lack of Ladder Results
Camel Control
Haunting Scream/Feln Aggro
Praxis Tokens
Tempo Elysian
Feln Midrange/Feln Control
4F Armory

Deck Distinctions
As decks become more well known and we become familiar with standardized deck lists, it becomes easier to make distinctions between different archetypes even when they share cards. It also becomes more important to make clear distinctions between the two when the archetypes may have vastly different success on ladder in any given week. Additionally, some decks have had their deck names updated.

Combrei – Combrei has been divided into three distinct archetypes. Aggressive/Tempo Combrei is characterized by decks playing tempo cards like Slow and Teleport to complement aggressive units like Crownwatch Paladin and Awakened Student. Midrange Combrei is the new name for what was previously listed as Combrei Ramp, as most versions play no ramp cards. Combrei Eight or Better is the new name for the super high end Combrei Deck that focuses surving to eight power in order to get maximum value out of Siraf, The Grand Parliment and occationally Xenan Obelisk. They always play Marshall Ironthorn and often play Mystic Ascendant and Harsh Rule.
Stonescar Jito – Stonescar Jito is a new variety of aggressive Stonescar decks that overloads on one drops to make best use of Frontier Jito.
Traditional Stonescar Queen – With builds looking very different from the Jito lists, Stonescar Queen got its own place on the list, with “Traditional” added to differentiate it from those who may call Jito lists “Stonescar Queen”.
TJP Control – Formerly known as “Camelless Control”, the deck name meant nothing to players who weren’t around for Camel Control, whereas TJP Control makes sense to everyone.
Red Hour – This is my name for the variant of Party Hour that splashes fire for token generators like Assembly Line, Genadin Drone, and sometimes Autofurnace.

Tier 1 Decks
Despite being Public Enemy Number One, Party Hour decks retain the top spot this week. Their power is undeniable and it was the climbing deck of choice for a number of this month’s Master players. With many of the main “counters” to Party Hour known, Hour pilots are adapting their decks to compensate and finding remarkable success. The most common answer to Party Hour is Stonescar Jito, which finds itself so low merely due to its fragile nature. Many games are decided on whether or not the Jito player’s opponents cast mass removal – if they do, the Jito players chances of winning go way down. Jito decks were incredibly popular this week, leading to an upswing in cards like Lightning Storm and a subsequent downswing in Stonescar Jito’s win rate. Second on the list is Tempo Combrei, as it has the disruption to keep midrange, control and Party Hour decks on the back foot while packing plenty of Lifesteal to outheal aggressive decks. Rakano Warcry finds itself third on the list, with strong starts or a huge warcried unit able to blast through most decks. Aegis remains quite good against traditional midrange or control lists and the inclusion of Lifesteal units in Rakano lists improves its matchup against other aggressive decks. Midrange Combrei remains Tier One despite not having fantastic matchups against the other Tier One decks – It isn’t heavily disfavored and it absolutely crushes many of the “anti meta” decks that warp themselves to deal with Party Hour and Stonescar Jito simultaneously.

Tier Two Decks
Combrei Eight or Better retains much of Midrange Combrei’s power with an even better late game, however its weakness to aggressive strategies keeps it out of Tier 1. Felnscar decks pack plenty of removal and are quite happy to face aggressive decks or Combrei variants, but generally have weak Party Hour matchups unless they tech heavily for it, in which case its other matchups suffer. Elysian Midrange has Lightning Storm for Jito, but suffers against the other aggressive decks and the millions of ways to kill False Prince. Traditional Queen decks are badly hurt by the abundance of Lighting Storms in the metagame but retain their quick clock. Mono Justice is a previously unranked deck that relies on suiting up Aegis units with a variety of weapons, including Mantle of Justice. Its quick clock and resilience to removal makes it a strong linear choice favored by a number of top players. Flight School always had a pretty good Party Hour matchup and is able to race aggro with its numerous Lifesteal fliers. However it is quite far down the list due to the popularity of Sandstorm Titan, always a problematic Card for Flight School.

Tier Three Decks
TJP Control is a powerful choice that can tech itself to defeat almost any deck, but has a ton of difficulty defeating decks its unprepared for. While it can warp itself to defeat Party Hour, it is by no means a 100% counter and then it finds itself open to most other decks. With relic weapons mostly missing from the metagame, TJP Control is posed to rise, but it has proved difficult to find the most effective build. Red Hour is a variant of Party Hour, but it finds itself much lower down on the list due to its reliance on token based strategies against opponents prepared both for tokens and the main combo. The deck gains a turn or two of speed, but loses a lot of resilience and potential tech options, making it weaker than regular Party Hour overall. Stonescar Weapons is a deck that has been kicking around for a while now, often pushed by Ravenite, but this is the first time it’s made its way onto the tier list. Playing Rakano’s traditional gameplan of suiting up units, it can build an unstoppable voltron unit while gaining card advantage with Oni Quartermaster and Smuggler’s Stash. Combrano has slid in both popularity and win rate compared to generic Combrei, as ways to remove Icaria’s aegis are at an all time high and opponents put on too much pressure to comfortably Rise from the Challenge. Stonescar Maiden decks are relatively uncommon on ladder and it struggles to pressure Party Hour, but it’s removal heavy strategy and deadly units are effective against Jito, Rakano, and Combrei variants. Finally, Clockroaches remains in tier 3, as it is reliant on a single card in order to win.

Tier Four Decks
Alone in tier 4, Traditional Armory struggles to compete against nearly anything. Outraced by aggro, outbeefed by midrange, and combo’d out by Party Hour, you’d be hard pressed to actually find a good matchup for Armory on ladder. If Armory’s problems can’t be fixed, the deck will probably fall off the radar altogether.

Tier Five Decks
Three Masters players have independently confirmed playing against Mono Fire while in Master this season. Please don’t play Mono Fire.

Newly Unranked Decks
4F Armory shares all of Traditional Armory’s problems except a weakness to token strategies. However, it found itself unplayed this week as the few purist who struggled on with Armory mostly played Traditional. Finally, Feln Midrange/Control is not actually absent, but is quite difficult to call a separate deck as the core Party Hour cards (Scouting Party, Champion of Cunning, Witching Hour) are too powerful not to play and the deck usually ends up as merely a more controlling version of Party Hour.