Thursday Tier List #2 – September 22, 2016

Hello all! I’m aReNGee, and I’m happy to present the second biweekly Tier List! Patch 1.12 dropped during this week, containing only a single balance change: Witching Hour no longer has its cost reduced by Power. This single change has severely reduced the power of the previously dominant Party Hour deck, leading to a much more open metagame. This week, I was assisted by Unearthly, LightningBall, Neon, and Jester. 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.

As always, there’s a video breakdown available explaining the tier list.

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
Combrei Midrange
Stonescar Jito
Aggressive Combrei
Rakano Warcry
“Traditional” Stonescar Queen

Tier 2
Stonescar Midrange
Elysian Midrange
Felnscar
Feln Midrange/Feln Control
Tempo Combrei
Mono Justice

Tier 3
Traditional Armory
TJP Control (formerly Camelless Control)
FJP Control (Icaria Blue)
4F Control (usually TJPS Control)
Clockroaches
Flight School

Tier 4
Party Hour
Mono Fire Aggro

Tier 5
No decks are Tier 5 this week. Congratulations to Mono Fire on its promotion!

Unlisted due to lack of Ladder Results
Camel Control
Haunting Scream/Feln Aggro
Overwhelmnaton
Praxis Tokens
Reanimator
Tempo Elysian
4F Armory
Red Hour
Combrano (FTJ Midrange)

Tier 1 Decks
Combrei Midrange takes the top spot this week. Powerful, popular, and consistent, this deck seems to thrive regardless of the metagame. As decks slowed down after Party Hour released its grip on the metagame, Combrei players moved their curve up and went over the top. Stonescar Jito lists remain popular and seem to be taking over as the dominant build of aggressive Stonescar. With players worried about Combrei, there’s less mass removal to hold Jito in check. Aggressive Combrei lists went lower to the ground than Midrange and aimed to end the game before getting bogged down in a midgame board stall. Despite the lack of tempo cards, solid minions and weapons proved to be an effective pairing this week. In much the same vein, Rakano Warcry remains a solid aggressive choice this week, suiting up against anyone unprepared for Quickdraw or Aegis. Traditional Stonescar Queen decks, while not as popular as the Jito varients, were better able to weather the literal storms from their control opponents while retaining their quick clock. With three different aggressive faction pairs in tier one, control decks have struggled to adapt their removal suite to all three decks without losing to Combrei Midrange’s late game power.

Tier Two Decks
Stonescar Midrange aims to address the multitude of units in the tier one decks by presenting an endless supply of deadly units and removal. While initially successful, the units are vulnerable to silence and the deck lacks late game cards or card draw, allowing other decks to go over the top or grind out its resources. Elysian Midrange should be dominating the metagame at the moment in theory, with its superior midrange cards, Permafrost, and Lightning Storm to defeat aggressive and midrange decks alike. However, Dawnwalker, False Prince and Champion of Wisdom are rendered ineffective in the current metagame, hampering the power of traditional builds. With the correct draw, Felnscar is able to easily handle an aggressive deck or outvalue a midrange deck with its powerful cards. However, the wrong draw or power problems will leave Felnscar dead in the water. Its undeniable power and popularity push it up the tier list, but its dependency on good draws keep it out of tier one. Feln is a deck that is regaining its own identity now that Party Hour has been nerfed. Some players stick to the midrange plan of Scouting Party and Champion of Cunning, while others go all the way up the curve to play Feln’s powerful 8 cost cards. Both strategies have had some success, but neither has emerged as a new breakout deck. Tempo Combrei strategies proved very effective in last list’s Party Hour metagame, but the increased amount of low curve decks on ladder have rendered its tempo strategies less effective than previous weeks. As a result, many players have abandoned the tempo cards in favor of pure Aggressive Combrei. Mono-Justice remains one of the most difficult decks in the game to race, but its narrow game plan and dependency on a good draw keep it lower on the tier list.

Tier Three Decks
Traditional Armory makes a return this patch in the wake of Party Hour’s nerf. Relic Weapons continue to be an effective strategy against small Aegis units, however current lists lack a solid way to deal with Stonescar Rush decks and are prone to running out of gas against midrange. TJP Control looked poised to move all the way to tier one, but its popularity fell way down midweek as players experimented with other control decks instead. The resurgence of Armory and other Relic Weapon control decks have also held back TJP Control. Joining us for the first time this week are two new control decks: FJP Control and 4F Control. Both are new control decks with initially promising results, but neither deck has been refined much yet and they remain in the same tier as the established TJP Control decks. Clockroach pilots had a ton of fun and even some success this week, as Crown of Possibilities frequently showed up in opening hands. Finally, Flight School decks struggled this week against most of the Tier One decks, as it was no longer able to exploit its good Party Hour Matchup.

Tier Four Decks
The question on everyone’s lips this week was “Is Party Hour dead?” The answer to that question is, technically no. You can play the deck just fine and you may even be able to pick up some wins due to the power of Scouting Party and Champion of Cunning. However, Witching Hour has had its cost increased by approximately 8 or 9 power due to the nerf, leaving it uncastable in most games. Additionally, most of the tier one decks are decks that were effective against Party Hour back when it was on top, and it stands little chance in its weakened state. The deck will require a solid look to determine if a rebuild can save the deck or Witching Hour is no longer worth the effort.

I’m happy to announce that for the first time since this Tier List’s inception, Mono Fire Aggro has left Tier 5! Synapsiz became the first player to (admit to) hitting Master with a Mono Fire deck, and in light of their success, the deck has been moved up a tier. However, no one has yet duplicated that accomplishment and the actual deck isn’t that powerful or fast, although it suggests that Obliterate is an underexplored card. Keep an eye on this deck moving forward!

Tier Five Decks
No Decks are Tier 5 this week.

Newly Unranked Decks
Red Hour, the Party Hour variant that splashed fire for token generation, was entirely absent after Witching Hour’s nerf. Also underplayed this week was FTJ Midrange/Combrano, which has consequently fallen off the tier list.