Improving archetype diversity in constructed

burnout

 

On the surface, the post-wipe metagame might seem reasonably diverse.  However, many tier 1 decks are simply aggro decks in different factions: rakano, aggressive combrei, and stonescar burn are proactive decks that play out mostly the same.  Slower reactive decks (“control”) are in a bad place due to how strong Stonescar burn is against slower decks.

Because the metagame is fairly fast, very janky decks like reanimator and Clockroaches curently see close to zero play (unlike the pre-wipe meta).

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JayNite’s “traditional” armory

JayNite currently sits at #4 on ladder with his armory deck.  While armory was previously considered a Tier 2 deck, perhaps there is a reason to revisit this classic.  The wipe changes nerfed everything else and gave this deck a buff in the form of Scheme:

scheme

Scheme allows the deck to dig for the correct answers to counter and punish opposing strategies.  Against aggro, this deck looks to trade relic weapons with units to stop the aggression.  Then it will dig for the correct answer cards (e.g. Harsh Rule, Auric Runehammer) or Icaria as a finisher.  Against control, this deck will look to beat down with relic weapons since control decks tend to be bad against relic weapons.

Lifedrinker is an interesting addition that helps the deck combat an aggro-heavy meta.

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Whisperpack: a funstable twist on Shimmerpack

shimmerpack

Here’s a competitive deck that’s also interesting to play and pilot, unlike the current bogeyman of the metagame- Stonescar Burn.  My winrate with the deck has been 64% (18-10).  I currently sit at ~#8 on ladder.

This deck is very similar to Finkel’s Shimmerpack deck (discussed here), except that it runs Twinbrood Sauropod (“Echosaur”) as another win condition.  Whispering Wind is a way to assemble the Shimmerpack combos.  Levitate + big units shore up the deck’s weaknesses against flyers.

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The best decks in the post-wipe metagame

Currently, Stonescar Burn variants have emerged as the most popular deck with the rest of the meta warping around it.  Other Tier 1 decks seem to be Rakano pants/warcry, Elysian Shimmerpack, and aggressive (Obelisk) Combrei.  Those are the decks currently being played by the majority of players in top 10 ladder.

However, popularity does not tell the whole story.  Unearthly’s data suggests that his Rakano build with Righteous Fury is slightly better than the Stonescar Burn variants.

righteousfury

His winrate with Rakano was 65.7% (44-23) versus 63.9% (46-26) for Stonescar Burn / Big Burn.  The most popular deck on high-ranked ladder, while being a strong deck, may not actually have the highest winrate at the moment.

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Making Eternal more challenging

So the first challenge is to get into Master.  That depends mostly on reading the meta and playing a Tier 1 or 2 deck that is good against the meta.  Piloting skill isn’t that important.

Then the second challenge is to reach #1 on ladder.

Next, you realize that ladder is not a great test of what’s actually the best deck.  So my current challenge is to figure out how good decks actually are and what the actual matchups are like.  That involves collecting data in a spreadsheet, which you saw with my post on how dominating Burn Queen was pre-wipe.

And then the other challenge is to come up with other Tier 1 decks and have data to back it up.

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Whispering Echosauruses (competitive jank with Funstable Form)

The core of this janky deck is the synergy between Twinbrood Sauropod (echosaurus) and Dawnwalker.  If you have both, Twinbrood can bring back Dawnwalker twice.  The value!  Some decks like Armory have an extremely difficult time beating this combo.

twinbroodsauropoddawnwalker

For added jank level, we use Whispering Wind to help find our good units: Twinbrood, Dawnwalker, and Boardstall Titan.  Whispering Wind can also discard Dawnwalker for unnecessary win-more value.

whisperingwind

Because Elysian does not have great removal, we throw in (F)Unstable Form to deal with problematic units.  Unstable Form is another card that can be discarded to Whispering Wind.

unstableform

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Stonescar Budget Burn for new players- work in progress

vara27sfavor

Basically, we throw the best burn spells plus efficient Stonescar creatures into a deck.  Because the current meta is aggro-heavy, we run 4X Vara’s Favor.

In the pre-wipe season, Weiseguy piloted a midrange Stonescar Burn to #1 on ladder.  It should be similar to this list plus Bandit Queens (unfortunately Bandit Queen is a legendary now).  Post-wipe, it looks like the meta will be aggro-heavy.  What Weiseguy piloted to #1 last season with a few changes (like Vara’s Favor and Cabal Countess) will likely become the dominant deck and the metagame will warp around it.  Vara’s Favor will be very strong to ok in almost all matchups- aggro decks have lots of 1-drops worth killing.  Rakano has Silverwing Familiar, which is definitely worth killing before the opponent can drop equipment on it.

This blog post will cover a sample deck list + substitutions.

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My criticism of Eternal’s balance and card design

crown20of20possibilities

First off, let me say that the metagame just before the wipe was insanely good.  It was extremely diverse and many decks were viable. The really interesting thing is that many Masters players would intentionally play underpowered jank (e.g. dark Clockroaches) on ladder.  Everybody knows that Clockroaches isn’t tier 1 (probably tier 3 or 4).  But Clockroaches made up several percent of the metagame that I faced because it was fun.  It is wonderful that people are having fun in this game.

What that being said, let me get into why some of the post-wipe changes strike me as mistakes.  Cabal Countess is the most questionable decision:

  1. She moves the metagame into the wrong direction.  Ideally, jank like Clockroaches should be semi-competitive- not too good but not too awful.  Cabal Countess widens the power gap between tier 1 and fun jank. She will likely harm metagame diversity.
  2. She has less strategic depth and interesting gameplay than Shadowlands Guide.
  3. From a card design perspective, she has unnecessary complexity.  This makes the card more difficult for new players to grok.

cabal-countess

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