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.
Well… I predicted that the current meta would be dominated by Burn Queen (here and here) and that the meta would be a little degenerate. I was pretty much right. So… I’m less interested in playing the current meta and hitting #1 yet again.
Now the degenerate “let’s tech for the mirror” has started. The first obvious step was to bring in Vara’s Favor to deal with all the 1 drops. Now, people are ditching Bandit Queen in favor of the 5-drops: Umbren Reaper and Soulfire Drake. I’m not actually sure if the slower “big burn” deck is that much better in the mirror. Comparing Unearthly’s data to mine:
- Unearthly played a “big burn” version. 120W-65L since the wipe to Nov 26 (65% winrate).
- This season, the games I have recorded so far with Burn Queen has been 53W-31L (63% winrate). I did not record games for the initial part of this post-wipe season because I didn’t want data with collection differences and less skilled opponents (e.g. influx of new players). In my Echosaurus post, my record was 41W-20L at the time (67%).
My mirror data:
- 19W-15L against other Stonescar burn. Some opponents were playing treachery, grenadin drone, Rebel Illuminator, etc. (which I would consider to be Tier 2)
- 2W-2L against Big burn.
So I’m not sure which version is better in the mirror.
A little history
I played Burn Queen when nobody else was playing it. I’m surprised by how long it took to discover the deck- all of the parts were there since Party Hour was nerfed. The part that wasn’t obvious was the strength of these 3 cards:
- Flame Blast
- Kaleb’s Favor (which is seeing less play than Vara’s Favor in the current meta)
Obliterate seems like a bad card if you have a Magic the Gathering background.
- Expensive removal tends to be bad in MtG draft formats. Obliterate takes 5 power to kill a Sandstorm Titan, Annihilate takes 2. If you look at it that way, Obliterate seems really overcosted.
- Lava axe is a bad card in MtG. It costs 5 mana to take away 25% of the opponent’s life. Obliterate takes 5 mana to take away 24% of the opponent’s starting life. It seems really inefficient.
Flame Blast seems bad for the same reasons.
I was #1 on ladder for a while. Then Weiseguy did what he does best- bump me down the ladder. He was playing a more midrange-ey version of Burn Queen with a deathstrike, Umbren Reapers, and I think Soulfire Drake(?). (Interestingly enough, this was the direction that Stonescar Burn would head.) So I believe that season ended with Weiseguy at #1 and myself at #2.
I had a 70% winrate with Burn Queen back then. I faced almost zero mirror matches. This was good for my winrate since the mirror match will be close to 50%.
People doing interesting things in the current post-wipe season
Finkel is doing really well with Shimmerpack. The Finkel Shimmy is strong:
4 Initiate of the Sands (Set1 #74)
4 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
1 Sanctuary Priest (Set1 #73)
1 Ephemeral Wisp (Set1 #84)
4 Storm Lynx (Set1 #353)
3 Talir’s Favored (Set0 #11)
4 Temple Scribe (Set1 #502)
1 Amaran Camel (Set1 #357)
4 Amber Acolyte (Set1 #93)
1 Polymorph (Set1 #211)
4 Scorpion Wasp (Set1 #96)
2 Crystalline Chalice (Set1 #359)
1 Marisen’s Disciple (Set1 #104)
4 Sandstorm Titan (Set1 #99)
4 Xenan Obelisk (Set1 #103)
1 Lumen Shepherd (Set1 #117)
1 Predatory Carnosaur (Set1 #118)
4 Scouting Party (Set1 #488)
2 Shimmerpack (Set1 #365)
5 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
8 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)
4 Elysian Banner (Set1 #421)
4 Seat of Wisdom (Set0 #63)
Unearthly has figured out a very competitive Rakano build with a 68.2% winrate. That winrate is very close to what Burn Queen looked like pre-wipe.
4 Oni Ronin (Set1 #13)
3 Protect (Set1 #132)
2 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Champion of Glory (Set1 #314)
4 Crownwatch Paladin (Set1 #139)
4 Rakano Outlaw (Set1 #20)
3 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
2 Auric Sentry (Set1 #146)
3 Sword of Icaria (Set1 #315)
4 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
4 Hammer of Might (Set1 #170)
1 Navani, Warsinger (Set1 #323)
3 Righteous Fury (Set1 #322)
2 Deepforged Plate (Set1 #317)
2 Soulfire Drake (Set1 #47)
6 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
7 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
3 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)
2 Emerald Monument (Set1 #422)
4 Rakano Banner (Set1 #427)
4 Seat of Glory (Set0 #56)
Kudos to Unearthly for figuring out a Tier 1 deck. Once somebody collects data on Shimmerpack, it might turn out that Shimmerpack is truly a Tier 1 deck too.