Burn Queen is a dominating tier 1 deck

Burn Queen is basically a Bandit Queen deck with a burn package of Kaleb’s Favor, Flame Blast, and Obliterate.  I originally didn’t realize that this deck gets more powerful at the highest levels of ladder, where there is more Combrei and control.  Having played a reasonable amount of this deck, here’s some data:

  1. Highly favorable matchup against non-aggro Combrei (79% winrate).  This deck absolutely preys on Combrei durdle decks tuned for the Boardstall Titan mirrors.
  2. 70% overall winrate (126W-55L).
  3. Early on in the season, I piloted this deck to #1 on ladder.  Currently my rank happens to be #2.

kalebs20favorbandit20queen

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Overwhelming the Bandit Queen mirror

The Bandit Queen mirror is one of the more intricate matchups in Eternal.  These matchups work quite differently since the games go much longer than typical Jito Queen games.  Whereas normal Jito Queen typically calls for aggressive play (“A + space + burn to the face”), the key skill in the mirror is choosing when to attack and when NOT to attack.  As well, it sometimes makes sense to hold removal for the units that actually matter in the matchup.

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Tells from opponents mousing over their cards

When an opponent moves their mouse cursor over a card, you will be able to see a card sticking out with a teal halo.

mouse-over-cards-02

Many players have a habit of mousing over their combat tricks as soon as their opponent clicks on their blockers.  (This helps them play faster and therefore grind gold/rank faster.)

To bait out information, simply click on your blockers as if you were going to block.  Your opponent may instinctively mouse over their combat trick (e.g. Rapid Shot) as you do so.  To make it less obvious that you are trying to bait out information, un-assign and re-assign blockers as if you were “thinking” about various blocking permutations.

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Eternal’s skill ceiling

I’ve reached the point where I feel like being a better Eternal player doesn’t have a meaningful impact on winrate.  At the top of the Eternal ladder, skill matters less.  I’ve fluctuated between #2-#25 on the Eternal ladder within a short time period.  It’s not like my skill changed within a few days.  Rather, luck is a dominating factor at the top of the ladder.

Why does the skill ceiling exist?  Partly, it’s because many nuances of the game have a very low impact on winrate.

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Nuances of Patient Jito Queen

Jito Queen is the hyper-aggressive Stonescar deck that runs 3-4 copies of Frontier Jito, 1-drops including bad 1-drops like Knifejack, and 3-4 copies of Bandit Queen.  I don’t think that this deck gets the love that it deserves.

  1. I think that it is underrated in the current diverse metagame.  It has slightly unfavored matchups against midrange Combrei as well as decks that run 8 sweepers (e.g. Lightning storm, Harsh Rule).  Those decks represent a small portion of the current meta.  Jito has balanced or favorable matchups against everything else.
  2. I think it’s better than Rakano pants/Warcry against the current meta.  Traditional Rakano has bad matchups that Jito doesn’t.
  3. Lightning storm is not that backbreaking against Jito Queen.  Jito Queen can win even after 2 lightning storms.

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Timing tells

The amount of time that an opponent takes before making their move can tell you about their hand.  If they have different lines of play, then it will take longer for them to figure out the best line of play and they won’t attack as fast.  If they have a very clear line of play such as attacking with their entire army followed by a Harsh Rule, then the opponent may play very quickly.

Working backwards… we can sometimes infer information about an opponent’s hand based on how quickly they play.  An opponent that attacks very quickly with a “bad” attack probably has Rapid Shot or Harsh Rule in their hand.

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Reaching the top of ladder + Eternal’s skill cap

The easiest way to reach #1 on ladder is to play very early on in the season where there is little competition.  I did just that and reached #1 with monojustice.  Later on in the season, reaching the top becomes more difficult as there is more competition (by then, more high-level people have played and have ranked).  I have since peaked at #2, stopped playing ladder, and currently sit at #4.

One of the issues with ladder is that ladder rankings are highly sensitive to short-term winning and losing streaks.  It is common to move 15+ positions in a day of play.  Because of this, reaching the very top of Masters ladder has a huge luck component.  The very top of the ladder has more to do with luck (as well as not playing once you’re at the top) than being the very best.

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Combrei mirrors: 12-unit denial

This is a follow-up to Neon’s excellent article on Combrei mirrors, an extremely skill-intensive matchup that I punt often.

One of the nuances of the mirror is the 12-unit limit.  If an opponent’s board already has 12 units, that opponent cannot use Siraf’s ultimate.  So what you do is this… the opponent will likely figure out that they need to make bad attacks to free up room for Siraf’s ultimate.  You can deny them a spin of the wheel by making non-lethal blocks, or no blocks at all.

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The art of the Gilded Glaive

I’ve been brewing different decks with Gilded Glaive, which is a very powerful beatdown card.  Its versatility, recurring damage, and synergy with Silverwing Familiar make it a very powerful Justice card.

Usually Gilded Glaive goes with pushed Justice creatures such as:

  1. Silverwing Familiar.  The aegis, evasion, and lifesteal makes this the best glaive holder.
  2. Crownwatch Paladin.
  3. Valyrie Enforcer.

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