Monday Morning Metagame (4/9)
Happy Monday, everybody – thanks for coming and reading. This weekend’s events were interesting, largely because a pair of bugs threw some wrenches in the metagame. The first was a known bug with Diamond-Wild Momentum staple Palm of Granite, in which Palm of Granite might randomly choose the same two Wild Shards, thus only giving you 1 Wild Shard and putting it into play. This caused a couple players to play less Palm of Granite…and probably caused a couple Palm of Granites to fizzle unfortunate. We’ll mention this in the next section when we talk about how DW performed.
The second was that Trial of Totems, with Major Gem of Battalion, provided a permanent +1/+1 bonus to all your troops. We didn’t know about this one (and it’s not super clear that that’s…not how it’s supposed to work?), but a player named HellCrescent lit the swiss on fire with a 6-1 take on DS Thk’tatcha tempo. HexEnt asked him to drop from the top 8, so as not to impact the semis or finals with a bug. He said he understood, asked for the battleboard and sleeves, and the Hex guys gave them to him.
I thought this was worth highlighting – in this space, we often talk about good brewers, good players, and good decks. We don’t often talk about good sports, and people playing this game with their eyes on the prize: that it’s a game, played for fun. HellCrescent could have been upset that he’d been denied a shot at Bash cash prizes, but both sides were refreshingly adult about things. So that deserves a tip of the hat.
Tracking the Favorites
So it’s always good, when checking on the results, to see how the favorites did. First, let’s put it out there: DW Momentum is still the best deck in the format, and everybody knows it. 22 out of 79 people brought the deck, and it still won 53.4% of its games. This deck is just super hard to hate out: it’s doing a fundamentally fair thing and playing good, valuable troops on curve. What it specifically does is absolutely murder aggressive decks: It won 14/18 matches, good for a 78% win-rate, against aggressive and tempo decks, while coin-flipping with the second most popular deck, SW Rowdy.
The new-comers this week, as the format continues to evolve, were interactive decks designed to beat DW Momentum. These decks had some simple plans: Try to minimize the number of Shamrock the Goldfathers and Exalted Pathfinders that hit the battlefield. Foremost among these was trusty old mono-blood, packing Strangles, Herofalls, and our old favorite Bride of the Damned. Mono-Blood posted a 71% win-rate vs. DW Momentum.
Why? Pretty simple. In order to boost its win-rate vs. SW Rowdy, Momentum decks are playing more aggressive cards, straying from the card-value version that showed up towards the end of last season. As a result, it’s worse against Blood decks that can take away their powerful threats. It’s tough to build a midrange deck like DW with a good sideboard plan against aggression while devoting 4 slots to Wise Magistrate.
So why didn’t Mono-Blood, the deck which beats the best deck, do better than 4-3? The aggressive decks. It was 0% (yep) against Blood-Ruby Refuel and Candles. ITMensch, on Candles, went on to win the whole thing.
Rise of Ruby-Sapphire
Finally, it’s worth touching on a few of the Ruby-Sapphire decks that popped up in response to Momentum’s dominance. These came in a couple of flavors, but the idea was pretty straightforward: keep the problematic cards off the table, then play a crazy game-winning spell.
Just playing all the best Ruby-Sapphire interaction. Eat your heart out, Brilliant Annihilix. Protection from non-prismatic THIS.
CheekyBreeky’s deck is a good example. I don’t think this is the finished version of this deck, but it does a couple things very well: It kills troops early with Primordial Sabretooth, then just plays a beautiful curve of quick speed disruption. Stifling Sting, Discombobulate, Excruciate, Candlelight.
These decks posted an 83.3% win-rate against DW. If they can figure out a way to do well against aggressive decks (0-3 there), this could be a contender.
NephilimArmy’s Twisted Sister Combo
This deck is absolutely awesome, and it’s great to see it do well at a Bash. I would tell you how neat this deck is, but Androod already has.
Lightmre’s Bury Control
So this was one of the better finishes by a deck with a bury theme in it ever. Lightmre played this deck to a 9th place finish, narrowly missing the top 8. He did so by feasting on other control decks (4-0), but I mostly wanted to highlight the deckbuilding that went on here, because I think it’s neat.
This deck picks up a ton of take-over-the-game cards with Sapphire.
This deck is basically Mono-Blood, but instead of better answers (Bride of the Damned), it’s playing better threats. By playing some Sapphire cards, it attacks at an angle that’s hard to answer: burying the opponent’s entire deck, and also gets some hard-to-remove cards. Here’s some questions and comments on the deck.
- Big thumbs up on the threat diversity. The Librarian is a tricky card to answer fairly and will take over the game if left unchallenged. The same can be said of Cult of the Nameless City.
- Good job using all the buffalo. Mono-Blood already wanted to play Demented Whispers for the discard, why not get use out of the bury? Vampire Prince buries cards too.
- By going sapphire, we pick up a lot of card advantage. Cult of the Nameless City can draw 3, the Librarian can get you an extra card every turn, Voice of D’endrrah can take over games and Demented Destiny is also nuts. We have none of these things in mono-blood.
- We then play 4 Massacre, 4 Vampire Prince and 4 Herofall because we know we need to get to the late game.
- We also pick up all the good Sapphire cards which interact on the stack in the sideboard.
- I like the restraint on Cult of the Nameless City. 4 might be right, but there’s an argument for 3: this is a miserable card to draw multiples of early game.
This is a well-crafted deck (…aside from the resources: this is a 23/24 resource deck, not a 22 resource deck, and you probably need more ice). It’s lightmre’s third Bash with Yarna, and you can sort of see him zeroing in (Try 1, Try 2) on good versions of the deck. I’m excited to see where he takes it.
Rolfusius’ Mystery Skyshaper
You might look at this deck and see 2 Arena Regular and 2 Unhenge. You might, foolishly, believe that here goes a man who can’t make up his mind.
I see a fiendish dedication to craft and curve. I see a man who would play 6 Righteous Outlaws if he could, but instead is forced to play another ruby 2-drop that pressures life total.
You might ask why we’re playing 3 Runic Missiles…and 1 Return to Cinder
I would tell you that you should study the Way of Fire…that damage done to the face is never wasted, and Briny Ray will discard your sins.
You might question Rolfusius. You might ask what this singleton Boltwing Phoenix is doing here.
I would ask you, Seeker of Knowledge, if you were feeling discombobulated.
Why are we playing Typhoon Skyshaper, a 4/5 with double-sapphire threshold in our ruby aggressive deck? When we have no good troops to bounce to hand except our 7-cost Primordial Sabretooth?
There is a reality even prior to heaven and earth;
Indeed, it has no form, much less a name;
Eyes fail to see it;
It has no voice for ears to detect;
Absolutely quiet, and yet illuminating in a mysterious way
Typhoon Skyshaper allows itself to be perceived only by the clear-eyed.
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