There’s a lot going on
So at this point, it’s pretty clear that no season has taken longer to converge, as a metagame, than this one has. Part of it is the fact that we had a metagame “reset” mid-season with the top two decks receiving direct champion nerfs (Lady Avalanche and The Blackberry Knight). But the other part, the more impressive part, is that is genuinely seems like there are a huge set of playable decks that are all at the same power level in different archetypes.
Since I’ve been playing Hex, at some point in every season the field has boiled down to 2-3 decks. And while Hex is a game you should be playing for fun, I would have said you were hurting your chances of winning if you’d played anything other than those 2-3 decks. Here’s a non-comprehensive list of decks that you could probably play this season without hurting your chances of winning:
- DW Momentum: The player’s choice at the FiveShards Finale.
- SW Rowdy: The best performing deck in the Bash, minus this week.
- RD Candles: Never going away. Budget, hard to play well, requires (ugh!) math…
- BR Refuel: Just a good aggro deck that’s hard to put down because of its burst ability.
- Solis Control: Regularly a high-performer. Good against DW.
- RS Sparrow Control: Hororizon’s Baby. Also good against DW, a bit more consistent than tri-shard builds, but worse against aggression because it lacks Blaze of Glory.
- 4-Shard Reanimator: My favorite deck, strong performances by skilled pilots.
- Twisted Sister Combo: Androod’s favorite deck. Not a lot of people play it, but when they do, it does well.
- BD Rebirth: When your cards come back from the crypt, everything’s a 2-for-1.
- Something With Blood: You know what’s still great? Massacre. Etc
- Weirdass Tempo Thk’tatcha Decks: What an underdog story. The Mantis Champ turns out to be everything go-wide synergy decks wanted – just one more turn to kill your opponent.
- Mono-Ruby Aggro: Yeah, it never left. It just got murdered by DW for a while.
So that’s a dozen decks, all of which are good, and I’m sure I forgot some. They’re all good. They’re all putting up results. And, somewhat more saliently, the field is so wide that it’s tough to really judge matchups. So anybody who tells you “Deck A crushes Deck B” is either showing how much they’ve tested, or talking out their ass.
This metagame is a gift. Most metagames, if you want to play something your heart truly desires, you’re going to also have to eat a lot of losses, because your heart is probably a rebel and wants to play its own random stuff. Turns out, this standard is super balanced: Whatever you heart desires is PROBABLY A REASONABLE DECK CHOICE. So become a master of it, and take your deck to Cosmic. Me, I’ll be doing 20 damage to the face with Doombringer Kha.
Martypunker’s Mono-Ruby Aggro
F4 specialist martypunker, after a brief flirtation with non-aggressive decks, has returned to his roots. You know what’s great? Attacking with everything. And look at the field: some decks are playing three shards and a whole bunch of remnants that damage them…other decks are not playing a meanful card to the board until turn 3…and some decks are doing both. Why not punish these people with efficient threats like Flare Imp and Righteous Outlaw?
Little bit of new. Little bit of old.
Aside from using Rhiannon as a an almost-strict upgrade to Tork Slamstyx decks of yore, marty made a couple of interesting changes. The first is to play no Boltspasm, and instead use Flame Imp. This is a big upgrade when your opponents are playing Whip Crack and Soul Severance, and also hedges against those pesky candlekin off Wax Sacrament.
The second is the inclusion of Fleetmaw Terminus in the spot usually occupied by more Boltwing Phoenix or Ayotachi brute. I think this is a nod to the deck’s desire to punish other decks that can’t interact with it: Feral and Speed turn out to be super-important keywords, with Feral helping the brute and its friends push through additional damage.
This is definitely an underplayed archetype: If you want straight, reliable aggro, this is an excellent deck to be playing. Look at that list on the left: only a couple of those decks play lifegain, and very few of them can race you. I expect to see this becoming more popular.
I don’t have many questions about this deck, except to wonder what the board plan is vs. go-wide decks that block well, like BD Rebirth. Should Heart of Agony see play in this deck, as being able to anthem a second time could push a lot of damage with crush?
Rhiannon of Flame
SargonVito’s BD Verdict
In the flavor of the old Judge Burgle decks, this is just a good, grindy control deck that is ready to wipe the board over, and over, and over again until the opponent has no stuff left. Soul Severance on 2, Massacre on 4, Eldurathan’s Glory on 5, From the Ashes on 6. Add in some solid design mistakes like Demented Whispers, and the inevitability engines of Mysteries de L’angoisse, Twilight Eclipse and Journey into Nightmare and you have a deck that’s ready to grind.
So I heard you hate creatures.
Take a look at how it performed in the Bash: killed Momentum (…plays all boardwipes, beats creatures decks? Checks out!), killed Solis Control playing 3 maindeck interrupts and few early ways to get a constant off the board, Beat RS Aggro (I bet Soul Severance was good vs. the Briny Ray deck), and beat RB Aggro.
The downsides of this archetype are that it can be a bit inconsistent. While I’m sympathetic to the idea of a blood-centric deck not wanting to play deck-thinning diamond cards that cost 1, Guidance can go a long way to fixing this problem, and is certainly one of the things I’d change about this list.
2x Eldurathan’s Glory
2x Mysteres de l’angoisse
Play your favorite decks, guys. This format has something for everyone.
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