What a weekend! Haraza got restored to its appropriate greatness, and … oh. Mono-Blood still crushed everything. Damnit. But ASIDE from that, this metagame looks sweet. While Mono-Blood was the most popular, had the highest win percentage, and also put 4 copies in the top 8 (and 6 in the top 10), there were a number of other decks that did reasonably. Let’s hit the highlights.
We Bringin’ Aggro Back
With Haraza un-nerfed, Ruby-Diamond Candles, Ruby-Diamond Ardent and Ruby-Sapphire Sockets all put a copy in the top 8. It’s worth noting that aggressive decks made up about a third of the tournament, and that Ruby-Diamond and Ruby-Sapphire decks won about 54% of their matches combined – very respectable. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like anybody’s quite unlocked the aggro deck that smashes Mono-Blood yet.
It doesn’t help, to some extent, that Haraza Decks tend to get bodied by Candles/Momentum decks (it’s tough to attack through all those giant troops), and Candles/Momentum decks in turn tend to get a bit bodied by blood decks. We actually have the data to back this up, thanks to Fred at HexPVPTools. Check it out:
Ruby-Sapphire won 61% of its matches vs. Mono-Blood…
…but Diamond-Wild won 74% of its matches vs. Ruby-Sapphire Sockets. And Diamond-Ruby won 56%.
…unfortunately, Mono Blood bodies Ruby Diamond decks – it won 67% of matches. It’s also favored, by a lesser amount, against Diamond-Wild – 55%.
And everybody beat the pants off of Diamond-Sapphire. It makes me sad, so I’m not gonna talk about it.
What’s the point? We have a rocks/paper/scissors metagame at the moment. Mono-Blood beats DW and RD, DW and RD beat RS, and RS beats Mono-Blood. The problem is that the numbers don’t line up evenly: The Nash Equilibrium for these win-rates is 62% Mono-Blood, 26% DW and 12% RS. Basically, all the matchups that Diamond-Ruby is good at, Diamond-Wild is better at. Whee, data!
The Fantastic Four
There’s a clear clear top tier of champions in this metagame: Bardak the Butcher, Haraza the Incinerator, Cassia Goldenlight and Lady Avalanche are played a ton more than the other champions. 182/288 decks featured one of these champions; Lady Avalanche (the least played of the four) was played nearly 3 times as much as the next-most-popular champion.
Of these, Cassia is maybe a bit overrated – she represents two distinct strategies (while most Avalanche decks are Wild-based Exalted Pathfinder ramp decks) in Diamond-Sapphire Turbo-PA and Ruby-Diamond Candles. But the fact is that you have to go 29 places down, to Sethanon on Grandfather Elk, before you see a deck not playing one of these champs.
Death of Durdle
Aggro was back on the menu…and people who tried to run back the runebind decks of the past got run over. Diamond-Sapphire and Sapphire-Wild posted mediocre 45% win-rates. Other decks, however, adapted to include some anti-aggro deck: Diamond Wild decks were running a few copies of Eldurathan’s Glory to hold off Haraza’s hordes and also to get those pesky Brides of the Damned off the table.
Diamond-Sapphire players will have to evolve – and it’s a tough ask when Blood-based interaction is more powerful…and Blood has the better late game cards that also are more effective in the early game. Psychic Ascension is a win con, but if it’s in your opening hand it’s dead for a long time. Demented Whispers is fine early, and wins you the game late. At the moment, it seems like Mono-Blood is better positioned against the aggressive field.
Reminder: Mono Blood.
Yeah. We wrote about this last week. We’re gonna hit it briefly again. Dear Intrepid Hex Community: Your non-Blood midrange and control splashes are not working. Blood-Diamond, Blood-Sapphire and Blood-Wild won under 30% of their matches. Bride of the Damned, Strangle, and Vampire Prince are still worth it. Of the splashers, Blood-Ruby seemed to do the best, with variants including Quenchinator, Primordial Sabretooth and Runic Avalanche to try to get an edge in the mirror.
Guys. This is dark times for Neat Stuff. 46 of the top 50 players played one of the Fantastic Four. Nary a Yarna of the Lost Voices or a Balthasar the Elegist to be seen. I assume that SlimHeavens just misclicked in champion selection and accidentally picked Renner instead of our boy Screaming Fox (Bardak). So let’s salute those 3 players who were either determined to play something different or just didn’t want to buy new cards.
Sethanon and Destrozeitor’s Ruby-Wild Cards I Own
Could I have put URKADAR’s Ruby-Diamond Ardent deck here? I sure could have. I could have talked about how Threads of Life is cool sideboard tech to effectively get a second copy of a Herofall’d card. How he was ready for sockets with 4 copies of arcing rust. But he only played 1 copy of Righteous Outlaw, so he’s dead to me. I can’t support this lack of Righteousness, even though it doesn’t attack well into Momentum’s blockers, and can be a little embarrassing vs. Bride of the Damned.
You know who played 4 Righteous Outlaws each? Sethanon and Destrozeitor.
You know who supplemented those 4 good cards with a bevy of cards I have only seen in limited? Sethanon and Destrozeitor.
That’s right. These guys were in to cast Communion of Wax and get nerds DEAD. Get something with double damage, Grandfather Elk hero power it and crush ‘em. Sethanon planned to cheat Coiling Nebulax, Surging Wildfire and Pulverazor into play. Destrozeitor dreamed bigger: He played two copies of Fire with Fire and Spontaneous Combustion to go with his giant troops for more damage to the face.
One bit of tech I particularly like is Sethanon’s Witch of the Wishing Well. This deck really wants to have a good card to cheat into play with Communion of wax, and Witch not only helps to filter through your deck, it makes the card you find bigger.
Aside from the 1-of Snarling Brave (c’mon. Get another Boltwing Phoenix), Sethanon’s deck seems to know what it’s doing.
Champion: Grandfather Elk
4x Communion of Wax – Gems: 4x Major Ruby of Twinstrike
4x Well of Savagery
4x Ruby Shard
4x Shard of Savagery
5x Wild Shard
3x Ruby Ice
3x Wild Ice
1x Locke of the Pack
4x Righteous Outlaw
2x Boltwing Phoenix
3x Acolyte of Flame
4x Surging Wildfire
3x Quenchinator – Gems: 3x Major Ruby of Galvanism
2x Coiling Nebulax
4x Witch of the Wishing Well
1x Dreamweaver Ancient
1x Snarling Brave
Yasi’s Blood-Sapphire Reanimator
His deckbuilding is so next level, he got DJ Dark Heart at level 96.
He once cast Absolute Power and drew 0 cards, because he already knew everything worth knowing.
He played a Five-shard deck in the Platinum Plunder that could only make two shards
Yasi is … the most interesting brewer in Hex.
This deck is an awesome evolution of Yasi’s previous work. First, it’s a Blood-Sapphire deck playing reanimation targets from Ruby, Diamond and Wild shards! Second, it’s playing Mirror, Mirror, because Blightwater Ferryman will bring back 1 other troop, giving you two excellent targets to make giant clones of. The sideboard is mostly assorted fatties to bring in, and of course the deck contains the Coralcove Witch/Crowbones/Sorcerous Sculting combo to make infinite speedy Crowbones. But I’d wager this deck wins most of its matchups on the backs of giant reanimated troops smashing in.
It’s worth noting that this strategy is particularly well-suited to attack mono-blood decks. Because it relies on reanimating troops from the graveyard and features a bunch of 1-ofs, this deck is relatively resilient to both Herofall and discard like Primordial Cockatwice.
Champion: Blue Sparrow
4x Heart’s Whisper
2x Sorcerous Sculpting – Gems: 2x Major Sapphire of Sorcery
4x Change Course
1x Mirror, Mirror
4x Mordrom’s Gift – Gems: 4x Major Sapphire of Clarity
4x Nameless Draught
4x Sapphire Shard
4x Blood Ice
4x Well of Cunning
4x Blightbark Reserve
4x Sapphire Ice
1x Grove Warden
2x Blightwater Ferryman
1x Crowbones – Gems: 1x Minor Blood Orb of Frenzy
1x Primordial Sabretooth
3x Coralcove Witch
4x Eternal Seeker
- Mono-Blood is the best deck by a good chunk. If there’s a card with the word “Ire” in it, you may want to consider putting it in your deck.
- Ruby-Sapphire Sockets has a good Mono-Blood matchup. Diamond Wild is slightly unfavored.
- If you can find a Diamond-Wild deck that you feel is genuinely favored vs. Mono-Blood, you’re looking at a sea of good to great matchups. Could I recommend my friend Gargalith, good for protecting your troops and setting up unbeatable board states?
- My beloved Diamond-Sapphire decks are floundering in a sea of discard and socketed aggression. Woe!