Tier List - Neon - February 6, 2019

 

This article is outdated. Please see our updated Tier list.

Welcome to the February 2019 edition of the Eternal tier list!

January was quite a wild ride for Eternal. By the ECQ we had a near 1-deck metagame, but this brought on a massive balance patch by the middle of the month. Where did things go from there, and how have they landed going into the ECQ this month? Let’s find out!

Where Am I Getting My Numbers?

High level players! I recruit a rotating band of high-performing tournament and ladder competitors to fill in a survey to give their thoughts on different decks. I am deliberately trying to pull information from a range of high-level players to get a well-rounded perspective. If I didn’t ask you, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about your opinion, but I would just like to spread out the work from month-to-month. The players who filled out the survey this month were flash2351, camat0, DarkestHour, AhornDelfin, and TheRocke!

I should mention that I asked players to ignore differences between Ranked and Tournaments. While I understand that there are some decks that have an edge in one over the other, this is not generally too important. I asked players to average their rating of the two formats if there was a difference in their mind.  

Players gave me suggested decklists for each archetype. I will admit that I did not test these myself, but they seem reasonable. These are at least a good starting point to understand typical builds of these decks.

Power and Popularity

I am dividing the tier list into two separate metrics: “Power” being a metric for how good a deck is, and “Popularity” being a metric for how often a deck is played.

Power

The “power level tier list” is a summary of what top-level players think you should be playing. I specifically asked them to ignore complexity and fun, but focus entirely on maximizing the chance of winning. Here are the descriptions I gave to the players filling out the survey:

Tier 1: Heavyweight. Decks you would suggest to a skilled player who only cared about winning.

Tier 2: Contender. Some weaknesses, but has a lot to offer. Maybe a change in the meta will allow it to move up?

Tier 3: Lightweight. This deck has some serious problems, but some people keep playing it for some reason.

Tier 4: Meme. If it is popular, it isn't because the deck is actually good.

Tier 5: Not important. The deck is so bad or so uncommon that it should not be on the tier list.

TIER 1

Winchest (FJS) Midrange/Control, Haunted Highway

TIER 1.5

Rakano Aggro, Kennadins, Jennev (FTP) Peak, Skycrag Aggro, Ixtun (FJP) Peak/Control, FPS Control/Howling Peak, Blitz, Combrei Ramp, Argenport Aggro, Stonescar Grenadins

TIER 2

Praxis Tokens, Winchest (FJS) Grenadins, Argenport Midrange, Elysian Aggro, Combrei Aggro, Feln Reanimator, Praxis Midrange, Argenport Control, Xenan Midrange

TIER 3

Feln Scream, Hooru Midrange, Stonescar Aggro, Talir-Mask, JPS Control, Kerrendon (TJS) Alessi, JPS Control, Xenan Reanimator, Combrei Midrange, Feln Midrange, Rakano Midrange

COMMENTARY:

Before the last balance patch Winchest had solidified itself as the undisputed ruler of the metagame. Now, a month later, it is still at the top of the charts. This honestly an amazing accomplishment, but it would be an oversimplification to say that nothing has changed. The gap between tier 1 and tier 1.5 seems much smaller than last month, as the previous meta was largely “Winchest + a bunch of decks trying to counter Winchest” and now it feels much more open. Still, it is difficult to ignore Winchest’s power, versatility and consistency when selecting a deck for the event.

Aside from Winchest, Haunted Highway has also found its way to the top of the charts. This deck is almost unchanged from before Defiance, and continues to have exception performance in the hands of skilled pilots. Yes, the deck still struggles with consistency, but the best draws can feel utterly unstoppable.

As I suggested above, the gap between tier 1 and tier 1.5 this month seems small. Any of these decks could easily carry a skilled player to master, or work their way into the ECQ top 8. It is also entirely possible that any of these decks are primed to move up to tier 1 with the right innovation. It is interesting to note that Howling Peak decks have taken a big step back in terms of power even though the card only experienced a relatively minor tweak. Perhaps the downstream effect of enabling aggro has pushed some of the greedy 3F decks back? Argenport Aggro is also worth a mention. While the decklist may not look impressive, it is actually quite powerful. Certainly a deck worth keeping an eye on!

There are a couple decks to shout out below tier 1.5. Praxis tokens seems to be making a comeback with the nerfs to Winchest and Howling Peak, along with the buff to Amaran Stinger. These decks seem much more aggressive than previous versions given the newfound enthusiasm for charge units. It is also interesting to note that the Vara reanimator decks have not yet made a big impact on the meta, despite many people working on them. She is playable, but not nearly as busted as she was before.

Popularity

To do well on the ladder you need to both play a good deck, but also prepare against what other people are playing! If you want to metagame against the field, it is good to know what decks are the most common.

Tier 1: Very popular. Expect to see this deck in almost every ladder session, and every tournament.

Tier 2: Somewhat popular. Be prepared for the deck, but don't warp your deck around it.

Tier 3: Fringe. Some players are using the deck, but it is certainly not common. Be familiar with it. 

Tier 4: Off-meta. Maybe you have seen it once or twice, but it is not worth considering.

Tier 5: Not important. The deck is so bad or so uncommon that it should not be on the tier list. 

TIER 1

Winchest (FJS) Midrange/Control, Rakano Aggro, Skycrag Aggro, Haunted Highway, Jennev (FTP) Midrange/Howling Peak, Combrei Ramp

TIER 1.5

Ixtun (FJP) Control/Howling Peak, FPS Control/Howling Peak, Elysian Aggro/Maul, Kennadins, Winchest (FJS) Grenadins, Argenport Midrange, TJP Blitz

TIER 2

Argenport Aggro, Feln Reanimator,Xenan Midrange, Stonescar Grenadins, Kerrendon (TJS) Alessi, Praxis Tokens, Praxis Midrange, Combrei Midrange, Combrei Aggro, Feln Scream/Berserk, Feln Midrange

TIER 3

Argenport Control, JPS Control, Xenan Reanimator, Hooru Midrange, Talir-Mask Combo, Rakano Midrange/Valkyries, Stonescar Aggro

COMMENTARY:

Talk about a diverse metagame! We got some aggro, some midrange, and some ramp! Doesn’t look like there is much in the way of traditional control at the top of the standings, but there is still a good deal of variety. In a diverse meta you should focus on decks that are proactive, powerful, and consistent as it will give you game against anything you meet. Given this complexity, I would focus on the tier 1 decks when attempting to tech my decks, as just looking at tier 1.5 is dizzying. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see major upsets in these numbers as we reach the ECQ this weekend.

Underrated Decks

This measures decks that are rated as significantly more powerful than they were popular, meaning that they may be underplayed at the moment. This might highlight some hole in the metagame.

Stonescar Aggro

It isn’t uncommon for Stonescar Aggro to make the “underrated” category. The deck is OK, but no one seems to want to play it. I suppose it might suffer from being a worse Haunted Highway? One way or another, the deck seems to be underrated at present, so perhaps it can move up the tier list with a bit of attention.

Praxis Tokens

LightsOutAce is not going to be happy about this, but Praxis Tokens is the second “underrated” deck on the list. The new builds are quite reasonable, and are only beginning to pick up steam. This might be a flash in the pan, but it is worth paying attention in case Praxis has a break-out performance this weekend.

Overrated Decks

While some decks are more powerful than they are popular, the reverse can also be true. Which decks are seeing more play than they should? 

Combrei Ramp

A lot of people have picked up camat0’s Combrei ramp deck, but it seems that not enough have put it down. The deck is fine, but it is not that good. The popularity might be partly a function of the fun playstyle, or the sweet haymakers at the top end, but the deck is probably seeing more play than it should at the moment.

ELYSIAN AGGRO/MAUL

Second month in a row that Elysian Aggro has been gained the “overrated” grade. The deck is OK, but it seems quite match-up dependant. Sure, it is a blast to maul someone for 14, but that simply isn’t consistent enough of a game plan against a wide-open field in my opinion.

Wrap-Up

As I have been trying to emphasize, there is a lot going on in the meta. There are a ton of playable strategies, with new decks popping up all the time! I am hoping to see some more innovation going into the ECQ to make it extra spicy! We will just have to wait and see…

Thanks for checking this out! I’m sure a lot of you have opinions on this, and I want to hear them! Share your thoughts on the A+Space Discord, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or on Youtube! I am also hoping to stream tonight, so be sure to stop by to go deeper into what is happening here. You can also support A+Space on Patreon or by checking out Inked Gaming, where you can use the code “ASPACE12” to save 12% off your orders! Thanks again for stopping by!