September 2018 Tier List - Neon - September 10, 2018

 

This tier list is outdated. New tier list!

Greetings friends! Today I will bring you the first edition of the A+Space tier list, which I am excited to put out monthly! I am approaching this task a bit differently than others have, so let’s waste no time and describe the methodology.

Where Am I Getting My Numbers?

High level players! I am planning to 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, LightsOutAce, camat0, TonyGeeeee, Magikarp and theovermaster. I am also offering a chance to win a $5 Steam card to those who fill out the survey, and this month the winner is theovermaster!

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.

I also asked the players to link me suggested decklists for each archetype. I will admit that I did not test these myself, but they mostly 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. This will help identify decks that are overrated or underrated.

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 your 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) No comment.

Tier 1

Rakano Valkyries/Midrange, Kennadins, TJP Fliers/Midrange

Tier 1.5

Big Combrei, Removal Pile/Armory, Skycrag Aggro, Praxis Tokens, Combrei Alessi, Praxis Midrange, Icaria Blue

Tier 2

TJP "Blitz", Hooru Midrange/Fliers, Scream/Berserk, Xenan Midrange, TJP Control/Ramp, Argenport Midrange, Stonescar Aggro

Tier 3

Feln Control, JPS Control, Stonescar Grenadins, Elysian Midrange

Tier 4

Xenan Mask, Shimmerpack/Elysian Tokens, FTP Moment of Creation, Rakano Aggro

Commentary: While there is a pretty clear consensus set of “tier 1” decks, the tier 1.5 squad is close behind. One feature that sticks out as a common theme across the most top preforming decks is proactivity. Even the most controlling decks in tier 1.5 have access to Icaria, giving them the ability to turn up the heat when needed. It should also be noted that Shadow-heavy decks are preforming very poorly, especially Feln-based control decks. Fire aggro also had a rough showing outside of the Skycrag Aggro deck in tier 1.5.

Popularity

What is almost as important as what you should be playing is 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) No comment.

Tier 1

Rakano Valkyries/Midrange, TJP Fliers/Midrange 

Tier 1.5

Big Combrei, Removal Pile/Armory, Skycrag Aggro, Icaria Blue, Praxis Tokens

Tier 2

Praxis Midrange, Kennadins, JPS Control, TJP Control/Ramp, Combrei Alessi, Xenan Midrange, Scream/Berserk, Argenport Midrange

Tier 3

Shimmerpack/Elysian Tokens, Stonescar Aggro, Elysian Midrange, Stonescar Grenadins, Feln Control, Xenan Mask, Hooru Midrange/Fliers

Tier 4

TJP "Blitz", Rakano Aggro, FTP Moment of Creation

Commentary: Rakano Midrange/Valkyries and TJP Fliers/Valkyries claimed top slots in both popularity and power, meaning they are clearly setting the pace for the meta. It is striking that two flying-heavy decks made it to the top; is it time to start playing Aerial Battle or Bring Down in the Market? Maybe Slimespitter Slug? Past this we see many of the same standbys making it to the top of the popularity.

Underrated Decks

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

Kennadins

While the deck is clearly present, most of the players surveyed seemed to think Kennadins should be seeing more play than it is. The deck is difficult to pilot, but the power level is very high. Many thought this deck was just a meme when it first popped up, but it has since established itself as the real powerhouse.

Hooru Midrange/Fliers

Hooru Midrange/Fliers is a decent deck, but it suffers from the other decks available in the metagame. TJP Fliers and Rakano Valkyries do most of the same things Hooru does, but they do them a bit better. It is worth noting that Hooru midrange is technically underrated, but there is good reason for it to not see more play for the time being.

Blitz

While Blitz is virtually absent from the meta, it certainly still has something to offer. It is possible that further innovations in the deck will push it to the next level, but for now it must content itself as being considered the “most underrated” archetype.

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?

Elysian Tokens/Shimmerpack

There are some tools in Elysian that are superior to Praxis, but when it comes down to it, Praxis tokens is generally just a better version of the same deck. Stop trying to be fancy with your Shimmerpacks and Scouting Parties, and just embrace your Assembly Lines and Torches!

JPS Control

Feln-based control has not handled the Market meta well, though some people still hold on to their Strategizes and Champions of Cunning. Teacher of Humility has done her best to teach these players a lesson, but I guess some people will never learn.

Wrap-Up

Overall, I think the meta seems relatively diverse. It is unfortunate that Fire-Aggro is not well represented, but overall there are a lot of ways to attack the format. Shadow is in a very strange spot at the moment. There are no mono-faction Shadow cards that are truly attractive. Hopefully the next content release or balance patch will inject some power into that faction.

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 Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or on Youtube! I also appreciate your support on all platforms, as it really does help the site. You can also help A+Space by checking out our Patreon, which gives you access to the A+Space Discord, as well as some other fun perks. You can also help by contributing to the site in other ways, which are described on the Support page.

Thanks again to those who helped give me the information for the tier list, and thanks to all of you for checking this out!

Neon

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