Team Genji’s Official Tier List June 2019
The Tier List
Rakano Midrange | Stonescar
Hooru Control | Combrei Midrange | Praxis Pledge
Hooru Fliers | Mono Fire | FJS Midrange | Even Feln | Evenport Reclaimer | Tasbu’s Toolbox
FJS Midrange | Feln Control | Argentport Midrange | Argentport Minotaurs | Praxis Tokens | Feln Aggro | FTPeaks | Even Xenan | Rakano Aggro | Skycraggro
Even Hour | Rats
After recording hundreds of games on master’s ladder as well as receiving input from the community we have put together a tier list that we would consider to be a good overview of the meta. We would like to disclaim that this is not a full overview of the meta as there are countless variations and outlier lists that we just didn’t include. Below you can find a link to the decklists we are referring to in this tier list. All these lists are ranked based on win rate, not based on popularity.
Tier 1/1.5 Musings
Rokoku: Alright, let’s get into the tier list. The clear king of the ranked ladder since the buffs to Champion of Chaos and Flame Blast has been Stonescar. Stonescar Aggro, Stonescar Aggro Mid, Stonescar Midrange, you name it. Whatever hat the deck puts on, the core 50 or so cards have warped the meta to the point where you pretty much have three kinds of players: those playing Stonescar, those trying to beat Stonescar, and those that have given up completely. What makes this deck so powerful? Well, it turns out having access to some of the game’s best removal spells in Torch and Desecrate, having a strong curve of some of the best statted 2 drops in the game in Argenport Instigator, as well as one of the best statted 3 drops in the game in Champion of Chaos (a 5/5 for 3, with Deadly and Overwhelm when activated), and topping it all off with an insanely great 4 drop in Vara, Vengeance Seeker makes for a pretty powerful deck. Being able to deal a consistent 5-10 damage every turn and get your opponent from 25 to 0 in a matter of turns makes for some quick games.
This isn’t even considering the burn damage Stonescar possesses at 5+ power, as Eclipse Dragon, multiple Torches, and Flame Blast (or more affectionately named Face Blast) often chip off the remaining 10 or so life after the initial onslaught of damage. As the Stonescar deck has increased in power, the meta has also followed, with slower decks like Jennev, Winchest, and Hooru Control taking hits (in more ways than one), and more aggressive decks like Mono Fire, Mono Shadow, Skycrag Aggro, and Praxis Pledge creeping higher. In particular, nerfs to the deck’s biggest matchup in Hooru Control in both cards (RIP Korovyat Palace and Svetya’s Sanctum) and popularity have allowed Stonescar to completely dominate the metagame. Stonescar is back, baby, and it’s here to stay.
The other deck we have in Tier 1 is a deck that has not necessarily dominated the metagame but has demonstrated a consistent win rate especially in light of the changes to Vicious Highwayman from a 4 cost 4/2 to a 5 cost 5/3. We saw the deck demonstrate its power in the ETS and has helped multiple players rank high on the ladder, and this deck is Rakano Midrange. In its early iterations, those pushing this archetype opted for more of a “ramp-like” playstyle, relying hard on cards like Martyr’s Chains and Svetya, Merciful Orene to push the deck’s power level. As the deck has evolved, and as different players have refined the deck, Rakano Midrange has transformed into a deck that capitalizes on the value generated by its different moving pieces. Unlike Stonescar, this deck possesses the adaptability to survive the early onslaught of aggressive decks before turning the corner, or to switch into aggressive attacks itself against slower control decks and maintain constant pressure. The addition of Sediti, the Killing Steel gives the deck a card-draw engine it did not have previously and synergizes well with Svetya, Merciful Orene. While this deck is not well-refined yet, the results it has presented and its ability to do well against the wide meta with few bad matchups have made a strong case for its inclusion in Tier 1.
Bikespokes: Combrei Midrange is a list that we’ve taken a deep look at since the start of the new expansion. There were too many cards in justice and time that I had to run so I came up with this list. I owe credit to Mail for helping me with a starting point. Mail provided me with a Combrei ramp list that I tore apart and turned into a more aggressive, midrange style deck utilizing powerful board spells such as Stand Together and Sword of Unity and blending this with powerful units like Sediti, Tocas, Cykalis, and Awakened Student. The list itself has a decent win rate in master’s but definitely has its poor matchups. This list struggles against lists such as mono fire aggro and other aggressive strategies like skycraggro. Stonescar is a toss-up for this list. Typically, it’s decent against Stonescar unless your opponent does something crazy like playing Vara / Vara / Kill Spell / Kill Spell. This list went through four refining iterations before the team felt comfortable with it. Platemaker was swapped for Sheriff Marley to provide a better stand against high removal decklists. Following this, we changed the market countless times to adjust with the meta and eventually added finest hour to provide survivability in the early game as well. Sediti is the true powerhouse of the list and usually the way the deck wins. This list focuses on using a good number of fliers and protection spells to consistently beat down your opponent.
Is_It_About_My_Cube: “Praxis Pledge – Once the powerhouse of the format, praxis has fallen to the wayside as of late, partially due to the stinger nerf (press F) but also just due to a shift in the meta in general.
We have seen a huge uptick in the play of little Vara and boy is she rough for Praxis. However, Praxis had so much power in its threats that you could happily sacrifice a Moonstone Vanguard to Vara and still steamroll your opponent with your huge threats.
Now that there is way more Stonescar in the meta though and without the early pressure of stinger, it is really hard to find success with Praxis. Stinger indeed provided an insane amount of pressure, but now that it dies to torch, and instigator blocks it, it feels a lot worse.
So does that mean that Praxis is dead now? Hmmm, I don’t think so, it is nowhere near the power level it used to be, but it is still 100% viable. The power level of the top end alongside the high roll potential that comes with the pledge package is massive.
There are a few builds of Praxis which are getting around right now, but I think the best variant involves some number of Zuberi, the card turns all non-threats into big threats and turns all threats into BIG THREATS. The other important inclusion is Eclipse dragon, the fact that we have no Sandstorm titan and the prevalence 3/3 of fliers within hooru means that Eclipse is an amazing threat (especially alongside Shugo Standard) but also a very viable blocker in case you start falling behind in tempo.
What is the future of Praxis? Well with Stinger nerfed it hurts the strategy a lot but it’s still 100% viable, you just must go a little larger and no lean so much on the early game.
…Also pray that you don’t run into too many copies of Vara.”
Dream3r: Hooru Control, before the 6/6 balance patch, would’ve likely been on top of our tier list. Things change, though, and while now Hooru might not be the top of the food chain anymore, it’s still a powerhouse of a deck. The tools the deck has are still strong. The core of the deck is already built. People are just trying to figure out where to go with the list.
Looking at the results of Erik9099, a madman of a control player, you can see that the deck is still strong in basically the same shell as before: Svetya’s Sanctum topped off with Martyr’s Chains. This list is the one that’s appeared in tournaments the most, and that’s why it’s featured. However, with Sanctum and Palace changed, people are trying many different things.
Other lists feature Nikos, the Unifier and shift units such as Rost, the Walking Glacier, and Secret Weapon. This win condition allows the deck to have some burst damage to finish the game out, while also getting to play lifesteal with Nikos (something Hooru hasn’t had in a real capacity before). Some folks have also returned to older builds with Throne Warden and Stormhalt Knife, relying on the armor and weapons synergies to win the long game.
Regardless of which version you play, the deck is still around and still strong. If you like playing control, fear not. The death of Hooru Control has been largely overstated, and you can still tear up ladder with the deck.
Tier 2 Musings
Magnnarot: Ah Tier 2, the place where decks start becoming fair and balanced, either by trying to beat the best decks in the format or by doing their own thing in a less extreme fashion. The way the top dogs develop which decks fit into this category, meaning being a tier 2 deck has a lot more to do with being able to compete against the tier 1s than being very good against a wide field. These decks are usually consistent on their own but are by no means meta warping enough to be a force of nature.
First off comes Hooru Fliers, being one of the obvious decks to gain something from Dark Frontier in the form of Sediti, the Killing Steel providing basically any midrange justice deck with much-needed card draw, Hooru was one of the earliest decks to develop among the top dogs of the current meta. The deck already had a rather large space in the previous meta with the Homecoming campaign releasing Korovyat Palace and the pledge package but nerfs to its own cards and a nerf directed at Hooru Control in the form of switching the aegis and endurance from palace’s passive and its Withstand spell severely hurt the decks capacity to stick a threat and clock against both midrange and control opponents. Despite all the nerfs, it has suffered, it is still very much a strong deck with a lot of space for personalization, be it in its extremely potent removal suite options or how BIG you want to go with more, or less, top end.
Mono Fire should not be surprising anyone to rank high on this list. Every single player that has suffered through one of its many nut draws should understand how hopeless it feels to fight against without a nearly perfect hand. Being easily the most aggressive deck in the meta, Mono Fire is one of the rare cases of an aggro deck that can go surprisingly late with Ghodan, Undefeated, burn and its many ways to sneak in lethal, it isn’t the first or second Vara, Vengeance-Seeker that will put you at your knees, but the THIRD that spells your doom. Being one of the decks that went under the radar during the first few weeks of Dark Frontier and only debuting at the start of the month with a surprising second place at the ECQ qualifier, this is a deck that has been showing aggro does indeed have a place in Eternal, that mono faction isn’t by any means a pipe dream and that 1 drops haven’t gone the way of the dodo just yet. As any other aggro deck, you are pretty much gated by your matchup, and while there are market versions out there, it is one of the few decks that can completely disregard both the market and Even versions.
The dreaded overlord of the past 6 months is no longer what it used to be, but far from being a bad deck FJS Midrange shows that its raw power is still a force to be reckoned with. Despite sustaining an absolutely MASSIVE amount of nerfs, FJS been showing to be a rather stable archetype even into the newest set. While it is no longer the obvious meta warping deck that it used to be, the deck still has one of the most impressive removal suites Eternal has to offer, although there isn’t any single list that can cover the incredible amount of deckbuilding choices a player can make while piloting FJS, we have decided to include something that incorporates the old spirit of the archetype. The deck’s game plan of refueling itself with Xo and DoA still remains the same, its many smuggler nerfs have caused said cards to no longer be instantaneous auto includes and have created some more variations of the deck, but its card advantage tools have sustained the test of time (not the faction, mostly nerfs). Much of the deck’s power has been decreased through its nerfs, but the thing that really dethroned the tyrant seems to have been the increase of emphasis on tempo that the game has seen, not allowing for many turns of raw value, the main culprits have been pointed out to be Stonescar and Praxis Pledge.
And we finally reach one of the most unique archetypes set 6 has offered to Eternal. Evenhanded Golem is an extremely unique card in that it is a reason not to run merchants. Not many decks don’t care about losing its odd cost cards, but Feln was easily one of the decks that care the least about it. With the removal it has available and its proactive units mostly costing 2 or 4, the golem has been one of the easiest fits in Feln, having very high synergy with Dusk Raider, Haunting Scream, Last Chance and Memory Dredger. The deck sports an incredibly fast clock and sometimes it feels like it is just unbeatable without the perfect removal, but even though it has an immense amount of efficiency and card advantage it sometimes falls into the old conundrum of drawing the wrong pieces of the deck, just like any high synergy deck. If its game plan could ever be perfected to the point of being 100% consistent, it could easily topple stonescar and possibly even take its place in the tier 1 spot, but it is likely the case that we don’t have the critical mass of even cards for that to happen just yet.
Following on the list of decks that utilize Evehanded Golem we come to Evenport Reclaimer. One of the most surprising interactions of the set has been how forcibly shifting units with on shift effects can make said effects happen, and abusing this fact, Auric Reclaimer has been one of the most interesting uncommons the set has introduced. Enabling the “reanimation” of relic weapons is something that isn’t new but was not something that was even close to competitive viability before in Eternal, but at last we are here, a deck abusing the interactions of shift with Reweave to produce an extremely large relic weapon as soon as turn 3 with some major high rolling. The deck sports a very spicy amount of low-cost card draw and potential top end while keeping things relatively low to the ground. While a single Vision of Austerity can throw a wrench on its plans, the deck by no means depends solely on its combo potential to win.
Finally, Tasbu’s Toolbox is a rather recent newcomer to the competitive scene, abusing the tempo swings Reweave can grant with Vishni, Lethrai Highblood or the value generated by and early shifted Ghar, Master Sandmage is only but the tip of the iceberg for this list. As in its namesake, Tasbu is a card that has been recently buffed, going from being consensually the worst card of the 5-influence cycle to a worthy contender for top dog title, consequently spawning a whole new brood of decks. The deck has an incredibly grindy strategy, between abusing Tasbu’s own warp and card draw, Street Urchin’s steal or even Crownwatch Press-Gang’s ability to draw into even more cards by pulling another urchin, it just feels like the cards never end when you play this list, all while sporting a rather decent amount of interaction for those aggressive decks you are sure to face.
Tier 3 Musings
Dream3r: Alright, now let’s take a look at the things going on in Tier 3. There’s a lot happening here, as the top of the meta has warped the decks that can be viable right now. However, we have a lot of decks down here that are plenty playable; they just need some tuning or have some glaring weaknesses against popular matchups right now.
Firstly, there are several aggro decks competing for spots in this tier including Rakano, Skycrag, and Feln. Each of these decks comes with its own certain problems but are all likely held back by similar things in the meta, namely both tier 1 decks. While these aggro decks are attempting to push through damage at all costs with cheap creatures and burn or combat tricks, there’s simply so much efficient removal and lifesteal going around right now.
Looking at the top of the meta, both of the listed top tier decks are full of stonewalls versus aggro. Out of Stonescar we see the amazingly efficient removal suite of Torch, Annihilate, Desecrate, Suffocate in the market, and sometimes even Flame Blast; backed up by large, efficient units such as Champion of Chaos and Vara. From Rakano, playsets of Torch and Defiance pick off aggro’s early creatures, and Unseen Commando and Rizahn keep the midrange player in the game long after the aggro deck has run itself out of resources. Unfortunately, getting the opponent from 25 to 0 in decks without a value engine to carry them into the mid-to-late game when needed is more difficult than ever.
Speaking of aggro, you’ll also find a very familiar deck living in tier 3: Praxis Tokens. The tried and true tactic of playing lots of small units and making them big with Xenan Obelisk is still around and kicking, even if it’s not kicking quite as well as it once did. Like the other aggro decks in this tier, Tokens is having a bit of a hard time getting the opponent to 0. Being in Praxis colors, it has a particularly hard time getting rid of the most popular lifesteal unit in the meta, which is (of course) Vara. Another thing to take into account when queuing up with Tokens: board wipes. Hooru Control is still seeing play after the recent nerfs (RIP Palace), and Tokens can have a rough time dealing with multiple Hailstorms or Harsh Rules.
A particularly fun, if not inconsistent, member of tier 3 is Even Xenan. If you like infinite combos, this is pretty much the only semi-viable deck for you. What it lacks in consistency it makes up for in power. When the deck puts its pieces together, it can do crazy powerful things. Evenhanded Golem provides a recurring draw engine to make up for a lack of market. The shadow removal package can carry you through games. And, outside of the combo with Stained Honor and Razorquill, Katra is still a powerful finisher if she sticks; and the deck has plenty of ways to trigger her Lifeforce ability. There’s a lot of value to be had here. However, when the deck doesn’t put its pieces together, you usually end up feeling a little silly playing a Xenan deck and not playing odd cards or a market. Play this if you love powerful combos and pure value, but don’t mind a bit of inconsistency.
Speaking of value, we have a bunch of midrange decks to talk about! The first of these are the Argenport decks. One is a ramp deck, hurrying to play a bunch of Justice Sigils and slam big justice cards like Telut and Svetya. The other is a midrange deck hoping to grind out the game with card advantage through Tavrod and Tasbu.
The ramp deck is doing very powerful things in the mid-to-late game. However, sometimes you will draw the wrong part of your deck, since we’re planning on playing a bunch of ramp spells and then jamming a big threat here. If you don’t draw removal versus aggro, your “endgame” will often not be enough if it isn’t exactly Telut. And if you don’t draw ramp you can often sit there doing nothing for too long and just lose. But much like the Xenan deck, when the deck does draw its tools it’s doing extremely powerful things.
The midrange minotaurs version of Argenport is the kind of deck you play if you like drawing cards and playing beefy units. The addition of Tasbu to this deck has many applications and playing it alongside Tavrod means once you get to turn 5 and beyond you’ll be getting lots of sweet value off your units. In testing, the deck beats Stonescar fairly often, which is a huge plus for it. Unfortunately, that seems to be the only thing it beats with a lot of consistency. Check this deck out if you’re looking for something to tinker with; with some fine-tuning, this deck could rock the socks off the meta!
Another deck that still needs some tuning in this tier is Feln Control. Secretly a midrange deck, Feln Control plans to remove anything the opponent does early on, then play game-winning threats like Champion of Cunning and Black Sky Harbinger. This deck has been with us for a long time now, in many different variations. The deck struggles in the current meta, though; all its threats are late game units and due to that it suffers greatly from “drawing the wrong half” syndrome. Feln as a faction combo also has its own share of problems. While Stonescar has a removal suite that is mostly never dead since half of it is also burn damage, Feln’s removal doesn’t have that flexibility. There are a lot of good cards for a control shell in the faction combo, but for now, it misses without a fully realized curve and the right list of cards.
Now let’s talk Jennev Peaks. The fall of this deck has been a slow, dramatic process. Let’s be clear here: I don’t think this deck is bad. It’s just clear that it isn’t meant for ladder right now. Playing a deck like this, full of fast speed interaction and big value units, is awesome. The deck has lots of tools but comes with its share of weaknesses. It can struggle to beat early pressure unless it draws Hailstorm (if you’re playing a build that even runs it), and sometimes that’s not enough. Most of its units are highly susceptible to removal, so if you don’t draw your counter spells vs removal heavy decks you tend to lose. Also, the deck can have an issue answering big or recurring units as well as large amounts of fliers, as it needs very particular interaction to handle those scenarios. Speaking strictly from a tournament standpoint, Peaks is clearly still a contender (just look at TheBoxer’s recent ETS top 4 with it, featured as our Jennev Peaks deck list). But on ladder, unless you have a strong dedication to the deck I would avoid it until the metagame becomes a bit less harsh to everyone’s favorite pile of Fire, Time, and Primal cards.
Tier 4 Musings
Dream3r: Down at the bottom of the list there are two very interesting decks: Even Hour and Rats. While very cool in concept and often fun to play, these decks both suffer from serious problems that keep them locked out of being truly competitive.
To start, they both have consistency issues. Rats depends greatly on its namesake card, Rat Cage, to get going. All the relics in the world are only so good unless you’re getting value off playing them with the cage, and not having it can slow down your engine greatly. Meanwhile, Even Hour has a lot of tools throughout a game but requires drawing the right ones in the right situations while often having trouble closing out games without its namesake, The Witching Hour. To enable this 24 power win condition, it’s also forced to play several cards that simply aren’t good enough to see play like Tend the Flock and Scouting Party.
Even Hour’s problems only get bigger from this point, really. Since you’re playing Evenhanded Golem, you lose out on the possibility of a market. This takes away both from the deck’s consistency and its flexibility. Add this to the fact that in a deck with Hour in it, you won’t always be able to play a Golem with it summon ability active. This can mean awkward turns, suboptimal plays, and sometimes you even count wrong and just play a naked 2/2. (Imagine not drawing two cards.) Combine this with the fact that the deck can often struggle to win for no reason (you’ve drawn so many cards, though!), and you have a recipe for a tier 4 deck—even if it is doing a bunch of cool things.
Looking back to Rats, it’s important to note the deck’s clunky power base. You’re playing an aggressive deck in three colors. This leads to an obvious number of issues, but those issues are exacerbated by playing Teacher of Humility. Requiring double time on turn two is harsh, driving pilots so far as to play Diplomatic Seals. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just cutting Teacher, because currently, the relic synergies in Eternal are just not numerous enough to provide a replacement with nearly as much value as Teacher.
Aside from this, Rats also loses to most flying units. The deck has some number of answers, but after a few reasonably sized fliers come down (especially if any of those fliers are Valkyrie Enforcer or Unseen Commando) the deck starts to have trouble. You depend heavily on your above-rate relic synergy units, and if the opponent just flies over them you can lose a race quickly. Toss in the deck’s vulnerability to mass creature removal and relic removal (Bore is still played) as well as its tendency to easily run out of gas—especially without Lethrai Courtier—and we have our qualifications for our second tier 4 deck.