WarpMeta #40 Meta Analysis
This Sunday marked WarpMeta #40, an open tournament hosted by WarpMeta that is free to enter. Currently they are hosting weekly tournaments with a $150 prize pool on Sundays at 12:00 EST. For more information, visit the WarpMeta website, watch tournament replays on YouTube, or watch their tournaments live on Twitch.
Looking over the field of decks from this Sunday’s WarpMeta #40, we once again see a lot of diversity, both in deck archetype and individual choices. Aggro, midrange, control, and even combo decks were all present, including some wacky off-meta decks. The Ramp Warrior that has been making the rounds on ladder has finally shown up at WarpMeta, with three people bringing it in their lineups. The most popular varieties of control were Telvanni and Tribunal, and the aggressive decks of choice are Hlaalu and Warrior. Within these individual archetypes, the control decks saw the most variety, while the Hlaalu and Warrior lists were all fairly standard. In my opinion, the most interesting decks this WarpMeta were the three Math Crusader builds brought by Thuldir, with Crusader, Hlaalu, and Redoran variants.
Going into this article, my feeling was that we had moved into more of a midrange meta, but I’m not sure the tournament data actually supports this conclusion. Certainly, Midrange Dagoth is much more popular than it has been in the past, but other midrange decks like Midrange Sorcerer and Midrange Battlemage have fallen off in popularity. From my own experiences at the tournament, I would think that we have moved into a control meta, but that doesn’t seem to be the case either. In fact, we seem to have a very balanced distribution of decks, with a decent variety of aggro, control, midrange, and combo decks all making an appearance.
Ten players showed up to the tournament with a Telvanni control deck of some sort in their lineup. Telvanni has a lot of powerful tools to filter their draws and control the game, utilizing Odirniran Necromancer with low-power creatures to generate ridiculous value. Of these ten decks, four were of the Nix-Ox combo variety, using their control tools early to defend, and then using their combo to close out the game. The other six lists were all variants of a Tullius’ Conscription list, running a large package of cheap creatures for early game, and using Conscription in the late game to generate powerful boards and close out the game. Each player brought their own unique take on the archetype, with only two of the decks running a basic Conscription shell. One player brought a deck with Altar of Despair, while another used Shrine of Namira as an additional value generator, and KoverasBG, the tournament winner, brought a list with both. The final list ran only 2 copies of Conscription, focusing more on Ulfric’s Uprising as a value generator.
ThallionDarkshine’s Nix-Ox Telvanni (my list)
There were also ten players who brought Aggro Hlaalu to the tournament. The deck has the potential to snowball out of control incredibly quickly, generating powerful and wide boards or lots of burst out of nowhere. However, it’s main draw is the reload potential. Even after getting Ice Stormed, Hlaalu can rebuild a large board quickly using cycling creatures like Eastmarch Crusader or refill its hand off of a Cornerclub Gambler. The majority of Hlaalu lists were pretty standard, though one player brought a list running Haunted Manor over Divine Fervor, along with some other interesting choices.
Tribunal was the second most popular control deck in the tournament, found in nine players’ lineups. This deck has the potential to annoy people with its tendency to remove literally everything you play and lock you out of the game with guards or other control tools. Much like Telvanni, these decks varied greatly, and in addition are not partitioned as cleanly into distinct strategies. Three of the players brought fairly standard builds, though with the addition of Barilzar’s Tinkering, and one of them running Mace of Encumbrance for more shackle. Meanwhile, two players brought builds utilizing Tullius’ Conscription with Namira’s Shrine as a draw engine, one also utilizing Praetorian Commander to buff his creatures and Altar of Despair for additional value. One of the builds ran Genius Pathmage to tutor out important creatures in combination with Ulfric’s Uprising to abuse powerful summon effects. Another used the Pathmage similarly, but also ran Divine Fervor to add offensive pressure, as well as allowing Odirniran Necromancer to revive more powerful creatures. Still another build ran Apex Wolf as its 6-drop of choice to regain some life and replace itself on death. The final Tribunal deck simply ran creatures with powerful summon effects alongside Ulfric’s Uprising to generate value.
Eight players brought the tried and true Aggro Warrior to the tournaments. This is a deck that runs low-cost, efficient creatures to generate powerful boards early, and then finish players off with either Sower of Revenge or Wood Orc Headhunter. There was actually pretty much no experimentation within these lists, with the only differences being which 6-drop they chose to bring, or whether they added an additional 1-drop or two.
Seven players brought some form of Midrange Dagoth deck in their lineup. With three colors, there are different directions to take with the deck, so there was no real unified strategy between the decks. Three of the lists were built to abuse Mighty Conjuring, playing powerful overstatted creatures to overwhelm their opponent. One list focused on Swift Strike, buffing up a creature and then bursting down the opponent with Swift Strike. Still another used Illusory Mimic with a deck full of charge creatures as a powerful charging threat. The final two decks didn’t really have anything unique about them, just using powerful Dagoth midrange tools to overpower their opponents.
Mid BM has fallen off after last week when it was one of the most played decks at nine decks, only showing up in five lineups this tournament. The deck abuses Breton Conjurer and Mighty Conjuring to create powerful boards and stop aggressive decks in their tracks. All of the lists were fairly standard, the most unique inclusion being a one-off Mentor’s Ring in one of the decks.
Four separate token lists showed up in players’ lineups, including two Crusader lists, one Monk deck, and a Spellsword build. Tokens generally refers to a set of decks using yellow cards to generate lots of small creatures together with buff cards like Orc Clan Captain, Fifth Legion Trainer, Resolute Ally, and Divine Fervor to snowball the board out of control. Each non-yellow attribute brings its own unique strengths to the archetype: red giving crusader tokens reach and card draw, green giving monk tokens powerful 2-drops and some reach, purple giving powerful overstatted creatures, and blue giving combat tricks and some reach. Most of the token builds players brought were pretty standard, but the Spellsword was a very interesting low-curve build with 15 1-drops.
Four players brought Aggro Redoran to the tournament, a deck that is something of a mashup of Aggro Crusader and Aggro Warrior. It takes the buffs from yellow, the overstatted creatures of purple, and uses the powerful aggro tools from red to merge it all into some semblance of an aggro deck. Personally, I feel like there are just other decks that do its job better, but it’s still a powerful deck. All of the lists players brought were fairly standard.
Four separate varieties of Dwemer decks were brought to the tournament: Warrior, Mage, Monk, and Crusader. Dwemer manifest as somewhat of a tokenny deck, running out lots of small and somewhat weak creatures, and eventually sticking a Halls of the Dwemer to make all their creatures threatening. With Dwemer being a neutral tribe, they also get to make use of the powerful neutral payoff cards: Steam Constructor, Mechanical Ally, and Dwarven Dynamo. Running Dwemer in Warrior gives access to Sower of Revenge for a powerful threat and Odirniran Necromancer to revive the generally low-power Dwemer. Meanwhile, Mage, Monk, and Crusader all give access to Fifth Legion Trainer and Divine Fervor to double up on buffs. Mage also provides Lightning Bolt and Ancano for reach, Monk gives reach and mobility through Shadow Shift and the Monk’s Strike/Swift Strike Package, and Crusader gives draw and reach through Crusader’s Assault and Underworld Vigilante, respectively.
Thuldir brought three decks to the tournament built around stacking buffs and OTK-ing players with giant cheap charge creatures, affectionately known as “Math” Crusader. He brought three variants of the deck: the original Crusader list, a Hlaalu build, and a Redoran build. Hlaalu adds the tutoring power of Goblin Skulk and the general high roll potential of some Hlaalu openers to the deck, while Redoran gives access to one additional charge creature in Redoran Forerunner. I would say that this archetype was the coolest I saw at this tournament, and the amount of burst damage it can generate is ridiculous.
Control Rage Dagoth
Three players brought Control Rage Dagoth in their lineups. This deck uses the powerful Dagoth lethal ping shenanigans to control in the early game, then transitions into powerful AoE clears like Cradlecrush Giant, Ice Storm, or Unstoppable Rage. Two of the builds were more proactive in closing out games, running powerful breakthrough creatures to combo with Unstoppable Rage for lethal, while the third was incredibly anti-aggro, running only Journey to Eternity to win the control mirror.
This is the first WarpMeta where I’ve seen players bring the new and improved Ramp Warrior, and it showed up in three players’ lineups. This is one of the decks that gained a lot from the FrostSpark collection, specifically from the addition of Sword of the Inferno. It uses creatures with powerful slay abilities together with ping effects like Sword of the Inferno, Quicksilver Crossbow, and Unstoppable Rage to ramp incredibly quickly and generate tons of value. Since the deck is still somewhat new, there’s not really an established list to compare them to. All of the decks were pretty similar, just changing up the end game or early game packages slightly.
Two players brought Midrange Archer lists to the tournament. One of them focused their list on the slay mechanic, using Brotherhood Sanctuary in combination with ping effects to trigger slay effects multiple times, while the other was an incredibly interesting list using Soulrest Marshal in combination with Sharp-Eyed Ashkhan for late-game draw.
Midrange Sorcerer is another deck that fell off the radar from last week’s tournament to this one, moving from seven decks to a paltry two. Midrange Sorcerer is one of my favorite decks, using powerful and hard-to-kill creatures combined with efficient spells to either pressure down control decks or defend against aggro decks. Both of the lists were fairly standard, though one of them cut Sorcerer’s Negation, one of the deck’s best tools for removal or pushing past guards.
ThallionDarkshine’s Midrange Sorcerer (my list)
Two players brought Strike Monk in their lineup, a deck that uses powerful early game to push chip damage, then bursts opponents down with Monk’s Strike and Swift Strike. People were excited to add the new Torval Extortionist to Strike Monk builds, but the archetype has not taken off as well as predicted. One list was more anti-aggro focused with the Goblin Skulk + Curse package, while the other targeted control with Wilds Incarnates and playsets of both strikes.
Two Tempo Assassin lists showed up in players’ lineups. Tempo Assassin is a deck that tries to develop incredibly efficient offensive creatures, then protect them with shackles, cover, or wards to push damage, then close out games with charge creatures or damaging spells. Generally Goblin Skulk is used to pull out high-tempo 0-cost spells to help protect your board. The two lists took different approaches to this Skulk package, one using the standard Curses to kill off fragile creatures and enable better trades, while the other opted for Paralyzes to prevent opposing creatures from trading.
Abomination Scout is one of the decks that received the most tools from the FrostSpark collection, and has been brought by some of the top players to recent tournaments. The goal of the deck is to set up one or more Thieves Guild Fences in combination with Disciple of Namira to cycle through most of the deck in one turn. Of the new cards, Shadowmarking gave the deck a way to find the combo pieces more consistently, and Karthspire Scout gave the deck a 1-cost cycling creature to help dig for combo pieces or maintain steam during the combo turn. Two players brought it to the tournament, each with fairly standard lists, if only because the deck has very few flex slots.
Unfortunately, I do not have time to cover all of the interesting decks that showed up as one-offs, so I’ll just briefly mention each of them here. Players brought Nix-Ox Assassin, Control Spellsword, Midrange Assassin, Midrange Mage, Ring of Namira OTK Monk, Atronach Sorcerer, Aggro Crusader, Mono Red Aggro w/Shadowmarking, and Support Mage. Nix-Ox Assassin is a variant of Nix-Ox Telvanni that is able to go off much earlier, but has much fewer digging and defensive tools. Control Spellsword is a controlling Spellsword deck that uses powerful removal tools and guards to control the game. The Midrange Assassin was a build utilizing Torval Extortionist and other high-power creatures with Swift Strike to generate burst damage. The Midrange Mage included some of the powerful neutral payoff cards in combination with other efficient creatures and spells. Ring of Namira OTK Monk pairs Dawnstar Healers with a Ring of Namira to kill the opponent in one turn by breaking a rune. The Atronach Sorcerer was a Sorcerer build using Conjuration Tutor with Atronachs to generate huge boards. Aggro Crusader uses cheap creatures in combination with buffs to push lots of damage quickly. Mono Red Aggro uses high power creatures to push damage quickly then close out the game with buffed charge creatures, and this build used Shadowmarking for additional draw. Support Mage uses removal and guards to control the game, then outvalues opponents with support cards.