We have now had a few weeks to play Arcane Rising in constructed and the books have been closed on some tournaments, the metagame has established itself and a number of new cards have made a big impact. With the Metrix Daily RTN event happening tomorrow, it seems like a good time to see where the metagame is at and make some predictions for the tournament!
Lets first take a look at the most played generics in the top decks of the two most recent Metrix daily leagues and the win a case event to get an idea of the types of decks that have been most successful so far. Note that comparing these directly is not quite correct, the first week of competitive leagues I only looked at the top four competitive decks and the top two casual decks. The win-a-case and week two numbers are based on the top 8 (competitive league) decklists.
Unsurprisingly, the premium red defense reactions are heavily played in almost all the decks. In week one, the entriety of the top five cards were all defensive or control matchup cards! In week two, people quickly caught on to one card which has dominated the metagame since then and is the card I will focus on most in this article:
This card has very quickly become one of the best attack actions in the format. Only the incredibly versatile Enlightened Strike has seen more play than it. Before we start delving into decks and strategies that might beat this card, lets take a look at the top ten generics played in all of the tournaments so far:
Along with some more defensive cards (snore) Red Razor Reflex, Plunder Run and Tome of Fyendal round out the top ten. Sink below wins the prize for most played card and Enlightened Strike takes out the most played attack action, closely followed by Command and Conquer.
I find this breakdown quite suprising as Command and Conquer is designed to to punish people relying on their arsenal and defense reactions and all but two of the cards in the top ten are either defensive cards or need to be placed in the arsenal to get full value (plunder run and tome).
Quite clearly we are living in a Command and Conquer world, every man and his dog are playing the card and one reason for it is the powerful interaction with an attack reaction that takes the card to another level:
This card (or any version of it really) is a nightmare when paired with Command and Conquer, attempting to play around it can leave your hand decimated and not playing around it can leave your arsenal, hand and life total destroyed. Pummel has always been a fine card but until now, defense reactions have always been a counter to it. The ability of Command and Conquer to prevent defense reactions being played in response is one of the best aspects of the card.
Before we move onto classes, I want to mention one card which I think is one of the best in the current metagame:
The stock on this card has increased massively after arcane rising. Not only does it allow you to play around your opponents Command and Conquer from arsenal, it is also a great way to “block” arcane damage. You can even play it when going second on turn one for additional value.
Lets take a quick look at the class breakdowns from the three events to get an idea of which classes have been most successful:
Ninja, Brute and Mechanologist are tied on 18.2% each, followed by Runeblade on 13.6%. Guardian, Wizard and Ranger are tied on 9.1% while Warrior takes out last place with only one deck on the top tables.
There are a number of different flavours for each of these decks but based on the types of generics they are playing, the most successful decks have either been defensive and abusing the Pummel/Command and Conquer interactions or aggressive decks with Razor Reflex and Plunder Run. If your deck on the weekend is not prepared for either of those strategies, I get the feeling your gonna have a bad time.
With that in mind, and in no particular order, here are the four decks that I think will be the most successful in the current metagame:
Mask of Momentum is still as good as ever, Ninja only got better with the introduction of Arcane Rising. Art of War feels like it was made for the deck and Ravenous Rabble is another great red go again card to include. You can play the deck on a hand with any number of cards and without arsenal taking away some of the effectiveness of Command and Conquer. I expect quite a few people who have not come up with anything better to play to default to this deck.
If ever there was a class designed to beat Command and Conquer/Pummel, Wizard is the one. Being able to play your entire hand at instant speed means you can almost completely ignore the on hit effects of both cards. In general, defense reactions play poorly in the deck when you are trying to activate Kano’s ability, so why even put them in? On top of that, all of the arcane damage spells still block for three meaning you can efficiently block Command and Conquer with two cards then respond if they play Pummel. The biggest issue with the deck is trying to win against a deck hating you out, three Nullrune armour and Eirinia’s prayer are not fun to play against. On top of that, the deck isn’t a cake walk to learn.
In my opinion, the best Command and Conquer deck at the moment. Brute has an excellent suite of attacking tools and intimidate plays well against the defensive decks which are still prevalent in the metagame. Bonehead barrier is now one of the best all round defensive cards and is the only way to interact with Command and Conquer at reaction speed. It also efficiently blocks arcane damage and kodachis from ninja. Intimidate is hellish to play against as a control and allows Rhinar to win the game from nowhere.
Mechanologist is a strange class, we have seen everything from hyper aggressive versions to fatigue control versions. In my opinion the aggressive versions are just watered down Ninja decks but the control versions offer something quite different in the form of Induction Chamber.
With two of these on the battlefield you can deal six damage from five resources in three separate attacks. On the surface this doesn’t seem very efficient, but as each hit is a separate instance it makes blocking all of the damage in a single turn very difficult. This makes it an absolute nightmare for any defensive deck trying to stay alive till the end of the game but easy enough to ignore if your plan is to just get them dead as fast as possible. It is also another great home for Command and Conquer.
With that out of the way, here is my pick for the Top 8 of the Metrix Daily Road to Nationals:
If I manage to predict the Top 8 perfectly I will be giving out $100 worth of credit to spend at Rathe.Shop randomly to one lucky participant.
Good luck to everyone who is playing tomorrow I hope you enjoyed the article and remember to have fun!