On Sunday, we held our finale tournament for the month of April. Three things were different this time around that made April’s meta more exciting to follow than the previous months. First, this is the only month of the six where we were able to run four preliminary tournaments instead of just 3. In the NA bracket, this lead to some better sorting of players into the top 16 while the EU bracket was messy enough to demand multiple play-off matches. Second, this was the last month of set 3 tournaments. Week 4 was the final tournament of the format and we were able to say farewell to a very well-loved and well-played format. Third, and most interesting moving forward, the finale was the first major constructed tournament that included set 4. If you are curious what people played for that, then jump to the bottom.
Unfortunately, only the EU series data came out in April and I am less able to speak to the week-by-week meta changes in the NA series.
April started off strong with 275 players competing across both tournaments. This is our highest collective turnout and is tied with the 4th week in April. If we can use tournaments as a gauge as to whether hex is growing, then the answer is clearly yes.
In the EU side of things, we are still in a healthy meta as the top 8 contains only a single duplicated deck: blood-sapphire spiders. The deck carries Justiis to a win and the other contenders include DjinnNtoniC’s second place mono-ruby, a diamond-ruby Urgnock deck, ruby-sapphire Benvolio, the ever-present sapphire-wild Wintermoon, a mono-sapphire Wyatt midrange troop deck, and a ruby-sapphire robot-aggro deck.
The EU meta shifts in week 2 as we see very different contenders from the previous week. The only similar deck is Jotunhem’s robot aggro deck. While these decks are not new to the meta, the change from the previous week is staggering. Mesrine wins the tournament with a mono-blood Yuka deck, a non-standard champion and decklist that includes highlights like Izydor and Killblade of the Milky Eye; Mesrine beats out a more standard Rutherford Banks. Letham runs AzureCannon to a top 4 finish, and the top 8 include two ruby-wild ramp decks, a blood-diamond Banks deck, and a blood-sapphire Dreaming Fox deck.
Wild takes a hard look at the meta and decides that it is in for the win in Week 3. Five wild decks show up, Reeplay wins with a sapphire-wild Wintermoon deck, while a mono-wild and two ruby-wild ramp decks make it into the top 8 as well. Robot aggro, mono-ruby Benvolio, and mono-blood Kranok round out the deck lists.
The Finale contained lower attendance than usual due to the release weekend, but we still had a solid 24 decks submitted to us. Many players relied on old meta-calls to figure out what they should play while there were a few innovative decks. Of note, Fury Chant was banned this weekend due to its lowered cost.
Our meta breakdown in the finale:
Blood-sapphire midrange: 4
Ruby-sapphire actions: 4
Ruby-wild ramp: 3
Mono-wild troops: 3
Mono-ruby aggro: 2
Diamond-wild Banks: 1
Blood-sapphire Spiderbury: 1
Diamond-ruby-wild ramp: 1
Sapphire-wild Wintermoon: 1
Mono-ruby actions: 1
Blood-wild Shin’hare: 1
Ruby-Sapphire robot aggro: 1
An undefined meta led to a heavily diverse pool. While the ruby-sapphire burn and blood-sapphire midrange decks from the old meta seemed to be the plurality favorite with new tools like Flickering Gobbler. Going wide with a ton of wild troops became much more attractive with the introduction of Rune Ear Hierophant.
Europe’s Top 4:
1st – Mono-ruby actions (Roumpfin)
2nd – Ruby-wild ramp (Voices)
3rd – Ruby-sapphire robot aggro (Jotunhem)
4th – Ruby-wild ramp (Shitsu)
North America’s Top 4:
1st – Blood-sapphire midrange (Astrosquirrel)
2nd – Ruby-sapphire actions (PhenomYSR)
3rd – Mono-ruby aggro (Angrax)
4th – Blood-wild Shin’hare(Milten)
The traditional meta favorites seem to still have a presence, though, it is hard to examine how much of the old-set meta really dominates here. The Set 3 meta was quite diverse and seemed to be a 7-option version of Rock-Paper-Scissors that cycled quite heavily. On Sunday, we saw tribal Shin’hare and robots put up a fight. Roumpfin’s mono-ruby action deck ignored the new additions offered by ruby-sapphire in set 4 and only picked up three impulses for the main deck and a few other cards in the sideboard.
Naturally, the meta is far from solved and we will see it evolve quickly in the coming weeks as more people battle in the weekly series. Who will be the first to find the meta-defining deck of set 4? Have we found it already? We shall see as the meta evolves in the coming weeks.