We have finished our 5th month in the FiveShards Weekly Series with eight more tournaments under our belt and perhaps most importantly, we are now at a stage where we can begin to see the evolution of how set 4 interacts with the meta. Last month’s weekly only contained one weekend’s worth of set four and that was for the finale. Notably, we decided to ban Fury Chant for the tournament as the cost bug (Fury Chant had cost one) made it a bit too problematic and likely to distort the meta. Given the amount of Fury Chant prior to the patch and the amount after, I think we made the right choice in banning it as it would have likely warped the finale’s meta quite a bit.
Recapping last month’s finale, the meta was far from settled with only two archetypes netting 4 players each; there were 14 archetypes represented in April’s finale. The winners of the tournament included a Mono-ruby action build by Roumpfin and a Blood-sapphire midrange deck by Astrosquirrel.
Unfortunately, the API distribution that sends out tournament information is still only sending out EU tournaments and not NA. As such, the weekly recaps will stick to EU. Let’s see where the meta went from this point:
The meta appears to shift a bit from April to Mayas neither finalist deck from the previous week’s finale cracks the top 8. Instead, we see four different ruby-sapphire decks, one is the more traditional azurecannon while we see three different variants of McBombus splash in. Wild is back in style as well as the winner of the tournament, ZhurGranosh takes an Uzzu sapphire-wild to a satisfactory fishing. We see two diamond-wild decks and a blood-wild Kagulichu by JeffHoogland makes it into the top 4. Europe’s top 8 sees a nice clean split between what directions the decks are going.
Week 2 offers both a shakeup and some consistency. Wild sapphire, in various forms, shows up three times. We see zebuli with Blastforge and Enyma with Uzzu top 8 while Immortalechoes cracks the top 4 with a Winter Moon Deck. Two Kagulichu decks make the top 8 (Reeplay) and finals (Yukari). Duddz takes a McBombus deck to the top 8 and Zawo revives mono-sapphire Wyatt for a top 4 finish. Making a new entry for the public to consume, MrMicro rocks the tournament with a mono-ruby Yotul Mogak deck.
Week three is not showing more stability, but perhaps less. Where we had three sapphire-wild decks, only a sole Jinous makes the top 8 with a Boris Blastforge deck. McBombus makes a top 8 (Colesta) and top 4 (Deidaru) appearance and another Azurecannon deck emerges for a top 8. AstroSquirrel shows that Dreaming Fox blood-sapphire midrange still has what it takes (a similar deck taking down the finale last month), and two diamond-wild decks make the top 4 and finals. SaDOlution’s Ovo abuses hereafter and Ovo’s power to make the difficult troops, like Rune Ear Hierophant, sticky; Yezariael takes more a good-troops, midrange, diamond-wild approach in Fuzzuko. Kagulichu only shows up once, but he shows up in the most important spot as Kapla (which I can only assume is the English approximation of the Klingon Qapla’ and how I will pronounce Kapla’s name in my mind until corrected otherwise) takes it down.
Attendance was great for the finale, as we had nearly full brackets. 30 decklists came in and players dropped at the last moment. The meta breakdown going into the two separate top 16s were:
Sapphire-wild troops: 7
Blood-sapphire spiders: 6
Diamond-wild Ovo, Fuzzuko, or Banks: 5
Blood-wild Kagulichu: 2
Ruby-wild ramp: 1
Uzzu Necrotic: 1
Monoruby actions: 1
Blood-ruby burn: 1
Ruby-sapphire actions: 1
Monosapphire card draw: 1
Sapphire-wild Winter Moon: 1
I took some liberties in collapsing decks despite having some different strategies. This is most apparent in spiders (Dreaming Fox, Zorzym, and Nin are all doing different things), the sapphire wild troop decks (Uzzu (3), Boris (3), versus Dreaming Fox (1)), and the diamond-wild decks. It seems like sapphire and wild are the shards to be in and most players are going for spiders, Rune Ear Hierophant synergy, or using the power of High Infinitrix. Outside of the top 3, we get 9 additional archetypes that people use to try to deal with the meta.
Europe’s Top 4:
North America’s Top 4:
Public decklists from this week on hexmeta (thanks to Veetor for parsing these and getting them up on hexmeta)
We see some level of convergence in the meta. Blood-wild, though seeming like an obvious deck, was underrepresented in the 30 decklists, but over-represented in the EU top 4 for a 2nd and 3rd place finish. Blood-sapphire spiders, sapphire-wild troops, diamond-wild troops, and blood-wild Kagulichu shenanigans are where to be right now. The first three are certainly well represented and, as you go into your gauntlet games, you have to deal with these decks. I, personally, like the direction BDs Uzzu necrotic has been going as, prior to this tournament, Lightreaper and Future have been playing in gauntlet. If you are diamond-wild, it may be time to start putting righteous heir in the sideboard, as none of the 30 decks anticipated playing against this known deck that has been gaining ground in the meta and won the NA division.
McBombus is still going 5-x in gauntlet (7 the day before this article was written, the day after the tournament), but it is not representing well in more competitive formats. It appears that midrange is the dominant force in the meta at the moment as aggro and traditional control are struggling to win competitive events.