Combating the Meta

Good day everyone,

For those of you who have been playing on the ladder recently you will be well aware of how diverse the current meta is. With no deck standing out as being "Top Dog" we are seeing all factions being played on a pretty even level. That is not to say that all the decks stand an even chance against each other, quite the opposite in fact. From what I am found from playing over the past fortnight there are still a few match ups where one deck is a pretty large favorite.

Take Mono Growth Aggro against Mono Energy for example, in my experience Mono Growth Aggro is on most occasions going to take the win. This isn't so much of a bad thing however as the deck does struggle against Order and Decay which pretty much counts for the entire half of the meta.

There are a few more examples of this, such as Mono Decay Poison vs Mono Order and Mono Energy Structures against Mono Decay. What I am trying to get to is that this meta is wide open. Pretty much every deck that is being played has at least one deck that can counter it. This hasn't been the case in the past so from this we could say that this is one of the best meta's that this game has had for a long while.

This also shows in the amount of changes that are happening daily in the rankings. Gone are the times of the top 10 staying the same for what would seem like an eternity. Now we are seeing it change almost daily with new players challenging for the top spot and players that were almost unknown rise up and are looking like strong contenders for being in the top 10.

Prior to the Powertrip change I was a part of the top 10 and had been for months. I since then slipped down to the point where I had almost dropped below a rating of 1700. Now although this can be contributed to me not taking ranked seriously for the past week or so and just spending time having some fun playing my Mono Growth Aggro deck I still don't enjoy losing and do still try to play as best as I can. I can blame other things for my downfall however I think that would be unfair. I would say that it would all boil down to just be struggling to find a deck that works for me and can withstand the decks that are being played currently. Back in the day when there was a clear best deck I would be completely comfortable playing ranked, safe in the knowledge that I was a favorite pretty much over whomever I played, this can really be attributed to being stronger in mirror matches. Now that the meta is so open I am no longer able to fall back on this safety net so much and I must therefore take a step back, improve as a player and find the right deck for me.

Improving as a player comes naturally. By simply playing you naturally learn what the right play to make is, this will then become second nature to you through experience. You also gain more knowledge of the current meta and how to counter the decks that are being played in it.

This all therefore brings everything back to how I will be looking to take on everyone in the current climate by building a deck that can stand up to what I see as the two most played decks at the moment, I am of course referring to Tempo Order and Mono Energy Ranged.

Earlier on I mentioned that I have found Mono Growth Aggro to be a good counter to Mono Energy. This is true however it does tend to lose more often than not to Tempo Order and almost all of the time to Decay. Against Growth it is about 50/50 though.

If I can take the elements that make Aggro Growth so good against Energy and make some changes so that it can stand more of a chance against Tempo Order and just any chance against Decay then I feel that I will have found right deck for me to take to ranked.

For those of you who are not familiar with my Growth Aggro list then here is a link to the deck.

Mono Growth Aggro: http://www.scrollsguide.com/deckbuilder/#11429

Also here are the three decks that I will be looking to build my deck around countering.

Tempo Order: http://www.scrollsguide.com/deckbuilder/#263
Mono Energy Ranged: http://www.scrollsguide.com/deckbuilder/#131
Poison Decay: http://www.scrollsguide.com/deckbuilder/#6197

When playing against Energy I have found that what really allows me to gain the edge is just the sheer pressure of strong creatures that my opponent is just unable to deal with. I am mostly referring to health here. Energy is more often than not just looking to burn and ping things to death early game before it is able to build up pressure and make its bigger moves later on through scrolls such as Violent Dispersal, Sudden Eruption and large Bombard + Machinated plays. If I play aggressive enough then they are unable to deal with my board and therefore lose within about 8-12 turns on average. Keeping this aggressive edge in my deck is key.

To do this I feel that keeping a somewhat similar creature curve is key. I am however going to have to change a few things around. Dropping the Frostbeards is probably correct, as is changing the two drops sightly. There building blocks of the deck shall therefore be as follows.

3 Ragged Wolf
3 Vaettr of the Wild
3 Kinfolk Brave
3 Kinfolk Ranger
3 Sister of the Fox/Vengeful Vaettr
3 Breaker
3 Earthborn Mystic
3 Striped Fangbear
3 Wetland Ranged
3 Kinfolk Veteran

This equates to 30 Creatures, a pretty sizeable chunk of my deck. My task now is to build the rest of the deck around keeping it strong in the early game and being able to last in the late game if and when that occasion arises.

Seen as I am running Earthborn Mystic, adding at least one enchantment seems sensible. I could follow the same route as the aggro deck and run an aggressive enchantment or I could go down a different route and look to run removal instead such as Unbound or Rangers Bane.

I think I prefer running the aggressive enchantments as it allows me to take advantage of Earthborn Mystics buff and will allow me to break through my opponents defenses a little bit easier. My main struggle is trying to get past pesky units such as Wings Shield whilst also keeping things alive and out of range of my opponents removal. Therefore I am going to be using Stag Heart. The extra health is good and the damage potential is enormous. To give my deck more of a chance of pushing through problematic units I am also adding two Champion Ring, plus 2 attack (+3 with a mystic) has proved to be game changing sometimes, especially when played on a Ragged Wolf. To coincide with this I think adding two standard spells into the mix will be a good idea, namely Crimson Bull and Rallying. Crimson Bull will help me deal a lot of damage during key turns whilst Rallying will allow me to put pressure on my opponent and be able to react to him placing units which he feels are safe due to no creature attacking there on that turn though I feel that only running two Rallying's will suffice for this deck. To recap, I have just added the following to my deck:

3 Stag Heart
2 Champion Ring
3 Crimson Bull
2 Rallying.

This bring the total number of scrolls in my deck to 40. Now I feel is the time to add in the scrolls that will help me if the original strategy of being aggressive and winning within 10 turns doesn't pay off. These come in the form of God Hand and Quake. Both are staples in normal Growth builds and should hopefully prove their worth in my deck also. The question is however, how many of each do I run. The standard answer taken from previous builds would be to use 3 of each. Whilst I would agree with this in most cases, my deck really just wants to get to about 5 resources and win from there and only use these cards as a last resort, therefore I think that running only 2 God Hand and 3 Quake will do. These numbers can of course change in the future after testing the deck however to start with, this is what I will be going with:

3 Quake
2 God Hand

Having thought about my above worry about possibly struggling to get up to 8 resources a little more I believe that running Vengeful Vaettr over Sister of the fox will be the right move. I do like Sister a lot as she gives you immediate reward however Vaettr has more health, can do more damage and the ramp will likely pay off more in the long run.

If my maths is correct (which it usually isn't even though I have a degree in the bloody thing) this leaves me with 5 spots left in my deck. I think that I am now well covered against Energy and Order, I now need to look in to countering Decay, namely Infectious Blight. This Enchantment when combined with Bloodline Taint Just wrecks me so I think I need to in a couple of Fertile Soils to counter it. By adding in Fertile Soil I am able to just sac whatever creature is currently enchanted by the Blight and therefore remove it from the board, plus I will now have the option to draw more cards should I require it. Now, what to place in to the last spot in my deck. I feel like another creature is right, something strong , this naturally leads towards two scrolls, Sister of the Owl and Great Wolf. Whilst Sister if indeed really strong I just don't think that this is the deck for her. For one she costs 6 and we are looking to keep our creature curve as low as we can, she also takes a lot of time to get going and therefore doesn't really add anything to our overall strategy except for the potential for a large God Hand later on in the game, something which we only wish to be doing as a last resort. Great Wolf on the other hand is an immediate 3/2/5 body, it has relentless which helps us against Order, is a Wolf so isn't as open to Bloodline Taint plays. These additions I feel round of the deck very nicely.

2 Fertile Soil
3 Great Wolf

So once again, here is the deck that I shall be playing in ranked and hope to have success with.

3 Ragged Wolf
3 Vaettr of the Wild
3 Kinfolk Brave
3 Kinfolk Ranger
3 Vengeful Vaettr
3 Breaker
3 Earthborn Mystic
3 Striped Fangbear
3 Wetland Ranged
3 Kinfolk Veteran
3 Great Wolf

3 Stag Heart
2 Champion Ring

3 Crimson Bull
2 Fertile Soil
2 Rallying
3 Quake
2 God Hand

So, what do you guys think? Would you have approached things differently? If so please share your thoughts in the comment section below. If you have any thoughts on the current meta or just disagree/agree with some of the things that I have said then I also encourage you to write, the more we chat the more we can learn.

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