There’s an old post here by Blinky a while ago called “Combatting the Meta,” in which he talks about building a deck for a metagame about a year ago, and, while some parts of it hold true, I want to try to make a more general guide on building and playing decks in any meta.
For this, I’m going to make up a few terms. Maybe there is an actual term for these ideas, but I don’t know them, so there. The way I’ve looked at the game is that there are two metas: Dynamic and Static.
The static meta is what overall is popular. So right now, lots of people are playing Gaggro, Automata Energy, LGO and DO Stall. (not a definitive list, but it’s enough to work with)
The dynamic meta is what’s being played right now. Imagine if you took a snapshot of all the ranked matches and took down what decks were being played. That list would be the “dynamic” meta.
When building a deck, worrying about the dynamic meta is pretty much useless; by the time you’re done building it, different decks will be queued for ranked, and all your hard work on countering what people are playing now is pretty much useless. What matters here is the static meta. In light of this, I’m going to build multiple decks to work against the popular decks now.
LGO and DO Stall are both late game decks, so some kind of aggro build makes sense to me. A midrange deck sounds strong, but Automata tends to scale well to the lategame, making it tough to match in lategame power without struggling against gaggro. With that in mind, the first decks that will work well begin to appear: Tempo Order and Undead: both go even or better against gaggro, and smash DO Stall and LGO.
Next, let’s handle that Automata stuff. LGG is my next pick, since it tends to do well against gaggro, against Automatons, and, with god hands, can outpace LGO and DO stall, although not as consistently as either of the aggro decks.
Looking at the list of decks in the meta, gaggro makes the most sense to play, since its worst matchup in that list is itself, so in theory, it should be the best deck, but I’m trying to work against the meta here, which is why LGG/TO/Undead are my picks.
I’ll go over the specifics of building a deck against a meta later, but suffice to say that if you can grab a list of scrolldier for one of these lists, the deck should work out for you. Blinky’s lesson also goes through his thought process on this quite nicely.
Now that we’ve got our decks together, let’s do some picks. Typically, before queueing in ranked, I’ll take a peek at spectate, and see what’s being played in ranked at what level. Typically, the top 2-4 games should give you a rough idea of what to expect. At this point, we pick a deck. While a lot of this is just based on experience, knowing general matchups is good. This is a matchup ‘web’ that Dialex made that should give you a rough idea of matchups, even if it is pre-echoes and incomplete.
Let’s go for a quick run-through on what decks to pick. (can I do a quiz here? I sure hope so!) For simplicity’s sake, LGG, TO, and Undead are your only choices.
Top 4 matches are:
Energy vs Order (player 1 has 2 idols down, player 2 has 0, round 12)
Decay vs Energy(no idols destroyed, round 12)
Growth vs Order(Player 1 has 2 idols down, player 2 has 2 idols down, round 14)
Decay/Order vs Energy(player 1 has 1 idol down, player 2 has 0 idols down, round 15)
What deck of your 3 choices would you play and why? Scroll down when you think you've made the right choice.
Energy vs Order: This one was a trick question. While LGO is great against energy, odds are, it won’t have killed 2 idols by round 12 against most Energy decks. More likely than not, somebody’s playing Tempo Order.
Decay vs Energy: These are two lategame decks, for sure. Probably Automata vs some sort of controlly decay, although undead is another possibility.
Growth vs Order: Both players have 2 idols down, this is probably a smackdown, I smell a TO vs gaggro matchup.
Decay/Order vs Energy: Round 15 with only 1 idol down sounds like lategame to me. This sounds like Autos vs Stall, and Stall has just managed to stabilize.
So, what fits here? There’s a lot more tempo order happening than we expected, but very few late game decks. There’s some growth mixed in, it looks like a lot of Energy and Tempo Order. Why, our LGG happens to fit the bill for this perfectly!
Hopefully that explains my thought process when deciding what decks to run in ranked, and when to play them. Personal taste is also hugely important: if you don’t feel comfortable running a deck in ranked, then don’t!
Have fun scrolling!
Quick introduction+a bit more thoughts and examples in the second part