Friday, November 8, 2013

Still the one ...

How many times in the last two months have you said, “What can I take out of my deck so that I can put in an Imperial Iron Wall or Maxx C?” 

If you haven’t, you’re either playing dragons or losing. 

The simple fact is dragons have become more dominant over the past six weeks.  Though you probably don’t need a data to prove it, I can substantiate your intuition.  I looked at the top decks as listed on TCGPlayer starting in the first week of September. The results are as follows:

Or if you prefer, I can give you the data as a table
  9/4 to 9/6 9/19 to 9/25 10/9 to 10/3 10/16 to 10/18 10/20 to 10/25 10/28 to 11/1
E Dragons 37.0 41.3 60.9 60.4 45.0 59.4
Evilswarm 11.1 6.7 13.0 11.3 10.0 6.3
Spellbooks 14.8 17.3 4.3 1.9 5.0 6.3
Other 0.0 10.7 4.3 9.4 10.0 6.3
Mermails 14.8 5.3 0.0 3.8 0.0 6.3
Fire Fists 3.7 2.7 0.0 3.8 10.0 6.3
Geargia 3.7 1.3 8.7 1.9 5.0 0.0
Constellar 3.7 2.7 0.0 3.8 10.0 0.0
Anti-Meta 7.4 2.7 0.0 1.9 0.0 6.3
Infernities 0.0 1.3 4.3 1.9 5.0 0.0
Chain Bu/Bt 0.0 4.0 4.3 0.0 0.0 3.1
Black wing 3.7 4.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Here are my observations after spending some time reflecting on this list:
  1.  Dragons are up while Spellbooks and Mermails are down.  If you take 10% from Spellbooks and Mermails at the beginning of the format and add them to the Dragons, you will get the numbers that we are seeing now.  In short, 20% of the top players abandoned their decks from the last format to play dragons.  
  2. The meta is still pretty diverse.  Though the game is dominated by dragon love, there were 27 different archetypes among the top decks.  One could parse this list even more by separating "Blue Eyes Dragon" from "Dragunity Dragon" decks.  Plain vanilla, French vanilla ... its all vanilla. The point is that one needs to consider a large number of decks when preparing for a big tournament. 
  3. Evilswarms and Fire Fists have remained reasonably stable.  I find the Evilswarm deck to be rather dull, but I can't deny its effectiveness against Dragons.  It's relatively inexpensive and not particularly hard to learn.  While some players have moved on to other decks, there are likely others who are picking it up just to stick it to dragons.  The Fire Fist story is a bit different.  This deck is a bit more challenging. I suspect its resiliency is the result of some refinement in play.  
  4. There is always a group of us who simply refuse to pick up the top deck.  Maybe its pride, maybe its money ... regardless of the reason, some of us want to top using our ideas and our decks.  I understand that vibe ... heck, I'm part of that vibe.  Nevertheless, I do find it remarkable that all of this concentrated anti-dragon activity can't really unseat the champions. 
I suspect Shadow Specters will not change the distribution of these top decks.  Though I like Ghostricks and I'm glad Noble Knights are getting some attention, these archetypes cannot compete with E Dragons.  It is a little hard to believe that we can go through the introduction of two sets and not have a substantial change in the meta.  Such is the power of the dragons.  Of course, victory and fame are fleeting.  The conquerors will eventually be vanquished. If not by the new cards, then certainly by the F/L list.  Until then, enjoy those Iron Walls.

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