Monday, November 3, 2014

The Yugioh Meta: Stable as a House of Cards

One of the distinct disadvantages to aging is the inexorable sense that time is accelerating.  I’m sure you’ve heard some baby boomer begin a sentence with “it seems like only yesterday”.  There is a biological basis for this observation.  As the human brain ages, gaps in perception are spliced out.  The result is our yesterdays are closer to us than your yesterdays.  

Still, it seems like only yesterday we were opening Duelist Alliance sneak peak packs.  

Regardless of your age, you may feel that the game has become somewhat unstable.  However, this is not due to the tempo of pack releases.  I would argue it’s the impact of those sets on the game. 

The Duelist Alliance set fundamentally changed the meta.  Nearly three quarters of all of the top performing decks did not exist until DA was released.  Are you still struggling to tell the difference between Graff, Cir, and Scarm?  You’re not alone in your unfamiliarity.  These cards have only been with us for three months.  Those that are well versed with the deck either play it or have a lot of on-line experience.  Some of us are still picking up the cards and reading them. 

I came to these conclusions by analyzing 191 decks that topped regionals, YCS, or ARG CS events from August to October.  Decks that included more than one archetype were categorized by their predominant card type.  Of these 191 decks, 76.1% were based on cards from Duelist Alliance.  This percentage did not significantly change when looking at results from September or October (79.9% and 75.8% respectively).  In other words, the F & L list had no impact on the meta.  There was also no change when one looks at the top 8 finishers.  Since August, 72.5% of the top eight decks were based on Duelist Alliance cards.  

The breakdown of the individual archetypes should not be particularly surprising to anyone who plays the game.  Shaddolls topped 39.2% of the time followed by Burning Abyss (25.3%) and Satellarknights (14.9%).  There were no dominant archetypes among the non-Duelist Alliance archetypes. This list included 21 archetypes, of which Mermails were the most common at 3.1%.  

This is not the first time the game has been so dominated by a single set.  However, the dominance of these sets tended to last.  Do you know what the most dominant archetype was at this time last year?  The answer is Dragon Rulers, which came to us in May 2013.  Six months ago, the top deck was Mermails, which was released five months earlier.  Unfortunately, this current crop of Yugioh defining decks may have a much shorter lifespan.  Of the current DA decks, Shaddolls are likely to be the most persistent.  The future of Burning Abyss is a bit harder to predict since this deck is not a part of the OCG.  However, we should all shudder a bit when we see an OCG meta dominated by Qliphoths and Necloths.

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