Check out the metagame breakdown for our first SJC Freeroll qualifier tournament here!
Thunder Dragon Chaos claims the crown of SJC Qualifier #1 despite an otherwise unimpressive performance. Thunder Dragon Chaos continues its reign as one of the most popular decks with yet another victory, however, looking underneath the hood reveals some concerning numbers. The joint most popular choice with 6 entrants (alongside Beastdown), the Thunder Dragon Chaos collective delivered an overall record of 12-10, with the eventual winner Lukaz recording an impressive 6-0 through the gauntlet. Without his individual performance, the record becomes an abysmal 6-10. While Thunder Dragon Chaos boasts a massive power level once the engine gets going, a combination of internal and external deficiencies continues to hold it back. Thunder Dragon Chaos’ often lukewarm early game is typically only mitigated by setup cards like Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity and Card Destruction that allow the deck to adjust its hand and graveyard to begin its power plays. Combine this with a metagame ravaged by aggro decks that prioritise a relentlessly aggressive early game like Beastdown, Anti-Meta Warriors, and Chaos Recruiters and the result is a harsh environment for the deck. What’s also interesting is the mixed popularity of Metamorphosis within the deck. Of the 6 players sporting Thunder Dragon Chaos, 3 opted to run Metamorphosis and 3 decided against it. Metamorphosis requires slightly more deck building concessions in a Thunder Dragon variant because somewhat atypical additions of Dark Mimic LV1, Scapegoat. Raigeki Break also proves the dominant choice over Phoenix Wing Wind Blast as part of the trap lineup; just 3 copies of Phoenix Wing Wind Blast in total were ran among the Thunder Dragon Chaos core, with Lukaz opting for a ratio of 2 Raigeki Break with 1 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast. In fact, Lukaz and Liri were the only two players in the entire tournament to run the card. Perhaps Raigeki Break’s capability to permanently clear traps, flip monsters and crucially Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer and Blade Knight was valued over the one turn delay offered by Phoenix Wing Wind Blast. Of course, if there’s one thing Phoenixes are known for, it’s their mythical ability to rise again from the ashes… Goat Control continues to over promise and under deliver Goat Control sported a total record of 13-10 among the five players who opted to use it.
Among those five players, only two opted to run Gravekeeper’s Spy: Loop and irey. The Goat Control players sported mixed results; the best performers were Loop (who ran Gravekeeper’s Spy) and InsiDS (who did not) who both crashed out in Loser’s Quarter-Finals. In fact, on the topic of Gravekeeper’s Spy, out of the 36 entrants only 4 players opted to run the defensive duo. In a metagame filled to the brim with aggro decks like Beastdown and Anti-Meta Warriors, Gravekeeper’s Spy stands out as a paragon of defensive solidarity, guarding it’s owner from common threats such as Blade Knight, D.D. Warrior Lady, Beserk Gorilla, Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, and recruiters like Mystic Tomato and Shining Angel. In fact, the very same aggro decks Spy excels against made up around 42% of the competition! Gravekeeper’s Spy isn’t a one trick pony either; it has applications vs the Goat Control matchup, and doubles up as a pressure tool to rapidly switch from defense to offense. Allowing the player to switch from a lone set monster to a three pronged assault in the space of a turn affords its owner the necessary flexibility to either stall, or deliver rapid combinations for quick take downs.
Aggro takes center stage this time with a whopping 15 entrants, likely owing to its often favorable matchups against popular choices like Goat Control and Thunder Dragon Chaos, two decks that would have been anticipated as important threats. Interestingly Chaos Recruiter appears to be an underappreciated threat as an aggro deck which has a strong matchup against other aggro choices like Beastdown and Anti-Meta Warriors. Gearfried is also nowhere to be seen in the aggro classification despite its strong match up against Thunder Dragon Chaos; perhaps spankthemonkey is the only in our Discord server who truly appreciates the Iron Knight’s talents… As expected, Goat Control continues to remain the most popular choice in the Control classification despite underwhelming showings as of late. Players need to adapt their decks to a changing landscape that is gradually being taken over by Aggro. Gravekeeper’s Spy is certainly a strong option to stave off the ever-present Blade Knight, as well as keep a body on the board if Exiled Force destroys one of them, although the presence of King Tiger Wanghu who is capable of destroying the second copy while maintaining field presence is a problem for the card. Some brief thoughts on future deck construction Players are trending towards building for the early game. The most represented deck category – aggro – prioritises a strong early game as part of both its deck construction philosophy on play. The decks that comprise this category take risks and make aggressive plays in an attempt to prevent the opposition from setting up their best plays. Heavily played cards like Blade Knight, Mystic Swordsman LV2, Abyss Soldier and Nobleman of Crossout prevent opponents from resolving key flip effects like Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive, Magician of Faith, Magical Merchant and more. The environment is harsh to these set monsters in general, although high defence choices like Gravekeeper’s Spy, Legendary Jujitsu Master and Roulette Barrel can stifle aggro players. Consequently, Control and Combo decks who aim to build resources and setup in the early game are at a disadvantage unless they draw the right combination of defensive traps to stave off the aggro players. Goat Control players might consider Jinzo who is a serious threat to aggro decks who run heavy trap counts, and a suite of Gravekeeper’s Spy not only staves off early game aggression but allows the player to assemble tribute fodder. Airknight Parshath is overwhelmed by the searchable Blade Knight, never mind Exiled Force as well. Individual card choices aside however, as a whole, Goat Control that have traditionally built their deck with the long game in mind may have to change their core philosophy to avoid extinction. That’s all for our SJC Freeroll Qualifier #1 metagame breakdown, but be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the SJC Freeroll Qualifier’s metagme breakdowns as we continue to record the development of the Goat Format meta! Until next time, keep dueling!