Hello Duelyrs, we’re now approaching the end of the year and it’s been a long while without any additions to the game, but there are still some small changes to the meta happening over time. New decks are seeing play and there’s changes in the estimation of others. Despite that, ladder has developed pretty predictably and these Power Rankings too. I’m hoping Team Wars could change that slightly, but with that ongoing, Christmas happening and the meta stagnation I don’t feel I’ll have the time and energy to do this next month. So if anyone is interested in leading this up next month then let me know 🙂
Looking back to last month I heard some feedback that some decks or lists weren’t representative enough of the meta, for example Wanderer Reva has become very rare to run into, while Xor’Xull is very common but doesn’t show on the rankings. So I thought it was worth clarifying that the lists here are more representative of an abstract power level that’s unique to each voter. If a deck rates higher than you’re seeing on ladder it probably means that at least some of us think it’s underplayed and the reverse for popular but weak decks that don’t make the cut. It’s not an exact science though.
The rankings are not a tier list where placements can be dictated by how decks perform against other specific top decks, but are instead an aggregated opinion of a number of different S rank/tournament players based on their own metrics. These could be influenced by those match-ups, how ‘meta’ a deck is and more as it’s up to each voter how they rate the decks. As a result there can be some inconsistencies, but once the numbers are averaged it usually paints a fairly accurate picture of the strong decks and the meta.
We know you are going to disagree with some of the rankings and points we make because internally we have already disagreed with each other by ranking decks differently. So please enjoy the rankings for what they are: a great opportunity to examine the meta and the diverse opinions that can come out of Duelyst’s ladder.
This Month’s Crew:
Numbers: RHacker93, Niklaren, Ryvirath, Starkly, DeathsAdvocate, Galeru, SpammerNoob, PonchoMango, IceyFire
Words: DeathsAdvocate, Niklaren, LoliconArtist, PonchoMango, Ree69, Rhacker93, AlphaCentury, Galeru, Zabiool
Decks: Credited Individually
Table of Contents
Tempo Argeon #20
Average Rating: 19.12
Highest Rating: 10
Lowest Rating: 25
Tempo Argeon is a fairly classic archetype. It revolves around cheap well-statted aggressive minions that benefit greatly from Argeon’s BBS. While it’s been some time since the deck was top tier it still remains a consistent threat that’s always just a touch behind the top decks but has a stable shell and can perform well in just about any meta.
The deck can look pretty drastically different between who is piloting it and there are quite a few ways to build it as it only has a small handful of core cards and a lot of open tech slots allow it to adapt to the shifting metas or personal preferences. In today’s meta it has options like Paragon and Aperion’s Claim in order to counter Wanderer and Fault which can slow the deck, but are often worth the inclusion. With its ability to overwhelm people in the early game with strong tempo tools and sustain into the late game with powerful draw and healing thanks to things like Trinity Oath (while also sporting excellent AoE and tech for any occasion) it remains a stable threat in the meta.
The deck is fairly easy to pick up but it has a rather high skill ceiling as well due to having many positional elements. While it may not quite have the raw strength of the top decks in the meta in the hands of a skilled player that knows what he needs to beat each match up and with good positioning it can pose a threat to just about anything the game can throw at it.
Average Rating: 17.72
Highest Rating: 12
Lowest Rating: 27
The Vetruvian back-catalog is strong enough to support a number of similarly strong decks. After a fairly vague ‘Midrange Vetruvian’ last month it is Obelysks this month that made the cut, but in my view it’s the power of their staple single target removal (BoA & Swirler) and resilient minions that can tack on to a number of varying win conditions.
Obelysks are the other choice apart from the Golem package, which is arguably stronger but Obelysks do confer a number of advantages: high HP, endless value they provide, some tight synergies such as Fireblaze and strong zone control. This makes Obelysks a pretty versatile and iconic choice for the Vetruvian main.
Average Rating: 17.45
Highest Rating: 7
Lowest Rating: 26
Despite having fallen from it’s former heights Strategos continues to be a very strong sleeper deck. It benefits from players dropping their guard and cutting anti-swarm tools from their decks, but with the strength of Eggs there is still some need for these options currently. But unlike other swarm decks, Strategos typically has a more durable board, and an easier time rebuilding a board after losing it. Not only can a simple Warblade turn grant you a significant tempo play, but the fact that you are completing your trial while summoning your early swarm means that if your minions died it was not in vain. Dropping a Jax Truesight or an Ash Mephyt post trial can revive your board state quickly.
All swarm decks want to have a populated board in order to use those numbers to capitalize on a strong card. That is where Strategos fails: it does not have a great card to make use of its promoting board. That is why I feel like Titan Strategos is stronger than a regular version.
Alabaster Titan enables that board to be something else. Getting an Excelsious out from playing Titan is just an amazing feeling. Sure the loss of great spells such as Draining Wave, Holy Immolation and Trinity Oath hurts the deck’s ability to keep tempo before completing the trial, but sustaining board advantage until 6 or 7 mana when you usually drop Strategos or Titan really isn’t that hard, yet so rewarding.
Winter’s Wake #17
Average Rating: 16.78
Highest Rating: 9
Lowest Rating: 28
This deck can have some of the least close games I’ve ever seen with brutal mana discrepancies from Malicous Wisp and other ramp cards leading into an early kill from full HP by chaining Ice Age into Winter’s Wake. When at its best the deck can leave an opponent scratching their head as to what they were even supposed to do that game. But it can also have all of that answered and be left vulnerable, trying to stick any number of walls while getting beat down as it runs out of cards and HP. The deck is somewhat at the mercy of good draws and good match-ups, but I feel may be a little underrated by the community as Vanar proves it still has a few tricks left up its sleeve.
Build Magmar #16
Average Rating: 16.5
Highest Rating: 11
Lowest Rating: 28
0/10 buildings are difficult to remove by themselves, but their synergy with the likes of Magmar ramp and Progenitor borders on the absurd. No other deck can put as much stats on the board during the opening two turns as Buildmar, overwhelming anything short of Plasma Storm (indeed, sometimes even outracing it). Curving Gigaloth into Time Keeper is absolutely devastating; capable of ending matches as early as 5 mana with proper play. Longer game? No problem. Reliquarian or Bounded Lifeforce provide more than enough oomph to close out games so long as you have any semblance of a board.
Alas, the deck is not without weaknesses. All tyrants fall, and this deck is no exception. Player one openers sans cheese can be quite difficult, and puts excessive reliance on Lava Lance to recover. Poor match-ups against fellow Magmar archetypes are further detriments. Limited pings allow rippers to shred structures with impunity, while all variants of Vaath run multiple copies of Natural Selection and Plasma Storm — kryptonite for 0/10s.
That said, be not dissuaded, prospective architect. This deck will more than pull its weight on ladder, crushing most Lyonar, Vetruvian, and Songhai players. Such positive match-ups, particularly Fault Vetruvian and increasingly popular Tempo Ziran, are reason enough to consider Buildmar as a solid meta choice.
Wanderer Lilithe #15
Average Rating: 15.89
Highest Rating: 7
Lowest Rating: 25
It’s pretty safe to say that any Wanderer deck with the neutral core supplemented with all the best in-faction cards that support the Wanderer plan makes a pretty good deck even for the factions and generals that aren’t optimal. What Abyssian provides is a number of good, cheap, and effective removal spells that can help you come ahead on board early or have more options to answer large threats later, some really fantastic late game bombs, access to some pretty nice healing options, some swarm cards that can benefit from the Wanderer buff (if you want to go that route) and also the Darkfire Sacrifice high roll.
Lilithe makes a strong case for being an excellent Wanderer general and her access to a variety of healing, late game, direct damage, swarm minions and the natural mid game that Wanderer gives means that match-ups across the board will reward a good player for knowing how to navigate them (or a lucky one for drawing well).
Wanderer Zirix #14
Average Rating: 14.89
Highest Rating: 2
Lowest Rating: 30
While still not nearly as popular as many of the other Wanderer archetypes Wanderer Zirix is able to hold its own. One of the most important things that Zirix brings is that they have access to a large number of 3 health minions which is a powerful tool in a meta looking to kill minions with 1 or 2 health due to the prominence on Ragnora, Reva and Fault. In addition to this Wanderer Zirix is able to bring some of the most powerful mid-range tools that Wanderer decks have access to. Cards like Nimbus and Fifth Canopic are able to easily contest the mid game as huge bodies that will often allow you to play a Wanderer onto an already established board as well as Blood of Air and Sandswirl Reader which can help to regain tempo lost from playing Wanderer.
Wanderer Zirix also has one of the most powerful end game as Fault is even more difficult to out value due to the buff and Swarmking Scarab will often end the game in a turn if not dealt with the turn it is played. The deck does suffer some from Vetruvian’s lack of healing and while it has a stronger mid-range/control match-up than other decks it does suffer a little more against more aggressive strategies than some other Wanderer builds.
Wanderer Brome #13
Average Rating: 14.34
Highest Rating: 8
Lowest Rating: 29
I have been playing this a fair pop on my budget account and have been pretty impressed with the performance. Maybe it’s just Wanderer doing Wanderer things, but the combination of Lyonar’s early game and their access to good healing to push them into the late game where the Wanderer buff gets incremental value makes me feel like I have ways to win in a lot of scenarios.
This deck seems excessively unpopular for some reason, but I feel that Brome is the best Wanderer deck for a defensive play style, with FAT chain provokes and plenty of options for healing. A strong early/mid game with good faction minions and some nice comeback cards such as Aperion’s, Immo & Oath and some nice surprise wins off of Liturgy or Bond if that’s your thing. Though while Wanderer in Lyonar has quality early minions to rival even Magmar, it can lack a little in high quality answers for other large or back-line threats, and doesn’t have too much dedicated value generation that would let it scale in an endgame scenario.
Aggro Abyssian #12
Average Rating: 13.88
Highest Rating: 6
Lowest Rating: 23
Aggro Abyss is arguably Abyssian’s strongest deck right now despite being a far cry from the power level it had during the Phantasm era. Since then Phantasm, Tiger, Revenant, Desolator & Sphere of Darkness have all eaten nerfs (yes that is about half the deck). Despite that the deck has survived on well enough and is still capable of bringing the enemy HP to 0 with some consistency with a core of direct damage and aggressive minions.
There are a number of tech options that you can choose to bring; Desolators, Betrayals, Revenants, or even Creep/Obliterate are things you can choose to serve as finishers after your aggro beatdown has gotten the enemy low and on the back foot. It has some of the best 2-mana removal, which allows the deck to not miss a step as it keeps pressuring the opponent’s health.
It’s not too hard to play either and has a couple of great ways to capitalise on the opponent’s mistakes, which make it a fine choice for laddering and a couple of possible silver bullets you could include like Betrayal if you need to beat certain specific decks.
Aggro Ragnora #11
Average Rating: 13.86
Highest Rating: 5
Lowest Rating: 26
Raggro is a newly emerging deck archetype, and proof that the Duelyst meta has not quite fully stabilized and reached its final form, despite receiving no new updates. It was recently discovered by a young, creative and charming deck builder to be an answer for the decks people deemed strong in the current meta. Much like any aggro deck in Duelyst, it aims to out-tempo its opponent early on and convert this tempo advantage into damage and a quick win. It is closely related to the “Eggnora” archetype, another popular tempo decklist. It uses the overstatted minions, undercosted removal, and blatantly overpowered Bloodbound spell of Ragnora to achieve this tempo. Where the archetypes differ is what they do with the tempo. Eggnora aims to win with overwhelming value due to rebirth, Ragnora BBS, and Progenitor. Raggro aims to win with a metric ship tonne of burst damage.
Part of the power of Eggnora is due to the feared combo of BBS + Wild Inceptor + Greater Fortitude for 10 burst damage. Raggro takes this combo and abuses it. Flash Reincarnation lets you turbo out a high damage combo, and Flameblood Warlock and Tectonic Spikes help push damage to get your opponent into burst range quicker. Spikes and Flash also work together with your obnoxiously low curve to let you churn through your deck at light speed.
The result is a deck which starts looking for lethal at 5 mana. Between Raptyrs and Rippers it can pump out must-answer threats like there’s no tomorrow, and even if your opponent can answer your board, you can push damage scarily fast without a board presence. Spikes and Jammer mean you never run out of cards. If your opponent isn’t planning on killing you by 7-8 mana, they simply will not stand a chance against the fastest aggro deck in the game.
Arcanyst Shidai #10
Average Rating: 13.56
Highest Rating: 3
Lowest Rating: 24
With a few top players playing this quite a bit in S rank it feels like this jumped up a long way because of that as an overreaction, but there’s a pretty good argument to make that Arcanyst Songhai has been underrated in previous months. Owlbeast is a pretty good card after all.
Songhai Arcanysts have the board snowballing value that is common to all Arcanyst decks that run the neutral core of Owlbeast and Prismatic Illusionist, but also has the ability to high roll and secure a victory very quickly with big burst from Kindling & Chakri Avatar alongside some of the best 0-1 mana spells in the game.
Games will be easier if you draw Owlbeast every time, but good players should be able to take control of games even where they don’t draw it. Make sure to not just place it in a dangerous spot when you do draw it though.
Ebon Ox #9
Average Rating: 13.56
Highest Rating: 6
Lowest Rating: 24
Ox Songhai surprised a number of players when it started performing after being initially dismissed by many as not good enough. The deck operates very similarly to Lyonar’s Alabaster Titan list while also having the ability to run spells. As an experienced player with both decks, I can say that the main difference in the decks’ playstyles is the focus of each deck. On one hand, Alabaster Titan needs to keep up a board state if they want to win, even a few small minions become game winning once Titan goes off, so that is their focus. On the other hand, Ebon Ox is one of the most powerful late game win conditions, therefore it does not need to keep a board state in order to win. Hideatsu’s focus is to keep the enemy’s power potential to a minimum, AKA clearing the board for the vast majority of the decks in the game.
We’ve seen some high rank players take the deck and really make it their own, and there has been some differing views on whether or not to include Songhai’s powerful movement spells: Juxtaposition and Mist Dragon Seal. These are two of Songhai’s strongest spells for decks that run minions. I, as well as others, personally believe that 100% knowing you’re going to draw into a minion with every replace is the correct way to speed up the trial, but there is no arguing the power level of the two cards mentioned above especially when you have minions that can capitalize on smart positioning. In my opinion, Blink is a strong enough substitution for those cards for what the deck tries to do.
Ebon Ox’s destiny will win you the game so long as you can manage to avoid the burn or be stuck in a situation where the opponent has a strong unkillable board. That is why Hideatsu’s weaker match-ups can be Fault, Titan, Eggnora, Xor’Xuul, Mantra and aggro decks, but if you survive at parity the destiny and accompanying minions you slam are good enough to win many situations.
Average Rating: 13.12
Highest Rating: 5
Lowest Rating: 22
Burn Starhorn is a deck which has always been strong in metas where slower decks with less healing are dominant. Wanderer and Fault fit this description quite nicely, and so once again Starhorn is ready to rise into the limelight. The deck looks to win board control early and then push damage, finishing the game with its classic Decimus + Tectonic Spikes combo once its opponent is low. Magmar’s power level is indisputably high, with the strongest on-curve minions such as Ragebinder, Haruspex, and Visionar, tempo removal minions such as Lavaslasher and Makantor, a removal suite to make any faction jealous with Natural Selection, Homeostatic Rebuke, and Plasma Storm, and finally some of the most broken utility spells such as Flash Reincarnation and Greater Fortitude.
Starhorn’s great role in the current meta makes Decimus-Spikes the perfect deck to abuse these strong options. Alongside the change in meta, Starhorn also got some powerful new tools this patch which give him other options on how to play the game. Visionar is simply a humongous body for its cost, and lets Starhorn play a slower, mid-range build where it pumps out huge threat after huge threat. Flaming Stampede can also be a cute addition to this slightly slower deck, helping to close out games with 8 damage to the enemy general. It should come as no surprise that Burn Starhorn is a strong deck this meta. Magmar is clearly being pushed, and the slower mid-range nature of the meta makes it naturally weak to aggro/chip damage followed by a high damage combo finisher. In the hands of a competent player, Starhorn should be able to tear up the ladder.
Aggro Reva #7
Average Rating: 10.34
Highest Rating: 5
Lowest Rating: 24
Access to cheap teleport spells give Aggro Reva one of the best tempo games of any deck. Running a multitude of draw minions lets her use them with impunity without running out of gas. However, the deck’s late game cannot compete with that of the current popular decks. Instead, Reva looks to use her unparalleled damage output to burst down the opponent over 1-2 turns.
No longer the dominant force it once was, Aggro Reva still packs a punch. With good piloting this deck boasts winning match-ups against many relevant decks, and offers good chances versus the entire meta. However, it is up to the pilot to choose the correct line, create their own chances and earn their wins. Because it is more difficult to play, Aggro Reva has fallen slightly out of favour compared to easier to play decks which offer the same power, but is still a force.
Wanderer Reva #6
Average Rating: 10.34
Highest Rating: 4
Lowest Rating: 27
Wanderer Reva has slipped in what used to be a tight race for the top, falling behind Wanderer Ragnora and others. The deck just doesn’t quite provide the same raw power in return for what it asks from the player. It’s still one of the better Wanderer decks and you can guarantee a certain level of performance. It simply has fewer ‘broken’ plays that will swing the game in its favour in an instant. It will however reward players who can protect Heartseekers and other value units with a strong value-over-time proposition which can sometimes snowball a game out of control.
Songhai also has some nice tempo tools and direct damage for removal or burst to get ahead in a game or to finish one off along with cards like Zendo that give an edge in artifact match-ups. A slight lack of amazing healing options can be a problem, but often controlling board, using what little healing there is and slamming provokes can work against aggro decks. Overall Wanderer Reva still a very strong deck with a consistent output that is only barely below the other top dogs and if it’s your play style it’ll serve you very well.
Alabaster Titan #5
Average Rating: 7.45
Highest Rating: 3
Lowest Rating: 18
Alabaster Titan – one of the (if not THE) strongest cards in the game that nobody is complaining about. Since its release it has been a powerful presence in the meta game and in my opinion, it will continue to do so forever… For multiple reasons. Reasons I consider key, are the following:
The sheer amount of value it creates — total mana cost of artifacts you get is 3 + 4 + 5 = 12 and you get a 5/7, which I look at as about a 5-mana power body, which totals 17 (!) mana power worth of stuff out of one card!
The value it creates is spread out — a very powerful mechanism in the game, similar to what we see with some other successful cards like Furor Chakram or Zoetic Charm. Your opponent will most likely have to chose between removing your Arclyte Regalia-ed set of artifacts or removing your forcefielded board — either of which will likely take a lot of their resources. Playing Titan on an empty board is already a solid play (people that had to deal with that can testify), but with an established board, or at least a semblance of a board, will increase your board’s power in multiples and devastate your opponent (a leftover Sunrise Cleric effectively converts into a 4 mana Sunsteel Defender, Healing Mystic into pre-nerf Sunsteel Defender, a 0/2 panda token into a better Sapphire Seer etc).
Flexibility for deck building — to create a good Titan deck all you need to do is: put in 3 Titans… then put in 36 good minions… and there you go! The card pool of Duelyst today provides enough tools to adjust to any meta. You have a wide array of tempo tools (Bloodtears, Sentinels, Le Tigresses…), removal tools (Repulsors, Paragons…), floodgates (Night Watchers, Magesworns…), etc. The possibility to fit specific tech cards makes this deck especially interesting for sideboard-format tournaments, which is one of the reasons for the deck’s good results in the Meltdown League. By adjusting correctly, we have seen people have great results by running Titan in archetypes such as Strategos and Healyonar.
And remember to play around Betrayal.
Aggro Zir’an #4
Average Rating: 4.34
Highest Rating: 2
Lowest Rating: 10
Zir’an has managed to maintain her position near the top for the last few months. The more aggressive variants by and large still seem to be the best configuration for the deck; having the reach to close out the game quickly from afar before some of the powerful value generation engines start getting out of control, and the healing to dominate the aggro match-ups.
The strong healing trigger synergies allow Zir’an to double dip defensive healing with offensive capabilities, powering through adversity. Her aberrant play style of wanting to take a little damage here and there means that it can be tough for some decks to know the right decision to make against her. If you stay too close she can punish you with burst damage and AoE clears, and if you back off then Vitriol can get to work. And since Oath and to a less extent Spelljammer are some of the best draw options in the game it’s difficult to out-scale or run them out of resources.
If you lose by having your HP hit 0, and win by having their HP hit 0, then Zir’an might just be the perfect fit for the equation of winning and not losing.
Egg Ragnora #3
Average Rating: 4.12
Highest Rating: 1
Lowest Rating: 9
Hi I am Zabiool. This has been my core deck for this year and it has preformed well on ladder and assisted in me having a successful MeltDownLeague run. Eggnora’s true strength lies in its versatility, how powerful ripper are and hatched minions being able to move and attack after hatching.
It excels on an established board, so try to maximize your board advantage by developing/removing threats while playing around removal. A single ripper can deal 10 damage to a general after having greater fortitude cast on it. Lava Lance is a great removal tool that combos incredibly well with progenitor for decisive turn 2 plays.
It’s a deck that will reward your positioning skill and match-up knowledge and the deck I have had the most fun with. I will readily recommend any player to try it out.
Cataclysmic Fault #2
Average Rating: 2
Highest Rating: 1
Lowest Rating: 4
Fault has definitely proven to be one of the best decks in the game if not the best. Its combination of Fault’s overwhelming late game power mixed with Vetruvian’s premium tempo-positive removal package of Blood of Air and Sandswirl Reader along with the fact that it has room to tech for just about any occasion has constantly proved itself to be a massive bully in the meta.
The combination of its removal, draw power, six-mana Faults and or Ka, and its room for tech has lead it to completely edge out a lot of decks from the meta, including many of its would-be natural counters like Vaath. Vetruvian’s removal package pushes out greedy ramp/high value minion-based decks, Fault itself edges out a lot of late game decks, and Kha pushes out artifacts & attack buffs. It is one of the most meta-warping decks we have ever seen.
That being said the deck is not without its weaknesses, being vulnerable to chained AoE, tech like Lightbender or Aperion’s Claim and Vet’s lack of efficient in-faction healing or AoE means aggro, burn, or swarm decks can give it a run for its money.
The deck is very powerful, consistent, stable and requires decks to be designed to beat it to do well, which compounds the issues of the current meta due to most decks that are good versus Fault are not good versus Wanderer and vice versa. In my opinion it is the best ladder deck in the game due to being so reliable and edging out so many archetypes without having to rely on high rolls to do well. But consistency and the match-up game is not everything as it’s a common debate as to whether it is actually better then the other small handful of decks at the top.
Between the fact that Fault does have ways to tech against it and it’s hard to compete with Ragnora’s raw power, and or Wanderer’s high-roll capability picking which of these two is actually the best is a tough call. But the deck is definitely at the top.
Wanderer Ragnora #1
Average Rating: 1.56
Highest Rating: 1
Lowest Rating: 3
I personally believe this is the strongest deck that you can be playing at the moment. Like most Wanderer decks it is a versatile, fair deck that if played correctly can be favored in almost any match-up. Despite the fact that you are limited to playing only one of each card Wanderer is easily able to make up for this by allowing your cards to overpower your opponents. Although I feel that Wanderer Ragnora and Wanderer Reva are close in power, and will even concede that Reva is probably advantaged in a head-to-head match, I feel that Ragnora slightly edges out as the better deck overall because it is better able to deal with the many combo decks floating around right now through superior healing and burst damage potential.
In my mind Wanderer Ragnora is a deck that has very few fundamental weaknesses. Wanderer decks can be customized and modified to fit a large variety of situations and given that you’re only playing single copies of each card it’s difficult to say what really counters them. Linear strategies that require specific answers are often a good place to start but veteran Wanderer players will know how to turn on the aggression as those sorts of linear decks oftentimes have trouble fitting in enough removal to deal with the raw amount of stats Wanderer can commit to the board.
As my final note I’d like to end by saying that although I think Wanderer is the strongest archetype it is not the deck that will give you the most free wins. However if you are willing to put the time and effort into learning the deck and learning how to play against a wide variety of archetypes Wanderer is a deck that will have a strong chance coming up against almost anything.