Last weekend I organized the first Set 1 Constructed deck SolForge tournament. Seventy-six people played at least one game; an unprecedented number. And while we had a few server issues that brought the event to a premature close, we did get in enough Swiss rounds to be able to declare a winner, Zrandles, who earned his victory by going undefeated through six rounds.
So clearly the metagame is in its infancy, but we did learn a little bit about how people are approaching deck designs so far. Among the submitted decks, the most common theme was that people love their Grimgaunts. More than half the field played a deck that featured Grimgaunt Devourer, Grimgaunt Predator, and/or Rite of the Grimgaunt. Additionally, Nekrium was by far the most played faction.
These basic trends were visible among our most successful decks as well. Here’s a breakdown of the decks used by the top eight finishers (in order): (Please note that I’m moving away from the deck archetype system I used previously, as I try to understand the current metagame.)
- zrandles: Nekrium/Tempys; Spell-heavy Shaper deck (Flameshaper Savant and Darkshaper Savant) that also included Grimgaunt Devourer
- Tristan: Nekrium/Tempys; Spell-heavy Shaper deck (Flameshaper and Darkshaper) that also included Grimgaunt Predator
- lpwalker: Nekrium/Tempys: Spell-heavy deck with Flameshaper Savant and Master of the Elements
- mark: Nerkrium/Uterra; Combined Grimgaunt Predator and Rite of the Grimgaunt with a number of Uterran Growth Creatures (Spring Dryad, Shardplate Delver, etc.)
- TheCable: Alloyin/Uterra; A Robot tribal deck with substantial buffing capabilities.
- Strangah: Nekrium/Tempys; Spell-heavy deck with Darkheart Wanderer
- Pesh021: Alloyin/Nekrium; A combination Grimgaunt and Robot tribal deck.
- SkyAnemone: Alloyin/Nekrium; A Robot tribal deck with Scrapforge Titan and substantial stalling capability.
Seven of the eight played Nekrium, and five of them used at least one kind of Grimgaunt in their decks. Given the field, that’s not horribly surprising. What is surprising is that prevalence of Shapers and Spell-heavy decks in the field. (By “spell-heavy” I mean a deck that is more than 1/3 spells and also contains at least one Shaper — which can affect the board when a spell is played — or other creature that synergizes with spell cards.) There were only nine decks in the entire field that contained Flameshaper Savant, and three of those ended up finishing first, second, and third. Spell-heavy and shaper decks were not especially common in the field, and yet they were played by half of the top eight finishers.
Some of this success is surely driven by the nature of the field. Spell-heavy decks are capable of eliminating Grimgaunts and Uterran Growth creatures (which were also over-represented in this tournament) before those creatures can grow out of control. In other words, spell-heavy decks were an effective counter to many of the day’s predominant designs.
Even so, that success demonstrates how much the metagame has evolved with the introduction of Set 1. A spell-heavy deck that was scarcely viable even in casual play less than two weeks ago is now good enough to win a tournament.
I would also like to note the success of Alloyin-heavy Robot decks in this tournament. Alloyin was underplayed overall in this tournament, and yet three of the top eight played some type of Robot deck.
Next weekend there is both a second Constructed tournament (on Saturday) and an “UnHeroic” tournament (on Friday) in which heroics and legendaries will be banned. The Constructed tournament should give us a sense of how the player base is evolving, while I have no idea what to expect from the decks in the UnHeroic event. (Keep an eye on this thread to get updates on all of the latest tournament announcements.)
So on behalf of Forgewatch, I would like to thank all those who participated last weekend, and wish the best of luck to all of those who are playing this weekend.