by DB Crisome
With the new mini expansion, the meta has seen some change in the past week with new cards being added. This article will explore the tier list of this meta and a short summary of each deck.
S – The best decks in the format, has decent odds even in bad matchups
A- Good decks that have some advantages over other decks but just below S tier decks
B- Decent decks that have specific matchups advantages but bad overall matchups in the meta
C- Playable decks that might require some specific set up or hand
This tier list does not indicate what is the best deck to bring for a tournament but it shows what is popular/strong in ladder/rank. Unlike other card game, the archetype in shadowverse only indicate the playstyle of the deck however the matchups might differs.
Example: Sanctuary Haven despite being a control deck is favoured into Bayleon Sword which is a combo deck where traditionally Combo decks are favoured into Control decks.
Last Word Shadow
One of the dominant decks in the meta even before the mini. The deck focuses on getting 10 Last Word destroyed and runs cards that would allow you to summon multiple last words cards thus creating tempo while reaching your win conditions. Once you reach 10 last words destroyed, your deck unlocks powerhouse effects such as Kagero, Chris and Linkstaff which contribute to your win conditions. The deck also has Ceres which is often used as the main win condition, giving the deck more reach towards lethal. The list above is taken from recent JCG winner, カロ 藤 糸屯 一 that ran a very standard list with a 3 off every standard Last Word cards and 1 Necroimpulse. Some players are running Luna from the new mini expansion offering you a way to recover evolution points to evo Ceres or Gatekeeper.
Another deck that survives the mini expansion and continues to show dominance in the meta. Byaleon Sword is a deck that focuses on being able to always play out Bayleon each turn. The deck aims to reach turn 6 (Turn 5 going second if you evolved a ramiel) and plays out Bayleon going face while having 3 remaining PP to play other cards. Because of how the deck is built you will always be able to search out Bayleons because the amount of sword followers ran is only 3. The deck also includes a gimmick that allows you to grab a 0PP Bayleon by playinging Dramatic Retreat on a Bayleon and searching it with cards such as Pompous Summons, Sunny Day Encounter and Armed Butler. Leod might look like an odd card in the list however you could pair it with Bayleon after playing it out with the reminding 3PP and allow for more reach of lethal range. The list above is taken from the same JCG winner, カロ 藤 糸屯 一 which is pretty standard, however, people are reducing the amount of Leod ran to 0 to focus purely on searching out Bayleon.
One the few decks that is able to climb to tier S in the meta thanks to Isabelle. Manaria Rune plays around reaching 20 or less cards in your deck by drawing or banishing cards in your deck with cards such as Riven Earth, Arcane Duplication, Grea and Anne. Once you reach under 20 deck size, Grea and Anne become powerful tempo based cards that allow you to compete with the board while creating 2 powerful win condition spells which are Resentful Blaze(Grea) and Rending Blast(Anne) that requires 5 or less cards in your deck. The main reason why the deck bounced back in the meta would be Isabelle which offers the deck more tools from board control, card cycles and damage reach. The list taken is from a top 8 JCG player, XI that runs a very simple manaria list, however, the deck could be more complex by running other cards such as Glimpse Beyond that offer more evolve point while accounting for different spells played for Quatra Magic (Isabella spells) or Mileka that acts as a fusion material for Isabella to avoid fussing other important followers.
Finally a new deck that came out from the mini, Isabella Rune is a deck that could be considered as Spellboost rune. However, the core of the deck revolves around Isabella’s spell, Elements of Creation where you play 7 different spells to have access to a 5PP deal 10 and heal 10 while being unable to lose if you were to reach the Reaper card (meaning about to deck out). The deck is designed to run as many different spells as possible to reach 7 different spells played as fast as possible and because of how many spells are played, the spellboost package fits nicely into the deck. The deck shown here belongs to あっしゅ, 3rd/4th JCG that runs a very unique list with Sudden Showers. A more common list would be running cards like Ghios because of how many spells that are played to utilize spellboost.
Accel Forest is a deck that revolves around Fairy Flowering that gives you access to grant a follower free evolve, +2/2 and storm if you have played 6 accel cards. The main target would be Ladica because of her ability to attack twice, making this combo 14 damage. Another notable target would be Varmint Hunter but generally the idea is to deal 14 damage with Ladica+Flowering while dealing chip damage in the early game with methods such as invoking Walder, Varmint Hunter ping damage, Alberta’s effect every turn, Arisa’s spell and other tempo based damage. The deck can also reach OTK potential with a combo set up with Pastures on turn 6 into the Ladica+Flowering on turn 7 making it 20 damage. Arisa offers the deck new ways to clear the board and provide a new bounce target with the amulet, making the deck more consistent. The list shown is belong to top 16 JCG, Lua｜弱者の反撃 that runs a pretty standard list with 1 racoon. However, some accel deck runs Aria alongside some of the fairy/wisp package like GrandSlam (Fairy Slugger) or feybolt to give the deck more damage reach as the deck wants to deal as much chip damage as possible because the Ladica+Flowering combo isn’t exactly OTK and relays on other sources of damage.
Sanctuary Haven focuses on maintaining a healthy life point total while controlling their opponent’s board and also building their own board. The deck tries to heal 3 times a turn and utilize all 3 Sanctuary effects. The deck tries to stall until late game where it has exhausted all of their opponent’s resources or reached a stage of the game where the untargetable ward followers are too big to be removed and starts creating problems for the opponent. The deck also plays notable cards that increase the cap of their max life point such as Archangel of Evocation and the new card from the mini, Master Chef. Being above 20 life points prevents the deck from being OTK from popular decks such as Last Word, Bayleon Sword, Accel Forest and many other decks that have methods to OTK. The list presented belongs to 山神カルタwho got 3rd/4th in JCG and runs some tech cards such as Puresong Priest and Acolyte’s Light. Common list would be maxing out Evoction and Unicorn Alter ,however , 1 Ra, 2 Zelganea and 2 Abdiel are common ratios.
Machina Portal is widely considered as a jack of all trades, having the most versatile matchups in the meta. The deck generally controls the opponent’s board with removal cards but Slaus offers the deck an option to block a board space for the opponent while giving them negative effects from increasing the cost of the cards to debuffing the board -2/2. The deck also runs powerful followers that are generated from Belphomet or Nefarious Invasion such as the Armored Tentacle that can’t be targeted, has a ward and heals for 4 that creates an issue for decks that try to go for face damage. The deck also has synergy with Absolute Tolerance as many of the removal are follower’s damage effects such as Maisha, Combustion Demon, Mega Enforcer and many more. Machina Portal list are very unique and this summary could not do justice to how deep the decklist can be but the list shown belongs to あっしゅ, JCG 3rd/4th and runs ratios that could be quite common but there are many different variation such as running Archangel of Evocation to have more max life point, maxing Archangel of Remembrance to have more banish options, and many min maxing of ratios. The only advice I have in regards to the Machina Portal list would be to understand why each card is run at this ratio and the purpose of each card in every match up.
Amulet Haven remains in the meta despite having no relevant cards in the mini and being nerfed in the beginning of the meta. The deck goal is to reach 7 destroyed amulets for Jaletant’s full potential while dealing chip damage in the early stages with Meowskers and Revolver Eagle. The deck’s role in the meta is to punish decks that hate dealing with banish, most notably Last Word Shadow and the deck even has an amulet banish with Abdiel being able to answer Tyrant and Celestial crystallize. The deck also has huge nuke potential in the late game with Vengeful Sniper dealing damage based on destroyed amulets. The list shown belongs to our very own player, Praetorian, who piloted the deck to top 8 of SVO and runs a very standard list. There are lists that tech Eris as an alternative win condition however the problem lies with the fact that you will have board space issues.
Resonance Portal has been a meme for a long time however with Yuwan and Automachina Maiden, the deck is now consistent and is able to sustain. The goal is to reach resonance 10 times (a keyword that activates when your deck size number is even, there is an indicator at the bottom left). The problem of the deck in previous meta was the deck does nothing but simply drawing cards but with Yuwan being able to control the board while creating tempo and contributing to the resonance count, the deck is much more viable. The deck’s main goal is to play down magna zero for 10 resonance, deal 10 damage to all enemies and in most cases reduce Absolute Tolerance to 0 if there are 2 bodies on the enemy side. (You reduce 30 costs because you dealt 10 to the face and 20 to the board) The deck also has some tempo turns by invoking Automachina Maiden and protects you from being storm damaged. The list presented belongs to ライスシャワー who got top 8th for JCG and runs a standard list but there are list that run some of the Machina cards such as Mega Enforcer to draw and control the board. Some lists also ran Cloud Gigas to give more protection and because it returns to the deck, it also contributes to resonance.
Eris Haven is a new deck that came out from the mini where the goal is to control your opponent while maintaining a healthy life point total and having constant damage from Eris’s mini Aegis, Relic Goddess. Relic Goddess can’t be removed from the game unless the defense reached 0 from a debuff, however, these effects are rare in the metagame and only Disrestan could answer this. Eris could be searched with Four Pillar Tortoise making the deck consistent. The deck runs similar cards to Sanctuary Haven as it tries to stay as healthy as possible with high max life points. The amulets produced from Eris’ leader effect are not impactful until Relic Goddess is summoned. Damage dealt to face are usually from Relic Goddess, Ra, Jeanne and the Cylinder Relic from Eris leader effect. The list here belongs to Yoyou that won the Sapphire Chronicles tournament hosted by TGS (The Gaming Stadium) with what seems to be teched with multiple 1 off as the deck is still being refined. There are lists where Eris is run in Ward Haven or even Sanctuary but the problem with Eris in general would be the fact that it is only good going second compared to going first because Relic Goddess will be summoned on turn 7 instead of 6 if going first.
Box OTK Shadow
Box OTK Shadow focuses on doing an OTK combo with Soul Box and Ceres’s spell, Darkness Desire. The plan is to evolve Ceres multiple times with cards such as Forced Resurrection and Gold Mine Necromancer helping you to revive Ceres. The damage effect is given to Soul Box at least 3 times with an amulet on board to trigger Soul Box evolve effect making it a 7 attack follower and when it dies, triggering Darkest Desire’s effect 3 times dealing 21 damage. The deck does not need to necessarily be an OTK as you can deal chip damage over time with Death of the Party and to reach more damage, Skeleton Dreamer could help you get there as well. Another notable factor that made this deck more playable than before would be because of Luna giving back evolve points, allowing you to evolve Ceres 3 times even if you’re going second. The list shown belongs to an anonymous player that got 3rd/4th in JCG and runs some of the Last Word Package such as Tyrant and Wicked Rebirth that helps you build some form of tempo and board control with Lurching Corpse.
Midrange Sword is a new deck that was recently shown in JCG and is still in unknown territory for most people. The deck focuses on getting rally 7, 10 and 15 to trigger powerful card effects such as Cat Admiral, Shield Phalanx, and the new mini card, Erika. The deck has a great balance in most stages of the game from early game to late game but lacks any real method to prevent OTK from killing the deck since the meta is completely based on winning around turn 5-7. The list here belongs to Chrom that got top 16 in JCG and runs a very unique list with GME (Great Mother Embrace, not GameStop stocks) and Proven Methodology that pulls Erika since she is the only officer in the deck. More common lists ran cards like Fieran, Bunny&Baron and Frenzied Corpsmaster however those lists had not been succeeding in my research and have died on ladder and tournaments over the past days.
Natura Dragon also known as GejiGeji Dragon (Centipede Dragon) saw popularity before mini and has stayed in the meta as a low tier deck with specific match up purpose. The deck aims to control the board while ramping consistently with Newfound Allies – guaranteed to pull Djeana and Sentinel when there is a Tree on the board. The deck has a lot of aoe clears such as Georgious and Tiamat and in late game has access to Godfire Phoenix that banishes 3 followers while healing for 4. The list shown belongs to 謎のアルターエゴ・R who got top 16 in JCG and runs Forte instead of the original list that runs Cosmic Angel. This might be due to the fact of meta changes and it is noted that Rowen offers the deck more damage output since the deck lacks in Damage. A similar concept would be to run Disrestan and Grimnir along with the evolve package but the deck is known as Evolve Dragon and lacks the consistency of ramp compared to this version.
Evolve Rune is an archetype that was popular in the first month of the expansion but died off later on. The deck focuses on evolving 5 times to have access to Tetra and Grimnir that provide lot of damage in 1 turn. The deck has a lot of ways to reach 5 evolutions as soon as possible with free evolve cards such as Marie, Awakened Robot and Fruits of Wisdom. The mini expansion did provide the deck new support with Parsol Witch giving the deck more cycle, heal and damage all in 1 card. The list is piloted by 謎のアルターエゴ・R who got top 16 in JCG and runs a very standard list but it is noted that a more common list would still run Doged Detective as it is a great free evolve card. Vincent is played because of how often you can reach 3 played spells such as Repair modes and Delta Cannon from Tetra. The lack of Isabella would be the reason why the deck falls behind as this deck could not utilize her as much as the other 2.
Wrath Blood is a deck that focuses on reaching Wrath, where you have dealt 7 ping damage to yourself in that game. Majority of the cards in the deck run some form of self inflict damage card and have bonus effects once you reach Wrath. The deck also runs Urias now which is a powerful card that gives you powerful leader effect once you evolve him: an extra card draw every start of turn, deal 1 to the enemy each time their follower dies in your turn, and you take no damage from effects during your turn, which is a good payoff considering the deck mostly harms you. The list shown belongs to a ladder player who had gotten a 14 win streak with the deck and runs Ayer to refill the hand since the deck does lack hand size in the early stage of the game. A more common list would be running Blood Pact instead and recently Xeno Diablo has been teched in for more damage reach as well. The main issue with Wrath Blood would be the fact that the pay off from wrath is not as powerful in comparison to other decks in the meta. The deck is also taking a risk from doing self harm effects that might lead to being killed early if you’re not careful.
Buff Dragon is a deck that aims to buff the defense stats of followers in the deck to give access to extra effects once the card is buffed. In most cases all you need is a +0/2 buff to gain the bonus effect and the deck has a lot of tools to reach that point. The deck plays like a midrange deck aiming to make a very high defense follower that is very hard to remove at times and could deal damage from cards such as Razia, Flame Pillar, Rock Whale and Drache. The list shown belongs to a ladder player who had 17 win streak and runs the deck without Georgious or Tiamat, the 2 core of dragon craft in terms of board wipes. The deck was buffed and gained a new powerful support card – Prophetic dragon, however, due to the nature of Dragon decks needing to ramp, the consistency of the deck to ramp is lacking and even if you are able to buff your followers in a huge number, it is only usually 1-3 follower a turn from dragon and would be easily cleared even if they have high defense.
My closing thoughts would be that the meta is very Combo centric with 4 of the best decks being Combo or shared said archetype. Games end by turn 7 in most cases or even earlier and that would mean that in order to fight the meta, decks need to be able to finish games at a similar pace or earlier. Aggro decks sound good in theory, however, with the amount of board clear/healing from the majority of decks, it might not work out. Shadowverse has become more reliant on setting up future turns instead of contesting the board in some cases. However, if players are not careful, early game boards could snowball out of hand and cause you to lose. In short, if you want to win in this meta, consider a deck that is able to win early or has consistent of method of preventing you from being OTKed or bursted down.
JCG results – https://twitter.com/Zhiff_SV
Buff Dragon – https://twitter.com/Arknights6980/status/1429639765922508804
Wrath Blood – https://twitter.com/kekeke315/status/1431394895017611264
Eris Haven – https://twitter.com/YOYOuuuuuO/status/1431106519248998405