Set 3 early metagame analysis
My name is AIBO, I am a member of the Gate Ruler community in the UK and have a YouTube channel where I make videos about the game. As of the time of writing, Aces of the Cosmos, Assemble! released a few weeks ago. Although it’s still incredibly early days, especially with this format looking to be the most diverse yet, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how this early meta is shaping up!
On the 13th of November, the (unofficial) Gate Ruler 1k Tournament organised by Midwest Chief, took place. The event had 21 participants and a fantastic breadth of decks. Let’s have a look at the distribution:
The first thing you probably noticed is the distinct lack of 1. A - Apprentice! Having completely dominated both set 1 and set 2 formats, it’s a welcome change to see it occupying such a small slice of the pie. The second thing you probably noticed is that all 9 rulers are accounted for! However, we do also see some very interesting trends, with 50% of the players taking either 20. T - Trickster or 15. O - Overlord and a further 25% taking either 11. K - Knight or 23. W - Wizard, it looks like these are the clear early favourites for the format. Why is this?
Let’s start by taking a step back and understanding the two biggest problems with hand rulers prior to set 3’s launch. The first was the card pool; TD abilities were almost always worse than their OD counterparts, and it was incredibly difficult to have meaningful turns as an energy ruler due to the tight resource restrictions. In essence, the available cards were generally just better for drive rulers. The second issue was advantage; hand rulers started with a mere 2 cards in hand, and this meant that a drive ruler would theoretically be able to close the resource gap in only a handful of Darumageddons, Yobuko of the Midnight Watch or their equivalents. In essence, hand rulers did not have sufficient card advantage to make it worth playing them. We see this again in the set 2 format. That format was dominated by 1. A - Apprentice decks as the deck generated far more advantage than any other hand deck. It was able to play generally far better cards like All-Terrain Transport Crawler "Danny", Darumageddon and ZAPZAPZAP! than would be usable in hand rulers like 11. K - Knight.
With the release of Aces of the Cosmos, Assemble! we see both these issues being solved. The card pool is now definitely in favour of hand rulers (thanks to cards like Lucifer, the Lightbringer) and every hand ruler now starts with at least 3 cards in hand, with the exception of 11. K - Knight which starts with 4. Additionally, we see the new rulers providing advantage in other ways; 20. T - Trickster allows you to play cards for free and gives you an insane life total and 15. O - Overlord allows you to play 3 cards per turn, no matter what level those cards are. With the resource gap now closed, the format has opened up and allowed all kinds of decks to succeed.
Let’s move on to the top 8 decks from the event!
TOP 8 DECKLISTS
Coming in first in the Top 8 we have Legion Genabyss! Actually, this was me so you might check the video where I talk about the deck and my experience in the tournament following this link.
Next up also in the Top 8 was this Overlord Darkness list!
O-Darkness has been dominating the set 2.5 meta over in Japan and it’s not at all a surprise to see it doing well in this tournament. Interestingly, however, despite being the most played deck in the event it had a conversion rate of only 1 in 3. To some extent, it seems like this is the result of the deck retaining the core issue of being fairly luck-reliant; your CNTs play a massive role in the outcome of the game. Whilst it’s great when you’re hitting Vastorus Rex, Fell Dragon Quadrarch of Ruin and Shadow of Hades, every time you hit a non impactful CNT or, even worse, don’t hit a CNT at all it really hurts. The deck definitely needs ways to set up faster moving into the future, but for now I think it’s in a very reasonable spot as a cheap, beginner-friendly option with a lot of options and a fun playstyle.
The final 2 decks in the top 8 are 2. B- Berserker and 8. H - Highlander goodstuff. I like the decks. There isn’t a massive amount of analysis to do beyond highlighting how their players did a great job optimising each deck and playing the most value they possibly could.
On the Top 4, lets begin with the 4th place deck: Overlord OWL!
This deck is just incredibly annoying! Playing cards like White Dragon of Wales, Realize and Schrödingers Cat means it heals a huge amount over the course of the game, and with Space Yurei and Black Cat Sith it’s also getting loads of extra CNT checks. It also plays Shadow of Hades to revive it’s massive 5HP defenders and, when the time is right, the Mutilated Goblin. This deck also can become a terrifying aggressive machine thanks to Custodius, the Indomitable Guardian. Let me tell you from personal experience that suddenly facing down a 10 STK board from nowhere is pretty scary! Overall, this is a very solid list that deserved the spot.
Coming in at 3rd and 2nd place respectively we have the two Trickster Burn! The 20. T - Trickster players got a bit unlucky and ended up with the mirror match, allowing only one of them to make it through to the finals. You’ll notice that the shells of the decks are identical. Both play A7 "Duchess" the Brawler, Specialist "Bullseye" Wolf, Cosmic Efreet, Blaster Cannon and Photon Torpedoes. The strategy is also straightforward: burn for 1. This is done through TD effects and, when you’re dealt 2 or more damage, playing one of your CNT burn effects from your hand. The differences in these lists are in how they choose the supplement that core burn strategy. Personally, I’m more a fan of The Two Paths and Well of the Id approach, but both performed very well on the day and I think the optimal list for this strategy will draw inspiration from both of these!
Finally, we have the 1st place deck list. For those of us who have been testing the format, this was the absolute front-runner so it’s no surprise to see it winning. 23. W - Wizard takes all the incredible new hand tools available in set 3, mashes them together and does everything it can to achieve a victory. The main thing you need to know about this list is that it plays 4 particularly powerful cards: Skystrike Arrow, Lucifer, the Lightbringer, Aras, Guardian of the Divine Winds and Embrace of Eons. Between these 4 cards, this deck is able to exert a phenomenal level of control on the opponent. Skystrike Arrow means that cards that interact with the graveyard are essentially dead on arrival as it can simply banish any targets from the game. Embrace of Eons is an absolutely insane control tool that shuts down some of the most critical effects that the opponent has. Aras and Lucifer, the Lightbringer, however, is by far the most powerful combination this deck has. Aras, Guardian of the Divine Winds prevents your units from taking any effect damage, and Lucifer, the Lightbringer wipes the board, but by playing Aras, Guardian of the Divine Winds before Lucifer, the Lightbringer, you make the board wipe one-sided! This is often enough to win you the game alone! However the deck is not unbeatable by any means. 23. W - Wizard is by far the most fragile ruler, and often will take a few turns to set up. If you are able to take advantage of that and keep up the aggression, you can deal with the deck before it ever has a chance to get started. I’m excited to see the meta evolve to deal with this new threat, but for now this is the deck to beat!
I hope you guys enjoyed this analysis of the early meta of set 3!
Until next time, goodbye!
Distribution for Europe