Greetings my fellow Casters, Beasties, and Artifact Humanoids! UFO has officially crash landed into the Metazoo Competitive scene and is certainly making an impact; terraforming the Wilderness we were so familiar with into a new, strange, extraterrestrial landscape swarming with 0 cost Beastie aliens, frosty spirits, and… what’s that up in the sky!? Oh… MORE BIRDS. If you thought things were feeling like an Alfred Hitchcock movie before, buckle up, sweetpea, there’s turbulence ahead.
The first real taste we got of the new Meta was at the Clash at Long Beach Collect-a-Con. 140 Casters journeyed to southern California armed with their constructed Spellbooks and battled it out over the course of 8 Rounds, Best-Of-Three, which lasted all day on Saturday with Top 8 on Sunday morning. From what I saw, this was the smoothest run tournament to date. There were plenty of judges on hand, the space fit everyone very comfortably, and as always, the player community in Metazoo continues to be a positive atmosphere for people of all ages, experienced players, and newcomers alike. In fact, Admassu, one of the Top 3 winners of the weekend, was actually playing Metazoo for the first time with a borrowed deck! Crazy!
So, who came out on top? With all the new Cosmic pages, including a new win con, I know a lot of people expected to see Aliens take the top spot, but many stood firm that the Birds (Lightning) had only grown stronger with pages like Call of the Storm and Wakinyan and they would remain king of the hill. I don’t think anyone really expected that at the end of the day, it would be a Frost Spellbook holding the gold, Lightning with the Silver, and Flame with the bronze. What a pleasant surprise! I was playing Frost, actually, so it was VERY cool to see Luis win the finals with a similar icy build! So why did it win? I think it comes down to the classic matchup of aggro <vs> control.
Lightning pushes a rapid pace with aura acceleration and incredible damage output but Frost has answers for its challenges. Lots of them. With 4x Icy Path allowed per Spellbook and 2x Alaskan Vortex, which destroys ANY Beastie in the Arena while also conveniently returning an Icy Path back to your chapter from the Cemetery, Frost is not afraid of going toe-to-toe with big Beasties like Quetz.. In addition to the removal, Frost also tends to have Beasties with protective Traits like Burrow, Invisibility, and Spirit which put them out of reach of opposing Beasties, maintaining Arena presence. It was this combination of removal and cover that allowed Frost to take first.
Imagine you’re a Lightning Player contracting a Call of the Storm and placing 2x Quetzalcoatlus into the Arena, only to have your opponent contract Icy Path and crash them into each other. You lose 1x Quetz to combat, and you lose the other Quetz at the end of turn, when you have to destroy it due to Call of the Storm’s effect. See what I mean? Frost is mean. Not only that, but a lot of players who aren’t experienced playing against Frost will unknowingly put themselves in a position to get bullied by things like Icy Path, or locked down by Waheela without knowing what they’re getting into. The point is, practice makes perfect. Frost operates like a Boa Constrictor and will slowly trap the opposing deck by eliminating its threats one by one until it crushes them. It’s much different to play against than any of the previous top tier Spellbooks and for now, that will work to its advantage.
The interesting thing about this Meta is, in my opinion, that the dust hasn’t settled yet from the UFO set and I don’t think it will before Seance hits in a couple months. Is Frost undeniably the best deck in the game? Not exactly, I don’t know if you can say that about any deck at the moment, but Frost is adaptable and full of tricks, especially in the hands of a sharp player like Luis. Is Lightning Dead? Certainly not, it’s stronger than ever. UFO breathed new life into many of the aura types in the game and I really think any of them can fight their way to the top. Pay attention to what’s happening in your local tournaments because that will pay dividends in the Arena. How many people are playing potions? How many are playing Anti-potion potions? Dampen? Aurafacts like Lightning Glass, Eternal Snowflake and Chaos Crystal? These are the cards that in my opinion will end up defining the new Meta. We’ve moved beyond “the best aura type” and now have to look to diversify decks and take a harder look at Ramp and Control mechanics. It really is anybody’s game right now, I couldn’t be more excited.
That’s it for today everyone! I hope you got some ideas and strategies to consider from this latest State of the Meta. I will be posting one per month to keep an eye on what’s winning in the competitive scene and what I expect to see coming out of it. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!