11/07/2015

An Early Look at the 2K Era

A week ago the Two Kingdom era of deck building began. While there were concerns about 2K when it was announced,  we've seen the new format embraced by the community at large with refined versions of old classics and the rise of all new deck types that have embraced the new restrictions.

Recently we've had a number of Standard tournaments fire with 8 players vying for top spot. We have been watching the results and want to spotlight some of the interesting decks that players are bringing to the battle (click on the deck images to see them full size).


Archa1983 recently won an event with this fully Undead Ichor deck that brings together the best that the Kingdom has to offer with a smattering of powerful Unaligned cards. This deck focuses on putting out threat after problematic threat, using Ichor's Wrath of the Dead as its main removal, and Raise Minion and Dreadful Return to bring back threats that you thought you'd dealt with. The threat density is so high in this deck that if the opponent falters for even a turn, they'll be overrun. Note that the deck is almost immune to Prophet of the Void and Silence as well, making it particularly challenging to sideboard against.


Hopeprevails almost prevailed with this Ancient/Elemental Grovenhold deck that utilizes a number of cards from the new set. The core combo of the deck is War March on a Mindshocker, which can often win the game on the spot, particularly when combined with Final Fight - a card seemingly made for Grovenhold. If the opponent has 3 cards in hand, Mindshocker + Final Fight + War March deals 16 points of damage in a single turn, killing most heroes on the spot. Hope also included Vial of Fire, clearly a new Elemental staple, Tempest to clear out problematic gear like Circlet of Wisdom, Dragon Transformation as added evasion, and most interestingly, Precision Kill. While this choice may seem odd, it deals with one of the breakout cards of the new era...


With decks having to adjust their removal suite so that stays on Kingdom, this little wall has been holding off a surprising number of attacks in the last week. It's too big for Smack, too small for Final Verdict and immune to Pacify effects (it wasn't attacking anyway). One such deck that embraced the shiny wall is this deck by Hepic.



Hepic combines Alchemy with Holy for a surprisingly resilient Dravkas combo deck. This streamlined deck works to get far ahead in Life totals, with Seraph Enlightener (and 3 Righteous Summons to find her quickly) acting as both another source of life as well as being the key win condition. A full suite of Imposing Walls are here to hold off the opponent while Hepic gets his combo together, which doesn't take long here. Drakvas can Tinker an Imposing Wall into the Seraph, or a Living Sword into Essence of Life (with free creature to go with it!). It's a strong strategy to deal with an aggressive, creature based meta.

We're also seeing some radical changes happening in the Standard Arena as well.

While the top echelon of heroes hasn't changed, (Arcanos, Thania, MEK, Jorma, Bothar - in that order), we've seen the winning percentages drop for these decks, suggesting that new decks are eating into their success.

Two of the heroes that have seen the largest rise in use and success are Felincia and Wiloryn. In the 10 days prior to Gods Reborn and 2K, Felincia only represented 1% of all battles in the top 100 and saw only a 27% win rate. Wiloryn was similar, appearing in 3% of all battles, while riding a 31% win rate.

Now both are sporting a 54% win rate, and have shot up the charts to be both just outside in the top tier when it comes to use (Wiloryn now at 11% and Felincia at 6%).

Its clear now that 2K has a lot of room for creativity and that with decks unable to just cherry pick the best cards from all Kingdoms, some little-played cards are finding key roles for top deck builders.

Cheers!

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