Breaking the Meta

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Quote Originally Posted by Thuull View Post
I want to talk for a minute or two about the way I play games like this one. This is the way I play a beautiful game.

In any current version of a game like this one, there ends up being a general consensus around the best way to utilize the current card mechanics to create a top tier/competitive deck. This general consensus is the Meta. When the Meta is practiced and tuned, if the card pool is healthy, you end up with various decks that are "top tier", and various copies of those top tier decks are found throughout the ranking brackets in short order.

Some players find these top tier decks much faster than others, and they enjoy playing the Meta as "their game". Calmdown imho is a great example of this, and as such will always be a prominent figure around these parts as long as he's playing. Various versions of Calmdown's decks will always be found in the current meta, I'm sure.

What I do is to look at the building blocks that make those decks great amongst the current set, and play counter to that if possible. What I mean by this is, if the current meta focuses on board dominance (not board control, there is a difference), then I will play if possible without board. If the current heroes that are "in the meta" all utilize anti-ally abilities, I will not use allies in order to nullify their hero's ability. If the current meta revolves around card draw, I will slow down my own card draw.

This is how I settled on Elementalis in 1.23. The Meta was human mage with ally aggro. I built a deck that removed every aspect of the advantage that the Meta presented, and the deck did not lose to it at all. I had no allies that were on the table for longer than it took to sacrifice them for a heal, therefore Eladwen's ability was nullified. I had means to wipe or steal everything that the opponent played, therefore removed the benefit of their allies. There were other aspects as well, that are endlessly discussed here now so I won't go into them.

Unfortunately, because Eternal Renewal was bugged, almost every match ended up in multiplayer sync bug and therefore the deck didn't win either...unless the opponent saw that they couldn't win and quit before I needed to refresh deck. But that was okay with me simply because I'm not playing to win, I'm playing to break the Meta.

In the very early 90s I had great success in MtG tournaments by doing something exactly like this. I had created a black/green/red deck with 12 land destruction, all of the moxes/black lotus, dark ritual, etc, that completely locked the opponent from playing anything and forced him to take damage for every card in his hand. I jumped for joy when Stormseeker came out, making the deck even better.

The basic concept is to play a different game than others are playing. Recreating the rules of how the meta is played, ignoring the current way to play and creating your own.

I won't have repetitive success like many others will, always able to find and utilize the builds that win most consistently for any given card set. What I will have though is the opportunity to occasionally (probably once out of any three new expansions) come up with a concept that turns the Meta on its ear...and I'll get lots and lots of satisfaction out of that =)

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  1. Madmoe49's Avatar
    Nice entry, I also subscribe to the idea of "going against the grain" and finding ways to win with something that was not in vogue. I also played LD in the early 90's, but the card that made me happiest from Legends was Nether Void.