As we look forward to MCS XVI in two weeks, the meta remains fairly stable but now with the addition of a new competitive deck thanks to the latest event reward, Survival’s End. This event is only live for a few more days, and any competitive player that does not farm for a complete set of Survival’s End will likely regret it.
Koa'ki Meiru and Vampires remain in Tier 1. Koa'ki is still the king of the meta, sitting atop the "triangle" with Ancient Gears and Buster Blader, while Vampires are off to the side and doing well against most decks but getting hard-countered by the Koa'ki players using Sealed Tombs.
Koaki Meiru remain in Tier 1 due to sheer consistency and brute strength. Decks that have the ability to easily OTK while also having built-in negates are usually going to be able to hold their spot in Tier 1 until they get hit by a banlist.
Vampires hold their spot at Tier 1 as they continue stay adaptable to the meta while also abusing easy access to Enemy Controller through KaibaCorp Bling. Vampire Grimson as a tech option has done a lot to help this deck survive through OTKs long enough to deliver its own sacky follow up.
Vampires’ access to Enemy Controller is a huge benefit, allowing it to keep up with the monster that is Koa’ki Meiru.
Ancient Gears and Buster Blader remain in Tier 2 as perhaps the only other decks that can keep up in the Koa'ki Meiru meta.
Ancient Gears hold a spot at Tier 2 due to generally strong matchups across the board and access to an absolute behemoth of a boss monster in a meta where little else is able to push above 3000 ATK. As the build becomes more standard, what we’ve seen is that this deck will generally take its first turn to get properly set up, and then explodes on the following turn. Given that a large portion of most builds is heavy defense, making it to a second turn is usually no issue.
Ancient Gears and Buster Blader lack the same consistency as the top tier decks but are possess more oppressive boards and can swing games in their favor at any moment.
Though Buster Blader’s lack of representation may make it feel as though it is on the fringe of demotion, there has not been enough high level events to determine if this should be the case. Koa’ki Meiru is a large fraction of the metagame at the moment, meaning that Buster Blader remains being an incredibly viable deck choice.
Karakuri remains in Tier 3 but is on the fringe of relevancy at this point. With the meta being so top-heavy in terms of the main four decks, it's difficult for other decks to make an impact and so Tier 3 has ended up fairly empty.
Karakuri still hangs on at Tier 3. This deck has struggled lately due to not really having any deck that it hard counters. Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon having a particularly large DEF also makes for a tough obstacle to get over. All of that being said though, this deck can consistently access a powerful Synchro toolbox and the draw power that Karakuri Anatomy provides make it a valid enough contender to still have a shot at topping in side deck formats.
Lavals remain in High Potential and are now joined by Dinos, thanks to the addition of a single new card: Survival's End. A Mask Change on the field and an Order to Charge in the grave, Survival's End is an incredibly powerful and versatile card that has single-handedly made Dinos competitively relevant. The most obvious "problem" with Survival's End is that many top decks currently have ways around it: Koa'ki is protected on their turn by Diamond Core of Koa'ki Meiru, similiar protection is provided for Ancient Gears by Ancient Gear Fortress, and Buster Blader decks can simply flip up DNA Surgery to turn off the destruction effects. That being said, the highly-disruptive nature of current Dino builds (using Paleozoic Canadia, Floodgate Trap Hole, and Survival's End) will make it a very powerful control deck and one that could excel even more post-banlist.
Dinos find their way into High Potential due to the release of Survival’s End. New Dino decks revolve themselves around Survival’s End to be able to refresh their Dinosaurs by special summoning them from the deck as well as utilizing its Graveyard Order to Charge-like effect to be able to take out big threats. Their relatively strong matchup versus a Tier 1 deck (Vampires) makes Dinos a meta contender. As the deck is in its early stages, it is still being optimized but will more than likely see themselves on the Tier List in the future.
Dinos have exploded on the scene with a versatile and explosive deck capable of going first or second. Good matchups to alot of decks and only falls short consistently to Koa’ki Meiru when protected by Diamond Core.
Lavals still have potential but need to speed up its plays and not be so reliant on a 3-of in Dustflame Blast if it wants to be considered top-tier.
Lavals are a very interesting new strategy from the latest set. With the ability to abuse Last Gamble and a mass destruction non-targeting card in Dustflame Blast the deck has steered itself to a Top 4 Meta Weekly finish. The deck is flexible with access to a boss monster in Laval Stennon to also completely shut down decks like Vampires and Control. However a very poor matchup against the most played strategy in Koa’ki Meiru leaves this deck lingering in High Potential for a bit longer.
Dinos recently acquired a fantastic new trap in the form of Survival’s End - a card that is synergetic with Paleozoics, particularly Paleozoic Marrella. Due to being able to use Survival’s End’s destruction effect at many different times, the card can be used offensively as well as defensively. In some cases this may involve using the card to push for lethal damage. In addition, the Paleozoic Marrella and Survival’s End package is not heavily subsceptible to backrow removal like Hey, Trunade! and Cosmic Cyclone. There is a lot of hype behind this new Dinosaur deck; it definitely has a lot of potential and a tiered status is forseeable.
Lavals remain in High Potential for two main reasons. The deck does not yet feel fully optimised and there has not yet been enough high-level tournaments with the deck being legal. Koa’ki Meiru’s popularity is also a discouraging factor that affects Laval’s representation; perhaps a banlist could change that.
Sea Stealth Attack and Spellbook decks have been removed from the Tier List. Because of the overwhelming dominance of the top four decks (with Dinos potentially pushing themselves in as a fifth), there has been little room for other decks to succeed.
Spellbooks are demoted from the Tier List due to low representation and the fact that most every other deck is a generally better option at this point. This deck hasn’t lost much power over time, but it’s just been outpaced by newer decks that are generally more powerful and more consistent.
SSA is demoted from the Tier List. This deck topped several recent events and deserved a second valid look as more updated control-focused builds continued to surface, but ultimately it’s just not able to compete with the current meta in the long run.