Ah yes. The second best deck of the last format and winner of Meta Weekly 174, Blue-Eyes, has to be the best deck of the format right? Wrong wrong. While the deck only lost 1 card with the banlist that card has a huge impact on the deck. Without The Melody of Awakening Dragon the deck lost one way to get to Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon as well to its easiest way to summon a Level 8 on the board. Since the deck is not able to summon a lvl 8 easily, it is not capable of summoning Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon easily which in combination of Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon was a big gatekeeper for other decks in combination of Stick Chair Darklords. The decks did not have a good way to deal with a Monster which had a 3k body which is able to potentially negate a card in the GY on top of being able to tag out into a monster which has targeting and destruction protection very reminiscent of an already banned card called Invoked Cocytus. With those problems out of the way. Other decks can get there time to shine and open up to a meta with a lot of healthy decks.
Currently the throne is being taken by Harpies. With the power level of the format being lower due to highroll decks of the previous format either being dead or having a lot of bad matchups, Harpies are able to enjoy themselves. A lot of people switched to }!Harpies’ Hunting Ground} as the Skill of choice in the Main Deck because the Blue-Eyes matchup is not as recognized. As such, the deck has a very easy time dealing with control decks in the format, being able to pop the backrow freely or just popping Fire King Island, which forces the board to blow up. Harpies are the current gatekeeper to pretty much every backrow-reliant control deck and will continue to do so for the time being.
In the mean time, people have experimented with 30-card decks once again, including cards like Hysteric Sign and Harpie Harpist, taking advantage of the overall slower format. Fire King being a deck with their ability to grind and prevent OTKs with Handtraps means that by including cards like Karma Cut and Hysteric Party, Sign and Harpist gain a lot more value. Not to forget, that Harpies’ Hunting Ground can be on the field at the start of the duel, allowing easy Sign triggers. Harpist also being a Harpie Lady makes it not solely-reliant on being discarded, allowing it to naturally synergize with the deck as a roleplayer.
Overall, Harpies are one of the two most influential decks of the format, along with Fire Kings, and will be heavily represented in the next MCS.
Showing dominance with their fast and consistent play style, Harpies take the sole role of Tier 1. Being Tier 1 in this meta may not mean much in terms of power ceiling, but they are what performs best with the decks we’ve got. Even having a card like Poisonous Winds to side against Harpies isn’t always enough because of their easy access to Harpies’ Hunting Ground. Expect to see this deck…everywhere (especially being free-to-play friendly).
Harpies are able to set up a Cyber Slash Harpie Lady with one to two backrow consistently going first, or dodge the opponent’s backrow going second with Swallow’s Nest or Forbidden Lance. Even if you’re able to deal with this, if you’re unable to OTK, Harpies can set the same board up over and over again. If you side Poisonous Winds for the matchup, harpies can side into Harpies’ Hunting Ground and out it easily. Due to this consistency, Harpies are very strong in this meta, as deserve Tier 1.
A hit to Blue-Eyes and Darklords was all Fire King needed to do better in tournaments, but Konami were generous enough to also give us Fire Formation - Tenki, which boosts the consistency of the deck and lets you play nice toolbox cards like Coach Soldier Wolfbark since its now searchable. Deck lists are still being tuned since the meta is very fresh, but expect this deck to be pulling good results in upcoming tournaments.
Fire King is here and it is consistent. With Blue-Eyes out of the way and the extra consistency from Fire Formation - Tenki, it can finally enter the main stage of the format and be format-defining. Fire King High Avatar Garunix is a really strong card and the current meta decks do not have good ways to deal with its ability float while also blowing up the field. While Abyss Dweller is a card that exists and is individually able to lock down all the GY effects of Fire King, the existence of Fire King Avatar Arvata makes it hard to resolve its effect especially since Abyss Dweller cannot run over Arvata in a non-WATER deck. As such, one will need an additional monster on top of Abyss Dweller to get rid of Arvata and prevent Garunix float, but the fun does not stop there. One still has to deal with Battle Hand Traps and Destiny Draw. The 30-card versions have plenty of space to fill in all the Hand Traps the heart desires and force the opponent to think twice if they want to inflict damage. Those Hand Traps are especially good in the format, given that for example Harpies with Harpies’ Hunting Ground (both card and Skill) and Cyber Slash Harpie Lady is able to deal with both monsters and backrow. However, the deck comes short once it has to deal with the Hand Traps of Fire Kings in combination of Garunix’s destruction effect. As such, it is a force to be recognized with and could easily move up to Tier 1.
Fire Kings are annoying to say the least. Mass monster destruction, effect negation, Hand Traps + Destiny Draw, and the newest addition of Fire Formation - Tenki make Fire Kings a real threat to the meta. The deck may seem slow at times but it’s resources tend to outlast others, and following up a Fire King High Avatar Garunix nuke with lethal damage is very easy.
Water Xyz is almost like a weaker Harpie deck. A turn one Abyss Dweller (with pop) and staple backrow is a very standard play and similar to a Cyber Slash Harpie Lady set two. The downfall for Water Xyz is they are not consistent; no draw power, no searches…this deck relies heavily on top-decking Deep Sea Diva and is just not a candidate for “The best deck”. However, Water Xyz does have an advantage in the meta with Dweller shutting off graveyard effects. Fire Kings and Blue-Eyes both utilize the graveyard to access follow-up plays and having a Dweller + backrow can actually be enough to win games.
The Blue-Eyes nerf was a lot more impactful than expected. The deck consistency from losing The Melody of Awakening Dragon was hurt a lot as it gave Synchro plays, made Ultimate Dragons live often, and of course provided quick Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon access. Another reason for the decline is that the Darklord nerf made room for other hard Blue-Eyes matchups to become relevant such as Water Xyz, which were oppressed by Darklords in the previous meta.
Thunder Dragons have adapted well to the Level Duplication nerf. The deck shifted to a slower variant with Hand Traps and Gold Sarcophagus over Charge of the Light Brigade, as it can’t OTK as reliably as before. This variant is also great against Fire King as it grinds a lot better and doesn’t lose to a single handtrap like Battlin’ Boxer Veil. Overall, the deck has good matchups against most of the meta and only struggles with floodgates like Necrovalley.
Tier List update written by Jadehex.