Data From a Scrub: Day One
So I was reading about the Meta Deck Analytics stuff yesterday and I got the idea that maybe I'd test things out on my own to see how bad things actually are. Obviously this is anecdotal evidence since I'm only one player, but once the idea popped into my head it sounded fun. I'm on my phone so I don't think there's a way to record, so instead I decided to just do it all in writing--ten matches a day for a week, describing what happened to a decent degree. I'm using two decks: Midrange Shadow and Midrange Sword.
My Midrange Shadow which is largely complete but I'm not really good with it, but they say a good sign of an OP deck is if you can misplay against good-to-great opponents and still win. I'm using that to see just how busted Shadowverse's most broken deck really is. And Midrange Sword because it's *not* Shadow or technically even meta at all. I've been playing Sword almost as long as I've been playing the game (four months now), and aside from wishing I had Gawain this deck is about as solid as its going to get.
My build for Swordcraft is here, and my build for Shadowcraft is here. Some things to keep in mind:
- I'm A0, so that's why it's called Data from a Scrub. I know my analysis isn't worth what a Master Ranked player's would be.
- If you don't care about this, feel free to not say anything at all. I'm just doing this 'cause its fun.
- Do feel free to offer thoughts or ask questions about my builds. I'm open to shifting both slightly over the next seven days, but I'm out of gold and my vials are just in the hundreds after crafting Odin for Midrange Sword (worth it) so it'd have to be a card I already had.
Match 1: SwordCraft vs. Dragoncraft
Opening Hand: Luminous Mage x 2, Jeno, Levin Vanguard.
Mulligan: Maid Leader, Albert, Tsubaki
Draw: Frontguard General, Veteran Lancer.
Dragoncraft is the bane of my existence as a Swordcraft player, so I kicked this off thinking I would lose but my opponent seemingly bricked heavy: his first three turns consisted of Dragon's Nest, nothing, and Zell. By Turn 5 his best move was Dragonic Fervor with literally no creatures on board, so I got him down to 10 in short order. But...y'know, it's Dragon so he managed to get Ouroboros, Bahamut, and cycle through his other two Dragonic Fervors before I could finally summon back to back Alberts combined with an Alwida's Command to do enough damage to take him out. Still, he had six fucking cards in hand by the end so I'm guessing he drew all his big creatures really early? Didn't matter--he was only at 2 life by the time he could start putting them on board, and my hand consisted of two Alwida's Command so I had game regardless. ...But I topdecked Fangblade Slayer and hate dragon so I decided to win by being a dick and killing Bahamut. This deck bugs the shit out of me. I don't care that it climbs so fast or has such big creatures but why the fuck do they get to heal? It's disgusting.
Match 2: Swordcraft vs. Havencraft
Opening Hand: Fangblade, Frontguard, Floral Fencer.
Mulligan: Novice Trooper x2, Floral Fencer.
Our early games were both super slow--no cards were played for two turns straight, and I basically got to play back to back Novice Troopers uncontested. It wasn't until Turn 4 that things got interesting, with Sister Initiate getting him Regal Falcon on the field, and an Evolve wiping out my board. Never really felt threatened though--any momentum shift he managed just swinged back my way by the time I'd end my turn. A timely Themis on his Turn 8 wiped out a large board of mine, but by then it was Turn 9 and a quick Albert knocked him down to a single life point. Of course by then I was nearly out steam so we went back and forth for several turns, until I eventually went Maid Leader into Albert while they were at 1. Good thing too, 'cause they'd just gotten Seraph on the board and I was starting to sweat.
Match 3: Swordcraft vs. Bloodcraft
Opening Hand: Tsubaki, Tsubaki, Maid Leader.
Mulligan: Luminous Mage, Jeno, Levin Vanguard, Maid Leader.
Draw: Tsubaki, Tsubaki. (LOL.)
This was a match against a B3 player so the biggest challenge was basically the fact that my opening fucking blew. His deck wasn't fully formed--his opening turn was Bloodfed Flowerbed--so all I really had to do was hold off from the initial threat of bats. It was kinda touch and go at first--my hand was literally just 4 and up for the first three turns, so if this had been a proper Bloodcraft player I would've been deader than dead. But by the time we hit Turn 5 I basically stablized and had wiped out all his minions. He even had a dead turn right afterwards where I got to take him from 15 to 5. Luminous Mage was the MVP here, as both times I played it I got to evolve Luminous Knight and use the boosted damage to finish my opponent off.
Match 4: Swordcraft vs. Havencraft
Opening Hand: Veteran Lancer, Novice Trooper, Jeno, Levin Vanguard.
Mulligan: ....LOL nah.
Draw: Quick Blader, Maid Leader. (So...perfect curve, basically.)
This felt like a version of Havencraft teched out to fight Midrange Shadow, since it was packed with wards and shit like Ancient Lion Spirit. Dude was A2 so presumably he had the parts necessary to make Haven work, but mostly all I saw was generic shit like Unica and Grimnir. I kept expecting Aegis but honestly since TotG I've only seen that like...twice? Ancient Lion Spirit on Turn 5 and Themis on Turn 9 served the biggest hurdles to overcome, but my curve was so perfect that it was basically smooth gliding to Turn 9 where my opponent was already down to 8 life. My Turn 6 consisted of Maid Leader, Maid Leader, Veteran Lancer so I basically had two turns of Albert and an evolve still waiting, so the last turn was easy.
Match 5: Swordcraft vs. Shadowcraft
Opening Hand: Alwida's Command, Novice Trooper, Jeno, Levin Vanguard.
Mulligan: Jeno, Levin Vanguard, Novice Trooper, Fangblade Slayer. (I didn't keep Jeno, he just came back lol.)
Went 1st. Draw: Quickblader.
Yeah, I was up against an A1 Aggro Shadowcraft and got rekt. I'd like to blame RNG but nah, I drew into a 3 drop at 3 and had a 4 drop and a 5 drop. I just couldn't put pressure on the board fast enough for any of it to matter. Even the usual MVPs like Luminous Mage just resulted in helping my opponent build their shadow counter. By Turn 6 I was at a single life. They just summoned Cerebus on 7 and well.....
Match 6: Swordcraft vs. Shadowcraft
Opening Hand: Jeno, Levin Vanguard, Fangblade Slayer, Roland the Incompatible.
Mulligan: Quickblader, Novice Trooper, Jeno, Levin Vanguard.
Draw: Quickblader, Veteran Lancer.
After losing once to Shadowcraft, I was a little more wary about what I was up against this time. But surprisingly, this build just wasn't as solid. Had unnecessary cards like Foul Tempest and Spartoi Soldier instead of the usual Sergeant and Zombie Parties. These weird tech choices in what appeared to be an otherwise standard Shadow build that featured Bone Chimera, Cerberus and Catacombs, slow him down just enough so that despite building up a HUGE shadow count (he lost with 15) and hitting me for 8 damage in a single turn while potentially being capable of doing more, meant that I was still able to draw Albert at 10 and evolve for the win. I won't say this is because I played particularly well because I didn't, dude just couldn't put the pressure on the board and protect his life enough to avoid getting hit with the best card in the game.
Match 7: Swordcraft vs. Havencraft
Opening Hand: Albert, Levin Saber, Albert, Levin Saber, Alwida's Command.
Mulligan: Maid Leader, Novice Trooper, Luminous Mage.
Draw: Fangblade Slayer, Tsubaki.
Ugh. Matches like these are why I hate Havencraft. Control pretty quickly went from him to me as his initial opening was two turns of Sacred Plea. By turn 5 they had 8 cards in their hand...but very few of them were actually hitting the field. This was another Havencraft deck with completely wacky techs like Owlcat and Iron Maiden. Of course, with Haven being the stalling-ass deck it is, I got to Turn 9 in no time and Albert got to take the stage. ...Only, since Havencraft loves its heals, hitting him for 10 damage just took him down to like...9. That's when stuff like Tribunal and Iron Maiden came in, slowing down my attacks and allowing my opponent a chance to last for a whopping SIXTEEN TURNS. I eventually got him down to 1 via my second Albert, but thanks to Iron Maiden the duel would've lasted at least another two turns...except Alwida's Command came along and allowed me to summon everyone's favorite pirate and wrap things up.
Match 8: Swordcraft vs. Swordcraft
Opening Hand: Veteran Lancer, Fangblade Slayer, Novice Trooper.
Mulligan: Veteran Lancer, Whole-Soul Swing, Novice Trooper.
Draw: Alwida's Command.
This kinda felt like a blast from the past. We were both A0 players but for some reason he was running a Royal Banner build, right down to running cards like Sea Queen Otohime and Sage Commander. It almost felt like a guy who hadn't played in awhile but just wanted to see how his deck would do. To his credit, it was a close match. Wards and lack of evolves helped him survive all the way to Turn 10, and by the end it was my 6 LP to his 1. I was honestly about to lose though--three different 2/1 Knights + White Paladin kinda left me at a loss if I didn't draw Albert. Or...y'know...Grimnir on 10 to wipe his field and give me the W.
Match 9: Swordcraft vs. Shadowcraft.
Opening Hand: Quickblader, Veteran Lancer, Whole-Souled Swing.
Draw: Grimnir, War Cyclone.
It's at this point I believe the hype of Shadowcraft. Despite running weird cards like Dark Conjurer, he fought off my strong early game and took advantage of my weak mid-game (by Turn 4 I had three cards in my hand and they were all six drops) to take a strong lead. He dropped Cerberus on curve and despite popping it with Tsubaki by then it was way too late--back to back Shadow Reapers on Turn 6 combined with Eachtar on curve managed to wipe out my Frontguard General and Fortress Guard, then hit me with 12 damage to end the game. So both times I have any kind of win streak built up, Shadowcraft comes along to hand me the L. I still don't feel helpless in the way I do against a good Wallet Dragon deck, though. The real trouble here is that Eachtar does too much. Generating zombies is fine, giving them rush is okay, but the fact that it gives +2 to EVERY creature on board is overkill. At worst, nerf it so it only boosts the monsters it summons. It might even be necessary to drop the boost all together--if they have 12 shadows that's four 2/2 zombies with rush, isn't that enough?
Match 10: Swordcraft vs. Runecraft.
Opening Hand: Grimnir, War Cyclone, Albert, Levin Saber, Veteran Lancer.
Mulligan: Grimnir, War Cyclone, Veteran Lancer, Veteran Lancer.
Draw: Tsubaki, Maid Leader.
This was a D-Shift Runecraft deck, so I was kinda worried I'd end my first day with a 70% winrate. After all, D-Shift decks do surprisingly well against Midrange Sword, but this guy bricked heavy. I'm assuming he opened with D-Shift judging from the amount of times he freely dropped Sorcery Cache, but it seemed like he never got the Flame Destroyers he needed. There was something of a back and forth in that I was able to put decent pressure on board and get him down to 10 life by turn 5 and by Turn 6 he managed to wipe out my whole board (just a bunch of 1/1s and Veteran Lancers), but he panicked by Turn 8 and played his 0 cost D-Shift...and still didn't get what he was looking for. So when I went Maid Leader (and only got Luminous Mage, lol) I guess he assumed I had Albert and conceded before Turn 9 could come along.
So I wrapped up Day One with 8 wins and two losses. Not bad considering up till now I've been 55/45 at best. This is obviously anecdotal, but below AA and Master's the complaint of "There are only two decks" is a fiction--I faced everything except Forest in just ten matches. What ISN'T anecdotal though, is that Shadowcraft's no joke. I would've sworn they weren't that hard to beat with Midrange Sword, and maybe they aren't if your curve is perfect, but that's asking too much since theirs can be just average and they'll still take the game handily as long as they can build up a decent shadow count.
Tomorrow I'm going to try Shadowcraft and see how it does, but I'm not nearly as experienced so I'm expecting a much worse WR. I'll go back and forth between these two decks for the next seven days--or as long as I can--and we'll see what things look like by the end.