September 27, 2017 By: PauperTim
Mystique Main Character Level 3

We all saw the decks that were brought to GenCon, but what about the current post GenCon Meta and the Meta going further? We have tips here to help you stay on your feet, even after additional sets come out a lot of these principles will still apply regardless of the individual cards in the Meta.

What GenCon showed us

GenCon showed us that people's fears about Thor being nearly as strong as the original Thanos was a bust. Only one Thor got into the top 8 although several others were very close. The format is nowhere near solved though it does have a couple of decks that have a large target on their backs. This still lets creative brewers build and surprise people like with the Kingpin deckthat got into Top8.

Meta History

I don't want to linger on the results of GenCon or disecting this deck or that deck and what The Predator Battles might add to very specific decks in this article, but want to look upon the enviroment as a whole. The original Meta of original Thanos, Star-Lord, Storm, and the few tier 1.5 decks that could compete with them had aggro, ramp, and combo control. We then moved into a dominant Thanos meta the next year where it was about outlastingand pushing through activations of the Infinity Gauntlet or having enough board advantage or speed that kept on giving to take down the mad titan. This year we saw a huge aggro spike based off of Thor and now the Meta shifted again at GenCon having slower decks and combo decks overcome Thor.

Now that is a brief synapsis of the past, though some may argue some fine details here or there or add in a lot of extra decks that I didn't mention. What I'm curious about is what road this will take us down in the future. With a smaller card pool, each additional card can make a pretty large impact, though as the cardpool grows, each card will often have less impact. Think about it in Magic. A typical Standard set may have a card or two that make it to legacy or vintage play, though usually it doesn't change the format drastically.

While I could go over each GenCon deck and guestimate how long it will remain in the meta and what specifically could change it, I'd rather not as that is what most of the VS 2PCG articles are about at the moment on other sites or discussions on Facebook right now. This article is more about reading the current Meta and what to be preared for in the decks rather than the actual decks involved in it (for the most part).

Big Threats

What do you have to be aware of in the current meta? The threats keep getting bigger and stronger as the power creep rises slowly. Adam Warlock used to be a big finisher in the original Meta, yet he is seldom played now due to him being outclassed by many of the current big threats in the game.

Well what would I care about those late game drops if I plan to win before an 8 cost character hits the table? Often this is not possible anymore. Thor gives a lot of hope of aggro decks to become viable again, but even he has his weaknesses and isn't always going to be a huge force in the Meta (Though I don't think he is vanishing from the Meta either).

Main Characters have more wounds than they did in the original set, some can prevent wounds more easily, and wounds can now be healed more easily (especially with The Predator Battles Medkit and CMO), and games are flat out going to later turns than they did before. A large quantity of characters that are heavily played in the meta have more wounds than they did before making board presence something that can be hard to overcome. You have to have a plan in place in your deck of how your deck will use or defend against strategies that are dropping these large threats which are key players in the current Meta and will be for a time to come.

Fin Fang Foom Supporting Character

Fin Fang Foom supporting character is a huge threat with 2 health that can help clear up those board states by attacking an entire row at a time. You need to be able to anticipate if your opponent is going to drop Fin Fang Foom and have a plan in place in case it does come out. FFF is one of the big threats you will have to think about closely when designing a deck and developing a strategy around it. (Combo tip of the week: Deadpool Level 2 MC + giving lethal to FFF is great, especially if FFF isn't stunned and you can X-Factor it back. Get there through Mystique or the normal way)

Thanos Supporting Character

However with Warrant Officer Ripley in the Meta, most decks will also want to pack Thanos to have a chance of taking her down, which means you may not face as many Fin Fang Fooms in your Meta as things shift back and forth of what people play and in what quantities. Or will people reserve those spots to Ronan and Satana to try to cripple Warrant Officer Ripley before her engine can get going?

Ghost Rider(Defenders) may have been out of the picture recently, but Out of Combat stuns are still a big thing. I'd beware of those things too and try to avoid putting yourself into a situation where a Ghost Rider off the top will end the game for you.

Ghost Rider Supporting Character

Valkyrie Combos are also a thing. Read around for current trends of combos you'll have to know about in the game so that when you do see a few pieces, you know what is coming and how to try to combat it if able. The two main ones at the moment are the Peggy-Widow Nightmare Combo and the Ash-Taskmaster Kingpin Combo.

Valkyrie Supporting Character

Groot MC can get very large and out of control in size very quickly as well. You have to make sure you have strategies in place for this as well. Counter removal or something that can get larger than this titan.

The Smaller Threats

Not every threat comes in as a giant that is hard to deal with. There are a lot of cards currently that just them being on the board can threaten or stall your deck, giving your opponent an advantage against your game plan. These are things like Jessica Jones, Starhawk, Charlie-27, and Miss America are examples of some troublesome cards that you need to get of the board as soon as possible in most circumstances. You could include Yondu, though his time in the sunlight has recently been overcast by great lower drops with high health values to increase board presence throughout multiple turns in the game. Or maybe these are your bread and butter and things like Gamora, Hi-Vo, and the Punisher are the things you fear in dealing with them. Ronan and Satana defenitely belong on this list as they can foil entire gameplans of decks by removing a key card or two at the right time.

Jessica Jones Supporting Character

How to deal with these threats?

Big supporting characters have vulnerabilities in shrink via Ant-Man and Wasp and via the new Iceman supporting character. Combo decks and Warrant Officer Ripley have issues against discard along with Satana removing key pieces from your deck. Charlie-27 can help mop up an answer that is already on the table or use characters with Lethal to help you get those threats off the table quicker. Big threats of your own is always a good idea to consider for your deck as well.

Iceman MMU Supporting Character

I remember recently where I felt like you had to have ways to deal with +1/+1 counters (The ETO Meta I like to call it, which was followed up by the Shock to the System Meta) opponents had and in that meta Flint would have been amazing, however most decks aren't packing many +1/+1 counters outside of Thor currently (That may be an opening for more +1/+1 counter decks to crop up, who knows?). In the Smaller threats section we mentioned some mid range threats and answers to those threats, which may also be the threats of your own game plan itself, so I won't go over all of those here again.

Like in any healthy Meta, take a look at the big cards and figure out how to deal with the current big cards in the meta. And get out to local stores and get testing!

About the Author

PauperTim is this websites owner and has always been into games of all sorts. He is a founder of the Pauper format for Magic: The Gathering. You can find him on facebook, twitter or OCTGN as PauperTim or as TheOrangeMitten on Magic Online.