ECQ: Shadow's Of The Spire - Expedition Review
For the third week in a row, another ticket to the Eternal 2020 World Championship has been punched, this time by Collector. One of, if not the best Eternal players, Collector becomes the first person to qualify for both the 2020 and 2019 World Championship besides last season's winner, Adreus. This tournament was the first look at Expedition since the 5/12 balance patch (which you can read about here) and one thing was very clear in the week leading up the tournament: Praxis Aggro was the deck to beat. Decklists for the top 64 can be found here.
Praxis was the deck to beat this weekend, but with this in mind many players still felt like there was no solution and played Praxis themselves. For those who did find a deck they were happy with, it usually included their own copies of Jekk, Mercenary Hunter. The biggest story of the tournament is that, once again, Jekk reigned supreme and was one of the most popular cards in day two, and the deck which was designed to prey upon the Jekk decks included 4 copies themselves. The deck designed to beat Jekk decks was Skycrag Midrange, which took down the event. This deck was designed to target the aggressive meta game, with a primary game plan of removing early units and playing big units that survived Jekk's ability in order to close games quickly while forcing aggressive decks to two-for-one themselves in order to remove the threats. This worked out for Collector, but for anyone else who played this deck, they had to accept that it came with it’s own poor matchups, such as Combrei Relics and Mono Shadow. These decks are quite strong
against Skycrag, and if the Expedition metagame shifts away from being so aggressive, Skycrag will likely be forced out.
Rakano Aggro surprised many as it was tied with Skycrag Midrange for the second most popular deck. Mostly brought by team Misplay, most builds opted to go a bit bigger than Praxis with cards like Tattoo Dragon and Cozin Darkheart, and played combat tricks such as Finest Hour. These choices likely gave Rakano an edge against Praxis, while sacrificing cards like Auralian Supplier that were powerful against controlling strategies. One draw to Rakano was the Edict of Kodosh, a card many players have been using in their main deck. Almost every Expedition deck played either Fire or Shadow threats, meaning this was usually a 2 cost Slay, which allowed Rakano to have a better chance at removing problematic units like Eremot, Mindsplinter. One deck that underperformed this weekend was Mono Shadow, only putting 4 copies into day 2, and only putting 1 copy into top 32. A number of players spoke out before the tournament about how they felt like Mono Shadow was overrated and relied on it’s strongest cards like Eremot, Mindsplinter and Marionette Cross to carry the strategy. Mono Shadow gained new tools such as the ability to splash Display of Ambition in the latest balance patch, and likely will perform better in future events once players agree on how to build the deck and the meta game becomes less efficient. One of Mono Shadow’s biggest weaknesses right now is that, although it has tools to deal with decks such as Praxis Aggro, the deck inefficient and usually only plays one spell per turn, something that can be easily punished. The last deck we want to highlight is Hooru Midrange/Curses, which put 2 copies into the top
8. This deck was very unexpected but utilized some of Expeditions most powerful cards, like Mother of Skies, Archgryffin Patriarch and Restrained Action. Although Mother of Skies is seeing regular play in other Expedition decks, the others haven’t had the time to shine yet but this weekend showed that they should not be forgotten about. It’s hard to figure out how strong this deck is, but with multiple strong performances and the ability to both turn the corner quickly and grind the opponent out, it may be a top deck moving forward. On the surface, this deck does look susceptible to Jekk. However, many players feel as if Jekk will be receiving a nerf soon, likely making this deck even more powerful. Finally, there is a break in tournaments and there will be time for the formats to shape up. There will likely be a June balance patch which might shake things up again, but until then will Jekk continue to stay on top or will the meta adapt to him further? Although Praxis, Rakano and Skycrag made up a large amount of the field this weekend, there was a pretty diverse metagame showing many different decks are viable in Expedition. Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts on the results of this past weekend let us know in the comments or on the official Backlash Twitter.