Shadow Era TCG » Articles » The 1.28 Meta and Roshambo
(This is a guest article by kamman13.)
In 1.27, I argued that Shadow Era did not contain a Roshambo (rock, paper, scissors) dynamic. What occurred depended more on how you built the deck than what hero you chose. Although that is certainly true in 1.28, maybe even more so with the addition of new cards, some types of decks have emerged as most common. With them, some ROSHAMBO dynamics have emerged. These are based on the ways people tend to built deck for various heroes, and what strategies they employ.
First, to discuss damage strategies, 1.28 has changed a bit. No one uses heavy ally strategies much anymore, or at least not exclusively. The only heavy ally that sees much use is Plasma Behemoth. Nearly everyone uses a weenie rush, though there are few that use boosted weenie tactics. Weapon damage is now a viable strategy for Amber, and more generally warriors through Dual Wield, and Darkclaw. Direct damage is still viable, and mill was somewhat popular strategy with Darkclaw at first, but has since disappeared.
The main topic here is the chart below, where I've mapped all the Tier 2+ heroes, with arrows indicating who counters who. I've left out some heroes, like Gwen, Gravebone, and Ter Adun, who are Tier 2 but I just haven't seen enough to get a sense for, and Tier 3 heroes like Baduuru and Serena. Where appropriate, I broke heroes up into different kinds of decks. Bold arrows indicate a strong counter (>90% win ratios), thin arrows a weak but doable counter (60-80% win records).
Some notes before going into the main ROSHAMBO dynamics- I have the least sense for Zhanna and Zaladar, but included them here anyways. Zaladar is hard to judge, since there are a diverse number of ways to use him. Zhanna (and Nishaven) seems to have no really bad, or good, matchups in 1.28, so the lack of arrows from them is purposeful. Priests provide really good counters to virtually all of the decks present, but don't have as strong a damage strategy of their own to boast for.
Also, I distinguish control and race Eladwen based on whether research or bazaar is used in the deck, respectively. Although race Eladwen was initially more common, it was soon learned that a weenie rush most effectively countered Eladwen by counter-racing. At which point "control Eladwen" developed to counter the weenie rush by using research to short her opponent of cards. Although race Eladwen is more useful in specific scenarios like against warriors, control Eladwen is much more generally useful and seems to be the norm now.
Several large ROSHAMBO elements are present in this meta. Most evidently, is:
Mages -> Wulven -> Amber -> Mages ...
Warriors -> Elementalis -> Mages -> Wulven -> Warriors ...
Warriors -> Zaladar -> Moonstalker -> Warriors ...
Warriors are clearly still the strongest class, since they permeate the most arrows, and Logan the strongest of them. Their only real weakness is Wulven, but so far the evidence has not shown this to be an extremely strong counter. Amber is the weakest in warrior-to-warrior matchups, but provides the best counters to other classes (more on this in a future article).
The elementals are best designed to run boosted weenie and heavy ally strategies, which the Mages are least designed to cope with. They also have all the right counters to hit the wulven hard, with Mind Control for Moonstalker and Armor of Ages for Darkclaw. But they are kept in check by Warriors, in particular Logan who right now can easily tear through their boosted allies. In my opinion, if warriors were weakened somewhat, then their effect on Elementals wouldn't be so severe, and the Elementals would become more common and provide a better check on the other classes, providing more overall balance. 1.29 will go a good ways to helping this problem, by making new weapons available to all classes, mostly everything but warrior.
The take away point, though, is that the situation is still very complicated, and I'm still working out some of these relationships. Shadow Era is still yet to dribble into a simple, predetermined game of ROSHAMBO.
If there are any questions about the dynamics, or why I have included certain arrows, I'd be happy to explain them on the SE forums.
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