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Best Classic Constructed Deck? Flesh and Blood Power Rankings

A new Classic Constructed meta has been emerging, with two ProQuest events over the last two weekends at the Callings in Dallas and Cincinnati. We now have a handful of Classic Constructed deck lists and data to digest as we near the 2021 National Championship season kick-off in just over a week to see what the best Classic Constructed deck is currently. 

What heroes are seeing success in the early Tales of Aria meta? With the banning of Seeds of Agony, we really have started with a diverse set of heroes across the two ProQuest top eights. Let’s start there…

 

 

Header - ProQuest Top 8 Breakdown

DALLAS CINCINNATI
Winner Prism Bravo
Finalist Bravo Chane
Semi-Finalist Bravo Briar
Semi-Finalist Boltyn Briar
Quarter-Finalist Katsu Prism
Quarter-Finalist Boltyn Prism
Quarter-Finalist Dash Katsu 
Quarter-Finalist Lexi Lexi

 

Both events had over 120 players, which gives us a good indication of the performance of these heroes, and of course their pilots to run through a large field and make that top eight cut.

Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light and Bravo, Showstopper picked up one win each and continue to be among the top decks to beat in Classic Constructed. Both heroes also put three players into the top cut across the two events. Chane, Bound by Shadow was the only hero not named Bravo or Prism to make a Finals, while Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn, a fairly known quantity at this point in Classic, made two top eight berths in Dallas. The surprise for most though was likely Tales‘ hero Briar, Warden of Thorns putting two players into the top cut in Cincinnati. 

Katsu, the Wanderer and Lexi, Livewire (another new Tales of Aria face) put two players each into ProQuest top eights over the two weekends. So, with all that said. What does the meta game look like moving forward? What heroes should you be considering as the decks likely to show up and do well over the coming weeks, be it at a National Champs or Armory?

 

Header - 1. Bravo, Showstopper

 

Bravo, Showstopper not only emerged victorious in Cincinnati, he was also the most played hero on the day with 15 percent share of the metagame. That is a big departure from the events we were seeing pre-Tales of Aria with 30 percent Chane, Bound in Shadow leading the field! 

Bravo bounced all over the rankings of top decks in the last format, but a new tool in the form of Tear Asunder and the disappearance of Chane seems to be helping Bravo stake a claim in the meta as top dog early on. A large part of the strength of Bravo right now is the solid matchups across the board thanks to the ability to flex between reactive and proactive. When playing reactively, Bravo plays a great defensive game behind cards like Staunch Response (Blue), Sink Below (Red), Fate Foreseen (Red) and Sigil of Solace (Red). Bravo can also chip away with Anothos while setting up the bottom of the deck with big attacks like Crippling Crush. Alternatively, since Monarch, Bravo has also had a strong proactive plan involving Zealous Belting, Rouse the Ancients along with Pummel (Red) and traditional Guardian attacks. 

Tear Asunder is certainly an upgrade, and really helped both plans in giving Bravo an important blue that costs three and defends 3 with a very relevant textbox. Tear can be effective, especially against Prism as an efficient way to force a response or pick apart their hand. 

 

Stuart McGirt 1st place ProQuest Cincinnati October 24th

Hero / Weapon / Equipment
1 x Anothos
1 x Arcanite Skullcap
1 x Crater Fist
1 x Mage Master Boots
1 x Nullrune Boots
1 x Nullrune Hood
1 x Tectonic Plating
Pitch 1
2 x Command and Conquer (1)
3 x Crippling Crush (1)
3 x Fate Foreseen (1)
1 x Mangle (1)
3 x Pummel (1)
3 x Sigil of Solace (1)
3 x Sink Below (1)
3 x Spinal Crush (1)
3 x Zealous Belting (1)
Pitch 2
2 x Disable (2)
2 x Lead the Charge (2)
1 x Remembrance (2)
2 x Righteous Cleansing (2)
1 x Tome of Fyendal (2)
Pitch 3
3 x Buckling Blow (3)
3 x Cartilage Crush (3)
3 x Chokeslam (3)
3 x Cranial Crush (3)
3 x Crush Confidence (3)
3 x Crush the Weak (3)
3 x Debilitate (3)
3 x Disable (3)
3 x Pummel (3)
3 x Rouse the Ancients (3)
2 x Show Time! (3)
3 x Staunch Response (3)
3 x Tear Asunder (3)
3 x Unmovable (3)

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Header - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light

Prism, Sculptor of Arc LightLuminarisGenesis

 

Coming off the back of winning the Calling Las Vegas, it’s no surprise to see Prism remain popular and even take home the first large Classic Constructed event post-Vegas. Prism was joint second for most played hero in the ProQuest Cincinnati along with Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire and Lexi, Livewrie. However, the three each only registered a 10 percent share, again showing just how open this early Tales of Aria meta really is!

The Prism lists we’re seeing post-Vegas seem to take inspiration from winner Tyler Horspool’s list, but eschewing some of the fatigue Chane cards in favor of more Heralds to have the ability to switch from the popular control centric builds to a deck with a bit more attacking threat density. Cards like Genesis and Merciful Retribution often were the focus of the Prism deck, but now we’re seeing redline heralds in Wartune Herald, Herald of Protection, Herald of Triumph and even Phantasmaclasm become standard in the 80. 

If you’re playing Classic anytime soon, expect to face down Prism a fair amount. She looks to be going no where in the meta and still should be well positioned against Bravo and most other midrange to control style decks.

 

Jack McHalffey 1st place ProQuest Dallas October 17th

Hero / Weapon / Equipment
1 x Dream Weavers
1 x Halo of Illumination
1 x Luminaris
1 x Nullrune Gloves
1 x Phantasmal Footsteps
1 x Vestige of Sol
Pitch 1
3 x Blinding Beam (1)
1 x Command and Conquer (1)
3 x Fate Foreseen (1)
3 x Herald of Protection (1)
3 x Herald of Triumph (1)
3 x Phantasmaclasm (1)
3 x Prismatic Shield (1)
3 x Sink Below (1)
3 x Wartune Herald (1)
Pitch 2
3 x Celestial Cataclysm (2)
3 x Genesis (2)
3 x Herald of Erudition (2)
3 x Herald of Protection (2)
3 x Herald of Triumph (2)
3 x Merciful Retribution (2)
3 x Ode to Wrath (2)
1 x Pummel (2)
3 x Soul Shield (2)
3 x Tome of Divinity (2)
3 x Unmovable (2)
3 x Wartune Herald (2)
Pitch 3
3 x Herald of Protection (3)
3 x Herald of Ravages (3)
3 x Herald of Rebirth (3)
3 x Herald of Triumph (3)
3 x Wartune Herald (3)
Others
1 x Great Library of Solana

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Header - 3. Lexi, Livewire

 

You could likely split these next three heroes among third to fifth how you’d like – it’s that close right now. I’m going to factor in here a top eight berth across both events for Lexi, Livewire and her being the joint second most represented hero at the Cincinnati event to give her third spot, for now…

Lexi is an interesting one, our first Elemental and new hero on the list. She can be built many different ways and has not only her Elemental Ranger cards to pull from, but also Arcane Rising Ranger cards. You’re likely not going to know the flavor of Lexi you’ll be up against when you sit down at the table early in this Tales of Aria meta. However, both top eight players from Dallas and Cincinnati opted for Lightning builds over Ice, leveraging the Lightning Arrows such as Frazzle and Dazzling Crescendo along with Ranger favorites like Remorseless.

The engine of the decks is powered by Lightning cards like Lightning Press (Red), Electrify and Ball LightningThat isn’t to say Ice Lexi can’t do well, and personally stacking up Frost Bites is one of my favorite play patterns with her!

 

Stephen Pierce 8th place ProQuest Cincinnati October 24th

Hero / Weapon / Equipment
1 x Arcanite Skullcap
1 x Death Dealer
1 x Fyendal’s Spring Tunic
1 x Heart of Ice
1 x New Horizon
1 x Perch Grapplers
1 x Shock Charmers
Pitch 1
3 x Ball Lightning (1)
3 x Bolt’n’ Shot (1)
3 x Buzz Bolt (1)
3 x Command and Conquer (1)
2 x Dazzling Crescendo (1)
3 x Enlightened Strike (1)
3 x Lightning Press (1)
3 x Pathing Helix (1)
1 x Pulse of Volthaven (1)
2 x Remorseless (1)
3 x Sink Below (1)
3 x Snap Shot (1)
Pitch 2
3 x Art of War (2)
3 x Ball Lightning (2)
3 x Buzz Bolt (2)
3 x Channel Thunder Steppe (2)
3 x Electrify (2)
1 x Frazzle (2)
3 x Light it Up (2)
2 x Lightning Press (2)
3 x Snap Shot (2)
Pitch 3
3 x Amulet of Lightning (3)
3 x Ball Lightning (3)
2 x Blizzard (3)
3 x Electrify (3)
3 x Lightning Press (3)
3 x Snap Shot (3)

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Header - 4. Briar, Warden of Thorns

 

From one Elemental hero of Aria to another, Briar, Warden of Thorns had a strong showing in Cincinnati, putting two players into the top four. However, Briar was fairly unrepresented in Dallas and just the sixth most played hero in Cincinnati this past weekend.

The two lists we have seen so far are certainly quite different. Briar clearly can be built as a Lightning, go-wide focused deck that stays low to the ground with cheap attacks and making as many Embodiment of Lightning tokens over a game to ensure the wide plan never stops. Ball Lightning is also really key to this plan to ensure that on big five-card hand turns, every point of damage getting through hits that much harder! On the other hand, we’ve an Earth build that revolves more around efficient attacks, non-attack actions, Embodiments of Earth and Channel Mount Heroic – ChannelFireball’s very own spoiler card from Tales of Aria!

It’ll be interesting to see where Briar goes next, and if she will indeed be the Runeblade to beat as we move deeper into the Tales Classic Constructed meta.

 

Chris Higashi 3rd-4th place ProQuest Cincinnati October 24th

Hero / Weapon / Equipment
1 x Arcanite Skullcap
1 x Fyendal’s Spring Tunic
1 x Grasp of the Arknight
1 x Rosetta Thorn
1 x Snapdragon Scalers
Pitch 1
3 x Arcanic Crackle (1)
3 x Arcanic Shockwave (1)
3 x Ball Lightning (1)
3 x Command and Conquer (1)
3 x Electrify (1)
3 x Enlightened Strike (1)
3 x Entwine Lightning (1)
3 x Lightning Press (1)
3 x Lightning Surge (1)
3 x Nimblism (1)
3 x Plunder Run (1)
3 x Ravenous Rabble (1)
3 x Scar for a Scar (1)
3 x Snatch (1)
3 x Sonata Arcanix (1)
3 x Weave Lightning (1)
Pitch 2
3 x Arcanic Shockwave (2)
3 x Ball Lightning (2)
2 x Lightning Press (2)
3 x Ninth Blade of the Blood Oath (2)
3 x Plunder Run (2)
3 x Weave Lightning (2)
Pitch 3
3 x Captain’s Call (3)
3 x Plunder Run (3)
3 x Timesnap Potion (3)
Others
1 x Gorganian Tome

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Brendan Patrick 3rd-4th place ProQuest Cincinnati October 24th

Hero / Weapon / Equipment
1 x Arcanite Skullcap
1 x Bloodsheath Skeleta
1 x Crown of Dichotomy
1 x Fyendal’s Spring Tunic
1 x Grasp of the Arknight
1 x Nullrune Gloves
1 x Nullrune Robe
1 x Reaping Blade
1 x Rosetta Thorn
1 x Spellbound Creepers
Pitch 1
3 x Autumn’s Touch (1)
3 x Bramble Spark (1)
3 x Burgeoning (1)
3 x Channel Mount Heroic (1)
3 x Command and Conquer (1)
3 x Enlightened Strike (1)
1 x Fate Foreseen (1)
3 x Plunder Run (1)
3 x Ravenous Rabble (1)
3 x Scar for a Scar (1)
3 x Sink Below (1)
3 x Snatch (1)
3 x Sonata Arcanix (1)
3 x Stir the Wildwood (1)
3 x Vigor Rush (1)
Pitch 2
2 x Bramble Spark (2)
3 x Ninth Blade of the Blood Oath (2)
1 x Pulse of Candlehold (2)
Pitch 3
3 x Autumn’s Touch (3)
3 x Earthlore Surge (3)
3 x Force of Nature (3)
3 x Sow Tomorrow (3)
2 x Tome of Harvests (3)
3 x Tome of the Arknight (3)
3 x Weave Earth (3)
Others
1 x Gorganian Tome

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Header - 5. Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn

Ser Boltyn, Breaker of DawnRaydn, DuskbaneCintari Saber

 

The Light Warrior Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn put two players in the top eight in Dallas, with one making it to the semifinals. The deck looks for the most part to be almost identical to the lists we saw in the tail end of the Road to Nationals season and in Vegas. In Cincinnati, Boltyn was just four percent of the field, a surprise when you factor in the results the weekend prior. Perhaps Boltyn’s biggest win has been the departure of Chane dominating metagames, allowing players to really go back to Raydn, Duskbane builds that can either play an aggressive plan or even slow it down and stack for an endgame while extracting value by leaking damage and building a soul early to mid-game.

Cintari Saber builds that look to combo two or three Lumina Ascension together on one turn for 30 or more damage is still around, and expect them to go nowhere through this next Classic season. Boltyn in its many forms could be well positioned heading into National’s season, with the ability to go toe-to-toe with Bravo and a traditionally favorable match up with Prism.

 

Ryan McClain 3rd-4th place ProQuest Dallas October 17th

Hero / Weapon / Equipment
1 x Arcanite Skullcap
1 x Braveforge Bracers
2 x Cintari Saber
1 x Courage of Bladehold
1 x Fyendal’s Spring Tunic
1 x Gallantry Gold
1 x Nullrune Hood
1 x Raydn, Duskbane
1 x Snapdragon Scalers
Pitch 1
3 x Bolt of Courage (1)
3 x Command and Conquer (1)
3 x Courageous Steelhand (1)
2 x Cross the Line (1)
3 x Express Lightning (1)
2 x Fate Foreseen (1)
3 x Sink Below (1)
2 x Steelblade Shunt (1)
3 x Take Flight (1)
2 x Valiant Thrust (1)
Pitch 2
3 x Battlefield Blitz (2)
3 x Beacon of Victory (2)
3 x Bolt of Courage (2)
3 x Bolting Blade (2)
3 x Celestial Cataclysm (2)
3 x Courageous Steelhand (2)
3 x Express Lightning (2)
3 x Lumina Ascension (2)
1 x Remembrance (2)
3 x Soul Shield (2)
3 x Take Flight (2)
3 x V of the Vanguard (2)
3 x Valiant Thrust (2)
Pitch 3
3 x Bolt of Courage (3)
1 x Energy Potion (3)
3 x Take Flight (3)

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