Ladies and gentlemen we are a scant few days away from Origins Game Fair, the first of this years two Major US events. For those of you planning to participate in this years 2.5K that should mean your gauntlet has been built, decks have been decided on, and testing is nearing completion. The only thing left unknown is how the meta will unfold.
To answer this we need to identify and evaluate the decks most likely to succeed in a tournament setting. In this endeavor a player who is plugged into the VS community is leaps and bounds above the competition. Deck lists are posted often and local tournaments results are freely shared. All of this makes identifying top decks and successful deck shells extremely easy. The recent U.K. Nationals tournament gives us the best decks from Britain’s top Tournament players. The March Madness Tournament of Champions (MMTOC) and the new Salt 16 give us a hint of some new tech and a refresher on old classics. The main take away from these events is that Thor still sits atop the competition. So, are you playing Thor?
Let’s start by taking a look at Thor’s evolution over the past year. Thorigins 2017 gave us ultra fast aggro using characters like Falcon, Black Panther, and Charlie-27. GenCon saw Thor evolve into a tech specific deck using Tim Boo Ba, Dagger, and Scarlet Witch. And even though only 1 Thor made it into the top 8, he did so despite a field of MC’s specifically tuned to beat him. Flash forward to U.K. 2018 and Thor once again takes first place using cards like Stick, Flint, and a selection of Leviathons. In addition to these builds Thor now has access to cards like Ultimate Nullifier, Primevil Hunter, Net Laucnher, and Solo. From all this let’s surmise that Thor is going to be a prominent portion of the Origins meta.
If VS was like most other competitive card games we’d expect to see a meta made up of Thor, and decks specifically tuned to beat Thor. The great thing about VS however is the desire of players to build their own unique decks. Midwinter 2018’s first place Black Cat and Salt 16 2018’s 2nd place Deadpool (Underworld) are prime examples of this tendency and demonstrate the value of surprising the competition. MC’s like Venom (both mono and otherwise), Juggernaut, and Sabertooth have all made strong first impressions lending credibility to the idea that at least one of those MC’s will appear and try for an Origins upset.
Powerful tech cards such as Jungle Hunter, Ghost, Net Launcher, and Ultimate Nullifier have also been introduced and not only helped to bolster existing combo/control decks but to also create entirely new builds for them. Decks like Dark Phoenix, and Sister Grimm, which once struggled against Thor, now have new tools to help fight against a constant barrage of Lightning Strikes. Unus the Untouchable gives Myatique a 1 character burst from level 2 to 3 for a mere three resource points. Mirage accelerates both Kingpin and Black Widow to their end game, and Avalanche creates an entirely new deck archetype which, without practice against, is exceedingly difficult to deal with.
Even though the addition of these powerful tech cards helps to mitigate the effectiveness of Thor, it is important to understand that since Origins 2017 the meta has existed in a state of Thor disdain. GenCon 2017 was a specifically anti-Thor meta, and since then top performing decks such as Black Cat, Baron Mordo, have emerged but their worst matchups are against the God of Thunder.
Of final consideration is the decks which have been remarkably absent from public conversation. Mystique, with the Gamora/Net Launcher combo is a deck which hasn’t been heard about since its victory in the Scoop UK tournament, but since then the consistency has only increased. The addition of Daken allows the deck to overcome its single biggest obstacle with one lone attack. Dark Phoenix, with the addition of Jungle Hunter, Keys, and Mirage, is now able to ramp more quickly and effectively than ever resulting in faster and more frequent Ravagers.
In the end it looks like it’s prime time for the game to shift back to an aggro centric meta. Juggernaut, with his massive stats and 6 life is poised to clear the board and show why he’s unstoppable. Sabertooth, equipped with Ferocious and Regeneration ready to equip an Actove Camo and resist wave after wave of attack. Venom, using Solo and Not Finished Yet, intends to decimate the opposing MC. Luke Cage, mono at its finest, ultra aggressive and able to avoid every wound thrown his way. And of course Thor, ready to re-emerge from the shadows, Stormbreaker in hand, and Lightning Strike his way back to first place.
To finish I’d like to present my personal prediction of the Origins meta.
Tier 1 (The decks most likely to be played) Thor Juggernaut Venom Mystique Dark Phoenix
Tier 2 (Decks specifically teched against Tier 1- The anti-meta decks) Deadpool (Underworld) Kingpin Spider-Man Avalanche Black Widow
Tier 3 (Everything else) Daredevil Green Goblin Etc.