TotG Tournament Tier List

April 28, 2017
Next major update around July 9, 2017

Excelsior Gaming is proud to present the first Shadowverse tier list organized by a team of competitive players.

This tier list is more tournament-oriented, and there are few archetypes that perform significantly differently in tournaments than on ladder. This means that archetypes that may succeed on ladder due to "surprise factor" may be rated lower than a ladder experience would indicate. Also note that tournaments generally limit players to one decklist per class, so relative performance is a critical metric: archetypes are compared not only to the meta, but to their class archetypes as well.

Many of the decklists below are by tournament participants. In those cases, we have provided their name and the date of the tournament in which they played with the deck.

Click any archetype name to skip down to the decklists and explanation. Click the image link to the left to open the featured decklist.

These archetypes consistently dominate tournaments. Ideally, you want to run all of them in a tourney lineup.
These archetypes provide powerful second and third deck options. They are fairly powerful, but not oppressive, and can combat Tier 0 decks.
These archetypes are strong, but are limited by an unfavorable meta. Running one of them as a "surprise" choice may benefit a tourney lineup.
These archetypes are limited by a hostile meta. They have seen little tournament success, or are outstripped by other class archetypes.
These archetypes are scored the lowest. They have seen nearly no tournament success, and are almost strictly worse than class alternatives.



Midrange Shadow is currently the King of the ToTG meta. Boasting an impressive 60%+ win rate across both tournament play and ladder, mid-Shadow has cemented itself as the deck to beat in ToTG thus far. With the release of Prince Catacomb, Orthrus, and Eachtar, mid-Shadow has a consistently strong game plan for winning a match in all phases of the game. In fact, its early curve is almost a direct copy of Aggro Shadow. The power level of this deck is matched only by Ramp Dragon. However, due to its more consistent early game, mid-Shadow is generally considered to be slightly favored - especially if the Shadow player goes first.

Generally speaking, midrange decks operate optimally when playing strong effect minions on curve. This deck is slightly different in that it operates as an aggro style deck with additional fuel for the lategame in Death's Breath, Eachtar, and occasionally Immortal Thane. Essentially, if you draw/mulligan into your early aggro package and curve out into these incredibly powerful cards in the mid to late game, there is very little your opponent can do to combat the pressure this deck is able to exert.


Long gone are the days where Ramp Dragon was considered a lesser tier deck. A surge in power from the Tempest of the Gods set cemented it as one of the main figures in the current meta. Seen all throughout ladder and tournaments in every region, while maintaining a high percentage win rate, many view it as the best deck of the format even against its major opposition, Midrange Shadow. The main faults lie in the deck's occasional propensity to brick by drawing all late game cards with no capability of ramping when against faster, aggressive decks that can easily flood the board. But when the draws are just right, the rewards are far greater, and with added consistency from the new set, the rewards occurs exceedingly more often than opponents had hoped for.

With the addition of must-remove threats like Sibyl of the Waterwyrm, to ramp quicker and extra healing, and Rahab, who provides ward and a big body, the midgame can be survived much easier while ramping up to 10pp. Grimnir, War Cyclone has added more late game board clear options, and Wind Reader Zell has added the surprise burst that can immediately gain victory. Deck lists are still being modified daily to find the perfect builds, but what is certain is that Ramp Dragon has made its mark regardless of preferred techs.



Practically speaking, Aggro Shadow is the pauper's version of Midrange Shadow. Giving up the incredibly powerful lategame weapons of Death's Breath and Eachtar, it instead opts for more early reach in the form of Phantom Howl. However, because it lacks late-game value generation, it loses readily to a Ramp Dragon drawing well, or a Midrange Shadow that trades properly. It also fares much worse against healing than its more expensive brother.

The new expansion gave Aggro Shadow two powerful new weapons: Prince Catacomb and Orthrus. These two cards allow Aggro Shadow to curve out extremely oppressively before the evolution turns, and often win the game before evolutions come online. Some players play a few Eachtar in Aggro Shadow as well, but if you can afford that, you might as well play Midrange Shadow, which boasts a significantly higher winrate and much more tournament flexibility. While Aggro Shadow runs rampant on ladder, it almost never appears in top 16 brackets due to the relative superiority of Midrange Shadow.


Midrange Sword has been a top deck ever since the release of the game, but after the release of RoB and Albert the deck has seen a major power boost. The current variation of the list must run 3 Alberts and usually plays 2-3 of the new card, Luminous Mage. Albert is one of the best stat for cost cards in the game and with Storm can potentially end the game early on. Luminous Mage allows the player to evolve commanders without using evolution points; having more evolve points in Sword is massive because it gives much greater damage reach (especially with Albert on 9) and also gives a leg up on trades, the most important part of Midrange Sword.

Midrange Sword has a decent matchup against both Shadowcraft and Dragoncraft, making it a decent deck to bring to tournaments and ladder. Midrange decks generally are able to control the board state with cards like Quickblader, Veteran Lancer, and Floral Fencer. Jeno is a card you want to keep going first since you will allow you made effective trades without losing your Jeno most of the time. Inclusions like Tsubaki and Fangblade Slayer allow the deck to combat the higher stated cards in most decks, notably in Dragon. With the dominance of Dragoncraft and Shadowcraft in the meta, it would not be so bad of an idea to bring Swordcraft to combat both decks.


This archetype umbrellas Tempo Forest and OTK Forest.

Tempo Forest in the TotG meta is very similar to previous builds. The goal, as always, was to burst the opponent down in one or a few turns. Fighting against Midrange Shadow and any other aggressive deck can be a tremendous struggle when trying to contend the board. Combo decks, like Tempo Forest, are usually favorable against control decks, notably Aegis Haven and DShift in the current meta, and the matchup against Ramp Dragon is dependent on what cards each player draws. A Ramp Dragon achieving 10 pp early on presents a tough situation in trying to remove the late game creatures, but if the right cards are drawn in hand, the Ramp Dragon has difficulty in countering the Roach combo.

Tempest of the Gods provided Jungle Warden, a card that provides the extra amount of burst in the late game or ability to clear wards to set up for a Roach combo the next turn. Crystalia Aerin was also introduced in the set, and it bestows a wide array of utilities. For example, the extra 3 healing and big body with ward can prolong the game into the Tempo Forest player's favor, or the evolution point from the enhance effect gives the player multiple options on when and how to use it. The deck, while it has decreased in popularity, still appears on ladder and the tournament scene.


Vengeance Blood was one of the new decks to come out of the Tempest of the Gods set. Players have found that the deck is able to contend with the popular Ramp Dragon due to its ability to flood the board with creatures that are not easily removed. On the other hand, it has struggled with faster decks like Aggro or Midrange Shadow once boards have been established. The meta is still shaping itself, and this deck has the potential to emerge itself as one of the main contenders.

The Tempest of the Gods set added integral staple cards like Belphegor, Dark Airjammer, and Spiderweb Imp that give the extra tools it was lacking in the past. The deck is also comprised of Devil of Vengeance, Soul Dealer, and Succubus, cards that received very limited amounts of play beforehand. The testing phase continues on in order to find the perfect combination of cards to withstand the meta, but many have high hopes that once complete, Vengeance Blood will be a force to be reckoned with.


Wolf-Bolt is a deck which emerged after Miracle Roach got hit with nerfs in the later stages of RoB. As the deck name indicates, these lists run multiple win conditions in the form of traditional roach combo coupled with high spell burst damage in the form of Silver Bolt. Currently, Wolf-Bolt finds itself steadily declining in favorability amongst Forest enthusiasts in a meta that has sped up considerably. With Dragon finding a more consistent level of ramp in Sibyl and Shadow being Shadow, the general playability of this deck has certainly decreased. That is not to say this deck is obsolete. With the addition of Aerin and even Jungle Warden, the plan to stall out your opponent until you can assemble your combo pieces is still somewhat viable. Though, with so many expensive cards in the deck, it is as prone to "bricking" as ever before.

Playstyles with this deck also vary according to preference. Some players like to consider the wolf and bolt package as a supplement to the traditional combo roach win condition. That is to say, roach is still the main win condition of the deck while Bolt is more of an insurance card in case you don't happen to draw roach in time. Others like to run three Bolts or three Wolves and use roaches more liberally throughout the match - maybe saving one or two for lethal setups. Both approaches are viable and switching up playstyles is important for different matchups.

As with any roach deck (or combo decks in general), it is always important to consider the maximum damage you can inflict on one turn (or over two turns). The key to this deck is thinking and planning two to three turns ahead. This requires knowledge of the overall meta in knowing what your opponent can play and how you will respond. Overall, this is still a fun deck to play and can still manage to steal wins off of nearly any meta deck.



Once the champion of the RoB meta, Tempo Rune now finds itself unable to carve out a place for itself in a meta dominated by Ramp Dragon and Aggro Shadow. However, its unparalleled midrange development threaten to catapult it back into favorability at a moment's notice-- much like Storm Haven, the archetype it initially pushed out of the meta. It yet sees an occasional spot in a tourney lineup, and as players are shifting away from Ramp Dragon to more consistent midrange decks, Tempo Rune should see much more play in the near future.

Decklists and playstyles for Tempo Rune varied very little in the RoB meta-- only by the number of Iceforms, really-- but with the new options of Melvie and Mutagenic Bolt, Tempo Rune has gained some ability to play a more reactive game, as well as not instalose to not drawing Daria. Low interest and Ramp Dragon dominance have prevented this archetype from being tested much, so there is little consensus on these new options.


Aegis Haven is the second great control killer-- it renders obsolete any control deck that cannot win by turn 10, but, unlike DShift, it has a playable aggro matchup as well. Regrettably for this archetype, neither aggro nor control are incredibly prominent in the meta (with the exception of Aggro Shadow, which generally sees little tournament play in favor of Midrange Shadow), so it is not very clear what archetypes Aegis is killing. Aegis cannot consistently deal with Midrange Shadow boards, and also cannot avoid being burned to death by Zell.

If there be any merit in Aegis Haven, it is that it can be built in many directions. Some players have preferred to play it with Elana or within a healing framework in general, whereas others have preferred to play it in Guardian Sun. Furthermore, there are a long list of techs that may make it more viable in the meta. Consider Acolyte's for banishing Ouroboros and Thanes, and Forbidden Ritual to counter Shadow's early aggression.


In TotG, Storm Haven finds itself in an awkward position. It has many decent matchups as a very allrounder choice. It does not really excel at anything, but it does not have the overt weaknesses of other archetypes. While it received no significant new tools in RoB, Dark Jeanne provides a yet controversial option for the build in the TotG meta. It is unclear how its antisynergy with Falcons and 2-drops balance with the necessity to pack more AoE to combat Shadowcraft and the occasional aggressive Sword.

Storm Haven needs to draw a fine line between aggression and defense, as it needs to ensure it can combat decks that have a massive power spike in the midgame (such as Ramp Dragon and Vengeance Blood), while also being able to defend against decks that put out massive pressure from turn 1 (such as Midrange Shadow and Midrange Sword). While this problem has existed for Storm Haven since its release, the absurd power levels of Ramp Dragon and Midrange Shadow have only cemented it further.


Named after the famous frog meme, Pepe sword once started out as such, when people started to take notice on how frustratingly resilient Vagabond Frog can be. The idea behind the deck is rather than spreading attack power over multiple followers on the field (as with the typical Swordcraft strategy), it is instead concentrated on one resilient follower (that's Vagabond Frog) which is supplemented with stat-increasing buffs from the other cards in the deck. To make sure he pushes through, a fair portion of the deck is dedicated to removal (e.g. Execution, Cyclone Blade), while the rest is made up of other damage and support cards.

There are two variants of Pepe Sword - a Frog-centric variant that goes all-in, and a midrange variant where the Frog plays a lesser role amidst the familiar Swordcraft cast. The latter is more suited for ladder play, as it tends to play better against a varied field (though in all honesty, the typical aggro or midrange sword still performs better and has more tools at its disposal). For tournament play however, the former is a force to be reckoned with under controlled conditions (such as being able to ban a supposedly bad matchup).

Speaking of matchups, the midrange variant almost shares the same percentages as midrange sword. The all-in however, is more interesting. It shines against slower decks that give it time to set up, making it ideal to fight off D-Shift Rune, Ramp Dragon, Silver Bolt Forest, and Control Sword, among others. On the other hand, it has a nightmare-ish matchup against variants of Havencraft decks that pack Tribunal of Good and Evil and Themis' Decree. Lurching Corpse, Watchman Khawy, and Orthus from Shadowcraft also gives Pepe a hard time. Also, some aggro decks can be too fast for Pepe to deal with.

The main criticism against the deck is its consistency. While the midrange variant has a plan B - it can still function without Pepe but to a lesser degree, the all-in version depends on finding a copy of the Frog early on and running away with it. This can be remedied by making Vagabond Frog the only Officer in the deck and packing 3 copies of Conscription, but it's not always a guarantee. This leads people away from the deck, even looking at it unfavorably as a gimmick, and to a certain extent it is true (and a good one): in exchange for a near-guaranteed win on all of his good matchups, you sacrifice a bit of consistency. Some of the best Pepe Sword players get around this problem through sheer skill and matchup knowledge alone, which allows them to get around problematic situations and set up the frog. Others tune their decks with useful non-officer cards such as Unica, Angel of the Word, Grimnir, and Alwida's Command to provide threats or protection and buy the deck some time to find Vagabond Frog.

In summary, Pepe sword is a specialized deck that is best used in tournament play to hit specific spots in the metagame. It will do work for you if you can manipulate the situation to its favor, though at the risk of being inconsistent at times. Despite its linear approach, it takes great skill and matchup knowledge to play Pepe Sword at the highest level, but it pays off satisfyingly - seeing an opponent concede, powerless, at the mercy of a double-digit Pepe will always be one of the best experiences in the game.


Among the numerous Aggro decks out there, Aggro Sword probably has the highest number of early storm unit to work with, starting with Quickblader and Novice Trooper. The deck is able to consistently curve out their storm units and deliver face damage or control the board early. Although it can be outswarmed by decks such as Aggro Shadow and Aggro Blood, Aggro Sword has more powerful midrange units such as Floral Fencer and Jeno, as well as some of the best scaling with Albert and Alwida's. The star of the deck is Albert, as he can put massive pressure on the board with an incredibly difficult-to-kill body, while curving directly into Alwida's.

In terms of matchups, Aggro Sword does have the potential to break through most control decks via storm units and constant damage, although, as it is reliant on units for damage, it does lose out to heavy ward control decks such as Control Sword (which isn't really in the meta) and Guardian Sun. It would lose out against Ramp Dragon with their consistent heals and clears, but it fares decently in a race against Aggro Shadow due to its powerful wards.


Snek Blood is an archetype focused around flooding the board with Maelstrom Serpent. Generally, this works by combining Blood Moon (3pp amulet) with an enhanced Baphomet (5pp 2/1) to play Maelstrom Serpent on 6pp. Though this combo only really loses to Themis' and Bahamut/Lightning Blast once it is played, the investment required to play it make it very questionable given the speed of the upper echelons of the meta. Allowing Dragon to ramp freely, or allowing Shadow to freely play the board, generally spells death for a Snek Blood player by the turn Maelstrom Serpent is played.

When the expansion first dropped, there was a lot of optimism about this build, so it is likely that we will see this archetype fall in rating as its weaknesses are more acknowledged. It currently has proven to be too draw-based to see significant success, especially compared to the much faster Vengeance Blood.


Once upon a time, Aggro Dragon was the only real Dragon archetype. Now, times have changed, and Aggro Dragon sees little tournament play, outstripped completely by Ramp Dragon. It does, however, provide a surprise factor on ladder, as curved Fortes and Ainas are fairly unexpected in the current meta. While, like all aggro decks, this archetype can be played to great effect on ladder, we don't really recommend bringing it to tournaments, as there is no real reason to play it over Ramp Dragon.

The TotG expansion gave Aggro Dragon one anticipated new card: Phoenix Rider Aina. This card can serve as more Fortes, but it is unclear if it is worth running giving its conditionality and its interference with Emissary. In addition, some players have included cards like Grimnir and Dragoon Scyther, but it is unclear if these options are really that powerful for an aggro deck.



In the words of a wise person, "Aggro Blood is designed to deal 20-25 damage, and no more." This is painfully evident in Aggro Blood's growing unpopularity in a Ramp Dragon and Midrange Shadow meta. Without the value-generation cards of Aggro Shadow, Aggro Blood generally finds itself unable to burn past the wards and heals so prominent at the top of the meta.

The TotG expansion did not add any significant cards to Aggro Blood, stagnating it in an advancing meta. Some players have opted to run Soul Dominator or Grimnir, but by no means do these have significant consensus. Furthermore, the more midrangey Vengeance Blood obtained so many new tools that it vastly outperforms Aggro Blood. We will most likely not see a resurgence of Aggro Blood until it receives tools to compete with Vengeance Blood.


DShift is great against control archetypes-- which aren't prominent in the current meta-- but falls flat against fast decks-- which currently dominate the meta. As such, DShift sees incredibly limited ladder play, and since few players are running decks that DShift targets, it sees little tournament play as well. Once control regains a foothold, consider playing DShift again.

The TotG expansion brought several new options for DShift, but they have been little tested in an unfavorable meta. Freshman Lou and Magic Library provide powerful early draw options. Among these, Lou is often preferred for its ability to search for DShift. Enchanted Sword provides an (unpopular) means to power through your opponent's health, but it seems too prone to bricking to be viable in a fast meta that demands consistency. Overall, though, this archetype's inability to target weak links in tournament lineups have dropped perception of it since the last meta.


One of the very few decks that actually has a favorable matchup vs Mid Range Shadow. Guardian Sun is one of the most defensive and reactive decks in the game, and with TotG it received 2 valuable additions, while Prince of Darkness has become optional. Judge of Retribution provides a solid body and a very valuable Banish effect in form of a Fanfare and the attached card draw pushes this card into constructed level of play. Tarnished Grail is a decent replacement for Prince of Darkness-- although it does not give an immediate Ward it comes into play earlier, and its AoE deals with the onslaught of Zombies spawned by Demonlord Eachtar.

The deck has different weaknesses compared to other Control Haven decks. This one struggles very much vs decks that can outvalue it-- for example Ramp Dragon or Aegis Haven. Being very safe and running a lot of answers makes it that you struggle closing out the game and most games you win by the opponent conceding. Once the meta stabilizes even more, highly refined versions of this archetype will see some top tier play.


Nephthys has seen a modest revival on ladder as a sort of counter to Midrange Shadow. Ledger has been discovered as a moderately consistent way to shore up the archetype's weak midgame, and as long as this archetype yet sneaks under the radar, few players will run Lightning Blast. However, Nephthys is overall much less consistent than both Midrange and Aggro Shadow, the themes of which together comprise basically all high-performing Shadow tourney decks. Its comparative mediocrity is the main reason for its current nonexistence in the tourney meta, since decklists are limited to one per class, and it is impractical to borrow a "few" of Nephthys' tools for a midrange list, as midrange does for aggro.

More experimentation with Shadow might result in the recreation of a non-Nephthys Control Shadow, perhaps even running midrange tools like Eachtar. It is unclear, though, what the benefit of playing the control framework would be-- Mordecai is far from a good win condition when Lightning Blast exists and games rarely extend past a turn 9 Albert or Silver Bolt. While some players have had moderate success with continuing to play Nephthys, banking on Dragon players not running Lightning Blast, any increased popularity in the archetype will result in the proliferation of Lightning Blast, and thus, even if it is not run, Lightning Blast yet provides a limiting factor to this archetype's tournament success.


OTK Dragon is an archetype focused around abusing Wildfang Dragonewt's ability through Altered Fate. It enjoyed some popularity during the RoB meta due to its ability to consistently draw Wildfang with Goblin Mage. While it still retains this consistency, the archetype has lost a lot of ground to the upstart Ramp Dragon, and current iterations have begun to utilize many Ramp Dragon tools. Generally, however, Ramp Dragon is simply a better alternative.

While this archetype did not get any specific new cards in the expansion, it can utilize many of Ramp Dragon's new tools, including Rahab, Sibyl, and Ouroboros. These cards can make it significantly easier to reach and execute your combo, so consider how much ramp you want to implement in your deck. Also consider utilizing Storm minions like Eyfa, Forte, and Aina to provide extra chip damage to win the game.


Control Sword is dead. Ok, maybe not dead, but perhaps on life support. Despite having high hopes for this archetype prior to the release of ToTG, the addition of Gawain and Roland appear to be a tad underwhelming. As of now, Dragon and Shadow dominate the meta with aggro, midrange, and semi-control type decks. Can Control Sword keep up with these archetypes? Sure (arguably). Consistently? No. The lack of draw was always a downside to this deck. With the addition of Grimnir giving nearly every deck additional reach and without the ability to heal (unless running Sahaquiel/Lucifer package), Control Sword feels very inconsistent at the moment.

Despite falling short of expectations, Roland is still a decent card. It is incredibly annoying for an opponent to deal with - particularly behind some heavy taunts. However, it is largely irrelevant in this meta as Shadow decks run multiple low attack minions and damage effects while Dragon is able to effectively destroy Roland's effect with Bahamut. Gawain may still see some play as its effect is still useful in certain situations. The meta of ToTG is only starting to emerge, and there are still certain archetypes that have yet to be explored.


OTK Blood may be considered the evolution of Control Blood: it provides an actual wincon to a previously grinder archetype. However, for many of the same reasons that Snek Blood and Aegis Haven are not that powerful, neither is Combo Blood: it is a slow and passive deck in a fast meta.

Generally, this archetype via the combo of playing Enhanced Baphomet to draw Azazel, then playing Azazel, Laura, and Razory Claw to kill the opponent from 20. Using Bloody Mary may make it possible to push this combo with only Azazel. This archetype can be built towards a more midrangey Vengeance-type build, or, preferably, with more control elements to consistently stall the game until the combo can be played.



One of the best control decks in RoB disappeared for three reasons. One is Shadow, another is Dragon. The final reason is the comparative weakness of this archetype compared to Vengeance Blood (a much faster playstyle which can still run control kill cards) and Combo Blood (which provides a powerful win condition to a control framework). It no longer seems that Satan can provide a consistent enough win condition given the speed of the meta.

Players who want to stick with this archetype might find success in running some of the new Vengeance synergies, like Blood Moon, Belphegor, and even Maelstrom Serpent. These cards can provide significant value at all stages of the game.


With the new Ramp Dragon roaming the meta, Seraph has seen little to no play recently. To be fair, the deck is probably better than it is given credit for, but it has definitely lost ground compared to RoB times. A lot of Ramp lists decided to cut Lightning Blast-- but Lightning Blast is not the real problem with Seraph. It is the high consistency of Ramp options for Dragon and the high pressure which do not allow you to pass turn 8. Furthermore, Zell combos force you to play extremely conservatively with the board.. It is near impossible to establish board control in the face of Midrange Shadow or Ramp Dragon to set up a safe Seraph.

Like other control Haven decks, Seraph's main new tools come in the form of Judge of Retribution and perhaps even Tarnished Grail. It is unlikely, however, that these tools are enough to establish a spot for Seraph in such a fast meta.


This is not a thing. Yet. But if it were, it would be inconsistent. The reason for this is Support Cannon. Support Cannon is inherently an RNG-based card that was clearly intended to fit in an archetype like this. If it hits the right target, it can win you the game on the spot whereas if it misses, you almost always lose the game. If you decide not to play games with Support Cannon, the deck would consist of Gawain, Otohime, Sage Commander, Walfrid "combos". Consider going Gawain on 4-pp into Otohime on 5-pp into Sage Commander on 6-pp into Walfrid on 7-pp. Ah yes, a sword main can dream such dreams. Yet, the unlikelihood of such a powerful combo chain occurring deters many from experimenting with this archetype, pushing them to stick with the tried-and-true Midrange Sword (or the seemingly more powerful Pepe Sword).


Aggro Forest was a deck once fairly popular in the RoB meta for its ability to aggressively contest the board while also threatening lethal via Roach tutoring. Now, it faces the problem of being unable to simultaneously expand its low-drop arsenal and ensure Roach tutoring at the same time. Functionally, this archetype also lags in speed compared to Aggro and Midrange Shadow, and doesn't really have a better Dragon matchup to make up for it due to its non-reliance on combo wins. However, new Forest Storm minions-- Beetle Warrior and Jungle Warden-- may provide a new vector for this build to work off.

Unlike its mirror of Aggro Shadow, Aggro Forest does not see too much play on ladder or in tournaments due to its inability to utilize both combo mechanics and aggro mechanics at the same time. It also lacks the full-game consistency of more popular Forest archetypes. Playing Fairies for Beetle Warrior, for example, means you cannot use them for Roach. It is imperative to find a balance, especially when some archetypes like Ramp Dragon are incredibly difficult to kill without a powerful combo.


Burn Dirt is a new archetype centered around making use of Dirt Rune's new offensive tools, as well as Levi, to burn down the opponent while mostly avoiding board interaction. Its top-end finisher, Hulking Giant, provides an incredibly powerful body that is incredibly difficult for anything besides Haven or a ramped Dragon to remove. Combined with the burn damage from Levi, Piercing Rune, and Halo Golem, the Ambush damage from Mage of Nightfall, as well as the occasional Mutagenic Bolt finisher, Burn Dirt provides a lot of unavoidable damage.

While it seems that Burn Dirt might succeed in a slightly slower midrange meta, the archetype cannot really establish footing against Midrange Shadow, and also is just a bit too slow to defeat Ramp Dragon. However, a hybridization with Control tools like Curse and Petrification might allow Burn Dirt to have a somewhat more favorable matchup against Shadow and Dragon.


Like all control decks, Control Dirt has fallen out of favor in the meta due to its inability to "keep up". It cannot really outvalue Ramp Dragon or Midrange Shadow, and it definitely cannot outrace them, and so sees little play in a meta dominated by these two archetypes. However, some serious effort has gone into crafting a hybrid Dirt Rune with both burn and control tools, and if this effort succeeds, we may see the rapid rise of this archetype in the next iteration of the tier list.

Dirt Rune in general received several interesting tools in the expansion, and among them, Control mainly considers Halo Golem and Elder Mage of Dragonlore. While Halo Golem provides an incredibly flexible early and late-game value card, it's unclear if Dragonlore provides enough value to be run (the Windblast Dragon, for example, cannot kill Eachtar).