Prime Championships Results Analysis: Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith Decks

Since I last wrote an analysis, there were three weeks of Primes, then the Holocron bombshell was dropped.  So, what effect did this have on the meta? And did any of my predictions from last time come true?

Let’s jump straight in and look at the ever shifting meta:

I’ve split the Primes into Pre-Worlds, Post-Worlds and Post-Holocron.  There’s only been 14 primes (that I have data for) since the Holocron dropped, but I think the results are pretty telling.

First off, Chopper Droids have fallen off a cliff in terms of popularity, going from 21% of the Top Cut meta to 5%, Villain Supports have dropped from 8% to 2.5% and Aphra from 12% to 2%.  Droids got hit in the Holocron by the addition of Fateful Companions to the restricted list, killing the droids’ double 3PO ability.  Delve, Vader’s Fist and Theed Palace are also now on the restricted list, removing this combo which featured in almost all Villain Support and Aphra decks before the Holocron.

Big winners since the Holocron was released are eSnoke/Mudtrooper/Mando Commando which has gone from 3% to 8% and Palpatine has increased from 10% to 15%.  Snoke and Palpatine didn’t get a direct boost from the Holocron, but they were already growing in popularity and appear to have filled the void left by droids and supports.  eSnoke-eKallus-Order66 also took down a Prime recently.  Seems appropriate for Episode III of my analyses that we are seeing the Revenge of the Sith.

The other big winners were ReyLo, jumping back up to their Pre-Worlds level of 20% of the meta from 11% Post-Worlds.  This deck is now the most popular deck in the meta by quite a margin. Off-meta decks are also on the rise from 5% to 18%, which is nice to see.

Did the balance of the force help?  Maybe a little.  Five decks in all the Top Cuts since the Holocron (4.3% of decks) featured balanced characters.  There were two eBail-eKit-LTP decks in Zaragoza, including the winning deck, eGrievous-eTalzin made Top8 in Middleton, and eKallus-eSnoke-O66 won at Milton Keynes (with eKallus-eSnoke-SepCon taking a Top8 spot).  There was also a Snoke-Kallus-66 deck that made the cut at LVO, but it was disqualified due to a deck building infringement (Theed + Order66).

As Snoke-Kallus-66 is pretty brutal against ReyLo and Palpatine, but is weak into Ewoks and wide support-based decks, this is a meta call, but one which is likely to keep cropping up after it’s success at LVO and Milton Keynes.

How’s deck variation doing?  To answer this question, I’ve calculated the deck entropy, which is a measure of how diverse the decks are over time.  The exact number doesn’t matter, what matters is the higher the number, the more varied the meta.  I’ve calculated this for each week and worked out a moving average (in blue), which aims to get rid of some of the noise:

The green line was Worlds, the blue line was the date when the Holocron became live.  Looks like since the Prime season started there was a fair bit of variation, but the variation dropped as the meta solidified around a few key decks post-Worlds.

Variation rose again as people got a bit tired of droids/ReyLo and wanted to try out something new (I’m guessing on the reasons here).  Then the Holocron dropped, which seems to have helped continue this upward trend in variation. We’re now sitting in a high of deck variation, the richest we’ve seen since the Primes started.  There is a slight suggestion of a decline back to a core few decks in the last couple of weeks, notably the Las Vegas Open, where half the decks in the Top32 were either ReyLo, Palp-Watto or Chopper Droids.  But it’s still an improvement from the post-Worlds meta.

How’s the Hero/Villain balance doing since the new Holocron?

A little biased towards Villain, but not too bad.  However, you’re now almost as likely to face ReyLo as all Hero decks put together.  Villains on the other hand have quite a few top tier decks to choose from at the moment.

Should we be surprised about the rise of ReyLo. Probably not. It was previously underperforming, but Palpatine is on the rise, and together, Rey and Kylo have the power to defeat him, as they have access to spike cards like No Mercy and Ataru Strike, plus the silver bullet, Mind Extraction.  Sure, they’re weak to Watto, but Rey’s ability to blank a villain die makes up for that. Perhaps more importantly, in general, Rey’s ability gets stronger in a villain heavy meta, and that’s exactly what we’ve got right now.

And my predictions from last time?  As a reminder, I said: Palpatine decks are outperforming what you might expect, and are likely to grow in popularity, delve/fist could do with a small nerf, eSnoke/Mando/Mudtrooper is going to be a popular deck in the meta over the next few weeks and droids are too powerful and need to be nerfed asap.  I also said that ReyLo isn’t very good and I expected its popularity to decline. Looks like I got 4 out of 5.

I still don’t understand why ReyLo is so popular.  It’s performance continues to be decidedly average given how many people are playing it.  Below is the performance of all decks since the Holocron:

It’s worth saying here that by average I mean average for Top Tier decks. ReyLo is a deck that probably performs better than the average deck that just shows up to a tournament.  For example, at the LVO there were 16 ReyLos in 120 decks, of which an astonishing 9 made it into the Top32. However, once in the Top Cut and facing off against only Top Tier decks, it’s performance was average by comparison.

Palpatine is also sub-par.  Chopper Droids is currently first equal for the title of the strongest deck in the meta despite the nerf.  A note on this: Vader-FOST has a higher score, but its score is based on just one appearance in top cuts since the Holocron, which resulted in a victory.  This success is impressive, but there’s also a 12.5% chance that all the decks in the top cut were approximately equal in power and this victory was down to a bit of luck.  Chopper Droids on the other hand have had 6 appearances, which means it’s relative score is more impressive and sits right on the edge of what you might get through random chance (equivalent to 5% probability all else being equal).  This means that despite the Holocron update, they’re still overpowered and will need another nerf.

What else has happened?  Oh yes, Destiny got cancelled…

But I’m not worried.  Destiny will rise again through the power of its community of people. It lives in you now.

The game is dead.  Long live the game.


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