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Official Marketplace: Top 20 Cards (Analysis & Insights) – Week 3





Analysis and insights brought to you by featured writer, Luci Kelemen

As I started writing the third entry in this series, I couldn’t help but wonder which direction the GU Marketplace would go this week. The change between Week 1 and Week 2 was huge, and the subtle shifts in the meta suggested we could see something similar this time around. As it turns out, the end result was somewhere between the two, with a few familiar faces returning and surprising newcomers dethroning the big names near the top of the list.

So, about that decline in aggressive War decks… guess which card came in at #1 this time around? That’s right, it’s Whetstone, yet another tool in the Slayer War arsenal, and not the only one that made it to the top twenty of this list: Sharpen also showed up at #14

Though it previously seemed like the archetype would struggle against the field, the emergence of Nature decks made it all the more popular across the playerbase, a fact which was clearly reflected in the top card statistics.

Just like in Week 2, common cards took the three podium spots, with Nephthys Guardian and Sleep Dart taking #2 and #3

The latter plays an important role in Control Deception decks, and its high ranking in this list suggests the market hasn’t yet reacted to the emergence of Midrange Nature archetypes, which have way too good a matchup against this particular strategy and have found an opening in the meta as of late.

Just behind them, it’s a familiar face from the rankings and the overall meta: that’s right, Demogorgon’s back! Though not quite able to reclaim the number one spot from the opening week, this dastardly Nether has come in at #4, once again ready to dish out disappointment for those opponents who play aggressive strategies. 

Just like we’ve previously discussed, the card offers incredible stabilization potential in the mid-game, combining immediate board impact, a tempo flip and an almost guaranteed heal in a neat little multi-eyed package. It also goes to show that those in the community who nicknamed it as “Lambogorgon” shortly after the opening of the Marketplace were on to something.

Just like last week, there was a pretty big swing in the rarity distribution across the top 20 marketplace cards. In fact, Demogorgon was the only epic this time around, with nine commons, six rares and a mere four legendaries rounding out the list. Both Week 1 and Week 2 saw nine legendary cards on the top 20 list, and their fall came almost exclusively at the expense of common cards. 

Speaking of which, another important storyline of Week 3 was the return of Avatar cards, two of which locked down #7 and #8 on the opening week (Avatar of Magic and Avatar of War). This time around, three of them made it onto the list, though only one of them are returning guests in this category.

Perhaps predictably, it’s Avatar of Magic which managed to bounce back from the previous period, coming in at #9 after a week-long absence. Arguably the strongest deck in the game, Rune Mage has a strong OTK setup which revolves around this card, and it makes sense to see it again in this list. Right below it at #10, Avatar of Light makes it first appearance on our weekly list, suggesting further developments on the Light builds which emerged last week. 

You can also find Avatar of Death in #18 as Death Zoo numbers begin to dwindle and enthusiasts of the class are experimenting with something a bit slower. (That said, slower Death archetypes were also present in the top Mythic ranks a week ago, meaning this could be just a continuation of an existing trend.) 

Its emergence also explains the return of Pyramid Warden, coming in at #7 instead of the first week’s #6 this time around, featured in different builds of the same archetype.

While we’re on the subject of Light decks, how did the predictions turn out from last week? In case you missed it, we tried to highlight a few specific cards based on the community meta reports and the spikes on the CardsUnchained. We identified six cards that had big jumps in their trend stats, many of them revolving around the Midrange Light builds which were emerging at the time: they were Deuteria, Manashard Mage; Canonize; Cudgel of Atonement; Highborn Knight; Daemonic Offering and Greed Banestrider.

We’re 0-for-6 on this one. Looks like it’s not so easy to game the Marketplace!

That said, the archetypal analysis was not entirely in vain, even if it wasn’t immediately reflected on the marketplace side of things. On the other end of the ladder, however, it’s a very different story, with Dookis’s Rank 2 Heal Light deck featuring Canonize, Cudgel of Atonement and Highborn Knight as well. (Though it isn’t featured in this specific list, it’s worth pointing out that Blessed Jackalope came in at #6 overall for Week 3, which servers as yet another win for the emerging Light archetypes). Whether this over-performance will be reflected later on the market remains to be seen, and it’s an interesting storyline to watch out for going forward.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to track its development as closely as we’ve done so far since this is going to be the final Marketplace analysis post of the entire decade. That’s right, we’re going on a short hiatus but we’ll be back with a lot of more content early in 2020 –, we thought it would be interesting to compare stats across all three weeks.

With the initial Week 1 hype and the seismic shifts of Week 2 coupled with the partial realignment just now, which cards made it through the grinder and how did the different classes “perform”?

Only one card was present on all three of the weekly top 20 lists, and it makes sense that it’s a flexible common creature which managed to pull off this monster feat. Nimble Pixie briefly rose to the top, peaking #2 last week, otherwise coming in at #17 and #15 respectively. The (somewhat) temporary nature of the Week 2 statistics was also underscored by the fact that none of the cards which entered the list held on to their spots for the third week. 

Overall, five cards returned from the opening week of trading. We’ve covered most of them above, but it’s worth mentioning that Dangerous Ritual and Rolling Watcher are also back, with the former actually at a higher spot than it initially was (#12 on Week 3 as opposed to #18 on week 1).

We’ve already pointed it out last week that there’s a health class representation on the Marketplace and the same holds true this time around as well. In fact, every God had a card present in the top 20 lists at some point, with the exception of Light on the opening week. These cards are elbowing their way onto it mostly to the expense of Neutrals, and it’s Death and Light which keep steadily growing their presence here on a weekly basis.

We also thought it would be fun to look at the different tribes and their representations on these weekly lists so far. Of course, this means that spells and some very powerful creatures like the Avatars won’t count, but this experiment still produced a few interesting results. No Dragon, Mystic or Guild card made it to the top 20 on any of the first three weeks so far, and the only Aether to do so was Arius, Augur Paroxysm on the second week of trading (coming in at #11). 

Olympians had a strong start in the opening week, likely at least in part due to market speculation with fancy legendaries, but they only had the sole representative on the following weeks (Circe, Vengeful Sorceress on Week 2 and Trojan Golem on Week 3). 

Even so, they are tied for first place with the Anubians, who are on a very different trajectory: their representation is the highest it’s been so far on Week 3, taking pole position with three cards (Nephthys Guardian, Pyramid Warden and Fanatic of Khnum). Is that a tiebreaker win? We’ll let you decide.

There are a couple other occasional no-shows as well (no Atlantean was featured in the top 20 on Week 2 and no Viking made it on Week 3) but the overall tribal representation, much like in the case of the Gods, is quite diverse and healthy.

The Top 20 cards column will return sometime in early 2020, which means we’ll have a lot more data to look at – personally, I’m really looking forward to chewing my way through some gargantuan spreadsheets. In the meantime, best of luck finding that one unexpected top 20 card!

~ Luci Kelemen

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