The Elder Scrolls

The evolving meta, a list of core cards that used to see regular play, but have now fallen out of style

TheElderScrolls7 - The evolving meta, a list of core cards that used to see regular play, but have now fallen out of style

Just thinking about this game following the second round of masters qualifiers yesterday. What happened to these staples? Why have they disappeared? I’m not the oldest player. I started exactly when the game was released on iOS, just before fall of the dark brotherhood. So I’m a year younger than all the beta players that still kick around this game.

Anyways, here’s a history lesson and some hypothesis about why these cards aren’t meta at the moment. My selection criteria is that the card has not been nerfed. Obviously nerfed cards will change a cards playability and there’s a very very long list of nerfed cards in core set that no longer see play, presumably because they’ve been nerfed. Here goes:

1) {{Triumphant jarl}} This was my favourite mid range archer card, but even when I was playing mid archer, he was deemed too slow/inconsistent and usually just a 2x/50. I loved drawing 2 off the top from this 4/4 and buying a bunch of gas against control. But obviously, it’s usually too slow (low stats for cost) and often irrelevant against aggro. Still. This guy made my day in many many games.

2) {{Firebolt}} Still sees occasional play, to be honest, but it’s much less useful since it has many fewer clean targets. Nowadays between luzrah and skinned hound and cleric of kyne, most 2 drops have 3 health. Also, the number one reason to play this card was nerf/buffed to make it immune to firebolt. Goblin skulk.

3) {{Cunning ally}}. Used to be a staple in control mage once upon a time, and it was also extremely relevant in Merric builds and showed up in some varieties of assassin and sorcerer. Cunning ally is much harder to play with 3 colours. That was a big killer. Firebolt falling out of usefulness put the nail in the coffin.

4) {{Elusive schemer}}. This guy was a big part of last gasp combo decks, altar decks, and the primary draw engine in control mage. He’s just too slow now, and basically been replaced with higher tempo 4 drops that fight for the board better. Like cast into time. Or emperor’s blade. Strange isn’t it, that a blue card was replaced by willpower cards?

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5) {{Dawnstar healer}} Used to be a common tech card in willpower mid range builds. You could really blow out aggro by building a big board while trying to control the game, then pop him and stabilize on your swing. He died with willpower mid range, and golden initiate probably means we’ll never see him ever again.


6) {{Cloudrest illusionist}} If I dig up quotes from ring discussions, playing ring cloudrest on 4 to blow out the field lane, used to be resignable. In fact, I even recall people saying she’s so strong she should probably be nerfed. Nowadays she’s nowhere to be found. A top notch defensive prophecy that facilitates card advantage when played from hand. I think she’s a victim of our uninteractive meta. Nobody is contesting field lane enough for her to be useful, and without board presence, she doesn’t do much by herself.

7) {curse}. It isn’t off meta but it was much more prevalent when goblin skulk was in basically every green mid deck (monk, assassin, archer, scout). Now it plays a part in market assassin.

8) {{Daring cutpurse}} An aggro players’ dream first rune prophecy. He was already kind of weak when I started, being that he’s a 2/2 that can’t fight immediately for the board. But he still saw frequent play. I think snowbally mid aggro decks just don’t need him anymore. Too many other strong 2 drops with 3 colours being the normal build path. Prophecy green decks aren’t meta (but were once upon a time), either, since they die to control.

9) {{Murkwater shaman}} used to see this babe in mid archer and aggro goblin decks. Both are now extinct. There’s probably more efficient goblins to fill the curve than shaman now. And she doesn’t have enough good matchups for green mid decks to want her over some other power card on 4.

10) {{Leaflurker}}. This was also a staple in archer builds. Mid archer, control archer, aggro archer probably too. Who can deny the power of rapid shot leaflurker? Draw a card, kill a creature, play a 4/3 all for 6 magicka! Apparently there’s better things to do on 6 than hope to kill a fatty on the opposing board. Probably because fatties on 5 are much rarer. Or else, you don’t care about killing them. How many aggro decks are still fighting for field on 6? I think tri colour made the rapid shot combo rarer while the skulk nerf killed his other common trigger. I did see some leaflurkers in eyenie’s build from masters qualifiers. It’s still a good card guys!

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11) {{Preserver of the root}}. I used to hate this guy. But once upon a time he was a staple in ramp scout decks everywhere. I think he was cut during drain vitality meta, probably to make space for {greybeard mentor}. Nowadays, guard is the wrong keyword for slay decks.

12) {{Bone colossus}} 7 magicka for 11/11 in stats! Who needs stats on 7 though? It’s just rage fodder. He used to be called bone daddy and I even witnessed snaxximan win a tournament game with 3 of them in his opening hand. Great card that nobody wants to play anymore. He’s bad defensively and suicide against the eminent control decks.

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