Featured writer, Luci Kelemen returns to investigate how and why certain cards catapulted to the top of the charts on the official GU Marketplace in week 2.
Even at first glance, it’s clear that we have a very different picture on our hands compared to the opening week, with three common cards on the top, two of which weren’t even in the running the first time around! Let’s dive in and try to figure out the motivations behind the moves on the market!
Jaguar Rider (#1), Nimble Pixie (#2), Incoming Raid (#3): two Neutral creatures and a War spell. These were the top three cards based on volume on the second week of trading on the official GU marketplace, signalling a massive change in interest on the part of the buyers and sellers.
It’s tough to overstate this shift: seismic doesn’t even begin to describe it, really. All but two of the cards on our list are new, with only That Which Aches staying around alongside the tiny little Amazon. In fact, they did more than just that the former catapulted from 17th to 2nd on the list while the latter rose from 12th to a very respectable 7th going from week 1 to week 2.
The rarity distribution among the top sellers has also shifted somewhat. Though almost half the list is still made up of Legendary cards (nine in both cases), no other Common cards made it onto the charts this time around despite the aforementioned trio taking all the podium spots. However, Rares have pretty much made up for the difference, going from one to six in the intervening period.
This is in part due to how the recent balance changes (not to mention the Core reset) completely upended the metagame, creating new room for experimentation and deck brewing for the players. The trifecta of Control Magic, Control Deception and Death Zoo remains strong – as reflected by the healthy positions of cards like Faustian Pact (#6), That Which Aches (#7) and Circe, Vengeful Sorceress (#9) on our list.
Interestingly, none of the cards from RunesUnchained’s Control Deception deck made it to the top sellers this week, which is likely due to the fact that the players held their fire to see how the nerfs affect the archetype’s performance on a whole. In fact, Master of Surprises is the highest-placed Deception card on the week 2 charts, coming in at 10th overall, with options like Deception, Unshrouded (#13), Fill the Coffers (#14) and The Mastermind (#15) and showing up a bit lower down the list.
Newsflash: the deck is still pretty good. Once Umber Arrow returns, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see at least some of its core cards on this list.
That said, it’s not just the “big three” which define the metagame, and this is reflected in the marketplace activity as well. For instance, new variants of midrange Light and Nature also promote innovation on the ladder. This explains the presence of Pilgrim of the Cause at #4 on our top 20 list this week – the only Light card to make it this time – with reliable alternatives emerging to the current top strategies in the game across all classes.
War decks are in an interesting spot at the moment. Though most of its archetypes are being pushed out of contention by the aforementioned trio of top decks, Tyr, The Just (#8) still made it to our list on week as part of the receding Master of War deck trend – clearly still competitive though, as evidenced by the performances of truf and SunSpear among others in top Mythic spots.
Meanwhile, Slayer War still remains competitive with its incredible burn potential. No wonder Nimble Pixie and Incoming Raid catapulted to the top of this week’s list, seemingly out of nowhere: they represent a great budget option that has a decent enough overlap with Death Zoo’s neutral kit to enable working towards both, or easily transition between the two with your collection.
Similarly, Jaguar Rider’s overall flexibility likely has a lot to do with its top spot this week, much like how Soul Jar came in at #5 during week 2.
Nimble Pixie is also a relevant part of the recently emerged midrange Nature builds, which also seem to explain the presence of certain other cards on our weekly list. Underbrush Roar (#17) and Sucella (#19) are often featured in these decks (especially in the dedicated “Confuse builds”, where Rampaging Leviathan (#20) also makes the occasional appearance).
Let’s look at the bigger picture: the top 20 sellers this week feature 5 neutrals, 4 Deception cards, 3 from Death, 2 from Magic, War and Nature, with Light’s sole representative being the aforementioned Pilgrim of the Cause. This class variety is also reflected in the Mythic ranks as well.
At the time of writing, there’s a very healthy spread of Gods in the top 100 of players (at least according to the numbers I could find on UnchainedStats): 21 Deception, 18 War, 17 Magic, 16 Death, 15 Nature and 13 Light were recorded overall, with multiple archetypes present for all but one of them in the top five positions. Can you guess which one is the exception? Yes, it’s Bombfly. No, it’s (♪ a kind of ♫) Magic.
At this point, it’s becoming pretty clear that the game within the game within a game – buying and selling cards with the intention of making a profit – is becoming a relevant part of the Gods Unchained experience, much like how it was hoped before the release of the Marketplace.
Better still, it’s an exciting way to track developments in the metagame and get ahead of the crowd by getting on the right bandwagon at the right time. In fact, a community analysis written by DCLBlogger seems to suggest that the trend stats on cardsunchained.com can serve as a good predictor of movement on the market.
We did some digging around the current trends. At the time of writing, Deuteria, Manashard Mage is the biggest “winner” jumping +94 to rank 25 – and indeed, the highlighted Midrange Light decks tend to feature Canonize, which shot up to the 74th spot with a whopping +124 position change. Cudgel of Atonement is only four spots behind it with a +56 jump, and Highborn Knight also went up by +75 all the way to 84th place.
There’s further evidence to suggest that these cards move in clusters – which makes sense considering players likely try to recreate the most successful builds in full – as Daemonic Offering and Greed Banestrider are #112 and #114 with a +100 and +50 jump respectively.
We’ll check in with these cards next week to see how this approach performs in trying to figure out the shifts in the sands. Can they make it to the top 20 if the Midrange Light builds continue to perform well? What are the mad geniuses behind the A Real Man purchases possibly up to now? We can’t wait to tell you the stories which develop in the upcoming week and to see whether we’ll see another set of seismic shifts going forward.
~ Credit: Luci Kelemen