Our feature writer, Luci Kelemen, rounds up the last two weeks of Official Marketplace action…
Welcome back! One can’t help but think looking at the recent Marketplace data that we’re all itching for the Trial of the Gods cards to finally arrive. Quite frankly, the last two weeks were pretty odd in terms of card performances, suggesting the community is ready to experiment at the tail end of this metagame. Is it just a phase or a sign of something deeper with Sanctum shaking things up? Let’s dive into the numbers to find out…
- Sanctum considerations
- A deluge of common cards in the marketplace
- An eclectic combination of old and new cards in the top 20
- Domain distribution: Which Gods are trending as front-runners?
- A sneak peek at core card performance
Sanctum means no safety
It goes without saying that the introduction of a new gameplay mechanic will shake up the ecosystem of a trading card game both on and off server. In the case of Sanctum, the reception to its initial design, plus the developer communiques suggest there will be multiple rounds of potential changes until the balance feels right.
The goal is to provide an extra layer of strategy in the game without skewing gameplay towards a specific playstyle. What does this all add up to? Plenty of ambiguity – but that creates room for experimentation. Especially now, with a new set of cards inching ever closer, it feels like there’s new opportunities to revisit previously unfancied options in the game.
However, you clearly don’t want to go overboard when doing so, and the mixture of cards on the recent top 20 Genesis sales lists seems to confirm the sort of careful experimentation you’d expect when introducing a variable like Sanctum.
There’s even more common cards than before (a staggering seventeen of the top twenty cards for both Week 13 and 14), with a combination of brand new ones and a handful of early Marketplace favorites like Avatar of Magic and Avatar of War, which formed the foundations of meta-defining decks.
Top 20 Cards – Week 13
It truly feels like anything goes right now, with the goldrush well and truly on and the meta still evolving even at this late stage. The return of Whetstone and Out of its Misery (#3 and #4 on Week 13) highlight the rediscovered potential of aggressive War archetypes in the current metagame – with faster strategies in general still supported by the stalwarts of Rolling Watcher and Pyramid Warden, the perennial overachievers of the Marketplace).
We weren’t kidding when we suggested a further drop in overall rarity: the single epic card that made the top 20 lists this time around was Highborn Knight, which forms part of multiple top-performing Light decks currently. It reached #20 and #6 across both weeks respectively.
Interestingly, none of the other cards from this archetype (which tops out with Alexis, Archon’s Sword) made an appearance either week, but the faster builds that cap out at 4 mana also made use of Raving Fan during Week 13 (#16).
Meanwhile for the first time, at least where Marketplace performance is concerned, Control Death builds looked to include Corrupt Ceremony; its disruption ability valued high enough to clinch #13 on the Week 14 Top Sellers list.
The fact that you can still find innovative strategic angles at such a late stage of the metagame – when usually archetypes are so matured that you have little to no room to think outside a box – is a great sign going forward. The return of cards like Nephthys Guardian, Sarcophagus and Dimension Looper, each of them last seen on the third week of trading, suggest a swing back towards slower archetypes, at least where the community interest is concerned.
Once again, we must highlight what is perhaps the single most baffling phenomenon of the marketplace so far: A Real Man has made a triumphant return! It’s still not a good card, and also not a particularly popular one when it comes to gameplay. With 348 combined games on record on UnchainedStats and a combined win percentage of 37.93%, it clearly wasn’t a masterstroke of deck building genius which attracted traders to this card again.
It’s been a while since we analysed the domain distribution of the top 20 weekly Marketplace cards, and weeks 13 & 14 show some interesting developments. While there’s a fairly consistent fluctuation from one week to the next, it can’t be ignored that War and Light class cards have made up half of the last two week’s Genesis card offerings, with these Gods and their followers basically forming an oligopoly in the upper half of the Week 13 list: Gleeful Pillager, Whetstone, Out of its Misery, Blacksmith Armourer and Radiant Guardian.
In Week 13, no Magic card made an appearance but three found their way into Week 14 – a complete opposite of how Deception cards performed, going from 4 to 0.
Top 20 Cards – Week 14
It’s been a long time since Nature cards have reached the higher portions of the top 20 Genesis sales lists, and one has to wonder whether past innovations like Midrange Nature could be followed by some other stroke of genius before a new era is ushered in by the Trial of Gods.
For what it’s worth, the adjustments to Sanctum (and its introduction all by itself) means there’s something to tinker with and work around even at this late stage of the meta. No matter what deck reigns on top though, there seems to be a clear takeaway from what we’ve seen so far: Pyramid Warden is a heck of a card, people. (And yet, its market value remains fairly volatile, though increasing on average based on recent sampling of data.)
Core cards: a preview and an overview
We will dedicate a separate analysis piece to the Core market and the individual card performances as a whole, but since we haven’t specifically highlighted them across the weekly lists so far, we wanted to dive in here as part of an addendum of this Week 13-14 overview with a sneak peek.
As it turns out, adding Core cards to the equation makes a massive difference, with cards like Light’s Levy and Skeleton Heavy coming in at #3 and #4, with an overwhelming majority of the Marketplace list made up by cards from this set. In the near future and we will be actively featuring them in future Marketplace analysis entries.
Here’s a little trivia question to tide you over until the next entry: on week 15, card #2 is a common Genesis card which we haven’t seen before, a grim one for sure but with healing properties attached. Can you guess what it is? We’ll reveal the answer in the next instalment of the Marketplace analysis – Happy trading!