Shadowverse Unlimited format has been in a sad state of affairs this past month or so. Consistent turn 6 otks, seemingly uncounterable aggressive clocks, and 9/9s on turn 5 have all ravaged the format. Many players hoped the format would improve with the mini-expansion. A buff to an old archetype, a card that countered the meta, nerfs, limits… Anything could have helped to improve things. However, we received none of those things.
Whirlwind Rhinoceroach Forestcraft, Elana Havencraft, and Flauros Bloodcraft all continue to dominate the Unlimited meta. These decks continually find ways to sneak into the top cut of tournaments. For those are unfamiliar with the Shadowverse tournament system, players enter with three decks. Players then play a match with their opponent, but each opponent bans one of the decks. Currently, Whirlwind Roach Forestcraft is the highest banned deck, followed by Flauros Bloodcraft and Elana Havencraft. Artifact Portalcraft has snuck in some results, but it is rarely banned since its forte (clearing the battlefield) rarely matters.
Whirlwind Roach is cheap to build with only 3 mandatory legendaries. It’s consistent with essentially 6 copies of the namesake card. All it does is just bounce and replay Whirlwind Roach until it’s played it enough to otk. Pixie Mischief bounces the biggest of wards in the way, and Angelic Smite answers any anti-otk amulet. Dealing 20 damage as early as turn 6 is never a problem for this deck. Lists haven’t changed at all with the mini-expansion. No new cards are worth including, and no cards need to be added to answer a new threat.
Elana is considered the hoser of both Roach and Flauros, due to its high healing and plethora of wards. However, it does lose extremely hard to the board clear of Artifact Portalcraft. With the buff to Displacer Bot, the deck has needed to counter the match up more. Playing 3 Realm of Repose and 3 Servant of Repose reflects this change. The two reward you for not attacking and shuts down attack-based removal hard. They also help as a way to slow down Roach. They’ve even gone as far as to play Globe of the Starways just to search Realm of Repose! It’s that important to the deck now and has let it stay in the top 3 of the Unlimited metagame.
This deck is designed to go fast and quickly kill opponents. Prison of Pain makes turboing out Flauros easier than ever and draws you cards as a bonus. It can outrace Forest to the otk and can deal with Haven’s massive boards thanks to Evil Eye Demon and Valnareik, Omen of Lust. The deck is well-positioned since its primary weakness (Swordcraft) has been choked out of the Unlimited meta by Whirlwind Roach and Elana. The list remains virtually unchanged since the mini-expansion released.
How do even begin to hit these incredibly aggressive decks in Unlimited? A simple limit on Whirlwind Roach would do a lot. The deck often relies on drawing or searching multiple copies to otk. Reducing its consistency would go a long way. Alternatively, increasing its cost to 2 would also slow the deck down.
Elana already suffered a nerf from 2 pp to 4 pp, but it did little to nothing to slow the deck down. Her cost is obviously a non-issue at this point, given what her effect does to the game. Limiting her or her amulet to one would greatly reduce the consistency of the deck, as without either the deck is just a bunch of heal and stall cards.
Flauros was nerfed a while ago to stop the card from coming out earlier than turn 3. There’s a lot of problem cards in the deck, but the most obvious to me is Restless Parish. Haven had the equivalent of a 0 pp draw one amulet that was nerfed to 1 pp, so it baffles me Blood has had one just like it that also fuels Flauros for this long. It’s time for it to go.
What do you think about the current state of Unlimited? Is there a better way to fix this Shadowverse format? Let us know down in the comments below.
I’m a veterinary student based out of Illinois. I enjoy (and sometimes stream) Shadowverse and MTG in my spare time. Follow me on twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/elpieps