Hello there, I´m JPK and after doing a reasonable amount of testing over the past few days I would like to share my insights on the upcoming format with you. Due to a certain global pandemic we are very unlikely to play this particular format in major tournaments, but with the rise of online play you can still enjoy it.
The new set “Epic of the Dragon Lord” marks the first set of a new Cluster and therefore New Frontiers as a format changes quite a bit. Especially because the most powerful and expensive set of all time “The Decisive Battle of Valhalla” is finally not part of the format anymore. We are now left with what used to be the Alice Origin Cluster. A format heavily dominated by Rezzard (AO3-BaB-3) // Rezzard [J-ruler] (AO3-BaB-3J) and his graveyard reliant shenanigans. We also have five new Rulers from “Epic of the Dragon Lord” three of which I believe to be powerful enough to impact the upcoming meta game. The last two are Oborozuki, Star Sword Visionary (EDL-009) // Oborozuki, Star Sword Visionary [J-Ruler] (EDL-009J) and Mikage Seijuro, Interdimensional Messenger (EDL-088) // Mikage Seijuro, Interdimensional Messenger [J-ruler] (EDL-088J), both of which make use of the +1/+1 counter mechanic. I don´t believe this mechanic to be viable for a competitive strategy, at least not with the current cards available to it.
New Frontiers Tier list after the release of The Epic of the Dragon Lord
Lilias, Last Descendant of Dragonoids (EDL-031) // Lilias, Last Descendant of Dragonoids [J-Ruler] (EDL-031J) and his excellent usage of the new and incredibly powerful Shrine of the Dragonoids (EDL-035) representing the aggro or more precisely burn strategy. This type of deck has not been viable for a very long time but with the absence of powerful counter-spells like Kaguya, Sealed God of the Moon (DBV-095) taking out your opponents life total is a valid strategy again. She even has the ability to win on turn 2, without using the Coin or attacking with a single resonator. If you are able to use Shrine of Dragonoids both before and after recovery it adds a whopping 400 extra damage every time you deal damage. This leads this particular 1-mana card to deal upwards of 2000 damage in a single turn. But Lilias can do even more than just kill early, her ability to add 10 strength counter to herself on the turn she does judgment (5 using the 0-cost ability and another 5 using the tap-ability in response to her judgment) makes her a very dangerous mid to late game option as well. Once she performed judgment, just using those 10 strength counters, she increases the damage of everything you have in your deck by 1000. This means even a Perceval, the Fascinated by Holy Grail (SDAO1-012) is now worth more than 2 lightning strikes are worth for every other burn Deck.
Lilias, Last Descendant of Dragonoids (EDL-031) //
Lilias, Last Descendant of Dragonoids [J-Ruler] (EDL-031J)
Magic Stone Deck: (10)
4x Magic Stone of Blasting Waves (SDAO2-034)
4x Magic Stone of Hearth’s Core (AO3-092)
2x Magic Stone of Scorched Bales (SDAO1-035)
Resonators: (20 of 40)
4x Groundsplitter Rabbit // Split Heaven and Earth (EDL-027)
4x Perceval, the Fascinated by Holy Grail (SDAO1-012)
4x Spirit of Passion (AO3-025)
4x Thunder Wolf // Thunder (EDL-038)
4x Elixir, Crest Researcher // Research Results (EDL-060)
Chants: (10 of 40)
4x Burning Rabbit Dash (EDL-021)
2x Thunder (AO1-035)
4x The Last Secret Sword (AO3-085)
Additions: (6 of 40)
4x Shrine of the Dragonoids (EDL-035)
2x Magic Crest of Wind (EDL-063)
Regalia: (4 of 40)
4x Change the Heart (AO3-063)
Next up we have Ragnarok, Invading Dragon Lord (EDL-096) who has the ability to play any type of strategy using his strong effects. The trade off for those effects is his limitation to 1 copy of each individual card per deck, like Ayu, Lunar Swordswoman (ADK-060) // Ayu, Shaman Swordswoman (ADK-060J) had it before him. While my current build is a very aggressive build, I don’t predict that this is the way he will be played in the future. His ability to generate a massive lead on turn 1 by creating 2 extra mana, playing a spell like Burning Rabbit Dash (EDL-021) or Lapis’ Dark Storm (PofA-060) and then copying it or just playing Magna’s Guardian Beast (SDAO2-025) which summons Water Servant of Ragnarok (EDL-054) as well as Wind Servant of Ragnarok (EDL-076) is extremely powerful and will always be part of Ragnaroks strategy. Just like Ayu, I assume the deck will go through many iterations before Lars Grams will eventually come up with the best build.
Last but certainly not least, there is Selesta, Treasure Hunter (EDL-050) // Selesta, Treasure Hunter [J-Ruler] (EDL-050J). Before going into testing I assumed she would be the undisputed best deck of the Format. She and her treasures do everything you would need as an extremely powerful control deck. She draws you more cards, prevents you from dying by removing resonators from the field and also gaining you additional life points. She is even a threatening win condition herself using the Claw of the Dragonoid (EDL-023) to attack for 4000+ while having Eternal and a way to remove Blockers. I thought she would do all of this and be almost impossible to interact with due to the nature of removed cards. Unfortunately for her a certain green 1 drop, which just happens to be part of Rezzards strategy, Athenia, the Wind Master (Stranger) (AO2-024) has the ability to take all of those powerful things away from Selesta by returning the explored Treasures to the Graveyard. This single interaction is what makes the Selesta – Rezzard match-up unplayable from the Selesta players perspective.
This by itself would not be a problem but Rezzard also happens to get two extremely powerful new cards for this own strategy. Tsuiya, Cursed Spawn of the Star // Curse of Ragnarok (EDL-094) a card which is both removal and discard as well as Abhorrent Revival (EDL-077) a card which elevates Rezzard´s combo plays to a new level once you realize that it can summon up to six creatures from his graveyard (4 1-drops and 2 0-cost Healing Gimmick (Stranger) (AO2-057)), including Sprout of Treasure Tree (Stranger) (AO2-032) to make further plays right after. He is extremely flexible in his choices, both in deck building as well as playing the deck. This many options usually come at the cost of powerful plays, Rezzard however does not lack that power, he can build boards with close to no investment, banish multiple resonators or discard multiple cards in a single turn. And he also has more Will available to him than any other Ruler in the current format due to his Regalia Deathscythe (AO3-065) as well as Black Wizard (Stranger) (AO3-040) and the earlier mentioned Sprout of Treasure Tree.
Rezzard (AO3-BaB-3) //
Rezzard [J-ruler] (AO3-BaB-3J)
Magic Stone Deck: (10)
3x Attoractia’s Memoria (SDAO1-033)
4x Magic Stone of Black Silence (AO3-090)
3x Magic Stone of Heaven’s Rift (PofA-123)
Stranger Deck: (10)
2x Athenia, the Wind Master (Stranger) (AO2-024)
2x Sprout of Treasure Tree (Stranger) (AO2-032)
2x Black Wizard (Stranger) (AO3-040)
2x Faust, the Promising Warrior (Stranger) (AO3-068)
2x Healing Gimmick (Stranger) (AO2-057)
Resonators: (14 of 40)
4x Mikage Reiya (AO3-046)
4x Tsuiya, Cursed Spawn of the Star // Curse of Ragnarok (EDL-094)
2x Sigurd, the Covenant King (AO3-082)
4x Yggdrasil, Heroic Spirit of the World Tree (PofA-121)
Chants: (15 of 40)
4x Abhorrent Revival (EDL-077)
4x Dark Alice’s Smile (PofA-052)
4x Moan of the Dead (AO3-047)
3x One Pair (PofA-066)
Additions: (5 of 40)
1x The Road to the Undead Lord (PofA-075)
1x Cage of Mother Goose (PofA-085)
3x Schrödinger (PofA-105)
Regalia: (6 of 40)
4x Deathscythe (AO3-065)
2x Unknown Mother Goose (PofA-115)
With the viable three new rulers all representing a different playstyle, we might have a very interesting format at our hands. I do however believe that Rezzard will be the best deck and the meta will revolve around other deck´s ability´s to play into his match-up specifically. He just does everything you would need from a deck and he does all of it well and the only deck that could compete with him, Selesta, he just happens to have the only hard counter included in his own Strategy.