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December 2023 Meta Report: A Dirty Farewell

Tempo Meta Report Team

December 8, 2023


This tier list shows the best decks to play on the ranked ladder to maximize the chances of winning the game and climbing.

Here are the various components of the Tempo Storm Shadowverse Meta Snapshot:

  • Introduction: Overview of the Tempo Storm Shadowverse Meta Snapshot; a guide on how to use the resource.
  • Thoughts and observations: General summary of the current Shadowverse meta, commentary about notable points of the Meta Snapshot, and any additional important meta-related information.
  • Deck popularity: Approximate popularity of the deck, rounded to the closest 10%, relative to the most popular deck on the meta, where the top deck represents 100%. (We will be reworking this section soon to make it more intuitive.)
  • Archetype explanation: Explanation of the archetype as a whole—presents playstyle strategies, variants of the deck, and tips on how to identify the deck on the ladder.
  • Weekly meta and featured deck: Analysis of the role of the deck in the current meta; focuses on the nuances of playing the current Meta Snapshot’s featured deck variant.
  • Match-ups: Approximate average percentage chance of piloting the deck and winning when facing another Tier 1 or Tier 2 deck.
  • View deck: List of cards required to construct Tempo Storm’s recommended variant of the archetype.


  • Tier S (“God Tier”): Overtuned decks that warp and control a large portion of the meta. (This tier may not always be present in the Snapshot if there are no overpoweringly imbalanced decks.)
  • Tier 1: Well-optimized decks with extremely efficient and overwhelmingly powerful combos and card synergies that makes losing against these decks feel helpless and unfair.
  • Tier 2: Competitive decks that have a few slight weaknesses (e.g., poor comeback mechanics or draw consistency); can still take games off top-tier decks with tech switches.
  • Tier 3: Average decks that aren’t bad, but also aren’t optimized or refined; decks that have styles not currently favored by the metagame.
  • Tier 4: Inconsistent decks that are unrefined, out-of-flavor, overly niche, or retired. Taking wins off upper-tier decks requires an intimate understanding of the role of every card in the deck.
  • Tier 5: Fun decks that should only be used if you play Shadowverse for the joy of the gameplay, rather than the joy of winning.


1. Dirt Rune

Dirt Rune is an archetype centered around Earth Sigils(Stacks) and Earth Rite mechanics. Their early game focused on building board presence while accumulating stacks and consuming it for strong effects such as Golem Lord for its massive board presence or Levi, Wizard of Ages for a massive burn damage.

Once you consume 7 stacks, cards like Colossal Summoning turns into powerful finisher. and Pascale allowed you to build a really strong board. Moreover, 1pp Undying Witch allowed you to gain PP with her leader effect so that you can play more cards in a turn. A combination of Golem Lord with Pascale or Levi with Colossal Summoning would be possible and able you to settle the game. Not only that, the deck usually comes up with some copies of Midelo which can be a life savior for the late game.

You want to mulligan for solid early game cards which are 1pp Earth Sigil like Ultramarine Witch, Familiar's Pact, or Multielemental neophyte. 2pp followers like Astrological Sorcerer or Gruinne is also a good starting keep. Then start to consume your stacks by playing Levi, Wizard of Ages or a quick removal like Magical Augmentation. Going 1st, Turn 5 Golem Lord is pretty powerful and you can aim for that and hope opponent unable to clear your board. In general games, once you reach 7 stacks, enable leader effect with Undying Witch so that you can perform combos like Golem Lord with Pascale or double Collosal Summoning at 7pp with Magical Augmentation help.

For a more detailed information on how to pilot this deck, please check out our guide here :


As players have become more familiar with the archetype, it's become clear that Dirt Rune is *the* archetype to beat. Even without the addition of new mini-expansion cards, it kept dominating as the most played deck in tournaments for many weeks, forcing other decks to change their builds to include tech cards that worked against them.

Dirt Rune is the strongest deck in the meta, especially when it goes first. By going first, they are free to choose whether they wish: a tempo + burn damage plan with Golem Lord and Levi, a massive board with Pascale, and even Midelo to save their position. The deck's strengths are weaker when going second, as they are forced to play reactively; many decks try to exploit this weakness. But it still has a lot of chances to win, as a Pascale board is able to turn around any situation.

The featured build is from pro player LVS | Era53, who dominated the latest pro tour tournament, making him the only player with a perfect playoff-qualification record this year. It's a clean build that tries to maximize the copies of all essential cards, even cutting Mind-Control Mage to get more stability with maximum copies of Gruinne and Ultramarine Witch.

2. Heal Haven

After Thanksgiving, Haven players may finally resemble their deck on not just a spiritual but profoundly physical level.

Heal Haven had been a strong deck in a vacuum for the entire expansion—only the power level and popularity of Buff Dragon kept this deck down. Now that Buff has been exorcised from this plane, the people may now indulge in the lesser of two evils. Winged Brilliance is the long-awaited 'Fusion: Havencraft cards' this class has been in dire need of for years, and with a bootleg Holy Sanctuary stapled on via Transmute, this new amulet has done incredible work for a once stagnant deck. The utility of fusing away any Haven card cannot be understated as Heal Haven was already known to be relatively consistent before it had any proper means for hand management.

Pseudo-generic Fusion cards open the door for highly situational cards as they can simply be fused away whenever they aren't good, and chief among these options is Citrine Rabbit. It's a 3PP follower that searches for two of Agent, Pureflower, or Verdilia, which all but ensures great options on turns 4 and 6 going first. Another choice particularly for the mirror is Armed Al-mi'raj who comes with double hard removal and card draw at a steep price of 5PP, but with Fusion the situational cost is a much smaller problem.


Heal Haven is the only deck that can match Dirt Rune in popularity and therefore lands, so unsurprisingly, as the runner-up in Tier 1. Heal has an excellent matchup spread, with its only losing matchup being Magachiyo Forest, a deck that remains very unpopular despite its thereotical power level.

The featured list placed 2nd in the most recent JCG and features the expected triple Winged Brilliance but also a spread of one Citrine Rabbit and one Armed Al-mi'raj as its situational picks.

3. Loot Sword

Loot Sword is a deck that aims to get 7 Loot cards played or fused and finish off the opponent with a combination of Storm cards and Burn damage with Dread Pirate's Flag Token.

The early game revolves around generating Loot cards with its multitute of early-game generators, while also drawing for the powerful Rogers, Ruler of The Sea that gives your leader the effect of recovering play points for the first Loot played in the turn and dealing 2 damage to the opponent's leader when the second one is played. When 7 Loots played or fused is reached, it is possible to start generating Dread Pirate's Flags, a powerful token that deals 3 damage to the board and to the enemy leader for just 1 play point; when combined with Barbaros, Briny Convict's Enhance effect or Tidal Gunner's pings, it is possible to deal massive amounts of damage, even surpassing 20 in one turn.

The mulligan for Loot should aim for a smooth early game and to find Rogers; keep 1 drops like Knightly Thief, Seeker of Love and Deep-Sea Scout. Learn more about Loot Sword with the Tempo Storm guide on it.


Loot Sword remains a top-tier deck after the mini-expansion and the rounds of buffs and nerfs; Loot Sword is not as strong as Dirt Rune and is not as well positioned as Heal Haven, but it's still the third-best deck.

The featured list is from Tempo Storm's guide on Loot Sword.

4. Magachiyo Forest

Magachiyo Forest is a pure combo deck, aiming to play four cards per turn to fulfill its win condition, ending the game with multiple Condemned followers buffed by Magachiyo, Barbed Convict around turn 7.

Starting turn 4 (or turn 3 with the help of Winged Inversion), the deck can play four cards per turn to set up Magachiyo's effect while invoking May, Budding Spring Wind. Sapling Steward, Asuka & Shiori, Twins and Nature's Guidance maintain handsize and dig for combo pieces.

Budding Initiate serves as a tutor for Magachiyo and Warden of Recurrence, as well as additional reach and Ward removal. A single copy can be used multiple times thanks to all the bounces available: Thicket of Gnarled Hands, Floral Breeze from Gerbera Bear, and the reprinted Nature's Guidance. While Canon and Plumeria aren't as popular anymore, Harbinger of the Night has proven to be a very solid addition, providing heal, conditional cycle (e.g. in combination with Winged Inversion) and stronger board clears.

Durga has found its way into the list as expected, between 2 and 3 copies, as a 0-cost removal to keep the board under control in the midgame or to break through Wards on the lethal turn. Some lists also run a copy of Feral Awakening as an early removal which doubles as a Durga tutor.


Magachiyo Forest currently stands at the bottom of Tier 1. The deck generally doesn't perform as well as other Tier 1 decks in JCG and on ladder, mostly due to a very tough matchup against Dirt Rune and a high skill ceiling; on the other hand, it has good results at the top level and in Pro League, and is commonly given a top-three rating by some Japanese teams.

The featured list is from Heimu, who qualified in his Pro League group last weekend with the deck; it features one Lily as a defensive tool, one Angel of Darkness to answer Elluvia's Agent of the Commandments, and one Forest Merchant to enable lethals through Dirt Rune's Astrological Sorcerer and Lily in mirrors.


5. Buff Dragon

Buff Dragon is an archetype that focused on increasing the defense of Dragoncraft followers inside the deck to enable their payoffs. Cards like Coach Joe, Fiery Counselor and Grand Slam Tamer allows you to dish a lot of direct damage when condition is fulfilled. Since their defense stats are buffed, they can present a very powerful board during mid-game. The major downside of this deck is that they need a little bit of highroll since the way to buff the deck is limited.

The most popular version of Buff Dragon is a hybrid with evolve engine. It contains good neutral cards as Alice and Blooming Dancer to help with the draw engine and Coral Spirit as a powerful evolve payoffs that able to block a lot of advance of popular meta decks.

You want to mulligan for cheap cards that can buff your deck such as Militant Mermaid, Sandstorm, Gunbein, or Megalorca Rider which allow them to gain more PP. You will need a lot of Buff cards during early game, the sooner you hit 4 buff cards, the better your mid-end game is. Pressure the midgame with tall followers such as Grand Slam Tamer and auto-evolve followers like Blooming Dancer and try to chip some damage. At the end game, Joe will be a constant threat for 12 damage (5 from his effect + 7 from his evolve). Pair him with Storm followers such as Dragonborn Strikers and you will be able to end the game decisively.


The nerf to Dragonborn Striker hits hard: Buff Dragon is no longer as reliable as it once was. First of all, it disables the strong early-turn 3 Striker + Dancer highroll, which is devastating against most decks. Secondly, the higher threshold means it's getting harder for them to accumulate an evolve count for cards like Alice and Coral Spirit. Their effective full ability activation is, on average, delayed due to the Dragonborn Striker nerf.

Having said that, they can still pretty much highroll with strong Grand Slam Tamer and put some big threats on midgame turn with their protagonist power, making their matchup table might not be as bad as it was on paper.

The featured list is from arknight/lf2, which managed to get 2nd place in 03.12 JCG. Bloomin Dancer was cut since it was harder to combo with Dragonborn Striker. Instead, he opts for the addition of Sunderclaw Dragonewt, which is a reactionary pick against Elluvia Haven. It's bane is really useful when dealing against the Elluvia Haven board, and its Dragon Handspur token increases their burst-damage range.


6. Dirt Boost Rune

Dirtboost Rune is a deck that centered around enabling one of the strongest Earth Rite payoff, Golem Lord. They focused on accumulating burn damage by summoning as many Clay Golem as possible to increase burn damage of Golem Lord. Then, reanimating it with the new mini expansion card, Eir, a 2 cost Spellboost follower to deal another instance of damage. It could also aim for OTK by summoning 2 Golem Lord if they have summoned 10 Clay Golems.

The deck early game is quite similar to Dirt Rune where you try to accumulate Stacks by playing cards like Ultramarine Witch, Familiar's Pact, or Multielemental Neophyte. Then secure Golem Lord and Celestial Command to keep spamming it's accelerate while chipping some early damage. It has a very consistent ability to play Turn 5 Golem Lord as Familiar's Pact guarantees to draw into Golem Lord. Finish the game by playing Eir + Golem Lord as early as turn 7, or using the activated effect of Undying Witch to play Golem Lord + Golem Lord OTK on turn 8.


This is an alternative build for Rune that sacrifices the flexibility of Dirt Rune for a more straightforward Golem Lord gameplan. It has more powerful spikes when going first with strong tempo, but overall much weaker resistance when going second. The deck also doesn't have much healing, but relies on Eir's damage block to avoid getting bursted down.

This is the build brought by Ideal | Wagasode in his Ratings climb, which allowed him to sit at the sixth position during this season Ratings period. This build is believed to have a more stable advantage against Elluvia Haven, since it has a more consistent access to Golem Lord and the ability to OTK while ignoring Jeanne's powerful board.

7. Discard Dragon

Discard Dragon is an archetype that centered around discarding your own hand to gain more resources. The goal is to ramp quickly, then discard your own hand 4 times in order to enable Lumiore, Prestigious Gold ability. Her ability allows you to perform board clear and dealing significant amount of damage combined with other discard cards in your hand. Since the draw engine of this deck is so powerful that you are able to technically emptied out your own deck in the late game, Uranus might act as suitable finisher to end the game with his 9 damage burn burst.

You want to mulligan for Ramp cards like Dragon Oracle or Waterwyrm Blessing so that you can perform more action within a turn. Once you reach overflow, cards like Augite Wyrm or Gone Fishing will gain abilities that helps you to maintain your resources and handsize. Evolving Spoiled Mermanager is really useful as it increases your discard count quickly while evolving Lilium is a way to increase your potential damage with Lumiore thanks to her 0pp token spell. Once you have enough playpoints, play Lumiore to deal burn damage over and over again. If your opponent still alive after these burn damage barrage, Uranus will act as the last finisher.


The introduction of Spoiled Mermanager in the mini-expansion makes this deck playable again. Having more discard options increases the consistency, and its defensive healing also allows them to survive until their Lumiore turn.

However, the deck doesn't bring anything new to the meta's dynamics, as it doesn't have a concrete advantage against top-tier decks in the meta.

The featured list is from 筒井あやめ, who managed to get into the top 16 in the December 3 JCG. It's a staple list, with Kyrie and Twins as draw engines to dig out through the deck and enable Uranus endgame. It also has one-of Forte to potentially deal 10 damage even before Uranus is active.

8. Rally Sword

Rally Sword is a deck that aims to overwhelm the opponent with early board presence and some Storm followers in the early game while also generating enough followers for high Rally counts.

The early game revolves around playing followers and gaining board presence, then around evo turn you aim to play Despotic Pawnmaker or General Maximus to ramp the Rally count, after that you aim to play strong Storm folllowups such as Aggressive Advance and Agile Twinblader to finish the game off. If those are not enough, then Radiel, Valorous Enforcer should finish the game off if it goes too late.

The mulligan should aim to get early followers and a guarantee for a strong evo turn. Cards like Dashing Duelist and Suave Bandit are Ideal for the early game, while General Maximus and Despotic Pawnmaker make for strong evo turns going 1st and 2nd respectively.


Rally Sword is a weird case: it is wildly unpopular in tournaments while also being very popular on ladder. It is very much inferior to Loot Sword if the pilot is good enough at it; However, it is popular enough on ladder to earn Tier 3 status.

The featured list is not very common: it opts for a more aggressive gameplan than what players will usually see, ditching cards like Opulent Strategist for cards like General Maximus.

The list chosen was used by 高魔剣士 to reach top 16 in the November 29 JCG.

9. Wrath Blood

Wrath Blood is a midrange deck which aims to self-inflict 7 instances of damage as quickly as possible to empower most of its cards afterwards. Garodeth, Insurgent Convict is the most common finisher, dealing 11 damage by himself, but the deck also runs other sources of damage such as Diabolus Hedone, Howling Demon, Silver Snipe and Vicious Blitzer.

Demon Maestro and How to Train Your Bat are the primary sources of card draw, along with Raging Commander which can tutor Garodeth; most other cards are either Wrath enablers or payoffs, often with some form of healing to recover from the damage taken on purpose during the early game. Howling Demon, Steamrolling Tank and Devilish Flautist are essential to restore some defense while contesting the board.

Rouge & Verte, Werekin are the most recent addition to the deck. The 6-drop acts as both a board clear and a potent leader effect to increase sustain and reach in the late game.


Wrath Blood is making a comeback to Tier 3 with some appearances in tournaments, mainly due to a decent matchup against Heal Haven—in no small part thanks to Diabolus Hedone's ability to destroy entire boards.

結 reached top 8 with this fairly standard list, adding a single copy of Twins for added sustain.


10. Evo Blood

Evolve Blood is a midrange deck that accumulates evolved followers quickly to enable its finishers: Alice, Wandering Dreamer, Grimnir, Divine Stormspear and Tevali, Demonic Cat. While it lacks massive burst potential, Evolve Blood makes up for it with powerful midgame boards that can be difficult to clear. Ruler of Retribution can be invoked as early as turn 6, and many decks will struggle to remove Lian & Alfie, Companions, one of the strongest Transmuted cards this expansion.

The deck makes use of multiple good Neutral followers, in particular Kyrie, Fragment of Hope and Asuka & Shiori, Twins for cycle, Blooming Dancer for evolution count, and Olivia & Sylvia, Wardens for EP recovery. Signa, Sealed Madwolf acts as both enabler and payoff for evolutions, and Gadel, Ravenous King fulfills multiple roles, including healing.


Evolve Blood is a Tier 4 deck with few merits in the meta, though it has regained some popularity recently.

Feg's JCG list includes two Bloody Sessions and an Angel of Darkness to answer tall boards from Heal Haven and Buff Dragon.

11. Castelle Forest

Castelle Forest is primarily a combo deck with some aggro elements. The deck has the lowest play point curve ever seen in Rotation, with every single card costing 2PP or less; the deck usually features 30 or more 1PP cards.

The goal is to constantly flood the board with cheap followers like Canon, Yearning Heart and Fauna Handler, to fulfill Castelle's condition of 20 Forestcraft followers leaving play. Salvia Panther and Windflower Tiger help you progress this quest while also putting pressure on the opponent and bouncing key cards, in particular to accumulate Castelle's token, Verdant Prayer, in hand.

Around turn 7, Verdant Prayer can be used to buff the board, either for protection—building a massive board of indestructible wards—or to OTK the opponent with Storm followers, namely Gerbera Bear, Frostborn Princess, and Fairies with Plumeria's leader effect.


Castelle Forest drops to Tier 4, as it barely sees play anymore, though it occasionally makes a rogue appearance in JCG.

This particular list from 'S' includes an Angel of Darkness to answer Heal Haven and Buff Dragon boards.

12. Ghost Shadow

Ghost Shadow is an aggro deck that aims to overwhelm the opponent in the early stages of the game with both damage from ghosts and from board presence. Then on turns 6-7 aims to close the game out with a combination of ghosts with their attack increased, burn damage and massive board presence.

The gameplan is to simply curve out and then play a Masquerade Ghost on turn 5, the mulligan should be for an early game and Masquerade Ghost. Cards such as Loyal Ghost Pup, Freyja, Necrocarnival, Baccherus, Peppy Ghostie should all be kept, Slayer of the Dead can also be kept together with a 1-cost follower.


Ghost Shadow is sitting in Tier 4 with no real signs of potential rise. The deck is very weak to what the current meta does and has very little going for it.

The featured list seems to be standard; the only potential outlier is Necrocarnival, but it's a pretty decent turn 2 and can set up a strong turn 6–7 with its Enhance effect.

The featured list is from ボカロくん who managed to make it to top 16 in the November 26 JCG.

13. Evo Portal

As an Evo Portal enjoyer, it is my solemn duty to inform you—this deck is terrible and has never been worse. The new Portal cards offer nothing but more Robo-Arm fusing, but real Evo Portal players already knew that you needed either double fusing on multiple turns or early Robopup + single fusing to reach Shin by turn 6 going second or turn 7 going first. So while the early game, already the weakest point of the deck, is substantially worse without Robopup and Cassim Rosa, Evo Portal is now even more reliant on Robo-Arm with nothing to make up for the loss in early evolves and tempo. What Evo Portal gained from the new cards is almost not real, as proper hand management would allow for enough fuses per Robo-Arm drawn to begin with. This deck is instead left with straight losses: no chance of early evolves, no overtuned 2-drops to create space and stabilize, and there's even no Badb Catha for a nifty blend of early tempo and late insurance.

Do not play this deck.


Evo Portal is the worst deck that sees any amount of play and can only be at the bottom of Tier 4. It loses to everything, and especially to itself.

Featured here is a miraculous 12-win streak list. The fact that people are not just running Arc, but multiple Arc, should say plenty about the current state of this deck.