How to Read the Meta


The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

As a player of any card game the most beneficial thing you can gain is knowledge. Learning the meta and how to predict and read it is something that will greatly help any player. When talking about meta in a card game, it typically means what decks have the most success in winning and see the most play.  For example, let’s say there are five upcoming tournaments. After each tournament the results show that out of the top eight decks six of them are all Royal Paladin. Not only are they Royal Paladin, but they are all the same type of deck. This is what card game players define as meta game (or meta for short). A deck or archetype that has constant winnings over a span of time is considered a meta deck. What keeps card games fresh is that the meta is constantly changing majority of the time. Whatever deck may be doing well now may not have the same success a month down the line. What can you do to figure out the characteristics of the meta? In order to determine the meta, the player must consider the type of tournament that he or she will participant in and how to read the meta for each type of tournament. 

Basically, there are really two types of tournaments. These two tournaments are local level tournaments and higher level tournaments (e.g. regional tournaments).  Locals are a type of tournament that are held generally once a week at your local card shop. Reading the meta here is arguably the hardest at first. Due to the nature of the tournament a lot of players will play whatever they want whether said deck is meta or not. To really read the meta here, you will have to learn what your local players like to play. For example, if you have a player there that likes to play great nature odds are when Great Nature gets support again that player will play Great Nature during that time.

Higher level tournaments are a different ball game. These tournaments almost always attract a greater numbers of players than your local tournament. People all over the region or the country travel to compete in these tournaments. To figure out what is meta in these tournaments, there are a number of options you can take. The first and probably best option is to look at recent tournament toppings. Here is a helpful link to do that ( In this link, you can see a number of different event records and see the most used clans in each tournament. Looking at web sites and records of larger tournaments that is within your region or country will give you a general idea of what to expect. Another option is to look at the Japanese and Singapore topping records. Now two things to note before doing this. Firstly, some players will advise you not to do this because they firmly believe the English card game has much different toppings than the Japanese or Singapore toppings. The fact is that the English game tends to follow closely to the same meta as the Japanese/Singapore meta. The English players tend to not play the best decks as much as the Japanese/Singapore players would, however English players still do play these decks very much. The second thing to note is that Japanese/Singapore players receive card sets a little bit earlier than English players. This allows players to see how cards in the next set are doing before the English players get them. By considering this, players can prepare early for decks to come later. I good place to look for stuff like this is ( * +).

If you do these things mentioned above, you can always be ahead of the meta game. As you grow and learn as a player you will be able to see more and more vividly what will become meta just by playing a deck. This can take some time to figure out, so do not worry if you do not understand this right away. For now, look at these helpful links and stay active within your community if you want to stay ahead of the crowd. Consider these things, and you will be on your way to becoming a better player in no time.

* For this website you will more than likely have to open it up twice as it will try to redirect you to the English page.

+ For help with finding deck lists from around the world, one can visit our post on finding such deck lists here:

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