Greetings cardfighters. Players constantly ask or argue with each other regarding what clans make up the current best decks in the game. It is admittedly a very gray area as we only have so many events we can look at to determine what is performing and what is not. What makes it even harder is how fast the meta always shifts whenever we get a new set, so its easy to see why many players do not agree on what is tier 1. For example, it was only four months ago when G-BT01: Generation Stride came out and we saw the rise of Dragonic Overlord "the X". Come a few months later and the deck has now been relegated to the pool of tier 1.5 clans. Now I'm not here to tell you what is good and what isn't, rather my focus this week is on a common trait that is found in the current, universally accepted suite of decks that people agree are top tier. My argument is this: a deck must be able to have a powerful early, middle, and late game to be strong enough for tier 1 right now. I'll explain my reasoning below.
The Early Game
Bushiroad attempted to slow down the early game with the release of the stride sets. Most Grade 2 and lower units with powerful skills that are printed nowadays are all restricted to Generation Break 1. These units are simply vanilla until you reach turn 4 if going first, or turn 3 if going second. This is a turn in a slower direction in contrast to the previous legion sets. Cards were printed with far faster abilities back then, examples include Oath Liberator, Aglovale, Perdition Dragon, Menace Laser Dragon, and Blaster Blade Seeker. Was Bushiroad successful in slowing the game down here? My answer is no.
Bushiroad was not able to slow down rush strategies because they were not able to stop players from using early-game units. If you look at all the decks that people pretty much universally agree are tier 1 (Revenger, Royal Paladin variants, and Aqua Force), you can see that all these decks play cards that are not only effectual in the early-game, but that also do work well in the mid and late game stages. Revengers have Blaster Dark Revenger/Abyss and Wily Revenger Mana, Royals have Jewel Knight, Swordmy and Starlight Violinist in Sanctuary Guard builds, and Aqua Force have Tidal Assault. Brawlers are also gaining a lot of recent attention and they have Demonic Dragon Berserker, Chatura and Brawler, Skyhowl Dragon. Even looking back to Kagero, they have Dragonic Burnout. So what is the point I'm trying to make? The point is that tier 1 decks MUST play at least some cards that aren't tied down by Generation Break, but still have skills that are equally potent. If you pair these cards together with Generation Break rear-guards, you have decks that have live, powerful rear-guards that are effectual at any stage of the game. This is one important trait on what separates Tier 1 from Tier 1.5/2 decks.
The Mid and Late Game
Now I know what some of you are thinking. There are plenty of other decks that do have strong early game cards and they aren't top tier. And you're right. A great example of this right now is Bluish Flame Liberators. They probably have the strongest turn 2 in the game (or at least on par with Royal Paladin's) thanks to Oath Liberator, Aglovale. So why isn't this deck tier 1? The answer is that they don't have equivalent end-game power and this is the other side of the coin on what constitutes a tier 1 deck. In the not too distant days of Vanguard, it was common place for a top tier deck to shine in the early/mid game or the mid/end game. Nowadays, your deck has to be able to do all three. Going back to the decks I listed above, they fit this bill perfectly. Revengers have Phantom Blaster Abyss and Phantom Blaster "Diablo", Royals have Sanctuary Guard Regalie, and Aqua Force have Lambros. These decks are able to have powerful early games in addition to a very powerful mid/late game.
This isn't to say that your deck must meet these requirements to win. There are plenty of strong tier 1.5 decks that do not have powerful early games, examples include Oracle Think Tank, Dimension Police (Metalborg), and Gear Chronicle. In the vice-versa scenario, Bluish Flame Liberators are still quite a decent deck that can win. Going back to my first paragraph, people debate all the time if these decks are good enough to be considered tier 1, but considering the current checklist on what constitutes a tier 1 deck in this article, they would fall short. This is why the tier 1.5 pool is so huge right now, because many clans fall under this category. Hopefully I was able to give you a better understanding on why the universally accepted top tier decks are tier 1, and what you need to keep in mind for your deck it to consistently beat the meta. Until next time, Play Hard or Go Home!