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Since the dawn of collectible card games, there has always been decks that perform better than others due to a variety of factors like synergy, meta of the times and individual card power. Many of the professional CCG players attend tournaments with these decks to maximize their chances of winning. Of course, among the top level, it’s more down to individual luck and skill, but that doesn’t mean it won’t make a difference. That’s the logic behind netdecking.
What is netdecking?
Netdecking, or using a netdeck, means using the exact replica of the best deck in the meta that’s publicly available, such as the decks of a tournament winner. More often it’s the best deck on the ladder rather than a tournament, since nowadays players can find sites that show the best performing deck via the huge amounts of game data they have. For example, Hearthstone, one of the most popular CCG’s of all time, has HSReplay.net that shows the best decks in the meta as a tier list, popular variations of those decks and a matchup table.
Over time, netdecking has evolved and adapted for the next best CCG. For a long time that was Hearthstone, but with the rise of Magic: The Gathering Arena and the release of Legends of Runeterra, different sites emerged, each with their own meta lists that are perfectly suited for netdecking. An example to this evolution is swimstrim.com, a website ran by a professional LoR player Sean “swim” Huguenard, that has a decks and meta section with the site’s owner own decks. There are still other sites, such as Mobalytics, that provide tier lists of the best decks, though more often than not players can see swim’s influence on there.
The other side of the coin — countering meta decks
If players don’t want to use a netdeck, or have reached a level where the deck they copied is mostly countered, they can consider using this knowledge to adjust their decks to counter the best and the most played decks in their own rank. This is how players improve as a CCG player. Countering the best meta decks requires above average game and meta knowledge, especially the higher up they are on the ladder.
Some may see netdecking as a bad thing, but no one can dispute that it will never go away as long as there are better decks than others out there. Knowing about it puts players above all of those who don’t and it gives them the chance to improve. Players only need to reach and take it.
The beauty of esports lies in its power to replace your world and its worries, anger or fears, even for the shortest of moments. I want to make this power available to all who reach for it.