In the VEKN.net forum a discussion has started which decks are (currently) tier-1 decks. The first question from my point of view is, what actually is the definition of tier-1, tier-2, tier-3 decks? Unfortunately there’s no common definition for that term in VtES. In Magic the Gathering the term “tier” is usually defined in the following way:
Refers to the popularity of a certain deck or deck archetype. Tier 1 decks are the most popular decks, Tier 2 decks are less popular, Tier 3 decks are the least popular. Tier is often confused with the power level of a certain deck. Although sometimes it’s true that more popular decks are more powerful, many powerful decks do not achieve a good Tier level. Also, cards tend to be referred to similarly, based on their popularity in these decks. For example, a Tier 1 card is one that shows up in many top level decks, and is easy to trade or sell.
As you can see the definition makes an emphasis on popularity of a deck, rather than its strength. In the VtES community the emphasis is actually on the strength of decks, that is their performance in a tournament environment. From my point of view, Izaak has given a rather comprehensive definition of the different deck strengths in the Dutch VtES forum, which I adjusted only slightly:
- Tier 1: These decks consistently performs well in a tournament environment and can deal with most standard archetypes. These decks are strong candidates for the final round.
- Tier 2: These decks can do well in a tournament environment, but they’re less consistent, that is their performance is more depending on actual table seating and metagame. Tier 2 decks have a reasonable chance of ranking in the top five of a tournament.
- Tier3: These decks do less well in tournaments. They can rank high, but are highly dependent on the metagame and table seating, or need a skilled player for success.
In addition, there are the so-called casual decks which are decks of lesser strength. The ones you put together for playing with friends, but you wouldn’t take to tournaments and expect to be in the finals. Some players also add intermediate tiers like 1.5 or 2.5 in order to have more room for assigning a deck’s strength, but this is not essential for the definition as such.
I have refrained from assigning decks to specific tiers in this post, because that’s an entire different topic.