Season 6 of Axie Infinity: Origins is off to a great start with the revival of some "old" archetypes that fell off in recent times (e.g. AoE and Triple Owl) as well as introduction of "new" archetypes (e.g. Anemone and Ramp Aggro). It is probably the most diverse Rare Era in Axie Origins history, but of course it is still early days and we will have to see how to meta will develop over the course of the Era.
8 Main Archetypes at Challenger
New Archetype - Anemone - storming up in Season 6
AoE making a comeback with updated Feather mechanic
Player Base Statistics
Rank # Players Rankings Challenger 95 1-95 Dragon 909 96-1004 Tiger 6524 1005-7528 Bear 5208 7529-12736 Wolf 5604 12737-18340 Boar 6318 18341-24658 Hare 4369 24659-29027 Chick 5207 29028-34234 Egg 2871 34235-37105
Close to 100 players have got to Challenger at the time of writing and over 1000 players are in Dragon. The total number of players is around 37000+ for the first 6 days of the Season. Sky Mavis has been focussing on First-Time User Experience with the introduction of more new Starter Axies this season. We will see whether it will be reflected in the player base, but keep in mind that there are other factors that influences that size of the player base, one of which is player retention.
One problem I see with Axie Origins for the past few Seasons is the lack of new content, which makes player retention challenging for causal players. There are only a certain number of archetypes and once players played for a season or two, it starts to become repetitive due to the lack of new cards. I hope that Sky Mavis will focus more on creating more new content to improve player retention. Most other digital card games have "expansions" every few weeks or months, but the pace of updates for Axie Origins have slowed down (for good reasons in terms of optimising game balance etc.) since the big update in Season 2. Unless there are significant updates in terms of new content (e.g. Parts upgrade, Secret Classes Cards, or new Runes and Charms etc.), it is difficult for the player base to grow as players come and go once they are familiar with the limited archetypes available in Axie Origins.
Overall archetype usage
# Matches Played in Days 4-6 1900+ 23 1800-1900 2808 1700-1800 6398 1600-1700 9032 1500-1600 21636 1400-1500 46172
There are over 8 archetypes that made it into Challenger so far including Poison, AoE, Triple Owl, Leafy, Anemone, Sustain, Spikes, and Sandal. There is also a Summon team that made in to Challenger. The usage of the 8 archetypes are relatively even with Poison, Triple Owl and Spikes being the most popular at Challenger.
The same 8 archetypes are the most popular all the way down to 1400 VStar (around Top 1750). Beside the top 8 archetypes, we see some Topaz, Fury Aggro, Hot Butt, Cuckoo Buba, Ramp Aggro, Confused, Jinx, and Perch etc. played at the Top 400-500 (VStar >1600). It should be noted that the less popular archetypes (and even archetypes not defined in my analysis - lumped as Others) does not necessary mean they are not viable at the very top (a good example is the Summon team in Challenger). Archetype usage is also dependent on Axie availability, especially for optimised versions which maybe limited at the start of the season.
[For hourly archetype usage, see Additional Data at the bottom of the post.]
Archetype Win Rates and Matchups
Overall Archetype Win Rates
The overall win rates of the 8 most popular archetypes are quite even overall at VStar >1400. The main ones worth mentioning are Spikes and Anemone, which have >60% win rates at Challenger, suggesting that the optimised version of these archetypes have high potentials to climb further.
Outside of the top 8, the other archetypes do not have very good win rates except Hot Butt. It seems like Topaz, Fury Aggro, Cuckoo Buba, and Ramp Aggro are having a tough time to climb up to Challenger.
Here I will focus on the 8 most popular archetypes as the data for the other archetypes are limited, especially near the Top. To see more teams by top players, I strongly recommend axies.io and axieboo.com.
The top teams of the traditional Poison archetype (not the Spikes with Poison) all run Venoki with 2 other Reptiles with Gila. Venoki's Poison + 2 Poison Touch is the common set up with Poison Vial and Viper's Venom to add more Poison stacks. Vitality Charms for more HP, White Sage and Black Sage for Cleanse and Dispel are the most popular Charms usage for Poison Teams. With the buff of Gila in Season 6, it becomes extremely powerful as a mid-game and late-game finisher for massive damage.
Poison is great against AoE, Spikes, and Sandal. One of Poison's toughest matchup is Sustain, which pretty much always have Silence Whisper as well as Cleanse / Cleanser. Anemone is also a tough matchup for Poison with many Anemone teams running Seaslug that Cleanses while dealing DMG.
AoE is making a comeback this Season with the buffed Feather mechanic, making the Feather bonus DMG scaling a lot faster than before. Triple Wing Horn, Double Earwing, and Double or Triple Tri Feather is the staple build for AoE at the Top. The tail slot is usually occupied by a combination of Granma's Fan, Ranchu, and Cottontail. Some opt for Innocent Lamb for the Cottontail Axie while others go with all Earwing.
With the change in the Feather mechanic, Momo's Dagger is very useful in generating Feather Daggers early to scale up the Feather bonus DMG of all Axies in early game. Black Sage on Earwing for AoE Dispel is a common tech given the meta is full of archetypes that rely of buffs including AoE, Triple Owl, Leafy, and Spikes.
AoE has a good matchup against Triple Owl and Sandal. Its worst matchup is surely Spikes as AoE deals so many hits to proc the Spikes, scaling up opponent's Tri Spikes very quickly. Leafy is also tough for AoE (except at Challenger - note the Black Sage tech) as Leaves deal back a lot of the AoE damage. Poison is also not easy for AoE except in Challenger where AoE teams are more optimal.
Bubble Shooter Aqua is pretty much a must for Triple Owl in the Rare Era. It is a Single Carry team with 2 support Axies that have 3-turn Taunt (Ant or Cattail), Shields, and Heal (often with Silence Whisper to counter Poison and Bidens for Cleanse).
Triple Owl has a great matchup against Sustain as Sustain cannot keep up with the scaling of Owl damage late game. Its toughest matchup is probably AoE which can be too fast for Triple Owl.
Leafy is still around with 2 variants in the Rare Era - AoE and Tri Spikes. AoE Leafy runs 3 Bamboo Spear with Eyes for Card Draw and Back for AoE using Buzz Buzz and Cupid. It often runs 2 Nimo tails to maximise Buzz Buzz damage while thinning the deck. Both variants often run 1 Cottontail. For Tri Spikes Leafy, it is usually 1 Scaly Spear with 2 Bamboo Spear. Triple Tri Spikes with Viper's Venom deals a lot of damage with the Poison. Gecko eyes are good for self-proccing the Spikes to make more Bloodspikes to scale up Tri Spikes damage.
Leafy is great against AoE, especially with the Tri Spikes version, but it suffers from its usual weakness of Sustain as well as a potential new weakness of Anemone.
A new archetype this season with the buff of Anemone, which feels like the new Topaz. Anemone is now a 1-cost 80 ATK card with Ambush, -10 ATK when played and most importantly +20 ATK whenever an enemy Axie dies, which means it c an scale to 120 ATK when the opponent only has 1 Axie remaining. Interestingly Nimo ear is not making it as Anemone teams prefer to deal more damage faster. (Perhaps Nimo is not as strong as we think(?) - at least in the Rare Era.)
Anemone teams have at least 2 Axies (and sometimes even all 3 Axies) with Double Anemone. Double Nimo tail with 1 Cottontail is to standard set up with Sleepless and/or Gero for Vulnerable and/or Fragile. Ambush on Anemone (and Sleepless and Gero) allows Anemone teams to be more flexible in terms of choosing its target, making it harder for opponents without Taunt to defend.
Anemone is pretty good against Poison, making it a good archetype for climbing as Poison is the most popular archetype in the moment. It can also be good against Leafy, similar to how Topaz was good against Leafy. At Challenger Anemone finds it tough to go against Triple Owl if the Triple Owl teams have good supports (in particular Cleansers) to slow down the damage from Anenome teams while buying time to scale up the Owls.
Yes, Sustain is still around (and probably always will until they change the Bloodmoon and/or Shield mechanic). The main new tech is of course Rose Bud, which now gives 10 Cleansers. Multiple Silence Whisper is always good to go against Poison. Cucumber Slice is great against AoE (and Poison). Steelskin is amazing against AoE, Leafy, (and to some extent Spikes).
Triple Owl and Sandals (as well as Topaz) are tough matchups for Sustain. However, it has quite a number of good matchups including Leafy, Spikes, Anemone, (and possibly Poison).
Spikes teams are often pretty good in the Rare Era given how effective Viper's Venom is on Tri Spikes. Rare Era is also relative slow, which means there are more opportunities for Spikes to proc with higher Tri Spikes damage as well as more time for the Poison to deal damage. Triple Scaly Spear and Triple Tri Spikes are pretty much a must with Gecko eyes to self-proc the Spikes whiling Cleansing. Sidebarb is great is applying more Poison. Spikes team often run 1 Cottontail to match the tempo of other aggro teams. Venoki's Poison, Poison Touch, and Viper's Venom allow for fast staking of Poison early game.
Spikes is amazing against AoE and Leafy has these 2 archetypes will proc the Spikes very quickly due to their attacks. The main tough matchup for Spikes team is Sustain because Sustain teams do not proc Spikes while having multiple Silence Whisper and Cleanse to make the Poison very ineffective.
Sandal is the main strategy that take advantage of the power of early Ramp with Nimo ears and tail most effectively in the Rare Era so far. Babylonia and Sleepless to apply Vulnerable followed by a Sandal for massive damage, often enough to knock out an Axie. Piranha also allows the Axies to heal up a bit, sometimes allowing Sandal teams to win the damage race.
Sandal teams are great against Sustain with its early Energy advantage from the Ramp. It is also good against Poison at Challenger but not at lower levels for non-optimised Sandal teams. Sandal's toughest matchup is AoE (and to some extent Spikes). AoE takes advantage of the slow start of Sandal teams (where the first 2 Turns are mostly Ramp) and often win the damage race.
We see 8 main archetypes with relatively even usage amongst the Top in the early Rare Era meta. It is good to see the revivial of AoE (and Triple Owl) and the addition of Anemone (and Sandal) in the meta. It is probably the most diverse Rare Era in the history of Axie Origins and I hope this will continue on for the rest of the Season. Now that the team has got the balancing mostly sorted out, I hope they will turn their attention to the creation of new content to keep players engaged and retain players that have played for multiple season. Hopefully we will see Parts Upgrade soon so that there are more incentives for existing players to continue playing with teams that they have played for many seasons.
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