So it’s been a little less than a day since the Axie Infinity Season 19 update went live, and the meta is well and truly shaking. The Season 19 meta is a bit weirder than the previous season and off-season, but strong builds that existed before are still strong, just tweaked down a tad.
Axie Infinity Season 19 Meta Experience
After the MMR reset, it was a fact that everyone was starting at the same point. I was expecting to see a lot of weird and wacky builds as I started my climb back to where I was in the off-season. With the Shrimpinator build I was using, I reached a consistent 2300+ MMR in the off-season. But with the nerfs to the Terminator archetype and Garish Worm (Barb Strike), I was expecting to have a little bit of difficulty climbing at the start of Season 19.
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Predictably, a lot of the players I faced up against were rocking the same builds that were strong last season. I ran into a lot of Terminators, Shrimpinators, Jumping Poison, Double Aqua, and even the standard Bird-Beast-Plant comps.
Having played 30 Arena games on the first day, I ended up with a record of 19 wins and 11 losses. A respectable record, especially for the first day of the new season. However, it is a little weird having to get used to the new damage values. Games tend to go on for longer in my experience because the strong cards from last season were generally nerfed in the damage department.
My composition really felt the hit, with Lagging (Mystic Rush), Thorny Caterpillar (Allergic Reaction), and Tiny Turtle (Chomp) all taking some damage reduction nerfs on the Terminator. My Aqua also took quite a big hit from the nerf hammer, with Risky Fish (Fish Hook), Shoal Star (Star Shuriken), and Garish Worm (Barb Strike) all being affected negatively. I can honestly say that it does feel a bit weaker in terms of damage, but the core gameplay of the Shrimpinator is still very effective.
Doubletalk (Soothing Song) birds can no longer one-turn-kill a Terminator backline with their four-card combo anymore, so that’s a big plus. Critical hits honestly feel a bit more balanced and fair now, with lowered damage almost across the board, thanks to the changes to the critical hit formula. No longer are Aquas critting like crazy, and when they do, they don’t deal nearly as much damage as they used to.
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Overall, I would say that Season 19 feels very fair and balanced, though keep in mind that this is only a first-day impression and not representative of the whole season.
Axie Infinity Season 19 Top Ladder Comps
Now, while last season’s comps are still good though tuned down, the ladder right now has a new infestation of meta-defining axies: Bugs. With 3,000 AXS tokens up for grabs to the Top 1000 at the end of the season, everyone’s looking for the new “strongest team.”
Looking at the top 100, there are quite a few players who have hopped onto the Bug train and have zoomed out of the station. At the time of writing, the current top ladder player is running a Plant Double Bug composition. Here’s thier composition:
Because Bug axie cards have gone relatively untouched or were buffed, it seems like it’s a good time for these pesky insects to dominate the Arena battlefield. Particularly terrifying is the Double Discard bug, with Pincer (Sunder Claw) and Parasite (Third Glance) discarding cards from your opponent’s hand. Scarab (Scarab Curse) was buffed with the balance patch, making it a very strong card against comps that like to heal up. Fish Snack (Anesthetic Bait) on one Bug allows it to stun any Bird or Aqua axie attacking it, while Garish Worm (Barb Strike) and Thorny Caterpillar (Allergic Reaction) on the other Bug give it a lot of damage and debuff potential.
The Plant tank of this composition is also incredibly annoying, with Bidens (Cleanse Scent) removing debuffs and giving a 50 shield for 0 energy, Zigzag (Drain Bite) keeping it alive with healing, and Pocky (Sugar Rush) and Hot Butt (Spicy Surprise) dealing a good amount of damage to whatever axie is in front. It is incredibly hard to kill this Plant axie due to the fact that it has some really big shields and annoyingly good healing.
While the team comp is both incredibly tanky and annoying to deal with, it is a front-to-back composition, meaning it doesn’t have any target modifying abilities, which were the meta in the off-season. It is entirely possible to best this comp by going through the back and destroying one of the bugs before it even has a chance to discard any of your cards.
Checking out another top ladder team comp, the classic Bird Beast Plant team was modified a little bit to be a menace to bugs. At teh time of writing, the team comp in the image below is top 3 on the ladder.
It may come as a surprise that a team comp that has been used since the beginning of competitive Axie Infinity is still around and kicking, but it’s more a testament to the skill of the player and the adjustment to the meta that makes this composition strong. The concept of anti-meta is a concept that has been used in almost every competitive esport, and Axie Infinity is not different.
This composition hinges on the fact that a lot of Bug comps are making it high on the ladder, and uses the good version of the Bird axie along with a Plant with Cattail (Cattail Slap) and a Mech-Beast with Doubletalk (Soothing Song) to burst down Bug users and really anyone who isn’t counting cards and energy.
The Bird in this composition has Little Owl (Dark Swoop), Egg Shell (Eggbomb), Pigeon Post (Blackmail), and Post Flight (All-Out Shot) to take out the fastest axie in the opponent’s lineup. It can also absorb aggro by using Eggbomb to inflict the Aroma status on itself. With the extra effectiveness of Bird cards against Bug-type axies, this Bird absoultely murders bugs.
The Mech is also pretty scary, with Doubletalk (Soothing Song) and Dual Blade (Sinister Strike) giving it a lot of damage, ignoring shields. Hero (Heroic Reward) and Hare (Hare Dagger) also pack some extra oomph in the damage department. The Plant is pretty special as well, with Cattail (Cattail Slap) allowing it to take advantage of Bugs attacking it and Watering Can (Aqua Stock) allowing it take advantage of Aquas attacking it.
This team does incredibly well against the other team I featured at the start of this section, especially since the Bird can skip the frontline and destroy one of the bugs. The Plant also does really well, since the Bugs can’t backdoor in any capacity, and it’ll be easy to get full value form Cattail Slap.
All in all, the Axie Infinity Season 19 update seems to be the most interesting season in terms of emerging team comps and meta vs anti-meta mindgames. If you’re planning on playing this season, be aware of the buffs and nerfs we covered in a previous article and do your research. I didn’t cover any prices of axies in this post since cryptocurrency prices shift all the time, and axies go in and out of meta at unexpected times. The axie you bought for $400 last week may only be worth $200 the next week.
It is important for anyone who wants to be a competitive Axie Infinity player to both be aware of the meta and how to play against it. Even with a standard Double Aqua composition, you can make it pretty far if your fundamentals are good. Check out our post on card counting if you want to brush up on a skill that will bring you to higher heights.
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