So a new patch is upon us, and with it many shakeups to the meta. Alacranix went from a terrible apex to arguably the strongest of the rarity. Meanwhile Tenontosaurus had an even bigger jump from being one of the worst nonhybrids ever to a top 5 rare at LEAST. Argenteryx and Archaeopteryx got minor buffs and Scutophicyon got a solid one. One though has the potential to really shake up the tournament meta. Alacranix isn't involved with tournaments and despite the massive buff, and Tenontosaurus is competing with omegas like Fukuiraptor, Megalania, and Yuxisaurus. But there's one more buff that was included in the update, and it was the third and final example of a "zero to hero" change. Skoolasaurus went from rags to riches overnight. So, how will Skoolasaurus shake up the legendary meta?
The Big Buff
So, let's look at the big buff Skoolasaurus got. First up, it got some damage and hp increases, which is almost always a good thing, and it's no different here. Also, Skoolasaurus got some resistances added in the form of 50% distraction and armor reduction, which are pretty useful in the legendary meta. It also got a few new tools to play with, like group distracting rampage over group distraction and nullifying counter. And finally, the best buff it got was the change to its signature move tip the scales, which is now an impact on top of the existing effects.
So, let's see how this change lets Skoolasaurus compete in the legendary meta.
Starting out with one of the biggest legendaries in the format, Rexy has been on top ever since she was added. She then got a big buff when her signature dominant roar allowed her to have a speed boost for 2 turns after using it, making her even more annoying. She's got insane output, great bulk, and despite the low speed, dominant roar makes it negligible as she's almost always got priority. And with devour and a high critical hit chance, she's very dangerous to come up against. But despite her size and ferocity, she's no match for this armored amphibian. Skoolasaurus can use its rampage, counter, and tip the scales to keep her slower and to distract her. With a simple move order of rampage, strike, and then tip the scales, Skoolasaurus will always survive with at least 60 hp. And the added bulk also helps out immensely. So this is a tank that Rexy cannot kill.
Next up is another creature with both a swap in and on escape. Spinoceratops has been another top legendary since its debut. And while it may lose to Rexy, Skoolasaurus poses no threat to it. Hey, you can't win them all.
Panthera Blytheae may lose to Spinoceratops, but it matches up well into Skoolasaurus. Unfortunately, Skoolasaurus isn't bulky enough to take 2 rampages and a counter, just missing out by under 100 hp. However, if the cat has taken any sort of chip damage, Skoolasaurus take advantage of Panthera B's lack of vulnerability resistance, hitting it with a strike into tip the scales.
Despite being a fierce, Thylaconyx has a slid shot against Skoolasaurus unlike Rexy. This is due to crushing prowl and the ability to dodge incoming hits, especially Skoolasaurus's rampage. However, at the end of the day, this is a 50/50 matchup. If Thylaconyx goes for crushing prowl and Skoolasaurus uses distracting rampage and misses, then Thylaconyx will do enough damage with bleed to take it down. However, if Thylaconyx uses prowl and Skoolasaurus uses strike, then Skoolasaurus will win with a rampage and a tip the scales. If Skoolasaurus strikes and Thylaconyx uses devouring wound, then Skoolasaurus is doomed. But if Skoolasaurus uses distracting rampage, then it wins. But the 50/50 is in favor of Skoolasaurus because in that first scenario, Thylaconyx needs that critical dodge.If it fails, then Skoolasaurus cleans it up with ease. So, of the 4 top legendaries, Skoolasaurus is hard countered by one, just misses out on another (but can take it down with a critical hit or if it has taken a small amount of chip damage), can 50/50 another with an advantage, and can solidly beat the last one. But now there's, what I like to say, the 'Legendary Meta Ensemble', which includes some other legendaries, omega, and epics.
Besides those big 4, there are a few other legendaries that need to be mentioned that I will rattle off right here:
Alloraptor is an easy KO for Skoolasaurus. When distracted, Skoolasaurus can still remove half of its hp with a rampage and take it down with a tip the scales before it can get going. And after the nerf Alloraptor got, it can't do the job set up and with a critical hit.
Lystrosuchus: You need to just run away. You aren't going to break through this tank anytime soon.
Tarbognathus: Even if you predict a rampage and use dodge to take the hit, you still lose. Skoolasaurus is faster and has too much hp.
Dreadactylus: Like Lystrosuchus, you cannot break through this tank. It will hide behind a shield and take you down. Not to mention the vulnerability resistance makes this even more impossible.
Ankylodactylus: Like the flocks before it, there is little it can do to stop Skoolasaurus. Skoolasaurus sets up a shield and goes to town on this legendary.
Now while there aren't as many good epics as there are legendaries, there are still a few epics you need to watch out for.
Dimodactylus: Now this one is interesting as Dimodactylus is very passive. Skoolasaurus can tank its hits, especially with the addition of armor reduction resistance. However, Dimodactylus rarely sticks around. But when it comes to a final scenario where you need Dimodactylus to be staying on the field, it cannot take down Skoolasaurus. But this is not going to happen often.
Panthera: Like Dimodactylus, Panthera isn't your typical 1v1 creature. Panthera relies on her revenge abilities paired with no escape. This is bad news for Skoolasaurus as it lacks pin resistance and is slower, meaning it can't even get a tip the scales off before a Panthera decimation.
Pulmonoscorpios: While not as common as the other 2, Pulmonoscorpios is still a solid epic in a legendary format. I mean your next best choice is probably Giganotosaurus (who loses to Skoolasaurus by the way). However, Skoolasaurus is just shy of taking down 2 flock members with a rampage, so unless you avoid the stun and get a critical hit on the rampage, you drop to Pulmonoscorpios.
Now the omegas are a bit more interesting as their stats are customizable, so some omega builds may do better in a particular matchup than others, with those others focusing on something else. But for the most part, many omega builds will still have similar results vs similar creatures.
Clever Girl: Yeah Skoolasaurus rips her apart. She can do big damage, but with tip the scales and a shield along with resilient strike, Clever Girl won't stand a chance, especially since may go all into attack to potentially one shot Panthera Blytheae with a critical hit on upper claw.
Fukuiraptor: If pounce and bite is active, Skoolasaurus probably isn't going to win. However, when its down, then Skoolasaurus can set up a shield and hope to take an impact and a pounce and bite. However, this is a raptor (I know it's not technically a real raptor) Skoolasaurus really can't sink its teeth into.
Toro: Toro made a great showing at this past skill format thanks to dodge and devour. Unfortunately that means nothing to Skoolasaurus and Toro's best play is to run away. If you are in a final 2v2 with a full Skoolasaurus vs a full Toro, You can predict the swap with tip the scales, hindering Toro even more.
Yuxisaurus: Yuxisaurus was a risky option, but being able to decimate Panthera Blytheae is no easy feat. And unfortunately, it can break through Skoolasaurus with its bulk , bleed, and healing abilities.
'93 Classic T. Rex: Despite being a fierce, Skoolasaurus does actually struggle with this omega thanks to its priority impact and decent bulk. Not to mention the counter and the distraction resistance make things even harder.
Diabloceratops: Diabloceratops is getting even better with the buff it just got, but despite this, it cannot take down Skoolasaurus, and that is with a stun. However, it can do a decent amount to it.
Ichthyovenator: While it may be bad, it isn't the worst omega anymore. However, Ichthyovenator does poorly into Skoolasaurus. It has the damage output, but Skoolasaurus can tank those hits and respond with a shield and tip the scales.
Stegouros: Stegouros can be tanky, but that's thanks to all the positive effects it gains, which is no match for Skoolasaurus. Skoolasaurus can just nullify all of the shields and ferocity and hit back with rampages, distraction, and vulnerability.
Megalania: With affliction, bleed, and stun, Megalania can clean up Skoolasaurus nicely. There's nothing Skoolasaurus can really do.
Koreanosaurus: Koreanosaurus is able to be the stronger of the tiny terrors this time thanks to unstoppable force allowing it to bypass Skoolasaurus's shields and rejuvenate allowing it to regain that massive hp stat.
Australotitan: This one is a bit iffy, but as long as Skoolasaurus is able to shield at the right time, it can win. The nullifying counter also comes in handy with the ferocity it gains while the distraction resistance is helpful with the counter. One false step for either will give the other the upper hand.
So, with all this in mind, is Skoolasaurus going to join the ranks of Thylaconyx and Rexy? Well unfortunately no. Skoolasaurus is great, but it lacks a good swap in or on escape tool, which the other top 4 have. And many of the omega have some sort of tool like that. Fukuiraptor is one of the few exceptions, but when pounce and bite can one shot anything without armor, exceptions are made. But that being said, it is the newest member of the 'Legendary Meta Ensemble'. In fact, it's possibly the strongest member of the group that is not an omega. So, is it worth investing in? I would say so 100%. Currently, a build along the lines of no speed, 18 hp, and 12 attack looks to be good. Many Rexy are not opting for hp and are instead interested in speed. With this build, you can take 2 critical hits from a Rexy with 2979 attack and 2-shot a base hp level 30 Rexy. You can now also play around Panthera Blytheae as well as Thylaconyx while still destroying the other top legendaries. Those epics will still be a pain, but the cunning omegas will have a bad day seeing Skoolasaurus on the other side of the battlefield. It's finally nice to see some of these trash creatures get some major love because they deserve it. Let's hope that Skoolasaurus paves the way to the future of the legendary meta in JWA.