Tier List Preface
Ludia has been pumping out updates faster than we've been able to keep up so we have been slightly behind with our Tier Lists lately. That changes today, however! We have been working hard the last couple of weeks (with a small break in the middle because of the Alber pursuit) to vote, discuss, and get the 2.8 Tier List ready for you. Before we get into the details, however, we want to take the opportunity to thank everyone that was involved in the process. Without their help this Tier List would not be possible.
Bart, BBell09, C123, DadJokes, Dinotris, DrWu13, Eduardo562, Engin_86, IDGT902, Martian, MattE, practicekat, Shyvalry, silverlynel21 and Piere87
A big thank you to all these people that voted and discussed on all creatures. Even though we did not always agree with everything, we did eventually manage to get our Tier List ready for you all.
I wanted to give a very special shout-out to Eduardo562 who provided all of the analysis and explanations in this article.
Method to the madness
Many people want to know how the Tier List gets compiled so here is a look at our process:
First, we assemble a team (kind of like the Avengers) and send out a survey to see where people think a particular dino should fall. This survey is done prior to any sim results being released so the results are based on experience with the creatures in the arena and any friendly battles we do (and trust us, we do a lot!). Then we compile the results and if there is any dino that had less than 65% of the group agreeing on the Tier it goes on the "contested list". That's when the real fun begins. Imagine almost 30 people in a closed channel on discord trying to discuss where Thoradolodaur should be placed. Both sides of the argument make their case and we do one more vote to determine the ultimate placement. Everyone also has a veto where they can bring up a dino or appeal the placement of one already discussed. Often times, vetos lead to even more discussions of even more creatures so this process can take some time until we have reached a conclusion or just given up and left it to the power of democracy.
Some of the dinos on the list are only in that specific Tier because they lost or won by 1 vote so just because it isn't where you might think it should have been, doesn't mean there aren't other people that agree with you! We tried to make it as democratic as a process as possible.
Our Tier List is based on strictly even levels disregarding Boosts. This is an important piece of information because eventually you will hit lesser and lesser returns on your creatures with Boosts, and a Tier List can help you figure out what to keep working on and what you should have abandoned long ago because it hits a ceiling that makes it a liability. Our Tier List is meant to help you -- all things being equal -- find the very best creatures and hopefully the best investments for your boosts.
This also means rarity is not taken into consideration when discussing the Tier List. Spawns change. Arena Exclusives become not so exclusive. And now Sanctuaries even opens up a new world of possibilities for people to attain DNA that was previously impossible to get outside of featured dinosaurs or incubators.
Our Tier List is based on discussion and matchups. We run hundreds of friendly battles on our own, determining what is working and what isn't. We have a comprehensive combat simulator created by the JWA Field Guide that helps us see how every single creature stacks up against every single other creature and we run every 1v1 matchup 4000 times.
But this is not a simulation Tier List. If it were, we'd have it ready for you on patch day. This is a Tier List that wonderfully talented and intelligent individuals have discussed ad-nauseum to get to the bottom of each creature, using ALL information at our disposal (friendly battles, simulation results, our own arena experiences, etc).
With the new Tier List, we will be covering the High Elite and Tyrant creatures and changes, and follow up this article with an article tomorrow covering all other changes and new creatures, so stay tuned for that! But for now, we’re sticking to High Elite and Tyrant, as those are the ones people usually are interested in. Once again, thank you to Eduardo for helping us with the analysis and explanation of these creatures.
So, let’s dive right into the new creatures, starting with the High Elite creatures and working our way up to Tyrant.
Dropped to High Elite
First, we'll discuss the creatures that fell from Tyrant into High Elite. We’ll start things off with DIORAJASAUR. It was already on the edge of dropping out of Tyrant due to its flaw of getting shut down too easily by Grypolyth and now Scorpius Rex Gen 3. It is very predictable as it wants to hide behind those Shields, allowing a free swap to Grypolyth. It’s still good, but it just doesn’t have what it takes to be Tyrant anymore.
ERLIKOSPYX also falls into High Elite due to the top meta becoming tankier and tankier. Hadros Lux and Ceramagnus are still dominating the arena, and new threats have shown up. However, Erlikospyx actually does well against Compsocaulus and Scorpius Rex Gen 3. However, with high damage sweepers falling out of relevancy, Erlikospyx drops down. The other Tyrant Cunning from 2.5 drops as well.
GORGOTREBAX falls into high elite for similar reasons to Erlikospyx. It is absolutely a top High Elite and was barely voted down. Due to its low Speed and with more Resilients getting buffs like Entelolania, we thought it should go down.
A classic staple has dropped. TRYKOSAURUS has been in Tyrant for a long time. However, with Compsocaulus entering the fray it was put on a timer. The final blow came with Scorpius Rex Gen 3 being able to come in on it with 1 hp and take it down. Trykosaurus is still a good creature, but with a real lack of resistances and a moveset that can’t keep up, Trykosaurus follows Diorajasaur and Erlikospyx.
Now, this one may have a few heads scratching, but we have our reasons. We feel that TENONTOREX does not have what it takes to be Tyrant anymore. Tenontorex has one of the best 1v1 spreads in the entire game, but it lacks in a few key areas. Like Tsintamoth, it is great at going head-to-head against everything below it, but it cannot reliably take out a single Tyrant. And on top of that, after a matchup, Tenontorex is just dead weight. Other Tyrants like Hadros Lux, Scorpius Rex Gen 3, Compsocaulus and Geminititan all have some perks that help them do well on even low Health or have good Immunities to cover them. However, Tenontorex has just none of these, and with it doing so poorly against tyrants, we felt it was time for it to drop.
New to High Elite
Next, let's discuss creatures that are new to High Elite
We’ll start with the featherless fighters: DODOCEVIA. Dodocevia has great all-around stats, a good Cunning moveset, and the Flock ability. What holds Dodocevia back is that it lacks a priority move, it can be Stunned, and it can be Pinned (which is bad for a swapper). However, no matter what circumstances it is in, Dodocevia will hit you like a freight train, giving it the High Elite placement.
Next up is the first Scorpius you’ll see today: SCORPIUS REX. Scorpius Rex has probably the weakest quill move: Lethal Quill Shot. However, this move is still deadly with its DoT and Distraction combination. You’ll want to use Scorpius Rex as a revenge killer, and then do the same thing you do with its Gen 2 version: Quill then Distract. You reduce damage to 0 while also bleeding 25% for 2 turns. Now, it has an even better Swap-In than Scorpius Rex Gen 2 with Swap-In Critical Ambush, allowing it to swap in and be the fastest thing around. And if you need to tank a big hit, Camouflage can help you turn the tables on your opponent.
Since 2.5, Ludia has given us 3 Apexes. Now we have one for every day of the week. And the first one introduced was REFRENANTEM. While probably the weakest of the 7 Apexes, Refrenantem is still a scary force. With the Distracting Counter, Super Distraction, and Cunning Rampage, it knows how to dish out a beating. However, we feel the turn 1 options and lack of strong Resistances keep it from Tyrant.
Next on the Apex train is HAAST MAXIMUS. It’s like Lightning McQueen: It’s all about Speed. It speeds up with every Strike and with Fearless Flap. It also has access to No Escape that also buffs its Speed and its Crit Chance. And finally, you have its big appeal: Ravenous Rampage, which is basically Raking Claws with priority. What hold Haast back from Tyrant? Same as Refrenantem, it lacks a good turn 1 option, and also has a poor Resistance pool. However, it is still very much deserving of its High Elite placement.
Now moving on to the Tyrant creatures. We consider these creatures the best of the best, so being placed here is quite the achievement! There are many still in Tyrant from 2.5 so we'll just discuss the new ones to the bunch.
Let’s start off with the final Apex: HYDRA BOA. Hydra boa is an interesting creature, with two of its 4 moves having priority. You have a priority Nullifying Strike as the basic attack, a priority Maiming Wound that is also an Impact. You also have a Dodge move similar to the Scorpius Rex Gen 3s Critical Ambush. Finally, opposite to Refrenantem, Hydra Boa has a counter-attack that buffs its Attack. Now, this sounds like something that is High Elite, but then you have the On Escape Constricting Rampage. This heals Hydra Boa and does a Rampage to the escapee. AND, when paired with that counter, you heal more and dish out more. Hydra Boa has hit the swap meta very hard.
Next up is the final Scorpius of the bunch: SCORPIUS REX GEN 3. This is the pinnacle of win quality, and it also has an insanely good matchup spread. It gets to the point where you must ask, “What can actually deal damage to it?” Trykosaurus usually does 400. Diorajasaur does 600 (If the Scorpius Rex Gen 3 player gets the stun, there is a good chance they can take 0 against them). Thylacotator usually does 0, along with others like Dracoceratosaurus, Diplodocus, and Brontolasmus to name a few. And if they are immune to Stun? Well odds are they get 2-turned anyways like Geminititan. Its signature move, Toxic Quills, is in our opinion, the best move in the game. And Scorpius Rex Gen 3 also has Swap-in Critical Ambush. This thing has basically shifted the meta almost as much as a new mechanic.
Finally, we have the premium Flocker: COMPSOCAULUS. Compsocaulus is one of the best creatures in the game. Period. Being able to kill many top Resilients like Geminititan and even the mighty Hadros Lux, Compsocaulus flipped the metagame on its head, thus hitting most high-damage sweepers incredibly hard. With access to Alert Scurry, Deceleration Immunity, and Swap-In Distraction, these tiny titans can walk in on other Cunnings like Magnapyritor and just take it out.
And finally, we end on the king of uniques. SKOONASAURUS was initially overshadowed by Entelolania back when 2.6 dropped, but after people realized entelolania wasn’t what they thought, they looked and Skoona and realized just how crazy it is. It has more hp than Ardentismaxima, 30% armor, great multipliers that are all available turn 1, a very good set of Resistances, a nice priority move, and group moves. And the cherry on top? Well let’s throw on a Medium Resilient Counter-Attack, to make sure it maintains its priority. There are very few counters, and many aren’t even guaranteed. Skoonasaurus towers above all Uniques and is only behind Ceramagnus and Hadros lux for a reason.
So what do you do with this Tier List?
This Tier List is a general guide to what creatures are best to work on for the endgame. However, just because a creature is in a low Tier or if it has dropped a Tier doesn't mean that it isn't good for you to use! Magnapyritor for example dropped a Tier, but we still consider it one of the best 1v1 creatures around! Also, keep in mind that Boosts do change up creatures significantly. So use this Tier List as a guide, but not an end-all chart of what to do.
Make sure to check out our second article tomorrow highlighting and analyzing even more of the changes this time around. Check out the images below for the full list and make sure to join our discord server for more discussions. Knowing the community, I'm sure there is something you think we got wrong.