The Best Legends of Runeterra Starter Decks
It’s always hard to start a new card game. Thankfully, we’ve done some research and are here to help. After some time and consideration, we’re going to help you put together some Legends of Runeterra decks to get started!
The hardest part of this is the actual building of the decks. You have a limited supply of wild cards per week. That is, outside of hard, tedious grinding. But I’ll break down a few decks I’ve found and worked with and will hopefully help you on your path to solo battles in Runeterra! Personally, my favorite deck so far was an Expedition deck (Demacia and Shadow Isles), but these are more along the lines of constructed for Normal and Ranked.
I will do my best to update this as cards get buffed/nerfed, and fun new stuff comes into the meta. For now, I want to start with some Legends of Runeterra decks that I have first-hand experience with, whether I played it or played against it. It’s fairly slow-going building decks, but after another week or so, I’ll have a few more in play, I think.
For a breakdown of the mechanics, keywords, and more feel free to check out our quick start guide on how to play Legends of Runeterra!
Kaze ni Nare – Be the Wind (Ionia/Noxus Mid-Range/Combo)
This was a deck that took me some time to find success with. I’m still contemplating taking Katarina out and putting Ezreal in. His “Elusive” keyword would offer me another way to sneak damage in, and that’s what this deck is all about.
This is not an early game deck at all. Most of my games had me playing passive in the first 3 turns. Maybe I could recall a unit or stun one, to keep myself in the game.
Thankfully, Yasuo doesn’t have to witness the stun/recall usage to gain his level up. They only must happen. So, this deck is built around stalling and controlling the board, and then using Yasuo’s passive to obliterate your opponents.
Yasuo is one of the more toxic champions in League of Legends after all. It only fits that we start with him. There are some truly filthy combos with him in this deck. He may not always be your game-winner, but you can count on Yasuo to help you hyper carry to a victory.
How Does It Work?
I’m going to try and use the same format for the MTGA articles I do on deck builds, because if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it! So this deck is a mid-late game monster. You are running three champions: Yasuo, Zed, Katarina. Zed is your early to mid-game distraction. People naturally want to kill Zed because of what he can do. He can make those frustrating Living Shadows and force opponents to block them or take extra damage.
Katarina is in a similar situation. She’s there to be a distraction. A great deal of this deck is built around the “Quick Attack” keyword. When on the attack, these creatures deal damage first. So if they kill a unit before taking damage, they won’t die themselves. Katarina recalls after she attacks, and when she’s played again (if leveled up), she gives you Rally. So you attack with her, recall her, and play her again on your opponent’s round. That way, you can attack during his turn too.
But the real star of this show is Yasuo. Whenever you stun or recall an enemy unit, he hits them for 2 damage. When he’s leveled up, he strikes them for his full damage. All you have to do to level him up is stun/recall 6+ Units. Please note, it doesn’t say “enemy” units. So you can recall your own to save them, and build up your Yasuo.
Yasuo’s passive will trigger anytime you Stun or Recall an enemy, even if it’s multiple times in one turn. So if you say, play Minotaur Reckoner, he will stun the weakest enemy every turn, which will, in turn, dole out damage from Yasuo, if he’s on the board.
That’s what you do with this deck. You bop them with Quick Attack, build up Yasuo, and suddenly drop damage out of nowhere. Yone, Windchaser is one of Yasuo’s best pals, especially in this deck. When you play Yone, Windchaser, they stun two enemy units. If it’s your turn (or you have an Attack Icon), feel free to drop Dawn and Dusk on Yone. It won’t trigger the ability again, but it will give you 3 6/6s to attack with on top of Yasuo.
Your end game is to use your champions to keep your opponent’s board clear, and to keep the fear of god in ‘em. The longer the game goes on, the better your Legion General will be, too. They gain +1/+1 for every single instance of Stun/Recall you use as the game goes on. So you can play it early if you need (it IS a 5/5), then recall it and replay it when it would be bigger and meaner.
- Yasuo (4-cost, 4/3, Ionia): Yasuo has Quick Attack and is a 4/3 right out of the box. To level him up, you need to Stun or Recall 6+ units, and he doesn’t have to be in your hand or in play either. He’s excellent at keeping damage and pressure on. The more stun/recalling you can do, the more ferocious he is. When he levels up, he strikes instead of deals 2 damage on a stun/recall. That means if you drop an Elixir of Wrath, he’s going to hit for at least 8 per. With a nice wide board-wide stun, that is a lot of damage.
- Zed (3-cost, 3/2, Ionia): Another Quick Attack jerk! But Zed brings an Emphermal Living Shadow with the same stats Zed has, each time he attacks. His level up is even easier: Him and his shadows strike the enemy Nexus twice. When he levels up, his attack creates a Living Shadow with both his stats and keywords. That means they also Quick Attack! He becomes a 4/3 and will make your board state a nightmare to deal with.
- Katarina (3-cost, 3/2, Noxus): Katarina, oh Katarina. She has Quick Attack too, what a shock. Her level up is the easiest of all, provided you can get her damage through safely. When she’s struck once (has dealt damage), then is recalled. That 3/2 then becomes a 4/3 Quick Attack that Rallies when played. Her strike recalls her as I said above, so it’s a near-infinite loop of aggressive attacks. As long as her power isn’t 0, she can Strike. She’s not an end-game move for me, just fun and annoying. I like playing her to distract people from my real plans.
Intimidating Roar (4-cost, Uncommon Spell – Slow): God, I wish this spell weren’t “Slow.” But it would probably be far too powerful. Intimidating Roar is one of my key cards to use when Yasuo is on the board. It stuns all enemy units with 4 or less power. This is best used on your opponent’s turn too before they declare attack. If Yasuo is on the field, this could very well end their attack step completely. I deal with a lot of Spider decks, and most of those have 1 health. It’s very easy to wipe out a field of Spider Jerks.
Rivershaper (3-cost, Uncommon Unit – Ionia): Rivershaper exists to be cannon fodder for my attacks, to be frank. It’s a 3-cost, so it’s slow. But this 2/1 has a very useful power. Strike: Draw a spell. Strike is key because you don’t have to “attack.” You simply have to deal damage. When he deals damage, he will draw you a spell. If you cast Rush on him, you can make him a 3/1 with Quick Attack for a turn. That will give you at least one more chance to draw a spell.
Deny (3-cost, Uncommon Spell, Fast – Ionia): Deny is the best spell in the game. There isn’t a single spell with more usefulness and utility than Deny. I don’t care what you have to say about it, either. Deny can stop a Fast Spell, Slow Spell, or a Skill. Zed about to make a clone? Nope! Want to stop an enemy unit from gaining +2/+2? Put a halt to it right away! Deny has a near-infinite amount of uses. With patience and Spell Mana, it can come out of just about nowhere. It’s why so many decks will run Ionia, just for this if nothing else.
Minotaur Reckoner (6-cost, Uncommon Unit – Noxus): Yone, Windchaser is great because he stuns two units when he comes into play. Other than recall, it only happens once. But the Minotaur Reckoner? Each round, each round period, he will stun the weakest enemy. Weakest is defined by “Lowest Power,” with ties broken by Lowest Health then Lowest Cost. With him and Yasuo on the table, it’s a nice steady stream of damage. Plus it’s a 6/6 and is a great offensive and defensive option.
Format is Name, Cost, Number
Ghost (1) x2
Guile (1) x1
Recall (1) x1
Rush (1) x1
Death Lotus (2) x2
Fae Bladetwirler (2) x3
Arachnoid Sentry (3) x3
Deny (3) x2
Katarina (3) x1
Noxian Guillotine (3) x2
Rivershaper (3) x3
Zed (3) x2
Yasuo (4) x3
Intimidating Roar (5) x3
Legion General (5) x2
Dawn and Dusk (6) x3
Minotaur Reckoner (6) x3
Yone, Windchaser (7) x3
This deck had a rocky start. It’s rough against hyper-aggressive Legends of Runeterra decks. If you can’t get a foothold and start control of the board before they start hitting you with big numbers early on. Noxus and Shadow Isles gave me quite a fright, as did Demacia. The hardest part of any match-up is the early game. Before turn 4, I am stressed out, hoping I can simply last long enough to get going.
Fae Bladetwirler was going to be in my “key cards” list, as a ⅓ Quick Attack. It gains +2 attack whenever a Stun/Recall happens from my side of the field. But I wasn’t often lucky enough to get these little Bladetwirlers going. This is a deck you have to consider hard what your opponent can do, and hope you Stun the right thing at the right time. Being heavily countered earlier can also spell doom. If you can’t get Yasuo chain-murdering your opponent’s units, you are going to be in for a bad time.
The best start for this deck is a nice, smooth tempo. Get your Bladetwirler, then your Arachnoid Sentry. Follow that with Yasuo, an Intimidating Roar, and then Minotaur Reckoner. If you can get a second of them, more’s the better! It’s very satisfying to watch Yasuo slice down unit after unit on the other side of the board.
But one of the most satisfying things in the deck is a leveled-up Yasuo, and then dropping Yone (and perhaps another Yone after that). I think the biggest win I got with this deck was Leveled-Up Yasuo, Minotaur Reckoner, Yone, and then Dawn and Dusk my Yone. It didn’t trigger the double-stun, but it gave me two more 6/6s to attack with.
Legends of Runeterra Decks: Shen + Fiora OTK (Control – Mid-Range)
This is a combo that was revealed to me during Closed Beta as something to watch out for. It’s annoying, it’s vile, and it can completely take the victory out of your opponent’s hands. Is it any surprise that I love this deck?
So what makes this deck so infuriating? Because Fiora can auto-win, with a little time and patience. When leveled up, Fiora gives you the win if she has killed four units. She only needs to kill two units to level up. So you have to be aggressive with her, without her dying. How do you do that? Liberal use of Shen, Barrier, and picking off weak units that can’t stop her. She has Challenger so that she can do that with ease.
How Does It Work?
This deck technically has another option to win with, should you not believe you can do it with Fiora alone. Greengalde Caretaker is your other option, which also relies heavily on the Barrier effect. Greenglade Caretaker gains +2/+0 permanently, every time one of your allies receives the Barrier effect.
That can happen every turn with Shen, as long as he and the unit to the right of him attacks. So you slap Fiora down with Shen, drag a poor sap into her line of sight (or Greenglade Caretaker), and start stacking numbers. This deck runs a ton of spells too. Options for Barrier, Quick Attack, Counter-play (Deny), and the power to remove text/keywords from a follower (Purify). It’s fun, it’s pretty easy to run, but you have to decide by the mid-game what you’re going to do. If you’re going to focus on the Caretaker, you have to start building her up. Get her up to the point where you can one-hit the enemy base, but store some mana.
One easy solution is to attack with the Caretaker when you can OHKO their Nexus. Then when blockers are declared, wait for someone not to be blocked. Cast “Stand United” and swap their positions on the battlefield and give both Barrier.
That will get you around blockers, and make sure you win. If you think Fiora can take on a group of attackers and win (a bunch of 1/1s for example) and you can give her Barrier, Judgment could be your game-winner. You can also burst in a variety of Barrier effects to keep her alive long enough to kill the requisite amount of enemy units.
That’s what this deck does. You wait out until you have a perfect moment of tranquility, and make your opponent dive. If you’re worried about having enough Spells in hand, use your Rivershaper! Every time they strike someone, they draw a spell from your deck (not a card, a spell). With smart use of Barrier, they can do it more than once!
Kinkou Wayfinder lets you draw 1-cost followers from the deck, and you only have two: 3 copies of Greenglade Caretaker, and 1 Inspiring Mentor. You can use it to buff your Rivershaper so that it can stay around a little longer.
Support is the most crucial role in League of Legends, and this powerful deck is proof.
- Fiora (3-cost, 3/3, Demacia): Oh, Fiora. She is one of the champions I hate the most in League of Legends. Far too many times, have I watched her 1v5 a team, and then you hear in All Chat “GG EZ.” That’s what she does here. She’s a 3/3 with Challenger and levels up off killing 2 enemies. Her leveled up form is 4/4, and she only needs to kill 4 enemies and survive to win the game. That’s what Shen and Barrier is for! She needs to survive, so she’s going to be a target for units with Challenger, and instant death spells. Try and hold back some mana for barrier/deny as you need.
- Shen (4-cost, ⅖, Ionia): SUPPORT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLE. I cannot stress this enough. Shen is a 4-cost champion with Support: give my supported ally Barrier. That means when the attached Shen attacks, the unit to his right gets barrier. So you put Fiora on his right, and swing! Once he’s seen an ally gain Barrier 4 times, he levels up. Now he’s a 3/6 Shen, who in addition to giving Barrier, when someone gains Barrier, they gain +3/+0 until end of turn. That makes it even easier for Fiora to smackdown anyone she darn well pleases. Does that tell you why this combo is so vile?
Ki Guardian (2-cost Common Burst Spell): Oh boy, Ki Guardian! Boy, do I love this card when I’m using it. Ki Guardian grants Barrier to an ally in your hand and also lets you draw 1. That means your Fiora is going to hit the board with Barrier in play to get an immediate kill. Hopefully, the next turn you have a Shen to play, you can do it a second time. Most of the spells in your deck do something handy like this, but this is low-cost and helps you deliver a pre-emptive strike. Since it’s a Burst spell, your opponent won’t have time to react to it.
KSpirit’s Refuge (4-cost Common Burst Spell): Another Burst-speed spell, you say? 6 out of 9 in the deck are Burst speed! Nice. So, let’s focus on Spirit’s Refuge. Are you about to lose, but sure that your next turn could get you the win, or put you back in the game? Swing with a high-strength creature, then cast Spirit’s Refuge. Spirit’s Refuge gives your targeted unit Barrier and Lifesteal this round! Oh man, that’s handy. If you have a 10/2 Greenglade Caretaker, that’s a lot of life back. Please note, your Nexus can’t go over 20 health, but it will bring you back to the game in the right situation. You can also use it to make a blocker unkillable and make certain they can be used the next turn. You know, if follow-up damage doesn’t happen.
KJudgment (8-cost Common Fast Spell): Do you have a large-power creature, or maybe two of them, and want to make sure that someone’s going to get through? Enter Judgment! However, it is Fast speed. So, it can be denied. When you cast Judgment, one of the allies of your choice will Strike all battling enemies. This will potentially let you batter an entire enemy field down, or at least, enough of them to get your desired attacker through. It can also potentially save characters about to be killed by a Challenger (save Fiora)! With proper arrangement and timing, this can also get Fiora her 3rd and 4th kill without any effort. As long as she survives the ordeal (Barrier), you win! How satisfying would it be to win on your opponent’s attack?
Greenglade Caretaker (1) x3
Inspiring Mentor (1) x1
Rush (1) x1
Purify (2) x2
Greenglade Duo (2) x3
Ki Guardian (2) x3
Single Combat (2) x2
Fiora (3) x3
Rivershaper (3) x2
Shadow Assassin (3) x3
Prismatic Barrier (3) x2
Shen (4) x3
Kinkou Wayfinder (4) x3
Spirit’s Refuge (4) x3
Stand United (6) x2
Judgment (8) x1
Shen+Fiora is an incredibly powerful deck. It may be one of the strongest Legends of Runeterra decks if it gets going. Does it have weaknesses? Of course, it does! Heavy control can stop this dead in its tracks. Your opponent likely understands what you’re trying to do and will leverage their strength into either 1. Killing Fiora as quickly as possible or 2. Attack with so many strong creatures, you’ll have no choice but to throw her or other key creatures as possible.
This deck has plenty of Burst-speed Spells, but you can run out! In a way, this is a control deck, thanks to the massive amount of Barrier in the deck. Kinkou Wayfinder is a sort of wildcard in this deck. You only get the two 1-cost creatures, if your next card in your deck is of the same region.
However, this deck has a 30-10 split (Ionia and Demacia respectively). The odds are incredibly high, but there is always going to be a bad cast. Opponents who counter your Barrier can also spell doom. That means the Ionia mirror could be very hard to deal with. Ephemeral Shadow Isles decks can also be hard to deal with.
Those decks think nothing of throwing creatures away. Those Shadow Isles decks in fact, gain benefit from their creatures dying and can take the game away from you with enough deaths. Like that infuriating Shark Chariot card. It will just keep coming back and before you know it, Shen and Fiora are both dead, and the game is over.
This deck has a nice tempo, thanks to the low-cost of most of the cards in this deck. The average casting cost is 3, and there isn’t much in the deck that’s slow at all. It’s mostly commons, with a stack of rares and 1 epic. It might take some time to build due to how slow it is picking up wildcards, but it will be worth it. If you want to RKO people, here’s your chance.
Legends of Runeterra Decks: Teemo, On Duty! (Teemo Deck)
Or “You’ll never hear the Puff that brings you down.”
The hardest deck for me to beat so far has not been hyper-aggro Noxus or mid-range Demacia/Freljord Big Dudes. Instead, it’s been Piltover & Zaun Teemo! All I hear is “Hup, two, three, four!” and that adorable voice. It haunts my nightmares. You don’t even need a second faction! Teemo in League of Legends, it was said, has a Global Taunt. What is it? You see a Teemo in the game, and he has your mental aggro. Teemo must be put into the ground.
This deck isn’t just Mushroom Caps, but it’s the big focus of the deck. It also has some fun with Ezreal, for Elusive, and the powerful Mystic Shots he can bring. What makes this deck so frustrating is how much damage those Poison Puffcaps can do. The damage adds up and can come out of nowhere, especially if you’re unlucky. Like I am.
How Does It Work?
Poison Puffcaps aren’t a card, so much as an ability. Several cards in this deck create Poison Puffcaps. They are, in turn, attached to random cards in your deck. From what I understand, the Poison Puffcaps can have multiples per card. I’ve had turns where I took 5 damage simply by drawing a card.
Decks that have a lot of card draw can be very scared by Teemo because he spells their doom. You have creatures that create embed Poison Puffcaps when you cast a spell! This is not a deck you do a lot of attacking with, either. You rely on spells to stop creatures from harassing you. Then you use Shady Character to become a copy of your Puffcap Peddler. The more Puffcap Peddlers you have, the more Poison Puffcaps appear every time you cast a spell.
On top of that suck salad, You have a ton of 1-cost spells that are easy to use, like the Mushroom Clouds. In the mid-late game, you can also use Progress Day! to cast your 1-costs for 0, and be even more frustrating. You also have Trueshot Barrage to wipe weaker units off the board.
Between Shady Character and HExtech Transmogulator, you’ll never run out of those infuriating Poison Puffcaps. Then you wait on your opponent to draw cards. So what do these Puffcaps do? When drawing a card that has Puffcaps on it, that player’s Nexus takes 1 damage per Puffcap. Since Teemo is Elusive, he generally has easy access to your opponent’s Nexus.
When he levels up (after dropping 15 puffcaps), his Nexus Strike doubles the amount of Puffcaps in your opponent’s deck. That happens every single time he hits the enemy Nexus. A few turns later, and you’re taking 8, 9, 10 damage out of nowhere. You can also use Counterfeit Copies to make even more Mushroom Caps into your deck so you can always cast more.
So you build up as many Poison Puffcaps in your opponent’s deck as you can, and use your spells to batter their creatures. You don’t need to attack often, except with Ez and Teemo. The longer the game goes on, the harder it’s going to be for your opponent to get through. It’s Russian Roulette. Only Teemo doesn’t have to pull the trigger.
- Ezreal (3-cost, ⅓, Piltover & Zaun): Ezreal’s pretty great, and he synergizes well with many champions, especially Teemo. Whenever he deals damage to an enemy Nexus, he gets a temporary Mystic Shot to cast. After you’ve targeted the enemy units 8 times, he will level up. He still gets that Nexus Strike, but anytime you cast a spell, he deals 2 damage to the Nexus. His purpose in the deck is to help you get more damage for enemy units. Those extra Mystic Shots mean 2 damage reliably. Ez is extra creature removal. Plus he’s Elusive, so he can only be blocked by Elusive creatures.
- Teemo (1-cost, 1/1, Piltover & Zaun): Be careful when casting Teemo. He’s only a 1/1! He’s incredibly strong though. Simply by hitting the enemy Nexus, he adds 5 Poison Puffcaps to the other player’s deck. Once you’ve planted 15+ (he doesn’t have to be present), he levels up. Then he becomes a 2/2 Teemo, that has a new, horrifying Nexus Strike. He doubles the number of Puffcaps in an opponent’s deck by hitting their Nexus. How would you like to draw a card and take 6 damage? I know I don’t care for it. With enough Puffcaps dropping a turn, it’s going to be a very bad time to be an opponent. I don’t play Teemo until I’m ready to finish my opponent unless I’m sure they can’t stop my little buddy.
Counterfeit Copies (1-cost, Uncommon Burst Spell): Pick a card in hand. Shuffle 4 exact copies of it into your deck. This card has a ton of potential, especially as a 1-cost spell! Since it’s burst, you can’t stop it from happening, at least, not yet. So turn 1, you have it and a Mushroom Cloud in hand? Drop it! It works for any card in your hand, too. You could do it to have 4 more Teemos in your deck, to make sure you have that jerk show up often. You could do it with Mystic Shots, Chump Whumps, Puffcap Peddlers, any card you feel is the most important and you need more of them.
Mushroom Cloud (1-cost, Common Burst Spell): Mushroom Cloud is the card that makes this deck work other than the creatures that add Poison Puffcaps. Mushroom Clouds add 5 Poison Puffcaps into your opponent’s deck, and they do it at Burst Speed. If you have several in your hand at once, and some spare Spell Mana, you can drop 15 extra Puffcaps while still casting spells and units. This card is super strong. I’m kind of shocked it’s only a 1-cost common.
Clump of Whumps (2-cost, Common Follower): I was torn between Chump Whump (4-cost) and the cheaper Clump of Whumps. Clump of Whumps is a 2-cost follower, that’s also a 2/2. His power and toughness aren’t important. But when you cast him, you create a Mushroom Cloud in your hand. Chump Whump creates 2. So it just means even more annoying Puffcaps. If you do this, drop the caps and then swing with Teemo that’s leveled up? You know what’s coming.
Puffcap Peddler (3-cost, Common Follower): Puffcap Peddler is the other major key to this deck. You’ll want to use Shady Character and Transmogulator onto them as often as possible. Why is that? This 3-drop adds 3 Poison Puffcaps into your opponent’s deck anytime you cast a spell. The more of them on the board, the more shrooms your opponent is going to step on! It’s not going to be a fun time at all. Every time I see my opponent cast Puffcap Peddler, I wince.
Teemo (1) x3
Counterfeit Copies (1) x3
Mushroom Cloud (1) x3
Mystic Shot (2) x3
Clump of Whumps (2) x3
Ezreal (3) x3
Puffcap Peddler (3) x3
Chump Whump (4) x3
Shady Character (4) x3
Statikk Shock (4) x3
Hextech Transmogrifier (6) x1
Trueshot Barrage (7) x3
Progress Day! (8) x3
This is another “the longer the game goes on” decks. But, it has some pretty serious flaws. Not being able to kill your opponent’s creatures can be a serious flaw. Also, Challenger-heavy Legends of Runeterra decks are going to rough you up. They’ll pull the Teemos, Ezreals, Puffcap Peddlers upfront, and slaughter them. Ephemeral Decks could also be the end.
Sure, you can deal 5-10 damage every time your opponent draws a card, but that’s all down to RNG. You might not deal damage either! It depends on where those Poison Puffcaps drop, and if you even pull them. The bigger your opponent’s creatures are, the harder this match-up is going to be. My least-favorite is Freljord/Noxus. Their huge, Overpower creatures can be disastrous. Jinx/Draven can also be hard to handle with their discard = more damage gimmick. But if you’re a gambler, this is your Ace of Spades.
Legends of Runeterra Decks: Braum’s Your Pal! (Control Deck)
If you’ve read any of my decklists by now, you know my favorite way to play any card game: control! The notion of locking the board down so nobody can do anything but me appeals to me immensely. The “control” faction is technically Ionia, but that’s not the only way to do it!
For example, Freljord and Shadow Isles, when combined, create powers that some might consider unnatural. This deck, in particular, only uses one Champion: Braum! I might slap Thresh in at some point, but I don’t think he’s needed. All you need is your good pal Braum! This deck is a little on the complicated side, though. That’s why I like the concept of it. You have to consider every move you make carefully and not be too greedy.
There are all kinds of units and champions we could put in here, but why? The only one I desperately want to find room for is Ashe, and that’s only for one follower: Rimefang Wolf! When that Challenger blocks a unit with 0 power, he kills it. So having more Frostbite in the deck would be dandy. With careful play and some planning, you can make anyone feel the chill of the Freljord mountains.
How Does It Work?
The idea is that you stall out the early game until you can make Braum an unstoppable monster, and get your couple of high-cost followers out onto the field. Commander Ledros, for example, cuts your opponent’s Nexus life in half when you play him. His Last Breath ability returns him to your hand to do it again. In a game without mill, he’s ferocious. He’s an 8/6 with Fearsome. An ideal situation is to get rid of the bigger units your opponent fields, and simply swing hard with Commander Ledros and Braum.
Since Braum, Rimefang Wolf, and Stalking Wolf all have Challenger, you can pull away from your opponent’s blockers, so they have no choice but to take damage. But Braum has no attack power! What do you do with him to fix it? Take Heart, of course! It gives a damaged unit +3/+3. Since Braum also regenerates every turn, you have to do it before the turn/round is over.
When he levels up, he also makes 3/3 Overwhelm Poros, so you ideally will always have damage and blockers. You can heal your Nexus too in this deck, and stay around just a few more turns. The idea behind this deck is you get an early advantage, and control the board with Challenger units. Pick off those weak units, and in particular, the Rimefang Wolf. When your opponent plays something that you simply can’t deal with, or is going to grow every turn, you can Frostbite, attack, pull it forward, and immediately kill it.
This game does not have Indestructible creatures yet, but they do have “barrier.” Here’s something to consider though. Rimefang Wolf does not state it has to deal damage, only that it has to “Strike.” So depending on how this game’s errata works, it may go right through Barrier — something to chew on, if you will.
Your overall gameplan is to hold the fort, defense up, and sneak in shots when possible. You also have Rhasa the Sunderer that kills the two weakest enemies, as long as one of your allies died this turn. How to make that happen? Put them in a situation where they have to fight and/or die, or simply use Glimpse Beyond. That lets you kill an ally to draw two cards.
This deck has lots of options to control the board, though. From Avalanche dealing damage to all units, Harsh Winds to Frostbite, and Withering Wail to hit all enemies (and heal your Nexus). So you have to understand what the other player is doing and react accordingly. This is a deck that you will do better with, the better you know the game and the meta.
- Braum (3-cost, 0/5, Freljord): Though this is a Freljord/Shadow Isles deck, you only need one Champion: Braum! Braum is your friend, your ally, and he’s a 0/5 with Challenger/Regeneration. So as long as you don’t deal him fatal damage, he sticks around at full health with the next round of combat. His level up is based on his surviving damage, so you want him to be blocking all the time. But be advised: your opponent might try and sneak some extra damage to kill him. But you are running 3 of him. His leveled up form gives you a 0/7 Challenger/Regeneration, that creates 3/3 Overwhelm Poros simply by surviving damage. Any damage. That includes damage you dole out to him through your spells! If you need more creatures, that’s a great way to make certain you have them. Braum is a serious business. While he does no damage, you can use those Take Hearts on him, to make up have up to 9 attack power.
Rimefang Wolf (3-cost Uncommon Follower): For the cost of 3 mana, Rimefang Wolf is a 3/2 with Challenger. God, if I could figure out a way to give it Quick Attack, it would be near unstoppable. Rimefang Wolf has serious early game value, though. When Rimefang Wolf strikes a 0-power unit, they kill it immediately. So you build it up with Frostbite abilities across the board. It is a great way to deal with creatures who snowball out of control in a hurry. Vanguard Firstblade is a great example of this. It gains +2/+2 every time it attacks. So, it attacks, you sneak out a Frostbite shot, and block it. Now it’s gone! The only thing it’s missing, again, is Quick Attack.
Commander Ledros (8-cost Rare Follower): I don’t often choose Rares. Not on purpose, but most of these decks don’t have a lot of rares! Commander Ledros though is powerful indeed. He’s an 8/6 with Fearsome, and simply playing him cuts the Enemy Nexus in half. When he dies, he comes back into your hand to do it one more time! Put your opponent’s Nexus into a spot where you can simply overrun them, or abuse Challenger. With enough Challenger units vs. your opponent’s blockers, you can make it so your opponent cannot stop incoming damage at all!
Babbling Bjerg (4-cost Common Follower): Why is Babbling Bjerg so great? He’s a 3/3 for 4, which is mediocre at best, annoying at worst. But consider this: When summoned, you draw a unit from your deck that has 5+ power. Only two choices can be picked: Rhasa the Sunderer, and Commander Ledros. So you know one of these critical, important followers are going to playable! Both are incredibly key to the deck, and one of them can end the game the turn he shows up, depending on the circumstances. In other Legends of Runeterra decks, this can do even more. There are plenty of followers that buff cards that are still in the deck! But here, it’s just to make sure those two potential win-cons get to your board.
Hapless Aristocrat (1) x2
Stalking Wolf (2) x3
Icevale Archer (2) x3
Avarosan Sentry (2) x3
Glimpse Beyond (2) x3
Vile Feast (2) x3
Black Spear (2) x2
Rimefang Wolf (3) x3
Take Heart (3) x3
Babbling Bjerg (4) x2
Avalanche (4) x2
Withering Wail (5) x2
Grasp of the Undying (5) x1
Harsh Winds (6) x2
Rhasa the Sunderer (7) x2
Commander Ledros (8) x1
This is an entertaining deck to play, especially when everything is going your way. It’s critical not to give up because you can always turn it around. I, in particular, like shutting down Spider decks. So many of those little jerks hit the board at once, but they tend to have 1 or 2 life points at best. That means it’s easy to wipe them with your AOE spells. You also have Rhasa the Sunderer, for when your opponent only has one or two creatures on the board. If they have two powerful champions and nothing else, they will both fall to the Sunderer.
This is a deck that can take command of the game in very subtle ways. With your pal Braum, he can make sure that your opponent’s best creatures don’t get through. I would like to find more ways to buff him though or add more Frostbite. That’s all this deck is missing. It’s still fun, and it’s successful. There are other ways to play a solo Braum deck. Freljord and Ionia are also a fun way to go, with more stop and more buffing. You have to be careful of hyper aggression, though. Those Spider decks can be a pain. Since Elise can make them all have Challenger, a bad set-up can pick off your key creatures.
Play smart, play slow, and don’t be afraid to throw away creatures so you can stay in the game. That’s the nature of the game, after all. However, most of your creatures are pretty weak. Heavy Overwhelm can spell disaster, especially from the Noxus/Freljord combination. A 3/1 Challenger is no match for a 13/13 Overwhelm. But with Frostbite, anyone can be stopped.
Legends of Runeterra Decks: Damage Control (Control Deck)
This deck is a little more on the expensive side of things, but it does deliver! There are all kinds of ways to play “control” in Legends of Runeterra. Control means something different here since only one faction has access to “Deny.”
In this particular deck, Control is quick mana ramp, followed by incredibly strong creatures, and a lot of spells. Wyrding Stones are key to this deck since they give you an extra mana gem each round. You want access to as much mana as possible, for cards like “She Who Wanders,” or perhaps best of all, Warmother’s Call. That might be the most enjoyable card in this deck. I haven’t seen a card that’s more expensive yet, but it packs a serious punch.
This spell, it lets you summon the top unit from your deck upon casting, and on each Start of Round. That means you can get multiple copies of champions and big creatures simply by existing. So if you can get more than one Wyrding Stone out early, and survive, you’ll see big results. You also have Catalyst of Aeons for a heal/more mana. Between those, you have more than enough mana ramp, so you have plenty of ways to get your The Ruination, Vengeance, Withering Wail, or Avalanche out. You want to use those to keep your opponent’s board clear.
How Does It Work?
Mana. Ramp. That’s the key. You have two ways to do that, and you ideally will get Wyrding Stones and Avarosan Hearthguards early. Avarosan Hearthguards give all allies in your deck +1/+1, so you want to drop these quick fast and in a hurry. That way, your Tryndamere, Anvivia, and She Who Wanders will come out much bigger.
Anivia, despite being nerfed, is still very powerful. Her attack deals 1 (or 2 at level up) damage to all enemies, even if they aren’t blocking. So if you can make that Ice Bird stronger on launch, she can be a disaster to deal with.
Can this deck win through damage? Of course, that’s the way you’re supposed to do it. That’s unusual for a “control” deck, though! You usually make people give up in frustration. But this deck? Oh no, you’re going to swing for the fences. Ideally, you’re going to keep the board of your opponent as clear as possible, until you can play obnoxious cards like Warmother’s Call. Which is terrific, because it’s a spell. If it were a follower, it could be destroyed.
The danger, of course, is that it is a “Slow” speed spell. If your opponent is running Ionia, please be aware that they can Deny it. I’d try and bait those out early, if at all possible. Be advised of what your opponent can do. But if you get that card into play, you will always have creatures to play. Big creatures. As long as they’re in your deck.
You have The Ruination to destroy all unit son the board, and She Who Wanders to destroy weak units (destroys all units power 4 or less in play AND both players hands). You have creatures that would die, but it will only benefit you. Avarosan Sentry deaths give card draw, and Anivia would bring her back as Eggnivia.
- Tryndamere (8-cost, 8/4 Overwhelm, Freljord): Tryndamere’s whole purpose is to die. That’s why he’s an 8/4 with Overwhelm. When he hits the table, you’re going to be aggressive with him, so he can die and be reborn as a 9/9 Overwhelm/Fearsome monster. Thanks to your early game mana ramp, you can get him out pretty quickly, too. Tryndamere is a threat simply because he exists. He’s also a great distraction from what you’re doing, building up mana to play Warmother’s Call. But if he wins you the game, more’s the better.
- Anivia (7-cost, 4/3, Freljord): Anivia is a 2/4 that can’t block, but she deals 1 damage (2 when leveled up) on attack. If she dies, she transforms into Eggnivia. Her level-up takes time, but by the time you can cast this 7-cost champion, you’re more than halfway there. She levels up into a ⅗ that deals 2 damage to all enemies when you hit 10 mana (become Enlightened). Eggnivia is a 0/2, that, at the start of the round, if you’re Enlightened, it’s reborn into Anivia and it levels up. Anivia’s here to clear the board of trash whenever possible. She’s a great answer to Spider decks and low-cost aggro.
Wyrding Stones (3-cost Common Follower): Wyrding Stones have two main important features in Legends of Runeterra. The first, it gives you an extra Mana Gem every round at the start of the round. The second is that it’s an aggro magnet. This 0/4 follower is going to be the immediate target of all your opponent’s aggression. If they have Challengers, you can bet it’s going to be the focus. But the longer it stays on the field, the more mana it produces. This is even better if you can get two out one turn after another.
Warmother’s Call (12-cost Epic Slow Spell): 12-cost? A 12-cost is important? In what world? This one, of course! When its cast, you play the top unit from your deck. You also do it every round. As long as there are units in your deck, they will come into play. Want a pair of Tryndameres in play? Two She Who Wanders? With enough time, that’s going to happen. Downside is you can only have 6 creatures in play at once. That means you’ll have to start playing incredibly aggressive, so you can keep putting creatures into play. You have enough Overwhelm, huge units in your deck to make things end after Warmother’s Call gets put into play.
Catalyst of Aeons (4-cost, Common Burst Spell): Since it’s a Burst spell, your opponent doesn’t get a reaction. I’d play this on your opponent’s attack round. Catalyst of Aeons gives you an empty mana gem and heals your Nexus for 3 damage. Wait until they attack, play it on the second main step, and your next round will have an extra bit of Mana. With 3 of them in the deck, it’s easy enough to get plenty of mana for whatever ridiculous strength you desire.
Avarosan Sentry (2) x3
Vile Feast (2) x3
Wyrding Stones (3) x3
Avalanche (4) x3
Catalyst of Aeons (4) x3
Grasp of the Undying (5) x3
Avarosan Hearthguard (5) x3
Withering Wail (5) x2
Vengeance (7) x3
The Ruination (9) x3
She Who Wanders (10) x3
Warmother’s Call (12) x2
This is a deck that I like a whole lot in theory. It’s one I still need to build, but the potential for it is hilarious. The faster your opponent’s deck is, the harder it’s going to be to win, of course. But you have lots of board wipe in this deck.
This is the Flavortown of Control Decks. You deceive people, hit them with board wipe after board wipe, mana ramp, and anything you can do to slow them down. Then before they know what to do, after all, their options are out. Their hands are empty. You start hitting the board with 10/10s. You can do a lot with this deck, as long as you have patience, mana, and a bit of grit.
This is the kind of deck I play when I want to win in an obnoxious way that comes virtually out of nowhere. It’s mean, it’s rude, and can swing for lethal in one turn. That’s an ideal way to win if you ask me.
Legends of Runeterra Decks: SHARK CHARIOT (Ephemeral Aggro)
Or: Hiiiiiighway to the Danger Zone!
Now, you might be asking what makes Ephemeral units so great. They die after they attack/at the end of the round! That’s not any good, is it? Why would you want units that just die and go away? Because of Shark Chariot. Shark Chariot just might be the best follower in the game, even as an Ephemeral unit. Why?
Because Shark Chariot NEVER truly goes away. When an Ephemeral unit attacks and Shark Chariot is dead, it comes back into play, attacking as well. With 3 in the deck, you’re going to want to swing with them as aggressively as possible. You can also throw it away as a blocker. All told, you want it in the deck.
Most of this deck does something with Ephemeral units, and also has some sweet Deny snuck in. This is a deck that is fun but can run out of steam. It’s difficult but seriously rewarding. It’s one of the few decks in Ranked that has overwhelmed me right now, without any answers to their sudden, furious aggression.
You also have to consider the positives of giving a unit of yours Ephemeral. The Stirred Spirits + The Undying combo means he’s going to keep coming back, bigger and bigger, angrier and angrier. Plus, you can also give The Undying Ephemeral with Oblivious Islander (and reduce their cost by 1!). This is a furiously aggressive deck.
Originally, this deck ran Cursed Keepers, but I swapped that out for Shark Chariots instead. The Shark Chariot always comes back, and I didn’t need or care about the Cursed Keeper. It’s neat, but it can’t block.
How Does It Work?
In retrospect, I could have also called this deck “Tia mi aven Moridin isande vadin.” The grave is no bar to my call.
Between Hecarim and Zed, you have a nice, constant flow of jerks that have Ephemeral. Not to mention, this deck is incredibly easy to level up Hecarim in. I probably wouldn’t play Hecarim until he’s leveled up. That will give all Ephemeral units +2/+0, and still summons the Spectral Riders when they attack. Between that and Zed’s shadows, you have a nice steady stream of aggression.
This deck also has several little traps in it. You just keep applying pressure, forcing your opponent to block. They don’t want to see 8, 9, 10 damage get through. So they block with all of their units but one or two. The other player wants to keep their power units for the follow-up. Since you have saved a nice amount of mana, and it’s your turn, post-combat, play Rhasa, the Sunderer. You’ve seen them on this article before, and it’s not a shock. When you play that 7/5 Fearsome creature, he kills the two weakest enemies on your opponent’s side if an ally died this round. Then do it again, with Chronicler of Ruin on the next turn.
That’s right! Your Ephemeral units are a gateway to untold power. But what about your units that don’t have Ephemeral? Whatever unit is supported by Stirred Spirits gets Ephemeral. So you attach it to The Undying, Swing with both, and laugh as it’s guaranteed to come back, no matter what.
This deck is excellent at stopping other player’s momentum and features a powerful tempo. But it’s not invincible. If you run out of momentum (no cards, no way to get ephemeral followers), you can start sinking into the grave. But Shark Chariot is a real champion. Only having Zed or Hecarim in play means that jerk Shark is coming back, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. Even if you somehow do, it’ll just return later.
Plus, this deck runs Ionia! By now, you know what card that means: Deny! Yes, Deny. We have to stop people from doing obnoxious things that could prevent you from winning. Never forget we snuck a cheeky little Vengeance into the deck. While we don’t have a low-cost Grasp of the Undying anymore, we do have Vengeance, and that will snipe an enemy unit off the board. That and Black Spear are your big answers. Be aggressive, but never dump everything you have from your hand. You may need those cards as answers later.
One of my favorite things to do in this deck is Death Mark something important your opponent is running. If they manage to get a Garen or Braun on the board, feel free to Death Mark it. It removes ephemeral from one of your units and gives it to an enemy unit. Bye bye, Demacia!
- Zed (3-cost, 3/2, Ionia): Zed’s attacks bring shadowy, ephemeral clones with him. If by some miracle you keep him around to level him up, his clones level up to also include his keywords (like Quick Attack). If somehow you can give him something else, they’d have those as well. A possible change to this deck would be to sneak in a way to give him Elusive. Then swing with your Shadow Clone Jutsu, and laugh as your opponent’s Nexus erupts in flames. He’s your low-cost entry into a powerful Hecarim. He’s not your win-con, but he helps you get there.
- Hecarim (6-cost, 4/6, Shadow Isles): Ahhh, Shadow Isles. This is the first deck that uses them as the star of the show. Most decks I run that include Shadow Isles only use the faction for their ability to control life and death (mostly death). But here? Hecarim is the MVP. When he attacks, a pair of Spectral Riders come with the Overwhelm Death-Horse. Spectral Riders are 3/2 with Ephemeral. When he levels up (and he will), he becomes a 5/7 Overwhelm, that still summons those same jerks every time he attacks. Plus, if a Shark Chariot’s in the grave? He’s coming back too!
Chronicler of Ruin (4-cost, Common Follower): Chronicler of Ruin is great at any point in the game. Whether it’s to kill your The Undying and bring it back or kill 4 units in one turn (Rhasa, the Sunderer). When you put Chronicler of Ruin into play, you kill an ally unit, and immediately bring it back. So use this to trigger whatever annoying feature you want. Commander Ledros, to cut the enemy Nexus’ life in half twice. Rhasa, The Sunderer to kill 4 of the enemy units. Those are the two major ones. You can also use this if your opponent stuns an Ephemeral Shark Chariot. Just kill it, bring it back, and swing anyway! The Chronicler of Ruin is a gateway to power.
Fading Memories (0-cost Rare Burst Spell): A sweet 0-cost, this one! Fading Memories lets you make an Ephemeral copy of any follower. Now you can drop it to reap some pretty serious benefits. If you don’t want to risk attacking with Hecarim, make a ghost-version of the ghost horse, and swing with them. It will still make more Ephemeral horsies to swing with! It’s also great to use on cards like Chronicler of Ruin, or Rhasa, the Sunderer. They will still activate their special abilities when they come into play. I love this card. If you’re too worried about risking an important unit, just send a ghostly version of them out instead!
Splinter Soul (2-cost Rare Slow Spell): Now when you create a copy of a card already in play, it doesn’t trigger any of their special abilities from when it comes into play. However, any abilities that trigger in combat, from a strike or attack will activate. This is because the unit in question isn’t being summoned but being created. Thanks, MTG! So, Splinter Soul is slow speed, so be careful when you use it. But it’s great for your champions, as an example. This is another “I don’t want to risk swinging with Hecarim, but I want to hurt them anyway” style card. I’m reasonably certain that if you use this on The Undying, it will still come back. I would experiment with this on Last Breath cards that come back (The Undying, Commander Ledros).
Fading Memories (0) x3
Oblivious Islander (1) x2
Shadow Fiend (1) x2
Shark Chariot (2) x3
Glimpse Beyond (2) x2
Black Spear (2) x2
Stirred Spirits (2) x2
The Undying (3) x3
Deny (3) x3
Deny (3) x3
Splinter Soul (3) x2
Zed (3) x2
Chronicler of Ruin (4) x2
Dawn and Dusk (6) x2
Hecarim (6) x3
Rhasa, the Sunderer (7) x1
Vengeance (7) x1
Commander Ledros (8) x1
The Ruination (9) x2
I love this deck. It has a ton of decent tempo, and damage at all points of the game. However, its biggest weakness is running out of steam. If this deck runs out of options to put in play, you’re probably going to lose. It’s excellent at overwhelming people, but as soon as you stop being able to put Ephemeral units down, that’s the end of your run.
I’ve also seen Yasuo beat this deck down, simply by outlasting it. If your Ephemeral start is slow, they can get an early Yasuo, and start bopping your low-life creatures with AOE stun shenanigans. Between that, the only real weakness is simply running out of undead ammo. Never put all your eggs into the basket, such as it were.
This is a fun deck that washes your opponent in damage turn after turn. Simply having your creatures die isn’t the end of the game; in fact, it’s only the beginning. Chronicler of Ruin might be one of my favorite Shadow Isles cards, even more than Shark Chariot. It’s good at all points, but it’s best in the late game when you already have a fantastic card in play that’s used its power (Rhasa, step right up!).