Four Legends of Runeterra Call of the Mountain Decks To Try
Well well, it’s been a while since I’ve covered Legends of Runeterra decks, and what better way to return than with Call of the Mountain! There are so many hours in the day for card games. What better time to strike than when the iron is hot? There are so many incredible decks already being brewed for this new expansion after all. Aurelion Sol! Taric! Trundle! Lulu, I guess! We have lots of new champions, and 89 total new cards to play about with! However, the very first grandmaster stuck to his guns and played Swain/Twisted Fate deck.
There’s nothing wrong with that! We’re going to try and focus on new deck content though! I’m so excited for what this new expansion can possibly bring us. We have new mechanics, too! You can find details on the new keywords in this handy dandy link. In particular, I’m elated to see Targon here, as it houses most of my personal favorite League characters. Taric, Leona, Aurelion Sol (even if I think he’s rubbish in the game – his lore’s awesome).
It can be hard to cover so many card games, but thankfully, Legends of Runeterra makes deckbuilding much easier in their own way. Acquiring Wildcards only instead of unlocking/opening packs means we can get exactly what card that we’re after, instead of hoping to get wildcards from other systems. MTG Arena has a solid Wildcard system, but I think Legends of Runeterra took the mechanic to its next natural step in evolution.
But with the preamble out of the way, make sure you poke your nose back in on this blog from time to time! I’ll be updating it as often as I can when I find new, interesting tech to discuss. If you have a deck you want to see here, please feel free to reach out and I’ll do what I can!
Aurelion Sol Ramp (Targon/Freljord Midrange)
Targon/Freljord Ramp is one of the first things I thought about when the reveals for Call of the Mountain came out. Lots of the best cards are high-cost, so naturally, my immediate thought was “Hey, Freljord has awesome ramp options! What if we slapped those together into one place?” The results are absolutely mind-blowing. I wanted to put Taric into the deck, but I like Trundle more for this.
The addition of that Ice Pillar we don’t have to put in our deck can be a real godsend. We use that, have a defensive unit and it can also let us Challenge the strongest enemy minion to take it out? Oh yes, there’s a lot of fun to be had here. We have some very powerful cards in this deck, and of course, we can take advantage of the new Invoke keyword.
What do we want to do in this deck though? What’s our big finish? Why Aurelion Sol’s The Skies Descend! Even if we don’t put the card in the deck, if we find a second Aurelion Sol while one is in play, the one in hand becomes that beauty of a spell. However, this is not a cheap deck to run, as far as mana costs go.
One of the special parts about Targon is their ability to use Invoke, again. Invoke will let us essentially Discover (a’la Hearthstone) cards that aren’t in our deck of the Celestial variety. We’ll pick out a few that we hope to see, but frankly, all of the Celestial cards are awesome. With that in mind though, we should get started on the actual meat and potatoes of this deck.
How’s It Work
We absolutely need to start with Wyrding Stones or Catalyst of Aeons in this deck to make it go as fast as possible. It’s key to drop those on turn 3 if at all possible. Personally, I think a Wyrding Stones or two is much better, because it’s a constant stream of additional mana every turn. Catalyst lets us get one additional mana stone, but also heals our Nexus, which is going to be key too.
This is not a deck that starts off fast, after all. We’re running high-cost, mean face beaters in this deck. Despite there being several trolls in the deck (Trundle, Augur of the Old Ones, Tarkaz the Tribeless) this is very much an Aurelion Sol deck. He’s the star in our skies. The celestial god that brings us victory and success. Can we win without him ever hitting the field? Yes, our Trolls are mighty and strong. So are our Celestials. However, with a field covered in Dragons and Celestials, we can cast The Skies Descend and hit all enemies for 15 Damage.
However, The Skies Descend costs 2 less for each Dragon or Celestial we have in play. Having Aurelion out is a must to cast this either way though, so that makes it at least a 13-cost spell. If we have full Spell Mana, we can get this out well enough. Aurelion Sol is a must though because we aren’t running this spell normally. It’s the spell we’ll get simply for having Sol in play.
There are two versions to every champion’s signature spell. There’s the normal one, and there’s this version – by having a copy of the champion already in play. That version shuffles an Aurelion Sol (or whichever appropriate champion) into your deck.
Even if we don’t get that second Aurelion Sol, the first is enough to win the game. He’s a 10/10 that creates random Celestials for us to use. If our allies have 20+ total power at the end of a round (very easy to do), he levels up to an 11/11, and our Celestial cards cost 0 mana.
So he’s our end-game. Everything else in the deck is to set up his success. If we happen to win by beating people’s faces in with Trolls, more’s the better. But we need badly to get that mana ramp online so we can start harming others faster.
Our early game is likely going to consist of doing nothing at all, unless we get cards like Spacey Sketcher to cast. They are a 1/1 for 1, that we can play. When you do, discard a card to [Invoke] a Celestial card that costs 3 or less. That gives us yet another card to use. You can find the Celestial cards via this link but we’ll target a few for discussion soon.
A lot of our early game is hoping to mana ramp and staying alive. Icevale Archer will ping an enemy with [Frostbite] so it has 0 attack, and hopefully, it will be an easy kill for one of our minions, or simply stop an attack for a turn. Other than Aurelion Sol, what are our mid-range killers?
Dungeons and Dragons (and Trolls)
Fused Firebrand is an absolutely stellar 5-cost minion. A 5/5 with [Spellshield] and [Fury]! Fury gives it +1/+1 anytime it kills a unit, and Spellshield protects it from the next incoming spell or skill that would affect it. So getting this early on is a godsend. If we can get an Ice Pillar out around this time with Trundle, we can spend time buffing Fused Firebrand, before challenging/killing their strongest targets.
Tarkaz the Tribeless is for when we deal with annoying 1/1 decks, as well as Ethereal decks. This ⅝ for 5 deals 1 damage to all Battling Units. That means yours too! Thankfully, we mostly have big, beefy boys, and the ability to grant some of them [Regeneration]. Augur of the Old Ones is one of my favorite trolls this set. A 5/5 for 6 with [Regeneration], [Overwhelm], and a [Behold] proc. When you play him, if you have an 8+ cost card in your hand or in play, give an ally [Overwhelm] and [Regeneration].
There is virtually no bad target, but if you can get one of these in play and cast the effect on Aurelion Sol? Now he’s a 10/10 that regenerates, and deals his excess damage to the Nexus? The absolute state of that nonsense. You can also choose to affect our control card – The Infinite Mindsplitter, which is an 8/8 dragon for 8. They have [Fury], so they’ll just keep growing.
The idea of this deck is to get out of control damage numbers as quickly as possible. The Infinite Mindsplitter also lets us pick 2 enemies when we cast it. At the start of each Round, we [Stun] those enemies. So pick something you never want to see in combat, and it won’t be! If it’s their strongest enemy, and we have an Ice Pillar, we can just kill it at our leisure.
These are our big monsters that we stomp the other player in the face with. Our spells are just as important to success though. We should probably discuss our other champion, Trundle. A 4/6 for 5, he comes in with [Regeneration] and adds an Ice Pillar to our hand. If he sees us play an Ice Pillar, he levels up.
Now he’s a 5/7, and he is granted +1/+0 for each 8+ cost card you Behold every single time he attacks. It’s not a temporary buff, either! That’s what makes him so deadly. Especially in a deck where most of our cards are 8+, we can do so much with this. This deck starts slow, but then tempo picks up and before they know it, we are an overwhelming force of nature.
Ice Pillar is an 8-cost 0/8, that when we play it, we recover 8 mana. It has [Vulnerable], so it can be challenged anytime by attackers, and when we play it (and each Round Start), it makes the strongest enemy [Vulnerable]. That’s what’s so great about this card, it forces the other player to respond to it or perish. We could buff it with Regeneration thanks to Augur if we really wanted. . .
Some of these spells are very familiar. Avalanche deals 2 damage to all units in play, and Harsh Winds hits 2 enemies with [Frostbite]. So that’s also handy to slow down the pace of battle, or to respond to an attack by giving them 0 damage, and killing them easily. Catalyst of the Aeons was discussed and is very important to give us more mana in the early game, or a heal any other time.
We have some new spells though! Starshaping is a [Burst] spell for 5 mana, that will [Invoke] a Celestial that costs 7 or more than heals an ally or our Nexus for 5. So that’s incredible for 5 mana. We get some of our bigger Celestials this way, and if we can level up Aurelion Sol by then, we can cast for free. One of our other new keywords this expansion is [Daybreak]. That comes up in our Slow Speed spell, Sunburst. For 6 mana, this normally deals 6 damage to a unit, but if it was our first spell this turn, Silence the minion this round, and deal 6 damage to it.
All of these cards set us up easily to dominate the board until our Ancient God, Aurelion Sol is in play. In more cases than not, we will be using the 3-or-under Celestials or the 7-and-over cards. That’s what the deck offers until we level up Aurelion Sol. So we’ll highlight a few of those really quickly. Do bear in mind, you get to pick from 1 of 3, so there’s no guarantee here. Just pick the one that fits the situation best, or may be the most useful down the line.
- Moonglow [2-Cost Spell, Slow]: This grants an ally +0/+2 and [Spellshield]. This one’s a no-brainer.
- The Trickster [3-Cost minion, [Elusive], 3/3]: A 3/3 Elusive for 3? Great to poke the other player down while we set up a more suitable board.
- The Messenger [2-Cost minion, 2/2]: When they are summoned, draw 1 card. Card draw is almost never bad. It’s only scary when Mushrooms are in play.
- Cosmic Inspiration [7-Cost Spell, Slow]: If you [Behold] a Celestial card, grant allies everywhere +2/+2. Deck, hand, play, graveyard. You also refill your spell mana. This is one of the best of the best if you ask me.
- Supernova [9-Cost Spell, Slow]: If you [Behold] a Celestial card, [Obliterate] 2 enemies. Utterly destroy them and remove them from the game. Oh. Yes.
- Living Legends [10-Cost Spell, Burst]: A 10-cost Burst spell? Oh goodness. You fill your hand with random [Fleeting] Celestial cards and refill your spell mana. This could be a real asset for when you have The Scourge, The Great Beyond, The Immortal Fire, or The Destroyer in hand. All of those gain +1/+0 for each Celestial card we’ve played this game.
- The Immortal Fire [8-Cost Minion, [Elusive], 6/5]: As we just said, it goes from a 6/5 to */5, based on how many Celestials we’ve played this game. The first time this minion would die, we fully heal it instead, and on a [Elusive] minion, that’s potentially game over all on its own.
Aurelion Sol Ramp (Targon/Freljord Midrange)
Trundle (5) x3
Aurelion Sol (10) x3
Spacey Sketcher (1) x3
Icevale Archer (2) x2
Kindly Tavernkeeper (3) x3
Wyrding Stones (3) x3
Fused Firebrand (5) x3
Tarkaz the Tribeless (5) x3
Augur of the Old Ones (6) x3
The Infinite Mindsplitter (8) x2
Avalanche (4) x2
Catalyst of Aeons (5) x3
Starshaping (5) x3
Harsh Winds (6) x2
Sunburst (6) x2
This is a deck with lots of really fun control options. It’s slow, but it picks up pace very quickly. It’s going to be up to you to determine if you want to try and keep going aggressive and make the other player respond to your huge, hulking Trolls. But once Aurelion Sol is out, and you start bombarding them with the might of the Celestials, the other player is sure to fold. I feel like it’s going to probably have problems against really fast, low-cost decks unless we can get our control spells/creatures into play quickly too.
I’m not normally someone to stress how important a mulligan is, but this deck needs at almost all costs to have a Wyrd Stone or a Catalyst in the opening hand if you can manage. If you get Catalyst, take your first few turns to do nothing and build the mana up. That way you can cast it on turn 3. If your health is dropping, take heart. We can still come back with how strong our mid-game is. We want those Wyrding Stones though, so our late/mid game becomes our early game. Having 10 mana before the other player is OP.
Take this knowledge, and show them the might of the cosmos.
Come On, Ride The Train, The Mystic Shot Train (Karma/Ez Combo)
I’ve been playing Legends of Runeterra a lot this morning (8/28/2020), and the only deck I wound up getting bopped by was this one. I had the game wrapped up until the other player hit [Enlightened] (10 Mana). Suddenly, I went from 20 health or so on my Nexus, and the next moment I had lost! There was so much damage. The downside to the deck, you have to get that leveled up Karma and Ezreal both in play to maximize how great this deck is.
That’s not as hard as it sounds if you ask me though. We have more than enough spells to keep us in the game, and to suddenly blow up the other player’s spot. Our end-game? To absolutely melt the other player with Mystic Shot after Mystic Shot, in a very real, literal sense. I both love and hate this deck in equal measures.
There are some hilarious cards in this deck, with several new spell options, like Whimsy!. Not to mention, Karma’s ability to randomly generate spells from both of our factions (Ionia/Piltover), means we can constantly get things we don’t have in the deck, to make the other player sweat. They never know what we’re going to have next!
Even though Ezreal’s [Fleeting] Mystic Shot was nerfed some months back, that 2 mana won’t set us back. After all, we’ve got plenty of low-cost options to make sure we cast spells again, and again, and again, and again, and. . .
How’s It Work
We need to target the other player at least 8 times before we really start getting wild and crazy (not to be confused with the 80s/90s TV show, Wild and Crazy Kids). Thankfully, we don’t have to actually have Ezreal see the targeted spells. With that in mind, I find myself avoiding casting him early unless I really need to.
His leveled-up form is better if you ask us. Regular Ezreal creates a [Fleeting Mystic Shot] anytime we strike the enemy Nexus. This unit has to be the one to do the deed, but at least he’s Elusive. If the other player doesn’t have anti-Elusive (their own Elusive followers) you might feel bold enough to do this. Those [Fleeting] spells only last that turn, so make sure you have the mana before you commit.
Leveled-up Ez, after we’ve targeted 8 enemies still creates a [Fleeting] Mystic Shot whenever he strikes the enemy Nexus. But that’s not the best part. Now, whenever we cast a spell, deal 2 damage to the enemy Nexus. This leads us to a boatload of damage.
We have a ton of spells in this deck, too. But we also have Karma who creates a spell in our hand at the end of each Round End. When we have 10 mana, she levels up, since we’re not [Enlightened]. Now, having these two in play at the same is when things get really beefy. Karma’s new ability is whenever we play a spell, cast it again on the same targets. Consider this, my friends. We’ve already played Chump Whump, to add two Mushroom Clouds (1-mana spell) to our hand. So we cast a Mushroom Cloud, which doubles. That’s two spells, and that adds 10 Poison Puffcaps to their deck. We’ve got 4 damage for 1 mana, and if we have a Mystic Shot in hand, we can cast that. Otherwise, we have to attack with Ezreal, which also works (and adds 2 more damage).
In this instance, we’ll zap them with a Mystic Shot from hand, which doubles, and that’s 4 more damage (8 total), and then we deal 4 more, thanks to Ez’s passive (12 damage). Next, we cast that other Mushroom Cloud, which adds 10 more Mushroom Clouds to the deck, and 4 more damage thanks to Ez (16 damage). From there you can literally cast any spells to win the game.
We can cast a Thermogenic Beam for 1 mana, we can drop a Health Potion, or whatever you feel you need/have on hand. That’s our way to the finish line, looping spells and taking free damage shots at any opportunity. But we have to get to that point first. Our end-game is those two champions, but thankfully, we have a lot of ways to get there.
The Ultimate Thrill Ride
Thankfully, both of our champions have ludicrously simple Level-Up conditions. Simply by casting spells on enemies 8 times, that levels up Ezreal, wherever he is. Karma levels up just by having 10 mana! She’s still useful even without it, but I hesitate to play champions until I feel the other player can’t do anything about them. So use your own discretion – each match will be different.
But we have to look at our spells available to us. Thankfully, Karma will keep giving us spells, as long as she’s not Enlightened. That’s the major reason to play her early, but still, exercise caution. Some of our spells really help us stay in the game though. Thermogenic Beam, for example, burns all of our mana to deal X damage to a unit on the board. We can cast Twin Disciplines to save a unit too. It gives either +3/+0 or +0/+3 for 3 Mana at Burst Speed. This can be exactly what you need to prevent a death.
Deny is in the deck too! Of course, it is, this is an Ionia deck! For 4 mana, we can stop a Fast Spell, Slow Spell, or an Enemy Skill. We only have 3, so use them wisely. Figure out what the opponent desperately needs to win, and then stop that from happening. We can stun enemies with Concussive Palm for 4 mana (Fast Speed). This also summons a Tail of the Dragon, that, when recalled, turns back into a Concussive Palm. We run Will of Ionia to Recall a unit, so if we need to do this to resume stunning, we can.
Yone, Windchaser, one of the newest League of Legends champions is in this deck too! He stuns two minions upon hitting the battlefield, and because of this, is a solid choice to Recall if possible. That’s expensive on the mana front though, so only do it as a last resort.
Another early game follower that really works great in this deck is Eye of the Dragon, which is a ⅓ for 2 and has [Attune]. Attune gives you back 1 spell mana when you summon this minion. Eye of the Dragon also summons a Dragonling if you cast 2+ spells last round. Dragonlings are an Ethereal/Lifesteal 2/1, so it can definitely keep you in the game just a bit longer. Speaking of “cast 2+ spells”, one of the other great Karma cards is Deep Meditation. If you cast 2+ spells last round, this costs 2 mana (down to 3), and you draw 2 more spells.
If Karma is in play, this gives you 4 spells to cast, and again, damage if you have Ezreal in play. We have Whimsy! This turns a follower into a 1/1 Squirrel and Silences it for this round, which can be the difference between winning and losing.
I also love drawing into Tri-Beam Improbulator in the early game. It costs 4 Mana and is Slow Speed, but it packs an absolute wallop. It deals 1 damage to a unit and summons a random 1-cost unit. However, while this card is in your hand, these both increase by 1 when you play a 3-cost card. How many 3-costs do we have? Admittedly, not a lot of them by default. We have about 4 baseline. With Karma in play in the early game, we could ramp this up by a much larger amount.
This one’s kind of hit-or-miss, but I like to think it will be a hit, at the end of the day. Chump Whump gives us 2 Mushroom Clouds anytime we cast it, so casting this early as a meatshield and to have extra spells in hand, this is an amazing move. A 4/3 base, we will want to hold onto the Mushroom Clouds until our above win-con is ready.
From here, once Ez and Karma are leveled-up, and we have 10 mana, we burn through our spells, and defeat the other player in one go. The spells used will of course, vary, but play them wisely, and sneak in Mystic Shots when you can. The lower the spell cost, the better. That gives more room for those [Fleeting] Mystic Shots. We don’t have to attack the other player, because our spells will do the heavy lifting for us!
Come On, Ride The Train, The Mystic Shot Train (Karma/Ez Combo)
Ezreal (3) x3
Karma (6) x3
Eye of the Dragon (x2) x3
Chump Whump (4) x3
Yone, Windchaser (7) x1
Thermogenic Beam (0) x3
Health Potion (1) x2
Mystic Shot (2) x3
Twin Disciplines (3) x1
Concussive Palm (4) x2
Deny (4) x3
Statikk Shock (4) x3
Tri-Beam Improbulator (4) x2
Whimsy! (4) x3
Deep Meditation (5) x3
Will of Ionia (5) x2
See all those spells? They’re all useful! You can adjust your spells accordingly though. You could add some of the Discard spells from Piltover if you want to dole out more free damage. The minions that you play via discard are also a good shout. I love this deck so much because you can adjust the spells to whatever playstyle fits you. Once you have Karma and Ezreal with their leveled-up forms, the game is over. They just don’t know it yet. As soon as this happened to me, I knew immediately that it had to be considered. It’s so strong, so foolish. It doesn’t use a ton of new cards, but it’s still wildly powerful with the combo of these two champions.
How to Stomp Foes and Alienate Players (Ionia+Demacia Aggro/Tempo)
Here’s another deck that came out of nowhere to punch me in the nose. Lulu and Zed show up out of nowhere and tend to win by turn ⅘ with just outrageous damage. This is for all you fans of tempo, aggro, and the powerful [Support] mechanic. This is going to be one of the strongest aggro decks in the format, for the time being, I can see it in my Crystal Ball. We have powerful drops for all phases of the game. By “all phases” I mean, the first few turns, because we have the capacity to win before the late-game becomes a gleam in someone’s eye. Jinx/Draven discard? They’ll never get far enough.
Targon Celestials? That’s adorable! Getting 10 mana? You’re lucky if you get to 5 or 6 mana! How do you feel about swinging for 10 damage on turn 4? Sound good to you, eh? I know it does for me. This is a deck I’m going to be swinging with very soon, and for good reason. If the other player doesn’t have any way to block you, you can turn this into an OTK! How can this possibly be a One Turn Kill though? We’ll get to it very soon.
As long as you can play useful cards on turns 1, 2, and 3, you’re going to make the other player rue, RUE the day they chose to come up against you on the ladder. What makes this deck so good is how inexpensive it is. You aren’t often going to come up with cards that you frankly, can’t use because you don’t have the mana. As a point of fact, nothing in the deck costs more than 4 mana!
In addition, there are no Epic cards in it. This is all common, uncommon, and six champions (Lulu and Zed)! This could definitely count as a budget deck if that’s how you want to look at it. Let’s hugeify and stomp the other players!
How’s It Work
One of the cool features of Demacia is [Rally]. It is one of the many things that makes Garen such an incredible force of nature. Rally gives you an Attack Icon, letting you swing a second time. Some people use it to attack during another player’s round, but what’s even better, is making sure they have no way to block, and going in double time!
That’s right, you can attack twice in one turn, and in theory, get a One Turn Kill out of it. So let’s chat about that. This is a deck built around Lulu and Zed. They are best pals and want to see each other succeed. That’s how the League of Legends lore works, right? This is one of the fastest decks I’ve seen in Legends of Runeterra’s Call of the Mountain decks so far.
The general idea is that we play our cards on a curve: So on turn 1, we play 1-costs, turn 2, we play our 2-drops, and on turn 4, we’re ready to win. Turn 3 and 4, we try to drop Lulu and Zed, and then it’s game over. With that in mind, let’s talk about the curve we’re looking at for our best cards.
Our best options on turn 1 are either Fleetfeather Tracker or Flower Child. The Fleetfeather Tracker gains [Challenger] once you summon another ally. That’s neat, but Flower Child is much better. That is a ½ that, when it’s supported, gains +2/+0! That will lead into our incredible turn 2 cast, War Chefs! We also have Brightsteel Protector as a way to protect our Support units on later turns as well. But War Chefs is a ⅔ [Support] unit that, when they support an ally, they gain +1/+1 for the round. So Flower Child gains a permanent +2, and then a temporary +1/+1 for the turn!
It’s such a strong start for turn 2. Turn 3, we want to play either Zed or Lulu, whichever we have available. Frankly, I’d probably go with Zed if I feel safe. If I want to be safe, Lulu is that pick. When she supports an ally, they become a 4/4 until the end of the round. So when you combine that with Flower Child or Fleetfeather Tracker, the results are dangerous. You can suddenly have a 4/4 [Challenger] that will probably destroy anything at that phase of the game.
However, I did say we could, in theory, one turn kill someone. It would probably take until turn 5, but here’s how it all goes down. This hinges on not being blocked, though.
Let’s Talk Damage
With Zed comes a free extra attack. The clone shows up with the same stats as Zed. Baseline, he’s a 3/2 with [Quick Attack] so he has MTG’s First Strike. That’s neat, but we can do better. We can do so much better. This also hinges on us having 3 Spell Mana, which should be easy enough.
The play is this: attack with Lulu and have her support Zed. This will trigger her ability, making Zed a 4/4, and then he makes a clone, creating another 4/4. If nothing is blocked, that’s 10 damage at a minimum. Then, after the damage has resolved, we cast a Slow Spell, Relentless Pursuit. It’s 3 mana, Slow Speed, but gives us [Rally]. Now, we get another attack! So we just swing again! If there’s no blocking, we have a leveled up Zed.
We’ll get another clone thanks to Zed, and the clone will also have his stats/keywords. That’s not really relevant, since it will still be a pair of 4/4s doing damage. From there, we hit the other player for 20, and the game is over!
However, we only run 1 copy of Relentless Pursuit. That means it’s not always going to go down that way. Instead, you’ll want to rely on your other buffing [Burst] spells to make sure the attackers you choose have enough stats to thrive and stomp on the other player.
Let’s talk about those cards!
What About The Rest?
The rest of the deck just helps us set all of this up. It lets get to the point where we win, or are other aggressive early-game options. Fae Guide, for example, gives an ally [Elusive] when it’s cast, and at 4 mana, that can be a deal-breaker. We can nickel and dime the other player early with the Flower Child combos, and then make Zed [Elusive] and start hitting away with him and his Shadow Clones. Twin Disciplines fits neatly into this strategy too. After all, it gives +3/+0 or +0/+3 this round to something.
Young Witch makes her supported ally [Quick Attack] and +1/+0 for the round, so for those that don’t have it, they can get it! Quick Attack lets them deal damage before the other player can, so they can save themselves for yet another attack later. Brightsteel Protector is here to protect Lulu or anyone else in a pinch. If we level up Zed, we can give him (and his clone) [Barrier] to protect them from damage for one hit. Plus, this is Ionia/Demacia! What would we be without awesome, useful spells? Ghost gives Elusive, and Radiant Strike gives +1/+1 for the round! Both are Burst, so they can’t be countered. When we’ve got spare Spell Mana and cards in hand, we have lots of options to make sure our creatures have everything they need to win.
Ranger’s Resolve for [Tough], and Prismatic Barrier for well, [Barrier]! Deny and Whimsy are excellent control options. We all know what Deny does by now, right? We use it to counter a Fast, Slow, or Skill Spell/Ability. Whimsy simply turns something into a 1/1 [Silence]-afflicted Squirrel. In a pinch, we can use Will of Ionia to [Recall] a unit.
So those spells are all used as extra ways to protect our followers. One of the smartest things we can do, is mulligan in the beginning of the game if you don’t have your 1-cost followers. You really want this deck to get going immediately. If you don’t, your chances of victory drastically go down. Our followers are not strong, but we can hit fast, and do lots of things thanks to [Support]. This is a deck that levels up quickly and steamrolls people, as long as you can keep playing cards on the curve.
One of the key strategies is smart use of [Support]. You don’t have to wait for Lulu and Zed to start hitting the other player. If you aren’t seeing them pop up, use your other minions. If you don’t know how to use it, here it is simply put: The card to the right of the [Support] minion will be the one to get the buff. So if you attack with two support units and two regular units, you want [Support] [Regular] [Support] [Regular] followers, in that order.
How to Stomp Foes and Alienate Players (Ionia+Demacia Aggro/Tempo)
Lulu (3) x3
Zed (3) x3
Fleetfeather Tracker (1) x3
Flower Child (1) x2
Brightsteel Protector (2) x3
War Chefs (3) x2
Young Witch (3) x2
Fae Guide (4) x3
Silverwing Vanguard (4) x2
Ghost (1) x1
Radiant Strike (1) x1
Ranger’s Resolve (1) x2
Prismatic Barrier (3) x2
Relentless Pursuit (3) x1
Twin Disciplines (3) x3
Deny (4) x3
Whimsy! (4) x3
Will of Ionia (4) x1
This deck absolutely mauled me on Friday. It was ugly and it was quick. If your opponent is playing a slow deck, we tend to curve out and win before they have a chance to do anything. However, if they can stop your support units, that could be game over for you. That’s how you beat Support decks, after all. You make sure their support units, which tend to be weak, die before they can get their awesome, borderline OP effects off. This is a deck that is wildly powerful, and one of my favorite concepts to show up. As a support main in League, I’m proud to see how strong it is in the card game.
Daaaaarknesssssss. . . (Shadow Isles/Targon Aggro)
Nocturne and Diana! What a power combo! What a power couple! In this deck, finally, we aren’t using old champions with new ones! A fair amount of this deck is new, awesome tech, and we’re so glad to see it. Shadow Isles/Targon Aggro is heavily influenced by a new keyword, [Nightfall]. Nightfall is the opposite of Daybreak, which sort of makes sense. Nightfall requires this spell to not be the first spell you cast this round. That winds up giving this deck a bit of challenge to the wielder of it.
So many of our cards use [Nightfall], so we have to carefully judge what we play and what we need the most. [Nightfall] triggers offer extra abilities/effects if it wasn’t the first spell we played this turn. Thankfully, not every card in the deck uses Nightfall. Our actual cards to trigger things in the early-to-mid game are relatively inexpensive (Lunari Duskbringer, Fading Memories).
With Nightfall Aggro, we can win simply by hammering the other player with quick [Elusive] jabs, or we can build up a few powerful followers, and cast Atrocity. We’ll go into that in a bit, so don’t you worry about that. We have some awesome bombs in this deck, don’t you worry. I have a feeling this deck is going to go over pretty well in the meta, as things shake out. Sure, there are decks that didn’t actively need anything to still be powerful.
That’s not what we’re here to look at though! This deck is mainly new tech since it requires that awesome Nightfall to function. Let’s get a closer look at the darkness!
How’s It Work
The secret is to peer into the abyss. It will peer back at you. I mean.
So, Shadow Isles/Targon Aggro! With so many cards that use [Nightfall], we need some cards to set this up! We don’t want to play those cards first unless we absolutely have to. Try to avoid it if possible though. Nightfall is a fascinating double-edged sword in that way. We don’t want to play those spells on our turn, but it’s bound to happen. I’m seldom that lucky to have a mix of both.
Frankly, I’m not torn up about Diana’s [Nightfall] ability. It’s mediocre at best, but it does help her level up. You need to activate Nightfall 4+ times, but thankfully, she doesn’t have to see it. If she’s not your first spell for the turn, she gains [Challenger] for the turn. Amazingly enough, she remains a 2-cost for both her level 1 and level 2.
Her leveled up form gives her +2/+0 and [Challenger] when she comes in as Nightfall, or anytime you activate another [Nightfall] ability. Thankfully, you can get that multiple times a turn! With enough mana, you could easily finish someone off with Diana + Cygnus the Moonstalker. He’s also a solid choice for Fading Memories, to make another copy of Cygnus. What does he do? As a Nightfall card, he grants himself and an ally [Elusive] for the turn. With Fading Memories being a 0-cost Burst Spell, you can easily make this pop off.
So now we know what Diana does. But how do we start setting up chains of powerful buffs? The most ideal cards for this are ones like Lunari Duskbringer and Fading Memories. Lunari Duskbringer is a 2/1 for 1 and creates a Duskpetal Dust in hand when summoned. What a useful card for when we have Spell Mana, too! Duskpetal Dust is a 1-cost Burst Spell, that reduces the next [Nightfall] card cost by 1 for this round.
An excellent combo with Fading Memories early on is to cast Fading Memories on a follower in play, then cast Lunari Shadestalker. Her Nightfall will trigger, granting her Elusive. That makes her a ⅔ for 2 with [Elusive], and that’s amazing. So those two cards are fantastic to start triggering Nightfall, and helping us get combos going.
We need/want to get Diana and Nocturne leveled up as fast as possible. Diana levels up after we activate Nightfall four times or more, and Nocturne needs us to attack with Nightfall allies 5+ times. Both of these champions stay the same cost after they level up (Diana = 2-cost, Nocturne = 4-cost). Both of these are very reasonable, and we’d like to get them both leveled up around turn 5, to really start cranking out the pain.
What makes Nocturne such a threat when he levels up? Other allies have [Fearsome]. He’s also a 6/4 for 4 which is serious #value. On top of that, when you play a unit, give enemies -1/-0 until end of the round! So if you play a bunch of your cheap Nightfall followers, you weaken the other player to the point where they can’t even deal damage.
The goal is to level up Nocturne and make sure the other player’s followers have 3 or less power by playing more of them. With [Fearsome], they can’t be blocked by followers of 3 or less! So we just buff our squad, and send them over to the enemy Nexus, rushing it down!
I Want You(r Nexus)
There are so many great ways to dumpster out damage. Crescent Guardian is our 3-cost follower, which is a 3/3 with [Overwhelm]. If he’s a Nightfall minion, he gains +2/+0! Another way to tie this up, and make sure the other player is on the defensive. Another of the new followers is Mentor of the Stones, and pairs amazingly well with any of your other attackers. This is a [Support] minion, and his supported ally gains +2/+2. It doesn’t specify “until end of round”, which is wonderful.
If he should perish, [Last Breath] creates 3 Gems in hand. These are a 1-spell Burst Spell that heal an ally for 1 and grants them +1/+0. It can’t be cast in Combat, or as a response to a spell though, so bear that in mind. Mentor of the Stones is another wonderful card to hit with Fading Memories to make sure we have Gems or to simply buff something permanently. As a 1/1, the Mentor is never really meant to stick around.
But if we can pair him with a Challenger, or make sure they can’t be blocked [Fearsome/Nocturne], we can keep buffing our minions every turn. What do we do when we have someone with lots of Power though? Do we have some super-sneaky way to bomb the enemy Nexus? After we’ve attacked a few times, and Doombeast triggers [Nightfall] to drain the enemy Nexus for 2, we need a way to blow their spot up.
Say “Hello” to Atrocity! It’s a Fast Spell for 6, and it kills an ally to deal damage equal to the dead followers’ power to any target. So we build something up to 6, 8, or even 10, and drop the bomb! We need more Nightfall though. Unspeakable Horror drains 1 from anything, and if it’s Nightfall, it creates a random [Nightfall] card in hand. Pale Cascade also helps, as a 2-cost Burst. It gives an ally +2/+1, and if it’s Nightfall, you draw a card! You can use Pale Cascade on top of the Mentor of the Stones and a few gems to blow someone up on the end of your turn.
Just save the mana/cards until the time is right. The trick is to make sure we follow-up our non-nightfall with Nightfall.
Daaaaarknesssssss. . . (Shadow Isles/Targon Aggro)
Diana (2) x3
Nocturne (4) x3
Lunari Duskbringer (1) x3
Stygian Onlooker (1) x3
Lunari Shadestalker (2) x3
Crescent Guardian (3) x3
Doombeast (3) x3
Mentor of the Stones (3) x3
Cygnus the Moonstalker (6) x1
Fading Memories (0) x3
Pale Cascade (2) x3
Unspeakable Horror (2) x3
Vile Feast (2) x3
Atrocity (6) x3
This is one of the more interesting decks to come out of Legends of Runeterra’s Call of the Mountain expansion. I like the ability to make the other player unable to block, simply by playing enough cards. We can hit the other player pretty hard and fast if things go our way. Personally, this deck feels a bit too chancey for me, but I see the appeal. It’s so important to figure out the rhythm for casting spells, and each game is going to see a new challenge. We have lots of damage, and plenty of synergy with our cards, so there’s going to be success in the future for the Diana/Nocturne wombo. I can feel it.
Kalista Endures (Shadow Isles/Freljord Aggro/Tempo)
Now, this is just three cards from being a Mono-Faction deck. It runs entirely Shadow Isles, and only one champion (Kalista) – oh, and They Who Endure. They Who Endure has been a popular card since the launch of Legends of Runeterra, and it’s no big secret as to why. This is a card that gains +1/+1 for each ally that has died when it comes into play. So this could easily, in a Shadow Isles deck, drop as a 20/20 terror.
In the past, Shadow Isles Endures has been a slower, tempo-based deck. You’d take your time, get creatures into play (and then dead), and drop They Who Endure at the right time. However, thanks to some of the brilliant cards in Call of the Mountain, this Legends of Runeterra deck moves faster than ever. This is the build used by Swim to dominate the Masters ranks, and it’s not hard to see what makes it so good.
It’s got to be frustrating to see be defeated in one turn, thanks to They Who Endure+Atrocity, and with a full mana supply, it can be done! We just need 10 mana and 3 spell mana. Sure, that’s not going to be a likely situation, but boy is it amazing! So we’re only using one Champion, and she’s all we really need. Heck, thanks to our potential supply of non-stop jerks, we could very well win way before They Who Endure shows up in our hands.
But boy is it satisfying to obliterate someone by hitting them for tons of damage without having to do any work for it! Our minions are going to die, hopefully over and over. By the time your victim has anything to say or do about it, we’ve won.
How’s It Work?
Our followers are merely a means to an end here. Since They Who Endure gets bigger, the more minions we have that die, we’re going to want to get as many things as possible in and out of play. That means lots of aggression and low-cost creatures. We don’t even have to use They Who Endure, but it’s an awesome game-winning bomb. Why? Kalista’s Level Two!
She bonds with an ally, and it gains +2/+0 while bonded. When she attacks, that ally is Revived and attacks, reforging the bond. So what could we possibly do with that? Well, if it works out that way, we can bond it to They Who Endure, making sure that only Obliteration stops it from coming back to fight. But that’s not again, very ideal. Consider cards like Hapless Aristocrat. When it dies, it summons a Spiderling. So we attack with Kalista, and no matter what, that Aristocrat comes back, probably dies, and makes spiders we can constantly use in aggressive moves.
Or we could pair her with Doombeast! It has [Nightfall]: Drain 2 health from the enemy Nexus! All we have to do to trigger that is for it to not be the first card you played this round. So play literally anything first. They’re going to have to block it, because it’s otherwise 5 damage minimum that round. Bonding it to Kalista is going to bring it back over and over, affording you to be quite greedy and aggressive. Another incredible option is Wraithcaller, which summons a Mistwraith when it is summoned. That will make all Mistwraiths everywhere gain +1/+1, so if we constantly bring this back into play. . . well, it’s going to be really ugly.
That’s what makes this deck so powerful: That Bond ability. We desperately need to make sure Kalista hits Level 2 ASAP for this reason. How does she level up? By seeing 4+ Allies die. This can occur if you leave her in your hand, so that’s a positive. This is our primary way of winning the game. If Kalista dies, we’ve got three of her in the deck, so don’t worry too much.
If we want another constant flood of aggressive creatures, we can bond her to Cursed Keeper. This makes an Escaped Abomination upon the triggering of [Last Breath], which means they have to die. So we attack with it every turn, since Cursed Keeper [Can’t Block]. So that is one means of victory – we just chip away at the other player non-stop until they perish. But what about just nuking the site from orbit? I mean, it is the only way to be sure.
They Who Endure Further
They Who Endure again gains +1/+1 when it comes into play for each creature we have that died this game. With Kalista, we can create a chain of followers that die, come back, and just die again. We don’t even have to use a lot of [Ephemeral] shenanigans to do so! Her bond will guarantee that as long as she lives, that paired follower will just come back again and again. So how do we make sure we have a nice stock of minions that are going to die?
Let’s look at one of the new cards that will help! Stalking Shadows lets us look at the top four cards of our deck, and make an Ephemeral copy of one of the followers, and put it into our hand. We also draw that card, so we have technically have two. There are lots of really fun options for this card, too. In particular, we want to hopefully reach something that has [Last Breath].
Hapless Aristocart summons a 1/1 Spiderling when he dies, and then there’s the classic Warden’s Prey. It creates a [Last Breath] follower when it dies from any region, that costs 3 or less. These [Last Breath] minions are also great for our Ravenous Butcher, which costs 0 but requires a follower to die first. So we make an Ephemeral Warden’s Prey, it dies, we create another cheap [Last Breath] minion, play it, and then use it as fodder for Ravenous Butcher.
We have a constant stream of fodder in this deck. We have cards like Blighted Caretaker that kills an ally when it comes into play to create two Saprolings, which in turn are fodder for other things. Our deck is food to feed the strong. We want to keep pushing the other player with these minions that have no need but to die. Why? They Who Endure. We want to make it as big as humanly possible. They Who Endure is a 1/1 with [Overwhelm], so extra damage hits the enemy Nexus.
If you’re convinced it won’t do the job, we can also again, use Atrocity. It kills an Ally to deal it’s damage in power to any target. Also, bear in mind that it’s a Fast Spell. That means you can use it in combat. It can be interrupted, though, so do bear that in mind. So you can attack with your 15/15 or so Endure, and then, after damage has been dealt, drop an extra 6 mana to blow up the other player’s spot, and win the game immediately.
We have other “kill an ally” options too, though. Glimpse Beyond kills an ally to draw 2 cards, and Unspeakable Horror can kill an ally if needed. It drains 1 from anything, and if it wasn’t the first card we played this turn, you create a random [Nightfall] card in hand. So it’s also wildly useful. Nickel and dime the other player down, and if that isn’t going fast enough for you, we’ve got They Who Endure to settle the score once and for all.
Kalista Endures (Shadow Isles/Freljord Aggro/Tempo)
Kalista (3) x3
Ravenous Butcher (0) x3
Barkbeast (1) x3
Hapless Aristocrat (1) x3
Warden’s Prey (1) x3
Cursed Keeper (2) x3
Blighted Caretaker (3) x3
Doombeast (3) x3
Wraithcaller (4) x2
They Who Endure (6) x3
Glimpse Beyond (2) x3
Stalking Shadows (2) x3
Unspeakable Horror (2) x3
Atrocity (6) x2
What a great deck! I know I say that all the time, but it is! It’s got two very key ways to winning, and neither are that bad. Sure, you’re probably going to have a targeted Kalista, but that’s why we have 3. Get as much use out of her as possible, and don’t play her until you get that level 2 ready to go. Otherwise, you’re just throwing her away. There are so many things you can pair with her, so go with what works for you! Heck, she makes Barkbeast’s ability easier to proc (but it doesn’t make a good pair for her, I don’t think). Barkbeast gains +2/+2 the first time an ally dies, so it can’t be spammed. Makes sense. But this is a deck you take you push the other player around. After all, if our friends die, so what? We’ve always got more. It has a very solid place in the current meta, and I think more people are going to start trying it out.