Legends of Runeterra Decks Post-0.9.0 Update
Deny nerfs! Lux buffs! There are all kinds of stuff going on in Legends of Runeterra now! Since our first blog discussing decks, quite a few things have changed. So, with that in mind, we’re going to look at some powerful, and fun decks that are featured in the game right now. These, of course, can change, as updates can come out of nowhere, but I don’t think they’re going to drop them quite that fast. So, with that in mind, we’re going to take our eyes back to the Legends of Runeterra meta. How is it shaping up?
We’re going to look at a few decks that I’ve either piloted personally, or have been battered by so frequently, that I know have a very keen understanding of how they work. Without tons of grinding, it can be frustrating to build up a collection right now in Legends of Runeterra but this meta is going to be interesting.
Let’s start with possibly my least favorite (but newest) deck, Heimerdinger! There are lots of Heimerdinger decks right now, and lots of options to use with him. But I wanted to start with a more control route. But if you don’t see your favorite deck/champion here, don’t worry! There’s always more on the way! We have some others we’re working on, like some new tactics for Yasuo!
Maximum Overdonger (Heimer/Lux Control/MidRange)
I got so tired of dealing with this deck, that I decided to make my own. There are a lot of options for Heimerdinger decks right now, too. I was torn between Heimer/Lux and Heimer/Karma. Personally, I think Karma would have made the cut, were it not for the Deny nerf. Let’s be honest, Deny was really hurting the Legends of Runeterra meta, so we’re going to keep an eye on this deck instead.
What are we doing with Maximum Overdonger? Controlling the board, guaranteeing a pull of Heimer or Lux, and setting up maximum value with your robots. However, you can’t wait for Heimerdinger to power-up, considering his ability. You want him on the board as fast as possible. How do we guarantee him though? We can’t make it 100%, but we can make it pretty darn close.
It’s a very strong deck, and it’s honestly not that hard to create, in my estimation. We’re running almost no creatures, but don’t worry, my sweet summer child. We’re going to have more mecha than you can shake a stick at.
How Does It Work?
There are, again, some pretty varied versions of this deck. But this one, does not run a lot of creatures. In fact, we run 2 Champions (x3 Heimer, x2 Lux), and 1 follower (x3 Vanguard Redeemer). If we don’t start with a Heimerdinger in hand, Vanguard Redeemer is the best way to get there, for our money. If an ally dies this round, and then you summon Vanguard Redeemer, you draw a unit from your deck. But how are you going to do that, without any others in the deck?!
Spells~. That’s right, through magic! Jury-Rig, when cast or discarded, summons a Scrap Scuttler. You also have Succession, which summons a Dauntless Vanguard. You also have Remembrance, which can summon a random 5-cost from Demacia. So, with Rummage, you can discard your Jury-Rigs to draw cards, which puts them into play.
Then you wait for one to die (or attack and make your opponent kill them) and play your Redeemer. The main step is to get your Heimerdinger into play. Having Lux helps too, but Mecha come first. Heimerdinger gives you a Fleeting, 0-Cost Mecha whenever you cast a spell. So, the next major step is “Flash of Brilliance”, which refills your Spell Mana, and creates a Random Spell in hand. You have 32 spells in this deck, and many of them are in the 1-3 cost. It’s incredibly easy to flood the board with massive, frustrating Mecha.
You also have spells to kill pesky creatures, like Challengers. Heimerdinger is challenger-bait. He’s physically weak, so you don’t want him to fall prey to those jerks. So, between Thermogenic Beam, Mystic Shot, and Lux’s Final Spark, you can deal with those nicely. Or Prismatic Barrier to simply give him Barrier.
Keep an eye on how many minions you have out, though. You don’t want to cast a spell and waste a Mech summon. The ones that come to your hand are Fleeting, so they disappear at the end of turn. Once you’ve played 12 power worth of turrets, he levels up! Now they get +1/+1 and have an equal cost value to the spell played (the Fleeting turret still costs 0 though).
Now combine that flood of turrets, with Lux. After she’s seen 6+ mana worth of spells, she creates a Final Spark in hand. Final Spark costs 0, and deals 4 damage to an enemy unit, and has Fleeting (so you get one turn to use it). Do you see the value of having them both on the field? Free Turrets, AND free damage! You can sacrifice some of your turrets into situations where they’d die, so you have room for more!
Each frustrating, jerky spell you cast creates Turrets, and you don’t have to pay for them. In the later parts of the game, you can use Progress Day! To draw 3 and lower their costs by 1. You also have Statikk Shock, Get Excited! and Purify to deal with threats. The first two deal damage and Purify simply removes all text and keywords from a follower. Build your mecha army and flood the board with unrealistic amounts of damage.
That’s the way.
One of the most important parts to this deck is keeping cards in hand. You need to know when to play spells and when not to. However, it can feel scary when your opponent is flooding the board quickly. That’s what your damage spells are for. Remember, you have Thermogenic Beam to deal damage to big targets and Get Excited! To discard a Jury-Rig to the grave (to get it on the board), and to also deal 3 damage to anything. You have plenty of options, just keep cool and let Turrets happen.
Heimerdinger (5-Cost, Piltover/Zaun, ⅓): Heimerdinger is a must for this deck. Whichever champion you pair him with must synergize, but you have options. Ez, Lux, Karma, Garen. Maybe not Garen so much. But Heimerdinger’s the reason this deck even exists. As Elusive decks see nerfs, he will rise. Whenever you cast a spell, you receive a Fleeting Turret in hand, with equal cost. It costs 0 this round. So, you play a Flash of Brilliance, get a 3-cost Turret, refill your spell mana, and get another spell to play. Play it too if you need, for yet more Turrets! Whenever you cast a spell you get them, so don’t be shy. You can still play these Turrets on your opponent’s turn, as long it’s not combat time (and it’s your turn to cast). He is the reason for the season.
Lux (6-Cost, Demacia, ⅘): Lux is tough for being an adorable mage! Coming in hot as a ⅘, when she’s seen you cast 6+ mana worth of spells, she creates a Final Spark! It costs 0 and does 4 damage to a target, but it does have Fleeting. So, don’t waste it! Ezreal has lots of Mystic Shots to use, but I prefer Lux for her stats and the Final Sparks. I just really like her, now that she’s been buffed, so she belongs in this deck. Should she take some nerfs, I might replace her with Ez or someone else. But for now, she’s a great, useful part of this deck.
Rummage (1-Cost Spell, Burst): Rummage is one of the ways to get Jury-Rig in the graveyard, so you don’t have to pay its cost. If you happen to have two in hand, more’s the better. Rummage has Burst Speed, so you can do it during combat. You discard 2 cards, to draw 2 more. If you have things you can’t use, or don’t want, you pitch them to get a shot at two more cards. While it’s primary use is to get rid of Jury-Rig, it can also be a last-ditch effort to get Heimer or Vanguard Redeemer.
Jury-Rig (1-Cost Spell, Burst): Jury-Rig is how you get set up for Vanguard Redeemer in the early phases of the game. Otherwise, you must get Vanguard Redeemer out, wait for the next turn, and lose one, and cast another one. Jury-Rig’s much easier. It creates a 1/1 Scuttler, whether it’s cast or discarded. So, the ideal play is to get Jury-Rig out one way or another, make sure the Scuttler dies, and then play Vanguard Redeemer. It will give you one of three cards: Vanguard Redeemer, Heimerdinger, or Lux. The more minions you put in the deck, the more those chances are thinned out, hence why we have just those. Jury-Rig is key to your success, in a faster, more efficient way.
Progress Day! (8-Cost Spell Burst): There are several reasons why Progress Day! Is incredible. So, let’s get started. The most important part, you draw 3 cards, then reduce their costs by one. That is a ton of spells that can be dropped for potentially almost nothing. By the time you’re playing this, you likely have Heimerdinger (or maybe even the leveled-up version). Do you know what your 8-cost turret is? T-Hex. It’s an 8/8 for ZERO. The other turrets are great, each with a keyword (except the 1-cost and this). But dropping Progress Day! Gives you an 8/8 (which can show up as a 9/9). So, if you then cast another Progress Day! Just for laughs, who knows what you’ll get? Card draw is key in this deck. Most of our spells are Fast/Burst, so you will get plenty of value out of them. Plus, more Turrets!
Heimerdinger (5) x3
Lux (6) x2
Vanguard Redeemer (3) x3
Thermogenic Beam (0) x3
Jury-Rig (1) x3
Rummage (1) x1
Chain Vest (1) x1
Mystic Shot (2) x3
Purify (2) x1
Succession (3) x3
Flash of Brilliance (3) x3
Get Excited! (3) x3
Prismatic Barrier (3) x2
En Garde (3) x1
Statikk Shock (4) x1
Detain (5) x2
Remembrance (6) x3
Progress Day! (8) x2
Heimer. Donger. Lord I got tired of seeing this deck. I have only bested it with one of my decks so far, and that was via Barrier shenanigans. I had to really play down to the last card to even survive. But this is not a deck without weaknesses. The biggest perhaps is the lack of early-game creatures. If they can’t slow you down to prevent a flood of Elusive/Quick Attackers, you’re gonna be in for a bad time. But the longer the game goes on, the easier it is for Heimerdinger to come back, especially when paired with Lux’s flood of Final Sparks. In theory, you can get two of them in one turn, with enough cards in hand, which is 8 damage to the target (4 per target). This is a deck that really surprises people when it gets going. It doesn’t seem that efficient or even fun, and then it happens. The turrets. The rise of the machines. It’s Terminator 3, only it’s good.
Arachnophobia, Starring Jeff Daniels (Aggro/Midrange Dawnspiders)
You know what’s great about this deck? It has two fun, easy ways to win! Dawnspiders are easily one of the top decks right now for a few reasons. You flood the board with pesky spiders in the early game, and if that doesn’t work, you have a ton of options to really batter someone in the late game. Kill spells, spiders, and of course, Thasa, the Sunderer. They aren’t the “win con”, but they can be if you want!
This is a hyper-aggressive deck that makes people frustrated just seeing the first few turns. We’re looking at Shadow Isles and Demacia, which is a much better team than I initially thought it would be. But the buffing power of Demacia, and the Fearsome, jerk spiders, those two things combined are just a thing of beauty. Especially when you can buff your units simply by having your allies die (which you can make happen, and then take advantage of it for even more shenanigans).
This is a deck that can win out of precisely nowhere, dropping fearsome amounts of damage (Har Har) in just a few rounds. If you’re one of those players that likes lots of cheap, low-power creatures in the early game, they’re going to batter your eyes out with spiders.
How Does It Work?
Elise is the star of the early game with Dawnspiders. You want to fill the board with those jerk arachnids, and then drop Elise right behind them. Arachnoid Horrors, Frenzied Skitterers, Vile Feast, you have plenty of options. But the big joy is Elise. When she attacks, she summons a Spiderling, and if you have 3+ Spiders on the board at the start of a round, she levels up. That means only one thing: STRONGER SPIDERS.
You can technically win the game without even having to resort to the other tricks in your bag, too. I mean, the Frenzied Skitterer is a 3/3 with Fearsome, that gives allied Spiders +1/+0, and enemies -1/-0 until end of turn! With it, Elise, and a few choice spiders in play, that can be the end of the game! Not to mention, a leveled-up Elise gives all your Spiders Fearsome/Challenger! I mean, what could be worse?
What indeed. I know exactly what makes these Spiders even more irritating. Why, the mighty Dawnspeaker! Dawnspeaker is a Demacia unit that costs 3 to play. But, at the end of a round, your other allies gain +1/+1, if an ally died this round (for any reason). Did you sacrifice one to draw cards, or maybe use Challenger to defeat a must-answer threat? Then those spiders get bigger.
If things start getting out of control though, we have other fun answers, like Hecarim, Thresh, and Rhasa the Sunderer! We also have Wraithcallers and Mistwraiths. Those get bigger and bigger too every time you put a Mistwraith in play. If you somehow don’t best someone with all that growing spider threat, what’s the play? Do we have something to kill units dead? Why, of course we do my friends! Rhasa, the Sunderer!
They kill the lowest 2 Power enemies, if an ally died this round. But what if they don’t block? Then we give one of our creatures Ephemeral, via Mark of the Isles, and force them to! Either way, someone dies, and then you can play Rhasa. Or swing with Hecarim, and he will create Ephemeral creatures that will inevitably die.
Again, Dawnspeaker will aid you when your friends die. If someone you need dies, or you simply want to play Rhasa, the Sunderer again, you can give him Ephemeral via Mark of the Isles, then play The Rekindler! Rhasa dies, you play The Rekindler. When they’re summoned, a random allied champion with the highest Power comes back. In this case, it’s likely Rhasa. So, two more enemies die!
The gameplay loop for this deck is incredibly easy. Play Spiders, beat someone down. If they last through the beatdown, start making Mistwraiths, bring back creatures over and over, and abuse creatures like Vanguard Redeemer. When they’re summoned, you draw a unit from the deck if an ally died this round. The longer the game goes on, the better this deck is. Most of the cards have reasonable costs, except your big Shadow Isles hitters. Rhasa, Hecarim, and The Rekindler aren’t cheap.
Let’s not forget Thresh, either! You want him on the board quickly if possible, so he can watch units die. That’s all it takes to increase his power: things must perish. Yours or theirs, it doesn’t matter. So, our early game is “spiders, spiders, spiders”. But don’t be afraid to get those Mistwraiths/callers cast either. Each time you do, all Mistwraiths everywhere get bigger. That means The Rekindler could bring one back from the grave as a massive honking beast.
This deck is so frustrating because you have so many options available. Everything in this deck can turn out to be a horrifying, killing monster. The Shadow Isles grant power to the dead, and in this deck, they dead are restless, and more importantly, hungry. You do have a few creatures in this deck that aren’t spiders or the undead, in Demacia’s Fleetfeather Tracker and Laurent Protege. Oh, and the earlier discussed Vanguard Redeemer. Those challenger units are there to hold people off and kill the inconvenient, but if you can buff them, more’s the better.
The early game is so monstrous with spiders. That’s what I love about Dawnspiders, you aren’t hinging the game on one combo to go off. It is likely that you can get an early win with Elise and her jerky arachnids, but if not, you have Thresh, Hecarim, Mistwraiths, and so much more. Another great thing about this deck, is it’s not super costly. Only 3 epics, and 9 rares? That’s not so bad. You only need one copy of Thresh and Hecarim, so that’s not too bad. The most work that must be put in is for Elise and her minions, and even then, it’s not so bad. By now, I’ve accumulated almost 50 Common wildcards, so making those is a piece of pie. So, what really makes this deck go?
Elise (2-Cost, Shadow Isles, ⅔): I foresee nerf in Elise’s future. But for now, let’s take advantage of our mighty Spider Queen. Attacking gives you another Spiderling to use, and she levels up incredibly easy (have 3 spiders at the start of a round). Leveling up gives all your Spiders Fearsome and Challenger, which is horrifying. The ideal move in my opinion is to get the 3+ spiders out and play her at the end of your opponent’s round. Then when your round is up, swing with a host of big, Fearsome spiders. She’s not your only win condition, but she’s a very easy, very satisfying one. It’s not like it’s hard to get spiders in this deck. . .
Thresh (5-Cost, Shadow Isles, 3/6): You’ll notice that this deck includes no Demacia champions. That’s because we don’t need them. We only want to borrow Demacia’s power to increase the might of the Shadow Isles. Thresh relishes in watching others die, his own or his enemies. By seeing 6+ units die, he levels up. That’s when you want to attack with him. When that leveled-up Thresh attacks for the first time, you summon a champion from hand or deck, and they also attack! I played with the idea of having a second Thresh in the deck, just to have access to The Box. That way, I can deal 3 damage to every unit my opponent played in a turn. But swinging with Thresh, and getting a Hecarim in attack mode? He also brings those spectral horses with him! Ka. Boom.
Hecarim (6-Cost, Shadow Isles, 5/7): Hecarim’s one of my favorite champions, even though he’s so frustrating to play against. Your Ephemeral Allies have +2/+0 when he’s leveled up and attacking makes two Spectral Riders (which have Ephemeral). Once 8+ Ephemeral units have attacked for you, he increases in power. It doesn’t seem to happen often in this deck, but it’s worth it. He’s so strong and can be a game winner all on his own. Leveled up Hecarim also helps with Mark of the Isles. If your opponent can’t block (thanks to Fearsome), give something Ephemeral with Mark of the Isles, and laugh as it grows, and grows, and grows. Then they die.
Dawnspeakers (Epic 3-Cost Minion, Demacia): Dawnspeakers are not a unit you want to attack with ever, to be honest. It’s a ¼ for 3 and is the basis for half of this decks power. At the end of a round, if an ally died this round, all other allies gain +1/+1. Doesn’t matter what the cause of death was, and you can make sure they do in a variety of ways. Mark of the Isles, Glimpse Beyond, Vile Feast, or simply attack to make your opponent block. Spiders are normally low on health but giving them a steady +1/+1 diet can make them infuriate to deal with.
Frenzied Skitterer (Rare 3-Cost Minion, Shadow Isles): A 3/3 for 3 seems great, until you realize it has two very special additions. The first being, it has Fearsome. The second, it gives your Spiders +1/+0 until end of round, and debuffs enemies with -1/-0. That makes it incredibly easy to abuse Fearsome shenanigans, especially with a leveled-up Elise. If all your Spiders are monstrous and Fearsome, it can be very hard to get to block. You can pick and choose to block if you want, or you can go for a One Hit Kill. It’s possible in this deck after a few rounds have passed. Double casting this creature could make it happen in the mid game, if you’re bold and ahead enough with board presence.
Back to Back (Rare 5-Cost Spell, Burst, Demacia): Back to Back ought to be nerfed. But, since it hasn’t been, let’s use it! Store up some Spell Mana for this bad boy. This is a part of your Elise+Frenzied Skitterer, OTK move. You can also pair it with Mark of the Isles to give one of those two allies +6/+6 and Ephemeral. Back to Back gives 2 units +3/+3 for a round and moves at Burst Speed. That means your opponent can’t answer it! Ideal scenario: Spider Queen Elise (4 attack), Frenzied Skitterer (3 attack), Arachnoid Horror (3 attack). Frenzied Skitter gives Elise and Arachnoid +1 each (12 damage), then you cast Back to Back to tack on 3 to Elise and Skitterer (18 damage). If they weren’t already dead, slap down Mark of the Isles in the late game, and that’s an easy blast through all 20 points of a Nexus.
Elise (2) x3
Thresh (5) x1
Hecarim (6) x2
Fleetfeather Tracker (1) x2
Arachnoid Horror (2) x3
Mistwraith (2) x3
Laurent Protege (3) x1
Vanguard Redeemer (3) x2
Dawnspeakers (3) x2
Frenzied Skitterer (3) x3
Wraithcaller (4) x3
The Rekindler (6) x1
Rhasa, the Sunderer (7) x1
Mark of the Isles (1) x2
Black Spear (2) x1
Glimpse Beyond (2) x3
Vile Feast (2) x3
Purify (2) x1
Back to Back (5) x2
Deck Code: CEAQOAIFBYICOKBRGU4AEAYBAULCGKQEAEAB2HZJGYBAEAIABMZAGAIFCQRDI
This is another “deck that has battered me quite a few times”. I wasn’t really interested in making an Elise deck to play until I saw this one, that had a few non-Spidery surprises in it. Putting all your eggs in one basket isn’t typically a smart move, so I’m glad to show this one off. It’s got a lot of answers for all phases of the game and can really snake a victory out of the jaws of defeat. It’s got a lot of power again, all points in the game. If your fun creatures die, they will be back though. You can be assured of that.
It’s fun, and I like watching someone’s hopes go dashing to bits as more and more spiders get fielded. They play their annoying creature with 1 hp, thinking they’ll start abusing Elusive, or start some recall shenanigans? No, they don’t! Because Vile Feast is here to give me a spider instead! You can also use it to kill one of your own, to replace it with a Spider! Sure, winning via Spider Shenanigans is fun, but at least if things go bad, the late game can turn around with some grim aide via the Shadow Isles.
You Belong in a Museum! (Ezreal/Teemo Combo)
Editor’s Note: Mushroom means “Poison Puffcap,” which come from a variety of cards in this deck.
What’s more annoying than Teemo’s Mushrooms? Why, having them trigger the end of the game without even getting to draw a card! This is a deck I sort of stumbled upon by accident. By “accident”, I mean, I was a turn away from winning, and another player did this to me. I had a field of 9/9s on the board and was ready to swing for lethal. What did they do, you ask?
With a leveled up Ezreal, they played a host of Burst Spells for 1 or 2 mana, dumped it all, and beat me. I didn’t even get to swing for lethal, which it was on the agenda. What’s worse, is that Teemo, though being in the deck, never even got to the field! They were smart and kept Ez off the table until it was too late for me to do anything about them.
Though this deck can defeat someone by flooding a deck with Mushrooms, it’s not the only way to win. That’s what makes Legends of Runeterra decks truly terrifying: multiple win conditions! If you’re only running one thing to win with, it’s a bit riskier. Unless you’re Yasuo or Zed, maybe. They’re both still awesome solo.
How Does It Work?
This is a deck that can dumpster a ton of Mushrooms into your opponents deck, via Chump Wump, Puffcap Peddler, Clump of Whumps, and Counterfeit Copies. Oh, and Mushroom Cloud. Tired of Shrooms yet? There are more ways to do it with this deck!
The idea is to build up Ezreal’s level up before he even gets to the table, if possible. You just must target 8+ enemy units with your spells. How do you do that? Mystic Shots, Statikk Shock, Trueshot Barrage, spells like that.
If you can keep a Puffcap Peddler on the board while doing this, more’s the better. That way you can keep dealing bits of damage with the Mushrooms. This deck creates a lot of Shrooms in your hand, after all with the above creatures. But we don’t want to cast those. No, we hold those close to our chest. Why for, though?
That’s your win con! Once Ezreal is powered up, you play him. You want to have a lot of mana lying around though. Hopefully, you’ve been pinging your opponent with Shroom and character damage, thanks to Puffcap Peddler. That makes it way easier. You can use Counterfeit Copies to make more spells in your deck to cast, too, preferably low-cost ones.
So that’s the first major combo way to win. You build up your mana supplies, cast Ezreal, then dumpster all your 1-2 cost spells in one turn. Each time you cast a spell, Ez will automatically hit your opponent’s Nexus for 2! So, if you have say, 4 Mushrooms in hand, that’s 8 damage.
If you have Mystic Shots, you can keep swinging with those! Fire off a Mystic Shot onto their Nexus and get an extra 2 damage! Attack with Ezreal onto their Nexus? Get another Mystic Shot to cast! Then shoot that one and get even more damage for free. If you can do it in one go, that’s the best. But remember, now that Ezreal is on the board, he’s a target. You’re running 3 though, so it’s not the end of the world if he perishes.
Otherwise, if you aren’t comfortable with that, or it’s not working, you can use Teemo, and his Mushroom pals to make someone take damage when they draw. It’s not guaranteed, but the more mushrooms drop into their deck, the more likely it is. Plus, it seems like they can tag the same card more than once.
Not too many things are more annoying than drawing 3 cards and taking 5 or 6 damage for it. Whew, that’s rough. You make your opponent paranoid about each card draw. So, you play your Whump pals, play those Mushrooms into their deck directly, and swing with Teemo.
Attacking with Teemo puts more Mushrooms in. Then with Puff Peddler, he adds Mushrooms to their deck when you cast spells (including your physical mushroom cards). Kill a creature? Mushrooms. Shoot at their Nexus? MUSHROOMS. Draw some cards? MUSH. ROOMS. It turns their own deck into a minefield.
Those are your two options. With clever planning, you can do them both at once though. If your opponent has been suitably battered to the point they can’t fight back, work on both at once. Winnow their health down with Mushrooms in their deck, and finish things off with Ezreal’s ridiculous combo potential. A leveled-up Ezreal makes people weep.
Plus, if you’ve planted 15 of those annoying Puffcaps/Mushrooms, Teemo is leveled up. His Nexus Strike doubles the Puffcaps in their deck, and that’s terrifying. At that point, you can probably just sit back and relax, and let that do the work for you. But I’d keep pinging away with Teemo to double it again and again.
All I can think of is the Simpsons episode where they talk about Pogs coming back. “The first meme is back! But in card form!” That’s right, Mushroom, Mushroom, Mushroom. They’re coming, and you can’t stop them. They aren’t your only way to win, but you have some serious value in those vicious little Puffcaps.
Ezreal (3-Cost, Piltover/Zaun, ⅓): Ezreal is so strong, even after his changes. His base form is mediocre. He requires a hit to the Nexus to really shine. But if you can keep him out and doing it, it makes his level-up condition easier. He must target enemy units 8+ times. He has “Nexus Strike: Create a Fleeting Mystic Shot in hand”. So, if he hits their Nexus, he gets a temporary Mystic Shot. Now, he must pay for this (2 mana). But it guarantees you have a spell to target an enemy unit (if they have any). But once he’s leveled up, he can be your clutch game ender. From there, you just play all those annoying Mushroom cards you’ve been hoarding. Pew. Pew.
Teemo (1-Cost, Piltover/Zaun, 1/1): Teemo, it’s said in League of Legends, has a Global Taunt. By that, we mean, “You see a Teemo, you kill a Teemo”. You don’t let them stay and get fed, not ever. This Teemo is a 1/1 out of the box, but he’s got Elusive. Be careful, though. Challenge decks and direct damage are his bane. But if you can get one out, preferably after he’s already leveled up (or close to it), he’s a threat. Normally he has “Nexus Strike: Plant 5 Poison Puffcaps on random cards in the enemy deck”. But when he levels up (after planting 15+ Poison Puffcaps), his Nexus Strike doubles the amount. Each time, too. Do the math! Because I’m bad at it! But even I can see how deadly that is.
Counterfeit Copies (Rare 1-Cost Spell, Burst Speed): God, Counterfeit Copies is ludicrous for 1 mana. It’s more than just “copy a spell”, it’s Pick a card in hand. Then you shuffle 4 exact copies of it into your deck. For buff decks, this is ludicrous. But for this deck, it means we’re going to see a lot more Mystic Shots, Rummages, Statikk Shocks, and Trueshot Barrages. It’s even better if it’s paired with something horrible like Progress Day! So, you cast Counterfeit Copies for 1, then Progress Day! with Ezreal on the field. Then you make some new stuff to draw. You could have done it on Clump of Whumps and get him out for 1. He makes those Mushrooms in hand, and you pop those off with Spell Mana (or do it next turn) and just flood the field with damage. Since it’s Burst Speed, your opponent can’t stop you from using Counterfeit Copies just to trigger damage. You can always use one on Counterfeit Copies if you have two in hand too!
Puffcap Peddler (Common 3-Cost Follower): Puffcap Peddler is great for both combos in this deck. For Teemo, he puts Mushrooms in their deck simply by casting spells. This benefits Ezreal in a few ways. First, it means more free damage simply by opponent’s drawing cards, and it synergizes with Leveled-Up Ezreal casting spells for free Nexus damage. It all helps the ADC snowball wildly out of control, even in a card game. He’s not a Follower you attack with. He stays on the backline and makes sure your opponent is afraid to ever draw a card. You want them to be nervous, and Puffcap Peddler’s here to make sure that exact thing goes down.
Trueshot Barrage (Epic 7-Cost Spell, Slow Speed): Yes, Trueshot Barrage can be countered. But you want to hold it until that’s not going to be an issue. What makes Trueshot Barrage so important, and worthy of being Counterfeited, is it targets three cards at one time. For 7 mana, you deal 3 damage to a unit, 2 damage to another, and 1 damage to yet another. It can be all you need to put Ezreal over the edge to leveling up. Much like the cheaper Statikk Shock, which targets 2, it has incredible value. But I chose the bigger, slower spell just for the extra target. But I’d be foolish to not also shout out Statikk Shock, which makes that level up process easier too.
Teemo (1) x3
Ezreal (3) x3
Clump of Whumps (2) x3
Puffcap Peddler (3) x3
Chump Whump (4) x3
Shady Character (4) x3
Mushroom Cloud (1) x3
Counterfeit Copies (1) x3
Rummage (1) x3
Mystic Shot (2) x3
Statikk Shock (4) x3
Hextech Transmogulator (6) x1
Trueshot Barrage (7) x3
Progress Day! (8) x3
There are a few versions of this deck too. One uses more cheap control options and Scrapbots. You’d probably just remove the Transmogulator, and Shady Characters to make room for Scrapdash Assembly and Get Excited! As your other options. This one is serviceable though and has plenty of options to frustrate opponents.
This is not a deck that’s going to win quickly. You’re aiming for the long game and sticking it out if you can. But what stops this dead in its tracks? Not getting your combo going quickly. Ephemeral and Elusive can really stop it too. In the early game, you may find yourself relying on Teemo and Ez to attack directly. Since they have Elusive, they can only be blocked by other Elusive units.
There are going to be players that will give someone Elusive and throw them away just to slow you down. Ephemeral decks that keep coming back can also be a bother because they think nothing of swinging when everything is going to die. After all, it’s all coming back in the end. Playing this deck, you want as many cards in hand as possible, even if your opponent knows they’re Poison Puffcaps. You must be calm, cool, and collected. Wait for the perfect moment, blow all that mana, and end someone’s Nexus without them even getting a say-so in the proceedings.‘
Zed’s Elites (Aggro)
While Elusive cards are on the “to-consider” list for changing, as of right now, they’re still incredibly strong. So, I wanted to look at a deck that is in no way complex. It’s easy, it’s powerful, and has some filthy combos. I wanted to look back at a card we used earlier, the Dawnspeaker. It’s great with units that have Ephemeral. So, how can we do that in a Zed deck? Why, Zed clones, of course!
This is certainly one of the best Legends of Runeterra meta decks I can think of. When I was in a rut, trying to get out of a series of losses, this deck rescued me. We’re going to use a lot of Elites, and find ways to make them bigger, better. We do a lot of damage, fast. The only downside to this deck is that we’re running Deny, which was recently nerfed.
I say “nerf”, but it now costs 4 mana instead of 3, and that’s fine. Most of this deck is reasonably priced. What’s interesting about it, is that almost the whole deck is Demacia, without a single Demacian champion! We’re just using Zed and Deny from Ionia. Everything else? DEMACIAAAAAAA! Though he’s not in the deck now, I’d really like to put Garen in somehow. He has all the synergy I need for this deck and having easy access to Rally would be a godsend for dealing damage.
That’s what this deck is. No fancy tricks, little-to-no shenanigans. It’s you, an army, and one good, sneaky boy, dealing as much damage as we can muster up at once. That’s what makes this deck so great. The only way I could fathom it being more frustrating is if I found a way to sneak an “Elusive” spell into the deck. Trust me, that’s something I’m thinking about.
How Does It Work?
While this is a “Zed” deck, the real stars if you ask me, are Battlesmith and Dawnspeaker. The Battlesmith is what made me want to look at this deck in the first place. If he’s on the field, Elite’s played for you come in with +1/+1. I’m sure you can imagine, there are a lot of them in this deck.
Sadly, Zed is not an Elite. I don’t see why not, he’s the best-of-the-best when it comes to assassins and murderers. That’s why I want to find a way to sneak Garen in, just so we can have a bigger, meaner elite. So Battlesmith makes your Elites Elite-ier, and Dawnspeaker is to go alongside Zed. We’ve talked about Dawnspeaker before in this blog. When an ally of yours dies, at the end of the turn, all living units of yours gain +1/+1. Zed? Bigger. Vanguard Defender? Bigger. Even the adorable Cithria of Cloudfield gets stronger! For a 1-drop, she’s so great.
Speaking of, Cithria of Cloudfield is likely to be our turn one option in as many cases as possible. She’s a 2/2 for 1, with no other abilities to speak of. That’s fine because her purpose is early damage. It, or Fleetfeather Tracker, anyway. Though they’re only a 2/1, it has Challenger. But ideally, we want Battlesmith and/or Dawnspeakers out as fast as possible.
That’s where a lot of our big numbers will come from. If we can get a Battlesmith out, followed by Vanguard Defender, we’re in great shape. That makes the 2/2 Tough unit into a 3/3 Tough, making him much harder to kill. Tough reduces incoming damage to it from any source by 1. We have a few Challenger options too, for two purposes. They kill weak units, and we can use them as death fodder, to make sure Dawnspeakers keeps buffing. But the best combo from that? That’s from Zed.
Whenever Zed attacks, he makes a Shadow Clone. It’s Ephemeral, so it’s going to die no matter what. So, we swing with Zed, and if possible, hold a buff in hand. You know someone’s going to try and be slick and kill Zed. So, with a Radiant Strike laying around, you can prevent that death from happening.
This deck is all about Demacia’s “Vanguard” line of units. Vanguard Square in hand gets cheaper with each Elite cast. Vanguard Bannerman gives all allies +1/+1 if you already have a Demacian in pl ay. Vanguard Redeemer gives you a unit from the deck if someone died this round. And of course, Vanguard Sergeant, he has our sneaky win con in control.
When you cast Vanguard Sergeant, you get a “For Demacia!” card in hand. Make sure your opponent cannot counter before you cast it though. If you can get both of those For Demacia! Cards into your hand at once, you can make a gigantic final swing for your opponent’s life points. That spell is Slow Speed, but it gives +3/+3 to all allies.
Zed is great in the early game and is a fantastic distraction. The real move is our huge, angry Elites. But if you can keep Zed out, more’s the better. If you can keep buffing those Challenger units too, you can get your opponent’s front line weakened and prevent them from blocking your biggest, toughest units. Sometimes, our soldiers must die for the greater good, and these troops all know this.
So that’s our strategy. Easy enough, right? Get your units on the board, do what you can to buff them up. Battlesmith, Vanguard Bannerman to buff the living, and Dawnspeakers to watch the dead die, and buff everyone else. Sadly, Dawnspeakers don’t buff themselves, but if you have two of them out. . . There you go.
You’ve got plenty of units whose only purpose is to be fodder for Dawnspeaker buffs, too. Cithria, Fleettracker, Laurent Protege, and Vanguard Defender are all going to be fighting constantly. Put your army into position and batter your opponent. If you can keep Zed in play and level him up for constant damage, it’s great, but don’t be upset if he perishes early.
He’s very hard to keep out, and besides, he’s a smokescreen for the mighty army of Demacia.
This is a deck about buffing in some weird, perhaps unexpected ways. Perhaps unexpected isn’t quite the word. But Dawnspeaker really hinges on people dying. That’s what Zed is for, so do it as often as you can. Thankfully, you can throw lives away if you really need to (but don’t if you don’t have to). But we do have several weak units that can get bigger and better if given the time. But this is still ultimately an aggro deck, but the argument can be made for it being mid-range. Not a lot of spells, but you will always have creatures to play.
Zed (3-Cost, Ionia, 3/2): It’s almost like Zed is good or something! Imagine that. He’s used in so many decks. He’s a part of my Yasuo OTK deck too. Zed is an alternate win-con in this deck. If things are just going your way in a wild, unexpected way, you can get his level up condition in his first attack (He/His Clones strike the enemy Nexus twice). How can we make that happen? Have enough Challengers on the board to drag all the enemy blockers away from Zed and his Shadow Clone Jutsu! But what makes him so great, is that level up. When Zed levels up, his clones have his stats and keywords. So, when he starts getting buffed from other units, it’s really going to show up here. Remember, you’re running three copies, so he can come back in the late game to be a pest.
Battlesmith (Common 2-Cost Follower, Demacia): Oh boy, the Battlesmith is fantastic. Awesome art, and a 2-cost with a lot of upsides. If it gets nerfed, I can see it changing to a 2/1, because of just how good this card is. A 2/2 for 2, that gives all Elites that come into play +1/+1? I’ve seen versions of this that don’t run Dawnspeaker/Zed, and instead, run stuff that synergizes with Garen and Braum. But that’s not what we’re doing today! So how many Elites are in this deck? Out of 40 cards, 22 are Elites! So yes, you will have them. This is a deck about Being the Elite if you will. In a perfect world, you have two Battlesmiths in play, so when you cast Silverwing Vanguard, that challenger summons a clone, and both are 4/3 Challengers. That’s a lot of value right out of the gate.
Vanguard Bannerman (Rare 4-Cost Follower, Demacia): One of the best things about this deck is we aren’t running any gigantic, 8-cost spells. The highest cost is Back to Back, which is a 5-cost. Vanguard Bannerman, coming in at 4-mana, can be used any time of the game. Plus, he offers a ton of upside. If you have one other Demacian in play, he gives all Allies (himself included) +1/+1. That makes him a 4/4 for 4, and it means Zed too! It will make your Dawnspeaker harder to kill, and the same goes for Battlesmith. I’d play these back to back if possible, just to give even more strong creatures. But you can hold one back for a later play. This deck is all about having huge, beefy Elites on the table, and going deep with them.
Vanguard Sergeant (Rare 3-Cost Follower, Demacia): On his own, Vanguard Sergeant is “okay”. It’s a 3/3 for 3, but they’re Elite so they still trigger Battlesmith. So that will make it likely come in as a 4/4. Okay, we’re getting better. But we’re running 2 of these in the deck. Why? Because we get a “For Demacia!” of course! That slow spell gives your allies +3/+3 until end of round. For Demacia is your card to cast when you’re ready to win and are certain your opponent can’t stop it. Say you have a bunch of 6/6s on the table. If you aren’t playing against Ezreal, you can more than likely cast a For Demacia! Or two, and then swing lethal. I’ve had matches with this that even if everyone but “1” ally is blocked, you can do that, slide one Radiant Strike down, and get someone’s Nexus down.
Zed (3) x3
Cithria of Cloudfield (1) x3
Fleetfeather Tracker (1) x3
Battlesmith (2) x3
Vanguard Defender (2) x3
Dawnspeakers (3) x3
Laurent Protege (3) x2
Vanguard Redeemer (3) x3
Vanguard Sergeant (3) x2
Silverwing Vanguard (4) x3
Vanguard Bannerman (4) x3
Vanguard Squire (4) x3
Radiant Strike (1) x1
Deny (4) x2
Back to Back (5) x3
If you’re looking for a deck that isn’t too complicated to pilot, and just hammers damage out turn after turn, here you go! But you must be careful because it’s not invincible. You have two Deny spells to counter with, but I feel like those are mostly there to bait people. People see “Ionia” in a deck and immediately think there’s a Deny lurking. This time there are! Figure out what your opponent is going to batter you with on the spell side of things and stop it from going down.
Decks that think nothing of units dying (Shadow Isles) are going to be hard to deal with though. Especially if they’re running Shark Chariot. That means they’re going to throw everything they have at you every single turn, and ultimately, it can win out. Especially if they have other allies that come back over and over. Heavy unit control (Frostbite) can be hard to handle, but stand by your guns, and make sure your army works together to bring the might of Demacia to anyone you play against. But you do have allies that should never be attacking, unless they are massive, that being Dawnspeakers and Battlesmith. If they somehow get into the 9/10-10 attack/life range, then maybe. Otherwise, I wouldn’t risk them perishing.
Not Draven, Draaaaaaaaaaaven (Discard Hyper-Aggro, Noxus+Piltover/Zaun)
The Draven/Jinx combo isn’t new by any means, but oh my lanta is it deadly! You must play hyper-aggressive and show absolutely no fear to pilot this deck efficiently. You’re always looking for your next, most awesome play. It’s not really for me yet, but I love the concept of it so much. This is a deck I see a lot on the ranked ladder, and I understand why. Being able to dump your hand, and get creatures/damage for it? Oh yes.
That said, I love this deck. It’s so obnoxious. It’s powerful, and I get it. I didn’t build this straight away, because I didn’t realize it was a thing when I started deck building. That’s one of the perils of card games, I suppose.
Like all the best decks in Legends of Runeterra meta, we can do a few things here. We can win with abusing Draven and dealing tons of damage between him and Darius, or we can just dump our hand, level up Jinx, and pound their Nexus with Super Mega Death Rockets on every turn. Even your opponent’s attacking turn, making it even better! But how do we get to a point when that’s going to be inevitable? Well, I’m glad you asked.
How Does It Work?
The final deck in this current iteration of the blog stars the one and only Draaaaaaaaaven! Oh, and Jinx/Darius too, I guess. We’re going to run a Piltover/Zaun+Noxus deck, focused on dumping every card in our hand to the grave. We’ll be well-rewarded too. That’s what I love about this deck, you can be aggressive, but you balance heavy control with heavy damage. But there’s a catch, of course.
The most important thing here, is to not discard recklessly. There are cards you want to pitch, and cards that you’re going to need. For example, you probably want to put the Chempunk Shredder onto the board to deal 1 damage to all enemies. Conversely, you have cards that need to go in the grave to save you some mana.
Flame Chompers and Jury Rig both come into play when discarded. So, try to pair them with cards that they will see synergy with. That includes the Sump Dredger. That’s a 4/3, that requires 1 card discarded (for TWO MANA). So, drop one of your “played when discarded” cards to make sure you have even more stuff on the board.
So, while we do want to empty our hand, there’s a method to the madness. What’s our main end goal? Jinx! She levels up after your hand is empty. Then, the first time you empty your hand each round, she gets a Fleeting Super Mega Death Rocket. It costs 2 mana and hits the Nexus for 4, and all their units for 1.
Do we have any sound ways to level up? You bet we do! Draven and the Augmented Experimenter are the best go-tos in this deck. The Augmented Experimenter just has you discard your whole hand when summoned, to deal 3 damage to an enemy unit. Draven’s Spinning Axes give an ally +1/+0 until end of turn, by casting it and discarding 1 card. She also gives you an extra card to draw every round (Jinx, that is).
Our ideal early plays though, are Draven’s Biggest Fan, to make sure Draven is on the way. Our early aggressive options are Reckless Triafarian and Sump Dredger, to make your opponent deal with your aggression, while you get set up to really put the boots to them.
If things aren’t going so hot, use Rummage to discard a few then draw some. If you’re in need of a defensive line, Scrapdash Assembly will help a bit. So, we’re aggressive early, cycling through our deck to get the good stuff, and after we’ve pounded them a few times with Jinx and Draven, that’s where Darius comes in.
Technically we don’t need Darius, but he sure does help make this go quicker. All he needs to do to level up is to get their Nexus to 10 or less HP. Then he becomes a mighty, Overwhelm-packing monster. Between him, Jinx, Draven, and the Trifarian Gloryseeker, we ought to have more than enough damage to be a threat. That’s what makes this deck so scary.
Any one thing on its own is deadly. If you build up Draven, he can just be the win-con, or you can take your time, and batter someone down with Jinx! You have lots of cards that synergize with discard, you have control options like Mystic Shot and Culling Strike, and discard fodder galore. You also have Blade’s Edge for a cheeky 1 point of damage onto something.
You also have Legion Grenadiers, to throw aimlessly at someone, to make sure at least 2 damage gets to their Nexus. Our late game is having one (or more) of our champions in play to be a serious threat. The name of the game here is to make our opponents burn up resources on our early threat-producing potential, and then batter them.
We have so many options in this deck. If you get Draven early, consider pitching your discard-to-play cards with his Spinning Axes. Jinx + Augmented Experimenter = Instant level up too. This is a deck that must go fast. You need to play aggressive, so your opponent doesn’t overwhelm you. In a pinch, remember you have a lot of ways to discard and draw.
Did your opponent play something with 3 life that’s really got you down? Toss Get Excited! And discard something that will give you a further minion. Your ideal start is probably going to have Draven’s Biggest Fan, Culling Strike, Flame Chomper, or an early game Legion Rearguard.
This deck uses every single bit of the hog, such as it were. You have tons of options, and lots of ways things can go right (and wrong). At any stage of the game, you can easily come back, especially if you’ve dealt some damage to their Nexus. You have Quick Attack champions (Jinx, Draven), overwhelming force (Darius) and tons of low-cost, high-damage creatures that force your opponent to deal with them or take a lot of damage. Plus, discard! I love discard!
Jinx (4-Cost, Piltover/Zaun, 4/3): Oh, Jinx is just the best. They really captured the essence of how frustrating it is to deal with her. The only way it could have been better, is if she could swap to dealing AOE damage, in the same way, that Anivia does. Plus, she rewards you for having an empty hand! She synergizes so well with Draven, it’s sickening. Two ADCs teaming up like this? Can’t stand for it! But, if it’s good, we may as well do it, right? Jinx is a 4/3 with Quick Attack, so when she’s on the offense, she’s a force of nature. Be careful when attacking though. Your opponent might have a sneaky Frostbite or Barrier waiting. Be aware of what they can do before going in recklessly.
Draven (3-Cost, Noxus, 3/3): Draaaaaaaaven. He’s the other major part of your tool kit! He gives you things to discard, that give him or someone else +1 attack! When he strikes, or he’s put into play, you gain 2 Spinning Axes. Those can be played (discarding a card for them) to get that buff. If you keep your opponent out of creatures, he’s going to just go ham on their Nexus, battering it senseless. He also synergizes well with his brother, Darius, as a follow-up. Draven puts the fear in ‘em, makes them weaker, and then Darius barrels through like a colossus.
Darius (6-Cost, Noxus, 6/5): Darius is an absolute monster. We’re only running one of him because one’s all we need. Plus, we can only field 6 champions, and we can’t put 4 Jinxes in the deck. He makes the most sense here. When he’s cast, he’s a 6/5, with Overwhelm (damage beyond lethal goes through to the Nexus), and all he needs to do to level up is wait for the other player’s Nexus to be at 10 or lower health. That’s it! Then he becomes a. . . 10/5 Overwhelm. If you can time this right, get Jinx and Draven to batter the other player so they have no blockers, he’s a free win! Play him, swing lethal! With the right cards in hand, this will be GG EZ.
Augmented Experimenter (Rare 6-Cost Follower, Noxus): A 3/3 for 6? You must be mad! Why would we want that in any deck, much less this one? Because he lets you discard, that’s why! You can’t normally just. . . get rid of cards. I’ve never hit a point in this game where I had to discard because I had too many cards in hand. But when you play Augmented Experimenter, you discard your hand and deal 3 damage to an enemy unit. If they are down to that one unit, kill it, then start hammering away with Jinx! That’s all you need to make Jinx level up. Then you play your spells for the next turn and start firing Rockets! It’s like free Real Estate.
Dump Dredger (Common 2-Cost Follower, Piltover & Zaun): There’s a pattern here, and I’m sure you can sense it: discard! To play this 4/3 for 2, you discard one card! In the early game, this is filthy. If you can discard a Jury Rig or a Flame Chompers!, that’s even better! Any card that you benefit from throwing it away instead of casting, its instant success. Be careful of what you toss though. But this robot on turn 2, it’s brutal.
Chempunk Shredder (Uncommon 5-Cost Follower, PIltover & Zaun): Now that you’re starting to discard, you need a way to wash away weak units, or units that you’ve harmed but haven’t quite killed. Enter Chempunk Shredder! It’s a 4/2 for 5 but deals 1 damage to all enemy units! If you combine that with a leveled-up Jinx, and he’s your last card in hand, that’s 2 damage to all enemy units, plus that 4 damage to the enemy Nexus.
Draven (3) x2
Jinx (4) x3
Darius (6) x1
Blade’s Edge (1) x2
Jury-Rig (1) x3
Rummage (1) x2
Mystic Shot (2) x2
Scrapdash Assembly (2) x1
Culling Strike (3) x1
Get Excited! (3) x3
Draven’s Biggest Fan (1) x2
Legion Rearguard (1) x2
Academy Prodigy (2) x2
Flame Chompers! (2) x3
Legion Grenadier (2) x2
Sump Dredger (2) x2
Triafarian Gloryseeker (2) x2
Reckless Trifarian (3) x1
Chempunk Shredder (5) x2
Augmented Experimenter (6) x2
This deck can be dangerous if it’s not coming together, but honestly? I love it anyway. It’s aggressive, and it’s important that you play it aggressively, but you have to find that balance. You can’t just dump your whole hand on turn 2 or 3, then wonder why you lost. It’s because you didn’t dump things for a reason. You didn’t make sure it synergized! Heavy CC (like Frostbite/Stun) followed up by direct damage can hurt this deck a lot. You need your champions to stay in play, so if a deck out-aggros you, that can be the game ender for you.
If you wind up forced into using them defensively, without another copy of your champions in hand, you know what’s going to happen. Remember though, sometimes you do have to let damage through, especially if you know you are going to have a game sewn up soon. I’ve had more than my share of games go the way of the Dodo when I have them at 1 or 2 life because I got cocky and didn’t realize what they could do to beat me. Be aggressive, have your early game options ready, and control/discard at the right times. It takes practice, but it’s so worth it to see these combos kick-off.