LoR Empires of the Ascended Spoilers: Praise the Sun!
Empires of the Ascended, as we know, is the next major LoR expansion, and with it as always, come spoilers. So we’re going to keep our eye on them, and cover the reveals as they happen to make sure you are up-to-date with everything on the way. This isn’t like the Aphelios expansion, either. We have 110 cards coming with it, and 9 new champions. So this is a major, serious update. We’ve got some new mechanics that we’re aware of, and some that we know exist, but no further details (yet). As that happens, trust us, we’ll get you up to speed.
One of these new LoR mechanics is a keyword named Countdown. At the Round Start phase, Countdown cards have their number lowered by 1. When it reaches 0, you destroy the card and activate whatever the Countdown effect is. Another thing we’ve seen is the potential for Level 3 Champions. The curiosity here is, does this only count for Shurima champions? This comes from Restored Sun Disc (from Buried Sun Disc Landmark). It has you draw 1 of all of your Ascendants, and for the rest of the game, your Level 2 Ascendants are Level 3.
Are these Ascendants the Shurima champions? Or is it yet another interesting feature coming to the game? So far, Shurima really seems built around this Buried Sun Disc Landmark too, which is where we also saw the beginning of the Countdown feature. This “Ascendant” feature really has my curiosity, so I’m gonna keep my eyes out for it. We will break the cards down by Region and Rarity, to make them easy to find, and put Shurima up top. That’s because 1. That’s all we have at the start of this article, and 2. They’re the newest and thus, the most interesting.
We also have several more keywords to look forward. Slay is a new way to talk about units dying. You get credit for slaying an ally or enemy if one of your cards kills it via damage, strike, or direct kill effect. So it’s basically a fancy way to read “Were you involved in killing this? Great, you get credit for Slay”. In addition, there’s an actual new keyword to go with Predict/Countdown. We now have, thanks to Sivir, Reputation. This activates if allies have struck for 5+ damage at least 4 times this game. It doesn’t have to be on the enemy Nexus (because that wouldn’t make sense). It’s a way for decks with big numbers and big effects to get some of their spells to drop cheaper.
I’ve also finally learned about Focus speed. Focus spells can only be played outside of combat, and when not reacting to an enemy spell. These spells cannot be reacted to (like Burst Spells). It’s a really interesting type of spell speed. Basically, it’s Burst, but not in combat/not as a reaction.
Without further ado, let’s talk about the spoilers for LoR’s Empires of the Ascended expansion! We can’t wait to see what comes out over the next few days.
Renekton (Ascended Champion, 4-Cost): Oh boy, Renekton is up first! The Butcher of the Sands looks legit. We also get to see all three of his levels in today’s reveals. At his base, he’s a 4/4 with Overwhelm, so extra damage goes through to the enemy Nexus. When he Challenges an enemy, he gains a temporary +2/+1 and levels up after dealing 12+ Damage (to anything). He’s very easy to level to Level 2 Renekton. From there, he becomes a 5/5, and attacking with him grants him +3/+3 for the turn (making him an 8/8 base). He can’t level up further until you’ve Restored the Sun Disc. But when you do? Level 3 Renekton is not at all to be trifled with. Now he’s a 10/10 still with Overwhelm. When he blocks or Attacks, he deals 2 damage to all enemies and the enemy Nexus. This triggers before combat damage resolves, so he could eliminate his blocker, and deal the fatal blow to the enemy Nexus in one shot. Renekton is serious business, and he’s the first Ascended character we’ve seen. You can tell because instead of a character type at the top, it reads “Ascended”. He’s going to go very nicely in aggro/mid-range decks, I can already see it. The first of the Empires of the Ascended spoilers (as far as champions go) for LoR is absolutely wild!
Taliyah (Champion, 5-Cost): When I first saw Taliyah, it was with zero context. Her level up is “You’ve summoned 5+ Landmarks”, and that really confused me. Then I looked further down the page, and I immediately saw Taliyah for what she is: a godlike powerhouse. Landmark decks are certainly going to be a thing in this expansion. When you put this 5-cost champ in play, she summons an exact copy of an allied landmark. That may not sound interesting, but we have a ton of new landmarks to pick from. Or we can just have a second Sun Disc. When she’s seen us summon 5+ Landmarks, she levels up. Taliyah goes from a 2/4 to a ⅗. However, she has an exciting new ability as Level Two Taliyah:
- Attack: Deal 2 to my blocker. If it’s dead or gone, deal 2 to the enemy Nexus instead. IF you have a Landmark, do this two more times.
If you have removal/AOE damage that triggers before combat damage, we can do up to 6 damage for free on the enemy Nexus. The spell that comes with Taliyah is Stoneweaving. It’s a Burst Spell for 1 mana. You look at 3 random Landmarks that you can afford. You pick 1 and create it in your hand. If you do this while Taliyah’s in play, you create a copy of her in your deck. As far as the LoR spoilers for Empire of the Ascended go, I love this one. Also, fun fact: She doesn’t have to see you summon the Landmarks, so she could enter as a Level 2.
Nasus (Ascended Champion, 6-Cost): This is more or less what I expected from Susan, er, Nasus. A 2/2 for 6, he’s not going to come out that way, you can be sure. He also has Fearsome, and gains +1/+1 for each unit you’e slain this game. His card reads “You”, so he doesn’t have to be the one landing the killing blow. It also makes me think he doesn’t even have to be in play. He could drop as a 10/10 for all we know! When he strikes for 10+ damage, he levels up. The Level 2 Nasus is a 3/3 base, and still gains +1/+1 for each unit slain this game. On top of that, he still has Fearsome, and enemies have -1/-0. His level up? You’ve restored the Sun Disc, because he’s Ascended. Therefore, he gets a Level 3 form.
Level 3 Nasus is a 10/10 base, and retains that same ability as before. He also has Barrier. On top of that, if it weren’t enough, Nasus gives enemies -3/-0. He’s a game winning bomb, you can be sure of that. His spell, Siphoning Strike is also a mighty one. It costs 5 mana and is Slow Speed, thankfully. It’s easy to counter with that in mind. An ally strikes a unit. If that target dies, grant allied champions everywhere +2/+2. Good lord. Nasus is way more powerful for my money. He’s more of my kind of champion compared to Renekton. I’m a big fan of this, but worry it could be terrifyingly overpowered. If he can get Overwhelm, it’s over.
Sivir (Champion, 4-Cost): You need what for her level up?! She better be featured in some serious tick/aoe damage deck! So, Sivir. She’s got Barrier and Quick Attack. So if she’s on the attacking side of things, her damage goes through first. If it’s lethal, there’s no return fire. She’s a 5/3 on top of that, for 4 mana. But good lord! In order to level her to 2, you have to deal at least 35+ damage this game. She doesn’t have to see it, gratefully. She’s worth it if you get her there though. Then Sivir becomes a 6/4, and when she’s attacking, all other attacking allies have her Keywords. So she gives everyone Quick Attack and Barrier each time she attacks. If you can give her something else (like Overwhelm, for example), she’ll grant that as well. So she’s amazing, but that 35 damage trigger seems a little on the high side. Perhaps if we pair her with Nasus that could really be made easier. He can just hit things for ludicrous sums without much effort.
Sivir is also the first card I saw with Reputation related to her. Her spell, Ricochet has Reputation: I cost 3 (instead of 6), provided you’ve dealt 5+ damage 4 times or more this game. Ricochet is a Slow Speed spell and deals 1 to a random enemy or the enemy Nexus 5 times. It’s useful, but not amazing. It could be great if you could buff your spell damage, or if it could help you trigger some other effects. It’s not bad though. That mana cost without Reputation is rough though.
Buried Sun Disc (Landmark, 1-Cost): Oh I love this card. You don’t even have to search for it in your deck! If all of the cards in your deck are Shuriman, you draw one copy of this from your deck and put it into your hand. It has a Countdown of 25 before you Restore the Sun Disc. Each turn, that countdown lowers, but you can make it go a bit faster, don’t worry. When an Ascended ally levels up, you advance this card by 10 rounds. Play this turn 1 if you dare, but remember we have removal cards for Landmarks now. When the countdown reaches 0, we create Restored Sun Disc.
Restored Sun Disc immediately draws 1 of all of your Ascendants. For the rest of the game, your level 2 Ascendants are now level 3. That sounds like a serious game change and a ton of power for your deck. We’ll have to see exactly what these Ascendants are though. Right now, we’re in the dark. But I like where it’s going, that’s for sure.
Unworthy (Slow Spell, 2-Cost): Unworthy may be a slow spell, but its power is unrivaled. It gives an enemy follower -4/-0 for the round for 2 mana. But if your opponent has more Mana Gems than you, we kill the target follower instead. Say goodbye to that ⅙ Devoted Council, because it’s going to sink down into the sand forever! Unworthy feels like a great card to have on hand if you’re on the backfoot, or somehow have fewer resources than your opponent.
Raz Bloodmane (Follower, 7-Cost): Now this is an epic Follower. A 6/6 Fearsome for 7, it has a truly worthwhile passive. When this creature Attacks, all enemies receive -2/-0 for the remainder of the round. It’s going to make it harder for creatures to block him, due to Fearsome, and to make it easier for Renekton to punish his foes. They’re going to synergize nicely, you can bet on it.
Ascended’s Rise (Spell – Slow, 7-Cost): Whew, that is one expensive card! I wonder if the Ascended allies/champions are going to be that hard to level up, to make something like this necessary. For 7 mana, this slow spell Levels up all Level 1 Ascended allies. As a side note, I appreciate that they put the Shurima logo on the card, across from the cost. That makes it easier to tell immediately what faction a card is from. This is another card that I don’t think will do very well in cross-faction decks, but we’ll talk about that again when we know what Ascended allies are.
Voice of the Risen (Follower, 4-Mana): Now this is a champion that works well with other factions. It doesn’t specify anything Ascended or Allegiance-based. A ¾ for 4, if you’ve leveled a champion, allies you control have +2/+0. This can make aggressive/mid-range decks way faster, way meaner. I love that idea quite a lot, actually.
Promising Future (Slow Spell, 4-Cost): A nice, simple spell, this. It goes neatly with all of our fun Landmarks. When this triggers, you grant an allied Landmark: My Countdown completion effect activates twice”. Do we have enough Landmarks to make this worthwhile? Oh lord yes, we sure do. It’s expensive and slow, but there’s a good reason for that.
Sanctum Conservator (Follower, 8-Cost): A card that rewards you for constantly slaying units? That’s right! When this 8/5 for 8 comes into play, if you’ve slain 13+ units this game, kill all enemy followers, and then summon a copy of this card. So now you can hit for 16 damage (if it’s your turn to attack). At least it’s an 8-drop, but goodness. This feels very very overpowered. I like it, but man. That’s going to be a pain to deal with.
Devoted Council (Follower, 3-Cost): Oh my goodness. This is going in my Soraka deck, you can be sure of that. Does that mean Tahm Kench’s time in the deck is done? It’s very likely. This is a 3-cost follower, that has ⅙ for stats. What do they do? At each Round Start, if we’ve leveled a Champion, heal your Nexus and Champions for 2. It doesn’t heal followers sadly, but it has potential to be in a Soraka deck to add one or two other aggressive champions. Once we know what Champions are coming to Shurima, it will determine if we make a Targon/Shurima Landmark deck.
Baccai Sandspinner (Follower, 4-Cost): Did you already use Ruthless Predator, and want to drag someone to their doom again? This 4-cost, 5/3 Follower can help. When you play him, you grant an enemy -1/-0 and Vulnerable. It seems to be permanent too. It doesn’t read “until the end of round” or anything. Now that’s interesting. Shurima has a lot of debuffs! It’s going to be hard to survive these brutal sands.
Rite of Dominance (Fast Spell, 4-Cost): Only the strong survive in the Shurima desert. Rite of Dominance kills an ally, or destroys one of your mana gems to give all your enemies -2/-0 this round. This goes nicely with Unworthy as a mid-game bomb. Sure, you lose a mana gem potentially, but you weaken all your opponents, right in time to make an aggressive play.
Khahiri The Returned (Follower, 6-Cost): A 4/4 with Fearsome for 6? What a weird decision. But then we see what he can do. When this card is summoned, you create a copy of him in your deck. Then, when you see it in a Prediction, grant all allied copies of him everywhere +2/+2. Slowly but surely you make a giant army of jerks that all have Fearsome. I have a feeling this could get out of control though.
Desert Naturalist (Follower, 4-Cost): Here’s an interesting follower. This is a 2/4 for 4, which is already reasonable. However, when you play it, you can destroy a Landmark. If that was an allied Landmark, summon a Grumpy Rockbear. Grumpy Rockbear’s a 5/4 creature, normally for 5 mana. It’s a fantastic creature for offense/defense, the Desert Naturalist. You could use this on your Hibernating Rockbear Landmark, to summon a Grumpy Rockbear before waiting for its countdown! Normally, Hibernating Rockbear (2-Cost Landmark) has a 3-turn countdown. Desert Naturalists could make that happen much faster, for the same reward.
Xenotype Researchers (Follower, 3-Cost): When this card is summoned, 3 random allies in your deck get +3/+3. That’s pretty huge, and more so if it hits one of your Champions. Or it could hit a Khahiri the Returned, and make him all the bigger. Just in general, a useful card, especially if you’re not running a lot of creatures.
Unraveled Earth (Burst Spell, 3-Cost): Another spell that synergizes nicely with Taliyah! Why? It helps create Landmarks to cast! For 3 mana, this summons two Roiling Sands cards and has you Draw 1 card. But what’s a Roiling Sand? It’s a 2-cost Landmark, and when an enemy is summoned, destroy it (the landmark), and grant that enemy Vulnerable. It doesn’t sound like it’s temporary, either. It’s 2 free Landmarks and weakens our opponent while also making those Landmarks pop off.
Preservarium (Landmark, 2-Cost): When this is summoned, Draw 1. When its 2-turn Countdown ends, Draw another 1. This is an excellent card to duplicate with Taliyah! More card draw! You love to see it.
Ancient Hourglass (Fast Spell, 2-Cost): I. Love. This. Card. For 2 mana, this spell obliterates one of your own creatures. Then, in its place, you summon a Stasis Statue. It is a Landmark with Countdown 1. When it fades away, you make another copy of the creature you obliterated in the first place. So that Khahiri the Returned? Suddenly, we can make more of them faster, and keep buffing the copies in your deck. Plus, it helps Taliyah!
Rampaging Baccai (Follower, 5-Cost): Following in Nasus’ footsteps, the Rampaging Baccai is built around you slaying units. If you play this and have slain 4+ units this game, an enemy and this follow strike each other. It’s a 4/6 Overwhelm also. It’s not a bad card, and could definitely be a great way to delete a troublesome early-game threat.
Baccai Reaper (Follower, 1-Cost): A Fearsome ½? For one mana? Interesting. When you slay a unit, he gains +1/+0, so it could potentially add up. I can see this being splashed into several Noxus decks too, so I like the possibilities this Reaper brings.
Ruinous Path (Slow Spell, 2-Cost): A 1 card draw for 2, unless you’ve slain a unit this round. If you have, you also Drain 2 from the enemy Nexus. So either way, you’re getting value out of it. I really like the Nasus cards, I have to say.
Boomerang Blade (Slow Speed, 7-Cost): Here’s an absolute corker for Nasus, potentially. Or Sivir, or anyone. An ally strikes the Strongest and then the Weakest enemy. It’s nice, simple, and to the point, but hot dang is it expensive! It could be a great way to trigger damage effects for Sivir, or to increase the power of Nasus. Either way, it’s a decent card, but that cost is really high. It’s going to be bad if this gets countered – you wasted a lot of mana. Try to use it only when you know it will succeed.
Sandswept Tomb (Landmark, 5-Cost): A Landmark that helps you be aggressive? Oh yes! This Landmark, anytime your allies attack, you summon an attacking Sandstone Charger. So make sure to keep a slot open for it to show up! The Sandstone Charger is a 5/2 Ephemeral, normally for 2 mana. You can do a lot of free damage with this. 5 mana is a reasonable price to make sure you get an extra attacker on the regular. You could also use this in a Shadow Isles/Shurima deck to trigger more Ephemeral events.
(Renekton’s) Ruthless Predator (Burst Spell, 2-Cost): I listed this as (Renekton’s) because this is the spell you also receive when Renekton is already in play. This 2-cost spell gives an ally +2/+0 and an enemy Vulnerable for this round. If Renekton’s in play, you create a Renekton in your deck. A fantastic way to trigger Level 1 Renekton’s passive, and it’s also a strong way to eliminate a threat just in general. Does the enemy have a creature that they never block with (for a good reason)? Not anymore!
Exhaust (Focus Spell, 1-Cost): Here’s a real quandary: What’s a “Focus” spell? It’s the first time we’ve seen one of those. Perhaps it’s a new style of spell. What I can tell you, is that it costs 1 Mana to cast, and gives an enemy -2/-0 and Vulnerable for the round. All of the cards revealed around Renekton have that in common. They make the opponent weaker, and easier to target. Suddenly, the opponent’s Teemo isn’t such a hard thing to reach and destroy.
Quicksand (Burst Spell, 3-Cost): Ionia isn’t the only faction with control options anymore. This doesn’t counter, but it does something much better, we’d argue. Quicksand gives an enemy -4/-0 and disables any of its keywords (except for negative keywords) for the remainder of the round. Since this is a Burst Spell, it’s amazing to take a negative position, and swap it around so suddenly, things aren’t so bad. Now that attacker that could end your game is weak, has no sweet bonuses, and we can pick it off.
Bloodthirsty Marauder (Follower, 1-Cost): A nice, simple aggro creature, the Bloodthirsty Marauder is a 3/1 for 1. No special keywords, just quick, turn-1 aggression. Or you can drop him and use him as a blocker. Who wants to risk attacking into that kind of damage early? Not too many, that’s for sure.
Golden Ambassador (Follower, 4-Cost): Here’s our first Allegiance card for Shurima. It already sounded like the game is going to try and push you to play Solo-Shurima decks if you want to really synergize the faction the best. This card in particular has Allegiance: Draw a champion and grant it +2/+2. So if the card on the top of your deck is Shurima, you get a Champion that has an additional +2/+2. This is even better if the Champion is already Level 2 (so they’re stronger still). This creature on its own is a 3/2, so if we’ve got Voice of the Risen and it’s been activated, it’s now a 5/2. Golden Ambassador doesn’t have to stay in play to be useful, so now it’s a very aggressive attacker. Just some food for thought.
Esteemed Hierophant (Follower, 3-Cost): This might be the first card to actively boost a Landmark. Esteemed Hierophant advances your Buried Sun Disc by two rounds whenever it’s summoned. So if we run this with a way to Recall him, we can power that landmark a bit faster. I don’t know that that’s going to be happening, given the necessity/usefulness of Solo-Shurima. Maybe Shurima will also have Recall spells, whereas right now only Ionia does. We’ll just have to see!
Destined Poro (Poro Follower – 1-Cost): An evolving Poro? It’s more likely than you’d think. Also built around leveling your champions, the Destined Poro transforms into the Exalted Poro at the start of a round, if you’ve leveled a Champion. The Destined Poro is a 1/1 for 1, but the Exalted Poro is a 2/2 for 2, that has 3 Random Keywords. You could get a Poro with Fury, Elusive, and Quick Strike for example. Or you could get Ephemeral, and have it perish that turn, perhaps. I have a feeling that keyword will appear less frequently than the others. Poro decks have a fun new character to lend a hand in the fight!
Salt Spire (Landmark, 4-Cost): Simple and to the point. This has a Countdown: 2 Landmark, that summons a Grumpy Rockbear. Then, if you’ve summoned 4+ Landmarks this game, give your Strongest Ally +2/+2.
Sai Scout (Follower, 3-Cost): Here’s another Predict card.This is because Sai Scout has you Predict when played, and if you pick a Landmark, the Scout gets Elusive. The more I see about Predict, the more I like it.
Khahiri The Student (Follower, 3-Cost): Another version of Khahiri! Does this count towards your Khahiri the Returned? However, when you summon this unit, grant it +1/+1 if you’ve Predicted this game.
Rock Hopper (Follower, 2-Cost): When this is summoned, summon a Roiling Sands! So it’s a fantastic early-game aggressive card (3/1), that also summons a Landmark/weakens an enemy. You love to see it.
Aspiring Chronomancer (Follower, 2-Cost): Speaking of useful, simple followers. This has you Predict when it’s played and is a ⅔ for 2. Not too shabby. I see it getting use in niche decks so far. We’ll see how prevalent the keyword is.
Shaped Stone (Burst Spell, 1-Cost): Normally, this gives an ally +1/+1 for the round, but if you’ve played a Landmark, it gets +3/+1 for the round instead! Oh, fantastic.
Ancient Preparations (Landmark, 1-Cost): A Landmark that Predicts when played? That’s right! It has a Countdown: 2 that creates a Clockling when the timer runs out. Clocklings are just 2/2 followers for 1, so it’s certainly useful. I’d like to see Taliyah duplicate this card too!
Weight of Judgment (Slow Spell, 4-Cost): Why are all of the Nasus spells slow? I don’t get it. Maybe he’s slow? Well either way, for 4 mana, you deal either 2 damage to a Champion, or 7 to a Follower. That is a fantastic removal card for sure. I just wish it were at least Fast speed. I get why it isn’t burst though.
Rite of Calling (Slow Spell, 0-Cost): Another card where we can potentially destroy one of our own Mana Gems. I’m not 100% sold on it, but it’s interesting. For 0 mana, we kill an ally or destroy one of our own Mana Gems. The reward? Draw a champion. So if someone slaughters your Nasus or Renekton, we can hopefully pull one back from the deck, and he’ll still be ready to fight.
Ruin Runner (Follower, 5-Cost): Now this could be a fun, powerful Follower! A 6/4 for 5, it also has Overwhelm and Barrier. It’s going to come out of nowhere, hit someone very hard, and then hit someone very hard again! I love it.
Inner Sanctum (Landmark, 3-Cost): A Landmark with Reputation: I cost 0?! Oh yes. It’s got a Countdown of 1, so it won’t be on the board long. So if we can get this out for 0 mana, it frees us to use our mana for other things. When this goes away, you create 2 Lucky Finds in your hand. I had to look up what those are, but I was not disappointed. A 0-Cost spell with Fleeting and Focus, you pick a buff from among 3 to grant an ally. For 0 mana, you can drop a buff? Oh yes. Focus spells can only be played outside of combat, and when not reacting to an enemy spell. The enemy cannot respond to this spell either. Well, now I know what Focus is!
Another spell that is pretty similar, is Payday, which is a 2-Cost Focus Spell. It creates a Lucky Find in hand, so I figured I would just combine these two. They’re quite similar, after all.
Lissandra (Champion, 3-Cost): My. Goodness. Lissandra’s a ⅔ for 3 and has Tough so she takes 1 less damage. When she’s summoned, she creates a Landmark, Frozen Thrall. It has Countdown: 8, and when that ends, you summon a Frostguard Thrall (8/8 Overwhelm for 8 Mana). How do you level her up? You summon 2+ allies that cost 8+ mana. When you level her up, you also create a Watcher in hand. So what’s the Watcher?
- Watcher (Follower, 17-Cost): This creature is an 11/17 for SEVENTEEN MANA. However, it costs 0, if you’ve summoned 4+ allies that cost 8+. It gets better though! Each time it Attacks, it Obliterates the enemy deck! So you delete the entire deck of your opponent. It’s not going to be hard to get this in play either.
Level 2 Lissandra also has Tough, but so does your Nexus. That’s right, your Nexus takes 1 less damage. She still summons a Frozen Thrall as well. At the start of each round though, she creates a Fleeting, 0-Cost Ice Shard in hand. Ice Shard normally costs 3 mana and is Fast Speed. It deals 1 damage to everything. However, your Nexus has Tough, and thus takes 0. Am I coming back to the Freljord? It’s possible!
Draklorn Inquisitor (Follower, 5-Cost): Another creature that makes a Frozen Thrall, so we have two slots to eventually create an 8-cost creature. At the end of each round, if the Countdown of any Frozen Thralls (that you control) is 4 or less, you Advance them immediately to 0. He’s going to make your Lissandra shenanigans way easier to set up, that’s for sure.
Entomb (Fast Spell, 5-Cost): This is going to help us summon big monsters again too. Entomb is a Fast Spell that Obliterates a unit and puts a Frozen Tomb in its place. You’ll likely want to target your own creatures though. Frozen Tomb is a Landmark that, after a Countdown of 2, summons an exact copy of the original Obliterated unit it replaced to start with. So it just destroys the creature and resummons it. That should count for Lissandra.
Blighted Ravine (Landmark, 4-Cost): Nice and simple, Blighted Ravine heals your Nexus for 4. When its Countdown: 1 ends, it deals 2 to EVERYTHING. Potentially very powerful board wipe or damage to be doled out.
Three Sisters (Burst Spell, 1-Cost): The great thing about Three Sisters, is that while it creates a Fleeting spell in hand, you choose from Flash Freeze, Fury of the North, or Entomb. So you get three useful spells to pick from, whatever the situation dictates. At 1 mana and Burst Speed, you can’t really beat that.
Cold Resistance (Burst Spell, 5-Cost): Here’s more Mana Ramp for Freljord. For 5 mana, you add an extra mana gem to your collection and grant an ally +0/+2. It’s a solid replacement/addition to your already useful mana ramping prowess in Freljord, that’s for sure. Plus it helps buff an ally, and that’s never a bad thing.
Jarvan IV (Champion, 6-Cost): So, J4 really confuses me at first glance. He’s a 5/3 Elite for 6, and he has an interesting ability. When you attack, you can pay his mana cost (6 mana) to summon him, Challenging the Strongest enemy. So, basically, he has Flash from MTG Arena, but more conditional. His Level Up requires allies to survive 4+ strikes from enemy blockers, but again, doesn’t seem to have to see it. What’s Level 2 Jarvan IV do? He’s a 6/4 for 6 also and has Barrier. He also has the ability to be summoned from your hand during combat. At the start of the round, he creates a Fleeting Cataclysm (3-Cost Slow Spell). When he Challenges an enemy, he receives Barrier for the round.
Cataclysm has an ally start a free attack, Challenging an enemy. Jarvan IV’s text is confusing, but after watching him in action, I get it. You can summon him from your hand in combat, and that’s pretty awesome. It’s true to how he acts in the game, coming out of nowhere to trap and defeat someone. His dad, King Jarvan III is also in the game, and helps get things set up for his son! We’ll explain that briefly.
King Jarvan III (Elite Follower, 7-Cost): Wow, King Jarvan’s pricey! But he’s a 3/6 with Tough, and when he’s summoned, you also draw a Jarvan IV into your hand. If he’s already in play, you instead give all allies Challenger and Scout for the round. So you can pick your targets, and get a second round of combat. You can attack again with Cataclysm too. Good. God. Just what Demacia needs.
Golden Aegis (Slow Spell, 4-Cost): Honestly, I don’t think this card is really that good. It’s a Slow, 4-Cost Barrier. But it does Rally too, so maybe that’s why it’s both Slow, and expensive. So in that, it’s probably a worthwhile card. I’m just not personally crazy about it yet. We’ll have to circle back to this.
Gallant Rider (Elite Follower, 4-Cost): In a faction filled with Challenger options, this is a fun one. The Gallant Rider is a 4/4 Elite for 4, and the first time it Challenges an enemy, he transforms into a Vanguard Cavalry. Now it’s a 5/5 Elite that’s also packing Tough. Very powerful, very useful, in my opinion.
Honored Lord (Elite Follower, 2-Cost): When this unit challenges for the first time, he gains Barrier for the round! This makes a 3/2 into a very useful aggressive option, provided you can make him Challenge. I have a feeling that won’t be too difficult to do. In fact, we can do just that with a card called Tattered Banner, which comes from the next card!
Penitent Squire (Follower, 1-Cost): When this card is summoned, if you Behold an Elite, create a Tattered Banner in hand. That’s a 1-cost Burst Spell. The next time you summon an ally this round, grant it Challenger. There we go! A card that makes it easy for us to grant useful allies, Challenger, for easy synergy.
Kindred (Champion, 5-Cost): I figured Kindred would be a part of this expansion, with all the focus being on slaying enemies/allies. Kindred’s a 4/4 with Quick Attack, and the first time you slay a unit each round, she marks the Weakest enemy. At Round End, you kill all units with her mark on them. She levels up when she’s seen you slay 2 units with her mark. What about Level 2 Kindred? The first time you slay a unit each round, she gains +2/+2 and marks the Weakest enemy. Marked units still die at Round End, too. Her spell is a Fast Speed spell, Spirit Journey. It’s going to be a banger in Shadow Isles/Shadow Isles decks. “Kill a unit, then revive it”. All those shenanigans built around ramping up huge creatures and killing/ressing them? Oh yeah, this is going to get included. I’m not wild about Kindred, but I like what she has the potential to do. I can see her fitting in with cards like Hecarim nicely.
Lamb’s Respite (Slow Speed, 2-Cost): Here’s Kindred’s in-game ultimate! You give your weakest ally “I can’t take damage or die this round.” Thank God it’s not Burst or Fast, that’s all I can say. At least it’s only 2 mana to make up for that. Very useful to keep someone alive that you know is going to get into combat or you want in combat.
The Etherfiend (Follower, 7-Cost): Jeez, this thing is expensive! But I can see why. It’s a 6/4 Fearsome, and when you play it, you kill an ally, to kill an enemy. I really like this as a replacement potentially for some other kill cards in Shadow Isles. Instead, you lose an ally, sure. But you get rid of something that’s going to come back (or going to die from Ephemeral anyway), and still get to snuff out an enemy.
Unto Dusk (Burst Speed, 2-Cost): A 1 card draw at Burst Speed for 2 mana? Not too bad. It also has a Nightfall effect. If this wasn’t your first spell for the turn, you can activate an Ally’s Nightfall effect, ignoring any targeted portions. I’m not sure what they mean by that last part, though. It sounds like you can trigger a Nightfall effect twice though, and that is incredible. I’ll have to come back to this card and figure that out.
Spirit Leech (Follower, 4-Cost): A nice, simple creature. It plays nicely into the “slay” decks. You play this 4/1 for 4 to kill an ally and draw 2. You lose an ally but again – card draw! In Shadow Isles, nothing stays gone forever.
Song of the Isles (Burst Speed, 2-Cost): God. Bless. This card is so strong! At Burst Speed, you grant an ally Lifesteal, Fearsome, and Ephemeral! You make a giant bomb, especially if you pair it with something already ready to do tons of damage.
Mask Mother (Follower, 2-Cost): A 2/2 Fearsome for 2, it would work very nicely with someone like Tahm Kench or any of the other creatures that get huge as time passes. When this comes into play, you kill an ally and gain its stats and keywords. Or you could use it on Viktor, and just steal every keyword. I don’t think it’s going to be in every SI deck, but I sure like what it has the potential to do.Fading Icon (Follower, 2-Cost): Here’s a card that offers you up (literally) something to sacrifice to your many “kill an ally” cards. When Fading Icon comes into play, summon a Prey follower. Prey is a 0/1 for 0 that does nothing. Its purpose is to be consumed by
Loaded Dice (Slow Speed, 4-Cost): Here’s a pretty serious mid-game Nab card! Nab lets you draw a non-champion card from the bottom of your opponent’s deck when it triggers. For the rest of the round, after casting this, when you damage the enemy Nexus, Nab 1. So if you can drop a ton of damage, suddenly, your fortune is looking really bright. This could be hilarious with Miss Fortune, that’s for sure.
Lost Riches (Burst Speed, 4-Cost): Simple enough; you draw a Treasure. If there aren’t any to draw, you create 2 Treasures in your deck instead! There are three types of treasures:
- Keelbreaker (Slow Speed, 5-Cost): If I’m tossed, draw me instead. Deal 5 damage to ALL units.
- Platewyrm Egg (Slow Speed, 5-Cost): If I’m tossed, draw me instead. Summon 3 Vicious Platewyrm. Platewyrms are 5/5s with Deep/Fearsome.
- Treasure Trove (Slow Speed, 5-Cost): Create 5 random cards in hand. They cost 0 and are Fleeting. If I’m tossed, draw me instead.
This is gorgeous. I love Treasure Trove, personally, but these fit all kinds of situations. What an awesome card Lost Riches is.
Field Musicians (Follower, 4-Cost): Ahh, Attune. It’s a fun keyword, that’s for sure. A ¼ for 4, Each round, once you’ve summoned 3 other allies, refill your spell mana and draw 1. There could be a lot of fun uses for this in Lee Sin decks that cycle spells and create new allies to summon. Useful, and it grows stronger! What a combo.
Shadow Apprentice (Follower, 1-Cost): Here’s an Elusive that isn’t Shadow Isles, yet will go in those decks. A 1/1 Elusive for 1, it gains +1/+1 if an ally has Ephemeral. It could certainly be slotted in to do extra, free damage in an Ephemeral deck. We’ll have to see, but I like it so far.
Leblanc (Champion, 3-Cost): Few mages make me as frustrated as Leblanc. A skilled Leblanc in League will make you weep bitter tears as she dives, bursts you down, uses the Kage no Bunshin Jutsu, split into two, and bounce out. Her level up is a little on the interesting side. She’s a 5/2 with Quick Attack. Her Level Up requires her to see you deal 15+ damage. That seems a bit high – but this is Noxus. We can do tons of area damage. When this happens, she becomes a 6/3 with Quick Attack for 3. She actually has a fascinating passive. I’m curious about how it reads though.
“Each time I see you deal 15+ damage, create a Mirror Image in hand. If you already have one, reduce its cost by 1 instead.”
It makes me wonder if it triggers every time you deal damage post-Level Up, since she’s already seen you do 15+ damage. That, or it requires you to do 15+ damage each turn. This one feels weird and clunky, so we’ll have to do more research and experimentation. Mirror Image is a Slow Speed spell for 2 mana, and it summons an exact Ephemeral copy of an ally with 5+ power.
There’s also Sigil of Malice, Leblanc’s spell. It costs 4 normally and is Fast Speed. However, it costs 1 if you have Reputation. It deals 2 damage to anything so that for 1 mana would be potentially very busted. Love that, at least.
Black Rose Spy (Follower, 2-Cost): Ahh, another Reputation card. I still wonder if that cost is too high (deal 5+ damage at least 4 times this game). On the fence about that. However, the Black Rose Spy is a fantastic cheap, mid-game Reputation bomb. If you summon her and have Reputation, she transforms into an exact copy of the Strongest ally that struck this turn. How would you like a pair of angry Darius? Of course, you’d like it! You can absolutely batter someone’s brains in with Black Rose Spy as your game winner. Just play patient.
Shrieking Spinner (Follower, 4-Cost): Anytime this attacks, your Spider allies gain +1/+0. It’s not “until end of round”, either. Hello, Spider decks! You’ve got a new friend. It’s also a ⅖, so it’s durable. We can easily make it stronger with a variety of spells too. I’d love to see this in Elise decks to make her spiders way more frustrating.
Whispered Words (Burst Speed, 4-Damage): If you have Reputation, this costs 2 mana instead of 4. Which would be absolutely wonderful, since it’s 2 cards to draw at Burst Speed, and in Noxus no less. It doesn’t require you to kill an ally, or take damage, or do anything else obnoxious. Straight card draw. You love to see it.
Mimic (Burst Speed, 3-Cost): A lot of Reputation in Noxus, it turns out. Well they do have a reputation for cruelty, so I guess this all fits nicely. Another “Reputation: I cost 1”, and on a pretty great spell. You pick a spell in play or in hand and create a Fleeting copy of it in hand. You can do so much with this. Since this is a Burst Speed spell, you can make a copy of a spell that’s presently on the stack. I can see this going in virtually any deck that splashes Noxus in. Whether it’s a huge damage spell you’re copying, or merely Whispered Words, there’s a lot to love about Mimic. Just remember, you need the mana to cast it this turn since it’s a Fleeting spell.
Strength in Numbers (Slow Spell, 8-Cost): 8 mana for this?! You summon 2 Legion Marauders for 8 mana. Now, I have a feeling we’ll see more ways to make those Legion Marauders, thus justifying the cost. Legion Marauders are a 3/2 for 3, and when you attack, allied Legion Marauders everywhere gain a permanent +1/+1. Okay, now I see. There’s going to be plenty of ways to add these to your deck I bet.
Crimson Bloodletter (Follower, 1-Cost): A ½ for 1, the next time you summon another ally, deal 1 to it and grant me +1/+1. It’s going to be right at home in Vladimir, that’s for sure. I love that kind of deck, so it’s going to be a nice addition to aggressive, self-damaging decks.
Bloody Business (Fast Speed, 4-Cost): Finally, a non-Reputation spell! An ally with 5+ Power strikes an enemy with Bloody Business. The big deal in Noxus this expansion (and other factions if you fancy a two-faction deck) is having Big Units. This could likely go very well in a deck starring Nasus or Renekton on top of any normal, aggressive/mid-range Noxus deck. It’s simple, and it’s to the point. It’s a card I’m a pretty big fan of.
Thorn of the Rose (Follower, 3-Cost): Every rose has its thorn, so they say. However, that was said by someone who hasn’t seen a rose before. They have several! Lots even! Anyway, we have a 5/1 creature for 3, which fits well into the “Have 5+ Power, Will Travel” theme of Noxus in the Empires of the Ascended LoR spoilers. When this card is summoned, you create a Guile spell in hand. It’s a 1 Mana, Slow Speed. What does it do? Simply enough, it Stuns an enemy. You can easily drop Thorn of the Rose, stun the one creature that could kill her, and swing for 5 damage, provided it’s your turn. Or you can drop it when it’s time to win the game. It’s not Fleeting, so the choice is yours.
Piltover & Zaun
Concurrent Timelines (Slow Speed, 1-Cost): For the rest of the game, the first time you play a follower each round, pick 1 of 3 followers with the same cost to transform it into. This is awesome. If you play cheap, low-cost minions (Hello, Heimerdinger), you can transform those things into things of the same value. Or even the mid-range ones! I absolutely love the possibility that this chaotic card would bring. Competitively viable? Ehhh. Maybe. But fun? You better believe it.
Production Surge (Slow Speed, 0-Cost): To play this, you have to spend all your mana first. You then summon random Turrets whose total cost equals the mana spent. This is another very chaotic, random spell. It could be hilarious and brutal in the mid-late game, but we’ll have to see. It’s a card I adore in theory but would think twice before running it. In the late game though, you could completely fill your board with threats that you got for free.
Destiny’s Call (Burst Speed, 8-Cost): Good. Lord. 8 Mana, Burst Speed, and an incredible buff? It’s permanent, which makes sense, given it costs 8 blessed mana! This gives an ally in your hand +8/+8! You don’t even have to reveal who is going to come up as a massive monster? I absolutely love this for a variety of decks. You can use it in cross-faction decks to make sure your next creature absolutely wins the game. Can you imagine a late-game Nasus this way? Suddenly he hits the board with like 30 power. What a fantastic card. Now if only we could cast it for less mana. . .
Startipped Peak (Landmark, 2-Cost): This is a solid Landmark, but I don’t know that I would put it in my Soraka deck. A Countdown of 2, it creates 2 random Celestial cards that cost 3 or less in your hand upon its climax. It has a lot of potential though, especially if you’re running high-cost Invokes, or in an Aurelion Sol deck. This Landmark’s could really bring a lot of fun stuff to your games.