Powerful Legends of Runeterra Decks Featuring the Aphelios Expansion


by in Legends of Runeterra | Feb, 11th 2021

As of Feb. 3, we have a new style of expansion in Legends of Runeterra. We announced that there would be several of these “Champion Expansions” throughout the year. These champion expansions focus on one champion and release several new cards that could work well with them, across several factions. These are essentially mini-expansions, similar to Hearthstone’s Darkmoon Races mini-expansion. What is the first Champion Expansion for Legends of Runeterra to add new cards to decks? It would be built around Aphelios!

This of course means we have to look at what some of these cards can do. It’s not a major expansion, mind. There are 15 cards total, with 8 in Targon, and 1 for the other factions. This might upset some people (WHY ARE SHADOW ISLES ONLY GETTING ONE CARD?!) and I’d like to give you time to breathe. Now that you’ve got that out of your system, I imagine each faction is going to get an expansion like this throughout the year. That would make the most sense.

We’ll at least look at one Aphelios deck, more if I can find some cool ideas. I already saw something that caught my eye. In particular, this is Aphelios/Viktor, since Viktor received a fun buff. Between the two of them, you could drop Moon Weapons for 0 mana! I love that idea, and I won’t lie about it. I have a feeling this will be several different flavors of Aphelios decks. Aphelios/Zoe, Aphelios/Swain, seeing how he fits with the other stronger cards in the meta. We also want to point out these aren’t guaranteed world-beaters, but experiments by myself and other Legends of Runeterra around the Internet.

He’s got a lot of potential, and I’m very excited to see what others conjure up.

Fun New Cards


First, though, I want to talk about a few of these new cards, because they’re brilliant. Bilgewater has the new card Powder Pandemonium, a Slow Speed Spell (4 Mana). It summons a Powder Monkey and gives a random enemy [Vulnerable] this round for each time you’ve activated [Plunder] this game. Wow! Are you kidding? In a Plunder deck, you could drag each enemy creature into the deep water, and there’s not a whole lot they can do about it.

Molten Breath is here for Demacia Dragon decks. It costs 6 mana and is Slow Speed, but good lord is it horrifying. If this gets through, an ally with [Fury] strikes the two weakest enemies. So they will almost certainly slaughter two weak enemies, and gain +2/+2 as a result. Speaking of striking, Wild Claws is a 5-Cost Spell (Slow) for Noxus. It has an ally strike an enemy. If this ally has [Overwhelm], the excess damage goes through to the enemy Nexus. This way, we can swing with a giant ally, crush a tiny enemy, and possibly use this as our game-winning card. Are any of these Burst Speed?

Of course! Freljord’s Troll Gifts is 2-mana and grants an ally [Regeneration]. If that ally already had it, they gain +2/+2 instead! For 2 mana! I can see this being used in quite a few decks. Stress Testing could be really amazing too, as a 1-cost Burst spell. It removes [Fleeting] from all cards in your hand. When Stress Testing is discarded, you draw 1. This card also has Fleeting. So if you don’t get to use it, you draw a card, but otherwise, you remove Fleeting from other cards in your deck. With a Heimerdinger/Ez deck, I see this being pretty valuable. Especially as it’s only 1 mana!

0-Cost Spell Works (Viktor/Aphelios Veiled Temple Deck)


I’m so glad Viktor got a pretty decent buff in the Aphelios patch notes 2.1.0. Now in both Level 1 and 2 Viktor, he receives a free Hex Core Upgrade every turn. Whether it’s your turn to Play or not, you’ll still get them. These cost 1 mana and give Viktor a free random keyword. If you get Level 2 Viktor, your created cards cost 1 mana less. That makes them free! That sounds okay because you can keep stacking Viktor with maddening abilities.

We can use this deck to just buff creatures to absolutely staggering levels. Even if we aren’t attacking, we can just stack strength until we’re ready to batter someone into cheddar. We aren’t running a lot of control options, but we do have some. Thermogenic Beam absolutely has to be in the deck, it’s just too good. Can we win without getting the level 2 champions online? We can, but it’s much much slower.

How Does It Work?


What if we could make things better? This counts for Aphelios’ Moon Weapons that he creates. Those cost 2 mana default, so with Viktor, they now cost 1 mana (Level 2 Viktor, anyway). Then, with Level 2 Aphelios, they cost 1 less as well! If we get both of them in play at level 2, Moon Weapons cost 0, and all created spells cost 1 less. Do you know what else this goes well with? The Veiled Temple! It refills 2 mana and grants our [Strongest] ally +1/+1 after we cast two spells each round. To get Viktor to Level 2, we have to play 7+ Created Cards. Aphelios needs to cast 4+ Moon Weapons.

Viktor is easy enough to level up. He creates created spells on his own! Aphelios does too! He picks a Moon Weapon to create in hand when cast, if he’s not the first spell we cast this turn (Nightfall). Each round, the first time we play 2 other cards, we create the Phased Moon Weapon in hand if we don’t already have one. In the patch notes above, I go into greater detail on that. The long and short is, when you cast a Moon Weapon, you pick one of two other weapons to Phase. Then, when you cast two spells, you create that next one.

This will help level both characters. The best part about Viktor is that he doesn’t have to see created spells get cast! What sorts of cards do we have that create spells? Why, cards that also have Augment, like Viktor!

This is also a deck built around Augment, to an extent. Cards with Augment gain +1/+0 anytime they see us cast a created spell. Between Viktor and Aphelios, we can do a lot of this. We have a few other ways to create cards too. Ballistic Bot (2 Mana) creates an Ignition in his hand every Round Start and has Augment. This is a 1-cost Spell that deals 1 damage to the enemy Nexus. Thankfully, it’s a Slow Speed Spell. Thankfully to the other player that is. Poro Cannon helps with creating spells too, by creating two Daring Poros in hand.

Gifts From Beyond is a Burst Spell for 2 Mana, and creates a Moon Weapon in hand. This also helps us level up Aphelios if we need to! We have so many creation options! Iterative Improvement is a Burst Spell for 2 and has us pick a follower. We create a copy of it that has +1/+1. Personally, I’d pick one of my Cat Bots (Nyandroid, Subpurrsible), or Ballistic Bot to keep spamming 1-cost damage onto the enemy Nexus.

I believe Invoke counts as creating a card in your hand as well. So Solari Priestess (Invoke a Celestial card that costs 4,5, or 6), The Fangs (Invoke a Celestial card that costs 3 or less), and Spacey Sketcher (Discard a card to Invoke a Celestial card that costs 3 or less) all benefit us! All of these cards (basically half the deck) level up Viktor as fast as humanly possible.

We use all of this to level up our two heroes fast as we can. Neither of them are expensive, either. Aphelios is 3 mana and Viktor is 4 mana. Now that we have access to 1-0 cost spells every turn, we want that The Veiled Temple to be cast. Each Round, the first time we play 2 other cards, refill 2 mana and grant your strongest ally +1/+1. We can juggle our spells to make sure we refill mana (by using the Ballistic Bot’s card or Invokes), and then playing our 0 mana spells if we’d like.

Our “Strongest” ally is whoever has the most Power. This could be just a wide variety of cards. Hopefully, it’s something with Elusive, like Subpurrsible or Viktor (who will eventually have Elusive). We can win just by using Ballistic Bot’s power over and over (provided nobody kills him), or we can use our strongest creatures to just swing. Viktor will keep getting bigger, he’ll eventually have Quick Attack, Overwhelm, and stuff like that. We can use him as a battering ram to win the game. Between these, Invoked Celestials, and our heroes, we can do so much damage without doing much work.

Decklist


Champions

Aphelios (3) x3

Viktor (4) x3

Followers

Spacey Sketcher (1) x3

Ballistic Bot (2) x3

Nyandroid (3) x3

Solari Priestess (3) x3

Sump Dredger (3) x3

The Fangs (4) x3

Subpurrsible (5) x2

Spells

Poro Cannon (0) x3

Thermogenic Beam (0) x3

Gifts From Beyond (2) x3

Iterative Improvement (2) x2

The Veiled Temple (4) x3

Deck Code

CEBQEAIEDMTAIAYEAIBQKEQGAMEVMYGXAHMQDWYB3UAQEAICAQAQCAYEBUAA

Final Thoughts


This could be Viktor’s redemption! He’s not terrible, but he was slow and felt really clunky to play. The ability to make those Hexcore Upgrades every single turn and easily make them free? On top of The Veiled Temple letting us buff our cards and refill mana on every single round? As long as we have Burst Spells to play, we can punish your opponents and make sure we have responses (or make it seem like we do), simply by refilling our mana. I don’t know that this is going to be an OP deck, but it is going to be fun. This is something I’m going to look into myself, to see if I have the cards to make it happen. This is an excellent start to the Legends of Runeterra Aphelios Expansion decks. A new hero, and a recent one made useful/better. You love to see it.

Invoke the Skies Descending (Zoe/Aphelios Combo)


An all-Targon deck? You better believe it! We have to combine the arguably strongest Champion in Targon with the newest and see what can happen. As a result, Aphelios can help Zoe level up a bit faster! Since we can keep dropping new/unique Moon Weapons, we partner this with the Invoke mechanic from Targon. Getting Zoe to turn into Level 2 Zoe as fast as possible is so important. Her ability to give minions all of your keywords when they’re summoned? Oh. Lord.

Suddenly, we invoke in some of our huge monsters, perhaps a bit cheaper thanks to Mountain Scryer. All of a sudden we have 7/7s and bigger that are also Elusive. Huzzah, most likely unblockable big creatures! Or barring that, we can flood the board with Celestials, and simply blast someone to pieces with The Skies Descend! From there, we cackle and deal 15 damage to all enemies, winning the game.

Zoe is already super powerful, and I’m genuinely surprised she didn’t catch a nerf. But if she can stick it out and level up? The catch is she has to see you play 10 cards with different names. A turn-1 Zoe is important, but you have to do what you can to keep her alive. That means, have other bigger threats. But what does this deck do? How do we get this thing going? It feels a little complicated, but not as bad as some of the other Zoe Invoke decks, thankfully.

How Does It Work?


After Zoe, we want to drop other cheap cards that create other new cards. Lunari Duskbringer for example, is a 1-cost minion that creates a Duskpetal Dust card in hand. That card is a 1-cost Burst Spell that makes our next Nightfall card cost 1 less. Casting Dustpetal Dust means we’re guaranteed to get that Nightfall spell’s ability. If you have even one Spell Mana, you can use it to immediately drop Aphelios on the following turn for 2 Mana. That means you’ll 3 unique cards, and a 4th with your Moon Weapon.

Each round, the first time you play 2 other cards, you create the Phased Moon Weapon in hand if you don’t already have one. The Phased card is what you get after you cast your Moon Weapon. So you cast it, pick the Phased Weapon, and drop another spell to create that other unique weapon in your hand. You can probably see how quickly we can spiral out of control. We have a few low-cost spells to create other low-cost spells to make sure Zoe levels up. She has to see 10+ unique spells get cast, and Aphelios requires you to cast 4 Moon Weapons. His benefit is that Moon Weapons will cost 1 less (down to 1) at Level 2.

Zoe herself creates quite a few unique spells too! When she hits the enemy Nexus (she has Elusive also), you create a Supercool Starchart, or if you have one already, reduce its cost by 1. Supercool Starchart is a 2-cost spell that has Burst Speed. It Invokes a Celestial that costs 3 or less. Level 2 Zoe does this and it instead creates a Behold the Infinite that costs 0. That spell is also Burst Speed and Invokes. This makes this particular Aphelios combo one of the most fun for this latest Legends of Runeterra expansion. We can use Zoe and Aphelios to make Zoe level up fast, alongside the other cards that Invoke/create more unique spells.

We’ve also got the Mountain Goat that creates a Gem after it strikes something. So now we have another created card that’s unique! Gem is a burst-spell (1 Mana) that Heals an ally 1 and grants it +1/+0. The only catch is it can’t be in response to a spell or in combat. Hopefully we can also get Mountain Scryer in play quick as possible. They cost 4 mana, but they make our Celestial Cards cost 1 mana less. If we have Allegiance, we also Invoke immediately. In order to have Allegiance, the top card of our deck has to be of the same faction. As everything in this deck is Mount Targon, it’s a sure thing.

A new card is also in deck! The Fangs is one of the new Celestials, and is a 3/2 Lifesteal for 4 (3 with Mountain Scryer). When we play this, we Invoke a Celestial Card that costs 3 or less. So with Scyer, we may be able to immediately drop that card too. This all sets up nicely to prepare for The Skies Descend. Speaking of Invoke, we’ve got a few other really fun options. Solari Priestess Invokes a 4, 5, or 6 Celestial, for example. Starshaping Invokes a Celestial that costs 7 or more, than heals an ally or our Nexus for 5. That’s serious value for 5 mana. It’s also Burst speed, so we can drop it on an opponents turn if we need to.

Finally, on the Invoke/Create side of things, we have the 7-cost Celestial Dragon. If it’s the first Spell of the turn (Daybreak), the next Dragon or Celestial we cast this turn costs 2 less. That’s neat, but the Nightfall (Not the first spell of the turn) is much better. If this happens, you create a random Dragon follow and Celestial follower in hand. If you put both in play, and all three stick around, that’s 6 mana off (minimum) for The Skies Descend (15 mana default).

Through these, you will likely get some seriously huge Celestials. Several of them gain +1/+0 for every Celestial Spell you’ve played this game. Sure, we can swing lethal damage just about anytime we want at this rate. But what if you want to drop a sneaky win? We have one spell in this deck isn’t Mount Targon. That’s right, Atrocity is a Shadow Isles card, and the only one in the deck (3x of it). It costs 6 mana, Fast Speed, and kills an ally. Then, we deal their Power in damage to anything. Do you have a 10+ Celestial? Then use it to deal direct damage to the enemy Nexus if it’s in killing range!

Victory comes in one of a few ways in this deck. We use Level 2 Zoe to do this in one way. When you summon an ally, it grants its keywords to all allies. So if we drop a 0/1 cost Celestial with Elusive, all of our creatures gain it too! We can do this, then just swing likely very safely. Between this, we can also get Fury, Quick Strike, and so many other powers.

Or we can just nickel and dime at someone until they’re under 15, and drop The Skies Descend. It costs 15 mana but it’s very possible to get it down to 10 mana, and easily play it. Finally, we can put a creature that’s as big as possible, and blast it with Atrocity and sneak an easy win. We do have a few spells to help us get going and control situations. Hush silences a unit for the round (Burst Speed), and Moonlight Affliction Silences 2 units this round for 5 Mana (Burst Speed). If you cast this as Nightfall (Not the first spell), they also can’t block this round.

It takes some patience and practice, but I really love this deck, and may start playing it more alongside Soraka/Tahm Kench.

Decklist


Champions

Zoe (1) x3

Aphelios (3) x3

Followers

Lunari Duskbringer (1) x3

Spacey Sketcher (1) x3

Mountain Goat (2) x3

Solari Priestess (3) x3

Mountain Scyer (4) x3

The Fangs (4) x3

Eclipse Dragon (7) x3

Spells

Hush (3) x2

Moonlight Affliction (5) x3

Starshaping (5) x3

Atrocity (6) x2

Sunburst (6) x2

The Skies Descend (15) x2

Deck Code

CEAQUAYJBFEUYVCWLRQGJWIB3UAQEAIBAUMQIAYJAIGROVIA

Final Thoughts


Aphelios/Zoe is disgusting. Sure, it takes some work and can be frustrating to learn, I love it anyway. It’s possible to have several really potent ways to win a game. With our constant flood of Celestials that hopefully cost next to nothing, you will almost always have a way to win an exchange. Plus we have our two heroes that constantly cast fun spells. My favorite way to win is The Skies Descend, quite frankly. It’s a way to just explode a field to pieces, and what I used to use in my Aurelion Sol deck as an alternate win condition. Just keep an eye on what your Celestial cards do what, and play on the advantage. It’s very easy to do with this deck. Pick the Celestials that fit the situation the most, and consider what the easiest way to win will be. If you can win via slamming an opponent with a host of Elusive/Overwhelm monsters? Do it! I believe in you.

Yasuo Is Back? Aphelios Lends a Hand (Aphelios/Yasuo Combo Deck)


Fun Fact: The very first deck I felt happy with in Legends of Runeterra was Yasuo Stun Combos. You just set up ways to stun and let Yasuo do the heavy lifting. He’s sort of fallen off but fast forward to Targon. We’ve now got cards like The Infinite Mindsplitter to stun two enemies over and over. For bigger creatures, we can use this to make sure Yasuo puts them down, or simply another way to level him up faster.

Fast forward yet again, and we have a pair of new cards: The Cloven Way and one of Aphelios’ Moon Weapons, Gravitum. Gravitum is a 2-cost Moon Weapon that stuns an enemy. If it’s a follower, stun it again at the next Round Start. This is a deck that builds up a board at a pace that fits you, and constantly stuns whatever we don’t like. If we combine that with Yasuo, we can hopefully kill your opponent’s followers/champions every single time they hit the board. We also build up a gigantic Fae Bladetwirler.

From there, all we need is to cast Infernum on the Bladetwirler, so it gains Overwhelm! How is it going to feel when your opponent’s 20 Health Nexus suddenly takes 30 damage? Probably not very good for them, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about! We also run the key card Gifts From Beyond to create the Moon Weapon we want at the time (probably Infernum or Gravitum), to make sure we are ready for any situation.

Are those our only stuns? “Are those our only stuns?” I hear you ask. Of course not!

How Does It Work?


When I saw this deck get put together, the sound I made borders on inhuman. I love Yasuo in Legends in Runeterra as much as I hate him in League of Legends. We can’t just infinitely Gravitum every turn, but there is a solid route to get it over and over again, turn for turn. As long as you can keep casting cards to Phase in your Moon Weapons, that is. I like this route:

Gravitum -> Crescendum -> Calibrum or Severum -> Gravitum

Gravitum will stun, possibly (likely) stun twice. Crescendum summons a two-cost follower from your deck, and if it has Nightfall, it triggers that effect. We have two two-cost followers in the deck: Fae Bladetwirler (a win-con), and The Sky Shadows. When this is summoned, you refill two Spell Mana if you behold a Nightfall card. We don’t have quite as many of those, but we have some. For those of you not familiar, Yasuo levels up by Stunning or Recalling 5+ units. He doesn’t have to witness them, so we can see him leveled up as soon as we cast him.

When you Stun/Recall an enemy, you deal 2 damage to it. Conversely, when he levels up, he Strikes them (deals his full power) instead. Level 2 Yasuo is a 5/5 Quick Attack, and that’s going to hurt a lot. Since we can keep getting Gravitum back, we can use Yasuo to just stun and kill over and over again. That’s what makes the Crescendum so good. It helps us get that Bladetwirler (hopefully) and start powering it up. What makes that cute little fella so good?

Anytime we Stun/Recall a target and Fae Bladetwirler is in play, This ⅓ Quick Attack gains a permanent +2/+0. So we just keep stacking him up more and more and more. Before we know it, he’s able to one-shot your opponent’s Nexus. That’s where Infernum comes into play. We can win without even having to have Yasuo in play (but he’s awesome, so we want him there).

While Gravitum is amazing, we can trigger this ability on The Cloven Way too. It’s a 5/4 with Overwhelm for 5. You have to get Nightfall to make this work, so just cast something else first. The Cloven Way stuns an enemy, and if it’s a follower, stun it again on the next Round Start. In the late game, we have The Infinite Mindsplitter too. If you target bigger enemies, you can get a few extra stuns out of that 8/8. It has you pick two enemies, and it will stun them every Round Start. If you don’t have Yasuo, and you do have Bladetwirler, he’s going to inflate out of control. With Yasuo in, it’s going to just make sure they die pretty fast.

Don’t worry my friends, we also have classics like Steel Tempest (Stun an attacking enemy), Concussive Palm (Stun an enemy to summon a Tail of the Dragon) to help stun things. But even if we don’t have those, we can keep rotating guns around to make sure we keep getting Gravitum. Nopeify and Deny are of course in the deck, because we need counterplay and are using Ionia. This is a deck where you make important decisions and use the cards in your deck wisely.

It’s a deck that has a few extra tools to hold off until things go your way. A few Invoke cards (Spacey Sketcher and The Fangs), to help you get more cards on the board. This is a wild, exciting deck and I think it has a lot of potential to really stomp people out of nowhere.

Decklist


Champions

Aphelios (3) x3

Yasuo (4) x3

Followers

Lunari Duskbringer (1) x3

Spacey Sketcher (1) x3

Fae Bladetwirler (2) x3

The Sky Shadows (2) x3

Crescent Guardian (3) x2

The Fangs (4) x3

The Coven Way (5) x3

The Infinite Mindsplitter (8) x2

Spells

Gifts From Beyond (2) x2

Nopeify! (2) x3

Steel Tempest (2) x2

Concussive Palm (4) x3

Deny (4) x2

Deck Code

CECAMAYJJFLNQAOZAHOADXIBAIAQECAPAEBQEFABAIBAKAQDAMERKWOXAEBACAROGEAA

Final Thoughts


Out of the decks I talk about in this blog, this Aphelios Expansion concept is the one I’m most nostalgic for. I didn’t climb high as Yasuo, but I loved it anyway. This isn’t a particularly fast deck, but once it gets the tempo moving, it’s going to make people very salty. Keep people stunned out and once Yasuo starts slicing people up, the game’s just about over. Fae Bladetwirler’s such a beast though, and as long as the other player doesn’t kill it, you’re fine. Honestly, even if they do, you can just keep the board clear, and use The Infinite Mindsplitter (and Yasuo) as another way to solve problems.

Mount Targon Brings Value to the Shadow Isles (Aphelios/Hecarim Combo/Aggro)


This is not a concept I thought of, but now I really like the idea. The more I think about it, the more I like it. As it turns out, Aphelios brings a ton of value to Shadow Isles decks. How could that possibly be though? Aphelios has a Moon Weapon, Crescendum which summons one of your 2-cost creatures. As we have a few very powerful, useful 2-drops in the deck (Say Hello, Shark Chariot for example), we want these to just start popping up. We can just keep bringing more Evershade Stalker cards back this way, and simply getting Shark Chariot out and attacking once is so important.

We don’t need Hecarim to see our creatures attack. We just need to have 7+ Ephemeral allies attack. Ephemeral is a keyword that has your creature die when it attacks/at the end of the turn. Either way, the creature dies that turn. This is a pretty standard Hecarim deck, where he’s the key to success. We use him/The Harrowing to make sure we can bomb the board out of nowhere. There’s also a very cheeky combo in this deck, involving The Flight. We just make it Ephemeral, attack, and put it back in your deck immediately.

We pair this with a variety of Ephemeral cards. The Nexus Strike ability will trigger before the Ephemeral, and it will go back into the deck. We use this with cards that make Ephemeral Copies of something. Then they go back into your deck, resulting in fun, aggressive plays! Out of the Aphelios Expansion decks in Legends of Runeterra, this is not one I considered, but I saw some other folks talking about it. I wanted to bring it to light.

How Does It Work?


This deck just proves how flexible Aphelios is in Legends of Runeterra. He fits into so many concepts nicely, bringing something new. We use Aphelios to help us play our low-cost creatures out of the deck and start getting some tempo going. Then we use our other really cheap creatures to start playing more of our Moon Weapons and make sure we always have an advantage. One card I’m admittedly torn on (at first viewing) is Encroaching Shadows though.

It’s powerful, but I hate the idea of Hecarim being played and dying in the same turn. It hurts my spirit. But it’s wildly powerful, Encroaching Shadows. It’s a 4-cost spell and is Burst Speed, so there’s not a lot anyone can do to stop it. It grants all allies, ALL allies in your deck and hand +2/+2 and Ephemeral. Sure, everything you play dies, but it just means Shark Chariot never goes away. It means it will be crazy easy to get Hecarim in play, probably as a Level 2. He’s our big damage. It turns our non-Ephemeral units into bombs that aid the overall concept. That 7+ will drop in no time.

Level 1 Hecarim is a 5/5 for 6, and he has Overwhelm. Attacking with him summons 2 attacking Spectral Riders (2/2 Ephermal Riders). He’s solid as a Level 1, but Level 2 Hecarim is a 6/6 Overwhelm, and he grants Ephemeral allies +3/+0. That’s where this all comes together. We get Level 2 Hecarim as fast as humanly possible and start blowing people’s spot up. We need to get those Ephemeral creatures in and out of combat fast! The most ideal circumstance involves Hecarim being dropped as a Level 2. That way, he drops in as a 6/6, with his two 5/2s, and could in theory swing lethal. If you cast Encroaching Shadows beforehand, he’s a 9/6, and those would be 8/2s. It’s very likely you could drop Hecarim after Encroaching Shadows and just win. Our actual game-winning play is after Hecarim dies. We cast The Harrowing later in the game, for 9 mana. It revives our 6 Strongest allies that died this game and grants them Ephemeral. So then we swing out and win.

We have a few non-Ephemeral cards in this deck that could be a lot of fun if Encroaching made them that way. Stygian Onlooker as a 2/1 for 1, that gets +2/+0 and Fearsome for the turn if it’s not our first spell? Free damage. Doombeast as a 3/2 for 3 and has Nightfall: Drain 2 from the enemy Nexus. Speaking of Nightfall (it’s our other big gimmick), If Sky Shadows is summoned and you Behold a Nightfall card, you refill 2 Spell Mana.

So how does Aphelios fit into all of this? His Crescendum Moon Weapon summons a 2-cost follower from the deck. That means we’ll summon Evershade Stalker or Shark Chariot. Both are Ephemeral, and Evershade Stalker has a potent Nightfall ability: Create a copy of me in hand. So we can keep dropping this 2/2 for 2, provided it’s not the first spell of the turn. Easy peasy, that! Otherwise, we get Shark Chariot, that never goes away. A 3/1 for 2, its Last Breath reads: The next time an Ephemeral ally attacks, revive me attacking.

Getting either of those is basically infinite value. Between the Moon Weapons and our other spells, Evershade Stalker sticks around again and again. As we said earlier, we also have a fun combo of sorts with The Flight. A 2/1 Elusive for 1, when it strikes the enemy Nexus, you draw a card and shuffle this back into the top 3 of your deck. So you give it Ephemeral, and it helps trigger other win conditions, brings Shark Chariot back, and goes back to your deck. You can do this with a few cards. The aforementioned Encroaching Shadows helps, but Fading Memories makes an Ephemeral copy of that card in your hand. So we can just do it back-to-back if we want.

Stalking Shadows picks a follower from the top 4 cards of your deck, draws it, and creates an Ephemeral Copy in hand as well. These cards can go on anything we have, quite frankly (that aren’t Champions). Shark Chariot is another fun choice, since it means you continue to harass people with Sharks. Who doesn’t love that? Aphelios helps make all of this happen. We play lots of stuff at a low mana cost, to keep the Moon Weapon chains flowing. We’re still going to be winning the game with a huge bomb of Hecarim+The Harrowing, but we can get there faster potentially, thanks to Encroaching Shadows.

Decklist


Champions

Aphelios (3) x3

Hecarim (6) x3

Followers

Lunari Duskbringer (1) x3

Stygian Onlooker (1) x3

The Flight (1) x3

Evershade Stalker (2) x2

Shark Chariot (2) x3

The Sky Shadows (2) x3

Doombeast (3) x3

Spells

Fading Memories (0) x1

Glimpse Beyond (2) x2

Stalking Shadows (2) x3

Unspeakable Horror (2) x3

Encroaching Shadows (4) x3

The Harrowing (9) x2

Final Thoughts


I know a few people who swear by Hecarim, and this is a deck I’m going to run by them. The Aphelios I think will catch people off guard, and force players to worry about him, while meanwhile, we’re setting up a much bigger threat. I love decks like this that put players into hopeless situations. The Harrowing bomb with Hecarim is terrifying. I’ve seen decks use this and just have 6 Hecarims come into play, which is just… it’s not nice to do to other people. It’s a powerful deck, and while it probably won’t dominate the meta, it’s fun to play, and anything you can do to catch an opponent off guard is very useful.

Gluttony’s Actually Useful? Anivia Thinks So! (Anivia+Gluttony Control)


Gluttony is the card that came to the Aphelios Expansion for Shadow Isles. Several people have said the card is not playable, barely usable. It’s a Fast Spell, sure, and only runs 3 mana. The problem is that you kill an ally that has a Last Breath ability and summons a follower from your deck that costs 1 more mana. That’s very restrictive, to be frank. However, there’s something that not a lot of people considered (except zTurtlee, apparently). If it could summon a Champion it might be way more powerful.

However, the creature we sacrifice to Gluttony can be anything with a Last Breath trigger. Enter Anivia! She can be sacrificed, turning her into Eggnivia, who will turn back into your beautiful, powerful bird soon enough. What would we possibly get for Anivia? We only have one card in the deck that could possibly come forth: The Rekindler! It will summon the strongest champion we’ve had die this game (guaranteeing us another Anivia).

If all goes well (and Eggnivia doesn’t get killed), we have two Anivias, resulting in easy, smooth control over the opponent’s board. Upon leveling up, we’ll be doing 2 damage to all enemies and the enemy Nexus with each of them (so four total). Then we can make another Anivia thanks to Chronicler of Ruin! This is a deck with a whole lot to love about it. We have some fun control options to hold off our foes. Or we can just wait for the other player to summon a ton of weak followers/champions, and throw them in The Box.

How Does It Work?


One of the most important things is to know what your opponents can do. You want to avoid starting your combo at times when the other player could instantly kill your followers (like Eggnivia). We could still get them back with the Chronicler of Ruin/The Rekindler combo, but that’s not the point. We want more than one Anivia in play to just sweep people off the board as fast as possible. One of the things I love about this deck though is in the mid-late game, we aren’t afraid of a board wipe.

Heck, we run our own with The Ruination! It’s perfectly fine if we clear the board, because then we can cast The Harrowing when the opponent has no spare mana. We then summon the 6 strongest allies that have died this game and grant them Ephemeral. Oh no, Anivia dies. . . oh wait, she just comes back as Eggnivia, then Anivia again. Hah.

The key to the kingdom here though is Gluttony and Anivia. She’s a little costly, at six mana, but we have Entreat (2 mana) to Burst Speed draw her from the deck. We also have Catalyst of Aeons to add more mana to our pool. Seeing a Catalyst of Aeons in the starting hand is fantastic. We play slow then and as soon as we have that 5 mana to cast it, we do. It adds another Mana Gem to our collection and heals our Nexus 3.

We want Anivia in play before we start all this going. She is a 2/4 for 6, and her attack deals 1 damage to all enemies/Nexus. She will level up when Enlightened (10 Mana). However, if she dies, she transforms into a 0/1 Eggnivia. Once you’re Enlightened, she will, at the start of a Round revive and Level Up. Now she’s a ⅗ that deals 2 to all foes. She still retains the power to turn into Eggnivia at death. That’s the key.

We’re going to use Gluttony on Anivia to kill her, turning her into an Egg. This will give us The Kindler, a 7-cost, as a sure thing. The Rekindler revives the strongest allied champion that has died this game – Anivia. Sure, she never went to the grave, but she died. That counts. Now we have a pair of potential Anivias. By now we should be dangerously close to 10 mana, and having them both level up. Now we just mow down their creatures every single turn.

Now, there are big creatures we could deal with here that have a shot at killing our Bird Goddess. Flash Freeze can Frostbite an enemy, turning their health to 0. We also have Vile Feast (Fast) to drain 1 from a unit to summon a spiderling, which might be enough in a pinch. Withering Wail (Fast) also deals 1 to all enemies and heals our Nexus for 3. The Box (Fast) deals 3 to each enemy that was summoned this round, so it can be absolutely devastating. Using these at the right times with Anivia attacks, we can make sure virtually any creature perishes.

On top of that, we do constant damage to the enemy Nexus. We also have, finally, Grasp of the Undying (Fast), which drains 3 from any unit. If we absolutely must kill something, Vengeance (Fast) will kill a unit dead. If we’re in need of more birds (and why wouldn’t we?), we can use Chronicler of Ruin. He kills a unit and revives them – the target? The Rekindler. More Anivias to go around! We use our control spells to eliminate the most appropriate targets – that’s something that comes with practice, and use our collection of Anivias to deal our damage.

Decklist


Champions

Anivia (6) x3

Followers

Avaroasan Sentry (2) x3

Kindly Tavernkeeper (3) x2

Chronicler of Ruin (4) x1

The Rekindler (7) x3

Spells

Entreat (2) x2

Glimpse Beyond (2) x2

Vile Feast (2) x3

Flash Freeze (3) x2

Gluttony (3) x2

Avalanche (4) x3

The Box (4) x1

Catalyst of Aeons (5) x3

Grasp of the Undying (5) x2

Withering Wail (5) x2

Vengeance (7) x2

The Harrowing (9) x2

The Ruination (9) x2

Deck Code

CEBAEAIFCQUAIAIBAMGBIGADAEBQKEQDAEAQCHJSAYAQKAIDB4OTCNQBAIAQKEZA

Final Thoughts


I haven’t played with a whole lot of Anivia, but I see the appeal. We’ve got so many useful cards in the deck. Several ways to heal our Nexus, cards like Avalanche to deal 1 damage to all units, and Glimpse Beyond to kill an ally/draw 2. Thanks to cards like Vile Feast, we can just sac those Spiderlings for cards! I like how much potential this card combo has. zTurtlee says you need to play smart around Obliterate cards against the Targon decks and will make bad matchups winnable. It’s interesting how just one card can make a deck. This deck only runs two Gluttonys though, as to not clog up the deck. You only use Gluttony for one thing, after all.

Aphelios + Heimerdinger + Give It Your All = Success (Aphelios/Heimerdinger Combo)



I keep wanting to talk about non-Aphelios decks, but then a cool idea comes up and I have to give it a few words. Aphelios and Heimerdinger just sounds hilarious. Then you combine these with The Veiled Temple and Give It Your All to cackle and buff your minions. You slowly build one or two really big units, with a variety of keywords. You cast Give It Your All to make all minions have the stats of your biggest follower (Power or Health), and grant all allies allied keywords. We can do so much with that.

Heimerdinger is powerful just in general. But we have a guaranteed series of weapons to cast in Aphelios’ Moon Weapon. This means we’ll almost always have something useful to make sure we have Heimerdinger mechs. We need him to summon 12+ power worth of Turrets. If we keep making those 2-cost Moon Weapons, or bigger with our other spells, it’s going to happen fast.

This deck actually makes a lot of use of Hush too. Sure, it got nerfed (to a 3 mana cost). But as long as we have Tri-beam Improbulator, and keep casting 3-cost spells, it gets stronger and stronger. It’s a 4-cost spell that deals 1 damage to a unit and summons a random 1-cost follower. If this card stays in hand, and you cast a 3-cost card, those two numbers go up. We have lots of 3-cost cards to use, too. That’s not the focus of the deck though.

We will be winning either via abuse via Heimerdinger mechs, Starshaping a Celestial that costs 7 or more and using it to win, or Give It All when used with either of those. Give It All just makes it easier to win. That’s what makes this deck so fun: We’ve got so many ways to win! We aren’t sacrificing anything to do so, either.

How Does It Work?


This feels like, at its core, a kind of complicated deck. I’m not sure it is, but there’s just a lot going on under the hood. We want to set up Heimerdinger and Aphelios to level up as soon as possible. Heimerdinger becomes far more potent at Level 2. He still makes Turrets whenever you cast a spell (based on the casting cost of the spell you dropped), but they gain +1/+1 and cost 0 this turn. Now there are zero downsides, and they help make those powerful Moon Weapons we love so much.

They already did help, but now, with a 0 mana cost, they’re so much easier to play. All of this builds to us ultimately casting Give It All. Since it’s a Slow Speed spell, we’ve gotta be careful. It also costs 8 mana, so it’s a big risk. We can just win via Turrets and Ignition if we want, but it’s not necessary. Give It All takes the highest Power or Health of all of your allies, and makes that the Power and Health of all ALlies. All allies also have allied keywords. If you have four units, and they have between them – Overwhelm, Quick Strike, Elusive, Tough, they all receive those.

Simply having Heimerdinger in play is a threat. The other player isn’t going to be happy he exists. The Veiled Temple is in this deck to help save him or other cards. Every round, the first time we play two other cards, refill 2 mana and grant your strongest ally +1/+1. That’s a permanent buff, mind. Both of our Champions grant us cards essentially every turn. We also have cards in the deck that we can play to draw. If we draw, and buff in the same turn? Bonus!

Playing multiple spells in a turn helps us get more Moon Weapons, and goes towards Aphelios’ level up. Playing multiple Turrets goes towards leveling up Heimerdinger. We can be pretty aggressive with Turrets in the outset too. The bigger ones are the ones we want to keep, anyway. As far as draw spells, we’ve got Rummage. A 1-cost Burst Spell, we Discard 2 to Draw 2. If we have exactly 1 other card in hand, we Discard 1 and Draw 1. Get rid of stuff you don’t want, for stuff you can use! Sump Dredger also Discards 1 to Draw 1. That is a theme in this deck. Eventually, we’ll likely have more turrets than we can use. You can use those if you aren’t worried about leveling Heimer (or he’s already leveled).

The idea is that we constantly buff our best cards (like Heimer, to keep him alive, or our biggest Turrets), by casting spells every round. We want to play 2 cards every round. It’s important to note that The Veiled Temple automatically buffs your Strongest unit. You don’t get to pick, but that’s okay. Speaking of cards, Subpurrsible is another important card, potentially. It’s a ⅕ Elusive and draws a card. If we’ve played at least 10 other cards with different names, it gets +4/+0.

It’s the Elusive part that’s key. We can combine that with Give It All, to make sure all of our allies have Elusive! It’s very unlikely your opponent will have the capacity to block an entire field of jerks that have Elusive. Starshaping is also key to the combo. It grants us a 7-or-higher cost Celestial card and heals our Nexus for 5. Pick the best Celestial that gives us fun abilities/high damage, and use it to sweep and win. Solari Priestess serves a similar purpose by letting us Invoke a 4, 5, or 6 cost Celestial.

There’s a card we want to keep in our hands as long as possible, too. Tri-Beam Improbulator. We spoke about it earlier, but it’s so strong. It’s Slow, sure, but every time we cast a 3-cost spell, and it’s in our hand, it gets better! We could, in theory, get a 10-12 cost follower from this spell. After all, casting a 3-cost spell gives us a cost Turret, meaning it powers up twice as fast. It’s a little random, but the more mana it costs, in this game at least, the better it is.

This isn’t a deck that’s just about getting big creatures as fast as possible. We also have Mystic Shot to deal 2 damage to anything, and Get Excited! Which servers the same purpose (3 damage, discard a card to do so). Tri-Beam Improbulator also deals 1 damage (but scales again, with casting 3 cost cards) to a unit. Finally, we’ve got Aftershock, which deals either 3 to anything or destroys a landmark. We’re only running one, so don’t waste it. If your opponent is using a landmark to win, we can stop that dead in its tracks at the right time.

Everything in this deck serves the purpose of keeping Turrets on board and letting us play as many cards as possible. Whether we just pound the other player with Turrets, or use Starshaping or Give It All as a win-con, all of these are acceptable. Playing Starshaping will give us a powerful turret with Dinger on board, and so will the Celestial that follows. Suddenly, we do a lot of damage. It’s up to you to use it wisely, but this deck will give you all the tools needed to pound someone’s Nexus into custard. Finally, we can win just with Ballistic Bot if we can keep one around. Whenever it sees you cast a created spell, it gains +1/+0. It also creates a spell every turn (Ignition), which deals 1 damage to the enemy Nexus. We can very easily make this our strongest unit, for the purposes of The Veiled Temple. If you’re of the mind, you can just whittle someone’s Nexus down to 0 with it, or give it Overwhelm through a Moon Weapon, and just swing lethal. You have options!

Decklist


Champions

Aphelios (3) x3

Heimerdinger (5) x3

Followers

Lunari Duskbringer (1) x2

Ballistic Bot (2) x3

Solari Priestess (3) x3

Sump Dredger (3) x3

Subpurrsible (5) x1

Spells

Rummage (1) x1

Mystic Shot (2) x3

Get Excited! (3) x3

Hush (3) x2

Aftershock (4) x1

The Veiled Temple (4) x1

Tri-beam Improbulator (4) x3

Starshaping (5) x3

Give It All (8) x2

Deck Code

CEBQEAYEAUIQGAYJKRQNSAIFAECBWJRHGQ4AEAIDAQLAEAYJJFKQIAIBAQAQCAQEAEAQGBALAEBQTWYB

Final Thoughts


This may not be the most powerful deck among these, but it’s wild and fun! Heimerdinger decks are annoying, after all. Once it gets moving, we’re going to have a series of very powerful, very angry machines. Between Ballistic Bot and our Turrets, we have unfair amounts of damage. Then we drop a Give It All to make everything we have powerful. This is even better if we’ve got something with Elusive or Overwhelm, both of which are incredibly easy to do. Elusive comes from Subpurrsible, and the 4-cost Turret, Mk4: Stormlobber. Once those Turrets cost 0 mana to cast the turn they’re created, that’s it, it’s all over. That Ballistic Bot is going to be unfathomably powerful (or can be, anyway). Embrace the might of the machines, and run people down with them!

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