4 Best Decks for You to Get to Masters – Beyond the Bandlewood Season

Poppy

Hello everyone, den here!

With only 1 week left until the end of the Beyond the Bandlewood, a lot of players are starting to feel the pressure of maybe not reaching their goal for the season. Rest assured, 1 week is plenty of time to get there, and just a little organisation can do wonders to your climbing skills.

For those of you who might not know me outside of these articles, I have been a professional coach in card games for 7 years now. Outside of preparing players for tournaments, the things I get asked the most is help to reach the game’s most prestigious rank.

We can divide this task into two key elements, the player and its environment. If the first category is usually self-work that each player has to make in order to improve on the long run, there are elements in the environment that we can use in order to boost our win rate in a short period of time. For example, the best decks in the metagame might have a 57 or 58% win rate, but that is after learning the way they work and most of the match ups you might have to go against. That’s the reason why you will not see Discard or Nami Zoe on this list for example.

In this article, we’ll focus on decks that, on paper, have a lower score than the best decks in the metagame, but could prove better in specific situations, for players with big time constraints for example. We even have guides written already for these decks, so follow the link at the end of each section if you wish to learn about the deck in more detail!

I should warn you that these tips are geared towards immediate rewards, which comes with some risks as well. Also, when in doubt, always go with something you feel comfortable playing instead of trying to force yourself into a deck you don’t enjoy or understand the fundamental concepts or matchups. If you already have a deck you are getting results with, switching to something someone else calls a better choice might net you worse results, simply because of the learning needed to get to the same level of play you had with your previous deck.

Now that we are clear on those important prerequisites, let’s start our lists of best decks to reach Masters before the season ends.

  1. Poppy Ziggs
  2. Bandle Swarm
  3. Turbo Thralls
  4. Elusive Rally Poppy Zed

Poppy Ziggs

This is a good aggressive deck with a nice all-round matchup table, and featuring tons of support to stay afloat against defensive decks looking to counter us. Poppy Ziggs is a deck that can both net a great win rate for a “quality” approach but also is fast enough to get you there from the Platinum ranks in a “quantity” goal.

Why pick the deck

Most of the time at this stage of the season, players who haven’t reached their goal usually have a problem with complex game plans and managing resources properly.

Having a deck that relies on the same resource (health) against almost every opponent will simplify your approach and allow you to focus on how to maximise it instead of trying to be flexible.

I would say this deck is probably the best all-round pick currently, but mostly benefits players who understand how to use health as a resource and pressure to force your opponent into tough spots.

Important tips to play the deck

In order to maximise the damage potential, the setup phase is crucial to navigate well. Basically we want to use the deck in a 1-2 punch kind of gameplay.

The 1 is establishing the board, and getting what our opponent gives us damage wise. Usually that phase can last until turn 4, with Poppy or the Tenor or Terror being our last threat. The focus during that part is how our opponent can answer our board and slow us down.

The 2 is the switch to the damage approach, where we will cash in what we built in the early game and look to get our opponent to 0 health.

At all times keep in mind how you are getting your opponent to 0 health. If you have a clear path, go for it. If you don’t, look for some value or additional damage in your potential upcoming draws.


Bandle Swarm

While the deck isn’t listed as a top choice if we are talking about pure power level – and it can even be considered a bad choice at the higher ranks – there is some true upside to picking Bandle Swarm in the Diamond and Platinum ranks.

First, the deck has a clear game plan of developing the board, making it a deck relatively easy to pick up, even for someone who has never played it before. Second, the deck has pretty polarised match ups, giving you clear guidelines as to how to approach each opponent. Simply put, some of them are weak to what you can do, and others you are looking to high roll them.

Why pick the deck

This deck fits perfectly for players who would have a hard time learning various match ups and who are more about playing out of instinct. 

Late into the season, there is a chance you might face various match ups, making it hard to find your groove against all of them, thus committing more mistakes simply out of lack of knowledge.

Learn the basic mulligan and synergies of the deck and you should be able to play most of your matches, limiting the mistakes and maximising the potential results.
This deck is perfect for midrange players who know how to space their resources and create tempo at the right time in the game.

Important tips to play the deck

Like most rally decks, Bandle Swarm focuses on building the board and punishing an opponent who wouldn’t be able to efficiently deal with it. This sentence is extremely important to understand, as this is the only path to victory for the deck: Focus on your board, both developing and protecting it.

The defensive decks are the ones we are trying to beat, as they let us develop the board early on. Against those, think about how they could remove your board to play around the most annoying spells or units. Ranger’s Resolve usually is a great cheap way to protect your board against spell based opponents.

Facing other board centric decks, try to optimize your trades, mostly thanks to Yordle Smith on attack and Brightsteel Protector or spells otherwise. As soon as you get initiative on the board, run away with it and never take your foot off the gas.


Turbo Thralls

This might be the highest risk deck on the list, but it also carries the highest reward. Basically the plan here is to leverage the very linear game plan Turbo Thralls has to put all the pressure on the opponent.

Simply put, Thralls is a control deck destroyer, as nobody in the game can do much about an open attack with several 8/8 units featuring the overwhelm keyword. But late in the season, you shouldn’t face so many great aggressive players, who could punish you for playing the deck.

Combining both factors might make for the best climbing possibility when lacking time to get to the finish line, as facing several defensive decks in a row might represent some easy LP gains.

Why pick the deck

Focusing on your game plan of summoning your Thralls fast and holding the fort with simple to use cards like Icevale Archer, Avalanche and Blighted Ravine, the deck should not require you to understand the whole complexity of the metagame to perform.

Also, Thralls being kind of an exotic deck in the current metagame, you should have a surprise element against many opponents, who might give you some opportunities simply because they aren’t sure how to play against you.

With such a short amount of time left to climb, control decks might feel too slow to get you where you want. Thralls is a good alternative for control players who don’t like a more aggressive playstyle.

Important tips to play the deck

There are 2 ways to play the deck, either getting to the Thralls as fast as possible or slowing down the opponent until they get summoned without actively working towards it.
To maximise efficiency, we’re going to divide the metagame in two parts for the deck : Pressure decks and Defensive decks.

Pressure decks will be the ones that could legitimately kill you by turn 6, so Poppy Ziggs,Ping city, Rally, Lurk… against those, we are adopting a defensive role.

Defensive or Inevitability deck (ie. They will beat you before running out of gas) like darkness, discard, Nami, Anivia… against those, we want to summon the Thralls and close the game rather than extend the game.

The other important tip is to time the summoning of the Thralls to have them on an attack turn, so the opponent doesn’t have a turn to deal with them.


Elusive Rally Poppy Zed

Yes, Poppy gets featured a lot on this list, but she isn’t the top champion for nothing, and also one of the easiest to use properly. Elusive is a keyword that has always been controversial in Legends of Runeterra, as if the opponent doesn’t have a good way to counter it, it can feel very one sided very quickly. That’s exactly what we are aiming to do with this deck, get some one sided games in and move on to the next one.

The reason why this deck is #4 is the fact that it is probably more volatile, and the high amount of 1 health units we have can be punished by the cheap spells like Vile Feast or Pokey Stick that are rampant on the ladder lately. However, it’s undeniable that like other decks on this list, Elusive Rally is capable of an incredible win streak when facing decks with no way to deal with the elusive keyword.

Why pick the deck

The concept of the deck is really easy to grasp, as it is basically one huge wave of aggression that we are trying to impose on our opponent.

The knowledge necessary to pilot the deck isn’t big, but at least knowing how the various opponents react to your pressure is necessary. That will at least let you know if you want to go wide, invest into Zed or maximise the elusive units potential.

This deck is really good for players who are capable of planning a bit ahead and can evaluate how important each piece is to their game plan, therefore investing their spells onto the right targets.

Important tips to play the deck

It is key to this deck’s success to have a clear direction on how you plan to win the game. You will run out of gas otherwise, because we only have 3 Shadow Assassin to draw extra cards. Instead, rely on what you have in hand and one or two lucky top decks if you need them in your plan.

Sharpsight and Twin Disciplines can serve as both damage or protection to our units. When presented with a chance to use them, try to imagine if you could need them in the other role and what is more important in order to win the game.

In order to know if you should rely more on the elusives or the champions to win the game, know the basic game plan of your opponent. A board-centric deck will likely be more inclined to take on Poppy and Zed as it is easier for him to block or challenge them. A control deck defending with spells doesn’t really mind if the units have elusive or not, making the champions more effective.


Closing Words

Looking at the list, it looks obvious what we’re favoring when the goal is to climb over anything else: Tempo. The thing with tempo is that the strategy can be generated in various ways, and in this list you should find a deck that suits your style of tempo.

Poppy Ziggs and Elusive Rally are the faster decks, looking to create a more immediate pressure that will quickly translate into damage. On the other side of the spectrum, Turbo Thralls and Bandle Swarm are looking slower and would rather prolong their development phase rather than enter a damage race early in the game.

Obviously other decks can be great climbing choices, and most of the decks in our tier list for example would work, especially if you take some time to read the associated guides. What we tried to focus on here are decks which can operate with a rather small amount of knowledge and instead focus on player’s comfort and instinct.

For hardcore control players who would find Thralls even too fast for them, I would recommend Anivia as the best control deck, simply as it has a rather linear game plan compared to Darkness for example.

There are obviously lots of areas to improve in order to get better and reach your goal, but when the time starts lacking, it is also important to know how to focus only on what matters. We will make sure to cover other important topics in future articles too!

Hopefully, this article helps you get to your goal during this last week of constructed play. Feel free to tag me (@den_CCG) or us (@RuneterraCCG) on Twitter if you make it! If you’re seeking some more help, feel free to join us on Discord or get in touch for personalized coaching.

Good game everyone!

den

Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yugioh and then Magic. Hearthstone has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. Although it took him a bit to get into Legends or Runeterra, his EU Seasonal Tournament win was the perfect start to get involved in the community. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on the game. Find him on Twitter at @den_CCG!

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