Hello everyone, den here, doing one of my favorite things in card games: brainstorming new deck ideas! Before showing off the various decks I tried to build, I’d like to preface it, saying two things.
First, thanks to everyone who offered ideas and concepts to explore in the Shurima expansion! Unfortunately, I couldn’t possibly tackle every idea I saw – either because of the article limits or because I couldn’t find a good enough shell to make it work. I also tried to focus on champions and archetypes that are currently not too popular, so you don’t have to encounter Twisted Fate or Aphelios in these builds.
Second, I did’t intend this article to be a ‘prediction’ of what will work and what won’t in the new meta. That type of content will come later, and soon enough there will be articles, guides and much more to cover that. None of these decks are aimed at being competitive – but there are also no pure ‘memes’. These are ideas to hopefully inspire you to build your own deck when Shurima is finally available!
So, with that said, let’s dive into what the newly released cards have inspired me the most!
Take spells that ask for a unit as a sacrifice, then Nasus and the Slay mechanic, and top it all off with Kindred as a second champion – and we have the deck here, that was probably the most talked-about during this past week.
With 24 (!) new cards that were added to the list from the upcoming expansion, The Undying looks like it has finally found that second region that would help him reach its true potential: Shurima.
The region brings 3 very important things to the deck: 1) Rite of Calling and Rite of Dominance – more ways to sacrifice units; 2) Ruthless Predator – the Vulnerable keyword (I prefer this spell to Exhaust as we really don’t want our The Undying to survive trades); 3) Nasus – who is a second finisher-type threat in case our opponent would be able to shut down our main strategy.
While Nasus and The Undying share a common weakness – the silence effects – it is unlikely that our opponent would have enough to take care of all of our threats. Also, Nasus gives us the opportunity to run Atrocity as a direct damage finisher in the deck.
The build as it is is very straightforward. I thought about cards to provide some healing (Absorb Soul for example) or tools to control the board in different ways (Withering Wail, The Ruination), but this kind of thinking will become easier once we know what we have to play against in the new meta.
For now, these 40 cards are aimed at working around the main synergy and making it as consistent as possible. And even though the archetype has some weaknesses, especially once it gets behind on board early, it already looks much more promising than it was in the past.
I feel this article wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t take a shot at the ‘Level 3 Ascended’ archetype. While most ideas I saw mashed Renekton and Nasus together, I think the way they operate is too different for them to make sense in the same deck. So as Nasus has joined forces with Kindred in The Undying deck, Renekton will be featured in this mono Shurima build featuring Buried Sun Disk,
The idea of the deck is to apply never-ending pressure on our opponent once we take over the board, which should happen around turn 4 when we get to play out our good units.
From there, the deck can go two routes: either pure pressure with well-statted units and some good support to protect them or toward more trade-oriented gameplay using Vulnerable. Either way, Shurima is a region that offers lots of simple but effective synergies in order to leverage our way into a favorable combat position.
Shurima really looks like it could challenge Demacia in terms of the trading potential of their units, but the difference here is that they leverage different synergies and keywords.
Renekton plus various means through which we can apply Vulnerable is our way to win midrange matchups. Taliyah is our finisher, helping to close out the game against opponents that prevent us from abusing Renekton.
Sivir looks like a great one-of in a lot of midrange board-centric decks, as her level-up condition will eventually be achieved naturally. While I believe she is good enough to be a 3-of, the deck is stacked with 4-drops. Taliyah is also really easy to evolve in this deck, allowing great combo potential with the Ancient Hourglass, so I’m fine considering Sivir as just a nice bonus in this build.
The Buried Sun Disk is the cherry on the cake, and level 3 Renekton will close out pretty much any game. One copy of the landmark looks enough as we are guaranteed to have it in our starting hand for free, and if it was to be destroyed, it is tempo loss for our opponent, which work well for our main game plan anyway.
Frejlord and Shadow Isles are close allies when it comes to synergies in Legends of Runeterra. The two regions, when combined, historically enabled some of the best control decks in the game. And with Lissandra joining the ranks with her frozen legions, it looks like this region duo isn’t going anywhere.
With a new way to win the game through The Watcher – an 11/17 follower you get when Lissandra levels up, who obliterates the opponent’s deck upon attacking – SI/Frejlord has a new way to punish the opponent for not being able to finish the game early enough.
This deck core is built around 2 simple principles: staying safe from the opponent’s win condition and advancing towards our own OTK condition.
To make this happen, the deck packs the same defensive package we can also find in Anivia Reborn or Feel the Rush decks. The new landmark Blighted Ravine also looks like a great addition, providing more heal and defensive options.
We get the Watcher through our champion Lissandra, so a copy of Entreat finds its way into the deck to help with consistency. Babbling Bjerg could also be considered in order to draw Spectral Matron more consistently, but because she is rather just ‘the finishing synergy’ and not the real pay off, I’d rather focus on finding Lissandra and Trundle early and often.
Another card I thought about was Revitalizing Roar, which allows you to get The Watcher to 0 mana while healing us for a ton in the process, but I felt like this synergy would rarely happen so it wouldn’t be good enough in the long run.
The main question I have about this build is the consistency of Lissandra’s level-up, as we are using the Frozen Thralls to do so, and they might take a bit of time to get there. Trundle acts as a midrange stalling tool while also providing an 8+ unit to play with his Ice Pillar. Losing him isn’t so much of a problem as it can be an opportunity to generate another pillar to help with The Watcher condition in case two Spectral Matrons wouldn’t be enough.
Overall we have a complete late-game deck on our hands, that can win through pressure with the Frostguard Thrall against opponents that would have a way to deny The Watcher OTK. The main concern for the deck is how reliably we can get to our win condition which should take a Feel the Rush-like amount of time to develop at best. But if we can reach the late-game safely, I can’t imagine many opponents being happy when on the other side of the table.
The upcoming expansion looks like it will put the emphasis back on the combat phase – something that the Targon region and cards like
With the arrival of new Demacia units looking to challenge opponents and Exhaust, probably the best splash card in the game, The Grand Plaza might finally get a reason to come back into competitive decks.
Going Exhaust route forces us to give up on Miss Fortune, and from there the Scout keyword also loses some of its allure. So instead, I tried to have a deck that would consistently win its 1-on-1 combats up to the point where the numbers’ advantage on the board would become too much.
Our early game is made of Quick Attack and Barrier units, which should be great to gain an early edge on the board and build that pressure gameplan from the get-go. Later on, these smaller units can still be relevant if The Grand Plaza is in play, as we would be able to pick our trades and leverage the board that way.
Our finishing blow should come in the form of Gallant Rider,
At any point in the game, level 2 Lucian should be game-winning, as the deck that dominates the board is impossible to contain once it is able to attack multiple times each turn.
The variation with Sivir and Ruin Runner would make the deck more linear, as we would lose that surprise element of buffing the board or summoning Jarvan IV on our attack. It might work better against spell-based decks with a removal-based gameplan.
I think this kind of deck would be perfect to level up Sivir fairly fast, the Spellshield keyword she and Ruin Runner possess should also make our opponent’s own gameplan much more complicated to realize. Quick Attack and Overwhelm are very good keywords to have with Challenger, which would help in that board-domination aspect in other matchups.
Overall this looks like a simple deck to get into, and this kind of build could be popular in the early days of the expansion before players have time to refine more complicated builds.
This was probably the most requested deck when I asked Twitter to propose ideas for this write-up, and I tried to make it work with a lot of different mechanics.
If it gets more support in the future, a promising option would be to combine Concurrent Timelines with Predict in order to always find an appropriate ‘play’ effect for the situation, to solve the problem that the deck relies on units and doesn’t have many spell effects in its toolbox.
But let’s focus on the build we have here: Corina Control Timelines, a deck that should be deadly if it reaches the lategame.
Old builds I could find were all very spell-heavy but lacked draw, and it felt like the idea was only to stall until Ledros/Corina, which, let’s be honest, isn’t the best use of Commander Ledros end-game capacity.
With this addition of Concurrent Timelines, a lot of things could change in the deck, and we should look at it as a defensive midrange with some unknown late-game capacities.
Corina and Ledros will both transform after their effect is put on the stack, meaning it will still resolve. Out of the 9 drops in the game, The Dreadway could be an instant win to double the damage effect of Ledros and Corina. With only six 9-mana units currently in the game, we have a 3-out-of-5 chance to get The Dreadway. This is a 60% chance of instant win when we play Ledros, a simple fact that makes this deck a major consideration in the coming metagame.
The first one lets you cycle useless cards (like Concurent Timelines once we’ve already played a copy of it) and find our answers for cheap so we don’t fall behind in tempo.
The second helps us draw when our opponent allows us time to do so, and with Jury-Rig, Vile Feast, or the spiders from Elise, we should find a target for the Leech. It also helps that Concurrent Timelines will allow us to transform that 3/1 body into an almost certainly better 4 drop.
Doombeast was another card I considered in the build, but felt like drawing cards was more important than dealing damage.
The last part of the deck is the defensive options, and while previous builds had much more defensive tools than the one I’m offering today, the addition of Kindred should help the deck a ton in the mid-game. There probably will be a need for Grasp of the Undying for more healing if the coming metagame features a lot of damage.
Otherwise, the deck should have enough tools to slow down the opponent on the board, barring an Overwhelm keyword which would make chump blocking with Jury-Rig or 1/1 spiders a problem.
Theorycrafting and reviewing cards is what I like the most about new releases, and I had a blast making these decks and explaining the basic thinking behind their construction. Once again, thanks to everyone who offered their ideas and I hope everyone can find a build they like or get inspired to create theirs.
At the time of writing, not all the cards have been released so maybe these decks are missing something that will be added in the future, and maybe there are simply more decks to explore. Another theorycraft article might come too, who knows 🙂
Good Game everyone,