5 Decks to Try on Day 1 of Jayce Expansion
Hi everyone, den writing in the middle of the night, but for the best cause of them all: bringing you new decks to try!
In a few hours, Jayce and a small batch of his supporting cards will be added to the game. In this piece, we’re going to talk about some brews I find interesting to explore with the new release.
Obviously, Jayce will be the focal point of our article, but I felt like there was a lot of potential with all the new toys, even if we took Jayce out of the equation.
I will start with decks featuring the new champion, as a way to showcase how he could be used and the pairing that make sense early on. Our last two decks though will be focused on other synergies, as I felt the new cards could also help various existing archetypes.
In this case, I went with a Curious Shellfolk upgrade and tried my luck at reviving the pairing of Zoe Viktor. The pair never had much success with their value-oriented builds of the past, but the new cards might finally help the deck stabilize the early game – which is most important in the current fast metagame.
Before we get started, I’d like to remind you that these builds aren’t battle-tested and focus mostly on introducing concepts that we will get to refine later down the line. With this obligatory introduction part over, let’s talk decks!
This is the most obvious pairing, as it looks like Lux finally has another champion sharing her love for 6-mana spells. The big question though is: how do we exactly build the deck around those two?
I decided to go for a midrange approach because of the Demacia region. I feel Dragons have shown us it is a bad idea to have a control-based approach currently if you don’t have the defensive capacity of a region like Shadow Isles or Frejlord.
For this reason, even though we are looking at a fairly slow deck, I wanted to keep a midrange angle and have a clear way to end the game rather than try to outvalue the opponent.
As such, the deck has a lot of ways to get on the board and use it to either lock down a faster opponent or push damage against a slower one. The Vanguard Sergeant feels right in this shell as it gives us both a 6-mana spell but also a way to pressure once we’ve established board dominance.
Supporting this board offensive is Lux generating direct damage with Final Spark and the newly released Albus Ferros who should be able to get his ability up to 4 or 5 damage regularly. Jayce will serve a support role, helping trades and pushing more damage with his leveled up abilities and spells.
The great new trio of Forge Chief,
Outside of sheer power level, I fear the deck might be lacking some draw – hence the inclusion of the Aloof Travelers. With its recent nerf though, it might be too weak of a unit to be used in a board-centric deck like this one.
Jayce pushes for a slow gameplan – consider that right now, there’s barely even a single deck that has two 6+ mana spells in its decklist.
To me, the best champion for control strategies currently is Senna, and she also happens to be in the best region for that: Shadow Isles.
With this pairing, it feels fairly easy to level up Jayce, as
The main question to answer is what to do once we have leveled Jayce and we are looking to close things out.
After some trial, it might be that the combo of Commander Ledros and Atrocity ends up being the better win condition for this deck – it will take us all the way on its own, removing the need to chip away any health during the game.
What Albus Ferros brings to the table though is stability thanks to its draw effect. Once again, playing a fast-paced metagame can be very punishing for control decks, as they will face windows where they will have to bring their defenses down in order to draw into more resources.
Having a curve of units that generates these needed resources should help the deck keep up the pace against faster opponents. Also, there is a real chance that simply staying alive is a good enough win condition against several decks like Rally, Poppy Ziggs, and Ping City, for example. Senna, Jayce, and Albus Ferros could represent threats they can’t deal with effectively.
Once again, we can see the excellent trio of Forge Chief, Ferros Financier, and The Forge of Tomorrow in the deck. Paired with the Sentinel units, it looks like a great early game in order to stall the opponent.
I admit being a little concerned about the amount of value in the deck, and I’m afraid we might run dry before being able to close things out, especially in a value-oriented matchup. This deck might need to gamble on the fact that the metagame will stay fast-paced as it has been in Patch 2.19.
When I first saw Jayce, I immediately had Minimorph in mind as the best 6-mana spell in the game. I, therefore, tried to make something work pairing Piltover and Bandle inside the gameplan that Jayce pushes for naturally.
Outside of the Bandle Tree deck though, it usually is the other region that provides the champions or the heavy-hitters of the deck, like it is in Ping City, Nami Fizz, Teemo Swain, or even Darkness – we can see the win-con champions of the lists are mostly coming from the non-Bandle Region.
Jayce is not feeling to me like a champion who can carry the game on its shoulders but rather as a good support tool. Pairing him with Minimorph required finding a second champion that would actually assume the role of the win condition.
While researching for ideas, I stumbled upon a build by BBG and I found most of his ideas very close to what I wanted to do. This build is largely inspired by his deck, and I find Heimerdinger to be so far the best champion to abuse the Acceleration Gate Jayce creates upon leveling up.
The deck has a simple gameplan, holding the fort until we can play and leverage Heimerdinger’s turrets generation to the best of its ability. In order to get there, we are using the flurry of damage spells both regions have access to, with the very flexible Mystic Shots and Pokey Sticks and the rejuvenated Thermogenic Beam.
Indeed, with the arrival of The Forge of Tomorrow, the Beam will finally not leave us all out of mana when we play him for 6 damage or more. Its use should trigger the Forge and refill our spell mana, thus removing one of the biggest weaknesses the Thermogenic Beam has.
Jayce’s level-up condition forces us to play something else alongside Minimorph in the 6 mana spell slot, which is a bit of a concern to me.
Shock Blast looks like a fine defensive tool but such expensive defensive cards can be very demanding to play in the right setup and could get stuck in our hand if we draw it early. Without any healing potential across both regions, I am a bit concerned about this deck’s ability to reliably get to its late-game win condition.
This deck might end up being the closest to competitive viability for Jayce as it has the basic components of a good deck with solid early tempo, a clear win condition, and some flexibility along the curve. Whether or not the deck is strong enough to compete is now left to see.
The two cards that especially struck me are Forge Chief and The Forge of Tomorrow. These look like they could fit absolutely any spell-based deck, as they help both for the direct synergy of the deck but also generate some board presence, helping stabilize the board.
The Shellfolk build is one of those that looks good on paper but when confronted with the reality of the metagame, usually falls short of convincing the masses.
Without any healing or large board clears, the deck tends to eventually lose to a pressure-based list, and cannot set up its win condition reliably under so much pressure. And that is exactly what Forge Chief and The Forge of Tomorrow could help with.
The mana resource usually is the most important one for this kind of deck. It is virtually impossible to run out of cards thanks to Curious Shellfolk being in the deck.
As such, the deck usually is looking to solve most of its problems by taking care of immediate tempo, protecting its health removing as many threats as possible until it can stabilize, and switching to a value-oriented plan. In that defensive part of the game, the mana is your natural limit as to how much you can do in turn.
Well, the Forge Chief and The Forge of Tomorrow should push that limit a little bit further and help the deck do a bit more with its spells. This is the aspect that could look trivial right now, but might be a big difference-maker in a few weeks.
At first, I was looking to build a Glorious Evolution deck – looked like the card received a lot of help. It was also a way to make the Hextech Handler work as its condition requires building a fairly slow deck.
And then, I started thinking about decks like Zoe Vi or Zoe Viktor, who could set up for a value late game with a cheap early curve, as the most expensive cards in those deck were not maindecked but generated.
To be honest, if we are looking to build somewhat competitive brews, an early curve is mandatory, as decks like Yordle Burn, Discard, or Plunder aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Once again, we are using the very handy arrivals of Forge Chief and The Forge of Tomorrow in order to help with stabilizing our early curve. They will participate in the effort to fight the board, buying us enough time to generate some cards and enable the ’10 different cards played’ condition of the Subpurrsible – the unit representing our main source of damage in the late game, outside of created cards.
While Zoe looks absolutely mandatory in the deck, Vi is a strong consideration to replace Viktor. The latter acts as another value engine and has direct synergy with the overall deck, but he could be a little slow if we didn’t manage to keep up with a faster opponent. Vi would help with the board control aspect of things, giving us more time to set up our late game. Maybe a mix of both champions with a 2+1 spread could prove to be the best down the line.
The main reason why I felt good about this archetype is the healing Targon provides, a key component of defensive strategies in a metagame where Noxus and Bilgewater are dominant regions. Working on the PnZ Bandle decks, I always felt like the value and the core of the strategy was very strong, but the lack of healing would eventually catch up to the deck and push it out of being competitive.
It’s very hard to tell if 10 cards released will have an impact on a very solidified metagame, that has already managed to largely shake off the changes brought by Patch 2.18.
I personally have a lot of faith in Forge Chief and The Forge of Tomorrow, as I feel they can complement a lot of decks nicely. Piltover and Zaun being a great support region, I expect to see those cards sprinkled amongst various existing decks in the metagame, for example, Forge Chief could make an appearance in a Discard deck.
The rest of the cards feel more gimmicky and tailored to help Jayce, their success looks tied to how good the new champion will perform. I will be honest and share my doubts about Jayce, but history has told us that when a new champion gets released, it usually has an immediate impact on the metagame. I am ready to be wrong on this one when I say Jayce isn’t looking like a meta-breaker to me.
If you want to share your upcoming builds for Patch 2.19, I encourage you to join us on Discord or Twitter. Also, feel free to tag me on your wildest creations if you post them on social media, you can find me on Twitter here and I will happily discuss your craziest brews.
Good game everyone,