5 Initially Underrated Cards from Empires of the Ascended
Reviewing spoilers before every card is out is always quite a challenge. Everyone has various opinions on different cards they think will be competitive or not. In this article, I am going to highlight 5 cards that I believe were underrated during spoiler season.
Now I am not saying that every card in this list was rated poorly by all players, or even rated poorly in general. Some of these cards were rated just mediocre or were not given as much credit as I believe they deserved. If you expected some of these cards to be as good as they are, that’s awesome!
Let’s dive into these underrated cards and provide some deck examples that show how well they are shining.
When Golden Aegis was first revealed I was not really impressed. It is hard to not compare a Demacia slow spell that rallies to Relentless Pursuit. The only thing that separates these cards is the 1 additional mana cost and access to Barrier.
My original take on this was that it would probably not be all that worth it in a lot of decks that previously ran Relentless Pursuit, since they often did not have the extra mana to afford things.
This changed when I realized how strong Golden Aegis is in Fiora Shen. With Fiora on the board, this will allow you to attack and challenge a unit either on defense or for a second time on offense. It has a Barrier combat trick built into it, essentially saving you a spell. Every bit of Barrier value with this deck is immensely important to keep Fiora on the board and push you closer to your win condition.
Besides just Fiora, Golden Aegis really shines with any Challenger unit. As long as you can force your opponent into combat and get use out of the Barrier then you are getting a ton of value from this spell, and that is something I underestimated during reveal season.
LeBlanc, Bloody Business
I can not remember a card during any reveal season ever that got as much hate as LeBlanc. Not only did players think she was an awful card, but they also disliked her transition from League of Legends to Legends of Runeterra.
When I got to talk with the Lead Designer of Empires of Ascended Mark Sassenrath (Riot G-Major), he seemed pretty shocked and let down about the reception of LeBlanc. He hoped that players would try her out and hopefully feel differently once they got to play with her.
Well, in my opinion, that is exactly what happened. If you still don’t like the transition from League of Legends, that is totally fair. But LeBlanc is a really solid champion that is surprisingly flexible.
I have seen multiple LeBlanc decks that are a terror to deal with. She has a form of aggression that is different yet familiar for Noxus, and with the Reputation package that she can quickly activate, she has plenty of tricks up her sleeves.
We as a community have a really awful track record of reviewing cards, especially champions, that have 2 health. We instantly fixate on that and assume that it just automatically dies to Mystic Shot and is a bad card. All the while Twisted Fate has found himself at the top of every single meta since his release, doing so while only having 2 health.
With all that said, Leblanc obviously has surpassed her initial reaction from the community. Let’s jump to the next card – Bloody Business – and then I will give an example deck using both it and LeBlanc, together.
Most of the Noxus reveals were met with not a lot of excitement. There are a few gems within these reveals that have a lot of potential, and Bloody Business might be my favorite of them all.
Obviously this card is situational, as you have to have a unit with 5+ power in order to be able to use it. Also, there are plenty of counters to it as well. But even with all of that, this card is still extremely valuable.
Being able to strike a unit at a fast speed in combat or out of combat is really powerful. If you are also running Whirling Death – you have a variety of striking effects to punish your opponent.
What puts this card over the edge is really Sivir and Ruin Runner. Both of these units have 5+ power and Spellshield, allowing them to consistently use Bloody Business without being countered as easily. Adding all of this together, along with Leblanc, allows us to make a very aggressive midrange deck. Check out my Twin Sunz co-host Josh’s take on Sivir/Leblanc/Darius below.
By looking at Spirit Journey as a narrow way to activate a Last Breath, or get a Slay counter, or trigger a summon effect one additional time, you severely undervalue this card. In reality, this is an extremely flexible response spell in so many situations.
This spell lets you keep your unit alive as you dodge opposing spells. It also can act as a counter to an opposing spell such as an Atrocity, where you kill their target before it goes off, thus making the Atrocity fizzle.
It is important to remember this does not function like a ‘replacement spell’ such as Stand United or Shadowshift, that replace the original target of a particular spell with a new one. Spirit Journey actually kills the target and resummons as a new unit. This would also get rid of any buffs that the unit had.
Additionally, if your opponent is attacking and you use this on an unblocked attacker, that unit will die, then resummon in the back row of your opponent’s board – not in combat. All of these situations go to show just how much this card can do and how many situations it can be helpful in. There are plenty more just like these as well! Take a look at how Nasus and Kindred use this flexible spell and utilize its synergy.
Out of this entire list, the Baccai Reaper was probably the highest-rated card throughout the community. It is making my underrated list because it is way better than even what people thought.
Baccai Reaper adds so much aggression in early turns but also can snowball into a massive unit, if not dealt with. When you attack, putting this unit all the way to the right allows him to build his power in the middle of combat, which means he can deal higher amounts of damage to either the Nexus or his blocker. He also can become an Atrocity target if you can’t find a better one because he will get quite large as the game goes on.
The best thing about him is Fearsome. This keyword allows us to sneak through some solid damage or force your opponent to block with valuable units early – unless they are ready to suffer the consequences of taking a lot of Nexus damage.
Combine the Baccai Reaper with the Barkbeast and Dunekeeper and you have 3 of the most aggressive and solid 1-drops in the game. Take a look at my Elise/Nasus aggro deck below.
These are my top 5 underrated cards from all of Empires of the Ascended. I am curious as to what you think was also underrated during reveal season?
Is there anything that you have found to be doing really well one week into playing with these new cards that at first glance looked mediocre at best?
Thank you for checking this article out, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!