5 Lineups for Last Chance Gauntlet – Empires of the Ascended Season
The Last Chance Gauntlet is approaching and so it is time for another collection of lineups to help you try and fight your way into the Open Rounds of the Seasonal Tournament.
While normally I include some more off-beat decks in whatever articles I am writing, this time I will focus completely on the best of the best, as this is a much more competitive gauntlet, potentially making or breaking your chances for an appearance at the Seasonal Tournament.
Below you can find five lineups that I believe will bring you the highest chance of making it all the way through. Good luck, and hopefully see you in the Seasonal!
1. Triple Aggro
- Strong against: Decks without either healing and/or AoE, other aggro.
- Priority ban: Lissandra Control.
This is a safe cookie-cutter lineup, as all three decks are quite powerful and have multiple good matchups across the board, punishing decks that are unable to heal or fend off early pressure.
Spiders and Discard both rely on creating a large board early on with cheap units, but their win conditions are slightly different. The former wants to burn the opponent and stops caring about the board fairly early, while Discard wants to stick to the board much more, with only Get Excited! as a burn option. Nightfall is a little different in how it plays out, as its biggest strength is big swing turns in the mid-game with Diana, Nocturne, and multiple
This lineup’s big strength is that these decks can generally beat all other aggressive decks, and so have an edge against nearly every non-control lineup in the game. Of course, some matchups can be a little more difficult – especially Nightfall can struggle versus Ashe Noxus or midrange Demacia if you cannot find enough early aggression to punish the lack of healing.
Outside of Lissandra Control, you can beat every deck with this lineup; even the less favourable matchups are easily punishable if the opponent does not draw the right answers timely. If I am to give just one tip on how to play these bad matchups: recognize when you can’t play around certain cards and proceed to act as if our opponent’s hand was empty.
- Strong against: Every aggro deck.
- Priority ban: Lee Zoe.
As compared to the previous lineup, this one consists of three powerful decks that are suited for players who enjoy having a bit more agency in their games.
Demacia Targon, as well as Lissandra Control, have lots of healing and/or AoE effects – the bane of any aggro deck in this game. They both win mainly through ‘preventing the opponent from winning’, rather than ‘ending the game themselves’.
Lissandra does that through the insane amount of AoE and the ability to fork the opponent between two different possible punishments (such as
Ezreal Draven is a completely different strategy as compared to the other two in the lineup, yet it serves a similar purpose: beating aggro. While the list runs absolutely no healing and no real AoE (unless we want to count Statikk Shock), it is capable of simply wrestling the tempo back from any aggro deck with its incredible amount of efficient single-target removal and stall units, such as Arachnoid Sentry. On top of that, the deck is capable of racing aggressive archetypes if it gets a particularly quick hand consisting of cards like House Spider,
With this lineup, you want to avoid decks like Lee Sin, as well as strategies looking to target Lissandra in the form of multiple Demacia lists. Luckily your other decks will be fine against those, so you’re likely to get two chances to try and get a win with Lissandra Control, even if your luck is poor in the matchmaking queue.
3. Triple Demacia
- Strong against: Lee Zoe, Lissandra Control.
- Priority ban: Ezreal Draven.
This is probably the most focused and least versatile lineup in this article, but its strength is that it targets some of the most prominent decks in Lee and Lissandra.
It is another lineup where two of the decks are very similar, those being Scouts and Lulu Shen. The idea behind it is to punish greedier decks that either have a hard time removing a board or need to spend a lot of mana to try to stabilize. Through the total of 15-18 Rally cards in this lineup, once the opponent runs out of mana, it is possible to just beat them down with Relentless Pursuit and Golden Aegis.
Lucian Azir looks similar at first glance, but it is much more reliant on combo turns, where it is possible to level Lucian and kill the opponent over two turns. While the deck plays differently, its matchups are very similar, and that is the main strength of this strategy – bringing three nearly identical decks matchup-wise, and ‘triple down’ on beating the same deck.
If you are expecting a lot of Lee or Lissandra, I can whole-heartedly recommend bringing this strategy. If you wish to be more versatile, however, better look towards the other four ideas!
4. Versatile Lineup #1
- Strong against: Aggressive strategies.
- Priority ban: Lissandra Control.
This lineup consists of all-around good decks that do not have many volatile or polarized matchups. If you want to go in knowing you can outplay most games, this is the one to go with.
Ezreal Draven makes an appearance once again, but this time it is paired with Nasus Thresh and Invoke Allegiance with Shadow Isles. These decks can all beat aggro due to healing or tempo. What makes this different from the previous anti-aggro lineup is that the aggressive matchups themselves are a bit less polarized, while there is a bit higher chance to beat other types of strategies.
What brings a high amount of credibility to this lineup for me is that Sorry, a fellow RCCG writer and a big Nasus Thresh specialist, has achieved some good tournament placements with it recently.
You want to make sure you are not facing Lissandra with these lists, as your decks will have a hard time beating it, maybe outside of the Targon SI. Other than that, Lee is a pretty poor matchup, but the rest of the field is all very solid matchups. With this lineup, there is nearly no way you will feel like you’re in a losing spot before the game starts, and with good plays, you are likely to come out on top in most Bo3 matches!
5. Versatile Lineup #2
- Strong against: This lineup is versatile, with many even matchups in the field.
- Priority ban: Demacia.
This lineup attempts to do the simplest thing – play three powerful decks that are capable of winning games just by their sheer power level.
One of the more interesting inclusions in this lineup is perhaps the Fizz TF deck. A terror of old that has been reduced due to multiple nerfs. But don’t let your guard down; it is still a really powerful deck, albeit not as oppressive as it used to be a few weeks back. It is paired with the two monsters of the current state of the game in Lee Zoe and Lissandra Control.
What is really strong in the case of this lineup is that there is one very clear weakness across all decks – and that is Demacia. The biggest problem for this kind of strategy would be a triple Demacia lineup, but you aren’t that likely to encounter it, as such focused lineups are usually much less popular.
If you want to just bring powerful lists and be sure that you are not losing to some cheesy or imperfect strategies; this is the way to go. With two top-tier decks and one that, in my opinion, is probably on the verge of being there too, you cannot really go wrong!
These 5 lineups are all really strong; this time, sadly, there was not much place for fun, as I wanted to make sure I provide lists that are capable of certainly making it all the way to the Seasonal, without tempting you into experimental options that would reduce your chances.
With that said, I wish you all good luck in the Last Chance Gauntlet, and I hope these decks will serve you well. Keep in mind to always think twice before making a ban decision and, since it is Bo3 format, do not to tilt if you lose game 1! It’s a card game, and you can always come back!