5 Underrated Decks that Surprised Us in the Seasonal Open Rounds
Hello everyone, Sorry here and today I’m going to go through a collection of decks that weren’t much on the radar but still made a splash in the Empires of the Ascended Seasonal Tournament.
The Open Rounds took place on April 24, with 1024 players on each regional shard battling it out for the top 32 placement. The meta was mostly guided by decks like Zoe Lee Sin, Lissandra Trundle, Nasus Thresh, Zoe Asol, and Invoke Zoe Diana. But with so many players competing, there were plenty of competitors that wanted to bring something a little different – and did well with it.
Players often talk about targeting a specific popular lineup but not many stick to their guns and bring a non-meta line-up. Top-tier decks are usually considered the safe approach when going into Open Rounds, so it makes sense that the majority of the players choose that route.
In this article, I’ll highlight five unexpected decks that I found very interesting and I’ll talk in detail about their roles in their respective lineups.
Keppada brought Aphelios Heimerdinger to the Seasonal along with Zoe Asol and Diana Nocturne Nightfall in the lineup – and scored a 6-3 finish with it. This one is definitely a deck that we don’t get to see much of – especially Heimerdinger is a champion that hasn’t seen much play at all for quite a while now.
The idea of the deck is to synergize Aphelios’ Moon Weapons with Heimerdinger. Heimerdinger will generate a 3/1 Fearsome MK3: Apex Turret every time you play a Moon Weapon, adding value to the Mana spent to create a formidable board presence. The deck is also running Tri-beam Improbulator, which synergizes with the Moon Weapons as well.
The deck performs well against both Nasus Thresh and Lissandra Trundle, making it a solid pick in a tournament lineup. Hush is a key card in both matchups to stop Watcher from obliterating your deck and to remove Nasus off the board by silencing all the buffs he’s gained over the course of the game and blocking his attack.
Aphelios, a champion that has dropped in play rate after the nerf, can also be an important factor in beating Lissandra Trundle. The Gravitum Moon Weapon can stun Watcher the whole game if you can keep Aphelios on board.
Another unique deck that caught my attention in the Seasonal Tournament – and the one I personally played against – is Sivir Renekton with Demacia. Diogo brought the deck (originally built by Portuguese player Bool Asha) along with Zoe Lux and Viktor Heimerdinger, finishing the seasonal tournament with a 5-4 score.
The Demacia region adds removal options – something that Frejlord lacks. Concerted Strike and Cataclysm are key cards to interact with units on the board. At the same time, Cataclysm can deal damage to the enemy’s Nexus if it’s played on one of the Overwhelm units.
Another boon Demacia adds to the Sivir Renekton deck is Golden Aegis. The Rally effect is a massive game-changer against Nasus Thresh and Lissandra Trundle especially with Overwhelm units on board, it can potentially set up for a lethal attack if not answered.
Unlike the Shurima/Frejlord version, the deck also has access to a lot of low-cost units that can swarm the board early on, making your matchup against a triple aggro lineup more winnable.
Deep has been out of meta for quite a while now, but after the recent buffs to Dreg Dredgers and
Random7, a fellow RCCG writer who is known for his experience with the Deep archetype, brought the deck to the Seasonal Tournament along with Zoe Lee sin and Lissandra Trundle and managed to make it to the Top 32 on the American shard with a 7-2 record.
The new Deep list cuts Vengeance and The Ruination, two cards that were very popular back in the day for Deep. This allows the deck to turbo-Toss their cards, especially with the addition of Sea Scarab, making it much easier to go Deep before dropping Nautilus.
Lure of the Depths allows you to play multiple Sea Monsters on the same turn you drop Nautilus, creating a massive board with big chunky units that are ready to hit face.
One important tip to note, when playing against Lissandra Trundle, Nautilus should sometimes be held back and not played until Watcher obliterates your deck. Playing Nautilus afterward will allow you to copy Tossed Sea Monsters and shuffle them back into your obliterated deck, which gives you extra turns to win the game.
This Demacia/Ionia deck was brought by Patpat, a well-known tournament player that enjoys signing up with at least one off-meta deck, managed to end the tournament with a score of 6-3. They brought Lucian Azir and Miss Fortune Quinn along with it, forming an aggressive lineup targeting both Lee Sin and Lissandra Trundle.
Lulu Shen deck relies on early aggression, Lulu can buff low-cost Challenger units like Fleetfeather Tracker and Laurent Protege to 4/4 stats and get favorable trades early on. Once you dominate the board, it’s time to Rally.
Yes, the deck runs 6 Rally cards! 3 Relentless Pursuit and 3 Golden Aegis. The goal is to buff one of your units with Lulu on your first attack and then follow it up with buffing another unit on your second attack after you play a Rally card. This will allow you to push extra damage to your opponent’s Nexus.
As mentioned earlier, the deck performs well against both Lissandra Trundle and Zoe Lee sin, two decks that were very popular in the Seasonal Tournament. It’s hard for them to keep up with a wide board, and if you’re able to set up for a good Rally attack it could be a game-ending swing. Deny and Ranger’s Resolve are two crucial cards to protect your units from board AOE removals like Avalanche and Withering Wail.
Braum Vladimir is a deck I personally enjoy playing and have brought it to a couple of tournaments before when targeting specific decks. Nolagold, a very talented player and well known for his consistency in tournaments, played the list in the Seasonal Tournament to a 6-3 finish.
Although Braum Vladimir isn’t the best deck to bring against Zoe Lee Sin, it is heavily favored against Lissandra Trundle and holds its ground against Nasus Thresh. You’re able to beat down Lissandra Trundle – especially if you draw The Scargrounds early on.
This landmark will make removal cards like Withering Wail, Ice Shard, and Vile Feast completely useless against your units thanks to the Tough keyword. Additionally, for any damage the units receive whether it’s from an ally or an opponent’s card, The Scargrounds will increase that unit’s power by one.
As for the Nasus Thresh matchup, you’re able to clear the opponent’s low health units with Death Lotus, Ice Shard, and Avalanche which in itself denies the Slay effect your opponent relies on to buff up their Nasus. At the same time, you’re slowing down the early aggression that Nasus Thresh can impose, while you work on dominating the board with your units.
The current Nasus Thresh lists are leaning towards pure aggression, and almost all lists have opted to cut heavy removal cards such as Vengeance. This means your opponent will have a hard time dealing with your units, especially Scarmother Vrynna, that are capable of pushing a good amount of damage.
Although the decks listed aren’t very popular in the current ladder meta, they do perform better in a tournament lineup when targeting specific decks. This comes down to the player’s ability to read the expected field and know which decks they are likely to play against.
It’s either a hit or miss, since the Seasonal Tournament holds 1024 players, you won’t necessarily get to play against the meta lineups every single round of the tournament. You might get matched against like-minded players trying to target the meta or even players that brought an unusual lineup that they’re just simply comfortable on.