Hey, Asher here. This week I decided to join the Aggro trend – specifically by testing three Shurima champions, Azir, Sivir, and Renekton.
Azir has felt powerful in the first few days and hasn’t really fallen off since, sprouting more and more archetypes. They have not all been successful but the champion still deserves a dedicated look, considering his high play-rate.
Most people I talked to following Sivir’s reveal agreed that she looked like a potentially powerful standalone option but may not find a champion-centric deck for herself. That opinion seems to be further reinforced now.
Renekton looked powerful enough, but perhaps too narrow in his use, as he seemed to reuqire a dedicated build-around to activate his attack buff.
So, let’s see how these champions all do now after 1,5 weeks since their release, shall we?
- 5733 Games Played – 54.6% Winrate.
Sand Scouts has been one of the first finds for this expansion, its breakneck speed caught many unrefined decks off-guard in the early days. Now that the waters have calmed a bit, is this deck truly as good as it seemed?
We find a classic aggro plan here: a low curve, cheap combat tricks, the very definition of ‘I will either win by turn 7 or lose the game’. The deck does that job well, in fact, it can be much more explosive than many other aggro decks!
To get there, the deck uses Azir, the Emperor’s Dais, Dunekeeper, and Blinding Assault to generate token units doomed to die and level Lucian up as fast as possible, and triggering his level 2 Rally effect. To maximize its damage and ensure Lucian survives, the deck also includes potent combat tricks such as Shaped Stone and Ranger’s Resolve, and if the game goes too long, dropping Cithria the Bold is generally a death sentence.
That all sounds sweet when things go well, however, the deck suffers from several issues. First off, besides Ancient Preparations to clutch the next card draw, the deck entirely lacks additional re-fueling options. Except for Azir, units in this deck are incredibly squishy and will easily die to AoE spells or other damage-based removals, which will often mean you’ve lost the game on the spot.
While Sand Scouts is a powerful option on first look, it in fact suffers from some weaknesses that can be easily exploited. This is highlighted by the deck’s disparity in winrate based on rank. In all ranks, the deck sports an impressive 54.6% but the number plummets to 47.6% when we only consider Master-rank players. That does not make the deck a bad option, but it does give some perspective on its overall power level.
- 2950 Games Played – 55.7% Winrate.
Another aggro deck, but this time Azir is the only champion we’ll need. While it can feature Kalista as well, she is merely an option and the deck doesn’t need her to function. Tweaking a few cards could also allow Nasus to work as a finisher in this deck, which goes to show how flexible the shell of this list is.
The game plan is straightforward: make use of the tempo Shadow Isles package (Barkbeast, Ravenous Butcher, Cursed Keeper, Blighted Caretaker) to go wide by turn 2 or 3 and deal a large blow to your opponent, often putting them at 10 HP or so.
Following that attack, going even wider, or using Ruin Runner’s Overwhelm to inflict some damage, are both solid directions. In the final stage of the game, the deck benefits from a surprisingly high amount of burn thanks to Doombeast and Ruinous Path.
To ensure that we find these burn options, the deck is chock-full of card draw, with Ruinous Path itself drawing a card, but also Glimpse Beyond, Stalking Shadows, and Spirit Leech. Suffice to say, you will not run out of gas while playing this deck as long as you are careful with your resources.
The deck struggles against healing and AoE effects as its units tend to be low-health and can easily be dismissed by an Avalanche or Withering Wail. Still, the archetypes has potent draw options which will keep it churning out burn damage.
- 605 Games Played – 52.2% Winrate.
We are shifting gears from outright aggro and towards this midrange beatdown deck. The plan here is to create a solid board position and leverage raw stats and powerful keywords. The Predict package ensures we find the right tool for the job, and Preservarium is a potent card draw effect, which lets us refill should our unit fall.
So why include Sivir in this deck? Demacia beatdown is nothing new; though it used to be a deck mostly comprised of Elites and making use of Vanguard Bannerman’s Allegiance. The reason is a little card called Penitent Squire who lets us grant an ally Challenger. Now imagine attacking on turn 4 and casually dropping a Spellshield, Quick Attack, Challenger Sivir.
And the Challenger remains not only for that turn but for as long as she lives! Sure, there are ways to deal with that but they are few and far between, which means Sivir is going to have a field day playing whack-a-mole with the enemy board.
Of course Sivir is not the only target for the Tattered Banner. Honored Lord, Gallant Rider, Ruin Runner, and Garen are all powerful recipients, and if the banner wasn’t enough we can also use Exhaust for efficient trades. In time, Garen will level up and the beatdown will be in full force, at which point the game is likely to end shortly.
The deck is obviously not without flaws, but it is extremely resilient to board wipes and therefore does well against control archetypes, and can also hold off against aggro and eventually outvalue them. Sivir has a role to fit in this archetype – trade favourably, and then turn a wide board into an unstoppable force once she flips.
- 2542 Games Played – 53.9% Winrate.
This deck is not necessarily tailored for Sivir but she performs well in it regardless. That is very characteristic of Sivir – no archetype that is truly her own, but she can easily be slotted into decks used efficiently.
This list uses Reputation lightly – LeBlanc and Sivir’s champion spells are benefitting from it, mostly it is to enable the powerful Whispered Words. Achieving the condition requires some deckbuilding cost but is relatively painless in the end.
The deck plays simple – a straightforward curve, a few combat tricks, but little opportunity to play dynamically. Many plays are heavily telegraphed and can be fizzled, like the use of Whirling Death or Bloody Business.
Variants of this archetype have solid winrates, even in Masters they retain good numbers. Though the low sample size is bound to hurt its accuracy, it is still a good sign.
In conclusion, the deck has power, no doubt, though, like many other early creations, it will end up being outpaced by other archetypes that are bulkier, faster, more dynamic, or a combination of all three. As it stands, the deck is simply a bit too straightforward, with binary choices that can be easily predicted and played around.
Essentially this deck is just a brute-force solution to the early metagame. It remains above average compared to the plethora of decks out there, but not something I can rightfully call Tier 1, or even high Tier 2.
- 1680 Games Played – 55.1% Winrate.
What can be better than an Overwhelm unit buffed with Battle Fury? An Overwhelm unit buffed with Battle Fury AND protected by Spellshield!
Freljord has been a premium region for Overwhelm decks and Ruin Runner is practically holding a ‘Buff My Attack, Please’ sign, so it is only natural that we would take the Overwhelm Shurima champion for a spin in the icy tundra.
Much like every Overwhelm deck in existence, we look to draw our units in neat order and play out our curve as it is intended. We are using efficient combat tricks as they are needed before eventually going for the kill with our overwhelming (get it?) board advantage. The archetype is quite rigid in that way, and there is little room for outmaneuvering or outplaying your opponent.
Still, the deck functions well and does what it is supposed to, beating down on the control decks or the multitude of other decks that simply cannot deal with a 14/10 Ruin Runner on turn 6.
- 442 Games Played – 53.4% Winrate.
Renekton is a straightforward champion. He tried his hand at Overwhelm with Freljord, and now he tries his hand at Overwhelm with Noxus.
There is not that much to say about this archetype; it combines the classic Noxus early aggression and burn package together with Darius and Captain Farron that act as finishers. Shurima contributes its array of cheap combat tricks, and its signature Ruin Runner, a pinnacle of all aggro Shurima decks.
The deck plays well, like a more aggressive version of the Freljord archetype. It is no stronger or weaker, but different, much faster, better at dealing with control decks, though it can falter against healing because it can counteract the burn.
Time will tell which of these two sister archetypes are stronger, Noxian or Freljordian, but it will mostly depend on the rest of the meta rather than these decks’ respective strengths.
Out of all three champions covered in the article, Azir has been the most well-represented. A staple of aggro Shurima, he is a part of several decks that have performed well. I do think he offers the most powerful build-around plan out of all the Shuriman champions, and he is sure to remain a fixture of the Empires of the Ascended metagame going forward. He will likely only be constrained to aggro archetypes as the Buried Sun Disc dream hasn’t quite panned out for him.
Sivir has also performed well, however, while she is a powerful presence on her own, the payoff for building a deck wholly around her is not there. She is much better as an inclusion into decks that naturally want to establish wide boards and push high amounts of damage. Her keywords make her a resilient addition to any beatdown deck and she has some interesting incidental synergies – like with Demacia’s Penitent Squire.
Finally, Renekton is much less flexible than the two above in terms of what kind of deck he can feature in. He remains limited to beatdown Overwhelm decks, and while he does well in them, it is a limiting factor for his overall viability.
Overall, all three of these champions have been doing very well. They all found homes with distinct win conditions and ways to approach the game which is really all we can hope for with new champions.
I hate to finish on a sad note, but I must give a word of warning. The metagame is starting to settle now, and while I’m happy that these decks have been doing well so far, in the end I doubt they will be serious contenders for the old meta top dogs, of which the list is long: Fizz Twisted Fate, Aphelios decks, Fiora Shen, Ezreal Draven, Discard Aggro, and more… All these decks have been performing exceedingly well with no comparison among the new ones.
Still, there is still room for more experimentation and refining, the search isn’t over quite yet!
Thanks for reading, and get cooking on some more decklists! Feel free to follow me on Twitter for news of more upcoming content, and join the RuneterraCCG Discord if you wish to discuss strategy or decklists!