6 Theorycrafts with Cards from Guardians of the Ancient ‘Variety Drop’

Hi everyone, Den here, with the feeling that it’s been a while since my last article! I’m very glad to be back writing for you and taking part in this reveal season leading up to the second part of the Shurima set.

On April 29, we got a splash of cards that don’t seem to fit with any of the champions coming with this expansion. This doesn’t mean that they are worse than the other cards revealed so far, and in this article, I’ll try to share some of the spice I came up with when trying to fit those new toys into some decks.

A quick note here: the LoR community is getting bigger and better at theorycrafting. I got a lot of the ideas from outside while doing research for these decks, but still, all the brews here are original. If you see similar decks online, props to the creators, but nothing in this article was copied.

So without further ado, let’s dive into a flurry of lists using these new cards, arranging ideas in the order from the most obvious to the craziest.


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Thresh, Nasus, The Wings and The Wave created by Rainmaker • last updated 9 days ago

The most popular deck in the current format gets a new card to play with: The Wings and the Wave.

It is like an amalgamation of Ravenous Butcher and Fading Icon, but a bit worse than both. First Wave loses 3 power for the 1 mana discount and Last Wind gains only 1HP for the mana increase.

What the card provides though is the flexibility and I could very well see the Thresh Nasus list run 3 copies of it and only 2 Butchers, cutting another Fading Icon. It is quite scary that the deck keeps improving with the new cards, even if this can’t be considered a great increase in power level.

Outside of the obvious Slay mechanic, the card looks like a nice utility tool in Shadow Isles, something that is very characteristic of cards in that region. In a non-Slay deck, the card doesn’t make much sense, and The Wings and the Wave fades in comparison to Hapless Aristocrat or Vile Feast. This card is a synergistic tool and not an all-around option that most decks could play.


For the longest time, the Scouts archetype has been divided between two lists: the one using Miss Fortune as the only non-Demacia card and another, more Bilgewater-heavy build featuring Island Navigator. Although Ardent Tracker isn’t the card of the century, access to another solid Demacia Scout should skew the archetype towards the Vanguard Bannerman build.

The Elite tag is gaining more popularity lately with variations of Shen Jarvan IV decks, and Scout is a really good keyword in these kinds of decks as the unit can abuse Barriers together with multiple attacks.

However, for this piece, I chose to go with the Scouts archetype, as I felt the Ardent Tracker would have more impact there and it pushes for a bigger shift of the deck as well. Unfortunately, since the cost-reduction only happens when the card is in your hand, I doubt it will have a high impact as a card on a global scale, hence I did not include 3 copies of it.


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Bone Skewer Deep created by den • last updated 10 days ago
Standard
Deep

Bilgewater is getting two very interesting cards in this batch – Bone Skewer and Monster Harpoon. The region never had any great removal and it put the burden on your second region in the deck. With the addition of these two fast-speed removals, Bilgewater shores up its weakness, and that allows it to be paired with more regions from now on.

Moving on, we have a deck that will obviously be very happy to receive a card like Bone Skewer – Turbo Deep. The archetype has recently regained a competitive status, and now it is getting another premium card. There already are several units that have great ‘Play’ effects and synergize with this. It also helps that the card can be used to protect a unit from removal as well.

Overall, the card looks incredibly solid and can be at the level of Single Combat in the right metagame, which is a testimony to its estimated power.


Chirean Sumpworker looks like a very polarizing card that will either give you its best or its worst every game, very rarely having ‘an average’ impact on the game.

A 1/2 Elusive isn’t great and there are so many better options in the game for anyone looking to abuse the Elusive keyword. When it transforms into the Sumpworks Posse though, it’s a totally different story and it can win the game on its own if it lives long enough.

Now, the question is – how to maximise its potential? We need a deck that is capable of making this card a star and transforming it consistently game after game. This is where Fizz TF comes up to mind – the deck already was great at abusing the Wiggly Burblefish and probably will be very happy with another cheesy unit it can leverage.

The deck, for now, shouldn’t change much with the addition of the Chirean Sumpworker, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the list pack more draw or even change a champion eventually. If Twisted Fate proves to be too weak after his recent nerf, maybe Jinx could find her way into the deck and make it a much more damage-oriented build looking to kill the opponent as soon as one of the deck’s major threats is left unanswered.


Heimerdinger was competitive in previous metagames, but it fell to obscurity and his pairings with Vi, Zoe or Viktor haven’t been too convincing. In this batch though, Heimerdinger might finally find a card that is specifically designed for him and his turrets: Adaptatron 3000.

At 1 mana, the card can be used as a great early game blocker. A lot of the deck in the current metagame are relying on 2/1 units on turn 1, which is something Heimerdinger decks needed help with. But most importantly, this card is great at enabling all the turrets and has a nice synergy with Production Surge.

While most of the previous cards featured in the article looked like average options in already competitive decks, Adaptatron 3000 might actually become the reason behind some Heimer deck coming back to the meta.

The list featured here takes inspiration from Zoe Heimer builds and focuses on tempo in order to get to our comfort spot and start generating a lot of turrets to close the game. Targon also has really solid synergy with Tri-beam Improbulator thanks to the cheap Celestials.


One of the most talked-about decks among competitive players during Seasonal Tournament preparation just got a few of very good cards to help with its early curve and late-game punch.

Obviously, the Thrashing Snapper looks like a gift from heaven for any deck looking to build around the Reputation mechanic. And the Incisive Tactician could prove very effective in a deck that can solidify its position on the board during the mid-game, which is something Ashe Leblanc is very good at in combat-centric matchups.

There are various takes on the deck – the newer Legion Marauder build, and the old school Avarosan Hearthguard list. Here I chose to go with the Marauder list as I feel it is the one that benefits the most from the Incisive Tactician, while Thrashing Snapper should be good in both versions.

Some other champions and regions could benefit from these two new cards as well – notably, Sivir is a champion that I’ve seen mentioned a lot in conversations yesterday.


Although she has become a fan-favorite over time, the new Cithria, Lady of Clouds looks way too expensive for the current state of the game. Demacia has Brightsteel Formation – and still rarely if ever uses it in any deck, which shows that big minions aren’t what the region really needs.

As for both Frejlord cards, Buried in Ice is reminiscent of The Ruination, but allows for different synergies, for example with It That Stares. The card still looks very slow and should be similar to Ruination, which is not flexible enough to become a staple in lists.

Succumb to the Cold though, it could see play. Combined with the other cards from this set allowing to reduce the Countdown of landmark there might be enough for a new archetype down the line featuring Frozen Thralls, Imagined possibilities, or Time in a Bottle. Right now it’s too early for that archetype to exist but with more cards to be revealed in the next days, we could see some more support for a landmark heavy deck.


Conclusion

This is where we at with this very mixed batch of cards. We have some very high-profile tools like Bone Skewer, who looks like it was created to make the Deep archetype better, and some that are more difficult to imagine working, like Cithria, Lady of Clouds.

My personal top 3 for this would be Trashing Snapper, Bone Skewer, and Adaptatron 3000. Once things get a bit more settled, I feel like the Chirean Sumpworker could be a player in the next few weeks as its potential really looks promising.

I’ll use the occasion to wish everyone a good Seasonal Playoffs weekend and wish the best for our qualified writers! As for me, you can find me on the RuneterraCCG Discord or on my Twitter for coaching or any questions about this write-up.

Good game everyone,
den

den

Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yugioh and then Magic. Hearthstone has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. Although it took him a bit to get into Legends or Runeterra, his EU Seasonal Tournament win was the perfect start to get involved in the community. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on the game. Find him on Twitter at @den_CCG!

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1 Response

  1. Matt Lazenby says:

    Fizz Jinx sounds great fun!

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