Hey, Agigas here! The Empires of the Ascended expansion has now been out for a week, and we’re starting to see the premise of a new meta. Most staples of the previous season are still dominant, especially in this period where new archetypes still need refinement, but some new decks are joining them at the top, like Lissandra SI.
However, there are also some other new archetypes that have been successful but did not catch as much attention. Today, I wanted to share some of these decks. To find them, I mainly used Mobalytics stats. However, stats alone were not enough to guarantee their strength because of the low sample sizes, so I also playtested all of them to make sure every list is deserving of the place in this article.
The decks below are sorted in the order from the most to the least played. Let’s dive into it!
- 774 games – 57% winrate.
Right from the start of the season, players have been testing the different versions Overwhelm archetype. However, the vast majority of lists prefer to go with Shurima/Frejlord, to get access to
Overall, this deck plays like any Overwhelm deck. It’s an aggro archetype, you use early units to get ahead on the board and push some damage, and then the bigger Overwhelm units will push the remaining damage needed to finish through the opponent’s blockers.
- 335 games – 58% winrate.
If you’ve had a chance to read my previous article on Lissandra, this list should look familiar! The most popular variation of the deck has 1176 games with a 53% winrate, but here I included the list with the lower playrate that is performing much better so far.
Lissandra Swain is the deck mixing up the Frejlord Control package with the Swain midrange package. Both synergize very well together – the board-wide damage spells allow you to easily level up Swain and activate your Ravenous Flock and Noxian Guillotine. The deck looks to keep control of the board in the early turns, and transition into an extremely strong end of mid-game with Swain and The Leviathan.
This deck doesn’t have many synergies with Lissandra in particular, but she is a very good champion that will give you board presence while you cast your board-wide damage spells. The Frozen Thrall is also a great addition by Lissandra, and you can accelerate its countdown with Draklorn Inquisitor as long as the opponent can’t remove him.
- 241 games – 58% winrate.
The Crimson archetype has proven time and time again in the past that it wasn’t as competitive, and Vladimir has always been more a meme than a real champion… Well, it is time to reconsider our opinions!
While the archetype isn’t entirely new, it gains some very powerful tools from the expansion: Ice Shard and Crimson Bloodletter! With those two new cards, it is easier than ever to ping your own units. This archetype is able to build a very strong board presence quickly and use the synergies that go with it. Despite everything that has been said on Vladimir, he is an amazing payoff in the deck – he will accelerate the pressure greatly both with the self-damage synergies and the face damage, but will also help a lot with his lifegain effect.
Crimson still has its flaws – it can struggle when it draws no
- 147 games – 57% winrate.
Yet another Swain archetype! I admit I’m totally biased toward Swain but stats don’t lie! 😜 Kindred Swain is an underplayed deck on the ladder, but it’s important to say that it’s the only list in this article that already got some tournament presence and success – to my knowledge – last weekend!
Swain SI control was already known as an archetype before the expansion hit and was a fantasy many players tried to make real, myself included. Unfortunately, the lack of a great second champion, and most importantly, the lack of reliable draw, were holding the archetype back. With the new inclusion of Kindred and Whispered Words, the deck is now in a great spot to assume completely its control playstyle!
The gameplan is to stall in the early game while keeping control of the board with your removal and early units. Then, in the mid-game, Kindred comes alongside your removals to establish impressive control over the board and start gaining tempo and value advantages. In the late-game, your win condition comes from the famous The Leviathan + Swain combo, but a leveled-up Kindred can also be terrifying by themselves. Thanks to The Rekindler you can rebuy one of your powerful champions, making it very hard to out-grind you.
This archetype (alongside the one that will be featured last in this article) is one of my new personal favorites.
- 54 games – 57% winrate.
Note: This list, and the next two remaining ones in the article, have extremely low sample sizes. After testing the decks myself, I felt like they were worth including, but we will only have a better idea of their true potential with more data.
Jarvan IV is one of the new champions that has struggled to find a solid place in the meta. The Elite archetype is fine, but not great. But sometimes, all the crown prince wants is to bash the opponent in the face in a Noxus aggro shell!
A lot of archetypes try to synergize with Jarvan’s Elite keyword or use him in Challenger archetypes, but the most important strength of Jarvan IV is being ‘a burst speed unit’ during your attack. This allows for an impressive open-attack on turn 6-7 to close things out, which fits an aggressive shell.
- 43 games – 58% winrate.
This deck’s early stats also look quite promising – it looks like Jarvan IV might have potential after all! MF Jarvan, just like LeBlanc Jarvan, cares more about the fact he is a burst speed unit than about the rest of Jarvan’s text. This archetype is a bit less aggro-focused than the one with LeBlanc and could be considered more along the lines of an aggressive midrange deck.
However, it packs a lot more synergies. Jarvan is an amazing champion alongside Scout units, as he will come down during the Scout attack, and will be ready to attack again right after – he effectively has the Scout keyword on that turn. Scout units also have a great synergy with Cataclysm, giving you the attack token during the opponent’s turn.
With the ability to control the board with challenges and apply a lot of pressure with multiple Rallies and the Scout keyword, this deck is a great aggressive midrange archetype. It doesn’t see as much play as it deserves because it’s considered by most players as a worst MF Quinn deck. While there are a lot of comparisons that hold true, this deck adopts a more midrange playstyle that makes it more resilient. It enables much more powerful midgame open-attacks with Jarvan – which can be decisive.
- 37 games – 65% winrate.
Okay, here things get extra spicy. When I found this decklist on the stats, I really didn’t understand what was the thought behind it. LeBlanc looks like a worse Draven because she doesn’t provide you with a Discard fodder. Anyway, I decided to give this deck a shot…
… and I didn’t regret it at all! The idea of this build is to have a lot of 5-attack units to activate the Reputation condition, giving you access to an amazing draw spell: Whispered Words. This makes refilling your hand very easy, so you can amass enough spells to easily win with a level 2 Ezreal.
The ability to activate Reputation also gives access to one of the quirkiest cards in the deck: Mimic. Mimic can be used for many things and duplicate what you need. But the main reason behind it is that two Mimic in hand, with Reputation activated and a level 2 Ezreal, deal damage to the opponent’s Nexus equal to the mana you have – at burst speed! You simply copy Mimic with Mimic – and repeat that until you’re out of mana.
Outside of this Reputation package, the deck is comparable to an Ezreal Draven list. It doesn’t use Captain Farron as a powerful finisher, making it more reliant on Ezreal in the late game, but it has a better aggressive power with its numerous high-attack units. One downside of the list is that you don’t have protection spells, so if your opponent keeps removing your high-attack units before they strike it can get hard to activate Reputation.
With all those pretty impressive low play-rate decks I just presented, I think it’s fair to say that the Empire of the Ascended still got many surprises and archetypes to discover! This is a very exciting prospect, and I can’t wait to see how these archetypes will evolve with the meta. I hope this article helped you in your search for the best of underplayed decks! 😄
If you have any question or feedback, or want to share a list that you think could have been placed in this article, I’ll be happy to read and answer you in the comments below or in this dedicated Reddit post!
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Thanks for reading!