Hello, Agigas here! I am a Master player since beta with several #4 peaks and tournament wins. These last few days I’ve spent a lot of time crafting and playtesting decks with the new cards, so I figured out I could share my results with you and give you some ideas of decks and concepts to try out! 😄
Before getting into the lists, let me put forward a few disclaimers:
- These decks are not refined competitive decks. We don’t know how the meta will change, how strong the new cards will be. The lists below are just samples of the concepts built around the new cards that might end up strong, and that I think are worth exploring.
- I will only cover the novel concepts introduced by Cosmic Creation. As such this article is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of the meta. Be aware that a part of the meta might end up staying pretty similar to what we’ve had for the past few weeks, because of the absence of balance changes in Patch 1.16.
Now, let’s get into it!
1. Viktor/Vi Augment
Archetype: Midrange. The Augment package alongside Viktor looks to be a very promising synergy. The list above is probably one of the better ways to build an Augment deck. Targon provides Gems to synergize with Augment, and Bastion is a key spell when your opponent tries to remove Viktor you have worked so hard for.
The concept of this deck is to ride a few of your own quality midrange units in the early turns while removing the key units of your opponent’s. Then, during the mid-to-late game, you can build up either a huge Viktor or Vi and win on the back of it.
Zenith Blade is also an interesting card in this deck. Your units can make good use of Overwhelm as they reach a very high amount of attack by themselves thanks to Augment. Also, the health bonus can help your somewhat fragile Viktor to survive combat.
With more landmarks added into the game, Aftershock can be very helpful, but you can toy with the number of copies depending on the meta you’re playing in. The combo of leveled-up Viktor, Shards of the Mountain, and Elusive sounds very cool, but leveling up Viktor is actually a pretty tough task so I don’t think Shards of the Mountain is worth it.
2. Riven/Lee Sin
Archetype: Combo. Riven and Reforge synergize with Lee Sin beautifully! Riven provides a great body to get through the early game and generates Gem-like spells. The Blade Fragments can help out Lee Sin with much-needed attack buffs and Overwhelm. What’s more, Riven herself can even act somewhat like a pseudo-Lee Sin after she’s leveled up!
While these 2 champions fit really well together, the biggest challenge is to justify playing Noxus over Targon, which is a traditionally great region to pair up with Lee Sin.
I think one of the best ways to make Noxus be worth it is to make good use of Flock. This card is very powerful in the right shell, providing solid removal and a lot of tempo. Flock’s tempo gain might really be a thing to help Lee Sin deck survive and get to the point where its combo is online.
The list above runs several stun effects to help out Flock. Additionally, the combo nature of the deck encourages the opponent to attack in your small units like spiders, which further enables your Flock. I only included 2 copies of the card because of the lack of good ways to set up Flock by dealing a small amount of damage to an opponent’s unit on-demand.
3. Riven/Captain Farron
Archetype: Midrange. With the advent of Riven, the well-known Tier 1 deck of Draven/Ezreal gets access to new build paths. With Riven taking over from Ezreal, the version above is a bit less control-focused. Even if it still has good removal for the opponent’s key units, the deck is now skewed towards a more streamlined midrange playstyle. It runs even more 3-cost cards than Ezreal/Draven to set up for Tri-beam Improbulator.
Overall, this deck’s gameplan is to play strong midrange units and gain big tempo advantages on the back of Ravenous Flock and Tri-beam Improbulator. Thanks to your strong units and tempo, we will pressure the opponent efficiently, and Farron is just the perfect top-end to close things out.
Survival Skills is a hard card to evaluate, but with your cheap Burst-speed discard spells (Rummage, Draven’s Axes) it might end up being worth running.
Another way to build a Riven midrange deck would be to pair Riven up with Vi. Vi is very strong with Reforge, synergizing especially well with the Heavy Blade Fragment (Overwhelm) and the Keen Blade Fragment (Quick Attack). However, ditching Draven means fewer 3-cost cards for Tri-beam Improbulator and less discard fodder. Hence, if you go that way you might want to re-think the build to see if running Tri-beam Improbulator and the discard package is still worth it.
4. Asol/Trundle Targon Peak
Archetype: Ramp/Combo. This deck takes the concept of the Aurelion Sol/Trundle ramp deck we already know and then throws the craziness of Targon’s Peak into the mix!
It plays a lot of powerful high-cost cards as targets for Targon’s Peak’s discount. It can show off some crazy montage moments, like She Who Wanders or Feel The Rush come crashing down on the board on turn 5 (or even turn 4 if you pick up Moonsilver with Spacey Sketcher)! Even without high-rolling, you have a lot of good targets for Targon’s Peak, and in the games you didn’t draw your Landmark you still can rely on a traditional ramp strategy, in the classic way of an Asol/Trundle deck.
Because you play a lot of 8+ cost cards, cards with Behold are very easy to activate. Faces of the Old Ones is a good ramp card, and Troll Scavenger is a great unit to help stabilize the board while you ramp into your all-powerful big units.
Trundle/Asol was already a viable deck, but it wasn’t one of the most competitive ones lately. The question is will Targon’s Peak be strong enough to become a staple in that archetype, and if so – will it help it reach new heights?
5. Go Hard Foundry
Archetype: Control/Combo. Hexcore Foundry has a very powerful symmetric ability, and through various card games, we’ve seen players time and time again finding ways to abuse symmetric effects to break the symmetry in one side’s favor.
The list above breaks the symmetry mainly thanks to Go Hard. This card heavily rewards cycling through your deck quickly, and we’ve already seen it have a big impact on the meta paired with Bilgewater’s draw tools. Piltover & Zaun’s draw can be easily on par with Bilgewater’s – the discard fodder generators like Ballistic Bot or Chump Whump allow for very cheap cycle effects like Rummage, Sump Dredger, or Zaunite Urchin. Additionally, you also have access to Veteran Investigator to take the concept of symmetrical draw even further.
More than that, the threat of Go Hard also essentially prevents your opponent from making use of the additional card they’ve drawn. If he uses them to develop his board, everything will be destroyed by Pack Your Bags anyway. Drawing that fast can also lead to either overdraw or a mill win condition – remember, Go Hard prevents yourself from dying to the empty library thanks to all the shuffling. But that is hardly ever a factor, I believe this version of the deck – rocking Pack your Bags, Shrooms, Doombeast, Mystic Shot, etc. – has enough burn to finish the games pretty quickly.
This version does not feature any champion because none is necessary to its gameplan. But if you want to you can add champions like Elise for board presence, or Ezreal to help with the burn win condition.
Another way to build this deck would be to cut back on the discard package and invest more in shrooms. This version follows that idea, playing Teemo and a lot of shrooms alongside Tri-beam Improbulator.
6. Undying Plaza
Archetype: Midrange/Combo. The Grand Plaza is one of the most highly-anticipated cards of the expansion for a lot of players as it provides an incredibly powerful effect. A conventional midrange Demacia deck might be the best way to use it, but I wasn’t satisfied by the builds I made with that approach. The one idea that is looking much more interesting is the deck that makes use of The Grand Plaza in an Undying deck!
When you sacrifice The Undying during the opponent’s attack turn, The Undying will revive at the start of your turn, gaining The Grand Plaza bonus! This is extremely powerful to keep trading The Undying’s off into your opponent’s units every attack turn.
But besides this exciting synergy, this deck also has tons of other strong interactions between its cards. The Grand Plaza synergizes with Lucian and Senna’s Quick Attack keyword; helps trading units off to boost Lucian’s level-up progress; feels great with Last Breath units like Cursed Keeper and Grizzled Ranger; gives additional value to the Ephemeral unit created from Stalking Shadows… and it also synergizes well with Chronicler of Ruin! Chronicler of Ruin by itself work perfectly with other Last Breath units and can level-up Lucian very easily by killing off Senna. Lucian, with both his champion spell Relentless Pursuit and his level up provides Rally, which is very valuable when you have The Undying or The Grand Plaza. These are just some core examples, there are a lot more synergies to think about.
Having a lot of different synergies between the cards is one of the keys to a good deck. However, cards in good decks generally also act strongly on their own, so you don’t have to rely too much on your synergies. While this deck is quite insane in terms of the synergies, it is not as strong when looking at the cards individually.
Another thing that might limit this deck’s power-level, and Plaza decks in general, is that while the first Plaza is very powerful, its duplicates drawn are a lot less interesting. And generally, cards that are not good as duplicates tend to make your deck less consistent. Last but not least, this deck can have difficulties with blocking and board space later into the game – with Plaza and The Undyings taking space on your board, it can be difficult to have a proper amount of blockers. While this deck has a few weaknesses, the powerful synergies might still just be enough to make it into a very strong deck.
7. P&Z Discard Package
For this last section, I don’t have a new archetype to show off per se, but rather a fresh ‘package’ that could enable a lot of new (or not so new) archetypes: the Discard P&Z package.
Ballistic Bot has been named by many as one of the most impactful cards of the new expansion, serving as one of the key enablers for several synergies. With this addition, Piltover and Zaun boast a very interesting discard package now consisting of Rummage, Ballistic Bot, Sump Dredger, and Chump Whump. You can insert it into a lot of various P&Z archetypes to have access to cheap draw/cycle.
Before Ballistic Bot, Ezreal/Draven was already using this package with Draven creating Axes, and Veimer was relying on Sump Dredger to cycle to some extent. But the new Ballistic Bot could make this discard package a lot more universal because from now on you might not necessarily need your second region to contribute discard fodder anymore.
The 2 archetypes I’ve built with this package are Ezreal/Ledros (the list above), which is a control deck that finishes games with direct Nexus damage (Ezreal, Ledros, Atrocity, Doombeast, P&Z burn spells…); and Ezreal/Karma – another control deck that finishes games with Ezreal and Karma, duplicating burn spells. Both really benefit a lot from the cheap draw, and I think this new Piltover and Zaun discard package could rekindle them.
Cards that didn’t get there for me (yet!):
- Zoe isn’t that bad of a card, but her real problem is that she isn’t really a win condition and she takes up a Champion slot still. If you would remove her level up and make her into a non-champion, I think she would be a very interesting card, creating a lot of value for a 1-drop. However, investing a champion slot into her is really detrimental. Also, it really doesn’t help that Go Hard is one of the most popular archetypes.
- Sparklefly looks super strong and could fit really well into decks that look to buff units. I tried some builds with it but didn’t end up with anything satisfying so far. The fact that it is a Targon unit makes it hard to build around. If you go with Frejlord for Starlit Seer, you seem to lack density of good targets to buff. However, if a good deck emerges with Sparklefly, I could see it being really powerful.
- The Scargrounds has generated a lot of hype, but I’m not convinced it will make any self-harm archetype competitive. It costs so much of initial tempo investment, takes up a valuable unit slot (both in the deck and on the curve) while needing other units to work with. Also, its duplicates are bad – this and all of the above makes me doubtful. The Grand Plaza has the same downsides, but its effect looks stronger and more abusable to me. The Scargrounds will probably attract a lot of attention among playtesters very quickly so we should get an answer to that question soon.
I hope these decklists, concepts, and observations will help you decide on the new decks to test during these first weeks of the expansion! I think because of the absence of buffs and nerfs, a lot of decks from the previous meta (TF Go Hard, Ezreal/Draven, Fiora/Shen, Ashe…) will still be competitive, and I’m very curious to see which new archetypes will be able to leave their mark on this meta.
To join the discussion, or if you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment in this dedicated reddit post, where I’ll be happy to read it and answer you! 😄
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Thanks for reading, have fun in this new season! ✌