Hey, Agigas here! Patch 2.3.0 will have a huge impact on the meta, completely reshaping it with the addition of Shurima and a total of 110 new cards!
In this article, I will present some of the most promising new archetypes that should emerge at the start of the Shurima expansion. There will of course be some decks on this list that could disappoint, and some strong archetypes that aren’t discovered yet will be missing. We didn’t even get to play yet to really see the new cards in action.
But still, we can already make a number of interesting assumptions and look at some stand-out new archetypes, to get a better sense of a direction where the meta is headed and to make better deck choices early into the patch.
Be aware that, while some of the archetypes presented here will indeed reshape the meta, the top-tier decks of the previous season are still out there, already optimized, and ready to fight to keep their spot. If you wanna learn more about how the previous top-tier decks could be impacted by this patch, you can take a look at my article about the Winners and Losers of the Shurima expansion.
The Commander Ledros + Concurrent Timelines combo has been probably the most hyped-up synergy in the LoR community over the last few days. Playing Ledros with Concurrent Timelines active gets you a 60% chance to transform it into The Dreadway, with Ledros’ ability still on the stack, which means your opponent gets OTK’ed if they don’t have a fast-speed way to remove The Dreadway, or a counterspell.
This control archetype uses this combo as a win condition. The Piltover & Zaun and Shadow Isles removal package allows us to stall the game until turn 9 where we look to OTK the opponent. Kindred fits very nicely in the build, as it is very easy to kill a unit every turn. I quite like the inclusion of Evershade Stalker, as it provides a 2 mana unit each turn with Concurrent Timelines – and it replaces itself as long as you trigger Nightfall.
Elites synergy is a very obvious direction to go with the new cards, as we got a lot of new ‘Elite’-labeled units. The deck is the cliché of the midrange Demacia archetype, with a lot of strong units and buffs to take control of the board. Simple, but efficient. Demacia also has some great removal, Single Combat, and Concerted Strike, and For the Fallen can help the deck to instantly refill the board. You can even rally afterward with a Relentless Pursuit to push massive damage!
In this version, I splash Shurima to get access to Exhaust, which is very good to get rid of the opponent’s key unit while activating your Challenger synergies (Honored Lord, Gallant Rider). There are different options of a splash available, like Ionia for Deny, or Shadow Isles for The Harrowing, also running Tianna Crownguard.
Taliyah/TF might look like a weird archetype, but it does feel very interesting. I wasn’t very impressed by Taliyah at first, but you actually don’t need to have a super impactful landmark to duplicate to make her worth the investment. Once she does level up, she quickly becomes a real threat.
The really interesting combo of this deck is to use Taliyah’s ability on a unit locked into an Ancient Hourglass! If you ever thought Twisted Fate is toxic, wait until you’ve seen what will happen when they have two Twisted Fate. You can also apply the same kind of combo to some other archetype, as the entire combo comes in Shurima colors – for example with Aphelios (version by BBG) where Taliyah also can be used as a way to duplicate your The Veiled Temple.
Lissandra is a pretty impressive champion with a lot of unique abilities – giving tough to the Nexus, and bringing the Watcher into the game! Just playing her already gives you some value with the Frozen Thrall which is very nice, and her Tough keyword allows her to stick on board in a deck with many damage-based board clears.
This deck is a pretty conventional Frejlord/SI Control archetype like we’ve seen many of in the past. This archetype gains quite a few new control tools with Blighted Ravine and Ice Shard. The way for the archetype to win the game is mainly to level-up Lissandra, which should be easier thanks to Trundle’s Ice Pillar, and then win by cheating out the Watcher out of your hand with a Spectral Matron – while keeping another copy of the Watcher in your hand in case your opponent has a way to deal with the first one. Draklorn Inquisitor can also be a way to win the game if the opponent doesn’t remove him – some Frostguard Thralls, alongside a leveled Trundle, can quickly close out games with Overwhelm damage.
The biggest question mark for this archetype is will it be able to compete with other Frejlord/SI archetypes? Anivia Control and FTR are two very powerful decks, and through sharing a big part of their package, Lissandra/Trundle might end up competing with them for a spot in the meta. If the environment would feature a lot of Deny and Rite of Negation, Lissandra/Trundle might suddenly get a clear advantage over its competitors.
Like before the nerfs, you can slot in the Aphelios + The Veiled Temple shell into many archetypes. I mentioned earlier in the Taliyah/TF part a version using this shell for Taliyah, but another very interesting champion to pair it with is Kindred! Kindred are a deadly engine, able to make quick work of the opponent’s units. Shadow Isles give you a lot of control tools, and Unto Dusk finds a great home alongside Aphelios and Lunari Priestess.
With control tools, powerful engines, and tempo, this deck is looking like one of the most interesting ones around the Aphelios + Veiled Temple shell. Of course, getting away from the classic Bilgewater one does have a cost because we are losing access to Boxtopus, but maybe the powerful Shadow Isles control tools can help to make up for it, and we still get a valuable tempo 2-drop for Crescendum with The Sky Shadows.
While you can try to trigger your Kindred by slaying an opponent’s unit, an even easier way to do it is by sacrificing your own. For the first time, it looks like The Undying archetype has found a champion!
This deck’s gameplan is combining a lot of good sacrifice targets, like Cursed Keeper, Prey token, and mostly The Undying, to activate numerous sacrifice payoffs, like Ravenous Butcher, Mask Mother, Blighted Caretaker, and Spirit Leech. In the process, The Undying grows more and more and becomes increasingly hard to deal with.
For this version of the archetype, I went with Shurima for the powerful Rampaging Baccai, but also Ancient Hourglass that can help you protect our Kindred, and save our Undying from silences or obliterates. However, it is also possible to go for more old-fashion region combinations, like Bilgewater – the core of the deck is in Shadow Isles.
Undying has been for a long time edging competitiveness, and with the addition of Kindred, we might very well see Undying more often in competitive environments!
During past seasons, Overwhelm really stood out as an aggressive keyword. An entire archetype built around it, plainly called ‘Overwhelm’, has been edging between Tier 1 and Tier 2 for a long time now, and was growing in popularity during this last season because of its good matchup against a dominant Tier 1 deck, Fizz/TF (which had measly 37% win rate against Overwhelm aggro).
With Shurima come some new Overwhelm units, and those are extremely powerful! Renekton, Rampaging Baccai, and Ruin Runner are all looking incredible. Shurima should become a staple region for the Overwhelm archetype and might give to it the little push to make a clear Tier 1 deck. Moreover, Shurima also brings ways to easily give Vulnerable to a target unit. It gives the deck an interesting option to remove a pesky backline unit, or simply to challenge a fragile unit with your big Overwhelm and push a lot of Nexus damage even against beefier boards.
This deck looks to play a strong aggro early game with its early followers and Draven, to start pressuring the opponent and push some damage. In the mid-game, it plays big Overwhelm units to continue pushing Nexus damage through the opponent’s board and has some very powerful finishers with Decisive Maneuver and Captain Farron.
You can find a lot of different builds for the archetype. More than changing some followers and spells, you can look into the champion pool as Darius is another interesting option, but also Sivir and Riven – for more synergy-based builds of the archetype. You can even look to switch regions, mainly to Frejlord, though I think Noxus is the better option.
Overall, Overwhelm Shurima is looking to be a very powerful aggressive deck and would be my pick to climb rapidly early in the season while testing some of the new Shurima cards.
Crimson is not really a brand new archetype, as Vladimir and his package have always been there. However, they’ve never really been in contention for a meta spot, always relegated to a Tier 3 ‘for fun’ deck.
Recently the archetype gained The Scargrounds, a powerful landmark intended to support the archetype, and with the upcoming expansion, it gains two new very interesting options: Crimson Bloodletter and Ice Shard. I think these 2 new additions might help the deck’s gameplan quite a lot, and maybe give the little push the archetype needed to start considering it as a more competitive option.
I don’t expect it to hit Tier 1 anytime soon, and I would not be surprised if it doesn’t get any additional attention when compared previous seasons, but I wanted to highlight the archetype.
TF Go Hard isn’t a new archetype by any means so I didn’t want to do a big segment about it, but I still wanted to mention that Kindred could very well fit into the archetype that aims for control a bit more than for the early power of Elise.
I am very excited to see how the meta will develop and what new archetypes will get their spot among the top tiers! I think this expansion will introduce some great archetypes and shake things a lot. I hope you enjoyed this spoiler season as much as I did, and already have a lot of ideas of decks to play! Don’t forget that we have yet to test the new expansion’s cards – some archetypes will disappoint, and some others will surprise us.
If you have any questions, feedback, or want to share your ideas of decks, I’ll be happy to answer you in the comments below and in this dedicated Reddit post! 😉
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Thanks for reading!