- Ahri Kennen Allegiance core gameplan
Ahri Kennen Allegiance is a tempo archetype focused on Recall synergies that branches out into many different variants. All of them share a common core but have their own peculiarities.
First of all, in this section let’s focus on that fundamental core of the archetype, which is common to all variants.
Ahri is the signature card of the deck. Her ability to Recall an ally on each attack makes her a powerful engine for our synergies, all the while creating pressure. She levels quite easily in this archetype, and once she does she will likely close out the game on the spot thanks to our high number of Elusive units, protection spells, and buffs.
To go along with Ahri, Dancing Droplet is an amazing 1-cost unit. They curve perfectly into one another, and the combo between the two will make Ahri very hard to block and act as a cheap draw engine to cycle through our deck.
Kennen and Dancing Droplet are both key to our strategy, and Ionia is deep enough to support our whole gameplan. Therefore, an Ionia Allegiance unit – Kinkou Wayfinder – is a perfect fit for our core.
Recall and Homecoming will both help us stall out the game all the while enabling our synergies and protecting our key units. Twin Disciplines is the key protection spell of Ionia, and it can help us protect our units, push for lethal, or get better trades.
Just looking at the core of the archetype, we can already understand what its game plan is. With our numerous Recalls and Recall payoffs, we will stall the game all the while creating advantages, until Ahri levels and quickly closes out the game.
- The gameplan of the Shurima Absolver version
Building around that core, there are numerous different versions of the archetype. A lot of different cards from Ionia can benefit your build depending on your other cards and your goal, and there are a lot of possible region splashes to be made.
Among them, the Shurima splash is the most popular version of the archetype, and also one of the most successful. With Nopeify!, Fae Bladetwirler, The Mourned, and Navori Conspirator, the Shurima version is all about generating pressure and making the gameplan fast and mana-efficient.
Finally, The Absolver is the reason behind the Shurima splash. The deck is designed to level its champions, so it won’t be too hard to activate the spell in the mid-game. With Ahri or a buffed-up Fae Bladetwirler, this card can easily threaten an explosive lethal, but can also be used as a solid buff spell for your Elusive units.
This variant has very few tools to interact with the opponent’s gameplan – only Homecoming. However, the high pressure it generates and powerful finishers will most often put the opponent on the back foot.
This guide is focusing on the Shurima version of Ahri Kennen Allegiance. That said, most tips and a lot of matchup advice will also be applicable to other versions, which you can learn more about right below.
The Go Hard version is on the opposite side of the spectrum when compared to the Shurima version. Instead of accelerating its own game plan, it will look to slow down the opponent and drag out the game.
Eye of the Dragon and Concussive Palm represent this version very well. With your numerous cheap spells – don’t forget about Kennen’s Mark of the Storm! – you can consistently activate Eye of the Dragon’s ability, and Recall effects along with Concussive Palm will help you to keep the opponent’s most dangerous threats at bay.
Go Hard might look questionable in a deck with Kinkou Wayfinder, but it offers a cheap way to control the opponent’s board all the while being a win condition thanks to your high amount of draw. Scattered Pod is a great fit into the deck – the value it provides will help your midrange game plan, and can be used to tutor Go Hard.
Thanks to its interaction and life gain, Ahri Kennen Go Hard tends to do better into archetypes with straightforward board-centric gameplans.
The third most popular version of the deck, Ahri Kennen Aegis, is somewhere in the middle ground between the Shurima and the Go Hard versions.
With Navori Conspirator, Nopeify, and Golden Aegis, it is able to quickly generate pressure and push damage. Concussive Palm, however, also shows that the deck wants to be able to slow down the opponent’s win condition. Like in the Go Hard version, Scattered Pod makes an appearance to tutor our splashed Rally spell – or just draw any other tool you might need.
Overall, Ahri Kennen Aegis tries to take the best out of the two most previous versions, but despite that, it hasn’t shown itself as a very successful version of the archetype so far.
Now that we have covered the most popular versions of the archetype, I would like to share some underplayed versions that are performing well.
Fleet Admiral Shelly is a very powerful card in decks that can create a wide board of Elusive units and will do wonders with our numerous spells. To further enable this engine, this version also plays Sonic Wave, which synergizes very well with our buffed-up Quick Attack champions.
We play quite a lot of spells, so Eye of the Dragon is a good fit and will help us slow down the game while Fleet Admiral Shelly buffs our board.
The Bilgewater version tends to do well against decks that are able to remove Ahri because it has an additional game-winning engine in the form of Shelly. Sonic Wave also is very helpful to make the matchup better against non-interactive archetypes.
The Noxus version of Ahri Kennen is quite similar to the Shurima version and invests even more into the tempo side of the archetype.
Might over The Absolver makes the deck even faster and can lead to very quick games as you do not need to wait for Ahri’s level up to set up lethal attacks. However, the spell is less versatile.
This version also sacrifices a lot of value by not playing Shadow Assassin and God-Willow Seedling, and instead runs Concussive Palm to stop the opponent’s aggression. We can also see 2 copies of Spirit’s Refuge in this version, which go really well with Ahri and a large Fae Bladetwirler against aggressive straightforward archetypes.
Overall this version is the most inconsistent because of its low amount of draw outside of the Ahri Dancing Droplet combo. That said, its good draws will be very impressive, as the deck has everything to very quickly kill the opponent all the while slowing down their gameplan.
- Think about your the order of your attacks. When piloting this deck, the attack order is a key part of the gameplay and must be carefully planned.
- Choose wisely which unit Ahri will recall. Dancing Droplet is very often the best target to help you cycle through your deck all the while making it difficult for the opponent to block her. However, be aware that if the opponent kills Dancing Droplet with a removal, Ahri’s ability won’t activate, and she could then die into an opposing blocker.
- Place Fae Bladetwirler after Ahri and The Mourned, so that she would benefit from the Recall-triggered buffs.
- Be particularly mindful of level 2 Ahri Recall ability. You might not want to Recall all your units if you need blockers for the next turn – or if you don’t have enough space in your hand. When attacking with level 2 Ahri, generally you should put the most fragile units last to minimize the risk of the opponent stopping your Ahri chain-dashes early.
- Keep track of champions’ level-up condition. Ahri’s level up is very often the win condition of the deck, and leveling Kennen goes a long way to accelerate the pressure all the while slowing down the opponent. Both your champions are fairly easy to level up, and you need to plan for it. Keep track of which unit will help you level up Kennen, and, very importantly, be aware of how far Ahri is from leveling up and how to make sure she will be leveled when you need it.
- Leverage the power of Dancing Droplet. While Ahri is often the card that shine the brightest, the deck would not be its true self without Dancing Droplet. Its combo with Recalls provides a wonderful draw engine and allows you to cycle quickly throught your deck. You don’t need several Dancing Droplets, but you should make sure you always have at least one alive so you can leverage your Recalls.
- If you have only one Droplet at the start and can’t afford to lose it, depending on the matchup, it can be better to not play it out on turn 1, and instead wait until it will be backed up by protection spells – even if it would delay your combo with Ahri by a turn.
- Actively work to set up a lethal. This archetype, and especially this Shurima version, is made to build up pressure and set up a lethal. If you drag out the game in an uncontrolled fashion, your chances to lose skyrocket as you don’t have many tools to control the opponent game plan.
- Buffing units. The Absolver and Twin Disciplines can very quickly create a lethal opportunity with Ahri or Elusive units. Always be aware of how much damage you can push.
- Combining The Absolver with Stun/Recall. The Overwhelm keyword from The Absolver combines really well with Stuns and Recalls – if the blocker is no longer there, all damage will go straight to the opponent’s Nexus. It makes Absolver a particularly good match with a leveled Kennen.
- Pre-committing buffs. If you have a lethal with the help of buff spells in hand, but choose to not pre-commit them, your opponent can pass without blocking so you don’t get the opportunity to cast them. The opponent is likely to do it because they should know that you have no reach.
- Don’t take unnecesary risks. Creating lethal opportunities can push you to use your mana and cards more aggressively, and might leave you open to the opponent’s counter-plays. You must carefully think about what risks are worth taking. Play to your outs, and when you are in control of the game don’t rush it.
- Be careful with hand space. Ahri Kennen can draw quite a lot when the Ahri and Dancing Droplet go off, and in that case you’ll likely have an overflow of cards in hand.
- Be careful with level 2 Kennen as he generates Mark of the Storm on-attack and on-block. Ideally, you should have 8 or less cards in hand when attacking with him.
- You’ll need hand space for your units that are being Recalled during combat. If a unit is Recalled when there is no space in your hand, it will be obliterated instead. With Ahri and Dancing Droplet combo make sure you have 8 or less cards in hand, because in addition to Droplet going back you also draw a card.
General mulligan tips:
- Ahri and Dancing Droplet are the key engines and you should always keep them.
- An early The Mourned will help you accelerate towards your Ahri win condition, all the while pushing meaningful Elusive damage.
- Kinkou Wayfinder is a very powerful payoff for Ionia Allegiance. It is generally a good keep, especially if you already have a good hand for the first turns.
- You should keep Navori Conspirator only if you already have a Dancing Droplet to pair him with.
- Most players keep Kennen and Fae Bladetwirler, but I would advise not to do so and mulligan them away in most matchups. Those cards don’t do much in the early turns and will do better as mid-game payoffs, and you should instead look for key early cards such as Ahri or Dancing Droplet.
Be aware that these are just the general guidelines to help you understand the deck’s game plan. Mulligans are very matchup-dependant – please refer to the matchup section below for more specific advice on mulligans against different meta decks.
Mulligan for: Ahri, Dancing Droplet, The Mourned. Keep Navori Conspirator if you have Dancing Droplet. Keep Kinkou Wayfinder if you have a blocker for Zoe.
- Zoe Lee is an OTK combo deck looking to give the Overwhelm keyword to a leveled Lee Sin. This is a very good matchup as they struggle to defend themselves against Elusives and you have the tools to delay their lethal.
- If the game drags on, they will eventually kill you, so you will play the role of the aggressor. Look to push damage with Elusive units. If they are high on health, they will be able to defend themselves against Ahri with Hush and Concussive Palm, but if you get them low it will very hard for them to play against a wide board of Elusive units.
- Zoe is their most useful card to swing the game. In no circumstances you should let her hit your Nexus – the Celestial pool includes very powerful cards against you. She levels quite easily as you don’t have easy ways to get rid of her, so you take any opportunity you have to trade with her – preferably with buffs as a backup so they can’t save her with their own buffs.
- Their only out-of-combat removals are
Gift from Beyond‘s Calibrum (at a Slow speed) and Will of Ionia (usually as a 1-of). You can pretty safely tap out and play proactively when they don’t have an attack token.
- Be aware you can make Lee’s kick fizzle with a Recall on the targeted unit.
Mulligan for: Ahri, Dancing Droplet, The Mourned. Keep Navori Conspirator if you have Dancing Droplet. Keep Kinkou Wayfinder or Homecoming if you have a good hand.
- Pantheon Demacia looks to buff up Fated units to huge stats and give them the Overwhelm keyword with Zenith Blade. This is a good matchup as they struggle against wide Elusive boards and you can stall them out for a long time.
- Their units shouldn’t pose much of a threat as long as they don’t have the Overwhelm keyword – you can chump block for a long time, and even save your blocker with a Recall. Look to use Homecoming on Overwhelm units, and ideally back it up with a counter or play it when they tap out of Single Combat.
- If the game takes too long, a leveled Pantheon can be a huge trouble for you, especially if he rolls the right keywords. Play as the aggressor, and watch out for lethal opportunities.
- Sharpsight and Single Combat are the 2 most important cards for you to think about when looking to push damage.
- Tapping out against them is not recommended when they still have mana for Cataclysm. If you answer with a Recall on your targeted unit, it will make Cataclysm fizzle.
Mulligan for: Ahri, Dancing Droplet, The Mourned. Keep Navori Conspirator if you have Dancing Droplet. Keep Kinkou Wayfinder if you have a good hand.
- Lurk is a deck that grows its Lurkers’ attack to dominate the board and finish with powerful Overwhelm Lurkers. They have no Elusive blockers and very few removals for our numerous Elusive units, and therefore are quite easy to kill as long as they don’t put us on the backfoot.
Death from Belowis their best tool to swing the game, and you should play around it especially if they Predicted a card before lurking or put back a card on top – and it wasn’t a Rek’Sai (whom you would recognize by her animation).
- Look to chump block and Recall your units against their non-Overwhelm Lurkers, and recall their Overwhelm units with Homecoming.
- Look to play around Redfin Hammersnout when they have the attack token.
- Concussive Palm is a great tech for the matchup if you find yourself playing too often against Lurk.
Mulligan for: Ahri, Dancing Droplet, Kinkou Wayfinder. Keep Recall if you have a good hand.
- Lulu Ahri is a swarm archetype using discard synergies and buffs to get ahead and push powerful attacks. Flame Chompers! is a key card for the deck, and will help them get rid of your units. Fortunately, they don’t have many Elusive units and no Rallies, so as long as we can chump block them they won’t be able to kill us, and they have no answer to our lethal.
- When they use the Ahri combo with Flame Chompers, look to block Ahri and Recall the blocker. This way, Ahri won’t hit and therefore won’t swap with the Flame Chompers to hit second time.
- Play around Get Excited! and Mystic Shot whenever possible.
Mulligan for: Ahri, Dancing Droplet, The Mourned, Kinkou Wayfinder. Keep Navori Conspirator if you have Dancing Droplet. Keep Recall or Nopeify if you have a good hand.
- The mirror is a race towards a leveled Ahri win condition. With your Recalls, look to block Ahri and prevent her from hitting anything, so that her own Recall effect won’t trigger. This will slow down the opponent all the while speeding yourself up.
- When the opponent tries to phantom-block Ahri with a Recall backup, Nopeify! can be a devastating play for you. Be careful that the opponent doesn’t get to do the same to you – you should ideally have some backup play in this situation.
- Homecoming doesn’t have many good targets, and you should generally hold onto it to try to prevent a leveled Ahri lethal from the opponent. Ahri can also be stalled out by Recalling the unit blocking her if she doesn’t have the Overwhelm keyword.
- If you want to improve the mirror matchup, consider changing your Ahri Kennen version to the Go Hard build of the archetype.
Mulligan for: Ahri, Dancing Droplet, The Mourned. Keep Navori Conspirator if you have Dancing Droplet. Keep Kinkou Wayfinder and Nopeify if you have a good hand. Keep Kennen if you don’t have The Mourned or Navori Conspirator.
- Darkness is a control archetype looking to grow and discount the Darkness spell, then wins the game thanks to this powerful removal alongside units and/or the Veigar win condition. Their deck becomes very powerful as the game goes on, and we need to pressure them with tempo advantages.
- It is important to have a blocker for Twisted Catalyzer on turn 2, so they don’t get to snowball their Darkness spell all the while pushing damage too easily.
- They don’t have any Elusive units to block our threats. However, they do have a lot of removals. Look to play around Darkness, Vile Feast, Pokey Stick, and Group Shot. Avoid setting up too good of a Withering Wail for them, or hold a Deny for it. Hold your Recalls as answers to their removals.
- They can get rid of Ahri with Minimorph, but it will cost them a lot of tempo. Try not to go all-in on a single Ahri, but also to build up tempo advantages, so if they do use Minimorph they open themselves to your Elusive threats and/or another Ahri.
- Veigar can accelerate their gameplan by a lot as you don’t have the tools to deal with him. They will often want to play him right away on turn 4, in which case you will really need to push for the win as quickly as you can.
Mulligan for: Ahri, Dancing Droplet, Kinkou Wayfinder. Keep Navori Conspirator if you have Dancing Droplet.
- Gangplank Sejuani is a midrange archetype looking to consistently trigger Plunder and level up its champions quickly to close out games. Try to make it as inconvenient as possible for them to trigger Plunder, and hold onto Homecoming to recall their Gangplank.
- Be careful to not set up a great Make it Rain for them, or have a Nopeify! ready for it. You should rather Nopeify a Make it Rain than a Monster Harpoon – becuase this way you also deny them a Plunder trigger. Against Monster Harpoon, look to Recall your unit instead when possible.
- They are quite susceptible to Elusive threats as they don’t have many Elusive units of their own – only Zap Sprayfin. You need to push damage with those to be able to win through a leveled Sejuani later in the game.
- Thanks to our numerous buffs, it is quite simple to deal Nexus damage even through their level 2 Sejuani’s ability, especially if you get to cast the buff on a leveled Ahri.
- Be aware of the cards they could have stolen from your deck with Black Market Merchant and Yordle Grifter.
Mulligan for: Ahri, Dancing Droplet. Keep Navori Conspirator if you have Dancing Droplet. Keep Nopeify and Recall if you have a good hand.
- Nami TF is a deck that relies on powerful backline engines and win conditions (Curious Shellfolk, Nami, Twisted Fate, Fleet Admiral Shelly) to build and leverage a wide board, and back up this gameplan with powerful removals. This is a difficult matchup as we don’t have the tools to deal with their engines, and they can slow us down and control us.
- Because of the tempo-focused playstyle of our deck, Pranks are particularly impactful against us. Try to play around Pranks by casting the spells you really need to play before they can increase their cost.
- Be careful not to run into Twisted Fate’s Red Card. Once Twisted Fate has been played and is down on the battlefield, you can freely swarm the board – but you will need to close the game quickly before he could level. You can also remove Twisted Fate with Kennen’s Mark of the Storm if needed – they have no protection spells, though they can find something with Conchologist, or copy your card with the Shellfolk + Prank combo.
- Look to play around Pokey Stick and Group Shot whenever possible.
- The most common way to steal the game from them is with a leveled Ahri. If you can set her up before they take over the game, it can make things very difficult for them if they don’t have a Minimorph ready, especially if you give her the Overwhelm keyword.
Mulligan for: Ahri, Dancing Droplet, The Mourned, Kennen. Keep Fae Bladetwirler if you have a good hand.
- Spider Burn is a hyper-aggressive archetype looking to push early damage with cheap units and the Fearsome keyword, and then finish the Nexus with burn. It is a particularly difficult matchup for Ahri Kennen, as we don’t have many defensive tools against them.
- You need to be very conservative with your Nexus health. Trade units as much as possible, and use buffs to block their Fearsome attackers.
- Look to trade with Elise whenever possible. If you let her live there is a good shot they will level her up as they play a high amount of Spiders.
- To make this matchup better consider teching in Concussive Palm or even Tasty Faefolk.
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