Introduction and Origin
Hello there, Sorry here! The community has recently been in a heated discussion on social media regarding the Akshan Infinite Combo deck. Players are torn about the playstyle of the deck, with one side justifying its play pattern while the other side believes it’s unhealthy for the game.
The infinite combo allows you to play out one of your turns for what feels like an eternity to your opponent; you’ll be able to drop the mana cost of all your cards to zero. Let’s get something clear, the deck isn’t really infinite as the name suggests. You’re still limited to playing 15 cards of the same name per turn, so you’ll get to a point where you can’t play
Although the deck’s win rate is low (40.26% at the time of writing this article), part of the community is just appalled by its playstyle and worried about future archetypes that might adopt a similar game plan.
The archetype is not new at all! It has existed before and has surfaced again recently, and similar to back then, the community’s uproar regarding the deck’s “toxic” play pattern is still loud! The list did get its hands on a couple of new cards that made it a little more consistent.
In today’s article, I’ll feature the Mono Akshan version, its gameplan, and my thoughts on the deck. A different list opts to add Ekko to the deck, which benefits from the Chronobreak Ekko creates once he’s leveled.
In the mulligan phase, it’s essential to have Akshan or Vekauran Vagabond in your opening hand to get Warlord’s Palace as soon as possible. If by any chance you don’t find one of those two cards early on, Rite of Calling draws you an Akshan; you might find yourself destroying a mana gem for the Akshan! If you still haven’t found a way to get Warlord’s Palace online, Time Trick or Time in a Bottle for the predict mechanic can help you find the card you need.
Once Warlord’s Palace is online, it’s time to start advancing the Landmark. Clockwork Curator, Time in a Bottle, and Vancouver Vagabond are great early landmark accelerators. It is important to note that your game plan dictates that you keep your Akshan alive until he levels up. If he ends up dying, do not fret; you can still find a second Akshan and get Warlord’s Hoard on the board.
Now that Warlord’s Hoard is on the board, Akshan is not important anymore. You can block and sacrifice the champion if forced into such a scenario to preserve your health. You can play Sands of Time on a defensive turn to get Instant Century—the card allows you to turbo advance your landmark, creating Sentinel’s Hoard in your hand.
The combo turn
During this whole setup, you need to have Counterfeit Copies ready in your hand before you activate Warlord’s Palace. Having a Station Archivist in hand is a plus and will make it much easier to set up the combo. Once everything is set up, it’s important to play Counterfeit Copies on Sentinel’s Hoard to create more copies of it in the deck before casting the spell!
Choose Fount of Power every time; the two card draw and mana reduction are critical to your game plan! Station Archivist can now hit the board, you’ll be looking for the Sentinel’s Hoard to keep the card draw rolling.
Additionally, Iterative Improvement can create another Station Archivist to keep on with your gameplan. Station Archivist and Iterative Improvement should be at 0 mana by now, so you won’t be spending any mana while you continue your game plan.
Let’s talk about “Called Shot.” The card will shuffle Parallel Convergence in the deck, which allows you to set up a free Ephemeral attack with your units. This allows you to demolish your opponent’s board without using your attack token, which later sets up for a powerful attack.
There is one specific card you’ll be looking for during this whole mess-Thrumming Swarm. As you cast more Fount of Power, Thrumming Swarm will get to a point where it’s free to play. This is crucial as it allows you to swarm your board with 8|4 Overwhelm units ready to attack. Now imagine a Parallel Convergence being played while you have that deadly board itching to start an attack! You guessed it, total destruction.
You can shuffle Parallel Convergence into the deck and try to draw them for more Overwhelm attacks, but this is usually overkill. Depending on the matchup, scenario, and what your opponent is capable of doing to survive, you’ll be the judge of whether taking the game to a longer stage is worth it or not.
Technically, you don’t need Thrumming Swarm to win the game. However, you’ll be reliant on multiple Parallel Convergence until you wipe out your opponent’s blockers and set up for a final attack with your units.
Phew, that was a lot! As you can see from the gameplay, a lot is happening in just one turn! That’s exactly why we’re having this ruckus in the community. At one point, your opponent will stop playing the game, pretty much stuck watching you draw and shuffle more cards in the deck.
Is Akshan Infinite powerful enough to become problematic?
I have tested the deck on the ranked ladder and got a feel of its playstyle against different matchups; I can confidently say that Akshan Infinite is a solid deck against slow0ish archetypes that can’t deal with your landmark.
However, it’s not difficult to counter the deck with aggressive style archetypes like Annie Jhin and Poppy Bard. Decks that close out a game before Akshan Infinite sets up their combo are perfect answers to shut it down.
My opinion on the play style of the deck.
Right now, Akshan Infinite is the only “viable” deck that can set up an “infinite play”. This raises the question of whether Riot will address this play pattern or if they are fine with its existence in the game, at least for the time being.
In my opinion, the play style defeats Runeterra’s back-and-forth known gameplay. At one point, your opponent will sit there spamming the pass button as they watch you take a lot of actions until you set up your win condition. The player is sort of held hostage, although there is an argument that you can just press the surrender button and go on to your next game; that argument falls apart when you technically still have a shot of winning the game, even if it’s 1%. Your opponent setting up the combo doesn’t necessarily mean they won. They can still mess up or even not find the cards they want in time to set up their win condition.
In a tournament setting, it would leave a bad taste when a player applies the “just surrender” argument. A great example is during the APAC Masters tournament, where one of the players managed to set up their combo play. Their opponent refused to surrender the game, which finally resulted in the Akshan Infinite player losing the game. From a viewer’s perspective, the game felt long and boring, having to watch only one player actually play the game.
From the other player’s perspective, it’s an unpleasant and time-consuming experience unless they throw in the towel early on in the combo. Compared to other combo decks like Lee Sin or Spectral Matron + Watcher, they carry out their plans with a reasonable number of actions while giving you room for interaction. They don’t force you to sit there watching your opponent make tons of plays for 10+ minutes.
For the time being, Akshan Infinite is the only “viable” deck capable of a non-interactive playstyle at this level. I don’t think an immediate answer is required by the developers as it’s not a major problem for now. I hope a solution is found not specifically for Akshan Infinite, but for non-interactive gameplay as a whole. If the developers decide to accept its playstyle and allow it in the game, I fear that more archetypes with similar playstyles will pop up as we get more cards from future expansions in the game.