Anivia Control Deck Guide & Matchups

Hello, Agigas here! I am a Master player since beta with several #4 peaks and tournament wins. I love sharing my knowledge about the game and I have been a regular writer at RuneterraCCG. I write in-depth deck guides, articles for tournament players, and curate our constantly updated Meta Tier List.

This particular guide you’re reading is part of our on-going series of guides on meta decks. You can find the other guides and a matchup table on this page.

This guide is dedicated to Anivia Control – a very old archetype that recently came back to the top.


Playstyle: Control.

Anivia Control uses the powerful Shadow Isles/Frejlord package to control the opponent’s board and stall the game.

With a lot of board-wide damage effects (Avalanche, Withering Wail, Anivia’s ability), this deck is specializing in dealing with wide boards. For bigger threats, it also has strong removals (Vengeance, The Ruination). Finally, the deck also packs a lot of healing (Kindly Tavernkeeper, Withering Wail) in case the opponent manages to deal damage through all the removal that we pack.

Once we get into the late game, Anivia becomes the star of the show. Even a single Anivia can deal a lot of damage both to the board and the Nexus, but this deck doesn’t stop there. Thanks to reviving effects like The Rekindler and The Harrowing, we can have multiple Anivias on board, gaining total control over the board and finishing the game quickly. If the opponent is refusing to kill Anivia trying to deny us revive value, the deck has plenty of tools so that we can do it by ourselves (Glimpse Beyond, Gluttony, Chronicler of Ruins).

Anivia Control is very consistent at enabling its Anivia gameplan thanks to Entreat. Later in the game when you already have Anivia on board, Anivias in your hand will transform into Anivia’s Harsh Winds, a perfect stall tool.

Anivia’s win condition isn’t as quick as the one from Feel the Rush – the other meta Frejlord/Shadow Isles control deck. However, Anivia keeps better control of the board as the game goes on, and the champion provides valuable access to freezes.


General Tips

  • Play extremely reactive. In almost all cases, you have the better late game. Passing turns is to your advantage. Force the opponent to make his move first – this way, you can react accordingly to what they do, and cast board-wipes for the best value. It will also make the game much harder to play for the opponent because they would always have to blindly choose their play without knowing what you are going to do.
    • Of course, there are exceptions to it. You should be ready to play more proactively if passing the turn doesn’t benefit you – often when the opponent has built up too much pressure.
  • Be patient and plan ahead. Be wary of wasting resources. Here are two common examples:
    • Don’t use a one-for-one removal on a low health unit that you can kill off soon anyway without investing an actual card into it. For example, there’s no need to kill a 1-health unit with Vile Feast if you’re planning to use Withering Wail or attack with Anivia soon. You can waste some mana, but try to avoid wasting cards.
    • Don’t use a key card if you can still keep control of the game without it. For example, you might want to delay your Ruination, even if the opponent’s board is powerful – if you can stall their attack simply by casting an Anivia’s Harsh Winds. This way, you’ll be able to use The Ruination later and give them less time to refill the board.

General mulligan tips:

  • In most matchups, you should keep Anivia. Without her, a lot of your synergies won’t work. You can keep Entreat if you didn’t found Anivia.
  • Avarosan Sentry is often a good keep, especially against decks without a form of evasion to get through without killing him.
  • Keep Vile Feast, Avalanche, and Kindly Tavernkeeper to have a solid early game against any non-control deck.
  • Keep Gluttony when accelerating your Anivia gameplan is what matters the most.

Be aware that these are just the general guidelines to help you understand the deck’s gameplan. Mulligans are very matchup-dependant – please refer to the matchup section below for more specific advice on mulligans against different meta decks.


Matchups

Click on the box to read detailed info about a matchup of choice:

Mulligan for: Withering Wail, Avalanche, Vile Feast, Avarosan Sentry, Kindly Tavernkeeper; Anivia, Grasp of the Undying – if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Discard Aggro is a very fast deck that looks to out-pace the opponent by playing cheap (or free) units and activating board-wide synergies (Crowd Favorite, Arena Battlecaster, Vision). Hence, your cheap board-wipes (Withering Wail, Avalanche) are insanely good against them.
    • Wait until you can get the most out of your board-wipes. If they try to play around them by playing slower, take your time and play your units and health-gains to stall out the game without using your board-wipes. This way they’ll be forced to eventually play right into them.
    • It can be a good idea to nuke their board right before they could play a Crowd Favorite. On turn 4, it can be tough to deal both with their cheap units and a big Crowd Favorite. Later, you have bigger removals and Harsh Winds to play against Crowd Favorite.
  • Past the early turns, the main threat in their deck is Jinx. If you give her a few turns she can rapidly close out the game with the extra value and burn she provides.
    • However, they have to empty their hand to level her, so if you remove her even with something over-costed like a Vengeance, you are still in a very good spot.
  • Things get a lot easier once Anivia comes down. Your champion will allow you to develop a proactive gameplan while controlling their board at the same time.

Mulligan for: Anivia, Avalanche, Withering Wail, Kindly Tavernkeeper; Entreat if you don’t have Anivia.

Matchup tips:

  • Let them assemble a wide board before using your board-wipes. If they play around your board-wipes, you can take things slow and play out your other cards, forcing them eventually to play into it.
  • Twisted Fate can level up very fast, be very careful to not let him level up.
  • Weaken their draw by making their Glimpse Beyond fizzle. In a very long game, they’ll run out of cards, often right after they cast their Pack Your Bags. Go Hard has a low value by itself and they do fill their deck with it.
  • Pack Your Bags + TF’s Red Card or Withering Wail give them a way to deal with a wide board of Anivias. Before they cast Pack Your Bags, don’t overextend too much.
    • In most situations, hold on to your The Harrowing to play it right after they cast Pack Your Bags.
  • They don’t have a lot of fast-speed removals, only two Vengeance, and a Withering Wail. Glimpse Beyond on your units and Gluttony on your Anivia are usually safe to cast, even proactively.
    • Be aware they can easily remove the egg though.
  • Some versions play Commander Ledros, which makes the matchup tougher.

Mulligan for: Anivia, Vile Feast, Avalanche, Avarosan Sentry; Entreat – if you don’t have Anivia; The Ruination – if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • In the mid-game, their midrange units can be annoying to deal with, especially if they got an early Avarosan Trapper. However, once you get to the late game, they don’t have a very good answer to your onslaught of Anivias.
  • You can effectively get rid of their low-health units (Trifarian Gloryseeker, Icevale Archer) with your damage-based removals and Anivias. Beefy units like Enraged Yeti and Avarosan Hearthguard are a lot more annoying to deal with.
  • The Ruination is your best card to deal with a wide board of large units. However, be aware that Ashe Noxus can develop quite a high amount of damage threats for cheap once you’ve tapped out (Trifarian Gloryseeker, Enraged Yeti, units buffed by Avarosan Hearthguard).
  • Be very careful about Ashe, she is a priority target. Their Harsh Winds can easily level her up and make your units unable to block.
    • If you can’t remove Ashe before the attack, you can still stall the attack with Harsh Winds.

Mulligan for: Avarosan Sentry, Kindly Tavernkeeper, Vile Feast, Avalanche, The Box; Anivia, Grasp of the Undying – if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Many of their units have 3 health points. This makes them quite resilient to your low-cost removals.
    • In the first turns, focus on developing early units to block while lowering the opponent’s units’ health. You want to set up for a great Avalanche.
    • You can also use Avalanche during your turn to take their units to 1 health, then use Vile Feast or Withering Wail to finish them off at Fast speed during their attack.
  • Using Glimpse Beyond on the unit they’re trying to remove will slow down their Ezreal level-up.
  • In the mid-game, be very careful about their high-tempo turn. Tri-beam Improbulator and Arachnoid Sentry can give them a fantastic attack, and you don’t want to get too low on Nexus health.
    • Playing very reactively in those turns is key. If you’re tapped out on their high tempo turn you will take a lot of damage.
  • In the late game, they’ll try to end with burn damage. They have a lot of burn spells (Mystic Shock, Get Excited!) and great finishers in Captain Farron and Ezreal. Stay high on Nexus health. If you manage to sustain their damage, they’ll run out of resources and it will be easy to finish them with Anivias.

Mulligan for: Anivia, Avalanche, Withering Wail; Entreat – if you don’t have Anivia; Avarosan Sentry – if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • They can refill the board time and again with Elusive units thanks to their cheap draw (Pick a Card, Rummage). Your board wipes have a very high value, and if you run out of them you can be in a difficult situation.
  • Fizz + Suit Up! is their most annoying play. You can’t remove him with single-target spells, and it’s tough to remove him with board-wipes.
    • If the opponent commits other units alongside Fizz, your board wipes are a great way to answer that.
    • If they don’t commit hard enough and try to force you to use a board wipe on Fizz, you want to stall the game. Fizz alone won’t do too much damage – you can hold on to your board wipe and stall with life-gain (Kindly Tavernkeeper) and freeze.
  • Once you get Anivia on board, it gets harder for them to play the game. She can force them to stop playing around your board wipes and commit to the board to finish faster.
  • By the end of mid-game, they can flood the board with Wiggly Burblefishes + Iterative Improvement at a very low cost if you tap out.
  • Some versions play a copy of Mind Meld. The Ruination is the easiest way to counter it.
  • Because your win condition is slow and they draw a lot, they’ll often die from decking themselves.
    • Keep track of cards they play, in the late game it will allow you to precisely know what they have left in hand.

Mulligan for: Anivia, Gluttony; Entreat – if you don’t have Anivia.

Matchup tips:

  • This matchup is extremely grindy – both of you are a lot stronger at controlling the game than at finishing it.
  • Anivia is the only strong form of pressure.
    • Avoid killing the opponent’s first Anivia, if possible. As long as no Anivias died, a lot of synergies (Rekindler, Harrowing) are disabled.
    • As much as possible, try to kill the opponent’s Anivias with your own Anivias’ abilities to leave your removals for The Harrowing.
    • You need to always kill the egg. Don’t waste your small removals, they will become very valuable when an egg is on board.
  • As the game progresses, The Harrowing becomes a way to suddenly flood the board with Anivias. It is often the way to finish the game against an opponent running out of answers to it.
    • The best answer to it is to play The Ruination followed by Avalanche or The Box.
  • Be aware that the game can sometimes go to decking if both players can answer all the threats. Keep an eye on the decks’ size.

Mulligan for: Anivia, Flash Freeze, Vile Feast; Entreat – if you don’t have Anivia; Vengeance – if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • In this matchup, their biggest threat is Lee Sin, especially once they give him the Overwhelm keyword. Fortunately, you have tools to play against it.
    • Anivia’s Harsh Winds and Flash Freeze is a very good way to prevent Lee’s damage for a turn. It has the important upside that it can’t be countered by a Deny. However, things can get difficult if they cast a pre-emptive Bastion on Lee Sin – you don’t have good Burst speed spells to remove it.
    • Using Glimpse Beyond or Gluttony on the unit that is about to be kicked will make the kick fizzle. However, you’ll still take the Overwhelm damage.
    • Actively try to remove Lee Sin. They might be able to protect him, but if you force all of their Deny and eventually get rid of him, you’re in a good spot.
    • When you try to remove Lee Sin and don’t want them to protect him with Bastion, you can cast a fast speed removal (often Vengeance) and attack with Anivia at the same time. This way, if they play Bastion, Anivia’s ability will destroy the SpellShield.
  • Lee Sin is the focal point of the matchup, but don’t underestimate their cheaper units either.
    • Make sure you remove Zoe before she levels up.
    • Be careful to not take too much damage from their small units. If you’re too low on Nexus health, you aren’t likely to survive a Lee Sin attack with a Glimpse Beyond trick.

Mulligan for: Avarosan Sentry, Kindly Taverkeeper, Vile Feast, Avalanche, Withering Wail.

Matchup tips:

  • Pirate Aggro is a highly aggressive deck looking to push a lot of damage with board pressure, and finish the game with burn damages.
  • Despite your removals and heals, this matchup can be difficult because your removals are over-costed compare to their threat. Avalanche and Withering Wail doesn’t always clean-up the board, so it can be hard to stabilize without taking too much damage.
    • Look to set up a very powerful Withering Wail or Avalanche. This is your best way of dealing with their board without falling behind in tempo.
    • Kindly Taverkeeper is extremely good in this matchup, giving you a great blocker, healing, and no tempo loss.
  • Be very conservative with your nexus health. If you don’t have enough healing, they can finish from a high amount of life even once you stabilized, with cards like Noxian Fervor, Decimate, and Farron.
  • They can level-up Gangplank rapidly. Try to prevent them from spreading Nexus damage dealt to you. To do so, you can for example force their Noxian Fervor or kill their Legion Grenadier on a turn you already took Nexus damage.
  • Noxian Fervor is their only 3 mana cost spell. If they play Zap Sprayfin, you know they have at least one in hand (note: some versions play a copy of Brother’s Bond).

Mulligan for: Anivia, Avalanche, Vile Feast, Avarosan Sentry, The Box; Entreat – if you don’t have Anivia; The Ruination – if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Aphelios can give them a massive amount of value with his different weapons, he is the priority target for your removals.
    • Be aware they have access to some healing spells to protect a damaged unit.
  • Make sure to also deal with Twisted Fate before he levels up. However, they aren’t too fast at leveling him up, so you generally can take your time.
  • The Veiled Temple can cause you a lot of trouble. The tempo it gives them over time can make it a lot harder to cast your big spells like The Ruination, because they’ll be able to refill their board very fast. When Veiled Temple is on the board, your best way to keep up with them is to play the value game and run them out of threats.
  • It’s a lot harder for them to play once you start spamming the board with Anivias.
    • Be aware they can make Gluttony fizzle with Hush.
    • They can try to obliterate Anivia with Celestial spells (often Falling Comet from Solari Priestess), so protect her with Glimpse Beyond or Gluttony.
    • If they cast a Starshaping, they might find a Cosmic Rays, which is very hard to play against. Avoid playing Harrowing if you have other plays and you think they have it.

Mulligan for: Avalanche, Anivia, The Box, Avarosan Sentry; Entreat – if you don’t have Anivia.

Matchup tips:

  • This matchup can be difficult because of Deny. It can be very tricky to find the right moment to cast The Ruination or The Harrowing.
    • Make good use of your smaller but impactful removals, like Avalanche. You want to control their board with those spells or force the opponent to use a Deny on it to clear the way for your bigger spells.
    • When your hand has several big spells and you can afford to cast one into Deny without dying, you might have to play a big spell right into their Deny to free the way for your second big spell – and hope for no 2nd Deny.
  • Rivershaper is their key unit in this matchup. Not only he will give them the value to go through the game, but he will also help them find their Deny. Remove him as soon as possible.
  • Anivia’s Harsh Winds is a key card in this matchup. It will allow you to stall the game without running into their Deny.

Mulligan for: Anivia, Avalanche, Vile Feast, Avarosan Sentry, The Box; Entreat if you don’t have Anivia; The Ruination if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Aphelios can give them a massive amount of value with his different weapons, he is the priority target for your removals.
    • Be aware they have access to some healing spells to protect a wounded unit.
  • Be careful to also deal with Twisted Fate before he levels up. However, they aren’t too fast at leveling him up, so you generally can take your time.
  • Veiled Temple can cause you a lot of troubles. The tempo it gives them over time can make it a lot harder to cast your big spells like The Ruination, because they’ll be able to refill their board very fast. When Veiled Temple is on the board, your best way to keep up with them is to play the value game and run them out of threats.
  • It’s a lot harder for them to play when you start spamming the board with Anivias.
    • Be aware they can make Gluttony fizzle with Hush.
    • They can try to obliterate her with celestial spells (often Falling Comet from Solari Priestess), so protect her with Glimpse Beyond or Gluttony if they can have it in hand.
    • If they cast a Starshaping, they might find a Cosmic Rays, which is very hard to play against. Avoid playing Harrowing if you have other plays and you think they have it.

Mulligan for: Vile Feast, Avalanche, Avarosan Sentry, Kindly Taverkeeper; The Ruination, Anivia – if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • They can’t beat your late-game plan, but they can put you under a lot of pressure early and win by tempo.
  • Your efficient board-wipes (Avalanche, Withering Wail) are great answers to their flood of units. However, they get heavily countered by Ranger’s Resolve.
    • You can try to bait them into using Ranger’s Resolve with Vile Feast.
  • They can level up their champions very quickly with Rally and Scout units. Miss Fortune and Quinn are your priority target.
  • In the mid-to-late game, they tend to run low on value. The Ruination can deal with their entire board and a comeback is unlikely in these spots.
  • Frostbite has a lot of value when cast on a Scout unit as it will prevent damage from both of its attacks.
  • Be careful even during your attacking turns, if you tap out they can rally with Relentless Pursuit.

Mulligan for: The Ruination, Vengeance, Glimpse Beyond.

Matchup tips:

  • This matchup is very difficult because of a miss-match in your win conditions. You don’t have a way to interact with their Star Spring win condition, you are too slow to out-pace it, and your Anivias enable their synergies by dealing damage to their units.
  • Avoid doing damage to one of their units if it doesn’t kill it. The more wounds you give them, the easier it is for them to use their healing synergies.
    • On the opposite, if they didn’t play their landmark yet, you can send damage on their unit to force their heals out before Star Spring comes down.
  • The Ruination is by far your best card in the matchup. If you remove their board while they are low on cards in hand, they can struggle to re-build because they have a lot of spells.
    • Play around Bastion. Ideally, you want to play The Ruination with Vile Feast and the mana to cast as a backup.
  • Be aware they can make Gluttony fizzle with Hush.
  • To get a better shot at this matchup, you should have a 3rd Ruination and Vengeance in your build. Some more specific techs are Crumble and It That Stares, to destroy their landmark and make the matchup far easier.

Mulligan for: Anivia, Gluttony, Kindly Tavernkeeper, Vile Feast, Avalanche, Avarosan Sentry; Entreat – if you don’t have Anivia.

Matchup tips:

  • Their gameplan is to fill your deck with shrooms, force you to draw a lot, and finish you once you’re low on Nexus health with a leveled-up Ezreal.
  • This matchup is sort of a race between your win conditions. They don’t have the healing or good counters to your Anivia win condition, but you don’t have a way to counter their win condition either. The problem is, their win condition is a lot faster than yours.
  • Do not waste your healing. While your healing can’t entirely counter their win condition because of the very high number of shrooms, it can still buy you some time.
  • You want Anivia to die to enable your synergies. However, be careful about casting Glimpse Beyond on her – drawing faster can be a huge drawback, especially if they have a Hexcore Foundry.
  • Adding a 3rd Gluttony can help a lot in this matchup, as well as adding some Crumble.

Closing Words

Anivia Control is looking like one of the best control archetypes right now. It has been a viable deck for a very long time, but the characteristics of the current meta combined with the recent addition of Gluttony really made the deck come back.

If you have a question, want to share feedback, or discuss this guide, I’ll be happy to answer you in the comments below and in this dedicated Reddit post! 😉

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Thanks for reading!

Agigas

LoR player with multiple tournament wins and #4 ladder peaks. Ascended Seasonal top 4. I love writing guides to share my experience with the game with the community!

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