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Anivia Control Deck Guide


Originally written by Agigas,
updated for ‘Magic Misadventures’ Ranked Season by Dragonguy.


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

With plenty of AOE damage effects (Avalanche, Withering Wail, Blighted Ravine, Anivia’s ability Glacial Storm), 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.

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 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, serving as the perfect stall tool.

Anivia’s win condition is slower when we compare it to Feel the Rush, another meta Freljord 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.


Tech and Options

Iceborn Legacy may seem like an odd inclusion for an Anivia deck. We don’t get to play it early, as we will almost exclusively use it on Anivia. The reason we would consider it is that it buffs both your Anivia and Eggnivia. This turns our eggs into 2|3’s, which gives them much more survivability and even allows us to block and attack with them as well. This makes you much stronger in the mirror, and against other decks running Avalanche. I have included it as a 1-of in my list for these reasons, but anything more than that is probably too much.

This is a flexible card, offering 3 different options at the additional cost of 1 mana to each of them. However, this deck doesn’t really utilize Fury of the North at all as we don’t run any Overwhelms, and we have a lot of removal so we don’t really need the Entomb. As for the Freeze option, it is useful for our deck – but there may be a consideration to just run Flash Freeze without having to pay the Sisters tax.

This card is used to let you reach crucial points in the curve sooner. This lets you play Anivia on 5, and level her on 9. While powerful, the downside is that it makes you less reactive, as to play it early you have to tap out of interaction. The deck has a lot of stall tools, so you aren’t in too much danger if you hit Enlightened one turn slower. Still, if you want to accelerate your gameplan, then this is a card to consider.

Chronicler of Ruin is a way to kill off your Anivia and effectively copy it, while also putting an additional body on the board. This also enables a The Rekindler and adds a copy of Anivia to The Harrowing pool. However, if outside of this exact synergy, the card is a bit awkward to play. You could use it on an Avarosan Sentry to draw a card early, but a 3|3 body for 4 mana still isn’t great. 


General Tips

  • Play extremely reactive.
    In almost all cases, you have the better late game. Passing is to your advantage. Force the opponent to make their 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 doesn’t benefit you, 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 afford to waste some mana with smart passes, but try to avoid wasting cards.
    • Don’t use a key card if you can still keep things controlled without it. For example, you might want to delay your The 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 some 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 you value accelerating your Anivia gameplan as much as possible.

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

Mulligan for: Avalanche, The Box, Blighted Ravine

  • Most of the units they play are at 2 or less HP, and their deck can’t buff units in response to removal.
  • You want to keep their board as clear as you can, to lessen the impact of Yordle in Arms.
  • The Box is a great card in response to them summoning multiple units, especially against Flame Chompers!. If opponent has attack token, try to wait until they attack to fire it off, unless you want to deny the Lulu value.
  • Yordle Captain needs to be answered on-sight, as it will start putting units out of range of removal.
  • So long as you can keep their board contained, you should be able to safely drop Anivia, and use her to threaten a wipe.

Mulligan for: Withering Wail, Avalanche, Blighted Ravine, Kindly Tavernkeeper

  • You want AOE board wipes and healing for this matchup.
  • Blighted Ravine is best played on your turn, as it both wipes their board, and makes it difficult to develop. 
  • Kindly Tavernkeeper is amazing here, as it heals 3 and blocks Fearsome. 
  • This is actually a matchup where you don’t keep Anivia, as you want to prioritize cards to deal with opponent’s early board.
  • Be mindful of Noxian Fervor to kill of their own units in response to your removal. 
  • If you can sustain through their early turns and clear their board, you should be able to close out the game with Anivia.

Mulligan for: Anivia, Entreat, Vengeance, Avarosan Sentry, Glimpse Beyond

  • This is a slow matchup, so your keep your late game tools in the mulligan.
  • Don’t keep AOE clears in this matchup, as they don’t run units.
  • The opponent will avoid killing your Anivia, so you will likely need to Glimpse or Gluttony it to enable The Rekindler.
  • The early game plays out very slowly. Be mindful of hand space so you don’t accidentally burn a card.
  • Their Feel The Rush turn happens sooner than your Anivia becomes Enlightened, but Anivia champ spell Harsh Winds is great for shutting down their attack.
  • Vengeance is strong for answering Trundle off of Feel The Rush, or using on a unit in response to Atrocity.
  • It’s hard for them to deal with multiple Anivias, and you can use them to block to reduce the damage from their Overwhelms.
  • Try to stay above range of their Atrocity, or keep mana for an answer for it.

Mulligan for: Anivia, Entreat, Iceborn Legacy, Glimpse Beyond

  • Finding Anivia is your number 1 priority here, and is what this mirror centers around. 
  • The early game plays out very slowly, but be sure not to overdraw and burn cards.
  • Your AOE clears can serve to remove Anivia eggs after you kill the Anivia. Avalanche is the best one to save, as you can use it to follow up on a Ruination to clean up all Anivia eggs.
  • Iceborn Legacy breaks the mirror completely: it puts eggs above 2 HP so opponent can’t kill them with 2 damage clears, and it makes your Anivia’s trade with theirs on defense, which can then set you up to Avalanche the eggs.
  • Try to save The Ruination for your opponent’s attack turns, as it allows you to answer The Harrowing.

Mulligan for: Anivia, Avalanche, Avarosan Sentry, Vengeance

  • Minimorph is devastating to Anivia strategies, as it not only takes out your champion, it doesn’t kill it, so you can’t use your revive effects. Be cautious of playing Anivia out while the opponent has 6 mana.
  • Avarosan Sentry can block a Twisted Catalyzer early and stop it from snowballing. We want to try and keep Darkness below 5 damage so the opponent also can’t use it to just pop an Anivia. 
  • Avalanche and Blighted Ravine can kill off any early unit in their deck.
  • The Box is awkward, as it overkills the 2 health units, but isn’t enough to kill the 4 health champions on its own. Because of this it’s not a good keep in the mulligan.
  • Glimpse Beyond and Gluttony can enable you to kill an Anivia and enable your Rekindler and Harrowing to summon Anivia. If your opponent taps below mana for Minimorph, it’s a good idea to use it to ensure you have a dead Anivia available to revive at some point.
  • You don’t have an easy answer to opposing champions other than Vengeance.
  • So long as you can keep Veigar off the board, it will be difficult for the opponent to threaten you enough before you can eventually get your Anivia engine online.

Mulligan for: Blighted Ravine, Avalanche, The Box, Withering Wail, Glimpse Beyond

  • You want AOE board clears for this matchup, as they have difficulty protecting multiple units from your removal.
  • The Box is a clean answer to a Kinkou Wayfinder, so try to save it for that turn.
  • Blighted Ravine is another great answer to their board, as it can’t be hit by Deny, and the units can’t be saved by buffs.
  • Anivia is difficult to get to stick in this matchup, as they will often Homecoming it while you can’t easily answer. 
  • Glimpse Beyond and especially Gluttony can allow you to kill Anivia to put one in the death pool while getting you additional value.
  • With no Elusive blockers, they can push a lot of chip damage, and it can be difficult to recover HP from the continuous damage.
  • You may want to hold back your Anivia attack, as it can make it awkward for the opponent to play their 1-drops, and forces them to commit mana before being able to attack.
  • They have few sources of direct damage – only Kennen spell Lightning Rush (and Pack your Bags for the Go Hard version). You have the tools to try and remove their board, and if you are able to it will be difficult for them to push through the last bit of damage.

Mulligan for: Vengeance, The Ruination, Anivia, Entreat

  • You want your hard removal tools for this matchup to take out their key threats.
  • If you have a Vile Feast, you should hold it up to back up your hard removal in order to beat a Bastion. 
  • You want to double draw Anivia in this matchup, as Harsh Winds is crucial for shutting down their units and buying you valuable time. 
  • You can use Glimpse Beyond to shadow block the Dragons to deny the Fury and Shyvana level-up progress.
  • Your AOE removal is not great in the matchup, as their units will often grow too tall for it, or get buffed up by protection spells.
  • A well timed Ruination can completely reset the board and take out multiple threats, and can swing the game in your favor.

Mulligan for: Blighted Ravine, The Box, Kindly Tavernkeeper, Avalanche

  • While you are usually good into aggressive decks that go wide, Scouts will give you trouble because of their multiple attacks.
  • They also run Ranger’s Resolve, which will completely counter Withering Wail, and weaken Avalanche.
  • Blighted Ravine does not get countered by Ranger’s Resolve, but leaves you vulnerable to rally from Golden Aegis.
  • The Box is a great answer to their multiple unit plays, and can kill a Miss Fortune the turn she is summoned if she isn’t protected.
  • Anivia can help weaken the opponent’s board, but can leave you vulnerable the turn you drop her.
  • Scouts needs a board to be effective and do damage, so if you can wipe their board, it can be incredibly difficult for them to recover.

Closing Words

Anivia has been making a resurgence after buffs to it in Patch 3.0, with good matchups into quite a few different meta decks.

It can be tricky to pilot, and there are some tough matchups too – as evidenced by its overall 45% win rate according to Masters Meta Stats. However, you should still have solid results with it if you love the archetype and took the time to polish your play – it sits in the Tier 2 Dark Horse rank of our Meta Tier List.

Thank you all for reading, and have a good day.

Dragonguy

Dragonguy is a just a guy who enjoys playing some fun LOR decks. After taking targon's peak to top 32 of Guardians of the Ancient, he's off to look for the next off meta brew to rise to the top.

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