Anivia Control Deck Primer

Anivia is a deck that has been around forever but has not been considered top tier for a while now. Occasionally it rises to a top tier 3 or tier 2 kind of power level when the metagame calls for it. That might be the case lately as Sion or Nami are the two most popular champions, Anivia’s freeze package is looking to be one of the good answers to slowing down those 2.

Also, with a metagame geared towards countering Nami Zoe currently, and with aggressive decks like Pirates making a comeback, the healing potential and defensive spells of Shadow Isles now finally have matchups to be a force in.

Against Nami itself, the deck isn’t so bad as the freeze give us a good stalling mechanic and The Ruination. Although extremely expensive, it is still is the best way to take care of Nami, Shelly and all the buffed units they created.


Game Plan

Anivia isn’t a complicated deck by essence as it basically is looking to stall the game until the opponent’s comfort zone is gone and they can’t pressure us enough to force us into a defensive stance. That part of the match usually involves AoE like Avalanche or Blighted Ravine as key to removing the opponent’s board. Paired with those are the Shadow Isles spells, helping set up the AoE as well as keeping our Nexus to a lofty amount of health points.

If not under too much pressure, the deck can draw to find its key cards for later in the game. Avarosan Sentry, Glimpse Beyond and Entreat being all in there to offer cheap drawing options and helping the overall reliability of the pack.

Anivia being the sole win condition of the deck, it is vital to draw and find her in every game. As such, it is often a fine sacrifice to let the board develop while we draw if we have a way to clear it later on with an AoE. Using our defensive tools too early might result in having to skip some turns later on to draw and our opponent would rebuild some pressure. 
Once some breathing room in the game arrives, the deck will start changing gears towards developing its board, mainly with its sole champion, and abusing its deathrattle and support cards like Gluttony and The Rekindler to multiply Anivia.

If the opponent would still be pressuring at this point in the game, cards like Vengeance and The Ruination become available for larger units or boards. This is also where the freezes become clutch, allowing us to buy precious time for more timely Ruination, or simply to develop more Anivias and fight the board with our undying army of birds.

Ionia being used mostly as a support region to Demacia and Shurima being discrete since its triple nerfs to Merciless Hunter, Shaped Stone and Ruin Runner, both Deny and Rite of Negation aren’t played currently. This means Ruination and Harrowing, two of our key late game spells are fairly safe to use and something that is clutch to the deck’s success. Both spells are game winners in various match ups.


As Darkness has failed to control the pressure decks, Anivia freeze package is looking to be one the best options currently. Be aware however, you will have to earn those wins. Control players should find some relief in seeing that an evergreen archetype can save what is otherwise a competitively abandoned playstyle currently.

The high cost of the Shadow Isles spells is looking to be a problem in a very mana efficient metagame, and the tiniest mistake ends up in a game losing effort most of the time. Both Nami and Sion are playable match ups, making Anivia a viable option on paper for the current environment. The current aggressive meta looking to punish Nami is also a good news for the deck, leaving Bandle Tree as the only really unplayable match up.

If this playstyle is appealing for you, you should check out Dragonguy’s updated Feel The Rush deck guide. If you are a beginner, you can try my version of one of the budget Starter Deck upgrades to get you started as well!


Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yugioh and then Magic. Hearthstone has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. Although it took him a bit to get into Legends or Runeterra, his EU Seasonal Tournament win was the perfect start to get involved in the community. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on the game. Find him on Twitter at @den_CCG!

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