Heya, freshlobster here with another combination of a written guide & some gameplay examples!
Aphelios makes his grand return from the depths of meme territory to team up with Lux & Zoe in this versatile midrange/control hybrid! The deck is quite demanding to play but can be very rewarding and competitive in the current Demacia & Bandle infested meta.
The deck makes perfect use of arguably the strongest card of the latest expansion: Petricite Broadwing. With plenty of protective combat tricks like Shield of Durand, Guiding Touch, Pale Cascade and Sharpsight we can ensure that it becomes a durable force on the board and consistently takes out our opponent’s key units with its Challenger tag.
The early game is pretty straight forward – we want to develop our low cost units while Invoking Celestial cards for the mid & late game. Ideally, we’ll find a Petricite Broadwing right away or tutor it from our deck with a Crescendum from Aphelios. Since it’s our only 2 cost unit, Crescendum is guaranteed to find it!
In the mid game, our value engines Petricite Broadwing, Aphelios and Lux help us stabilize the board and regain tempo. They continuously generate removal (Final Spark, Calibrum, Gravitum, Challenger) as long as we keep them protected.
Finding win conditions is the most interesting part of this deck because we have such a variety of options. Sometimes we can just do the Targon thing and wait for our opponent to run out of resources while we keep Invoking and generating more and more cards. But sometimes we’ll need to close out the game quickly (e.g. against Darkness) or the deck we’re facing won’t run out of steam (Bandle City KEKW).
In those cases, we need to keep an eye out for huge tempo turns. Infernum or Gravitum can allow a big attack to get through. Starshaping can find huge Celestials or a Cosmic Inspiration that makes our puny units swole. A well timed For Demacia! from Vanguard Sergeant can also result in a lethal attack or at least force our opponent to block off all of their key units – especially if paired with a Final Spark from Lux.
This is ultimately what makes the deck very challenging as well as very fun to play. Knowing which win condition to go for in each matchup, looking for those big swing turns and windows of opportunity, but also knowing which cards to Invoke and how to remove your opponent’s threats requires a lot of skill, matchup knowledge and strategic planning. But it’s also the reason why – in the right hands – this deck can really shine and contest just about any matchup.
Tips & Tricks
Since this deck’s playstyle is so matchup reliant, all of the advice will be related to exactly that type of strategic planning.
- Know the matchup dynamic!
Realize who’s playing the faster deck and who’s the slower deck. Or in other words: Who is the Beatdown? Who is currently playing for tempo and who is just trying to outgrind or outvalue the opponent? Against most aggro and midrange matchups, you’ll generally be the slower deck and just try to not lose. Against control and some combo decks, you’ll have to outrace your opponent before they find their finishers or scale too well in the late game.
- Be thoughtful with your Invokes!
Think about which key threats you’ll need answers for. Also make sure that you have a variety of answers if your opponent has a variety of win conditions so you can always adapt to the current state of the game.
- Be aware of your own win conditions!
Think about which cards your opponent has good removal for, and which cards would absolutely give them trouble. Exploit the holes in your opponent’s defense.
- Vs Aggro
Petricite Broadwing!! Zoe, Lunari Duskbringer, Spacey Sketcher. If we have a good start we can consider keeping an Aphelios or a combat trick like Shield of Durand for the Broadwing.
- Vs Control & Combo
Against slower decks the mulligan is much more matchup dependent. We’re generally looking for Petricite Broadwing and early units but can also keep whichever win condition our opponent lacks answers for (Lux, Aphelios, a buffed Broadwing, For Demacia!) or whatever removal is most efficient in this matchup (e.g. Sunburst or Equinox for Pantheon / Wounded Whiteflame, Falling Comet or Supernova against Bandle Tree).
- Vs Midrange, Control & Combo
The list is already well teched, but we can consider more matchup specific removal cards like Single Combat, Concerted Strike or Screeching Dragon.
Cut down on Guiding Touch, Hush, Sunburst or Shield of Durand.
Thanks for reading!
Let me know what you think of this guide + video format and what you’d like to see more (or less) of. Any constructive feedback helps a lot!