Ashe Noxus 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 ongoing series of guides on meta decks. You can find all the other guides and a matchup table on this page.

This guide is dedicated to Ashe Noxus – a midrange powerhouse leveraging the power of freezes.


Archetype: Midrange.

Ashe Noxus is the perfect example of a midrange deck. It packs a lot of value, boasts a powerful board presence with strong finishers, and runs some removal for the opponent’s key threats. It can be very hard to beat Ashe Noxus on the board during the mid-game.

This archetype puts a strong emphasis on the synergies around 5+ attack units. Trifarian Assessor provides a massive card advantage given that you have a strong board, sometimes drawing upwards of four cards, and Reckoning can act as a one-sided board wipe in the right matchup. 5+ attack units also enable Reputation for Whispered Words and synergize well with LeBlanc (level-up condition, Mirror Image, LeBlanc’s Sigil of Malice).

Ashe Noxus also leverages Frostbite effects to set up for good trades and to enhance Culling Strike and Reckoning. They are also very good at stalling the game when needed making Ashe Noxus very hard to kill for board-based strategies.

Because of the lack of burn damage (only LeBlanc’s Sigil of Malice) or powerful offensive keywords, Ashe Noxus often needs quite some time to finish the game if they do not have Ashe. However, the deck is not afraid to go late – it has access to long-game value and it is extremely hard to out-scale this deck. Whispered Words and especially Trifarian Assessor help you make sure you don’t run out of threats, and Avarosan Hearthguard further increases the value of each unit in your deck.

With Ashe however, the deck gains a whole new angle. Already in her level 1, the ability to freeze an opponent’s unit on-attack is amazing to set up good trades. As she levels up, Ashe becomes a terrifying finisher – with the high amount of Frostbite effects that you run, it is very easy to set up an OTK and disable blocks of the entire opponent’s board.

LeBlanc comes into the deck to bring more raw aggression to your game plan. With 5 power and the Quick Attack keyword, she is a powerful attacker and will help you enable your synergies. She can level up pretty easily, which won’t impact the game as much as a leveled-up Ashe but will still be valuable for the stat boost and the ability to put more board pressure with Mirror Image.

Thanks to its very powerful board presence and combat tricks, Ashe Noxus tends to dominate in board-centric matchups, like most Demacia decks for example. However, putting such focus on the board means it’s a lot weaker to decks that attack games on different axis – like burn, or removal-heavy decks.

Recently, a very different build of Ashe Noxus has emerged which is showing good results: the Marauder build. Decks with Legion Marauder always have ended up disappointing in the past, but so far this version is doing great and looks to be on the same power level as the standard Ashe Noxus. The classic version in this guide is the safest and better-known list, but if you’re looking to spice things up for your Ashe Noxus, Marauder is definitely something you should try!


General Tips

  • Make good use of Frostbites from Ashe and Icevale Archer. There are many Frostbite synergies in your deck. Aim to combine Ashe and Icevale Archer with your Challenger units (Trifarian Gloryseeker) or with your removals (Culling Strike, Reckoning). Icevale Archer’s freeze can also be used defensively.
  • Leverage your board to enable your synergies. A lot of your synergies require you to have a strong board presence. A Reckoning or Trifarian Assessor won’t be nearly as impactful when you have 1-2 units as compared to if you had 4+ units. Freezes are much more impactful when used during a trade. Ashe removing the opponent’s blockers won’t be nearly as great if you don’t have the board power to threaten lethal. Therefore, try to build up your board, especially with 5+ attack units, and trade the opponent’s units with your tricks rather than with your own units.
  • Avoid using Culling Strike on a unit of lesser importance. You don’t have many removals, and Culling Strike is certainly the most flexible one. Outside of specific situations, keep it to deal with a real threat (a key champion, a very big unit, etc.), in conjunction with a freeze if needed.
  • Keep track of Ashe’s level-up condition. Look for opportunities to level-up her in a single turn to attack for a surprising lethal. Harsh Winds is expensive but can really make the OTK a lot easier.
    • ALL 0-attack units can’t block against level 2 Ashe. It means that not only Frostbitten units can’t block you, but also the units that have 0 base attack (ex: Trundle’s Ice Pillar), and units de-buffed to 0 attack by a Troll Chant.
  • Use Mirror Image effectively. While Ashe Noxus isn’t built around LeBlanc’s level-up and her Mirror Image, you can still find some interesting synergies.
    • Use Mirror Image on a buffed Trifarian Assessor to draw lots of cards. This one is often the Graal you seek in games – look to keep your buffed Trifarian Assessor alive if you’re likely to create a Mirror Image soon.
    • Use Mirror Image on Avarosan Hearthguard to buff your whole deck once again.
    • Use Mirror Image on Ashe to freeze an additional unit.

General matchup tips:

  • Avarosan Trapper is a staple of Ashe Noxus. It enables your 5+ attack synergies with the Enraged Yeti and gives you a lot of tempo. You should always keep it and actively mulligan for it.
  • Omen Hawk is a unit you want to see if you opening hand. Always keep it if you’re not looking for something very particular, and actively mulligan for it in aggro matchups.
  • Trifarian Gloryseeker and LeBlanc are very powerful units, and you should keep them if the opponent can’t easily remove them with cheap removals. If you’re keeping a Trifarian Gloryseeker, keep Icevale Archer to allow your Challenger to take free trade.
  • Brittle Steel is a great tempo spell that will win you trades in matchups where they aim to contest you in early turns.
  • Ashe is a great unit to keep in most matchups – she is instrumental to both the snowball and the win condition. Her value in the opening hand rises even further if you already have a Trifarian Gloryseeker to pair her with.
  • In slower matchups, keep Avarosan Hearthguard. You want to make sure you play him on turn 5, so the value of your entire deck increases. It also makes your Trifarian Assessors into 5-attack units so that they will draw even from themselves.

Be aware that these are just the general guidelines to help you understand the deck’s game plan. 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: Avarosan Trapper, Culling Strike, Reckoning, Ashe; Troll Chant – if you already have good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • They don’t do much without Soraka or Tahm Kench, and both die to your Culling Strike.
  • Reckoning often clears all of their units. One 5+ attack unit on your side is enough to cast Reckoning, they have no way of preventing it.
  • Their protection against Culling Strike/Reckoning are Pale Cascade or Bastion; you can deny those with Troll Chant or Flash Freeze.
  • Their Hush can be used on their own frozen units or on Ashe if you go for the leveled-up Ashe finish.
  • Their win condition is to make a Tahm Kench stick and eat all of your 5+ attack units. Soraka also helps with providing them a lot of value. Make sure to have a way to remove them.

Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Omen Hawk, Culling Strike, Trifarian Gloryseeker; Ashe, Troll Chant, Reckoning – if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Scouts is a very board-focused deck, relying on strong units and combat tricks to generate pressure, and accelerate the game with Scout units. Your freezes are extremely strong against their game plan.
  • They can’t keep up with your mid/late game, so if you can survive the early – you’re in a good spot. In the mid-game, they can still put up a fight with Cithria the Bold and Quinn, but as long as you don’t fall too much behind you’ll out-scale them.
  • Miss Fortune is a very powerful champion and can win games if not dealt with.
    • Culling Strike is your best answer. They can prevent it with Sharpsight (counter it by Flash Freeze and Troll Chant) or Riposte (counter it by Brittle Steel and Flash Freeze).
    • If you’re afraid of Sharpsight in response to your Culling Strike, you can pre-emptively freeze MF with Brittle Steel or Icevale Archer.
    • Trifarian Gloryseeker can also deal with Miss Fortune. Be aware that if you didn’t open-attack the opponent can play Brightsteel Protector to protect her.
  • Be careful when playing out Trifarian Gloryseeker. You don’t want the opponent to kill it with a Challenger unit + MF trigger. Try to play it when you can attack with it immediately.
  • A well-timed Reckoning can win this matchup, they have no way of making it fizzle, and their only answers are buffs. Try to make them play into it.

Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Omen Hawk, Trifarian Gloryseeker, LeBlanc, Ashe, Troll Chant. Keep Icevale Archer if you have Trifarian Gloryseeker.

Matchup tips:

  • Shen Jarvan is a board-focused midrange deck, which makes it quite weak against you. Their Demacia removals (Single Combat, Concerted Strike) are all Strike effects, so your freezes are particularly strong in the matchup. Rivershaper is yet another great target for your freeze.
  • Be careful about Sharpsight. You don’t want your Culling Strike to fizzle because of it, or to lose a trade you used a freeze for. Navigate carefully around it unless you got a signal that they don’t have it, and try to force them to use it on a sub-optimal play.
  • Reckoning can win the game on the spot – they have very few 5+ attack units (only Jarvan IV). However, they have 2-3 Deny, so try to force them to tap below 4 mana before casting it.
  • Shen can have a very hard time attacking and triggering his support ability because of your 5+ attack units. Make sure you have a blocker for Shen, and it will deny them a lot of synergies.

Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Omen Hawk, Trifarian Gloryseeker, LeBlanc, Ashe. Keep Icevale Archer if you have Trifarian Gloryseeker.

Matchup tips:

  • This Demacia midrange/control archetype uses strong units and backs them up with the very efficient Demacia removals. However, this strategy doesn’t look that great against your deck that packs a lot of freezes.
  • They have no way of dealing small amounts of damage for cheap. Therefore, Trifarian Gloryseeker is especially powerful in this matchup. It also means you should not be afraid of getting your units low on health in trades – there’s nothing to punish you from having a full board of 1-health units.
  • A well-timed Reckoning can have a huge impact on the matchup in the mid-game. Their only units with 5+ attack are Eclipse Dragon and Aurelion Sol. As long as you have enough 5+ attack units so they can’t make Reckoning fizzle, their only way to save a unit is to buff it.
  • Be aware they can Hush their unit to remove a freeze.
  • Be careful about Sharpsight. You don’t want your Culling Strike to fizzle because of it, or to lose a trade you used a freeze for. Navigate carefully around it unless you got a signal that they don’t have it, and try to force them to use it on a sub-optimal play.
  • With Eclipse Dragon and Aurelion Sol, their turn 7-8 can get scary. You should come into this matchup with a tempo mindset – you want to use your advantages to create as much pressure as possible, and kill them before they scale into the late game.

Gameplay video

Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Omen Hawk, Trifarian Gloryseeker, LeBlanc, Ashe, Brittle Steel. Keep Icevale Archer if you have Trifarian Gloryseeker.

Matchup tips:

  • They can use Pale Cascade or Hush their own unit to deny you a good trade with a freeze.
  • Avoid using Frostbite spells in the early game (except for Brittle Steel). Three Sisters and Harsh Winds will be highly valuable to stall out Lee Sin later.
  • They don’t have easy ways to remove Ashe early. Play her on-curve and use her to put them under pressure. Be careful not to trade her for a Mountain Goat or a Pale Cascade and use combat tricks to back her up.
  • Trifarian Gloryseeker is a solid answer for Zoe and Sparklefly.
  • While you should have an advantage in the early- and mid-game, Lee Sin is a very potent threat for them later. They have more protection spells than you have removals so it can be very tough to get rid of him. However, if you can stall him out with freezes, you should be able to win through your powerful board.
    • They can use Bastion to prevent you from freezing Lee Sin. Troll Chant is a great counter to that, so consider keeping it for that purpose and not using it as a combat trick.
    • Having Ashe on the board is useful for advancing your game plan, but also because your other Ashe’s in hand will transform into Ashe’s Flash Freeze, which is the best counter to a Lee Sin lethal.

Mulligan for: Omen Hawk, Icevale Archer, Avarosan Trapper, Flash Freeze.

Matchup tips:

  • Nightfall is an aggressive deck that leverages the ability to consistently activate Nightfall effects. Despite being an aggressive deck, this archetype can keep the pressure up for quite a long time thanks to its cheap value tools, like Stalking Shadows.
  • Because they want to use Nightfall abilities aggressively (ex: Stygian Onlooker, Crescent Guardian, Diana), they aren’t likely to open-attack. Icevale Archer can be a great way for punishing their development.
  • Brittle Steel is very well-suited to gain a lot of tempo. Diana, level 1 Nocturne, and Crescent Guardian are all premium targets for it.
  • Once you get to the mid-game, you should be able to stabilize and secure some control over the board. At this stage of the game, you need to be very careful about your Nexus health.

Mulligan for: Omen Hawk, Avarosan Trapper, Culling Strike. Keep Brittle Steel if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Thresh Nasus is a midrange deck leveraging powerful sacrifice synergies. In the first turns, it can pull off some very explosive starts (e.g. Cursed Keeper + Blighted Caretaker) and create a lot of pressure. They can level up Thresh very quickly, and later on, Nasus comes down as a powerful threat. Atrocity is a great finisher alongside Nasus.
  • While their early starts can be quite terrifying, you’re not afraid to go pretty low on Nexus health in this matchup, as long as you can take control over the board. Their only reach is Atrocity, which is nicely countered by your freezes.
  • If possible, keep your Culling Strike for their Thresh.
  • Reckoning can clear their whole board – only Nasus and Baccai Sandspinner have 5+ attack. However, they can counter it with Rite of Negation, so try to find a window where they tap under 4 mana.
  • Keep some freezes to prevent Nasus from connecting in the late game. If you can keep him frozen, their deck won’t be able to keep up with yours even though they have enough draw to not run out of cards.
  • When you freeze a Nasus or Baccai Reaper, don’t forget they still can gain attack if your opponent slays units and won’t ncessarily stay at 0 power.

Gameplay video

Mulligan for: Ashe, Avarosan Trapper, Omen Hawk, Trifarian Gloryseeker, Brittle Steel; Icevale Archer – if you have Trifarian Gloryseeker.

Matchup tips:

  • This matchup is often very tempo-driven. Once one player pulls ahead it can be very hard for the other to come back.
  • Try to back up your Trifarian Gloryseeker with freezes so you can take good trades. Brittle Steel is a very strong tempo play.
  • Ashe can be protected against Challengers by freezes, so she can be hard to remove. She is a very strong champion to snowball the game with and find a lethal.
    • Going for the Ashe lethal isn’t guaranteed to work because of their freezes, but forcing the opponent to use freezes outside of trades is already a huge advantage.
  • Try to freeze an Ashe or a big unit to use your Culling Strike on. They can’t save a unit from Culling Strike.
  • Having slightly bigger units compared to the ones your opponent has is very advantageous. Ashe Noxus doesn’t have combat tricks that buff attack and doesn’t run ‘small’ removal to finish off a damaged unit.
    • If the game drags on, Avarosan Hearthguards will eventually buff some of your units to 6/6 – this kind of stat-lines on your units will make the board very hard to contest for the opponent.
    • Troll Chant is a very strong mid-game trick when beefy units like 5/5’s are fighting. Set up a good situation for your own Troll Chant and avoid running into the opponent’s Troll Chant.
  • Reckoning can be tough to find a use of in the mirror, and it also gets countered by freezes.

Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Omen Hawk, Avarosan Hearthguard. Keep Troll Chant if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Lissandra Matron is a control/combo deck. They look to control your board with powerful removals, mostly board-wipes (Avalanche, Blighted Ravine, Withering Wail, sometimes Ice Shard). Once they get to their Lissandra combo, they play the Watcher to close out games.
  • Your units with low health (e.g. Icevale Archer, Trifarian Assessor) are very vulnerable to their board wipes and Vile Feast. Try to build a board of solid units to prevent them from easily controlling your aggression.
    • If you can force them to tap out before your attack to use a board wipe while you still have mana, this is a great window to play out your high-attack low-health units, like Trifarian Gloryseeker, to push a lot of damage.
  • Avoid overcommitting to the board – it will make their board-wipes more powerful.

Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Omen Hawk, LeBlanc, Ashe. Keep Culling Strike if you have a good early hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Your opponent is looking to go Deep quickly – most likely around turn 7/8 – and then play very powerful Sea Monsters to win the game. Their early is your window to gain advantages, as they will quickly take control over the game later on.
  • Your low-health units, like Trifarian Gloryseeker, can have a difficult time impacting the game against their early chump blockers, Vile Feast, and Withering Wail.
  • Remove their engines quickly so they don’t go Deep too quickly – Maokai and Sea Scarab are priority targets for your Culling Strike.
  • Even if they went Deep, you can try to contest them in the late game as long as you have access to your late game value.
    • Combining a freeze with Culling Strike will help you deal with Nautilus.
    • At that stage of the game, you’re unlikely to dominate the board, but you can level up and attack with Ashe for lethal. Try to play Ashe when they can’t answer it with a Devourer of the Depths.

Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Omen Hawk, Icevale Archer, Brittle Steel. Keep Trifarian Gloryseeker if you attack on turn 2 or if you already have a good hand for the first 2 turns. Keep Troll Chant if you have a good early hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Spider Aggro is a very aggressive deck, looking to push a lot of early damage with early units, Spider synergies, and the Fearsome keyword. Once they get you low enough, they can finish with burn damage (e.g. Doombeast, Noxian Fervor, Decimate).
  • The first turns in this matchup are extremely important and can often decide the game. If you can curve out and protect your Nexus, it will be a lot harder for them to finish with burn damage.
  • You don’t have any way to heal your Nexus. Because your health is so valuable, look to use Brittle Steel and Troll Chant to prevent some Nexus damage.
  • In the mid-game, you should be able to gain control of the game with your superior mid-game units. You’re now looking to finish them as quickly as possible before they get enough time to draw/cast enough burn damage to kill you.
    • Reckoning can help you finish a lot quicker by removing their whole board. Their best counter – granted that you have several 5+ attack units – is to save units with Brothers’ Bond.
    • At this stage of the game, keep Culling Strike to make their Noxian Fervor fizzle.

Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Omen Hawk, Avarosan Hearthguard. Keep Brittle Steel if you already have Avarosan Trapper.

Matchup tips:

  • Both decks are midrange and have no healing. However, they have quite a lot of burn. This matchup can be very grindy and value-oriented, but if you ever get too much behind on tempo and low on Nexus health, they’re likely going to finish you with Ezreal, Captain Farron, and burn spells.
  • Your most likely way to upset this matchup is to out-value them. Avarosan Hearthguard is very important to win the value game, especially because of its synergy with Trifarian Assessor.
  • Be careful about Draven’s Spinning Axes: they can give back attack to a frozen unit in crucial spots (ex. when trading with Trifarian Gloryseeker, or to enable a blocker against a leveled Ashe). Axes can also make Culling Strike fizzle.
  • Keep Culling Strike for Ezreal, or for Farron with a freeze.

Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Omen Hawk, Icevale Archer, Brittle Steel; Reckoning, Troll Chant – if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Discard Aggro is an extremely aggressive deck that looks to out-pace the opponent. Their early board flood is extremely powerful, you need to set up potent defenses and stop the bleeding ASAP.
    • Cheap cards (Omen Hawk, Icevale Archer, Brittle Steel) are your best ways to limit the damage early. Avarosan Trapper is also great at helping you get some control of the board, even though the Enraged Yeti can sometimes come a bit late.
    • Reckoning is often the card that will help you take back control of the game, as it’s your only card that can deal with wide boards. They do have a few 0-cost burst attack buffs (Draven’s Spinning Axe, Vision), but often it won’t be enough. Be careful that if you cast a Reckoning with only one 5+ attack unit out that is somewhat low on health, they can counter your spell with Get Excited!.
  • After you’ve stabilized the board, their main threat that’s left is Jinx. She can easily burn you out very quickly with rockets. If possible, try to put pressure on them fast so they don’t have time to find her. Alternatively, set up a play to remove her: Culling Strike or Reckoning with a Freeze or Troll Chant, or a unit to remove her in combat like Trifarian Gloryseeker (though this can be clunky).

Gameplay Video


Conclusion

Thanks to its strong midrange plan, Ashe Noxus has been a powerful meta deck for a very long time. In some environments it has truly been dominant. It can attack certain archetypes – like most Demacia decks – which means Ashe Noxus always stays relevant in tournaments.

But because it is such a polarizing deck, it can have its low moments – like the one during the recent Fizz TF meta. Still, never count this deck out, and it’s always a matter of time before the meta changes and the Ashe deck takes back a high-tier spot.

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!

2 Responses

  1. Kassadin says:

    Ashe/Noxus or midrange frostbite is great against most midrange deck but suffers against most aggro.

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