Azir Irelia: Is It Really Dead?
Hey, Agigas here! You’re not dreaming, and this is not a 6-month old article.
Azir Irelia was once the most controversial archetype in the game and still lives in the mind of players that played at the time it dominated. The deck since then has received several large nerfs, and while we did see some glimpses of success for Azir Irelia from time to time, it never really performed great again.
However, this season, a few Blade Dance lovers have been talking about the deck and playing it again with good results. Caleb Rogerson was the one who gave me the idea to try the deck again, and my list is a slight twist on his version.
While I was personally not an Azir Irelia player when it was at the top, I did like the idea of going back in time, as I’m very weak to nostalgia. Moreover, the deck does make sense in the current ladder meta, as Azir Irelia is a potential candidate to beat Ezreal Kennen.
Azir Irelia is an aggro/combo deck looking to abuse Azir and Emperor’s Dais, which both summon a Sand Soldier on each attack. It does so by attacking a ridiculous amount of times each turn thanks to the Blade Dance mechanic.
Azir is the staple of the deck. He will summon Sand Soldiers, and later buff them to make the opponent’s life a living hell. This is the reason why we run 2 copies of Rite of Calling.
Irelia is not nearly as powerful as she once was, but she still serves the deck right with the Blade Dance mechanic. She levels quite easily, making the opponent’s blocks very tough decisions because of the Bladesurge generation.
While simply attacking numerous times with a bunch of Sand Soldiers and Blades can be enough to bring down an opponent, we also play some extra payoffs to our ability to quickly summon lots of units. Sparring Student will heavily pressure the opponent, forcing them to throw one of their units under the bus to chump block him. Greenglade Duo is an explosive win condition in this deck against an opponent that can’t deal with them.
To surround that very synergistic package,
This whole on-attack game plan results in an aggressive deck that will spend the first few turns setting up to unleash hell on the opponent on turns 4 to 7.
While the deck tends to struggle against aggression as it needs a few turns to set up, it does perform well against slower decks because of how hard Azir and Emperor’s Dais are to remove.
So far, I have personally enjoyed playing Azir Irelia in the current meta. The deck does well against Ezreal Kennen as long as they don’t hit too good of a draw, and will also perform against Pantheon decks.
That said, I don’t consider the deck to be a candidate to make it back to Tier 1 because of its weakness to Yordle Swarm, another major driving force of the meta. The deck is also clearly not as oppressive as it once was – you often lack the mana to execute the perfect game plan.
All in all, if you’re looking for something spicy, that will annoy opponents, and that does well against Ezreal Kennen, Azir Irelia might be a great fit for you. The deck is perfectly viable, and the current meta does feel good for it, especially if your local meta is lower on aggro decks.
If you have a question, want to share feedback, or discuss this deck, I’ll be happy to answer you in the comments below!
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Thanks for reading!