Hey, it’s Mezume here! In this article, I will present a few decks that are great to pick up in the current meta if you are a beginner player trying to learn the game. Let’s start with listing some of the criteria for how I’m choosing the decks for this collection.
First of all, the deck needs to be simple to learn and play. To clarify, decks with a high skill ceiling are definitely allowed too – but what’s important is that the entry point, the skill floor, should be low and you don’t need to have excessive game knowledge to win with a deck in question.
The other criteria is that the archetype I would recommend needs to be viable as a competitive deck. It does not have to be at the top of the current meta, but it has to be able to score your some victories and climb ranks.
Finally, I tried to ensure that I do not take the easy way out and only feature aggressive and burn decks. This list includes two fast decks, but the other two want to take the game at a different pace. Learning to play at different speeds in terms of your gameplan is important to your growth as a player.
With all that said, these are the four decks I decided to showcase for you! They are listed in order of difficulty – from the easiest to the most difficult. Some of them have gameplay videos attached already – while others will have them added in the future.
The first deck that any new player can and should pick up is Spider Aggro. You should already have most – if not all – cards for this list even if you’ve been playing for a very short amount of time, as a big part of it is included in your starter collection.
The reason this deck is great for beginners is that it is very simple to pilot and teaches you to play one of the most straightforward archetypes in Legends of Runeterra – Burn.
While playing this deck, you will learn when to develop versus when to open-attack. On top of that, you will sharpen your skill for finding lethal damage, using both your onboard threats and direct damage tools in your hand. Finally, you will have your first lessons in utilizing spell mana efficiently and sometimes even bluffing – thanks to Noxian Fervor’s ability to answer enemy removal spells.
Spiders revolve around dealing damage through the board over the first few turns. The list runs a total of twelve 1-drops and thirteen 2-drops, so you are bound to have a wide board in the early turns, which against most decks should be enough to deal a decent amount of damage.
After those turns, you will have to let go of a board advantage. In order to finish off the opponent, we run multiple direct damage cards; both in the form of units like Imperial Demolitionist and Doombeast, as well as spells such as Decimate and Noxian Fervor.
While this is a really simple deck to pick up, there is still some nuance to it. The things to look out for as you learn the deck are:
- Be aware of opponent’s removal. If the opponent is likely to play Withering Wail in their deck, it is probably better to develop one unit with 2HP (for example, Arachnoid Horror) than two units with 1HP (ex. 2x Legion Saboteur). Similarly, if they seem to be playing a slow Freljord deck, attacking immediately may be a better idea than developing into an Avalanche.
- Keeping Noxian Fervor mana up. If you suspect your opponent might have removal cards ready – or even worse, some Lifesteal/Drain spells – it is good practice to keep 3 mana open in order to represent Noxian Fervor, even if you don’t have it. While at lower ranks usually would not respect it, you can buy yourself some time to actually draw it if they would.
- Plan your mana usage for the maximum damage output. For example, if you are playing against a deck with no healing (such as PnZ+Noxus), maybe it’s better not to play that extra Legion Rearguard in order to have more mana and be able to cast double Decimate next turn?
- Fringe cases. Always look for small extra advantages! Doombeasts provide some healing – so in an aggro matchup make sure to use them to buy yourself an extra turn. Elise’s champion spell, Crawling Sensation, only works if your unit died – sometimes you can sacrifice one in a less-than-ideal trade to get your Elise leveled and give all your Spiders Fearsome! Always be on the lookout for small interactions like this. Know your cards and use them to your advantage!
Demacia Bilgewater Scouts have been around for ages. Just like Spiders, it is a very simple aggressive deck, but it introduces a few extra concepts.
This archetype is great to pick up – it is almost as simple as Spiders but requires you to interact with the opponent and their board a bit more, introducing a new layer of complexity.
This archetype will teach you the importance of trading efficiently and you will learn when it’s better to go for a full swing versus when it may be better to keep some of your units in the back row. Because there are no dedicated burn cards in the deck, you will net to rely on your board to achieve a victory.
The deck relies on curving out well – you generally want to use most of your mana on developing units. In the early turns, you want to go as wide as possible, as that will allow your Vanguard Bannerman‘s buff to affect multiple units, letting them trade efficiently into the opponent’s board.
With Scout units, Challengers, and a wide board strategy in general, you will most often generate a board advantage in the early turns. To capitalize on that advantage further, the list includes Rally effects in the form of Relentless Pursuit – in turn also letting Miss Fortune level faster.
Because your units, in general, are rather small, you will need to capitalize on them early – in the late game, the opponent’s bigger units will simply stop you from getting any good attacks; and without burn damage, no attacks means no victories.
It is an easy deck, but here are some things to look out for and keep in mind while piloting it:
- Protect priority units. Scouts introduces you to the concept of unit protection and it does so in a very simple way.
Cithria, the Boldand Quinn are both valuable and worth looking out for, but the one unit you have to always keep alive is Miss Fortune. Keep mana up to be able to Sharpsight or Riposte her if you suspect the opponent will try to threaten her.
- Double-check and triple-check before attacking. The deck relies fully and completely on board advantage while also consisting mostly of units smaller than those of the opponents’. Always take a moment to make your decision – are you going to be able to refill the board if the opponent trims it down with value trades? Are you pushing enough damage to justify sacrificing your board state?
- Fringe cases. Always look for small extra advantages! If an enemy priority target has been left open to your Challengers on any particular turn, using Relentless Pursuit for a surprise attack can be a good choice, even if it doesn’t get a ton of value otherwise. If you’re in desperate need of 1 extra damage –
Miss Fortune’s Make it Raincan provide it. There are many small decisions and advantages you can find, so always be on your toes.
With this one, we are moving away from the simplicity of the previous lists. Ashe Noxus is still rather straightforward but has much more nuance to it.
In fact, this was the first deck I’ve picked up myself back when I started in February 2020 – it’s quite an old one! It is a lot like Scouts in that you want to win through the board; but it also includes concepts such as card advantage, a more complex and situational unit management, and features many more combat tricks.
You want to play on curve, but you don’t mind skipping some early turns and saving spell mana – your combat tricks are incredibly efficient.
Thanks to cards such as Avarosan Trapper, you are able to take over the board in the midgame. What helps you achieve that even more is the abovementioned power of your tricks – Troll Chant can sometimes change the outcome of two trades during a combat, while Frostbite stops any damage from an opposing unit.
Your champions are generally able to attack safely: LeBlanc has Quick Attack, while Ashe Frostbites the strongest enemy unit. Both of them can be win conditions and especially Ashe can swing the game with her leveled form, preventing your opponent from blocking.
What is the deck’s strength, however, is that there is no single clearly-defined win condition – instead, you win through having a big board that can match even the slowest and greediest of decks, as you are able to refill your hand with Trifarian Assessor as well as Whispered Words.
Here are the things to look out for in this Frostbite-centric deck:
- Define your gameplan and priorities in a matchup. In some games, trading and putting your units in danger is necessary, as you need to stop damage and trim the opponent’s board. In others, it is okay to take some hits. This can also be affected by what cards you are holding – you want to block and attack more aggressively with 5+ attack units if you’re holding Whispered Words, while it might be a good idea to hold off if you’re about to play a Trifarian Assessor.
- Recognize the win condition. With a slower hand, playing for slow trades and valuing your draw effects can be game-winning; but other hand-states may require you to try and race the opponent – especially with aggressive cards like LeBlanc and Trifarian Gloryseeker.
- Keep Ashe win-condition in mind. She is a very straightforward champion, but she can win out of nowhere. Plan your turns ahead and count the Frostbites you can play with the mana available. You can surprise your opponent with a swift level-up and a lethal attack they cannot stop.
- Use your removal wisely. You only run 4 interactive cards that are not combat tricks, so you need to make sure not to waste them. For Reckoning make sure your opponent cannot just remove all your 5+ attack units before it resolves – if it fizzles, you’ve used 6 mana for nothing. Culling Strike is less swingy, but if combined with Icevale Archer, it is almost a 5-mana Vengeance.
- Fringe cases. There are multiple interactions within the deck you will learn along the way. Some of them include: Icevale Archer being used offensively for Ashe level up on a swing turn, casting Culling Strike on your own units to avoid letting the opponent Drain from them, or using Trifarian Assessor right after an Avarosan Trapper to ensure an Enraged Yeti draw. There are of course many more – and you will figure those out as you play!
The most advanced deck on the list is also, at the time of writing, the most successful one, finding a home in Tier 1 on RuneterraCCG Meta Tier List after a whole year of being an off-meta archetype.
Continuing the trend of this article, we mostly want to play our cards on-curve – but there are more nuances in this case, as it is a much more coherent and synergy-driven deck.
This is where we can really learn about how our cards synergize with each other and how to get the most out of our synergies. While the goal of the deck is clear – leveling the champions and overpowering the opponent with them – there is much more variety in how we can get there.
Much of that is the versatility is thanks to Nab, but also the fact that the deck can play both aggressively, but also take the role of a control deck.
This deck has a mini-quest within your standard game of LoR – you aim to damage the enemy Nexus on as many separate turns as possible. If you keep this task in mind at all, Sejuani and Gangplank will be leveled by turn 8 or 9 latest – but the goal is to do so as early as turn 5-6.
Look to progress your champion’s level-up conditions in any way that is possible and sensible, even if sometimes it might mean giving up a unit or playing Warning Shot without any follow-up value from a Plunder trigger. Once your champions are leveled, it is really difficult for the opponent to find counterplay – they both are big Overwhelm threats with really powerful abilities: Sejuani can hinder any attempt at unit combat, while Gangplank can easily clear boards.
Below are the things to think about while piloting this Freljord Bilgewater list:
- Damage the enemy Nexus on every turn you can. Parrrley, Crackshot Corsair, Warning Shot, Overwhelm units, Zap Sprayfin – those are just some of the cards that make it really easy to trigger the level-up conditions and Plunder effects. Make sure to use them wisely, but do not go too far! If you are completely running out of cards, that Warning Shot might be better saved in case you find a Black Market Merchant.
- Know when to Plunder. While I said it is important to damage the enemy Nexus as often as possible, there are cases in which you are better off being patient. If you are facing a strategy focused on Azir and have a Monster Harpoon in hand, it might be better to hold off on using that Parrrley or Warning Shot.
- Fringe cases. Once again, there are multiple interactions you will learn. The Dreadway is not only a finisher, but also a great removal tool – Ice Shard becomes a Fast-speed Avalanche when Dreadway is on board! Parrrley can be used to damage the enemy Nexus directly, Sejuani can Frostbite the entire board the same turn she has leveled – and there are many, many more interesting interactions with this deck. Keep an eye on the board state and make sure you understand precisely what your cards do and you will sometimes be able to clutch an otherwise lost game!
These decks are fairly simple to play, but they all possess enough power to be able to win games and climb some ranks. They can help you to get a grasp of the LoR’s basics and they all offer different types of learning moments.
I hope you will enjoy playing these and feel like you’re constantly improving by doing so. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them below or in our Discord!