Best Archetypes and Cards in Expeditions

With the introduction of the new Shurima expansion, the Expeditions mode has changed a lot, bringing much additional variety both to the card pool and the interactions between archetypes.

To reflect the new meta, we at RuneterraCCG have been updating our resources for Expedition players – check out our Tier List of champions and the complete card pools of all the Expeditions archetypes. On this page, you’ll find the rankings for those archetypes, as well as some big picture strategy advice that should help you into trials.

Before digging into the Archetypes Ranking, I’d like to remind everyone that Expeditions is a very diverse game mode. Feel free to experiment and build up your own approach to Expeditions – a tempo-oriented mindset can be just as good as a value-oriented mindset. Draft the archetypes you enjoy and build decks that you know how to pilot well – this is a great recipe for long-term success.


Two Approaches to Drafting

Expeditions are all about being flexible – most of the time. You build a deck on the fly from what you get offered during your draft picks, so being adaptable will be very rewarding.

If in doubt, I would always advise drafting for tempo as it is overall the easier gameplan to have success with. You could get punished running into an experienced opponent who knows how to ‘go over the top’; but overall, it is much easier to dictate the tempo than trying to keep up.

Another reason why building defensive decks in Expeditions is much harder than it is in Constructed is that you can’t really balance your deck to get the exact ratio and variety of tools you need to control your opponents. Also, you have no idea what you will run into during your games, which makes the perfect control game plan even more difficult to put together.

There are two theoretical approaches one can adopt while drafting, that we’ll cover below.


  • ‘Pick the best card’

In an environment with a lot of possibilities, when you don’t really know what your opponents have in their deck, just going with the best card-offering each time is the easiest and most reliable option for a lot of players.

The ‘Pick the best card’ approach is usually most preferable for players without much experience in Expeditions. The resulting deck will be closer to a ladder build of a particular chosen archetype, which should make the deck easier and familiar to pilot.

When going for this approach, we want to draft standalone good cards. For example, Targon is a solid region for that approach as the Invoke mechanic doesn’t require many synergies to provide quality cards. Demacia is another good example as Dragons are beefy units that are always annoying to deal with for our opponent.


  • ‘Maximise the synergy’

You are not limited to the max number of copies that you could have of any particular card, so the decks have the potential to get really crazy. That means sometimes we can just ‘force’ a linear deck that does one thing – and one thing only – incredibly well.

With the more synergistic approach, we are going for a high-risk, high-reward type of deal. Usually, we’ll start with a champion we’re comfortable with and which we know how to play and support well. Then, the idea is to draft cards that maximize our champion’s strength and create a specific very effective gameplan.

While this approach looks like a big risk if we were to not draw our important core cards, in Expeditions it actually works out quite often.

First, due to the smaller deck-size we have at the start of an Expedition and with the help of the mulligans, our hand should always be at least playable. And at worst, with an awkward hand, we can always try to play for tempo.

The second and most important point is that Expeditions are quite forgiving to losses – you’re not done until you’ve lost back-to-back games (except for the final game). So as long as our deck doesn’t draw badly twice in a row, we should be fine.

Teemo is a great champion for this approach, as we can just linearly draft for Mushrooms. Also, Teemo, who is a 1-drop, can get to work from the very first turn and he is a 100% easy keep all the time.


While I believe the ‘Maximise the synergy’ approach can net better results, the best Expedition players know which approach fits which champion the best.

The arrival and higher appearance rate of Shurima archetypes has put an emphasis on tempo and unit combat with spells like Exhaust and Ruthless Predator – it means we are currently in the ‘Pick the best card’ meta. Outside of Taliyah, who requires landmark synergy, and Nasus who will ask for some Slay spells along the way – Sivir, Renekton, and Azir all push for a combat-focused build.

My own best runs have been with highly synergistic decks, trying to benefit from the small deck-size at the start and then strengthening and solidifying my build as I progressed in the Expedition trial. But those kinds of decks have also led to some of my worst runs when the synergy just failed to work and was overrun by tempo opponents.


Archetypes Ranking

To rate archetypes, I evaluated all the cards in their particular card pools, including the champions, and came up with a cumulative grade for each archetype as a whole. To see which champions are the best in Expeditions mode, you can check out our Champions Tier List.

Each archetype is ranked on a scale from 1 to 5. I’ll include the best cards for each archetype so you know what to look for (I’ve omitted Epic-rarity cards, as these appear in drafting packs very rarely). Of course, that doesn’t mean the cards I didn’t mention are bad, – it’s just your deck will first and foremost benefit from having several copies of the cards I highlighted.

As a general observation, archetypes with fewer cards tend to feel better as there is more consistency in the cards we will get. The same goes for rarity – good common cards make the archetype better than if it had quality cards that are mainly rare.


ArchetypeBest CardsRating
FIRST TO THE DRAWJagged Butcher, Jaull Hunters, Ye Been Warned3.0
DEMACIAN STEELPenitent Squire, Golden Aegis, Captain Arrika4.0
FROZEN SOLIDTroll Chant, Alpha Wildclaw, Rimefang Wolf, Icevale Archer4.5
DISCIPLINEElusive units, Twin Disciplines2.5
NOXIAN MIGHTWhirling Death, Armored Tuskrider3.0
SHROOM AND BOOMPuffcap Peddler, Mystic Shot, Thermogenic Beam, Shroom cards5.0
AFTERLIFEMistwraith, Wraithcaller, Risen Mists4.5
ASCENSIONDunekeeper, Rock Hopper3.0
RADIANT DAWNSolari units, Eclipse Dragon, Rahvun, Daylight's Spear4.5
SCOUT IT OUTHired Gun,Boxtopus, Island Navigator, Sharpsight, Gizzled Ranger, Concerted Strike3.5
RAIDING PARTYJagged Butcher, Chum the Waters, Elixir of Iron, Fury of the North2.0
SPELL SLINGERSJaull Hunters, Slippery Waverider, Concussive Palm0.0
MEGA KEGDreadway Deckhand, Petty Officer, Iron Ballista, Noxian Fervor, Scorched Earth, Ravenous Flock3.0
SMASH AND GRABHired Gun, Jaull Hunters, Mystic Shot, Patrol Wardens, Gotcha!2.5
TERRORS FROM THE DEEPYe Been Warned, Jaull Hunters, Barkbeast, Glimpse Beyond2.0
MENDING TOUCHBoxtopus, Hired Gun, Shakedown, Starshaping, Astral Protection3.5
SUIT UPSharpsight, Radiant Guardian, Troll Chant, Fury of the North, Wolfrider3.5
SHIELD WALLBrightsteel Protector, Screeching Dragon, Riposte, Greenglade Caretaker3.0
RELENTLESSBack to Back, Whirling Death, Minotaur Reckoner, Armored Tuskrider2.5
GRAND MOMENTSRemembrance and low-cost units, Mystic shot, Aftershock, Thermogenic Beam2.0
RETRIBUTIONFleetfeather Tracker, Egghead Researcher, Senna, Sentinel of Light, Grizzly Ranger, Single Combat, Barkbeast, Glimpse Beyond, Blighted Caretaker, Cursed Keeper3.5
CHALLENGERPenitent Squire, Screeching Dragon, Cataclysm, Gallant Rider, Exhaust, Rock Hopper, Ruthless Predator, Siphoning Strike4.5
DRAGON'S DESCENTScreeching Dragon - Egghead Researcher - Concerted Strike Whiteflame Protector - Eclipse Dragon4.0
ENLIGHTENMENTCatalyst of Aeons, Troll Scavenger, Kindly Tavernkeeper, Wyrding Stones WIll of Ionia, Yone, Windchaser1.0
BATTLE SCARSElixir of Iron, Troll Chant, Scarthane Steffen, Troll Gifts, Avalanche Transfusion, Scorched Earth, Armored Tuskrider2.5
CLONING PROGRAMBrittle Steel, Avarosan Trapper, Rimefang Wolf, Harsh Winds Patrol Wardens, Aftershock, Parade Electrorig2.5
ANCIENT EVILOmen Hawk, Avarosan Trapper, Three Sisters, Brittle Steel Glimpse Beyond, Black Spear - The Rekindler3.0
INCUBATORSFrozen Thrall, Ice Shard, Avarosan Sentry, Three Sisters, Blighted Ravine Preservarium, Desert Naturalist, landmarks2.5
OTHERWORLDLY CREATURESWyrding Stones, Avalanche, Avarosan Sentry, Startled Stomper, Whiteflame Protector, Starshaping, Eclipse Dragon, Solari Priestess2.5
DISRUPTIONNopeify, Concussive Palm, Yone, Windchaser, Thorn of the Rose, Guile, Ravenous Flock, Minotaur Reckoner2.0
TOTAL RECALLElusive units, Concussive Palm, Gotcha!, Suit Up!3.0
SHADOWS AND DUSTNopeify, Twin Disciplines, Greenglade Duo, Warden’s Prey, Soul Shepherd, Shark Chariot, Stalking Shadows3.0
COLLECTIVE SUPPORTYoung Witch, Tasty Faefolk, Twin Disciplines, Pale Cascade, Zenith Blade, Mountain Goat, Crescent Guardian1.0
SCRAPHEAPBlade Squire, Runeweaver, Iron Ballista, Crowd Favorite, Poro Cannon, Zaunite Urchin, Gotcha!, Suit Up!, discard fodder4.0
ARACHNOPHILIANoxian Fervor, Crowd Favorite, Frenzied Skitterer, Arachnoid Horror, Glimpse Beyond, spiders2.5
REPUTATIONBloody Business, Whispered Words, Armored Tuskrider, Ancient Hourglass, Bloodthirsty Marauder3.5
BLADES AND BUFFSBlade Squire, Runeweaver, Weapon Hilt, Armored Tuskrider, Pale Cascade, Mountain Goat, Crescent Guardian3.5
DEATH'S DOORMystic Shot, Gotcha!, Thermogenic Beam, Statikk Shock, Vengeance, The Box, The Rekindler4.0
AWESOME AUGMENTS!Iterative Improvements, Starshaping, Mountain Goat, Lunari Priestess, Spacey Sketcher, Lunari Duskbringer3.0
SLAYERSFading Icon, Black Spear, Spirit Leech, Hapless Aristocrat, Blighted Caretaker, Rite of Calling, Rock Hopper, Ruthless Predator, Baccai Sandspinner, Rampaging Baccai4.5
LUMINOUS DUSKBarkbeast, Stalking Shadows, Blighted Caretaker, Lunari Duskbringer, Pale Cascade, Crescent Guardian, Lunari Priestess4.0
MOONLIT HEISTJagged Butcher, Boxtopus, Black Market Merchant, Sparklefly, Crescent Guardian, The Cloven Way3.5
FISHBONESHired Gun, Jagged Butcher, Poro Cannon, Ballistic Bot, Mystic Shot, Get Excited!, Omen Hawk, Fleetfeather Tracker2.0
FISTS OF THE DRAGONEgghead Researcher, Screeching Dragon, Concerted Strike, Strafing Strike, Spirit’s Refuge, Concussive Palm2.5
VAULT OF CROWNSEgghead Researcher, Sharpsight, Radiant Guardian, Mist’s Call, Blighted Caretaker, The Rekindler, sacrifice fodder4.0
BLOOD ON THE ICEIcevale Archer, Avarosan Trapper, Rimefang Wolf, Flash Freeze, Whirling Death, Armored Tuskrider, Legion Saboteur3.0
FLUFT AND TUFTPoro Snax, Lonely Poro, Battle Fury, Plucky Poro Pale Cascade, Patched Porobot3.5
SOLAR WINDSYoung Witch, Concussive Palm, Yone, Windchaser, Steel Tempest, Solari units3.5
AUGMENTED ASSAULTBlade Squire, Runeweaver, Whirling Death, Armored Tuskrider, Get Excited!, Ballistic Bot, Nyandroid2.5
THE BLACK MISTMistwraith, Wraithcaller, Fading Memories, Risen Mists4.5

den

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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