Hello everyone! Today, I would like to share my passion for Gwen, by far my favorite champion in the Forces from Beyond expansion so far. The champion is off to a rocky start for now, with its best win rate deck being the Elise Aggro deck, welcoming a splash of the Hallowed synergy to increase its offensive potential. As it has become customary early in an expansion, very aggressive decks tend to do quite well, punishing the other decks which aren’t refined yet.
Outside the usual 54% win rate decks, other, more creative archetypes are much closer to the 50% mark for now. A Targon pairing is making strides, with Diana and Aphelios being tested alongside Gwen. A lot of the other archetypes are also posting disappointing win rates, like Ahri Gwen or Gwen Viego, which looked promising during theorycrafting but are stuck at the 47 or 48% win ratio so far.
In this piece, I’ll highlight the 3 best decks with Gwen in the current metagame, and also a few archetypes which could be worth keeping an eye on in the future.
Disclaimer: The lists featured in this article are the ones I could find with the highest win rate over the last couple of days. I didn’t build all these decks myself. I also only picked decks with more than 30 games with those exact 40 cards in order to have somewhat of a decent sample size. Considering we are still early in the expansion and Gwen is brand new to Legends of Runeterra, all decklists will likely change in the coming weeks and other archetype might appear too. This guide will be updated accordingly.
The Best Gwen Deck: Gwen Elise Aggro
At the start of an expansion, you always see aggressive decks do well. Their simple gameplan and oppressive playstyle tends to be extremely effective when everyone else is playing weird archetypes they aren’t even sure how to build yet.
As such, I would expect this deck to lose some sustainable power as time passes, and other archetypes find their footing. Nonetheless, there is something important to note, the difference between the Elise Aggro win rate during the last patch and the one Elise Gwen currently holds.
Before the current patch, Elise Aggro was basically unplayable, Annie Jhin being the sole aggressive, damage based deck in the metagame. Even with the help of an unstable environment, seeing this archetype rise to a 55% win rate is something to take into consideration. Even if down the line we might see it be relayed to Tier 3 at a 52% or so win rate, it feels like Gwen and the Hallowed units are bringing something to help the deck perform better than it could in the past.
In this deck, Gwen brings a top of the curve threat with guaranteed damage upon attacking. While we obviously would like to be damaging the opposing nexus much more than 2 at this point in the game, the drain also provides some resiliency to our nexus. In addition to it, the Hallowed synergy works pretty well with the Fearsome keyword, and one buffed unblocked unit can immediately translate to a lethal setup in the next few turns.
The Rising Archetype: Gwen Diana
Diana being buffed with the Hallowed synergy is quite easy to picture as a big challenger unit or one bringing a ton of pressure. The Nightfall units also feature very good offensive keywords to pair the Hallowed buff with. Fearsome, Overwhelm or Elusive all provide different ways of bringing potential damage to our opponent’s nexus and gives the deck a nice flexibility even when we aren’t dominating the board.
Overall, this archetype is trying to build pressure different ways, so it can adapt to how our opponent’s plans to defend on the board. Against another board-based deck, we would make use of Diana trading ability as well as Gwen chipping away at their nexus. The Crescent Guardian can represent a huge chunk of damage in one attack once we decide to go for Lethal. If we see we can go wide, then we can plan for a Winding Light and go for a huge attack, which usually beats any deck without a solid spell based defense.
Against spell-based defenses, we want to value our Hallowed synergy, forcing the opponent to use valuable resources in order to stop our high attack units. Thanks to Pale Cascade and Unto Dusk, we are also able to draw our cards while supporting them at the same time, keeping our tempo quite high through the whole game.
The current win rate for the deck is around 53%, but the amount of games are still low. More time is needed in order to assess if this rising archetype is playable in the long run.
The Work in Progress: Annie Gwen
Reactive control decks tend to take much longer to develop into a solid decklist compared to proactive, tempo-oriented options. As such, I would highly recommend taking this one like a concept more than a finished product compared to the 2 lists above.
In terms of strategy, we are looking to control the pace of the game with the flurry of defensive spells we have until we can level up Annie and get the Ravenbloom Conservatory to finish its countdown. Once this is done, we basically become a burn deck and aim directly at the opposing Nexus with Captain Farron and Decimate.
Without any other Hallowed units (which I’m not sure is correct by the way, but this list had a good win rate), one could wonder why are we playing Gwen and passing on potentially buffing Tybaulk or Captain Farron. Well, simply draining health at the opposing nexus can be good enough reason to play the champion. Dealing damage to the opponent makes it easier for us when we make the switch to being a burn deck, and more health for us simply helps with overall survivability.
This is the archetype I have seen the most different takes on, so I would definitely consider it a work in progress. Yet, as the metagame progresses, this deck is also the one that can be the most flexible in its build as it gathers more information about its opponents.
Other Archetypes to Keep an Eye On
A more value–oriented take of the Diana Gwen build, Aphelios is slower but allows using Moon Weapons on our left attacker for huge life steal or overwhelm attacks.
In this iteration of the build, we are looking to build a solid board and rely on timely attacks rather than playing for tempo like Diana encourages us to. Most of the time, we would like to use a Moon Weapon to create an overwhelm attacker and abuse the hallowed buff.
Once we managed to go wide, we can use the Winding Light’s Nightfall effect and go for the final blow.
A surprising pairing, but one that is the best to take advantage of the Hallowed synergy. As we multiply the attacks, we also multiply the impact the Hallowed buff has on the game.
For now, it doesn’t like the deck can overtake Azirelia in a competitive environment, but maybe we will find some matchups this deck does better in down the line.
Compared to the other two new champions in Forces from Beyond, Gwen feels right in the middle as she is featured in both good decks and inspiring players to test new archetypes. Kai’Sa quickly found decks to be played in, featuring several decks around the 55% win rate mark, and Evelynn is downright disappointing for now, as no deck using the champion has been even close to a competitive status.
In the current state of things, I believe that Spider Aggro being the best Gwen deck is a good indication that the community probably needs to work a bit more in order to find the perfect archetype for the champion. The deck is posting good results, but I have a hard time imagining the deck staying atop the metagame for a full season. Only time will tell what will be the future for Gwen. For now, I can at least say that I am having a lot of fun experimenting with and around Gwen.
Good Game Everyone,