Welcome everyone to my first-ever article here at RuneterraCCG, I am MonkeyInATopHat. For those of you who don’t know anything about me, I am a Johnny that started playing trading card games way back in the mid-90s with Magic the Gathering. I also write articles on MTG Arena Zone. I have played Legends of Runeterra since beta and League of Legends since season 2.
Today I want to spotlight the new champion, herald of the New Age of Technology himself, Viktor. In the lore, Viktor is a human from Zaun who specializes in cyborg augmentation. He upgraded his own body with his special brand of technology, and now he is dead-set on spreading that tech to the rest of Runeterra so that humanity’s full potential can be reached. So let’s lend him a hand!
Let’s start by breaking down what he does, then analyzing his strengths and weaknesses. Viktor’s keyword is Augment, which gives a +1 attack value boost every time you play a created card. He self-enables his Augment by creating a Hex Core Upgrade in hand at the start of every turn, which is a 1-mana Slow spell that grants him a random keyword. Once you have played eight created cards, he levels up gains the ability to lower the cost of all created cards by one. This new ability synergizes with his old one, making his Hex Core Upgrades free.
|Viktor’s strengths||Viktor’s weaknesses|
|Infinitely-stacking attack||Weak stats for the cost|
|Plenty of useful keywords to acquire||Hex Core Upgrades are Slow-speed|
|Generates card advantage by making Hex Core Upgrades||Low natural survivability, needs protection to get rolling|
|Lowers cost of created cards once leveled up||Randomness of keywords|
|Can level up while in hand and deck||Viktor’s Death Ray is a terrible champion spell|
So how do we best take advantage of his strengths? Well, a champion with an infinite snowball potential can works in several types of decks. The first that comes to mind is what is known as a ‘Boggles deck’. This is a type of archetype deck that originally comes from Magic: The Gathering. The strategy it had there was to summon a small creature with a good ability like hexproof (i.e. a persisting SpellShield) then make it really big with cards that buff it up. This strategy seems like a possibility with Viktor because he provides most of the buffs himself! All you need to do is protect him.
Another strong archetype that works well with a snowballing card-generator like Viktor is the ‘Tempo’ archetype. Tempo decks look to set up a superior board state while leveraging efficient disruption tools. Tempo is all about developing and protecting your board, as well as keeping card advantage up. And indeed, Viktor too wants to be protected until he can Augment and upgrade himself, and he creates a card advantage with his ability.
After much analysis and playtesting I came up with these five decks that range from fun and wacky to moderately competitive.
1. Mono Piltover and Zaun
This is a Boggles-style deck that wants to create a large Augment unit with Elusive. Take advantage of Sumpsnipe Scavenger’s Allegiance ability to guarantee Viktor gets Elusive. Early on you want to keep the board clear with Ezreal and his Mystic Shots. This will help you level up Viktor too. Don’t attack with Viktor unless it is a guarantee that he is safe. It is too big a risk to lose him before he has Elusive.
2. Viktor/Elise Go Hard
Go Hard creates two copies of itself to shuffle them into your deck, so it can help Viktor to level up. Once he does, he makes Go Hard and Pack Your Bags cost zero. Be aggressive early and try to secure a lead on the board. Don’t be afraid to let your opponent’s attacks through unblocked, since we have a lot of drain in our deck. Set up a Pack Your Bags to push through with a big Viktor for the finish.
3. Viktor/Riven Boggles
Get out Riven and/or Viktor then use a mix of combat tricks and removal to keep board advantage up and make one of the champions too big for our opponents to deal with. Make sure to use your Reforge cards before casting Viktor’s Hex Core Upgrades, to avoid getting duplicate keywords.
4. Viktor/Zoe Elusive Celestials
Generate Celestials, with a special preference for The Trickster. Those Celestials will fuel Viktor’s quest, who upon leveling up will, in turn, make your Celestials cost less. Drop an Elusive with a leveled-up Zoe to give Viktor Elusive and push through the final blow.
5. Viktor/Ezreal Tempo
Control the board state with your removal and combat tricks while using Ezreal and Viktor to generate card advantage. Level up either of your champions and this one will be easy to close out. A level 2 Viktor with any-level Ezreal is incredibly difficult to deal with. 1-mana Mystic Shots are no joke!
Final Thoughts on Viktor
Viktor is a fun champion to win games with, but when you lose it is so incredibly frustrating. You spend a ton of time building up an Augmented Murder Cyborg only to have it Vengeanced because you’ve failed to randomly get SpellShield.
I think the card has a lot of potential, but I don’t see him being competitively viable without some sort of a buff. After playing a ton of Viktor and seeing the strengths and weaknesses of the card there are a few things I think Riot could do to make the card better in this meta.
I am going to outline a few potential buffs that could make Viktor see more play. I am not implying he needs ALL of these buffs, but merely pointing out his weak spots that I think could see improvement and lead to more play.
- Viktor needs his stats ‘rearranged’. He is built with the idea to grow bigger and bigger over a long period of time. However, he needs more health to be able to survive that long. If it were up to me, I would make his starting level 1 stats 0|7. This would incentivize you to play his Hex Core Upgrade or another created card ASAP to get some attack on him while also giving him some much needed long-term survivability.
- Have Hex Core Upgrade give a choice of 2-3 keywords to choose from. Right now it just feels so bad to pass priority over to your opponent AND whiff on getting a useful keyword right away. Giving a few choices would allow you to take the card in a specific direction. Do I want to use him to stay alive? I need tough and lifesteal! Do I want to use him to attack for the win? I need Overwhelm and Quick Attack! Right now you just have to do with what you get.
- Make his Hex Core Upgrade Burst speed, but not playable in combat (what is often referred to as ‘Gem-speed’). Passing over priority with this card is absolutely brutal.
- Change Viktor’s Death Ray to cost 1 at all stages. There is no reason to give up on two of your following draws for no mana advantage. Incentivize me to not just sit on this card as a backup Viktor. It’s borderline unplayable at the moment.
I think Viktor has a lot of potential. He is extremely fun to go off with, but at the moment I can’t see him fitting into the meta.