Call of the Mountain Expansion Review: Non-Targon Cards
Call of the Mountain’s main focus was on bringing Targon to the world of Legends of Runeterra, but expansion also added a decent amount of new cards to other regions as well. As Riot moves into their new cadence of card releases every two months, they now prioritize some regions over others in each expansion. In Call of the Mountain, in addition to Targon (of course), they focused on Shadow Isles, Ionia, and Freljord. The remaining regions each received only a couple of new cards, with a heavier focus on them coming in one of the next two expansions.
If you haven’t seen my full review on Targon, you can find that here. As always, I’ll close out the piece with my crafting recommendations from amongst these new cards.
Here’s our rating scale:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, proven itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes. (Sejuani, Riptide Rex…).
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes. (The Harrowing, Twisted Fate, Mystic Shot…).
- 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes. (Yasuo, Culling Strike, Statikk Shock…).
- 2.0: Can be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks (Vanguard Sergeant, Thorny Toad…)
- 1.0: Doesn’t find its place in the meta (Unstable Voltician, Parade Electrorig…).
Poro Cannon – 2.0
A new addition to P&Z, Poro Cannon is an interesting addition to Discard strategies and Poro decks alike. In Discard decks, Poro Cannon generates fodder, enabling the cards that benefit from being discarded. That said it’s not exceptionally powerful and those decks tend to have better things to do than Poro Cannon. Still, it’s a handy way to enable your Discard payoffs. Of course, in Poro decks, it has the benefit of being two Poros in one, and the Daring Poros are among the best you can get.
Flower Child – 2.5
Playing into Ionia’s newly bolstered Support theme, Flower Child can get powerful quickly. The puzzle of which units to Support with which can be tedious, but units like Flower Child simply the maths by clearly stating in their effect that they want to be supported. Unfortunately, her low health means that she doesn’t usually stick around for too long. That said, in a deck that is capitalizing on Support units a 1-drop like this is perfect. Flower Child has found a place as a flex spot in various Lulu decks (namely Lulu/Shen and Lulu/Zed Tempo).
Pix! – 1.0
Pix! just doesn’t get there. Even for 1-mana, an 0|1 that temporarily buffs a unit +2/+1 is something that can be easily played around and not quite what Support decks are about. If Pix! granted the stats permanently it would be quite a bit better, but as it stands I wouldn’t bother with this card.
Shroud of Darkness – 1.0
I like what Shroud of Darkness is trying to do, but it isn’t worth the mana to cast it in most situations. Despite being Burst-speed, it doesn’t really protect against removal because the effect only lasts one round and you can’t apply it to a unit that is already on the board.
Stygian Onlooker – 3.0
This Nightfall unit has popped up in many lists throughout the first couple weeks of Call of the Mountain. It fits best into aggressive decks like Diana/Nocturne and even Spider Burn. The stats are tough to handle and Stygian Onlooker can often lead to terrible blocks for your opponent or can trade up in situations where your opponent must block. It’s a strong 1-drop that has found a place in multiple shells within aggressive strategies.
Apprehend – 2.0
I have an optimistic outlook on this card. As it stands right now, this card is next to unplayable. With Darius nowhere to be found in the meta, it is difficult to include this anywhere. In a world where Darius decks are alive and well, Apprehend jumps up in value to me. It may be Slow, but the value it provides with Darius on the board is immense. For now, don’t play Apprehend, but keep an eye out for any Darius decks popping up.
Faces of the Old Ones – 1.5
Some of the ramp decks have been running Faces of the Old Ones, but in general Wyrding Stones and Catalyst of the Aeons tend to be enough. Still, decks that have a decent number of 8+ drops will want as much ramp as they can get and Faces of the Old Ones gets the job done early. In most matchups, by the time your opponent can remove it you have already gotten plenty of value from it, so it’s lower health stat isn’t the end of the world.
Monkey Business – 2.5
If you have been playing on the ladder during the last week, you might have noticed the players running more and more of this card. Powder Monkeys can be extremely annoying to deal with and enable Gangplank and/or Sejuani decks nicely. They push damage quickly and make blocks awkward. The decks that want this card have no trouble enabling Plunder and since it summons the second monkey on the next round you can get full value from it if you need combat to trigger the Plunder effect. If you’re interested in playing a Bilgewater deck right now, you could look into some Monkey Business.
Stalking Shadows – 4.0
Stalking Shadows is a perfect inclusion for any follower-based deck as a way of generating card advantage. It is perfect for aggressive strategies as it gives you a choice to best suit your needs as you cast it. It requires no setup and is cheap and Burst-speed. Nightfall decks love it in particular because you can use it to set up your Nightfall effects.
Troll Chant – 3.0
During spoiler season I was a bit lower on this card, but having seen it in action, Troll Chant is one of the more powerful combat tricks that Freljord has in its arsenal. It rarely helps you trade up, but can completely blank your opponent’s attacks. It’s not an auto-include in every Freljord list, but it has been a staple in the slower ramp decks. The synergy with Culling Strike is also something worth mentioning as it comes up quite often when playing as a Freljord/Noxus alliance.
Troll Scavenger – 2.0
This one is a weirdly positioned card. A reliable 4|3 for 2 mana looks good on paper, but in practice, this is not what Behold decks are strictly in the market for. The ramp archetypes are in it for the long game, so on earlier turns, they want to build up their mana rather than play out mid-sized dudes. However, recently some ramp lists have started to warm up to Troll Scavenger, so maybe there’s hope for him after all.
Unspeakable Horror – 3.5
Unspeakable Horror is versatile and acts as a little Nightfall-generator on its own. Functionally it is clunkier than Vile Feast but more powerful. There are few cards you can find with Unspeakable Horror that could be bad situationally – but none of them are really worse than a Spiderling. Unspeakable Horror’s card draw also isn’t blanked by Glimpse Beyond. Whether your target exists or not, if you can trigger Nightfall you will get your card. This card fits into nearly every Shadow Isles deck right now due to its versatility.
Young Witch – 3.0
While Young Witch dies to removal quite easily, she is not easy to deal with in combat. The Elusive keyword provides her plenty of opportunity to Support multiple times and Quick Attack will help your other units attack into boards they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. She often trades efficiently forcing your opponent to point removal on her.
Call the Wild – 1.0
Call the Wild doesn’t really have a place in the meta right now. Getting to look through your top 4 cards is great, but given that Yetis and Elunks aren’t exactly their own decks right now, this mostly benefits Poro decks. The problem here is that Poro decks would rather just have Poro Cannon to guarantee you hit two Poros with zero mana investment. I would avoid Call the Wild until the Yeti and/or Elnuk archetypes become more of a thing.
Doombeast – 3.0
The drain effect on Doombeast is massive and helps a ton in aggressive mirrors. Doombeast has been included in multiple different archetypes – from dedicated Nightfall decks to the Hyper Aggro Endure lists. It’s a decent body that can swing the tempo of games with its Nightfall ability. Often Doombeast makes you prioritize getting your opponent’s Nexus to 2 health so you can close the game out with just Doombeast’s effect.
Lulu – 3.5
Currently, Lulu sees the most play in Demacia decks that leverage her Support ability to boost your early units and close games out quickly. She is extremely easy to level up and causes a lot of trouble for your opponent when she does. I think there is room to experiment with her more in the heavier Support archetypes, but where that fits into the meta right now remains to be seen. Either way, Lulu is a powerful card that has bolstered one of the longest-reigning Demacia archetypes.
Passage Unearned – 1.0
This card puts a damper on decks that focus on summoning their units repeatedly. Unfortunately, without sideboarding in Legends of Runeterra, Passage Unearned likely won’t ever find a home anywhere. It fits as a tech card against certain metas. But even if there are quite a few decks that summon units without playing them, but Passage Unearned isn’t a card you want to dedicate a whole main-deck slot to.
Tasty Faefolk – 2.0
A few decks have cropped up recently that have put Tasty Faefolk to work. It is capable of stalling out the early game by trading up with opposing attackers and gaining you a hefty amount of life in the process. It doesn’t stick around long with its 2 health, but it often only needs one round of blocks to serve its purpose.
Encroaching Shadows – 2.0
Encroaching Shadows is an interesting build-around that has the potential to be powerful in the right build. It seems most at home in an aggressive Hecarim deck that appreciates having many Ephemeral units; one where you can create a lot of pressure on your attacks and kill your opponent before it matters that you don’t have any units to defend yourself with.
Fae Guide – 2.5
Permanently granting Elusive to any unit you want is a fantastic way to close out games and make your opponent’s life miserable. Fae Guide can target any ally, so even Champions are fair game. A 4-mana 3|3 isn’t where you want to be so you will want to gain as much value with the Play effect as you can to make up for it.
Fuzzy Caretaker – 3.0
This card is a fine playable, and at this point feels like a staple in Lulu decks. Providing an additional 6-points worth of stats on an attack is powerful, but Caretaker does require some setup to get full value out of it. Similar to Fae Guide, you need to maximize the power of the extra effects. Fuzzy Caretaker requires work to get full value out of it, but as long as you have one other creature on board you can make use of the Support clause. This card is best sandwiched between Support units.
Nocturne – 3.5
I think it’s no secret at this point that Nocturne is better than most people originally gave the card credit for. While definitely one of the more skill-testing Champions in LoR, Nocturne has the power to close games out in a single turn if played correctly. Once leveled up, he can be used to essentially wipe your opponent’s blockers out and enable lethal attacks out of nowhere. He works best in dynamic aggressive shells, such as the common Diana/Nocturne lists, where you aren’t focused on closing the game early, but play more of a tempo strategy until you can get Nocturne firing on all cylinders. He requires practice and careful play to reach his full potential but is certainly a potent Champion.
Risen Mists – 2.5
Any card that allows you to create units at Burst speed is likely to be powerful. Risen Mists is such a card. It has a high power ceiling but also a relatively low floor. To capitalize on the Risen Mists’ effect, you need to be playing a Mistwraith deck that plays full sets of Mistwraith and Wraithcaller. In that deck, all of your wraiths make each other better and Risen Mists contributes handily to this gameplan. Outside of that, Risen Mists makes a 2|2 with Fearsome for 4 which doesn’t get very far if your deck isn’t designed to capitalize on those Wraiths.
Swole Squirrel – 2.0
“Strike: Double my Power” seems like a ridiculous line of text that can quickly get out of hand. In general, the dev team mitigates that by giving Swole Squirrel limited survivability. A 3|4 for 4 is fine, but without help, Swole Squirrel only attacks once or twice before dying and never connects with the Nexus. Without a way to keep it alive longer or threaten the Nexus after a few attacks, Swole Squirrel simply gets chumped until it dies.
Tri-Beam Improbulator – 2.5
This is a powerful card in the right deck. It scales with the game as long as you can reliably cast 3-cost cards. Since it requires significant build-around and must be in your hand when you’re casting your 3-drops for it to get bigger, I have a hard time placing this card above a 2.5. That said, the tempo this card provides is huge. I would be happy casting this at 3 and I would be ecstatic casting it at anything higher. You certainly don’t want to cast it at 1, but there are plenty of viable targets even at 2. A removal spell that also summons a blocker is great for spell-based tempo, control, or combo decks.
Troll Ravager – 3.0
With a bit of planning, Troll Ravager is a nightmare to deal with. She fits best in the ramp decks that are prevalent right now, as those decks reliably meet the Behold requirement to make Troll Ravager the powerhouse that she is. Without Regeneration, the card is not that impressive.
Whimsy! – 2.5
This card is most often used as Lulu’s Champion spell but does see some play in Ionia-based control lists from time to time. At Burst speed, Whimsy! can be a blowout for your opponents who aren’t expecting it. You generally want to be able to remove the targetted follower before the round ends to capitalize on the power of this effect.
Duskrider – 1.0
This card is a bit of a meme and sees play when created by and Unspeakable Horror, almost exclusively. In those cases, Duskrider could be a serviceable 5-drop. The dedicated Nightfall decks tend to be too aggressive for this card to matter much, but you’re happy casting it when it’s a 4|5 or better. As for its possible main-deck inclusion, it doesn’t worth a slot really.
Jack, the Winner – 3.0
Jack is a nice finisher for aggressively slanted Bilgewater decks that are looking for a 5-drop. He’s above the rate on stats for 5-mana and Sleep with the Fishes allows you to convert your early-game attackers into Nexus damage later in the game when they may not be able to get through your opponent’s blockers. This card is a nice little package that puts the bow on top of your aggro decks. Even in midrange archetypes, Jack can close out games more or less by himself as he provides extra reach to your opponent’s Nexus as long as you have units to spare.
Screeching Dragon – 3.5
Screeching Dragon is phenomenal. It scales up the longer it is out and Challenger ensures your Screeching Dragon is trading with units that help progress Fury the most. I’m excited to see where the Dragons archetype goes with the next couple of expansions, but Screeching Dragon will likely play a part there. It already sees play in various Demacia decks such as Lulu/Demacia and the attempts at Dragons decks.
Trundle – 4.0
Trundle might be the best champion introduced with Call of the Mountain. He doesn’t seem like he would be without playing him, but this card is a powerhouse. A 4|6 with Regeneration is virtually impossible to deal with in combat. Your Ice Pillar comes in for free on turn 8 (or early in the ramp decks) and levels Trundle up and gives your best unit Vulnerable. This Champion does so much and leaves few options to counterplay.
Augur of the Old Ones – 2.5
On its face, Augur of the Old Ones is a strong card for its cost. Regeneration and Overwhelm are powerful keywords that keep Augur alive while allowing to continually chip in damage. When you can trigger the Behold effect, Augur’s value shoots up and can cause serious headaches for your opponent. The biggest downside is that Augur only seems to fit in the ramp decks right now and those decks usually opt to play other cards on 6 or skip it altogether with their ramp.
Basilisk Bloodseeker – 1.0
I can see Bloodseeker fitting into Noxus decks as a top-end for the Overwhelm-based strategies, but right now this Basilisk doesn’t have a home. 7-mana is a lot for most Noxus decks to spend on a single card and 4 health makes Basilisk Bloodseeker rather fragile. It does act as a removal spell when it’s played, but you need to have an ally you’re willing to deal 4 damage to. This card won’t be a 1.0 forever, but in CotM it is too niche to see much play.
Revitalizing Roar – 2.5
Gone are the days of looping Revitalizing Roar and Zephyr Sage forever and ever. Regardless, Revitalizing Roar remains a strong choice for late-game survivability. Currently, it sees the most play in the Trundle/Aurelion Sol ramp variations as it can reliably heal your Nexus for 8-10 while also reducing the cost of your big threat to 0. This card usually comes down too late to truly save you the game (unless you ramp out efficiently), but it can certainly capitalize on any other healing you may have done and swing the game significantly in your favor. You will always want to meet the Enlightened clause, so keep yourself alive until then.
For the Fallen – 2.0
Obviously, this card is best played in a heavy Elites deck. The ability to rebuild your board after a hefty attack or The Ruination is massive for these Demacia decks, and to do it with only a single card is even better. That said, Dauntless Vanguard’s are only vanilla 3|3’s. On top of that, you need your units to die for this card to do anything at all. For the Fallen needs to be looked at on two axes. The first is how many allies have I lost this round? With that number in mind, the second axis is what does For the Fallen cost right now? Some Demacia decks have no qualms about playing Succession, but I would like to see For the Fallen cost less than double Succession if possible. For two units, I would be happy spending 5-mana and cheaper is always better. Notably, the Dauntless Vanguard’s that For the Fallen summons will reduce the cost of any future For the Fallen’s you may cast in the future.
Icequake – 2.0
Icequake was generally underrated coming out of spoiler season. It is usually a board wipe that can act one-sidedly if you play it right. That said, it is probably best played as Trundle’s Champion spell rather than taking up actual slots in your decklist because it is generally a situational and expensive spell.
Uzgar the Ancient – 1.5
Ramp decks have a plethora of late-game units and win-conditions to choose from. On that scale, Uzgar lags a bit behind, though he has seen some play in Warmother Control lists lately as an optional slot-in.
Singular Will – 1.0
Let me start off by saying, I really like this card. It pains me to give it such a low rating, but right now Singular Will just doesn’t do enough. You want your 10-mana spell to win you the game and while Singular Will has the potential to facilitate your victory, it can’t really win the game on its own. You need to have a unit on the board that gets the job done, and your opponent needs to have expensive enough units that they can’t rebuild before you kill them. There are also many ways by which your opponent can interact with either Singular Will or the unit you want to keep before you can close the game out.
As promised, here are my recommendations for which cards are the best to craft:
Unspeakable Horror, Young Witch, Doombeast, Troll Ravager, Screeching Dragon.
Jack, the Winner.
There you have it! Every single card from the Call of the Mountain expansion, across all regions! The expansion has brought new archetypes to the three main regions it focused on and I have had a blast seeing where they all fall into the meta. Which are your favorite non-Targon cards from this expansion? What decks have you been enjoying?