Call of the Mountain Expansion Review: Targon
Now that everyone has had some time with the new cards, it is time to bring you an updated, full review of the new cards from Call of the Mountain! Today I’m going to cover all of the new Targon cards, but be on the lookout for the rest of the set review soon. My goal is to provide you all with some insight into the current playability of the new region’s cards and offer some crafting suggestions as well – for players who aren’t quite sure where to invest their resources.
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…).
Gift Giver – 3.0
While not one of the best 1-drops in the game from a stats perspective, Gift Giver can allow Targon decks to get on board early and gives you a Gem for future turns. A Gem effect isn’t quite worth a card on its own, so can’t be considered as a card advantage. Still, a 1-mana Burst spell is great for Nightfall decks and Gems have the potential to mend the board state for you a bit. Gift Giver may not be an auto-include in most decks, but it’s a solid 1-drop and has already made quite a few lists.
Lunari Duskbringer – 4.0
At this point, I don’t think there is a Nightfall deck in the game that eschews Lunari Duskbringer. It is aggressively statted which is decent for the slew of Nightfall Aggro decks that have popped up since Day 0. The kicker here is that Lunari Duskbringer herself is a cheap card that doesn’t have Nightfall, making her a perfect trigger for your Nightfall cards as well. The Duskpetal Dust she provides not only allows you to trigger Nightfall a second time but also to convert spell mana into generic mana. For non-Nightfall decks, there are better 1-drops, but otherwise, you can’t go wrong with Lunari Duskbringer.
Messenger’s Sigil – 2.0
A 1-mana do-nothing card that takes up slots in your deck isn’t exactly where you want to be. That said, Messenger’s Sigil has a place in the dedicated Invoke decks as it adds five Celestials to your deck. The Messenger cantrips even when you draw it late, you still get a second crack at an impactful unit if you need one. I’m curious how Messenger’s Sigil will fit into the evolving meta of CotM, but for now, I’m willing to say it has a home in the Invoke decks.
Porofly – 1.0
As with every region, Targon receives its singular Poro card in the form of Porofly. There is little to say here yet, besides the obvious Poro synergies. If you’re playing a Poro deck you could look into Porofly’s SpellShield ability (I’m looking at you Heart of the Fluft), otherwise don’t play it.
Solari Soldier – 4.0
Solari Soldier is a stellar 1-drop. It is efficiently statted, it attacks and defends well, it triggers Nightfall if you want it to, and it activates Daybreak on turn one to help level Leona on-curve. Expect to meet this Soldier on the frontlines of most aggressive decks and Daybreak decks for sure. It is also a solid choice for midrange lists that want to have some security in the early game.
Spacey Sketcher – 3.0
Yet another powerful 1-drop. Spacey Sketcher goes up in value for Invoke decks but serves as a quality option for Nightfall decks as well. You do have to discard a card to play her, but those eight “three or less” costed Celestials you get the access to provide options for both aggressive and defensive strategies. Her flexibility makes her a solid playable.
Star Shepherd – 1.0
I have not seen many lists running Star Shepherd thus far. Unfortunately, the card currently gets outclassed by the other 1-drops in the region and it lacks efficient synergies. Star Shepherd is obviously a follower of the upcoming Soraka package that got lost and ended up being separated from her tribe. There may be a home for this card in the next expansion, but so far I don’t see it.
Behold the Infinite – 2.0
While this seems like a 2-mana do-nothing, Invoke has already proved to be a powerful mechanic. The lack of restrictions here means that Behold the Infinite is one of the most flexible cards in the game. It functions as a 2-mana draw 1 and doesn’t pass priority. Still, only dedicated Invoke decks will want to run this card as the Celestial card pool is too large for most decks to reliably take advantage of it.
Diana – 4.0
Deckbuilders have been jamming Diana in just about any deck they can, and with good reason. Quick Attack and Challenger is one of the deadliest combinations of keywords in the game. She functions as a removal-spell-on-a-stick and if she levels up she can remove creatures far larger than herself. While she’s most at home in a dedicated Nightfall Aggro deck, players have shown that she can fit in a multitude of archetypes.
Guiding Touch – 3.0
Guiding Touch will keep you or your units alive longer and it replaces itself. It’s solid in any deck that wants to make it to the late game and shore up the early game against aggressive strategies. Being able to heal up your units after combat or as a Burst-speed trick is also relevant for midrange archetypes.
Herald of Dragons – 2.0
There have been a few of Dragon decks floating around since 1.8 and Herald has an important role to play in those decks. Still, 2-mana 1|1 really needs to have a powerful effect to be relevant in LoR and it’s tough to say if Herald of Dragons pays you off enough right now. When Dragons have more support with the advent of Shyvana, I expect to see this card jump up in play rate.
Lunari Shadestalker – 3.5
In any Targon aggressive strategy, Lunari Shadestalker is sure to make the cut. This is a powerful Elusive unit that plays well into the Nightfall theme. It mostly fits in either Nightfall Aggro or Elusive archetypes but can find a home in most aggressive strategies without a full Nightfall build-around.
Mountain Goat – 1.0
Definitely not the GOAT. Sure, this card creates a Gem for you and generally can trade up in combat, but with only 1 health it is too susceptible to cheap removal to get much of anything done.
Pale Cascade – 4.0
What isn’t to love about Pale Cascade? It’s cheap, it both protects your units and helps you trade up, and if you can trigger Nightfall it even replaces itself. For only 2-mana and at Burst speed, you really can’t beat Pale Cascade.
Solari Shieldbearer – 3.5
So far Solari Shieldbearer has been an auto-include in dedicated Daybreak decks. It helps you level Leona on-curve as it can come down on turn two and it is great whether you’re attacking or defending the turn you play it. A 3|6 is virtually impossible to attack around in the first 4 turns of the game and you won’t want to block it because it will likely be a 3|2 on the next turn regardless. Expect to see this in nearly every Leona deck.
Startled Stomper – 1.0
I’m not sure where this card fits into the overall picture of the new meta. With Overwhelm, I would have expected this card to be a 3|2 rather than a 2|3. It can trade with some other 2-mana units, but it does little else.
Sunblessed Vigor – 2.0
There are likely some midrange lists that aren’t opposed to playing Sunblessed Vigor, but there are better options to protect your units. It doesn’t have Daybreak – so it won’t help your Leona – and it won’t help you trade in combat. It is, however, a permanent buff which is nice and can prove to be rather annoying when your opponent isn’t expecting it. Paired with Taric the card can overperform however so I think there is room for this card to see some play.
Tyari the Traveler – 2.0
I want Tyari to be good. The card fits the Support archetype well and it eeks out on the vanilla test at 2|2 for 2. Permanently granting health to your units is great, but Tyari needs to be Supported well for them to make a lasting impact. For now, the card hasn’t seen much play but I have hope that a Support archetype (beyond Lulu Demacia) is just waiting to be found.
Bastion – 3.0
Against certain decks, Bastion feels like the 3-mana Deny of the Beta Season days. It can be devastatingly powerful to negate a critical spell at Burst speed without needing to dip into your generic mana. It can find a home in multiple archetypes but does its best work in a midrange/control shell that has some valuable chess pieces to protect.
Crescent Guardian – 3.0
Another mainstay of the Nightfall archetype, Crescent Guardian is an efficient attacker that doesn’t feel awful to cast even if you can’t trigger Nightfall. The extra attack on an Overwhelm unit means that even when your opponent blocks you will often chip in a few points of damage anyway. At the very least the Guardian here can trade up with a more expensive unit on defense.
Dragon’s Clutch – 2.5
Dragon’s Clutch has a situational design that makes it a fine late-game topdeck (if not exciting). It guarantees you hit some real units and if you are worried about a combat situation you can always just buff your units instead. As I mentioned with Herald of Dragons, the Dragon archetype still needs to find its legs, but Dragon’s Clutch will likely play a role in that deck when it does.
Fledgling Stellacorn – 1.0
This card is simply too expensive for a unit that ultimately won’t do much of anything. Lifesteal on a 1-attack unit isn’t worth the extra mana and on its own, this Fledgling doesn’t warrant removal so SpellShield isn’t doing much either.
Giddy Sparkleologist – 2.5
There are enough cheap Invoke cards that you can reasonably Behold a Celestial by midgame (round 4-7) or even earlier some of the time. When you can, buffing a unit and making it resilient to the next removal spell your opponent would throw at it can be a hefty tempo swing. You will need several cheap Invoke cards to ensure you can get ahold of a Celestial, but past that caveat, Giddy can put in some serious work.
Hush – 4.0
I know I know. Everyone was expecting me to rate Hush at 5.0. But at this point, the meta hasn’t played out that way. Sure, the card is “meta-defining” in that it turns off certain Champions and can generally feel pretty bad to play against. Hush can be an absolute blowout: it is repeatable, it’s Burst speed, it’s only 3-mana… but frankly, it doesn’t win you the game on the spot. And when it does, it isn’t without serious planning. On top of that, apart from Aurelion Sol ramp decks (which only tend to play 1 copy of Hush anyway), there haven’t been prominent Targon Control decks that can capitalize on Hush’s power just yet. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see how Hush continues to play a role in the meta, but for now, the card isn’t unbeatable.
Lunari Priestess – 3.0
Most Nightfall decks will be happy to run Lunari Priestess. It’s a bit expensive for its stats but having no restriction on what you can Invoke makes it extremely flexible. It’s cheap enough that you can Invoke something high-costed and have time to build up to it or something cheap that you can play it very shortly. Lunari Priestess won’t win you the board-state, but it can give you a plethora of options to win the game.
Mentor of the Stones – 3.0
Not every deck can capitalize on the power of Mentor of the Stones properly, earning the card a 2.5 in my book. It can be extremely powerful as it permanently buffs your units, but you need to be patient and choose your Support window wisely. The Ezreal Targon archetype has been the best I have seen at finding ways to capitalize on this card’s potential. Whether it’s making use of the Gems or being able to contribute multiple Support triggers, Mentor of the Stones requires some forethought and planning to play properly.
Solari Priestess – 3.5
Unlike her Lunari counterpart, Solari Priestess requires no build-around or planning whatsoever. Her Invoke pool is more restricted which makes her less flexible, but overall more reliable and the 4-, 5-, and 6-cost Celestials are some of the best options to choose from anyway. Like the other Daybreak units I’ve touched on thus far, she helps to level Leona on-curve as well. The dream for Leona players is to play Solari Soldier on 1, Solari Shieldbreaker on 2, Solari Priestess on 3, and finally Leona on 4. And anything you Invoke off of the Priestess will propel you into your next couple of turns.
Zenith Blade – 2.0
Zenith Blade permanently buffs your unit’s stats, but also gives Overwhelm – which makes it a crucial combo piece for the recent iterations of Lee Sin decks. The fact that the card has the decency to also draw another copy of itself on Daybreak is a nice added value.
Broadbacked Protector – 2.0
Broadbacked Protector is a big blocker that heals your Nexus to keep you alive against early aggression. Of course the more you block with it, the less direct healing it does for you, but at the end of the day, you’re saving Nexus health one way or the other. This is a fine 4-drop that fits best in Control decks with late finishers that just want to make it to the end-game.
Leona – 4.0
Like most Daybreak cards, Leona works in a multitude of archetypes. From Day/Night Midrange decks to Yasuo or Swain combo to Aurelion Sol Control. There is little opportunity cost to putting her in your deck and if you are playing her, you will likely be playing other Daybreak cards. Her Solari supporters make her an efficiently statted unit with a powerful and repeatable effect. That is an enticing package that is hard to pass on. Ironically, unlike other Daybreak cards, Leona is a bit of a build-around. Without other Daybreak cards, she is just a 3|5 that Stuns once, which leaves something to be desired from a Champion card.
Mountain Scryer – 3.0
Mountain Scryer has awesome potential. In a dedicated Invoke deck, his rating jumps up to a 3.5 or even a 4.0. Unfortunately, if you don’t care about Invoke you likely will not want Mountain Scryer in your deck. Unlike other Invoke cards like the Priestesses, Mountain Scryer requires that you build your deck in a way to maximize his Allegiance trigger. Reducing the cost of your Celestials can be massive, but you need to have access to them or he does next to nothing. In a heavy Targon or mono-Targon Allegiance deck, Mountain Scryer not only replaces himself with a Celestial of your choosing, but he continues to put in work by making all of your Celestials easier to cast. Build around Mountain Scryer and you’ll experience how powerful these effects can be; don’t and you’ll be sad.
Shards of the Mountain – 1.0
Unless there’s an awesome combo yet to be discovered with it, I just don’t see Shards of the Mountain being that impactful. At Slow-speed, it is not only interactable but also passes priority to your opponent, preventing you from using the Gems right away. Ezreal can make use of the extra spells to close out a game, but that archetype has plenty of better ways to close games as is.
Taric – 3.0
Alone, Taric does next to nothing. But with a little support, he can snowball out of control rather quickly. His power level scales with the spells in your deck and his level-up condition is easier to reach than I initially thought. His ability to duplicate spells onto his Supported allies allows you to maximize on spells that grant extra stats. After he levels up he gives a temporary Unyielding Spirit effect to himself and his Supported unit! All while still copying spells. Surprisingly, Taric doesn’t require any other Support units to be good, since he can also level simply by targeting units. His spell duplication and his own Support effect can often be enough to level him up. Various archetypes have popped up hoping to capitalize on Taric’s ability, but since he is a build-around that limits his overall versatility.
Whiteflame Protector – 2.0
I wouldn’t expect to see too many of these running around until more Dragon decks pop up, but it’s a solid card there. It has solid stats for the cost, and Fury gives it the ability to scale up the longer the game goes.
Blessing of Targon – 2.0
At first glance, this looks like a strictly worse Fury of the North, but the permanent buff makes all the difference. This is a great spell for Taric decks and on its own it acts as a great combat trick that sticks around.
Fused Firebrand – 3.0
Another solid playable for the Dragon decks, though a 5|5 for 5 with Spellshield is good enough to see play in numerous decks regardless of the Dragon synergy. As with all the Dragons, Fury helps it scale and in the case of the Firebrand, SpellShield will make it rather pesky to remove with spells.
Moondreamer – 2.0
Moondreamer might have a place in dedicated Invoke decks, but I don’t see it getting played elsewhere. Unlike the other cards of this ilk, Moondreamer is a touch too expensive for my taste and doesn’t match up well against other cards at the same price point. Invoking is powerful, but you don’t always have time to make use of your Celestial because Moondreamer can’t come down until turn 5. A 3|5 body is serviceable and perhaps the Invoke decks want a card like this to stall in the mid-game, but there are better options for 5-mana in other archetypes.
Morning Light – 2.0
Morning Light mostly sees play as Leona’s Morning Light champ spell, so don’t craft this card to put it in as your main deck choice. As a situational champ spell, it feels excellent, as it combines two powerful effects into one card. Buffing your entire board, even at Slow speed, can be enough to swing the tide of a game on its own. Tie that together with triggering all of your Daybreak effects and you’re off to the races. Notably, if you have a level 2 Leona on the field, this will trigger her Stun twice. Of course, to capitalize on Morning Light’s power you will want to add Daybreak cards to your deck, but that isn’t much of a cost in my book since they are all so enticing anyway.
Mountain Sojourners – 3.0
Easily one of the more exciting cards to me from the spoiler season, Mountain Sojourners rounds out the Support archetype. Not only does the card provide an ample buff, but it allows you to daisy chain Support effects through your entire team! We have yet to see the Support archetype really come to life, but Sojourners will be at the center of the deck when it does. From a stats perspective, the card isn’t wondrous so you will need to be able to get those Support triggers going for this card to be worth playing. That said, at 5 health, Mountain Sojourners shouldn’t be too easy to remove before you trigger them once or twice.
Rahvun, Daylight’s Spear – 3.0
The Daybreak decks want Rahvun. Period. A 5-mana 5|5 is fine, but when it replaces itself and turns on all of your Daybreak cards for the entirety of its time on the battlefield. How can you not put this card in your Daybreak deck?! Without those synergies, however, Rahvun is far less exciting.
Resplendent Stellacorn – 3.0
Resplendent Stellacorn might just be the most swingy card in all of Targon. Its ability to keep your Nexus AND a unit alive while leaving behind a big body is a major tempo swing. This card can fit into any midrange or control deck without issue and works fine at any stage of the game.
Starshaping – 4.0
Every non-aggro Targon deck wants Starshaping. It replaces itself with a powerful card and keeps your Nexus or a unit alive. In the same way that Resplendent Stellacorn provides tempo, Starshaping does the same thing at Burst-speed. You have to choose between your Nexus or the unit, but Starshaping makes up for that deficiency by providing you with a powerful subset of Celestials to choose from.
Cygnus the Moonstalker – 2.5
Anyone who has played Sumpsnipe Scavenger knows the power of granting an ally Elusive. Cygnus the Moonstalker gives two units Elusive. He has slightly lower health and is more expensive, but a 4|2 Elusive that also gives any other ally Elusive as well is extremely powerful and can close out games. The main downside is that this is a 6-mana follower that needs Nightfall to be playable. The mana cost of Cygnus means he’s less usable in any given deck because you will want access to cheap spells to trigger that Nightfall on-curve. That said, even the Nightfall decks only tend to run up to 1 copy of this card. It’s a powerful card as a finisher and is pricey so Nightfall decks only want one or two (and Unspeakable Horror might give you one anyway).
Inviolus Vox – 2.5
Another powerful Dragon follower that works well with Dragon synergies. A 6-mana 5|6 is fine, but you need other Dragons to make this card shine. This card is a great top end for Dragon decks that are worried about running out of gas. Inviolus Vox has a place in other strategies as well, but only if they’re running other Dragons that will still be around when Vox hits the board.
Sun Guardian – 1.0
Sun Guardian can act be a powerful finisher, but the same could be said even of Alpha Wildclaw at times – and when did that one ever see play? A big body with Overwhelm is nothing to scoff at, but you need to be sure that you are activating Daybreak as six mana is way too much for a 4|3.
Sunburst – 3.0
A powerful removal spell that also has the power to shut off Last Breath effects and Champions, Sunburst is a great top-end spell for just about any midrange or control deck. 6-mana for 6 damage puts it on par with the Thermogenic Beam, but this has the added benefit of also Silencing units in the process. As Daybreak cards go, this is not something you need to build around to make it effective, keeping it at a 3.0 for me.
Grandfather Rumul – 1.0
An 8-mana follower that has 8|8 worth of stats is a fair deal. This one also has Overwhelm and Spellshield which makes it difficult to block and difficult to remove. That said, you do need to ensure that you have a follower on the board already to get the full stats. Costing 8-mana is also a restriction as you need your expensive spells to be extremely impactful. While Rumul is protective, I don’t think he’s quite the finisher that most decks want.
The Infinite Mindsplitter – 3.0
Speaking of finishers that most decks want, The Infinite Mindsplitter is just that. It is efficient and brings a unique, powerful effect to the board. The only downside with this card is that its Stun effect is delayed until the turn after you play it. On the flip side, it’s a big Dragon that is difficult to attack into and difficult to block, all without the need for any deck-building restrictions. What more can you ask for?
Arbiter of the Peak – 2.0
I will admit, I haven’t actually seen Arbiter of the Peak played yet, but this is the type of card that feels right at home in a Taric deck. To make this card playable, you need to be able to reduce its cost to at least 6. A 6|6 for 6 with Overwhelm is fine. Any cheaper than that and you feel like you’re getting away with something. I wouldn’t say this card is worth building your entire deck around, but if you’re already building around Taric you can slot Arbiter in for free.
Aurelion Sol – 4.5
I get it, he’s 10 mana, but have you seen this Champ in action? Aurelion Sol is the perfect top-end finisher for control decks. He replaces himself with another powerful card the turn he is played and then continues to generate Celestials every single turn! Leveling him up is as easy as playing other big units, and Sol solves half the puzzle for you. If you can level Sol up, that’s basically game. He’s extremely difficult to deal with at that point. One typical complaint with cards like this is that due to their cost, you run the risk of running them into a card like Vengeance or Will of Ionia without any way to protect them. Aurelion Sol takes care of that too! You can’t climb ladder without having to encounter him and you can’t build a deck without thinking about him. He can’t just go in any archetype though which is keeping him from a 5.0.
The Skies Descend – 2.0
This card could be bonkers in a dedicated Dragon and/or Celestial deck. Though, just like Morning Light, it’s best when used as Aurelion Sol’s champ spell, so don’t spend your precious Wild cards on it. It serves as a one-way sweeper that gets cheaper the more units you have out! Without any Celestials or Dragons, this is still a strong card but requires cautionary timing to play correctly as it takes up your entire turn.
Phew! There you have it, every single new Targon card! As promised, here are my recommendations for which cards are the best to craft from this region:
Solari Soldier, Lunari Duskbringer, Lunari Shadestalker, Solari Shieldbearer, Pale Cascade, Starshaping
Hush, Lunari Priestess, Solari Priestess, Rahvun, Daylight’s Spear
The Infinite Mindsplitter, Mentor of the Stones
If you are just starting out, and you like Targon, I would stick with Leona and Diana as your champs because almost all of those other recommendations already have you on your way to building a strong Leona/Diana midrange list or a Diana based Nightfall Aggro list. Otherwise, Aurelion Sol is the strongest Champion in the region (as far as raw power goes).
As always thanks for reading! Be on the lookout for the rest of the Call of the Mountain Expansion Review. Do you agree with my ratings? Did I miss any interactions? Which is your favorite new card from Targon? Let me know over on Twitter!