7 Decks to Play on Day 1 of A Curious Journey

The expansion is almost here! Come in, take a look, see what you like, and pick you deck to hop into a queue with when the patch is live!

Hi everyone! As we are getting closer to the release, it is my pleasure to bring you the traditional theorycraft piece, showing off all the new shiny cards we got.

In this expansion, I feel that the developers tried to push even more new ideas than usual. In total, we are getting 48 cards, 2 new keywords, 4 champions as well as a Transform mechanic, so there is a ton of things to try out.

Considering that, I ventured to explore as many new directions as possible in this piece. Obviously, most of the builds are still centered around the Bandle City region, which is still the focus of this release. But for once, it feels like other regions got interesting support tools, and the potential return of Demacia or Freljord could open the door for other counter regions to also increase their playrates.

In addition to this, four cards will be nerfed alongside the new patch: Ahri, Wounded Whiteflame, Kinkou Wayfinder, and Iceborn Legacy. This should lead to an even more open metagame that will help all the new cards.

So without further ado, let’s jump into all the decks that are you’ll be able to be battle-test later today!

Yuumi Overwhelm created by den • last updated 2 years ago

Yuumi appears to be one of the most flexible champions of the four added to the game, being a support in most strategies she will be slotted in. Gnar though, is a champion that requires some building around him in order to make him truly effective.

The concept of the deck is rather simple: combining the new Attach keyword with the Overwhelm keyword.

The deck is built using two main axis. The Fae package and some cheap units represent our early game, allowing us to be proactive in the first three turns. In this early phase, most of our 2-drops are great targets for Yuumi and should allow us to get early pressure onto the board.

Once the later turns arrive, we can rely on our bigger Overwhelm units to push a ton of damage. Also, with a Gleaming Lantern on the board, we should be able to Attach for pretty cheap, allowing us to keep some mana for spells like Wallop, which allows us to remove a blocker and get the full Overwhelm damage to the opposing Nexus.

It is a rather simple pressure-oriented deck to start things off, but the one which could dictate the early days of this new metagame. I feel that with the nerf of Ahri Kennen, and therefore the reduced need for interaction with the Elusive keyword, and less Recall, decks with more expensive units could flourish again.

Galio is the hardest champion to evaluate – lately, high cost champions have been neither popular nor impressive.

The latest Demacian champion honestly is tough to build around, and even though Soraka looks like a natural fit, most ideas I had didn’t feel close to what Soraka Tahm Kench can achieve in terms of board dominance.

In this build, I tried to maximize the board control and development of the deck, pairing the support synergy with the Challenger keyword to be able to both grow our units while taking care of the opponent’s side of the battlefield.

With the Mountain Sojourners at the top of the curve, the goal is to set up a massive buff to our whole board, which then can lead to an easy Galio level up on turn 7. In order to hold the fort up until this point, our Challenger units should be able to trade while being supported by Soraka, the Star Spring and the support units, keeping them healthy turn after turn.

This build probably is the most straightforward one in this article today in terms of synergies and overall gameplay. I feel it reflects quite well the Formidable mechanic as a whole – extremely dominant on the board but difficult to find a lot of flexibility with.

Sejuani Swain Control created by den • last updated 2 years ago

While Udyr could fit as a finisher in this deck as well, I felt like he requires a lot of cards to be truly valuable. Therefore, I decided to keep this archetype with Sejuani as the second champion alongside Swain.

This discrete archetype gained a lot in this expansion, the Shamans turning into Ragers feeling like a natural fit for the deck. Furthermore, the new Tusk Speaker already looks like an awesome card that will be slotted in a ton of Freljord decks. In this build, the card helps level up both our champions.

The goal of the deck is to control the tempo at which the game is going, locking down the board while leveling up both Swain and Sejuani, which then can become our win conditions in the late game alongside The Leviathan.

The new Shaman cards should be great to help stabilise the board in the midgame (Murkwolf Shaman transforming on turn 4 feels to be on the same power level as a turn 5 Trundle) or as an additional win condition later on with the Mammoth Shaman.

If the nerf of Ahri Kennen indeed brings back more diversity in terms of tempo, Noxus could make a big comeback as a region thanks to its great tempo-controlling tools. A deck looking to lockdown the board could therefore make a lot of sense early on.

Rumble Riven Attach created by den • last updated 2 years ago

The Attach keyword is looking to me as the most interesting one of the whole expansion, mostly because of its flexibility. In this build, we are using it to grant our Rumble and Riven the Elusive keyword with the Rainbowfish and unleash their damage potential.

Down the line, Yuumi might replace Riven here, but I feel Yuumi is at her best when given time to grow and level up. In this kind of build, we are looking to end the match rather than drag it out for several turns.

A lot of new cards actually fit in this deck and help make it more reliable. The new Assistant Librarian is great with Reforge, a perfect curve play with Riven. I expect the card to grow and serve both as a draw engine and a target for Might later in the game.

The Grandfather Fae isn’t a card I expected to play upon its release, but in this case, the Hungry Owlcat growing its attack and naturally having a Spellshield could allow for another target to Might.

Lastly, the Gleaming Lantern should be an auto-include in almost any Attach-based decks alongside the Assistant Librarian and some Faes. Outside of reducing the cost of the Rainbowfish, a key part of our gameplay, the card should also attract some removal, indirectly protecting Rumble and Riven later on.

Fae Nexus Strike created by den • last updated 2 years ago

Another take on the Attach keyword is to pair it with Fizz, one of the hardest units to remove in the game because of its passive ability.

This Attach deck will look to avoid combat and adopt sneakier gameplay when it comes to dealing damage to the opponent, and will probably end up being better against defensive strategies.

In this build, Yuumi makes much more sense as compared to the previous deck – once attached to Fizz, she will have time all the time to help him grow into a powerhouse.

Because Fizz already is an Elusive unit when he attacks (hence why we so many cheap spells in this deck too), we will include Papercraft Dragon rather than the Rainbow Fish.

With fewer high-impact units than the Riven Rumble list above, this deck relies a lot more on finding Fizz and Assistant Librarian as its main sources of pressure. This is where a card like Grave Physician can be very useful in order to reliably find our key cards.

After multiple nerfs to Poppy, the Yordle Burn archetype has beome pretty quiet, and Spider Burn left acting as the main go-face boogeyman of the format. I believe Gnar and some cards released alongside this enraged puppy could have a say in this.

A deck that’s equipped to consistently deal direct Nexus damage to its opponent, both with or without the attack token, looks perfect to transform Gnar or Teenydactyl the turn they get played.

Because both of these are 4-drops, they have perfect synergy with the Inventive Chemist‘s landmark if you played her on turn 1. Otherwise, you can enable them with Legion Saboteur, Legion Grenadier, Stone Stackers, Teemo’s Puffcaps, or simply a Pokey Stick.

I believe this kind of deck should be a top performer early in the expansion, mostly because it has that ‘simple and effective’ kind of quality. The build is fairly easy to play and has been around for enough time that you should quickly find your stride playing it.

One thing that could be a problem for the deck early on is archetypes like Darkness or Lee Sin, both of which have been left untouched in the latest patch and serve as good counters to aggressive strategies.

The pairing of Bilgewater and Freljord might come back again with Udyr entering the fray. The champion’s level-up condition is very close to what Gangplank or Sejuani require, and Udyr could be an upgrade to the previous builds of Plunder.

The main difference in the way we approach the deckbuilding is that we’re now abandoning the Bilgewater allegiance. Udyr requires us to play Vulpine Wanderer, and Tusk Speaker is honestly too good to pass on as well. Therefore, the deck has to move away from the Nab mechanic and now looks like a midrange burn-oriented deck aiming to find and level up its win conditions as fast as possible.

Gangplank should be the main focus of the deck, as he represents the biggest pressure point we can develop thanks to its attacking ability once leveled up. The pirate also is the reason why Babbling Bjerg is in the deck, who is a faster tutor than The Dreadway.

Udyr is the slower alternative win condition in the deck. I don’t think Shaman’s Call or Spirits Unleashed are good enough to be included. The Spirit Walker should be fairly easy to level up and will represent an immediate and more flexible threat than GP thanks to its Stances.

Lastly, Mammoth Shaman is looking easy to transform and with the Overwhelm keyword, gives us another late-game bomb our opponent will be forced to deal with. Battle Fury also feels like a good card in that regard, as we aren’t playing Sejuani and need to close the game faster than the previous iteration of the deck had to.

Closing Words

Looking at all the ideas already being generated by the community, I see tons of builds featuring every new champion and it looks like the cards got the player very excited about the game. Consider this article my contribution to the early hype, and I hope one of these builds makes it in some form into the new metagame.

If you would like to share your builds with the community, feel free to stop by our Discord. Also, if you think you’ve got the next ‘meta-breaker’ on your hands, the #deck-doctor channel is made specifically for you to share your brews. Myself and other members will be happy to rate and discuss, and maybe turn it into a featured article!

The only thing left for me is to wish you a great fun on Day 1 of the expansion! Don’t look at what social media says on what is busted and whatnot, and also Gnar is cute, no matter what anyone says.

Good game everyone!


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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