Hello everyone, I’m Arachnophile, a player from SEA, and today I bring you a deck featuring Jae Medarda that is both strong and fun to play!
As for the region to pair them with, there have been two popular choices: Ionia, with a flashy OTK deck using Flurry of Fists, or PnZ, utilizing PnZ a powerful package of damage-based removals. However, both decks lack some crucial qualities that forced them to languish in the valley of meme-decks: the Ionia OTK version lacks consistency, while the PnZ version is just a worse Draven Ezreal.
It also didn’t help that Riven was always soft to the ever-popular Targon region, which possesses the ultimate answer for any buff-based gameplan: Hush.
Patch 2.11 has changed the landscape massively. Riven got a buff that makes her much more playable, while a series of nerfs aimed at Targon and the other prime Hush-targets like Nasus and the Watcher have greatly reduced that region’s popularity.
While the buff to Twin Disciplines helped the Ionian version a little bit, the addition of Boom Baboon opened a less-explored path for Draven Riven PnZ. It now can be built as an aggressive midrange deck that utilizes the discard package and is able to go wide, keep up on card advantage, and eventually finish with what Noxus/PnZ does best: burn. While similar to Discard Aggro, this Draven Riven shell is both more consistent and also more flexible, with many potential tech options that proved uniquely suitable for the current meta.
While there is a list that is quite popular in America Masters rank and also featured on Swim’s website, I arrived at the version above independently while looking for a shell for the newly-buffed Jae Medarda with the help of Asher and Redwinter97.
We are leveraging the discard package to quickly develop a wide board that leads to all-out attacks before finishing with direct damage.
While this deck lacks Discard Aggro’s explosiveness, it compensates with an insane consistency. There are a total of 8 cards, including Arena Bookie and Jae Medarda as engines, that recycle your tokens into real cards.
Thanks to our high cycling potential we are rarely getting stuck with awkward hands. Additionally, a large versatile direct damage suite, plus the excellent Arachnoid Sentry and Survival Skills, make us strong on the defensive when caught in a slower, more measured start.
In the early game, look to develop your token generators and get in as much face damage as possible. Where other aggro decks start to lose their steam, you have Zaunite Urchin and Sump Dredger to refill your hand and keep up in tempo at the same time.
As you accumulate Blade Fragments, look for an opening to make a big attack turn, buffing your key attacking pieces like Draven,
All of that sounds simple on the surface, but you’ll soon realize there is a lot of nuances that you didn’t expect when first seen the list.
While decks that run Ballistic Bot usually love to cast it as a turn 2 play, in this deck the best choice in that spot is Boom Baboon, with Bot only coming down later in preparation for the big combo.
The choice of whether to play Riven or Draven depends on many factors, one of which is how many attack points you need to put on a Flame Chompers! so that it can trade profitably and not just as a one-time blocker removal. Which of the Blade Fragments should you prioritize keeping/discarding and which targets you want to use them on are also interesting decision points that will come up often. Another skill you will need to master is finding the delicate balance between using your direct damage as removal or as burn.
- Verdict: 8.5 out of 10.
All of that combined creates a highly entertaining and unique gameplay pattern that can satisfy a lot of different types of players: midrange folks that want their board to go wide (or big), combo players seeking the high of replicating Miracle Rogue in Runeterra, or the PnZ degenerates that just love to click on the opponent’s Nexus.
And the deck is just strong in this meta. It outraces and outplays a lot of “strong-in-the-attack” midrange decks (Lurk, Sivir piles, J4) while being able to match board-based aggro decks with a similarly low curve plus the ability to hand-fix, and then beat them using superior draw.
It does have counters in FRSI control (the natural predators of all Noxus/PnZ combinations) as well and Targon’s decks that run Hush and Nexus healing. However, since those are few and generally not Tier 1 it’s safe to assume that Draven Riven PnZ will continue to see success in the foreseeable future.
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