Diana and the Lunari: Analysis and Ratings
Next up on Targon’s roster for the Call of the Mountain expansion is none other than Diana! As Leona brought with her the light, so too Diana brings with her the night. Here is a breakdown of all the newly revealed Nightfall cards and my thoughts on how they will impact the new CotM meta! Stay tuned to the rest of the reveals here!
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…).
Diana – 3.5
Of the Targon champions revealed thus far, Diana takes the most aggressive turn. Before we dive into her potential, it is worth discussing the mechanic she is bringing into the game: Nightfall. Cards with Nightfall gain extra bonuses/effects if they are not the first card you have played that round. Generally speaking, this means that cards with Nightfall will require quite a bit of setup, but you can benefit from multiple Nightfall triggers per turn.
Diana gains Challenger the turn you play her if it is Night. Quick Attack and Challenger are extremely deadly in conjunction with each other as they essentially allow you to pick off an enemy unit for free. Sure, on a 2|2 this pairing of keywords isn’t showing off its true potential, but when she levels up, Diana is capable of dealing even with the toughest of enemies.
She seems to fit best in an aggressive deck, but she wants Nightfall support as well. If you can slot in a lot of 1-mana – or better yet, 0-mana – cards in your list to reliably trigger your Nightfall, Diana will put in serious work. Without the Nightfall support, she is a 2-mana 2|2 with Quick Attack. However, if you manage to cast anything before playing her she essentially becomes a removal spell.
Diana is strong pre-flipped, but thanks to an easy level up requirement, as the game goes, she only gets better. Overall, she requires some build around to live up to her full potential, but as you’ll see shortly, that shouldn’t be a problem. Diana will see play and will be an auto-include in the aggressive Nightfall decks.
Pale Cascade – 3.0
A combat trick that can also replace itself is powerful and this one comes at Burst speed and only 2-mana. It plays perfectly with Diana herself, along with any other Overwhelm or Quick Attack units. Pale Cascade won’t frequently save your units in combat, but it will help you trade up and, if set up properly, it won’t cost you an extra card to do it.
Hush – 2.5
Call of the Mountain introduces a couple of new cards that allow you to Silence enemy units – including champions. Hush is one of those cards and not only does it allow you to Silence any unit, but it also creates Fleeting copies of itself! At 3-mana and Burst-speed this card can effectively act as a Deny against pump spells – and can even be used to negate the Frostbite on units. This card has the potential to be incredibly powerful as one of the only cards in the game to turn off/delay champion level-ups. It has been confirmed by Design Lead Shawn Main that this WILL hinder level-up conditions for any champions that don’t have global level up conditions (i.e. Yasuo, Ezreal, Hecarim, etc.).
That said, the Silence effect only lasts for one round, meaning that unless you can capitalize on it right away, it won’t do you much good. Hush will certainly see a lot of experimentation while players are testing the boundaries of the card’s power level. I expect it will be played more than Purify has been, but I don’t think it is going to be quite the powerhouse a lot of players seemingly expect.
Cygnus The Moonstalker – 2.0
These stats are pretty terrible for 6-mana, but a 4|2 Elusive that gives another unit Elusive has a pretty high ceiling. Still, 6-mana is expensive for a card that requires a lot of set up. Without cheap spells, this isn’t likely to play as a 6-drop because you will need to trigger Nightfall to make it worth playing. You also need to have a creature worth putting Elusive on – or Cygnus still wouldn’t really be worth the investment.
Poro Cannon – 2.5
Even though it is a Piltover and Zaun spoiler, I truly have felt it fits the Diana package. A 0-mana spell works perfectly with the Nightfall mechanic by itself, but Poro Cannon also generates two 1-mana units to further help enable Nightfall down the line. It’s a solid little deal and though it doesn’t do a whole lot, it is a utility piece for Nightfall decks.
It also has a home in the Discard strategies that have been around since Beta. I’m not sure how many of these decks will actually end up running a card like this when you can run Rummage instead, but there is some potential to explore there.
Lunari Duskbringer – 4.0
Strong 1- and 2-drops in Legends of Runeterra are the backbone of an archetype’s success in most situations. Lunari Duskbringer is the epitome of what Nightfall decks are shaping up to be. It is aggressively statted, it helps you stay on-curve without losing value on your Nightfall effects. Duskpetal Dust spell that it generates is massive for Nightfall deck. It enables your namesake effects at Burst-speed and allows you to convert one spell mana into generic mana. Expect to see Lunari Duskbringer in every Nightfall deck.
Lunari Shadestalker – 2.5
As Nightfall cards go, the Shadestalker isn’t too exciting. A 2-mana 2|3 Elusive is a strong card, but can’t be played on curve unless you have a Duskpetal Dust or another cheap spell you want to spend for this card. Still, 2|3 is a solid defensive statline for a 2-drop and it may see some play in decks that aren’t dedicated to the Nightfall theme where an early blocker is needed.
Crescent Guardian – 3.0
Permanent buffs continue as a theme throughout Targon and Crescent Guardian is another unit that would benefit from such buffs. An aggressive unit that can be a decent attacker on turn three without the Nightfall trigger, but also scales well into the game if you can trigger Nightfall. 3-mana for six points worth of stats is about on par with other units. I think this card is strong enough on its own to see play in any Targon decks that need curve filler.
Nightfall is shaping up to be an interesting mechanic. It continues to receive support and I’m excited to see where it ends up when the full set is revealed. The dedicated Nightfall decks will be an interesting puzzle to piece together. How many Nightfall cards are too many in a deck? How many enablers are enough? It seems to me there can be decks that run early units without Nightfall, just to trigger your Nightfall cards. But there can also be decks that rely on cheap spells to trigger both early and late Nightfall units. Only time will tell, but expect to see Nightfall cards in a multitude of archetypes. Diana is a solid top-down design and pushes the Lunari into an aggressive slant.