Discard Aggro Deck Guide & Matchups
Hello, Agigas here! I am a Master player since beta with several #4 peaks and tournament wins. I love sharing my knowledge about the game and I have been a regular writer at RuneterraCCG. I write in-depth deck guides, articles for tournament players, and curate our constantly updated Meta Tier List.
This particular guide you’re reading is part of our on-going series of guides on meta decks. You can find all the other guides and a matchup table on this page.
This article is dedicated to Discard Aggro – an ancient powerhouse that is re-emerging because of the recent Go Hard/Pack Your Bags nerf.
Discard Aggro is all about flooding the board with low-cost units as quickly as possible. To help with that plan it leverages Discard synergies with cards like Jury-Rig and Flame Chompers. It is an extremely explosive deck – it is not rare to see 6 units on the board by turn 3.
Once the board gets wide, Discard Aggro follows up with powerful payoffs to accelerate the game even further. Cheap board-wide buffs such as Arena Battlecaster and Vision allow the deck to push tons of damage. Crowd Favorite is another great payoff when you have a wide board. Many archetypes face a struggle against this huge Overwhelm unit backed up by your swarm of smaller followers. Discard Aggro is probably the record holder for the number of turn 4/5 wins.
However, the board-flooding aggression can come short against archetypes that can match this board presence early and/or have access to a cheap board-wipe. While the explosive aggression is a win condition by itself against unprepared lists, a level 2 Jinx is also a great way to back it up. She will close out the game very fast if not dealt with, and you can level her up very early.
- Use your Discard synergies efficiently. This deck has many synergies between ‘Discard effects’ (Poro Cannon, Zaunite Urchin, Draven’s Spinning Axe, Get Excited, Rummage, Augmented Experimenter) and ‘Discard fodder’ (Jury-Rig, Vision, Flame Chompers, Draven’s Spinning Axe). Try to maximize these synergies while putting a lot of pressure on the opponent.
- Look out for Jinx’s level up. You want to level her up as fast as possible. Be aware that cards that discard-and-refill your hand (Rummage, Poro Cannon, Augmented Experimenter) will also level her up + create a Rocket. Some hands might look hard to empty out, but with these cards, it gets a lot easier. Also, keep in mind that those mentioned effects can get you a Rocket the same turn you leveled Jinx.
- Avoid trading too early. Because you want to capitalize on your board-wide synergies (Arena Battlecaster, Vision, Crowd Favorite) it is not in your interest to trade before you’ve activated those synergies. Outside of specific circumstances, you should avoid blocking as much as possible. It is okay not to attack in the first few turns if it means losing your board without pushing a significant amount of damage.
- Focus on your own gameplan first. Discard Aggro is a pretty linear archetype. And while it is harder to play it optimally than people make it out to be, it is still not a deck that does best when you’re ‘playing around everything’. Discard Aggro does one thing, but it does it well. Focus on optimizing your sequencing and your synergies to out-pace the opponent, and blow them out before they can even react. “I lost because you high-rolled!” – as a Discard Aggro player, these are the words you want to hear from your opponent after a game! If you pilot the deck well, your draws will often indeed look like ‘high-rolls’ from their perspective.
General mulligan tips:
- Try to find the hand that will allow you to curve-out and make the most powerful board possible in the first few turns. Look for your powerful discard synergies, and try to have a nice balance in your hand – you want to have about as many discard effects as discard fodders.
- Once you already have a nice curve-out that will put a lot of pressure on the opponent, you want to keep payoffs, like Crowd Favorite, Arena Battlecaster (when you’re not already keeping it to curve-out), and Vision. You can also look to keep Jinx if you know she will be quickly impactful in the matchup.
Be aware that these are just the general guidelines to help you understand the deck’s gameplan. Mulligans are very matchup-dependant – please refer to the matchup section below for more specific advice on mulligans against different meta decks.
Click on the box to read detailed info about a matchup of choice:
Mulligan for: Astute Academic, Zaunite Urchin, Arena Battlecaster, Flame Chompers, House Spider, Poro Cannon, Jury-Rig; Vision, Draven – if you already have a good hand.
- They have no good answer for your early board flood and no healing. You can win really very fast against them just by assembling a large board and buffing it with Arena Battlecaster and Vision.
- While your early aggression can really swarm them and lead to easy victories, your other payoffs tend to be a bit underwhelming at times.
- Crowd Favorite can work, though sometimes it will not be as effective (because of Icevale Archer, Enraged Yeti…).
- Augmented Experimenter can certainly help to finish a close game – but often he won’t be enough to put you back into a game where you’re significantly behind. Another big downside of his is that he can make your hand very awkward early.
- Jinx can be annoying for them to deal with. 5 attack means they would need a freeze if they want to kill her with a removal. They can remove her with a Challenger on their turn, but that can feel very clunky for them. If you can level her up early it can really accelerate your gameplan, and they have no healing to sustain against her Rockets.
- Their best way to win the game is to cast a massive Reckoning. It can be hard for you to play around it, but it costs them a lot of mana and needs a setup. If you go fast enough you won’t usually have to worry too much about it, and if they do cast it you can often refill the board fast or play out a Jinx.
- You should almost never block their units if they have mana up, else it would give them a great opportunity to use a freeze like Brittle Steel. However, when contemplating an attack, you shouldn’t play around with Frostbites as much.
Mulligan for: Draven, Zaunite Urchin, Astute Academic, House Spider, Poro Cannon, Jury-Rig; Jinx, Crowd Favorite if you have a good hand.
- Their usual win condition of making the opponent draw extra cards isn’t good against you, because it is too slow and you’ll be able to make great use of those extra cards.
- Their best way to upset the matchups is with Teemo, and by taking good trades in the early with their units and freezes. Once they dealt enough damage, they can finish the game with a leveled-up Ezreal.
- Their win condition is very burn-oriented, be careful about your nexus health points.
- Poro Cannon can provide you useful blockers for an early Teemo.
- They have the ability to freeze units to prevent you from pushing damage. However, they can struggle against a wide board and have no way to heal or prevent burn damage.
- Use your attack buffs (Vision, Draven’s Axe) after they used their freezes to still get some damage through.
- Once you got them low enough, it is quite easy to finish them with Get Excited and/or Jinx’s Mega Death Rocket.
Mulligan for: Draven, Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, Astute Academic, Arena Battlecaster, Poro Cannon, House Spider; Crowd Favorite, Vision – if you have a good hand.
- In this matchup, your end-game (Jinx, Augmented Experimenter) tends to not be good enough against Lee Sin. Jinx can put some work in if you level her up fast enough (or if they can’t kill you fast enough). Augmented Experimenter is really slow and gets countered by Deny.
- Your early aggression can be very tough for them to deal with. They can struggle to keep up on tempo and they have no way of dealing with a wide board.
- Crowd Favorite is a great way to capitalize on your board and close out the game. However, they can counter it with Hush, or Equinox (from the Celestial pool they get access to with Zoe).
- Their best defense is Eye of the Dragon’s Dragonling tokens. Keep track of how many spells they have played per turn, and don’t give them additional opportunities to set up a Dragonling spawn for your attacking turn. For example: avoid using Get Excited so they can’t play Nopeify, avoid initiating combat where they would use a buff, avoid killing an attacking Mentor so they don’t get Gems, etc.
Mulligan for: Astute Academic, Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, House Spider, Crowd Favorite, Draven; Vision, Arena Battlecaster, Flame Chomper, Poro Cannon – if you already have a good hand.
- Star Spring is their win condition, and they have a lot of healing synergies. Avoid dealing damage to their units if your attacks don’t give you benefits. They will heal up their units if you can’t remove or trade with them.
- They are susceptible to your early aggression because they need a few slower turns to set up their synergies. They also struggle to deal with a wide board. Even later into the game, their landmark takes up space on the board, which means you get to sneak additional points of damage in.
- Once they’ve played Broadbacked Protector, they get access to a ton of Nexus healing. In that scenario, you would not only need damage but also a strong board position to keep the pressure up and push through the heal.
- The win cons of Jinx and Augmented Experimenter both aren’t easy to execute. If you give the opponent too much time they can win with their landmark and eat Jinx with Tahm Kench. However, Jinx and Experimenter can still be pretty good as long as you go fast enough. Crowd Favorite is the easiest way to win games as it comes down early and it’s hard for them to block it without sacrificing units they need. But keep in mind that they can have Hush to get rid of Favorite.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, Draven, Astute Academic, House Spider; Crowd Favorite, Jinx – if you already have a good hand.
- Unless they are on a slow Plaza draw, they have a lot of tools to deal with your board flood. Miss Fortune’s ability paired up with a Challenger unit destroys your 1-health units. They also have enough cheap units themselves to contest you.
- Get Excited is a great answer to Miss Fortune, but keep in mind that they can protect her (Ranger’s Resolve, Sharpsight) if they have mana.
- Against a slow Plaza draw, your board flood can put them under a lot of pressure quickly.
- They can struggle to deal with your ‘go-wide’ payoffs.
- A big Crowd Favorite is annoying for them, they don’t have removals to deal with it. Avoid trading too much early so you can set it up.
- Challenger units are their only way to remove Jinx. And even if they do have Challengers to remove her, you can just play her out right after their attack. This way she would be safe for a while – unless they also have a Relentless Pursuit.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, Draven, Astute Academic, House Spider; Crowd Favorite, Get Excited, Jinx if you already have a good hand.
- Avoid trading units in the early turns. They have a lot of units to refill, and have no synergies with large boards, whereas you need one.
- TF’s Red Card can be devastating if you have a lot of 1 health units. Try to play around it when possible.
- All their removals are damage-based and they have no big blocker. A big Crowd Favorite can quickly turn things in your favor.
- Keep Get Excited for TF. You can’t remove him without it and they can level him up over 1 turn, so be very careful.
- Jinx is a great finisher in the matchup. They’ll need 2 spells to remove her when leveled, and Super Mega Death Rocket will quickly finish the game.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, Draven, Astute Academic, Arena Battlecaster, House Spider; Vision, Crowd Favorite – if you already have a good hand.
- You both need a board to make your decks work. You want a wide board to enable Crowd Favorite, Arena Battlecaster, and Vision. They need their units to make use of their spells and synergies like Shen.
- Trading your units into theirs is fine, especially once you’ve enabled your ‘go-wide’ synergies. If you take successful trades they will run out of units faster than you. However, try to avoid trading your units into their spells.
- You can out-pace them and assemble a wide board while they still don’t have much to fight back. Use this pattern to push damage, and force trades once you’ve already activated your board synergies.
- Be careful about Fiora. It’s hard to deal with her through protection, and they can use her as a win condition.
- You don’t want to rely on Augmented Experimenter or Jinx too much. They can Deny Augmented Experimenter’s ability, and even if it resolves, it’s hard to come back once they have control over the board. They can also deal with Jinx by using Challengers, Single Combat, and Concerted Strike.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, Draven, Astute Academic, House Spider, Jinx; Crowd Favorite – if you already have a good hand.
- In this matchup, being the one with a Jinx online is extremely important. Because both of you are capable of flooding the board, it can be tough to win by out-pacing the opponent. Jinx win condition, however, is a lot more consistent.
- The easiest way to deal with Jinx is to kill her at level 1 with Get Excited. Make sure to play out your own Jinx only once you’re able to level her up immediately.
- Augmented Experimenter is also a good option to remove Jinx – but often it’s much clunkier.
- Jinx’s Rocket is not only a burn spell – but it also destroys wide boards of 1-health units. Rocket + Get Excited can finish off the opponent’s level 2 Jinx.
- Sometimes you still can high-roll the opponent with early aggression and attack buffs. If the opponent can’t match you initially, their only real answer is to get to a Jinx’s Rocket.
- Crowd Favorite is a great card to capitalize on a large board against an opponent that is having a slow draw.
- Adapt your playstyle to your draw. If you have a Favorite, avoid trading to set up for it properly. If you are on the Jinx gameplan and have no Crowd Favorite, aim to trade as much as possible.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Draven, Juri-Rig, House Spider, Astute Academic; Poro Cannon, Vision, Flame Chompers, Crowd Favorite – if you already have a good hand.
- They have neither board-wipes nor healing, so they can struggle to deal with your early board flood aggression.
- However, if they manage to stabilize and run you out of resources, it can be very tough to win. They have a lot of answers for Jinx and Augmented Experimenter won’t be enough for you to come back. Still, these two will help you when closing games.
- In the first turns, avoid trading your units so you can benefit from your synergies. They can play House Spider to stabilize.
- They have several ways to punish you as you choose to develop the board before attacking (Arachnoid Sentry, Tri-beam Improbulator).
Mulligan for: Astute Academic, Draven, Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, House Spider, Crowd Favorite.
- This matchup can be tough because they have a lot of ways to remove your small units.
- Your best shot is to flood the board in the first 3 turns and play a huge Crowd Favorite. They will struggle to remove it without losing a lot of tempo.
- Avoid taking any trade in the first 3 turns to maximize your Crowd Favorite.
- Leveled-up Draven can serve as an extra Crowd Favorite. Though be careful if you try to level him up to not run into Glimpse Beyond.
- If they survive your early draw, you are on Jinx plan.
- If you can survive Pack your Bag and they’re close to casting it, wait for them to do so before playing Jinx.
- Else, play and level her up as fast as possible.
Mulligan for: Astute Academic, Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, Arena Battlecaster, House Spider, Draven, Jinx.
- This matchup can be very difficult because of their many board-wipes. Avalanche can easily reset the board at a cheap cost. Your worst nightmare is often Withering Wail, because they can use it during your attack so it’s less clunky than Avalanche – and it also heals them.
- Whenever possible, play around their board-wipes. However, you can’t afford to go too slowly because they get stronger as the game progress. You need to find the right balance that forces them to use their board-wipe while still leaving you with a chance to re-develop afterward.
- Units with more health, like Draven or Jinx, can help you develop a strong board without playing too much into their damage-based board-wipes.
- Recognize times when your best bet is to just hope they don’t have it. If you’re in a gamestate where you’re about to lose to a board-wipe no matter how much you play around it, you need to accept it and play like if they don’t have it. If they do have it – you lose as you would have anyway. If they don’t – it will give you a path to victory.
- They can have trouble dealing with Jinx urgently as most of their answers to it are over-costed.
- Crowd Favorite can be tough for them to deal with. However, be careful to not play it into The Ruination, unless you have no choice but to do so.
A while ago, before the advent of the TF Go Hard archetype, Discard Aggro was one of the best decks in the meta. It then suffered during the Go Hard meta heavily, but with the recent nerf to Pack Your Bags, Discard aggro might finally be back to its former glory. It is a great deck to climb with as it is very fast and aggressive – sometimes it can win as soon as turn 4 (which I must admit is very satisfying).
Like I said earlier, this guide is part of a series where I go over all the top decks in the meta so you’d have all the resources needed to learn the archetype you want and improve as a player. This series is my most ambitious project so far, I hope it will be helpful!
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