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 – one of the most synergistic aggro decks.
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: Legion Rearguard, 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: Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, Draven, Legion Rearguard, House Spider, Jinx if you already have a good hand.
- Pirate Aggro is a very aggressive archetype, looking to play early aggressive units and finish with burn spells and powerful finisher (GP and Farron). Fortunately, you’re even more explosive than them thanks to discard synergies.
- It’s very hard for them to deal with an early level 2 Jinx (they need 2 Noxian Fervors). If you can set up for an early level-up you’re heavily favored.
- Neither of you has healing and you both have a lot of nexus damage. Be conservative with your nexus health.
- They can level-up Gangplank rapidly. Try to prevent them from spacing their nexus damage over the turns. To do so, you can for example force their Noxian Fervor or kill their Legion Grenadier on a turn you already took nexus damage.
- Noxian Fervor is their only 3 mana cost spell. If they play Zap Sprayfin, you know they have at least one in hand (note: some version play a copy of Brother’s Bond).
- You need to finish decisively. If you give them too much time, they can play huge threats like a leveled GP or a Captain Farron.
Mulligan for: Draven, Zaunite Urchin, Legion Rearguard, 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: Legion Rearguard, Zaunite Urchin, Arena Battlecaster, House Spider, Draven, Jury-Rig; Poro Cannon, Vision, Crowd Favorite if you have a good hand.
- They don’t have any board-wipes to counter an explosive swarm, so curving out your early units and discard synergies can pose them a real problem.
- They don’t have any healing or a way to flood the board quickly either, so if you do out-speed them early it will often set you up for victory.
- What they do have are powerful Overwhelm units. They are a slow but aggressive decks. If you to too slow they will develop powerful threats and you don’t have anything to stop them.
- Avoid trading early, they don’t have board-wide synergies and you want your Arena Battlecaster, Vision, and Crowd Favorite to be strong.
- They can’t remove a unit outside of combat, but they can use exhaust or other ways to give Vulnerable to a unit to pick a fight and use their big units as removal.
- Try to play Jinx when they don’t have the attack token, so they can’t remove her quickly.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Jury-rig, House Spider, Draven; if you have a good hand keep Jinx or Vision.
- You both have a very solid explosive early game plan. As the game continues, you gain the advantage with Jinx and Augmented Experimenter – they don’t have such a powerful plan at this stage of the game and rely on quickly finishing with burn.
- -Even if you do have a lot of board synergies, you often want to keep trading to prevent them to push nexus damage. You don’t have any lifegain, but if you stay out of their burn’s reach you should be poised to take the game.
- ->Be very careful about their Fearsome units, which can push damage through your board. Use Vision or Draven’s Axes to block them.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, Zaunite Urchin, House Spider, Draven, Jinx.
- Nightfall Aggro is a deck using the powerful Nightfall abilities to gain tempo advantages, and transform that tempo into pressure. However, this deck is also able to go for a more grindy game plan when the situation asks for it, and can keep the pressure up for a very long time.
- Your most reliable way to beat them is through Jinx. Trying to beatdown them is difficult because they can match your early turns with their numerous 1-cost units.
- They don’t have out of combat removal, so Jinx is really hard for them to deal with (note: some versions play a 1-of Atrocity, but using it on Jinx would be very expensive and inconvenient for them). Try to play Jinx right after their attack so she has time to impact before being put in danger from Diana or Nocturne.
- If their draw is not explosive enough, you can decline to take trades and play a big Crowd Favorite on turn 4. Most versions don’t play silences (note: some play Moonlight Affliction) or removal for Crowd Favorite, and they don’t have any board wipes to punish you for going wide.
Mulligan for: Draven, Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, Legion Rearguard, 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: Legion Rearguard, 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, Legion Rearguard, 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, 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, Jury-Rig, House Spider, Draven. Keep Crowd Favorite if you have a good hand and attack on odds.
- Thresh Nasus is a midrange deck leveraging sacrifice synergies to get a powerful early game, strong value, and level Thresh and Nasus up quickly. It can be a difficult matchup, as they can match your board swarm early with their, and remove your Jinx with Black Spear.
- They do have the answers they need in their deck to counter your game plan, and then they’ll easily close out with Nasus and/or leveling up Thresh. However, you can regularly upset the matchup – keep testing their answers, and if they miss one the game will quickly turn in your favor.
- Your explosive early development will punish them very hard for having an under-average early draw.
- Jinx will punish them very hard for not finding Black Spear. If you can force out a Black Spear on Draven or Crowd Favorite with your early draw, it will make it that much harder for them to deal with Jinx. Try to play Jinx when they don’t have the attack token so they can’t remove her with Thresh + Vile Feast for example, unless they have no challenger units.
- Crowd Favorite is a very powerful unit if you can get a big one – they are very bad at blocking a big Overwhelm unit early on. However, their turn 3 Blighted Caretaker can make it pretty hard to get a large board. If you attack on odds (or if they don’t find Caretaker), you’ll have a very good opportunity on turn 4 to play your Crowd Favorite before they can get a Caretaker attack.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Draven, Juri-Rig, House Spider, Legion Rearguard; 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: Legion Rearguard, Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, House Spider, Draven, Jinx; Crowd Favorite if you have House Spider.
- This matchup is reputed for being very unfavored. However, you can still upset it a surprising amount of times if you manage to play it well.
- Their numerous board wipes (Ice Shard, Avalanche, Blighted Ravine, Withering Wail) are what makes this matchup hard.
- Avoid overextending into them – you want to always have just the right amount of units to force an answer.
- Alternatively, you can run right into their board wipe and hope they don’t have it. This is a very high-risk high-reward approach – overall I would reserve it for when you have a read on their hand, or when it is your best out.
- Your best units are the ones too big to get removed by their board wipes (Draven, Jinx, Crowd Favorite). Their answers to bigger units are very expensive, and they’ll often have to remove them over 2 turns with several board wipes.
- Getting an early big Crowd Favorite is a great way to upset the matchup.
- Consider keeping some spell mana and Jury-rig to play it (or discard it) at burst speed right before you play your Crowd Favorite.
- Jinx will often be your key unit, allowing you to not run out of value and deal a lot of burn damage. It’s hard for them to deal with her at a reasonable cost.
- When they have a unit on board, consider not attacking with Jinx – they could freeze her with Flash Freeze to damage/kill her in combat.
Discard aggro 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). It also has the upside of being a great anti-aggro deck, which makes it a perfect dek to beat players also playing aggro for a fast climb.
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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Thanks for reading!