Riven Zed – Endless Buffs to Crush the Opposition

If you're a fan of either Riven or Zed, or just generally favor fast decks that can constantly keep the opponent on the backfoot - check out this brew by IzzetTinkerer!
Blades in the Darkness created by IzzetTinkerer • last updated 2 years ago
  • Origins

Good evening card gamers. IzzetTinkerer here, and I do indeed tinker.

When playing on ladder, I reserve my greeting emote for a player who’s brought a unique deck. Be it a strange champion combination or an unlikely choice of second region, I usually show them a little love.

If the deck impresses me, I take the idea and reverse engineer it based on the cards I saw and what I imagine their gameplan is. One such deck, featuring Zed and LeBlanc really caught my eye.

The opponent was playing a Quick Attack-style aggressive deck – I tried to emulate it, but upon further testing, I found that a big problem is that cards like Trifarian Gloryseeker and Thorn of the Rose are both really bad in a world where Pokey Stick exists. I decided to look for more suitable ways to pump a less brittle team.

  • Gameplan

Zed and Riven is a champion pair that’s by no means new, but it’s still a deck style that rewards players for applying their buffs at the right moment and outclassing their opponent in each combat. The deck wins by committing a champion and amassing a number of pump spells to make the combat situations as favourable as possible.

The Reforge package included with Zed is always a strong way to pressure from as early as turn three. Much like in the Elusive decks with Demacia, if you’re attacking on odds then you’re best to pass on two with the mana up for Twin Disciplines to defend Zed.

The biggest weakness a deck like this has is that doesn’t run many ways to defend its troops, not at least to the degree of the Demacia Elusives shell.

Dragons and Lurk – two dominating archetypes in the meta – both win with board states that grow in pressure due to the size of their units, and both of these decks combined have over 20% of the meta’s play rate. Our deck operates faster than them and has a high spell count to dodge a lot of the interaction those decks play.

Syncopation and Twin Disciplines are your best tech against the strike spells from Demacia. Whirling Death is criminally underplayed and can enable favorable combat against even bigger Dragon opponents.

The full set of Spirit’s Refuge may seem like overkill, but I think it’s very necessary. The Barrier helps keep you safe against bigger strike spells and it can also let you block into Sivir. The Lifesteal is there to help you stabilize against Yordle Burn or even Pirate Aggro.

The closest thing we get to a Rally in this deck style is the Midnight Raid from the Ruined Reckoner. If you build up a champion, or one of the Elusives, with power buffs and attack multiple times, any opponent will feel the pressure.

One carry-over from the LeBlanc version that I started with is that this deck is playing a full set of Flurry of Fists. This card fell out of favour after its nerf back in September, but in a deck that can grant Quick Attack easily, thanks to Young Witch and Riven’s blades, the Double Attack is very desirable, particularly when this deck can give Overwhelm easily with the blades and Might.

  • Verdict

The current meta features a lot of decks that pressure in the mid to late game. This deck pressures even faster and has interactive tools that a lot of decks will not see coming.

It likely won’t be the new king of the meta, but it can contend very well with a lot of what’s out there right now, and something I recommend to players who want an edge and the chance to play something a little unlike anything going right now.

Also, I know everyone enjoys smacking their opponent with an 8-power, Overwhelm, Double Attack Riven – and this is the best shell to live that dream.


IzzetTinkerer creates a lot of things. As co-founder of fantasticuniverses.com, they write about card gaming and PC gaming. On YouTube, they can be found game mastering for No Ordinary Heroes, or editing the antics on The Hostile Atmosphere. Find where they dwells by climbing their Linktree.

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