Draven Sion Deck Guide
I remember people doubting Sion when he was first revealed, but he has taken the meta by storm since the release of Beyond the Bandlewood. So, let’s examine the beast.
This specific Sion deck employs a fast midrange strategy where we look to apply early pressure and use Sion as a finisher on turn 7 or 8.
Most of our cards benefit from Discard and help level Sion in due time – on top of their inherent benefits. The infamous Zaunite Urchin + Sump Dredger + Rummage package works extremely well here with units such as Draven, Boom Baboon, Fallen Rider, and Lost Soul.
Our early/mid-game objective is to field as potent and wide a board as possible to prepare for Sion. It is important to note that this deck has incredible staying power thanks to its ability to recycle low-value cards like Draven’s Spinning Axes or Fallen Rider. Lost Soul stands out in his regard especially – he is effectively an infinite (albeit slow) value machine.
Once we arrive to turn 7, it is virtually impossible for Sion to not be levelled. At that point, you should be also ahead on board and Sion will be nothing but the nail in the coffin. Your opponent will be presented with a lose-lose scenario: either deal with Sion and lose to the rest of your board, or deal with your board and allow Sion to slam in for massive damage.
Now, this is all nice and rosy – however, Sion does have its counters, as many players predicted. Fast speed Stuns and Recalls can neuter him quite well, making Ionia a powerful counter, while the deck’s high draw capability is also weak to Mushroom decks such as Ezreal Foundry or Caitlyn Teemo.
That is not to say that Draven Sion is a bad deck, but I would set some realistic expectations sooner rather than later: Sion is powerful, yes, but he and his deck have some glaring flaws that can be exploited.
Tech and Options
Draven Sion actually has quite a bit of room for alternate cards. As it turns out, completing Sion’s level-up condition of discarding or summoning 35 power’s worth of units is incredibly easy and allows us to diversify our card choices.
This archetype has the ability to change speed to match the meta thanks to its rather wide deck-building options. It’s possible to go slower with Arachnoid Sentry, Flock, and Improbulator, but it’s also possible to go faster with Noxian Fervor and Ancient Warmonger.
- Arachnoid Sentry. Great at stalling enemy Elusives or regular units while we set up our board on defense, and useful when we want to stun a crucial enemy unit before swinging in. Arachnoid Sentry has been a top performer in Noxus for a long time and it pulls its weight here as well.
- Ravenous Flock, Noxian Fervor. Flock can finish off an enemy unit after a trade gone wrong. It can also serve to kill our own Sion in a pinch to trigger the Rally effect of
Sion Returned. Noxian Fervor does that as well but doubles as burn, which can be something you’d want if you’re trying to streamline your version to be faster than one with Ravenous Flock.
- Tri-beam Improbulator. An extremely slow option that is highly meta-dependent, Tri-beam Improbulator enhances our staying power and grants us that oomph to finish the game that Sion can’t always provide. Best reserved for midrange- or control-heavy metas.
- Ancient Warmonger. Ancient Warmonger has been phased out of many iterations as the deck gained refinement – however, it is still a fine inclusion if you are trying to increase the speed at which you want to pressure your opponent.
- Draven’s Biggest Fan. I personally despise the card, but its (many) advocates keep bringing up the need for a consistent Draven on Turn 3. I think it’s hogwash, but if that’s what you want then don’t let me stop you.
- Understand your role and play at the appropriate speed
The outcome of the game will largely depend on your mulligan decisions and early game pacing. It is important to understand whether you are the attacker or the defender at every point in a game. In short, knowing whether you have the time to abuse Lost Soul and grind your opponent out through sheer value, or if you must resort to a faster tactic will be the difference-maker in many games.
- Master the art of Discard
There is a balance to be struck between your Discard enablers (ex. Grave Physician) and your discard payoffs (ex. Lost Soul). You must assess how many you have of each at the start of the game and also understand how many you are likely to draw. Of course, keeping an eye on Sion’s level-up is also important, but he virtually always is leveled on turn 7, sometimes even a turn before, so don’t worry too much about it.
- Just because you can play Sion doesn’t mean you should
Slamming Sion on Turn 7 feels great, but winning the game feels better. 7 mana is a high investment, and if the opponent can deal with Sion either by blocking or through the use of a spell, you’re looking at a net tempo loss that can turn out to be disastrous.
Sometimes it is better to hold on to the big play and use several smaller cards that have a bigger cumulative impact. It comes down to a basic risk-versus-reward calculation, but remember that playing Sion can be punished quite hard by certain cards like Minimorph, Will of Ionia, Arachnoid Sentry.
The counterpoint to that rule of thumb is that sometimes you have to play to your odds and go for the big Sion play anyway because you recognize that any other line of play would result in defeat. I trust you’ll make the right decision.
- The Secret to Reborn Grenadier
I’m gonna let you in on something. Reborn Grenadier is a cool card, I’m sure you’ve noticed. But it really only becomes great when you start using him defensively to force awful trades onto your opponent. Wait for them to attack (or willfully put your opponent in such a position) and use Rummage or a Spinning Axe to summon Reborn Grenadier at Burst speed to block a “real unit” with a disposable Ephemeral 3/2. Enjoy your free value!
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Fallen Rider, Draven, Lost Soul.
- The goal here is to grind them out. Sivir Akshan has high staying power thanks to Preservarium and Warlord’s Palace, however we have Lost Soul, a one-man army with a swiss-army knife. Twinblade Revenant can kill Sivir, Akshan, Ruin Runner, and Merciless Hunter, you just need to recycle it efficiently.
- This doesn’t mean the matchup is a cakewalk however. You can afford to play slower than normal here, but be mindful not to become too greedy and lose too much tempo as that is precisely your lose condition.
- If you play Twinblade Revenant against a board devoid of priority targets (Sivir, Akshan, Ruin Runner) and the opponent passes their turn despite having full mana, it is a clear signal that they do not want their unit to die to Twinblade. In this spot, consider simply passing back, thus ending the turn and gaining in tempo which is, as you’ll remember, the one thing that can make you lose.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Fallen Rider, Draven, Lost Soul.
- Poppy Lulu sets up strong boards before buffing them up to win the game. They need some time to set up, which we can use early on to create a stronger board and push some early damage.
- By the time midgame rolls around, reassess your speed depending on how much damage you’ve already pushed as well as your handstate.
- Always be mindful of the possibility of a Rally, and spend your mana accordingly.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Poro Cannon, Fallen Rider, Draven, and Arachnoid Sentry if attacking on even turns.
- You can defend against Pirate Aggro’s early aggression well enough. However it can be hard to deal with Miss Fortune directly, so it is necessary to go on the offense rapidly to force them to sacrifice her.
- Play around Make it Rain as much as possible. Do not commit Zaunite Urchin and Boom Baboon alongside each other or units left at 1 health.
- Don’t go greedy by trying to recycle Twinblade Revenant, you won’t have time for it. Trust in Reborn Grenadier instead.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Fallen Rider, Poro Cannon, Draven, keep Survival Skills.
- Zed Lulu is much, much faster than you are, though we have tools to defend against some of their tricks. Poro Cannon is an obvious one to protect against their Elusives, and Arachnoid Sentry is yet again a stand-out card.
- Your only consistent way to deal with Young Witch and Zed is going to be Survival Skills. Without it, you’re at their mercy and that never feels good, so make it count.
- Once you have the board, develop as much as you can before striking to maximize your damage output and converse your Poro Cannons as much as possible for defensive use.
Mulligan for: Poro Cannon, Zaunite Urchin, Fallen Rider, Draven, Arachnoid Sentry.
- The evaluation Zoe Nami matchup heavily depends on two specific techs: Arachnoid Sentry and Ravenous Flock. With them, the matchup becomes rather even. Arachnoid Sentry punishes the development of Elusives when Zoe Nami tries to close out the game, and Ravenous Flock is invaluable to finish off buffed up units, and of course the two work great together to enable a kill on Nami when on defense.
- Zoe Nami has a fundamental clock advantage over Draven Sion simply because they can close out the game by turn 6, while you often need to get to turn 7. To get there, you will need to disrupt their gameplan by killing their Nami, Sparklefly‘s, and Fleet Admiral Shelly‘s using Lost Soul and Get Excited!.
- Zoe Nami tends to have slow early games as they like to pass the first few turns of the game to bank spell mana and prepare the Nami level up. Punish them with a fast early game to slow down their set up time.
- If you have the choice between Poro Cannon and some other early game play, favor the other one. Poro Cannon is one of your only defensive tools, so hold these
Daring Porosback until you need to block a giant Sparklefly.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Poro Cannon, Fallen Rider, Boom Baboon, Draven
- They have no hope of winning the board. The problem is that they don’t care about the board as much, they’ll just keep raising a wall of tiny units that we can’t push through because more just keep coming. Sometime in the midgame, The Bandle Tree will come down and there isn’t much to do about it unless you fancy teching Scorched Earth in the deck.
- So what are our best damage outlets to go through the swarm of tiny blockers? Sion is of course an obvious one but the threat of Minimorph looms heavy, so we will prefer low commitment ones like Poro Cannon, as well as turbo-leveling Draven to leverage his Overwhelm keyword.
- Talking about Overwhelm, it is often better to discard Sion rather than play him in this matchup. The opponent will often disrespect the chip damage and hold onto Minimorph or Stress Defense, thinking they’ll save it for Sion. Instead we chip at their Nexus and finish them off with burn spells.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Fallen Rider, Draven
- Darkness has the tools to deal with Sion via Minimorph and Stress Defense, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Throughout the game they can meet our offense and only slightly lose in terms of value and tempo. Don’t count on Sion to bail you out, not on his own merit.
- Twinblade Revenant is good at killing priority targets, but Veigar will likely get at least one increase damage trigger for Darkness and that is all the opponent needs for subsequent Darkness spells to deal with all our units (except Sion). It is near impossible to outgrind this deck, even with Twinblade Revenant, as eventually a lone Veigar can end the game on his own.
- Just as against Zoe Nami, you benefit here from the Arachnoid Sentry + Ravenous Flock tech as the combo can dispatch both Veigar and Senna.
Mulligan for: Zaunite Urchin, Poro Cannon, Fallen Rider
- Prioritize drawing early as opposed to drawing late in the game. Teemo Cait is a natural enemy as we tend to draw a lot which facilitates their Trap gameplan. Sadly we can’t really function without drawing a lot, but if you can try to draw earlier rather than later when you’ll have a million mushrooms in your deck.
- Sion can be a powerful finisher, however some Teemo Cait lists run Stress Defense or Minimorph. Also note that leveled Cait will trigger her effect on defense as well and damage our Nexus which will usually be perilously low by turn 7. This scenario can lead to a tie, which is a positive outcome for you considering how bad the matchup generally is.
- Our best hope of winning is to go hard and fast. Play on curve as much as possible and don’t worry about losing value as Teemo Cait will be drawing cards for you anyways.
- Remember Aloof Travelers and try to keep a Lost Soul in hand if possible. If not, think twice before discarding a Sion duplicate to prevent the remaining copy from being removed, thus leaving you with no finisher.
Draven Sion has quickly emerged as a powerful contender in the early weeks of the Bandlewood meta, and it seems like it is likely to stay near the top for a while longer despite the meta having somewhat shifted to fight it.
I am saddened that the deck phased Jinx out of her own Discard niche, though I doubt she will stay in the shadows for too long.