Ezreal/Draven 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 guide is dedicated to Ezreal/Draven – a deck that many have doubted in the past. Still, it has proven itself time and again as one of the very best archetypes in the meta.



Playstyle: Midrange/Tempo.

This deck deals with the opponent’s units with the powerful Piltover & Zaun and Noxus removals, all the while building its own board and sending some damage to the opposing Nexus. Because of its high density of removal, Ezreal/Draven is sometimes mistaken for a control deck. It is more accurate to call it a midrange/tempo deck because it actually often looks to proactively apply pressure, even though it can play somewhat of a control gameplan when it wants to. This unique identity led to the deck being misunderstood in the past. But this ability to adapt to any particular matchup and game state is actually one of its greatest strengths.

This archetype wants to use the tempo gained with efficient removals like Ravenous Flock or Tri-beam Improbulator to out-pace the opponent over a couple of turns, and then use this advantage to push Nexus damage. When the tempo pressure isn’t enough, it finishes the game with burn win condition of Ezreal and Captain Farron.

While Draven isn’t the key to this late-game win condition, he is the pillar that makes this deck cohesive. He is extremely difficult to block, pushing Nexus damage right from the early game, and gives you a lot of discard fodder. Most of the time, you should not look to level him up – as a level 1, he is already doing all you need from him in this deck.

Generating cards like Draven’s Axes and then discarding them to draw with Rummage or Sump Dredger provides a steady and very cheap source of card advantage. This deck consistently pushes the tempo backing it up by a stream of value.


General Tips

  • Keep track of your lethal potential. With a lot of ways to suddenly push a ton of damage to the Nexus, this deck has a great reach. Be aware of your possibilities with Ezreal, Farron, Arachnoid Sentry, burn spells, etc.
  • Make good use out of Arachnoid Sentry. This card’s ability can net you a lot of advantages, and you want to make sure you gain the most out of it. Assess whether you want to use it on the defense to make the opponent’s attack a lot worse, or on the offense to develop a unit while removing a blocker for the turn. Arachnoid Sentry’s ability is also great in combination with Ravenous Flock and progresses your Ezreal’s level-up.
  • Be flexible about the play patterns of Tri-beam Improbulator. While sometimes you just want to simply play out all your 3-cost cards and then use your Tri-beam Improbulator, there are other times where the patterns can get more complex than that. First of all, sometimes, you may want to cast it even before you’ve played out all your 3-cost cards. If playing it this way nets you a significant tempo immediately and allows you to remove a key unit and/or push damage – you might want to go for it. Another thing to keep in mind is that some unit mana-costs are more desirable than others. There was a great post on Reddit about it. One of the key takeaways from it is that upgrading your Tri-beam from a 4-cost random unit generation to a 5-cost one is particularly valuable. It is useful to know as these spots come up quite often.
  • Whenever possible, draw before playing out your 3-cost cards. Casting a card like Rummage before playing a 3-cost card can be very beneficial if you happen to draw into a Tri-beam Improbulator. However, don’t go for sub-optimal plays in these spots – you want to do this only when there is no downside to it.

General mulligan tips:

  • Draven and Tri-beam Improbulator are 2 cards you want to have in your starting hand in most matchups. House Spider is another card that you might want to prioritize if you need some board presence early.
  • If you already have Draven, Sump Dredger is the perfect card to gain value out of the Draven’s Spinning Axe without losing any tempo.
  • Think about what are the opponent’s early threat, and keep the best-suited removals.

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.


Matchups

Click on the box to read detailed info about a matchup of choice:

Mulligan for: Draven, House Spider, Thermogenic Beam, Tri-beam Improbulator; Arachnoid Sentry and Ravenous Flock if you have both; Sump Dredger if you have Draven.

Matchup tips:

  • Teemo Foundry wants to win with burn damage, with Ezreal and shrooms. Value your nexus health highly.
  • Teemo, Ezreal, and Puffcap Peddler are your priority targets for your removals.
    • If you have an Ezreal to block Teemo, let Teemo live and keep your removal for the other 2 units.
    • Be aware they can protect their unit with Troll Chant, and some versions also play Elixir or Iron.
  • When taking trades they’ll often use freezes. Keep mana to remove their unit in answer to the freeze, so the freeze is wasted.
  • Their burn is quite slow. You can put on them a huge pressure through your powerful tempo plays, and finish the game before they complete their win condition. They have no healing, so finishing them through their freezes with burn damage (Ezreal, Farron, Mystic Shot…) is quite easy.

Mulligan for: Draven, Tri-beam Improbulator, Thermogenic Beam, House Spider; Sump Dredger – if you have Draven; Ravenous Flock – if you have a good hand; Arachnoid Sentry – if you have Ravenous Flock.

Matchup tips:

  • They can apply a ton of pressure early on with good curve-outs and combat tricks. However, you can often overtake them in the mid-game thanks to Tri-beam Improbulator and Flock.
  • Miss Fortune is the priority target. You have a lot of removal to deal with her but if you fail to do so and let her level-up, they are in a very good spot.
    • Be aware that they can shield Miss Fortune for a turn with Brightsteel Protector.
  • They can capitalize on their tempo with Relentless Pursuit.
  • Use Arachnoid Sentry to slow them down. This is even more effective when they have Plaza, or if they’ve used Brightsteel Protector offensively.
  • With no fast removal and no lifegain, they are easy to kill with leveled Ezreal.
    • Be aware that they can play Sharpsight to block and kill Ezreal.

Mulligan for: House Spider, Draven, Tri-beam Improbulator, Ravenous Flock; Sump Dredger – if you have Draven, Arachnoid Sentry – if you have Ravenous Flock; Statikk Shock, Thermogenic Beam – if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Both decks are midrange with Captain Farron as a top-end and have no healing. Getting an early tempo advantage can easily bring the opponent into Farron’s reach.
  • However, when Farron is played, the game is not over yet. Casting Farron and Decimates costs a lot of mana and tempo. You have to be in a position where you can survive for the time necessary to finish them off.
  • Their alternative way to kill you is through Ashe level-up; a way to play around that is to have Draven’s Spinning Axes in hand to give your units the ability to block.
  • Draven’s Spinning Axes can also block them from using a Culling Strike (but they can play around that by having a Frostibite effect as a back-up).
  • Apart from Farron win condition, your other way to kill them is through leveled-up Ezreal. This one doesn’t cost you as much tempo, but unlike Decimates, it can be countered by a Culling Strike.
  • Whenever possible, play around Reckoning.
  • With cards like Reckoning and Trifarian Assessor, their deck relies on having a solid board to gain access to an additional value. Remove their units and set up trades to limit their snowball potential.
  • In the late-game, they have the ability to outvalue you thanks to Avarosan Hearthguard and Trifarian Assessor. You need to progress your win conditions and actively try to close out the game while you’re still in control of the tempo.

Mulligan for: Draven, Ballistic Bot, House Spider, Arachnoid Sentry, Thermogenic Beam, Mystic Shot, Ti-beam Improbulator.

Matchup tips:

  • Nightfall Aggro is a deck leveraging Nightfall effects to build tempo and pressure. Their units are overall fragile, making it very efficient to control the board with your damage-based removals.
  • While Nightfall is an aggressive deck, there are also able to keep the pressure up as the game goes thanks to their value tools (ex: Stalking Shadow, Pale Cascade) and evasive units. Therefore, you need to be decisive to finish, else it can give them enough time to run you out of answers.
    • They don’t have removals for Ezreal, but they can challenge him with Diana or Nocturne’s nightfall ability.
  • Nightfall likes to develop before attacking to make the most of their nightfall effects (ex: Diana, Stygian Onlooker). Arachnoid Sentry and Tri-beam Improbulator are 2 great cards to punish them from doing so.
  • They can assemble a quite high amount of burn damage with Doombeast’s Torment (Doombeast, Stalking Shadow, Unto Dusk, and for some versions Fading Memories). You need to be careful about not going too low on nexus health points.
    • When trying to remove an unblocked unit during the attack, be careful about Pale Cascade. If you have Ravenous Flock and they don’t have Gems, consider using your removal before they attack so you can use Ravenous Flock before getting hit if they use Pale Cascade.

Mulligan for: House Spider, Draven, Statikk Shock, Thermogenic Beam, Mystic Shot; Arachnoid Sentry, Tri-beam Improbulator – if you already have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • They can flood the board extremely fast and early to set up for synergies like Crowd Favorite, Arena Battlecaster, and Vision. Try to limit their spread and take trades to deny them a big Crowd Favorite.
  • They have a lot of low-health units but can buff their attack stats aggressively. House Spider is your important early follower, providing two blockers for cheap that you can efficiently trade-off.
  • When they develop a big Crowd Favorite, Arachnoid Sentry is a great way to buy you some time. It is also useful against Draven – a unit that is very inconvenient to block.
  • Statikk Shock is a very powerful spell in this matchup. It can ping a Crowd Favorite or Jinx to set up for Ravenous Flock or Scorched Earth. They also have a lot of 1-health units that can be sniped by Statikk Shock.
  • After their early board aggression has been stopped, they want to play and level-up jinx. Fortunately, you have a lot of tools to deal with her. Make sure you saved a removal for her once you got past the early turns.
  • If you’ve managed to control the game and stay afloat so far, closing out with Ezreal or Farron is very easy. They have no healing and have a hard time dealing with a leveled Ezreal.

Mulligan for: Draven, Ravenous Flock, Scorched Earth, Culling Strike; Sump Dredger – if you have Draven, Mystic Shot – if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Their deck is very unique and relies on the Star Spring win condition heavily. To accomplish that, they run self-harm units, healing, and protection spells.
  • If you’ve managed to kill their key units, their deck becomes clunky and loses most of its power.
    • Soraka is the key card that makes their deck cohesive; she represents a lot of healing and draw-power. If you’ve managed to remove her you are in a good spot.
    • Be very aware of their protection spells (2 mana: Guiding Touch, Pale Cascade, Sunblessed Vigor; 4 mana: Astral Protection, Bastion) and play around them with your removal.
    • Scorched Earth is very hard for them to counter. If they have some mana up, try to cast it with a Mystic Shot (or another fast damage spell) as a backup so they can’t make your spell fizzle with Bastion or just by healing their unit.
    • Attack with your big units and force them to make blocks. After that, you can finish their units with cards like Flock a lot easier. Trading units is also to your advantage – when their units die, their protection spells become useless.
  • When you attack they’ll often let some damage go through to avoid losing their units. If you can’t remove their key units and shut down their plan, winning by sheer board pressure with burn damage is also a viable option.
    • They don’t have much Nexus healing outside of Broadbacked Protector. If they play him out early, it is still possible to win through the pressure/burn plan as long as you’ve slowed down their Star Spring.

Mulligan for: Draven, Tri-beam Improbulator. Keep Mystic Shot, House Spider, Ballistic Bot, Arachnoid Sentry if you have a good hand. Keep Thermogenic Beam against the Zoe/Asol version.

Matchup tips:

  • Asol Demacia is a deck looking to scale into the late game while protecting itself with powerful mid-game units and the efficient Demacia removals. Once in the late game, the combination of Aurelion Sol and strong board presence quickly close out games, often leveling up the 10 mana champion. They can play Aurelion Sol as soon as turn 8 thanks to Eclipse Dragon.
  • While they are very strong in the midgame, you tend to be even stronger – dealing with midrange units is exactly what Ezreal/Draven excels at, especially with Tri-beam Improbulator. You want to use this window to push lots of damage before they reach their stronger end-game.
  • Most of the time, they play only one unit a turn – most of their tempo comes from Single Combat. Therefore, Arachnoid Sentry is a very powerful aggressive play that will allow you to push a lot of damage in the midgame.
  • Be very careful about Sharpsight, especially when casting a Culling Strike.
  • Be aware some versions play Guiding Touch – try to play around it when casting a Ravenous Flock or Scorched Earth.
  • With your removal, try to deal with their lifesteal units (Solari Sunforger, The Fangs). If you cut these access to healing, it will be harder for them to survive your high amount of pressure and burn. Most versions don’t play Starshaping, and even if they do it is a quite heavy tempo commitment.

Gameplay video

Mulligan for: Draven, Tri-beam Improbulator, House Spider, Thermogenic Beam; Sump Dredger – if you already have Draven.

Matchup tips:

  • In the mirror, there are 3 things that matter the most: Value, Tempo, and Nexus health. You must optimize your value to keep up on cards, build up your tempo, and then convert your advantages into Nexus damage.
  • Tri-beam Improbulator can provide a big tempo swing once it’s stacked. It’s also a great value spell.
  • Neither of you has healing – every point of damage sticks.
  • Tempo advantage on the board allows you to deal Nexus damage. Burning the opponent out with spells can be costly both in terms of card- and mana-investment, so the damage you’re able to get through with your units helps a lot.
  • Arachnoid Sentry is key in mid-game to help push damage or prevent the opponent from pushing damage.
  • Farron plays a crucial role as a finisher but needs a proper setup. Be careful about your tempo when you decide to play him out. The opponent could use Scorched Earth or Arachnoid Sentry to get ahead on tempo and win before you get enough time to cast your Decimates.
  • Farron win condition is the more conventional burn finisher in this matchup but leveled Ezreal can also contribute by dealing Nexus damage without losing tempo.

Mulligan for: Draven, House Spider, Thermogenic Beam, Ballistic Bot, Tri-beam Improbulator if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Their deck is very explosive and can quickly convert board pressure into nexus damage, and finish with burn damage.
    • Be very 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 be aggressive too and quickly kill them once you get some control of the game. If you give them too much time, you give them the opportunity to find more burn damage and powerful finishers like Gangplank and Captain Farron.

Gameplay video

Mulligan for: Thermogenic Beam, Draven, Mystic Shot, Arachnoid Sentry, Culling Strike.

Matchup tips:

  • Their deck is focused on swarming the board with aggressive cheap units to push damage quickly. Our strong suit or removals is very well-suited to limit the damage and take back control of the game.
  • They ideally want to develop before attacking (Frenzied Skitterer, Stygian Onlooker). Therefore, cards punishing development like Arachnoid Sentry are particularly valuable.
  • The most challenging part of their deck to beat is the burn, with Decimate and Doombeast – which can be duplicated by Stalking Shadow.
    • Be extremely conservative with your nexus health. If you can stay out of their reach a make them run out of burn while staying healthy there isn’t anything they can do.
    • Be ready to counter their Noxian Fervor and Imperial Demolitionist by removing the targeted unit.
    • Be decisive and finish quickly. This can be really important in close games, to not give them time to top deck more burn, or, when they have a value-oriented draw with lots of Decimate and Doombeasts, to not give them enough time to play everything.

Mulligan for: Draven, Tri-beam Improbulator, Ballistic Bot, Sump Dredger.

Matchup tips:

  • In this matchup, you need to apply a slow and steady pressure to lower progressively their nexus health, and accelerate suddenly the pressure when they tap out of their board wipes in the mid-game.
  • Be careful to not overextend into their board wipes. Your 3-health units will survive an Avalanche or a Blighted Ravine, however, they can finish them with Vile Feast, Withering Wail, or Ice Shard.
  • If you can force their removals out, then they will be forced to try defending themselves with units, like Trundle. This will give you an opportunity to gain tempo, for example with Arachnoid Sentry, and push a lot of damage.
  • Be careful about their Watcher combo. They often can play 2 of them so it’s hard to have enough answers. However, you can cast a champion spell to gain a turn.
  • Lissandra is a priority target for your removals (Ravenous Flock, Tri-beam Improbulator…). If you let her alive, not only she will create the watcher, but she will also make your burn win condition a lot harder to execute because of the Tough nexus.

Gameplay Video

Mulligan for: Draven, Tri-beam Improbulator, House Spider, Arachnoid Sentry; Sump Dredger if you have Draven; Ravenous Flock if you have Arachnoid Sentry.

Matchup tips:

  • Use your powerful tempo play to gain control of the board and limit nexus damage. They have some powerful tempo play of their own (Ancient Yeti, Enraged Yeti).
  • You don’t have a way to remove an undamaged big unit at fast speed, and they can abuse it at the start of the end-game. Whenever they start the turn with an undamaged Overwhelm unit, they can use Battlefury on it to push a lot of damage, often enough for lethal if you took damage early.
    • You can’t do anything about it once they cast Battlefury, so you should attack the set-up – don’t let them start a turn in the late game with a full health Overwhelm unit. You can for example cast a 1 mana Thermogenic Beam to damage it. This way you kill or threaten to kill the unit with a Scorched Earth.
  • Try to finish decisively. They don’t have any healing, removals, or counters so once you get control of the game you should be able to do so. If you give them too much time, they’ll eventually kill you with a big Overwhelm unit.

Mulligan for: Draven, House Spider, Thermogenic Beam; Ravenous Flock, Tri-beam Improbulator, Mystic Shot, Arachnoid Sentry – if you have a good hand; Sump Dredger – if you have Draven.

Matchup tips:

  • In the early game, they can struggle to build up a strong defense – use this window to pressure them. If they are able to stall the game enough, Lee Sin will eventually kill you.
  • Whenever possible, avoid using your removal on their followers – you really need to save those for their champions. Zoe and Lee Sin carry their whole gameplan and the deck has protection spells to back them up. So, if you lack removal to fight them back it can be very tough. For example, I would advise against using Mystic Shot on a Mountain Goat unless the pressure it creates is exceptionally threatening for you.
  • They can struggle to punish development. Don’t open-attack – not unless you have a very specific reason.
  • Use Arachnoid Sentry mainly on the offense. If the game goes long and Arachnoid Sentry doesn’t accomplish much on offense, you can use it to stun Lee Sin.
  • Despite the high density of removal in your deck, killing Lee Sin can be a headache. They have a lot of protection spells and Lee Sin’s innate Barrier is annoying. Do everything you can to find a window. If your hand doesn’t allow you to remove him you can also try to race him.
    • The earlier they play Lee Sin, the easier it is to remove him.
    • By putting them under early pressure, you can force them to block with Lee Sin (or attack without a kick ability). In these spots, you can try to remove the Barrier with a ping so Lee Sin takes damage from combat, and then finish him off with Ravenous Flock or another removal.
    • Ravenous Flock and Scorched Earth are your best removal spells, but Lee Sin needs to be damaged. Be aware that they can heal Lee Sin with Guiding Touch. If you give them the priority they can also heal Lee Sin up with Gems.
    • When they go for lethal and you can’t remove Lee Sin, you can try to kill off your own unit that he challenged to make the kick fizzle.
  • Tri-beam Improbulator is hard to use efficiently in this matchup. In the early game, it is a weak card, and later it is often answered with a Deny. To set up your Tri-Beam, you need to create enough pressure and force them to tap under Deny mana.

Mulligan for: Draven, Tri-beam Improbulator, Ballistic Bot, House Spider, Culling Strike. Keep Sump Dredger if you have Draven of Ballistic Bot.

Matchup tips:

  • Thresh Nasus is a deck leveraging sacrifice synergies, to get a powerful early game as well as leveling up Thresh and Nasus rapidly.
  • Their early game tends to be quite powerful. Be careful to not take too much damage if possible – it would make their Atrocity finish that much easier.
  • Your biggest problem in this matchup is Nasus.
    • It can be quite hard for you to remove him – your best option is often Scorched Earth, which can be denied by Rite of Negation.
    • If Nasus is undamaged, they know they can safely use Atrocity on him to kill you. Try to damage Nasus ASAP, even when you don’t have Scorched Earth, to make it harder for them to go for Atrocity.
  • Your best option is often to try to race them before Nasus gets out of control. Try to push early damage, to close out with your burn finishers. If you get them low enough, you are in a pretty good spot. They usually run 1-2 Rite of Negation, and 2-3 Vile Feast (note: some versions play Withering Wail).
    • Ezreal is often your better finisher. However, they can deal with him pretty effectively with Black Spear. Try to force their Black Spear on something else before playing Ezreal, and it will make the game a lot harder for them.

Conclusion

Ezreal/Draven is a very flexible deck, able to adapt its gameplan and choose the speed at which it puts on the pressure. It is one of my personal go-to archetypes – I brought it to several tournaments and it’s the deck I played to get my main back to Masters this season.

Like I mentioned earlier in the intro, this guide is part of a series where I’ll go over all the top decks in the meta so you have all the resources needed to learn the deck you want and improve as a player. This series is my most ambitious project so far, I hope it will be helpful!

If you want to share feedback, have a question, or want to discuss this guide, I’ll be happy to answer you on this dedicated Reddit post! 😉

If you like my content and don’t want to miss out on anything, you can follow me on Twitter, where I share every article I make, but also my tournament performances, my most successful decks, etc… 😄

Thanks for reading!

Agigas

LoR player with multiple tournament wins and #4 ladder peaks. Ascended Seasonal top 4. I love writing guides to share my experience with the game with the community!

3 Responses

  1. Jonny309 says:

    Can you add the Deep matchup now that it is back? Thanks Agigas!

  2. Thetrashycan says:

    Could you add the Azir / Irelia Matchup?
    At the moment they are so dominant and often played…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *