Gangplank Twisted Fate Bandle Deck Guide

Gangplank TF Bandle City as a brand new archetype was initially created during the last week of EU Masters qualifiers when high-ladder players were looking for quicker options to grind. Since then, it has become a staple in the metagame.

Additionally, the archetype has also found its place in several lineups at the LoR World Championship and showed a good performance there.

The decklist features a total of 29 cards that contribute some form of burn damage. The rest of it is card advantage and various support pieces to further enhance the damage output of the deck. The continuous flow of direct damage we can produce is extremely annoying for the opponent who has to worry about their health and board state during the entire game.

However, GP TF Bandle City isn’t a straightforward burn deck that’s only dimension is to race as fast as possible. It can not be directly compared to another popular Gangplank deck, Pirates. In order to maximize our chances of victory, we have to work and properly set up for our impactful cards like GP, Tenor of Terror, and Double Up.

Given this, rushing the opponent’s Nexus at any cost – as we would do with other burn decks – is actually a recipe for disaster. Instead, using all the tools at your disposal to create favorable board states and forcing your opponent to use up all of their resources is the better approach.

Turn 3 is a very important point for our deck. As you might have noticed, we have no “on-curve” play for that round as there are no 3-drop units in the deck. This turn usually is where we need to make our decision between committing to go wide with cheap drops, or storing mana to support our bigger hitters.

Currently, the meta isn’t featuring too many healing-heavy decks, making burn-oriented strategies a pretty safe bet when it comes to steadily and quickly climbing the ladder.

In that category, GP Bandle is one of the best options as it has the chance to change gears and use the damage spells at its disposal to control the opponent’s board. That helps it be more versatile and makes it solid into other damage-focused decks.


Techs and Options

Although the archetype is still relatively new, there seems to be a consensus around the optimal way to build it, and all of the 40 cards do cohesively work towards the same goal. If you were looking for additionals options to explore, below are some of the pointers:

Jagged Butcher: While this is a burn deck, so the Inventive Chemist is the superior 1-drop choice, Jagged Butcher being reliably activated and representing a 1-mana 3/3 shouldn’t be underestimated. It could be a great replacement in matchups where trading matters more than pushing damage.

Hired Gun: Marai Warden has proven to be a great 2-drop and it has a high-roll potential as well as represents two bodies in one card. But just like the Jagged Butcher, in a metagame where it would be important to control the opponent’s early board, Hired Gun is a good option to consider.

Conchologist: We aren’t running a value deck, but both Bandle and Bildgewater have a decent number of damage-oriented spells at 3 mana or less. As such, Conchologist can be a nice inclusion to find some extra juice to close the game.

Shell Game: A much more exotic choice than the previous ones, Shell Game can sometimes help push some damage to the face. There aren’t that many good targets in the deck for this spell, but simply using it on Gangplank occasionally can make it worth running 1 copy of Shell Game. 


General Tips

  • Track opponent’s health and be aware of your reach

We are a burn deck so this should come with the territory. Know when to start hurrying up and be aware of your current damage output between your board and your hand, take note precisely which cards to look for. Also, keep in mind that even when you lose your board attacking, the Impact keyword will still net you some damage.

  • Know how to maximise your damage in the matchup

Flooding the board, setting up the scariest Gangplank attack possible, or going for the Nexus directly are the different ways we can inflict damage with this deck. Realizing what our hand pushes for and what our opponent is weak to goes a long way in maximizing our damage potential throughout the particular game.

  • Do not panic when your hand gets low on cards

Most of the time, when a burn deck gets low on cards and the opponent isn’t already low on health, that’s a very bad sign. But with Hidden Pathways, Pokey Stick, and Twisted Fate in the deck, we actually have plenty of refill and capable of prolonging the game a little longer than if with Pirates for example.

General mulligan tips:

The main thing to figure out while in the mulligan is if you will be able to push for damage right from the get-go in this matchup, or if you will have to fight for the board first.

If we want to push for early damage, we need more units and less board interaction, as such prioritizing spells to lesser extent. Look for immediate development and a pressure-oriented curve: ex., 1-drop followed by Marai Warden or Stone Stackers.

The second scenario where we expect to fight for the board early means we will value the spells and Powder Kegs more – Make it Rain, Parrrley, Pokey Stick, and Twisted Fate all become much more interesting to keep in the mulligan, in addition to potential pressure options. As a 2-drop, the Dreadway Deckhand also becomes very appealing combined with any of the abovementioned cards.


Matchups

Mulligan for: early curve, pressure.

  • Without healing, it is extremely hard for Caitlyn Draven to go the distance against us. Focus on dealing consistent damage to the Nexus and never let them feel safe in the race.
  • Invest into your most reliable sources of damage. For example, a damaged unit with Impact has way less of a chance to trigger its keyword than the one a full health because of Ravenous Flock and Scorched Earth.
  • This is one of the few matchups where your direct damage spells might be more reliable than units. For example, outside of using their removal on their own unit, Caitlyn Draven can’t do much to about a Double Up.

Mulligan for:  Inventive Chemist – any 2-drop – Twisted Fate – Make it Rain

  • It is fairly hard to run them out of units, but it’s crucial to understand that not all of their units actually have the same value. Bandle City Mayor, Poppy, Lulu and Bandle Commando are the main threats to deal with and they can lead to big problems later on.
  • They usually don’t run a Stress Defense (unless they’ve pulled it from Conchologist), which means a leveled GP is a nightmare to deal with for our opponent and usually acts as a big win condition for us.
  • Ranger’s Resolve and Sharpsight are both great combat tricks that double up as protection spells. Using removal before the combat phase and on your attacking turn forces the opponent into using then early where they aren’t as harmful to us.
  • Being dominant on the board is enough to tilt the matchup in our favor and force our opponent into awkward board states where they can’t utilise its champions well. As such, don’t be greedy with removal – if Poppy has no targets to buff, she isn’t as much of a problem herself as well.

Mulligan for: Inventive Chemist – any 2-drop – Twisted Fate – Make it Rain (mulligan to fight for the board).

  • Discard has a much better scaling than we do, it is important to get some damage early as a way to keep them on their toes during the whole game. It will also help as we will have to race towards the finish once they’ve taken over the board.
  • Both decks rely a lot on their attack turns, so you have to find the balance between setting up your attacks without opening yourself too much to their full swing. The longer the game goes, the harder it gets fro you to maintain a big board.
  • Double Up should never be used on their strongest unit because of Survival Skills.
  • Twisted Fate is your biggest tempo swing, with either a Red Card buffed up by a Powder Keg or for a Gold Card stunning Sion or the Twinblade Revenant

Mulligan for: Inventive Chemist – any 2-drop – Twisted Fate – Parrrley (or other pings).

  • The ping spell we keep in the mulligan is to kill the Fleetfeather Tracker or Akshan (with the help of a Powder Keg). Removing those two will go a long way into developing our board more safely.
  • Sivir Akshan is great on the board but runs no healing. Get in as much damage as possible with your units, but look to switch to the burn gameplan once you realise they’ve started to stabilize on the board. 
  • Demacia is a great at single-target removal with Single Combat, Cataclysm and Concerted Strike, but lacks AoE. Build a wide board instead of relying on a big unit.

Mulligan for: early curve – Parrrley – Make it Rain – Twisted Fate if you have a good hand already.

  • Against Poppy Ziggs and other burn matchups we aren’t in the position to race right from the start. Adopting a defensive role in the first few turns is a better gameplan.
  • Eventually, we will need to shift gears and race to the finish line as we do not run any healing. Even in a defensive stance, try to recognize the turning point where you will try to become the aggressor.
  • Double Up can be countered by Noxian Fervor. Whoever is in the position to make their opponent’s key burn spell fizzle will have a huge edge in the matchup.

Mulligan for: early curve, pressure.

  • The early game is key in this matchup as most of our damage will come from the snowball of our first few turns.
  • Against opponents who don’t rely on their board as the core of their strategy, don’t be greedy with your Double Up’s, it might be hard to find a proper target anyway.
  • Senna and Ixtali Sentinel are the two must-remove units our opponent has. If you can apply a huge pressure before they reach 5-6 mana can also force them into purely defending plays instead of developing the abovementioned threats.

Mulligan for: 1-drop into 2-drop/two 1-drops (mulligan for early damage).

  • Eventually, our window of opportunity will close if Sparklefly will grow too big. We need pressure in order to force our opponent into reacting with his spells instead of saving them for their usual set ups.
  • Always consider if it is worth removing their non-engine units does and what it costs you in terms of tempo as opposed to developing more board and force them to block. You will naturally deal with a lot of their early units simply because the opponent cannot let its health go down too low.
  • Double Up is very risky in this matchup – always pick the safest target for it if you want to trigger the direct damage clause.
  • When attacking against a Sparklefly on the opposing side, think about what it wants to block and position accordingly. It is crucial to limit the opponent’s Lifesteal potential.

Mulligan for: early curve, pressure (Stone Stackers is good into Avalanche)

  • Board-affecting spells are almost useless in this matchup, so use them for almost exclusively for burn. 
  • Lecturing Yordle and Gangplank are about the only two units that can resist their AoE clears. Try to play them alongside small units to mix the threats and make your opponent’s answers awkward.
  • Keep in mind that things need to really go your way for you to win this matchup, so don’t overthink and don’t try to play around everything – that will only slow you down. Without being absolutely careless, adopt the mentality of ‘making them have it’. 

Closing Words

GP TF Bandle is a deck that has seen some ups and downs in its first week of play but solidified its place in the meta with the recent Worlds Championship.

Currently, the deck is held back by a terrible matchup into Nami Zoe, one of the most popular ladder decks.

However, in a tournament setup and protected with a ban, GP Bandle looks very interesting as it has a pretty good spread of positive matchups once Nami is taken out of the equation.

If you would like to discuss the deck, feel free to join the RuneterraCCG community on Discord.

As for myself, you can find me on Twitter, if you have any questions about this guide. I’m also offering coaching for any level of players, feel free to message me, or find me here to book a session.

den

Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yugioh and then Magic. Hearthstone has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. Although it took him a bit to get into Legends or Runeterra, his EU Seasonal Tournament win was the perfect start to get involved in the community. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on the game. Find him on Twitter at @den_CCG!

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