Getting to 7 Wins in Expeditions: Pick-by-Pick Drafting Guide for Beginners

Getting to seven wins in Expeditions mode is no easy feat. To achieve that, one has to be proficient at playing the game, obviously. However, it is the draft process where your road to victory truly starts.

In this article, I aim to break down a single draft, thoroughly explaining every decision on the way. There are lots of different considerations that go into each pick. It is not as easy as just scooping the cards in your colors. Good drafting technique requires the deck-building skills, advanced card evaluation and the knowledge of the archetypes available in the Expeditions mode.

Before we begin, I encourage the reader to get acquainted with our Champions Tier List and Expeditions Archetypes spreadsheet. Both pieces will be referenced throughout the article.

Pick 1

Choice – Relentless

First of all, we can safely exclude Kalista as she is among the weakest champions in Legends of Runeterra. Her level-up requirement and pay-off are both a bit too clunky to be consistent. The fact that she forgets her bond if recalled or revived only adds an insult to an injury. Also, the Retribution archetype as a whole struggles in Expeditions due to a high setup cost for all its sacrifice synergies.

Both Relentless and Shroom and Boom are defensible choices in this pick. Teemo pack has Mystic Shot in there, which is a premium card in draft – one you should prioritize often. However, Plaza Guardian is more of a pay-off card for spell decks rather than a value card. As for a champion himself – he can play out well in draft decks, but I wouldn’t go all-in on him in Expeditions, he’s no Heimerdinger.

The Garen pack here is what I would rather choose. The champion is a respectable ‘stat-stick’ with a very useful Regeneration ability. His level-up condition is not that hard to achieve – and once completed, it puts your opponent on the clock if you have any board presence. Brightsteel Protector is a very neat common with both aggressive and defensive uses. En Garde is a situational card – the one I would look to trade away unless I failed to pick up any solid removal by the end of the draft.

The deck after pick 1: Brightsteel Protector, En Garde, Garen.

Pick 2

Choice – Noxian Might

Second pick is often the most crucial one in the whole draft, so we will dwell on it for a bit. It is here where we effectively form the basis on which we will build our deck later throughout the draft.

But first, let’s quickly evaluate the ‘face value’ of choices presented here. Ezreal pack is mediocre – the champion has occasional value as a ‘Mystic Shot generator’ – and yet a bigger Elusive threat is often a more effective way to go about things. Zaunite Urchin ideally wants discard synergies, while Chempunk Shredder is a poor-statted unit that can occasionally enable some trades. Nothing to be too crazy about.

Zed is great, though he was accidentally hit by recent Ionia nerfs as collateral damage. Other two cards in the pack are quite weak though. Sown Seeds is a low-impact spell that does not deserve a slot in any deck, and Sparring Student needs a lot of setup to rise beyond the mediocrity.

Darius is a big game-ending threat, quite comparable to his rival Garen (though don’t tell them I said that). With Trifarian Assessor, it is not hard to make him draw one card – which is an acceptable floor. Reckless Trifarian is a beater at 5/4 – a premium choice for aggressive decks.

Now, let’s think about the kind of deck we are drafting here. It is important to remember – when we are making picks in Expeditions, we are not only choosing the cards offered to us in the moment. We also influence the draft algorithm and thus we can narrow the range of cards that we will see as available choices later. Narrow ranges are good – they help us build cohesive decks founded in one of the archetypes.

So, previolusly during pick 1, we have chosen Relentless – a Demacia/Noxus archetype that aims to aggressively take over the board from the turn one, get in for some early damage and then end the game using Rally mechanic.

Looking at pick 2, Cloning Program is a Freljord/Piltover archetype that wants to control the board and abuse the value engines like Troop of Elnuks, Back Alley Barkeep, etc. As you can see, it doesn’t sit very well with a Relentless game plan and pulls us in a completely different direction.

Discipline is a mono-color Ionia deck that spams buffed up Elusive units and wants to end games with unblockable damage. The aggressive game plan fits Relentless archetype. However, by picking Discipline we would dilute Demacia/Noxus pool with Ionia cards and all the adjacent archetypes which would have low synergy with our deck.

Noxian Might is a mono-Noxus archetype which has a lot of aggressive early drops and big Overwhelm threats in its pool. It synergizes perfectly with a Relentless game plan – especially if you are able to Rally with Overwhelm units again and again. In addition, we plant our feet in two colors and will get consistent Relentless picks from now on.

Putting both ‘face-value’ and ‘synergy’ considerations in our decision-making together, it becomes clear we should pick Darius pack here and build around Relentless archetype.

The deck after pick 2: Brightsteel Protector, Reckless Trifarian, En Garde, Trifarian Assessor, Garen, Darius.

Pick 3

Choice – Relentless

Scrapheap is out of contention as we don’t want to dilute our tight Demacia/Noxus pool. So, the choice is between the first two packs.

Noxian Might has a great 2-drop in it – Trifarian Hopeful will enter the battlefield as a 5/2 unit almost all the time. Might is quite a narrow effect that can become redundant if there are too many copies of it in the deck. Hence, we don’t want to pick it too early.

Relentless offers us Legion Saboteur – a one drop that is guaranteed to hit nexus for some damage. But the main draw for us here is Whirling Death – a premium Noxus removal effect. We want as many copies of it as we can get – as long as we also keep a healthy ratio of units to spells.

The deck after pick 3: Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Reckless Trifarian, En Garde, Whirling Death, Trifarian Assessor, Garen, Darius.

Pick 4

Choice – Noxian Might

Demacian Steel pack presents us with a selection of mediocre combat tricks. Chain Vest is particularly bad in aggro decks – our creatures are often just disposable, we don’t want to protect them.

Arachnophilia has some interesting options – Precious Pet is an evasive 1-drop and House Spider puts two bodies on the board at once. However, this archetype values board-flooding cards to set up for effects like Brothers’ Bond and Crowd Favorite. Both of them are not present in either Relentless or Noxian Might pools.

So, once again, I see no reason to wander off as we just pick Noxian Might with Trifarian Hopeful and our second copy of Reckless Trifarian.

The deck after pick 4: Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Trifarian Hopeful, Reckless Trifarian (x2), En Garde, Whirling Death, Trifarian Assessor, Garen, Darius.

Pick 5

Choice – Noxian Might

I don’t like both Vanguard Squire and Detain in our deck. It is obvious we have too few Elites to enable the Squire. But Detain is also too slow and unreliable for us. The common play pattern with this spell is that it often disincentivizes ‘the detainer’ from attacking as you do not want ‘the detainee’ to break free. With aggro game plan it is just too much of a limitation.

Legion Marauder can be quite impressive if you’re able to build the deck around the several copies of him. However, we already have two Reckless Trifarians. Our build will likely become too cluttered at 3-mana slot if we start to prioritize Marauders. I would go with Elixir of Wrath and Savage Reckoner instead.

The deck after pick 5: Elixir of Wrath, Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Trifarian Hopeful, Reckless Trifarian (x2), En Garde, Whirling Death, Trifarian Assessor, Garen, Darius, Savage Reckoner.

Pick 6

Choice – Disruption

Once again, Demacian Steel doesn’t interest us with its focus on Elites’ synergies. Then, the Detain pack looks tempting, compared to the last time it was offered.

Disruption pack feels awkward as well – Shiraza the Blade is not a very good card. Her ability to strike nexus for double damage only becomes relevant when she is paired with some Overwhelm effect (hence probably her feelings for Kato the Arm). On the other hand, Legion Drummer is a pretty valuable too drop – turn 3 attack with Reckless Trifarian by her side is a devastating move.

In the end, I went with Disruption this time, thinking I would trade away Shiraza at some point in the future. But it is really close between Disruption and Spellbound.

The deck after pick 6: Elixir of Wrath, Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Legion Drummer, Trifarian Hopeful, Reckless Trifarian (x2), En Garde, Whirling Death, Trifarian Assessor, Shiraza the Blade, Garen, Darius, Savage Reckoner.

Pick 7

Choice – Noxian Might

Relentless pack is not very impressive – once again, we eventually want to pick up 1-2 Mights  for our deck, but not with useless second copy of En Garde piggy-backing. Disruption offers us Minotaur Reckoner, who can be a great late-game threat. However, Guile is a very narrow effect that makes me question this pack greatly.

Crimson Awakener can be awkward if we have too many 1-health early drops in our deck. Fortunately, by now we have drafted only one Legion Saboteur, so we can adjust our later picks if we take Awakener here. Legion Rearguard is the best smorc one-drop, hard to pass one up.

The deck after pick 7: Elixir of Wrath, Legion Rearguard, Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Legion Drummer, Trifarian Hopeful, Reckless Trifarian (x2), En Garde, Whirling Death, Crimson Awakener, Trifarian Assessor, Shiraza the Blade, Garen, Darius, Savage Reckoner.

Pick 8

Choice – Suit Up

Now this pick does throw a curve ball our way. Any choice here is viable, so we are talking about thin margins.

Demacian Steel has a perfectly decent Vanguard Cavalry which fits right into our curve that currently lacks in mid-sized beaters. For Demacia! can be a great finisher – especially with our overstatted units like Reckless Trifarian and both champions. Disruption has Legion Drummer and Arachnoid Sentry – nothing to scoff at as well.

But I couldn’t resist the Judgment, even if it is paired with mediocre Laurent Duelist. This spell can serve as our only out in games where we fall behind early. It is important to have some means of coming back as an all-in aggro deck.

The deck after pick 8: Elixir of Wrath, Legion Rearguard, Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Legion Drummer, Trifarian Hopeful, Laurent Duelist, Reckless Trifarian (x2), En Garde, Whirling Death, Crimson Awakener, Trifarian Assessor, Shiraza the Blade, Garen, Darius, Savage Reckoner, Judgment.

Pick 9

Choice – Relentless

Once again, this is a pretty close pick. I went with Relentless because both Legion Drummer and Savage Reckoner have a strict purpose in our deck and fill a curve well. We lack quality 2-drops and big finishers – so here it goes.

Suit Up has another good early creature in Brightsteel Protector, but Silverwing Scout would be out of place in our build. We have no permanent buffs to make an Elusive threat a real deal, so it makes more sense to stick with Overwhelm units instead.

The deck after pick 9: Elixir of Wrath, Legion Rearguard, Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Legion Drummer (x2), Trifarian Hopeful, Laurent Duelist, Reckless Trifarian (x2), En Garde, Whirling Death, Crimson Awakener, Trifarian Assessor, Shiraza the Blade, Garen, Darius, Savage Reckoner (x2), Judgment.

Pick 10

Choice – Disruption

A second Judgment is very tempting, especially in duo with another insane late-game value card Reinforcements. However, it is at times like this when one has to be disciplined and think about the particular needs of his deck.

Our build is very aggressive, so we have to draw a good curve early. We don’t want to see a Judgment in our opening hand ever, more so two copies of it. Meanwhile, Legion Drummer and Reckless Trifarian are perfect for our game plan. The density of quality early creatures is what will win us games.

The deck after pick 10: Elixir of Wrath, Legion Rearguard, Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Legion Drummer (x3), Trifarian Hopeful, Laurent Duelist, Reckless Trifarian (x3), En Garde, Whirling Death, Crimson Awakener, Trifarian Assessor, Shiraza the Blade, Garen, Darius, Savage Reckoner (x2), Judgment.

Pick 11

Choice – Noxian Might

Second Legion Rearguard and our first Legion Grenadier join the fray. The latter has some anti-synergy with Crimson Awakener. Still the Last Breath trigger will happen either way, so it is not so bad.

Relentless pack puts us off with Legion Marauder, while Disruption has two very much situational spells.

The deck after pick 11: Elixir of Wrath, Legion Rearguard (x2), Legion Grenadier, Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Legion Drummer (x3), Trifarian Hopeful, Laurent Duelist, Reckless Trifarian (x3), En Garde, Whirling Death, Crimson Awakener, Trifarian Assessor, Shiraza the Blade, Garen, Darius, Savage Reckoner (x2), Judgment.

Pick 12

Choice – Battle Scars

Finally we see Might paired up with a good card – Whirling Death – so we gladly would pick them up. Border Lookout from Demacian Steel is just a trash unit in any deck. Relentless pack is close to Battle Scars in the overall quality of the cards.

The deck after pick 12: Elixir of Wrath, Legion Rearguard (x2), Legion Grenadier, Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Legion Drummer (x3), Trifarian Hopeful, Laurent Duelist, Reckless Trifarian (x3), Might, En Garde, Whirling Death (x2), Crimson Awakener, Trifarian Assessor, Shiraza the Blade, Garen, Darius, Savage Reckoner (x2), Judgment.

Pick 13

Choice – Relentless

We are lucky to get another Whirling Death – three copies of the spell will pull their weight greatly in our deck. Vanguard Cavalry is also a welcome addition. Noxian Might pack is close, but we are already pretty happy with our three Reckless Trifarians as is.

The deck after pick 13: Elixir of Wrath, Legion Rearguard (x2), Legion Grenadier, Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Legion Drummer (x3), Trifarian Hopeful, Laurent Duelist, Reckless Trifarian (x3), Might, En Garde, Whirling Death (x3), Crimson Awakener, Trifarian Assessor, Shiraza the Blade, Vanguard Cavalry, Garen, Darius, Savage Reckoner (x2), Judgment.

Pick 14

Choice – Retribution

Several times in this draft we passed on Radiant Guardian. She is a defensive unit primarily, so not a priority for us. However, now that Guardian is paired with Back to Back we want to pick her up. Back to Back was dominating the draft environment before the patch while it was costed at 5 mana. At six it is still a premium combat trick though, nothing has really changed.

The deck after pick 14: Elixir of Wrath, Legion Rearguard (x2), Legion Grenadier, Legion Saboteur, Brightsteel Protector, Legion Drummer (x3), Trifarian Hopeful, Laurent Duelist, Reckless Trifarian (x3), Might, En Garde, Whirling Death (x3), Crimson Awakener, Trifarian Assessor, Shiraza the Blade, Vanguard Cavalry, Radiant Guardian, Garen, Darius, Back to Back, Savage Reckoner (x2), Judgment.

Trade pick

Shiraza the Blade – out, Whirling Death – in.

When evaluating trade picks, it is useful to determine the ‘quality gap’ of each respective choice. Would Trifarian Shieldbreaker be better in our deck than En Garde. Possibly, yes. But how much exactly? Marginal. Is Whirling Death better than Shiraza. Again, yes. But this time – greatly. The last trade offers no gain at all – fourth Reckless Trifarian is probably worth than our single Laurent Duelist in the deck.

Final deck

Here’s how our build ended up looking after all the choices have been made. It shaped to become a solid aggressive deck with a good curve. Playing the deck we would look to mulligan for a strong opening, push some early damage, force good trades using combat tricks and Whirling Deaths and finish the opponent off with Overwhelm threats.

When picking champions later, we should be looking closely at the cards that go with them. Garen or Darius have a similar value, but Katarina – I would try to avoid her. As for the trades, I would look to swap out Elixir of Wrath, En Garde and Laurent Duelist.

The deck that we drafted today lived up to the expectations. We ended up going 7-2, losing only in games where we managed to draw our top end first. I hope this thorough breakdown was helpful for players who struggled with their drafting decisions. From now on, here’s to many seven-win trials!

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