Hi everyone, den here, working on yet another spicy guide!
Glorious Evolution is the kind of card that comes up every time new tools come into the game – but never actually makes it into the competitive world. Curious Shellfolk had a different fate, the card became the hottest thing ever after Alanzq won the World Championship with it his lineup, but fell off as time passed.
The deck I’m featuring here is largely inspired by the list that Aikado, a player from NA who placed top 8 in the World Championship, shared on Twitter last week.
My variation focuses more on tempo and stabilizing the board, which usually can be enough to win some matchups. The value and absurd late-game this deck can develop usually is something I let happen on its own – or something I plan to draw aggressively for in slow matchups.
With this deck, you’re aiming to control the pace of the game early on and explode onto the board once you feel safe. Supporting that off-tempo strategy is of course the Curious Shellfolk, serving as the value generating machine, and the newly added Glorious Evolution.
Glorious Evolution helps us with dealing the finishing blow. In a deck without healing, once we stabilized the board, we need to close things out before our opponent can switch to direct damage and race us to the finish line.
With the arrival of The Forge Of Tomorrow, Glorious Evolution finally feels like a playable card that doesn’t completely tap us out of mana whenever we play it, usually opening tons of possibilities for our opponent.
Now, we have some wiggle room in order to interact with the opponent on the same turn with the spell mana we were refunded. It might not feel like a lot, but a Mystic Shot,
Because of Glorious Evolution, Fizz can serve as the late-game threat, his attack growing every time we play a card after Glorious Evolution has resolved. Because of his passive, the opponent cannot remove him with spells, leaving only Elusive blockers as the only problem we can deal with thanks to our spells.
If you manage to get in a spot where you have played Glorious Evolution, have Fizz on the board and Shellfolk feeding you cards to play, you have created one of the most impossible-to-lose-from situations possible in the game.
Techs and Options
With the amount of card generation we have in the deck, activating the 10 different cards condition isn’t a problem. Also, being a beefy 5/5 Elusive unit, the Subpurrsible can serve a similar role to Fizz in order to close the game. And him drawing a card isn’t so bad either.
Although it probably is the first card I would add to the deck if given the chance, 5 mana is a big investment currently and the list feels like it has cheaper options for value. In a slower metagame, the card could replace a copy of Sump Fumes or Hidden Pathways in order to apply more pressure on control-oriented opponents.
- Poro Cannon
This is a card that you will see in other players’ lists and it feels like it makes a ton of sense too. This is a 0-mana protection for Fizz, and it also generates chumpers to block early or pressure after the Glorious Evolution has been played. Occasionally, the card also activates the condition of the Sump Fumes or the Hidden Pathways.
The trouble I have with this card is the fact that we aren’t a Discard-oriented deck, meaning we often Discard another good card for it. But my main problem is that I felt the Daring Poros weren’t doing much in the matches I had them in the early and midgame. They do feel great against slow opponents, but I would rather play Subpurrsible against those, and Rally Elusives looks like it has lost too much popularity to warrant Elusive blockers currently.
- Other champions
Vi, Poppy, Heimerdinger, Ezreal – or even no second champion at all… The second slot is very open for debate. I went with Jayce as I feel he is a nice fit in this deck concept, being able to serve as removal when granted Challenger and helping the final push with its level 2 ability.
Vi is better than Jayce as a removal tool, but doesn’t provide late-game flexibility and is a much worse topdeck – she might be the better choice in a high-tempo meta. Ezreal usually is used as a finisher, something Fizz does better with the addition of Glorious Evolution.
Heimerdinger could be considered as ‘the second Curious Shellfolk’, providing great value once we managed to stabilize. He doesn’t feel needed because we need help in the early and midgame, where Heimerdinger can’t do too much unfortunately.
As for Poppy, she is a bit of a curveball, but considering we have a ton of low-cost units, she can help beef up our board and actually be a threat earlier in the match, buying us time to set up the follow-up steps of our plan.
- Time Trick
Time Trick is great to generate targeted value in the late game. However, I never felt like I needed it, rather it was a nice addition that made my strong suit even stronger. Aikado runs three copies in the list he shared on Twitter, but I personally feel like Loping Telescope is more needed in the deck, serving as a blocker in addition to giving us a card rather than maximizing only one late-game aspect of the strategy.
- Stress Defense
A great defensive card that can shut down any heavy hitter. If Discard and Lurk make a comeback in the metagame, I would definitely encourage you to find a couple of spots for Stress Defense in your list. But currently, the trend looks to be towards board flood and Poppy strategies rather than Sion or Rek’Sai. For the same reason, the deck only runs 1 Minimorph and 3 Thermogenic Beams, allowing it to be more flexible rather than being great against a specific threat.
- Bandle City Mayor
I feel this card can be included in any Bandle deck as it can serve as a blocker while generating value and being a scary thing for the opponent. With only the Loping Telescope in the deck, maybe the Mayor isn’t needed and would be a bit too much in the deck.
If you thinking about running Aloof Travelers as well though, adding the Bandle City Mayor could make sense in a more board-focused take on the deck, like if you would run Poppy instead of Jayce for example.
- Look for the moment where you can ‘turn the corner’
In the current metagame, you will often have to adopt the role of the defender for the first portion of the game. Recognize the moment where you can turn the corner and switch to a more proactive role.
A Curious Shellfolk sticking to the board, a window to cast Glorious Evolution safely, an opponent running out of cards… the signal is usually pretty clear with this deck. Once you do, make sure to abuse it.
- Play safe, health is your priority
It is impossible to perform with this deck if you don’t understand this simple point: you only have 20 health points to work with and need to be extremely safe.
For example, you are playing against a Yordle Burn list, and your opponent attacks with a 2/1 unit into your 3/2 blocker. You usually don’t want to take that low-value block. However, if you let it through, you can’t attack back as the opponent can make the same trade in return.
Plus, if we are facing a Poppy deck that 2/1 eventually will become 3/2. Also, this unit gives our opponent another target for Noxian Fervor later on if we try to remove it with a spell. So let’s just take that bad block on move on, it saves us so much precious health.
- Plan ahead, be the one to tell how the story goes
This deck doesn’t do well if we only think one turn at a time. Instead, we need to be able to build and execute our plans across several turns and phases of the game, anticipating the tempo changes and the most important impact plays both players can make.
This is what I call ‘telling your own game story’. It simply is your way of determining how the game will go. If you like the story you have been telling so far then follow the plan and play accordingly. If you see bumps and problems along the road, stop the story and see how you could impact that part, changing the whole outcome of what comes next.
- Be flexible with your win conditions
Glorious Evolution, Shellfolk, Jayce Leveling up, tempo, value… this deck can go in very different directions when it comes to the battles it can fight against the opponent. A lot of the times, we don’t need to win every battle, but simply pick the right one, which then allows us to use what looks scary to the opponent but actually is dispensable for us as a distraction.
For example, If we have both Curious Shellfolk and Glorious Evolution in hand while having a decent board state, slamming Shellfolk on turn 6 isn’t so crazy. If the opponent deals with it, they probably used their whole turn and we denied them pressure to let us breathe and cast Evolution. If the opponent can’t deal with it, we’re running away in the coming turns.
In the same vein, if the opponent runs low on cards, we might want to play Jayce or Shellfolk even though they can be removed, simply because that would put our opponent in a dire situation value-wise. Our Conchologist, Loping Telescopes and such could then come in and win a card based battle where we simply outvalue an opponent that only has 1 card to play per turn when we have 2 or 3 on average.
- Master the Thermogenic Beam
With the addition of the
The Forge solves part of that problem, as you get 3 mana back when you use the Beam at a 6+ power, advancing Jayce’s level-up condition in the process. Without the Forge, I would probably run 1 copy of the Thermogenic Beam to be fair, but it has grown on me as great flexible removal that also works that 6+ condition without clunking up your hand.
Against agressive opponent, don’t overthink it and use the beam whenever you see fit, ignoring value synergies, as staying afloat is the one and only important thing to work on.
Versus slower opponents though or decks with expensive champions, Thermogenic Beam with a Forge of Tomorrow usually represents our tempo swing to become the agressor. Against Plunder or Teemo Swain for example, being able to remove a Gangplank, Sejuani,
This allows us to play a Shellfolk or a leveled-up Jayce and immediately threaten the opponent with Slow spells we can abuse, or simply play Glorious Evolution on curve (turn 7) now that a big problem has been dealt with on the opposing side.
- Look out for the Jayce + Acceleration Gate Swing
Disclaimer: this doesn’t happen often and should only be done when the opportunity comes up.
The reason why I chose Jayce in the deck is because of its flexibility, but also because he can help with leveraging yet another win condition. Considering we mostly run badly-statted units, and most opponents know we will win in the lategame, they tend to focus on our Nexus, leaving up Otterpus, Conchologist or Loping Telescope.
With the Forge of Tomorrow, leveling up Jayce on turn 5 and 6 isn’t too difficult using Thermogenic Beam or Minimorphing an opposing big threat. Once flipped, Jayce will give us Acceleration Gate and will double it, giving +4 attack, Quick Attack, and another random keyword to our whole board, helping us completely change the dynamic of the match, and on some occasions, lethal an opponent caught off-guard.
Mulligan for: Glorious Evolution – Fizz – Mystic Shot – Forge of Tomorrow
- In order to win the lategame, we need to make sure the midgame is under control. Removing Senna and Veigar is key to being able to play Curious Shellfolk and Glorious Evolution safely later on.
- Fizz is a nightmare to remove for the opponent and most of the time our strongest win condition paired with Glorious Evolution. Keep him as a finisher instead of risking him early and being forced to save resources to deny spells targeting him.
- Although we are not in a hurry, be careful of a possible race if you let Veigar level up.
- Pranks can be very powerfull if timed right, try to keep them to Prank spells either for Shellfolk or to protect an important unit like Jayce. Using them early will slow down the opponent but you won’t be able to punish them for that.
Mulligan for: Mystic Shot – Loping Telescope – Conchologist – Otterpus – Thermogenic Beam – Fizz – Sump Fumes – Pokey Stick
- Our goal in this matchup is to run our opponent out of cards while not losing too much health in the process. Once they start using mana inneficiently, it’s the signal for us to start developping our strategy.
- It is almost impossible for us to lose a card-for-card battle so focus on using your mana and protection your health as a priority.
- Equinox from Loping Telescope and Stress Defense from Conchologist will go a long way into buying you precious time and denying tempo for your opponent.
- Use your early health as a way to leverage good blocks and stabilise. As the game progresses and your opponent starts playing Overwhelm units, be more carefull and rely on spells before those threats attack.
Mulligan for: Mystic Shot – Loping Telescope – Conchologist – Otterpus – Thermogenic Beam – Fizz – Sump Fumes – Pokey Stick
- Rally has a lot of cards which efficiency depends on whether they have board presence or not. Focus on dealing with their board first and foremost.
- Their combat tricks also serve as survival tools for their units. As such, use your removal spells during your turn if possible so they have to use Sharpsight without getting the benefit of attacking with the bonus stats.
- Loping Telescope’s Crescent Strike is one of the best cards in the game against Rally, and your opponent knows it. Even if you don’t get it offered, bluffing it is a stong tool in your disposal.
Mulligan for: Forge of Tomorrow – Pokey Stick – Loping Telescope – Conchologist – Otterpus – Thermogenic Beam
- Teemo Swain’s plan and speed matches ours, except they use direct damage instead of value to close things out. The matchup is all about tilting the match towards a value battle rather than a race.
- The Leviathan and Captain Farron are big problems in the late game. The best way to avoid those is to play Curious Shellfolk before the opponent has the chance of developping them so to change their focus. With Forge of Tomorrow, we can also go for Glorious Evolution on 7 and then setup a huge Fizz on 8 for the win.
- Both decks rely on spells to create tempo, either removing opposing units or setting theirs up the best possible way. The first 5 turns should be about creating awkward situations for the opponent to use its spells, then switching to our gameplan once in our comfort zone.
Mulligan for: Conchologist – Forge of Tomorrow – Thermogenic Beam – Fizz
- Because we aren’t weak to Double Up, the direct damage aspect of the deck isn’t so much of a problem for us. Most of the damage should come from the board, and an unanswered early game snowballing.
- The Forge of Tomorrow is our key to taking over the game, it allows you to use Thermognic beam or Minimorph on Gangplank and still keep mana to do something else.
- Be carefull about an opponent not attacking you early if you have 1HP blockers, that could be the sign of a Twisted Fate on turn 4 to have a huge attack turn.
- Fizz can deny Make it Rain if he is targeted by it but cannot do anything against Twisted Fate Red Card.
Mulligan for: Conchologist – Forge of Tomorrow – Thermogenic Beam – Fizz
- The problem in this matchup is the direct damage Plunder can throw at us which puts us on the back foot for the rest of the game. Focus on stabilising early so then you can focus on removing the bigger threats one after another.
- Fizz is a big problem for the opponent as it can deny Make it Rain when he one of the targets for it. This simple trick can help you develop more 1-health units while not giving a great setup to the opponent.
- If you Prank, try to assess the situation and what it is calling for. If you are planning on playing Curious Shellfolk soon, prank the Monster Harpoon. if you are still developing the board, prank Make it Rain or cheap spells who could build tempo and activate Plunder.
Mulligan for: Mystic Shot – Loping Telescope – Conchologist – Otterpus – Fizz – Sump Fumes
- Sion’s Last Breath ability is the big problem in this matchup. We need to find Stress Defense, Crescent Strike or have enough health to be able to tank it for a turn in order to win this.
- Eventually, Fizz will need to connect with the opponent’s Nexus for us to win, we need to remove the Daring Poros before that, otherwise, we are losing a ton of tempo doing so.
- This is the textbook matchup where playing Curious Shellfolk can act as a great distraction. It will either attract direct damage spells which we won’t have to worry about later on, or it’ll be able to generate value and tank Sion later on to save us some previous health.
- In order to be able to turn things around, we need to save health early on. Our 2 biggest problems will be Draven and the Fallen Rider, which both can be removed with Mystic Shot.
- On 4, our perfect turn is Otterpus into Sump Fumes in order to answer the Fearsome Twinblade Revenant. With some stored mana, any 2-drop can also do the trick.
Mulligan for: Mystic Shot – Loping Telescope – Conchologist – Otterpus – Thermogenic Beam – Fizz – Pokey Stick
- This is a matchup where we will have to take some damage to our Nexus, the goal is to take as less as possible, but stopping entirely it is virtually impossible.
- A great way to counter the eventual race is to use the Curious Shellfolk and the Pranks to slow down the opponent’s spells while getting cheaper copies of them for ourselves.
- Do not try to be greedy in any situation, your opponent is only looking to go for your Nexus anyway, so all you need to do is stay alive. Fizz and Jayce are good example of this point, as they will likely end up doing more of blocking than anything else.
- An uncommon way to race our opponent would be to try the “Jayce Swing” detailed in the General Tips Section, something an agressive deck never plays around, and doesn’t have much ways to remove our units before the Acceleration Gate resolves.
Mulligan for: Forge of Tomorrow – Mystic Shot – Loping Telescope – Conchologist – Otterpus – Thermogenic Beam
- Playing Aftershock helps a lot in this matchup, as it allows us to simply focus on the board and be more careless about The Bandle Tree.
- It is impossible for us to find a kill before turn 7, which is also when the Bandle Tree starts being a real threat to end the game. If you stabilise the board, adopt a more agressive mindset to be able to race the landmark.
- Curious Shellfolk is much less reliable against opponents running Minimorph, so Glorious Evolution is a safer bet as a win condition.
- Fizz is our safest bet to find the opposing Nexus for the win, creating more Elusives with Poro Cannon off of Conchologist and The Trickster from Loping Telescope can help in that regard. Also, remove Bandle Commando and the opposing Fizz when possible to set the possibility.
- A leveled up Fizz touching the Nexus gives us access to an Overwhelm unit, which can help a lot in getting lethal blow as well as it will grow thanks to Glorious Evolution.
Much like its predecessor, this new Curious Shellfolk build doesn’t look so good in the current tempo- or damage-oriented metagame.
A lot of matchups like Discard, Plunder, Poppy Ziggs, or Ping City will require you to play perfectly against an opponent that will likely just slam their best cards turn after turn. This burden of being the one who has to outplay almost every opponent makes this deck very difficult to play for long periods of time.
If you enjoy value-oriented gameplay and don’t get frustrated when you lose to an opponent who simply steamrolled you, I would encourage you to give this deck a try.
By a try, I mean likely 25 to 30 games, as it looks like a minimum to start understanding the intricacies of these kinds of builds. Once mastered though, these decks really feel like they are what LoR has best to offer, as you can virtually do anything, from building a threatening board to generating a dozen cards in a turn.
With the end of the season looming on the horizon, I would not expect the pairing of Curious Shellfolk and Glorious Evolution to become popular, or even reach a good enough win rate to interest the masses. It feels like faster decks will only grow more popular, reducing even more the chances of this archetype gaining traction in the current metagame. I would still save this deck somewhere, and rethink about it if Gangplank or Poppy-based decks are getting nerfed at some point.
Good Game Everyone,