Jayce Review and Theorycraft
Hey, Agigas here! With all the hype around the Arcane series, I was particularly impatient to see how Jayce would translate into Legends of Runeterra! Tomorrow, the brilliant inventor from Piltover & Zaun will enter the game alongside his support package, so let’s talk about how good they seem and some ideas of decks to try.
Here’s our rating scale:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, should prove itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes.
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes.
- 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes.
- 2.0: Could be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks.
- 1.0: Unlikely to find its place in the meta.
Jayce – 4.0
In his level 1 form, Jayce already is quite impressive. He offers a great board presence with his 4/4 statline, and choosing between Quick Attack and Challenger makes this unit flexible.
With Quick Attack, Jayce can attack without putting himself at risk. This is very useful when you want to push damage all the while keeping Jayce alive and healthy.
The Challenger keyword, however, transforms Jayce into a control tool, able of getting the key opponent’s unit out of the picture.
This keyword is particularly powerful, especially if we assume that Jayce won’t be played in hyper-aggressive archetypes. However, the Quick Attack keyword will be regularly useful when the opponent isn’t threatening you and/or your priority is to stick Jayce onto the board.
To level up Jayce, you need to have cast 2 or more 6+ cost spells. The fact that Jayce does not need to be on the board when you cast those makes this level-up condition particularly trivial in a deck built around it, and I foresee Jayce will be played already leveled very often. However, this level-up condition does have a large deckbuilding cost – not every deck is willing to play a critical mass of 6-cost spells.
Once leveled, Jayce acts as a Karma that is restricted to 6+ cost spells. While the restriction is quite heavy, a deck built around it should be able to leverage a level 2 Jayce.
The fact Jayce doesn’t need to wait for Round 10 Enlightenment is a game-changer. Leveling Jayce early into the game and casting doubled 6+ cost spells is going to feel so unfair, especially when we pair Jayce with more spell-synergies, for example with the recently buffed Lux, or with Heimerdinger.
Moreover, Jayce also creates an Acceleration Gate when he levels up – meaning you will have at least one 6+ cost spell to double. Acceleration Gate is a pretty decent finisher once you control the board, and makes a lot of sense when doubled with Jayce.
With a strong statline and useful keywords right away on level 1, a fairly easy level up condition to fulfill granted your deck is built around it, and a powerful level 2 form, I am quite impressed by Jayce’s power level. I expect the champion to be a strong build-around and help its archetypes to be more competitive.
However, Jayce is not the kind of flexible champion that will fit in tons of decks, like a Poppy or a Twisted Fate could. His deckbuilding cost is quite heavy, as you need a critical mass of 6+ cost spells. Therefore, I expect Jayce to be restricted to a couple of archetypes, but to be quite impressive in those.
Jayce Lux is the most obvious combination, and the two go so well together that I’m asking myself if Lux’s recent buff was related to the upcoming champion!
This deck looks to play powerful 6+ cost spells to leverage synergies, creating a deceptively strong board with Remembrance and Assembly Line.
Jayce and Lux are the core cards of the deck, as they are the payoffs for our strategy. They both accelerate immensely the game by generating extra spells, and if you have both of them on the board the game will be closed decisively.
However, I foresee a couple of problems with that deck. First of all, it is very hard to find good ways to draw in Piltover and Demacia. For non-aggro decks, strong card draw is a synonym of consistency.
Then, this deck seems very reliant on its champions sticking to the board. Without them, you’re just casting big spells with pretty much no payoffs. Finally, this deck will struggle to remove big threats when it can’t stick Lux and/or Jayce on board.
To me, Jayce Lux seemed to be the most promising option when I first saw the champion, but after building the deck and analyzing it I am not so sure anymore. The deck for sure has legs, but its problems might hold it back from being truly competitive.
I couldn’t leave you with a deck I was not 100% believing in, plus it can’t hurt to feature two decks instead of one right? 😉
Heimerdinger is another champion with a very important synergy with Jayce, and is, in my opinion, looking to be the most promising way to find a competitive deck for the new champion.
With Heimerdinger sharing the Piltover & Zaun region with Jayce, we can freely choose the second region, making it quite easy to adapt the deck to our needs. In this version, I decided to go with Bandle City because of Minimorph – a great 6+ cost spell, and the region’s great card draw tools.
This archetype plays around the Tech tribe, which got a major addition with Hextech Handler. Heimerdinger’s turrets are now going to get bigger faster, and therefore he will also level up faster, making our turrets even scarier.
Production Surge is the glue that sticks all the pieces together, as it combines well with Hextech Handler, Heimerdinger, Adaptatron 3000, and Jayce. In this deck, Jayce’s Acceleration Gate will be particularly good at closing out games with our numerous turrets.
I could talk for very long about the numerous ongoing synergies, but what is important to understand is that our flood of turrets is going to get rapidly stronger than what we’re used to with Heimerdinger.
This deck will likely be my day 1 pick, and I would not be surprised to see a competitive refined version of it emerge during this patch.
Shock Blast – 3.0
Shock Blast by itself is not a very impressive spell. The ability to go up in value is good, but you will very often trade down in mana when casting it. Its expensive cost also might force you to take some damage from the unit you intended to kill beforehand.
However, it is good enough to be played, and in a deck in need of more 6+ cost spells, Shock Blast could easily fit in.
Alongside Jayce, this 6+ cost spell looks like it will make the cut, as it helps reach our critical mass of 6+ cost spells, but is also a great spell to duplicate.
Forge Chief – 2.5
While the concept of Forge Chief looks synergistic with Jayce at first, her lack of impact should not be underlooked when evaluating the card.
However, Forge Chief is a quite good early play to defend ourselves against more aggressive archetypes. Moreover, the 6+ cost spells archetype will likely have a ton of value, making Forge Chief’s downside a bit less problematic.
More than only a Jayce-thematic card, I’m very curious to see how Forge Chief could be played as an aggressive card. She has a good aggressive statline, will easily refund her cost like a Shellshocker, and can even gain you mana to outspeed your opponent.
The Forge of Tomorrow – 3.0
The Forge of Tomorrow will help you create some board presence refunding mana in the long run, making it quite impressive.
However, it’s still important to remember this card costs you a deck slot and it does not contribute to spell-matter synergies. It can also be a bit awkward to fit in the curve. All in all, I think the community’s expectations of The Forge of Tomorrow are currently a bit too high.
But still, I do think this card is pretty good and will help decks with 6+ cost spells to set up an early board.
Assembly Line – 3.0
Assembly Line is in my opinion the kind of 6+ cost spell that will greatly help the all-in version of its archetype.
On turn 3 it rapidly stabilizes the board by summoning 2 well-stated units in one action. Decks with big heavy spells are often vulnerable to being outnumbered on the board, and Assembly Line helps exactly with that.
Moreover, the synergies with both Jayce and Jayce’s Acceleration Gate are on-point. I expect Assembly Line to be a great enabler in the right archetypes.
However, this is still a card that needs some synergies to be worth running – this is by no mean a new staple for most Piltover & Zaun decks in my opinion.
Ferros Financier – 3.5
Ferros Financier is a very good value card. Although there are a lot of underwhelming 6+ cost spells in most regions, the Manifest keyword can help you find the right one for the current matchup.
I expect Ferros Financier to be a great inclusion in 6+ cost spell archetypes.
I think he isn’t as good as Conchologist without synergies, but I would not be surprised if he sees some play in midrange Piltover & Zaun decks even without a high amount of synergies.
Hextech Anomaly – 1.0
I don’t see a good enough purpose for this random card.
The fact it continuously transforms might help you, with time, to find an important answer in a slow matchup, but I don’t think it is even close to worth the inconsistency.
Ferros Skycruiser – 2.5
Ferros Skycruiser is both extremely good but also very awkward.
4/4 Elusive for 4 mana is truly impressive, and in the right deck, this could bring an absolute terror to the meta.
However, I am not sure the right deck exists right now. It would be something aggressive enough to leverage the power of Ferros Skycruiser, but also consistent at playing a 6+ cost spell to activate its attack bonus early into the game.
Playing 6+ cost spells and pressuring the opponent at the same time seems to be pretty much opposite directions, so while this card is impressive I think it will suffer some identity problems.
However, be careful about this card, because if the right deck is found, or created in a future expansion, it can dominate.
Hextech Handler – 4.0
Hextech Handler is ‘the other champion’ of this mini-expansion. While Tech looks like a very tiny archetype, the granted buff combines really well with Heimerdinger’s and Production Surge’s turrets generation.
Such a powerful buffer would be expected to cost some tempo, but Hextech Handler doesn’t have that problem, as it will buff itself and all copies of it, making it a very tempo-efficient unit instead.
This card really hyped me up to play some Tech units and I could definitely see Hextech Handler making Tech competitive.
Albus Ferros – 2.0
Albus Ferros doesn’t seem so good for a 7-cost unit. At that cost, we should expect a very important immediate effect. I don’t expect the attack ability to hit for a ton of damage, and if it does, then you were likely already winning the game.
Drawing Jace is nice as he will likely be already leveled, but Albus Ferros in my opinion comes down too late into the game for too little impact by himself.
Still, this has a quite fun combo with Dawn and Dusk. With Jayce doubling the spell, you’ll end up with 5 Albus Ferros which will likely kill the opponent with their attack triggers. I don’t expect this combo to be competitive, but at the very least it will be a ton of fun pulling it off.
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