In Legends of Runeterra Expeditions mode, for me some archetypes stand head and shoulders above the others. Archetypes such as Demacian Steel, Scout it Out, and Terrors from the Deep were always my “go to picks”, but if I wasn’t offered any of those archetypes I was familiar with, I would be toast. So, I decided to explore other archetypes to try and find a hidden gem that could reliably blaze a path to 7 wins. What I found was Scrapheap.
Scrapheap has a unique theme not found in other archetypes: Discard. It allows you to cycle your narrow cards for potentially more useful ones, and its marquee champion Jinx gives you an explosive way to close out your games. Although powerful, the archetype is not easy to draft. This article will help you understand Scrapheap by going over the archetype’s general game plan, what followers and spells to look for, and discussing other archetypes that fit well with it. Get Excited!
Early in my Scrapheap drafts I focused on taking any card that said “discard a card” thinking that was the main goal in and of itself. It led to play patterns where I barely had any cards, or I often didn’t want to discard anything in my hand. The key is to look at the discard synergies as a bonus, rather than building solely around it. Scrapheap is an aggressive archetype at its core, and the discard synergies are there to push it over the top in the late game. You look to develop a board early, back up your team with combat tricks (Vision, Brother’s Bond, Spinning Axes), combined with efficient removal (Thermogenic Beam, Get Excited!, Gotcha!), and then close out the game with direct damage such as Captain Farron’s Decimates, or Jinx’s Super Mega Death Rockets.
Champions: Draven, Jinx
Noxus: Draven’s Biggest Fan, Legion Rearguard, Legion Saboteur, Crimson Disciple, Imperial Demolitionist, Savage Reckoner, Used Cask Salesman, Brother’s Bond, Iron Ballista, Death’s Hand, Noxian Guillotine, Vision, Crowd Favorite, Legion Veteran, Kato the Arm, Captain Farron.
Piltover and Zaun: Astute Academic, Academy Prodigy, Veteran Investigator, Gotcha!, Chempunk Pickpocket, Shady Character, Thermogenic Beam, Get Excited!, Chump Whump, Suit Up!, Augmented Experimenter, Chief Mechanist Zevi.
Best Epic: Augmented Experimenter
Premium Commons and Rares: Thermogenic Beam, Gotcha!, Get Excited!, Crowd Favorite.
Each Champion has a different stage of the game that they are most effective in. Draven excels at the early game, being a 3-health unit with Quick Attack, and creates Spinning Axes that can be used as a discard outlet, discard fodder, or power buff. Jinx is essential for the late game, as her leveled-up form gives you card advantage every turn and creates Death Rockets that serve as direct Nexus damage.
Unfortunately, if drawn in the wrong order (Draven late, and Jinx early) it becomes a bit awkward. Draven’s stats scale poorly late game, and Jinx is a serviceable 4/3 Quick Attack unit early game but offers no other benefit. Also, in the early game your opponent probably still has their premium removal in hand for Jinx, and Jinx’s 3 health makes her an easy target for some common removal spells. Ideally, you want to exhaust your opponent’s resources dealing with your early aggression, then drop Jinx to bury them in a mountain of card advantage. A 2/2 split for Draven and Jinx is recommended. It’s preferable to move into the archetype if offered Jinx first, as she has unique effect that synergizes with the deck’s overall play pattern.
An important thing to remember is that you cannot trigger Jinx’s Rocket creation the turn she levels up, even if you empty your hand again the same turn. For example: let’s say you have Rummage in hand and two cards to discard. After playing Rummage, Jinx will level up, but if you play the two new cards on the same turn and empty your hand a second time, Jinx will not create a Rocket. This is because in her second form, her ability text has the clause: “Each round, the first time you empty your hand-”. So, leveling her up counts as you emptying your hand for the first time in a round, so the Rocket creation requirement cannot be satisfied that same round.
Pick followers that have aggressive stats or make extra cards that can be used as discard fodder. Cards like Legion Saboteur, Iron Ballista, Crowd Favorite, and Academy Prodigy are great aggressive units. Cards like Chump Whump are great at giving you extra cards for use as discard fodder. Ideally, you want to use those “free” cards (Mushroom Clouds, Spinning Axes) to pay for the costs of cards such as Get Excited!.
The combo between Crimson Disciple and Imperial Demolitionist is also something you should look out for. When Demolitionist’s ability is used on Crimson Disciple, the Disciple’s triggered ability will give you a total of 4 direct Nexus Damage. I would prioritize getting more copies of Imperial Demolitionist, as it’s much easier to find a friendly unit to use her ability on. It’s not as common to get Crimson Disciple to reliably survive combat or find a way to ping her to trigger her ability.
Another card that was surprisingly effective was Draven’s Biggest Fan. His value in making sure you hit Draven on curve cannot be underestimated, and is especially potent if you have the attack token on turn 3. One or two Fans are enough, and thanks to Scrapheap’s discard theme, they can be used as discard fodder once they’ve served their purpose.
Astute Academic will seldom see more than one card drawn a turn, and even then, its toughness doesn’t grow. Don’t prioritize this card.
Legion Rearguard used to be the premium 1 drop but has struggled since the nerf in Patch 1.2. With all the Hapless Aristocrats, and Warden’s Preys running around, it’s easy to trade into the Rearguard. What’s worse is that he can’t block, so you can’t even trade up!
As for Epics, Captain Farron is an amazing finisher. As of patch 1.4 Farron now creates 3 copies of Decimate in your hand for free. This gives you 12 points of direct Nexus damage, that’s over half of the starting life total! It’s usually best to play Farron the closer your opponent’s life total is to 8 or below, and you have enough mana to cast at least two Decimates on the following turn. This puts immense pressure on your opponent’s Nexus, and requires them to have either some healing, or Deny to stymie the Decimates. Even if they do survive, you’ll still have another Decimate for the next turn, forcing your opponent to have even more disruption or lose. Conversely, Captain Farron is not as effective when you are the one being pressured by being an overwhelming board presence. Farron is an exceptional follower with great stats, but cannot contest a full board of units by himself.
Kato the Arm makes any attacking unit into a formidable threat. Use his ability to help boost the power of your smaller unit to help them trade up favorably into bigger defenders.
Augmented Experimenter’s ability more than makes up for his low stats. It provides amazing utility, and is especially helpful in flipping Jinx, or creating her Rockets. Activating Experimenter’s skill doesn’t need you to have cards in hand to discard, but it does need to target an enemy unit. If the target of the skill or the Experimenter itself is killed before the skill resolves, it will NOT stop the skill. The only way to stop the skill is to use Deny.
Just a word of caution: if you have a leveled-up Jinx, and Experimenter is your last card in hand, you will discard the Rocket you create if you play Experimenter. This is because when you drop Experimenter you will have emptied your hand, a Rocket is created, Experimenter then discards your hand (which only consists of the Rocket), then you draw 3 and deal 3 damage. If you wait until you have at least one card in hand the sequence will go: Experimenter discards your one (or more) cards in hand, a Rocket will be created, and finally you will draw 3 and deal 3 damage.
Removal and Utility
This archetype has great removal in the form of the Gotcha!, Get Excited!, Noxian Guillotine, and Thermogenic Beam. However, it lacks in “hard” removal, struggling to take out larger foes.
Gotcha! is a ridiculously efficient unit damage spell on the turn it is drawn. It is unable to target the Nexus, so its utility is somewhat lacking compared to cards like Mystic Shot, or Get Excited! Overall, it’s often best to play Gotcha! Immediately the turn you draw it to take advantage of the mana discount, even if the targets are weaker units.
Thermogenic Beam is a powerful, flexible spell that rewards careful planning of your turns and efficient mana management. Get Excited! is being able to target units or the Nexus. The drawback of discarding a card can be mitigated (or even exploited) thanks to the discard fodder that is generated by our other cards.
Noxian Guillotine is you chief answer to larger foes. Attack or defend with your smaller units to get opposing units into a “damaged” state and try to resolve multiple Guillotines in one turn. Aim to get at least two targets for it! Remember, you also can use the fleeting copy as discard fodder.
You want to dominate the early game using your combat tricks (such as Brother’s Bond, Spinning Axes, and best of all, discarding Vision) to bolster your units’ power and help them trade up into bigger foes, or push through more damage when possible.
Best Archetypes to Splash for
When building Scrapheap, the best archetypes to dip into would be Shroom and Boom and Noxian Might.
Since the needs of Scrapheap are so strict, it’s best to stay within Noxus and PnZ so that you build redundancy into your deck. This means that you should aim to get more copies of your best cards, or pick up new cards have similar or better value.
Noxian Might gives you potential access to more copies of Captain Farron, Iron Ballista and Kato the Arm. Other cards you want to look out for are Legion Grenadier, and Whirling Death. Legion Grenadier provides an aggressive body with a Last Breath that pushes through damage early in the game. Whirling Death is a premium combat spell for Scrapheap since many of our units have high power or Overwhelm. If Whirling Death is used on a defender blocking a unit with Overwhelm, once the defender is gone the unit’s full damage is done to the Nexus!
Shroom and Boom provides Scrapheap us with more chances to pick up cards such as Chump Whump, Augmented Experimenter, Get Excited!, and Thermogenic Beam. Clump of Whumps is a decent card to pick up as it gives you extra Mushrooms Clouds that can be used as discard fodder. However, the card that you really want to pick up from Shroom and Boom is Mystic Shot. It’s a great damage spell that is cheap, and can target both the enemy units and their Nexus. Mystic Shot should be considered a high priority pick anytime it is offered.
Compared to other expedition Archetypes I believe Scrapheap would be one of the top 10 archetypes I’ve drafted. The archetype has a great selection of followers, cheap and efficient removal, and late game inevitability in the form of Jinx and her card draw passive and Super Mega Death Rockets. What keeps it from the top 5 lies in the difficulty of drafting the deck correctly. It’s extremely tricky to get the right balance of cards to make the archetype work. The deck really requires you to have Jinx, have a good ratio between discard fodder generators and discard outlets, removal, and a good early curve to top it all off. However, if you manage to strike a balance between all those elements, you will be rewarded handsomely.