Already teased through the first trailers of the Forces from Beyond expansion, Kai’Sa was amongst the awaited champions. In this first batch of reveals, the champion comes alongside a new keyword “Evolve” and a few followers. Also, we got cards outside the Shurima region that are looking fascinating to add to already existing archetypes.
In this article, I will cover Kai’Sa and the new keyword she brings to Legends of Runeterra and a couple of cards I think are key to helping the Evolve mechanic become a competitive one. In the diversity batch, I’d like to discuss two cards which could be very impactful when they finally become playable.
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.
Kai’sa – 3.0
I won’t lie, I have a lot of trouble seeing the Evolve mechanic become a dominant one. While evolved units are looking quite strong, the road in order to get to evolving our army seems like a bumpy one.
Playing 6 unique keywords isn’t that difficult, considering how many exist in today’s game. The limit I see to the evolve mechanic is the overall cohesiveness of the deck early in the game, as we basically look to play units that aren’t going in the same direction.
In the end, Kai’Sa already provides 2 keywords with Quick Attack and Evolve attached, meaning we really only have to find 4 other keywords in our early curve before playing the champion. Thanks to her Second Skin, I can also see Kai’Sa have a good scaling potential, the same way Viktor or Viego might have.
But this is where I see the first problem, Viktor or Viego do not require that much deckbuilding around them. Kai’Sa will likely force us to play a unit centered deck in order to fulfil her level up condition. Until they are leveled, her followers are quite weak in terms of stat lines, leading to potential trouble when fighting the board.
In my opinion, the big challenge with a Kai’Sa deck will be to balance the early game so we can advance our Evolve gameplan while not simply playing units for the sake of their keywords. It looks important to find units that can contribute to establishing a solid presence, which could lead us to build our deck without many evolve units. Kai’Sa would then more of a good standalone card than a champion pushing a whole synergy.
If we cannot do that, the +2+2 of the Evolve keyword could be quite useless, especially if we compare it to another current dominant synergy: Bard.
I tried to push that logic in this theorycraft, looking to build a solid deck that would benefit from Kai’sa rather than going all in on the Evolve mechanic.
Similarly to what is Akshan Renekton is trying to do currently in terms of gameplan, I think Kai’sa would fit pretty well in a combo oriented deck. With Bandle Multi-Region synergy featuring a lot of keywords, it looks quite easy to reach the Evolve keyword requirement and abuse Second Skin once Kai’sa is leveled.
Tristana is looking like a nice complement in the deck, as it is another champion that does very well when granted new keywords. While her multi-region package is almost non-existent currently, the arrival of a card like Supercharge should help with abusing her high attack while boosting her survivability.
Supercharge – 4.0
Ruin Runner has proved times and times again how strong the pairing of Overwhelm and Spellshield can be. While Shurima already possess The Absolver is order to transform a big attack into big damages, the addition of the Spellshield keyword is massive.
With Runeterra evolving into a game where developing our own synergy is the preferred win condition for most competitive decks, looking to slow their opponent down enough in order to win the race. A card like Supercharge can completely derail the defensive plan of our opponent and win the game on the spot.
Especially in a region able to pick its trades thanks to the vulnerable keyword. I expect Supercharge to be a great addition in most Shurima based decks, even some that would just do it for the Spellshield at times, like Mono Viego for example.
Void Seeker– 3.5
While I am not very enthusiastic about the Evolve mechanic as a whole, I do think a card like Void Seerer is a great tool to have.
Just like Buster Shot helped the Multi-Region synergy at some point, this kind of cheap, utility removal is crucial to deal with the opponent’s board while not being forced to use our units every single time. And once Evolved, this is a great soft pass while removing a midrange unit from the opponent, allowing us to gather information while fighting on the board.
The follower only targets might hold the card from becoming a great one, and the Evolve mechanic could not be fast enough for the card to be played. But in the end, I believe this is one of the card that is helping the synergy, much more than the followers we have seen so far.
Wildclaw’s Ferocity – 4.0
I think this kind of card is exactly what the Frejlord region needs in order to build an identity outside Thralls or Feel the Rush.
Ashe has been buffed several times directly and indirectly and still struggles to see play, Udyr’s rework helped but the champion still is almost non-existent. As such, Frejlord is stuck being a combo based region, which summons huge units at once and uses the overwhelm keyword to push damage with thos.
A card like Wildclaw’s Ferocity keeps that idea of using huge overwhelm units in order to force our way to the opposing nexus, but implies the need of playing units before that. With more cards like this, we could see archetypes looking to play on-curve, and able to be explosive rather than the stalling archetypes Frejlord looks to be tied to.
In terms of power, I was quite surprised to see the card cost the same as the unit it will summon, I guess the loss of the unit we transform was accounted in the pricing of the card. Anyway, being able to bolster our offensive power and attack without giving back priority is very strong in Legends of Runeterra. Although he isn’t played so much, Jarvan IV is a great example of this. Nami buffing the board at the start of the turn is another one that is currently much more popular.
I expect this card to be difficult to find the perfect set up for, as Frejlord doesn’t have that many small units to target, so the second region could be key. Once we overcome this obstacle, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wildclaw’s Ferocity push the Overwhelm archetype back to a competitive status.
Windswept Hillock – 3.5
Yasuo receives once again some help in order to make the champion strong enough to match its overwhelming popularity in the community.
This time, though, I feel like the developers have hit the perfect spot to make it work. Indeed, the big problem in most Yasuo decks, is when the signature card is nowhere to be seen.
As a card, Yasuo isn’t bad, and is well capable of demolishing an opponent’s board and win the game almost on its own. The problem with Yasuo is how demanding he is in terms of deckbuilding, something that tends to create highly specialized decks, which can be quite unstable in terms of results.
Helping those decks with finding Yasuo probably is the course of action, although the card does much more than that.
Obviously, 5 mana is a lot for a landmark, and history showed us that the bigger the cost and the more difficult it was for the card to perform. What I really like about this card is that it is interesting to play even if you imagine your opponent casting Scorched Earth or Aftershock against it. Considering your opponent pays 3 mana to destroy it, you basically paid 2 mana to draw Yasuo and stun the strongest enemy at slow speed, not a bad deal.
If the opponent leaves it up, then you should be perfectly set for the lategame, as you both found a way to draw Yasuo and have a control tool for free every time you get the attack token.
Time will tell if it is finally time for Yasuo to become competitive against, but this card definitely is a step in the right direction.
With over a dozen cards revealed yesterday, I felt like reviewing all of them would make for a very long piece. For full transparency, I don’t think the Evolve followers are very good, and I don’t think I would have rated any of them higher than a 2.0. I feel the spells are quite good, so they were worth reviewing, but the followers are pretty lackluster and will be used only if we find a way to evolve very quickly thanks to other cards in the deck.
In the 6 cards outside the Evolve synergy, though, the Trifarian Training Pits and the Warded Husk piqued my curiosity the most. For the Noxus card, I felt like the Reputation synergy isn’t resilient enough for a card like this, and it would be a win more at best. As for the Warded Husk, I didn’t have much to say other than it is a nice utility, but it could be difficult to time it well.
While I wasn’t thrilled with the featured keyword, I still enjoyed very much receiving so many cards on day 1 and cannot wait to see what else the team has in store for us. We will make sure to cover all the most interesting additions in future articles, and share with you the hype around the Forces from Beyond expansion.
Good Game Everyone,