Legends of Runeterra Rising Tides Expeditions Guide: 8 New Bilgewater Archetypes Explained

The Rising Tides went live last week with some significant updates to the Expeditions mode content. Patch 1.0 has introduced eight new archetypes for us to draft. In this article, we’d like to present an overview & breakdown of each and every one of them.

First, let’s refer to some of the teminology used in this article, as well as to basics behind the archetypes’ composition.

Each archetype has either one or two champions that are assigned to it and a various number of cards in different rarities. Each draft begins with two Champion Pick (seeding packs containing 1 Champion card). It then presents 12 consecutive picks, that alternate between Synergy Picks and Wild Picks. Synergy Picks are seeded based on your primary archetype, while Wild Picks are chosen from the archetypes adjacent to yours.

There are also two additional tuning values to each archetype that correct their rate of appearance during drafts:

  • Cohesiveness Rating: Some archetypes are full of generically useful cards, while others like Shadows and Dust consist of mostly cards that are more dependent on one another. Cohesiveness Rating is a tuning value that allows designers to control how quickly a particular archetype will be disallowed from showing up in Wild Picks when your deck doesn’t include any cards from that archetype, since you’d be highly unlikely to be interested in them anyway;
  • Wild Pick Bonus Chance: This is another tuning value that allows to increase the frequency with which you’ll see an archetype during your Wild Picks, but only during drafts where it’s your primary archetype. So for an archetype like Shroom and Boom that’s dependent on having plenty of mushroom-related cards to end up with a synergistic deck, taking a couple packs from it early will ensure you’ll see lots more of them throughout the draft.

Additionally, since the Patch 1.0, newly introduced Bilgewater-based archetypes are temporarily twice as likely as they would be otherwise to appear in the initial Champion Picks. These chances will be evened out in a later patch.

For more information on the Expeditions, and for a full spreadsheet with all of 32 supported archetypes, please refer to our other guide: All Cards and Archetypes of The Rising Tides Expansion.

First to the Draw

Region(s): Bilgewater.

Champion(s): Twisted Fate.

Card Pool:

  • Bilgewater: Pool Shark, Ye Been Warned, Pilfered Goods, The Beast Below, Salvage, Hunting Fleet, Coral Creatures, Jaull Hunters, Lure of the Depths, Pick a Card, Brash Gambler, Yordle Grifter, Abyssal Eye, Scrapshot, Zap Sprayfin, Devourer of the Depths, Shipwreck Hoarder.

Cohesiveness: Low, Wild Pick Bonus Chance: None.

Best Combines with: Smash and Grab, Terrors of the Deep.

Top 5 Commons/Rares: Pilfered Goods, Salvage, Jaull Hunters, Abyssal Eye, Yordle Grifter.

Best Epics: Devourer of the Depths.

Cards to Avoid: Hunting Fleet, Coral Creatures, Lure of the Depths.

Gameplan: This control archetype is all about card advantage. Extensive card-drawing additionally serves to enable the Deep theme, which is the ultimate late-game wincon for this deck.

Strengths: Twisted Fate is probably the best Bilgewater champion for Expeditions. He is almost always able to trade 2-for-1 with the opponent, but can also level up quite easily and become a win-con if unanswered. Pilfered Goods and Salvage are disgusting card-drawing spells.

Weaknesses: It lacks interaction in the early game – so it’s often correct to give up on mono-Bilgewater dream and include either PnZ or Shadow Isles cards in your build. Also be mindful that card-drawing here is so intense that you can wind up decking yourself in lower-card-count Expedition games.

Rating: A

Scout it Out

Region(s): Bilgewater, Demacia.

Champion(s): Miss Fortune, Quinn.

Card Pool:

Cohesiveness: None, Wild Pick Bonus Chance: None.

Best Combines with: Demacian Steel, Relentless.

Top 5 Commons/Rares: Grizzled Ranger, Citrus Courier, Back to Back, Concerted Strike, Loyal Badgerbear.

Best Epics: Sheriff Lariette Rose, Cithria the Bold.

Cards to Avoid: Golden Narwhal, Double Trouble, Blinding Assault.

Gameplan: It is a straightforward curve-out aggro/midrange deck. Mulligan for a strong opening (ex. Fleetfeather Tracker into War Chefs into Loyal Badgerbear), then take advantage of your units’ superior stats and Scout mechanic. Lean into Demacia as heavily as possible, borrowing from Bilgewater a few pieces of interaction.

Strengths: A very strong on-board presence. Grizzled Ranger, Loyal Badgerbear and the likes are all messed up cards and you have the ability to back it all up with efficient combat tricks. Miss Fortune and Quinn don’t require a level up to put in a great performance.

Weaknesses: Concerted Strike is the only removal spell this archetype has. There’s also no card draw. Value-oriented control decks will out-grind you, so ideally you have to put a pressure on them from the very first turn.

Rating: A

Raiding Party

Region(s): Bilgewater, Freljord.

Champion(s): Gangplank, Sejuani.

Card Pool:

Cohesiveness: Low, Wild Pick Bonus Chance: None.

Best Combines with: Suit Up, Mega Keg.

Top 5 Commons/Rares: Strong-arm, Citrus Courier, Ursine Spiritwalker, Ruthless Raider, Ember Maiden.

Best Epics: Riptide Rex, The Tuskraider.

Cards to Avoid: Warning Shot, Lonely Poro, Golden Narwhal, Smooth Soloist.

Gameplan: Midrange strategy that uses beefy Overwhelm units to finish the game around turn 7-8. It also wants to have a reliable way of triggering Plunder effects without putting low-impact enablers like Warning Shot and Prowling Cutthroat in your deck. Both Gagplank and Sejuani play the key role as finishers, so aim to level them up whenever possible.

Strengths: This deck hits its massive power spike around 5-6 mana when the champions and the beaters like Ursine Spiritwalker and Alpha Wildclaw come down. Thanks to Overwhelm, the Raiding Party has the ability to prep an alpha-strike around that time and close the game out in a single attack.

Weaknesses: It lacks the quality early drops. Your go-to units for the purposes of early chip damage are Ruthless Raider and Ember Maiden. Be aware that the deck has an abysmal amount of choices for good heavy drops, so weight picks carefully. There are just so many late-game slots to fill in a proper curve.

Rating: B+

Spell Slingers

Region(s): Bilgewater, Ionia.

Champion(s): Fizz, Lee Sin.

Card Pool:

  • Bilgewater: Shellshocker, Jailbreak, Bubble Bear, Chum the Waters, Slippery Waverider, Coral Creatures, Double Trouble, Mystifying Magician, Playful Trickster, Razorblade Hunter, Zap Sprayfin, Shipwreck Hoarder, Mind Meld.
  • Ionia: Rush, Claws of the Dragon, Sonic Wave, Scales of the Dragon, Twin Disciplines, Horns of the Dragon, Greenglade Duo, Retreat, Rivershaper, Solitary Monk, Concussive Palm, Deep Meditation, Eye of the Dragon, Dragon’s Rage.

Cohesiveness: Low, Wild Pick Bonus Chance: None.

Best Combines with: Discipline, Disruption, Fishbones.

Top 5 Commons/Rares: Slippery Waverider, Concussive Palm, Deep Meditation, Greenglade Duo, Solitary Monk.

Best Epics: Zap Sprayfin, Eye of the Dragon.

Cards to Avoid: Bubble Bear, Playful Trickster, Dragon’s Rage.

Gameplan: This strategy mainly revolves around Elusive cheese backed up by Lee Sin-enabled value trades. Unfortunately, Bilgewater package here is quite bad, so this archetype would benefit a lot from going deeper into other Ionia-based seeding packs during Wild Picks.

Strengths: Elusives can feel quite unfair when supported by efficient spells like Concussive Palm and Deep Meditation. Fizz is a real threat at every point in the game – often it is correct to slow-roll him until you have the means to protect him.

Weaknesses: The draft process can be quite tricky as you’re trying to balance spell/units ratio but also hoping to avoid filling your deck with bad-to-mediocre spells – of which there are plenty. Without Elusives’ setup to threaten the opponent’s Nexus, the archetype can lose to an on-board disadvantage quite quickly.

Rating: C

Mega Keg

Region(s): Bilgewater, Noxus.

Champion(s): Gangplank, Swain.

Card Pool:

  • Bilgewater: Jagged Butcher, Parrrley, Dreadway Deckhand, Make It Rain, More Powder!, Hunting Fleet, Monkey Idol, Petty Officer, Mystifying Magician, Double Up, Strong-arm, Scrapshot, Sheriff Lariette Rose, Riptide Rex, The Dreadway.
  • Noxus: Blade’s Edge, House Spider, Imperial Demolitionist, Iron Ballista, Death’s Hand, Noxian Fervor, Ravenous Flock, Crimson Disciple, Death Lotus, Noxian Guillotine, Citybreaker, Crimson Awakener, Aurok Glinthorn, Captain Farron, The Leviathan.

Cohesiveness: Low, Wild Pick Bonus Chance: None.

Best Combines with: Raiding Party, Battle Scars, Crimson Guard.

Top 5 Commons/Rares: Make It Rain, Strong-arm, Imperial Demolitionist, Aurok Glinthorn, Noxian Fervor.

Best Epics: Riptide Rex, Sheriff Lariette Rose.

Cards to Avoid: Hunting Fleet, Blade’s Edge, Crimson Awakener.

Gameplan: Aggressive/midrange strategy that uses Powder Kegs and some self-damage synergy to take over the board and push for damage. Swain should be very easy to level and he serves as one of the win-cons along with Gangplank and other late-game bombs. Direct face damage from powder-empowered Noxian Fervor and Death’s Hand would often serve as the means of closing out.

Strengths: Efficient removal spells that, depending on situation, can be played either reactively (to counter your opponent’s plans) and proactively (to push for face damage).

Weaknesses: Running out of gas – or should I say, powder. The archetype has no way of restocking on cards. The way to mitigate that would be to pick up a few Pilfered Goods and Salvages during your Wild Picks.

Rating: B

Smash and Grab

Region(s): Bilgewater, Piltover & Zaun.

Champion(s): Twisted Fate, Vi.

Card Pool:

  • Bilgewater: Pool Shark, Shellshocker, Pilfered Goods, Pocket Aces, The Beast Below, Salvage, Slippery Waverider, Coral Creatures, Slotbot, Pick a Card, Brash Gambler, Abyssal Eye, Zap Sprayfin, Shipwreck Hoarder.
  • Piltover & Zaun: Astute Academic, Rummage, Boomcrew Rookie, Veteran Investigator, Mystic Shot, Trail of Evidence, Patrol Wardens, Gotcha!, Vault Breaker, Insightful Investigator, Statikk Shock, Suit Up!, Chempunk Shredder, Subpurrsible, Chief Mechanist Zevi.

Cohesiveness: Low, Wild Pick Bonus Chance: None.

Best Combines with: First to the Draw, Total Recall, Death’s Door.

Top 5 Commons/Rares: Pilfered Goods, Salvage, Mystic Shot, Gotcha, Statikk Shock.

Best Epics: Zap Sprayfin, Shipwreck Hoarder.

Cards to Avoid: Shellshocker, Trail of Evidence, Suit Up!

Gameplan: Control deck with either TF, Vi or Deep sea monsters as a wincon. I’d rely on TF more than on Vi and would often opt for 3/1 split on their ratio. Essentially this one is a better variant of the First to the Draw archetype – for now, there’s no real reason to stick with mono-Bilgewater when PnZ offers so much interaction.

Strengths: The utility of Twisted Fate, crazy card draw, efficient early-game removal, reliable sea monster finishers. Potentially it’s one of the best archetypes in Expeditions.

Weaknesses: Tricky both to play and to build. The pool is diluted by a bunch of clunky cards so you will have to weed them out carefully. There’are the likes of Shellshocker that offer nothing to the controlling gameplan. But there are also over-the-top cards like Veteran Investigator that are a bit too fancy and excessive.

Rating: A+

Terrors from the Deep

Region(s): Bilgewater, Shadow Isles.

Champion(s): Nautilus, Maokai.

Card Pool:

Cohesiveness: Medium, Wild Pick Bonus Chance: None.

Best Combines with: First to the Draw, Death’s Door.

Top 5 Commons/Rares: Dreg Dredgers, Vile Feast, Glimpse Beyond, Deadbloom Wanderer, Blighted Caretaker.

Best Epics: Devourer of Depths, Terror of the Tides.

Cards to Avoid: Overgrown Snapvine, Brash Gambler, Sap Magic.

Gameplan: One of the heaviest control-oriented late-game decks out there, a carbon copy of the Nautilus’s Deep archetype you’d see on the Constructed ladder. The goal is to survive at any cost through disposable early blockers and incidental healing, and so reach the nearly-unbeatable late game of the sea monsters. Maokai is here mainly as a support and you shouldn’t focus on leveling him up.

Strengths: Once the Deep is activated, the lights are probably out for your opponent. Given the lower count of cards in Expedition decks, it wouldn’t be so unusual to activate Deep as soon as turn 4. From then on, The Beast Below is a 4 mana 7|7.

Weaknesses: Even so, I’ve managed to steal games from Nautilus decks who activated Deep that early just by going under them. To fight for the board early, they often have to lean into SI-based archetypes and pick up more chumpers like Hapless Aristocrat. Deep decks also desperately need some healing effects – yet there’re a lot of popular agressive tools that can easily deny those effects (ex. Noxian Fervor).

Rating: B+

Fishbones

Region(s): Bilgewater, Piltover & Zaun.

Champion(s): Fizz, Jinx.

Card Pool:

  • Bilgewater: Crackshot Corsair, Jagged Butcher, Pool Shark, Prowling Cutthroat, Jailbreak, Pilfered Goods, Pocket Aces, Black Market Merchant, Petty Officer, Double Trouble, Brash Gambler, Island Navigator, Jagged Taskmaster, Sheriff Lariette Rose.
  • Piltover & Zaun: Astute Academic, Zaunite Urchin, Jury-Rig, Boomcrew Rookie, Sump Dredger, Mystic Shot, Scrapdash Assembly, Chempunk Pickpocket, Get Excited!, Vault Breaker, Professor von Yipp, Suit Up!, Subpurrsible, Augmented Experimenter.

Cohesiveness: Medium, Wild Pick Bonus Chance: Low.

Best Combines with: Spell Slingers, Smash and Grab, Scrapheap.

Top 5 Commons/Rares: Professor von Yipp, Pilfered Goods, Mystic Shot, Double Trouble, Get Excited.

Best Epics: Subpurrsible, Augmented Experimenter

Cards to Avoid: Sump Dredger, Jury Rig, Suit Up!

Gameplan: This is a meme archetype built around Fizz and Professor von Yipp. Here you want to go all-in on Fizz level-up/protection, gaining tons of additional value from the spells like Jailbreak and Double Trouble thanks to Professor.

Strengths: If we were to mix this idea cleverly with Scrapheap and/or Smash and Grab archetypes, we’d have a potent aggressive list on our hands. Fizz is also an absolute nightmare to deal with when built around properly.

Weaknesses: The hardest thing for this deck is to earn its first few wins. As you can imagine, the consistency of an all-in Fizz deck depends on having access to that champion consistently. With just one starter copy of Fizz in game 1 we can’t just do that – so we have to get lucky a couple of times before we can fully stock up.

Rating: D

Rainmaker

Rainmaker’s love for Legends of Runeterra was born from his passion for Magic: The Gathering and League of Legends. His aspiration is to enjoy and improve in all the aspects of LoR - be it brewing, tuning, piloting, or drafting - and report all of his experiences along the way!

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