5 Off-Meta Decks Spotted in Masters – Patch 2.19
Hello everyone, Dragonguy here, and I’m here to bring you some of the most interesting decks I’ve found on the Master rank ladder in the past week.
All of these decks showcased today will come from different players in Masters, and I’ve featured at least 1 deck from each of the 4 servers. I will be sure to leave the name of the player I got the deck from and the server they play on when listing their deck.
I’ve also purposefully avoided decks with Jayce or any of the new PnZ cards. Over the past week, we’ve given enough of a spotlight to the Defender of Tomorrow, it is time to let others shine. So, without further ado, let’s get this started with an interesting Swain deck.
- Player: 장이안좋은사람, Server: Asia
The first deck on this list features Swain, who has been recently rising in the meta in his pairing with Bandle City. Here, however, he’s ditching the Yordles in favor of Freljord and the man of the magnificent mustache himself, Braum.
So, why Freljord? Freljord gives Swain access to great AoE in cards like Ice Shard, Avalanche, Blighted Ravine, and even Ember Maiden. All of these AoE damage effects help Swain in two ways: they progress his level-up very quickly and synergize with effects like Noxian Guillotine and Ravenous Flock.
As for Braum, his level-up condition also benefits from self-damage effects. Braum can also pull -anti-Fearsome blockers out of the way for your Swain to hit face, or become a scary threat if you play his champ spell Take Heart on him.
Choosing Freljord also enables us to play Frostbite effects like Icevale Archer and Brittle Steel. These also enable Culling Strike, which is a powerful kill spell at 3 mana, if you can meet its condition. They can also remove potential anti-Fearsome blockers for Swain and enable a devastating Nexus Strike.
In terms of closing out the game itself, you have the classic Swain and The Leviathan combo, which will quickly end games if your opponent can’t find an answer. However, this deck is also packing a 1-of The Howling Abyss, which can act as another win condition that many decks will not be prepared for.
Overall, the deck performed better than I first expected. The creator for this deck clearly valued flexibility, as they include a lot of 1-of cards in their list. While these can enable outs in many scenarios, they also decrease consistency, especially with the minimal draw this deck has. Still, the list packs a lot of answers and has tools to stall out games to look for its key pieces.
- Player: HTM SoraIsMeh, Server: SEA
Next up, we have a very interesting deck concept in Shyvana Riven, also called ‘Forged Dragon’ by its creator. This deck seeks to combine the Reforge keyword from Riven and her followers with Dragons. This creates some interesting synergies and allows the deck to do powerful things once it gets rolling.
In terms of what we actually get from Noxus, it is pretty lean. Riven, her two followers Blade Squire and Runeweaver, and Whispered Words for card draw are all this deck takes from Noxus. This is plenty, however, as Riven and her followers will generate additional cards in hand with Blade Fragments.
Shyvana typically only sees play with Targon due to their inherent Dragon support, so seeing her paired with Noxus definitely caught my attention. Shyvana has a lot of synergy with the Reforge mechanic, as she wants to be attacking and can use all the effects well. On top of this, she is a better target for the Blade of the Exile than Riven is, and can quickly snowball games.
On top of Shyvana, this deck also runs Screeching Dragon and Egghead Researcher, giving us access to a total of 9 Dragons. This is important, because the deck is packing 3x Dragonguard Lookout, which lets us Rally if we Behold a Dragon. This can easily catch opponents off guard.
On top of the synergy with Dragonguard Lookout, we are also running 9 Strike effects, which can give us necessary interaction with opposing units and grow our Dragons from their Fury procs.
This deck is quite spicy, and I’ve been enjoying messing around with it. It has some powerful combos with all the Reforge mechanics and has some interesting decision-making points because of it. While I am not the biggest fan of Dragon decks in general (-gasp-), this is one I thoroughly enjoyed playing, and I was pleasantly surprised for just how strong the deck could be.
- Player: Bee, Server: Americas
As everyone knows, Zed Demacia has been a strong deck in the last few patches, usually paired with Lulu or Poppy. Here, however, we take a different approach, and instead, pair him with Fiora. This deck differs from the Lulu Zed and Poppy Zed decks, as this one is very focused on our champions and keeping them alive.
If you don’t see your champions in your opening hand, you should be mulliganing hard for them. Once you do find one, the plan is simple: buff them, protect them, and use their effects to win the game.
Zed is a scary attacking threat that helps you either push damage or whittle down opposing boards. Fiora, on the other hand, wants to precisely pick off opposing units, as once you’ve done this 4 times you win the game.
These two champs offer an interesting dilemma for your opponent. On the one hand, they want to have a wide board to protect themselves from Zed. On the other hand, if they go too wide, they leave themselves vulnerable to Fiora. This can apply a lot of pressure on your opponents if they don’t have the tools to remove your champs. And even if they do, we run a lot of protection.
Some of this protection comes from our low-cost spells, such as Sharpsight and Chain Vest. Some of it comes from Deny, which gives us an answer to hard removal spells or powerful spells and abilities. We also have permanent buffs, like Laurent Bladekeeper and Stand Alone, that make our units into far more lethal threats.
To capitalize on our strong champions, we run the Rally effects in Golden Aegis and Relentless Pursuit to close out games quickly. We also run Cataclysm for its synergy with Zed, as it triggers his attack effect and lets him utilize his Quick Attack. Young Witch exists to help Fiora safely kill off opposing units and can deal incremental chip damage thanks to Elusive.
While this deck can threaten opponents from multiple angles, it does have issues with consistency. In some games, you won’t draw your champions, or they’ll die before you can protect them, or they get hit by Minimorph. However, there are also games where you summon a champ and are able to use them to victory. This deck offers a different way to play the game for Demacia Ionia, so if you like the region pair and want to try something new, this would be a great deck to try.
- Player: BlueGod, Server: Americas
Earlier, we’ve showcased a Dragons deck without Targon, and now we’re going to show off an Aurelion Sol list without Shyvana. Leona Aurelion Sol seeks to capitalize on the power of the Sun through Daybreak.
Out of all decks on the list, this one is the most well-known, as there were people experimenting with Daybreak after the 2.18 patch. In the weeks since, however, the deck has fallen in popularity and has seen little play. That doesn’t mean it is weak, as it can still be competitive.
The deck mainly uses Targon to field its units, and Demacia – for interaction through Strike spells. You want to use your Daybreak effects to punish developments, and set up a strong board that can win the game.
Leona will level quickly in this deck thanks to the large concentration of Daybreak cards and will be able to shut down attacks on her own. Rahvun, Daylight’s Spear really helps the deck get going, as it lets you trigger Daybreak multiple times per turn and really overwhelm the opponent.
Daybreak relies on a strong board presence, as you need units to utilize your Strike spells like Single Combat and Concerted Strike. With a large number of units, this should not be too difficult, and it helps that many units can get out of range of lower-cost removal spells, which makes removing them a costly investment for the opponent.
This deck excels at stalling and making the game go long, which is great because you have access to Aurelion Sol. He can quickly end the game once he comes out thanks to the value he generates from the Celestial cards he creates every round.
Eclipse Dragon is in the deck mainly to help get Aurelion Sol out sooner. If you can Nightfall it with Rahvun, Daylight’s Spear out, you get to trigger both effects for a nice value plan.
For people who want to play the late game value plan Targon can offer, but don’t want to fully delve into Dragons, Daybreak is a great deck to try out.
- Player: Highlander, Server: Europe
For the final feature on the list, we have a ‘bait’ deck. This list may look like an Elise Spiders Aggro deck, but it plays far more similar to a control deck. It looks to attack with a Legion Marauder and buff them everywhere. Then you play and attack with more and more of them until they can get through and end the game.
Elise and her spiders serve a few purposes here. Elise gives you some board presence early and provides units you can use for blocking or attacking. If you can level Elise, you can use her Spiderlings to drag worrisome units out of the way for your Legion Marauders to hit face.
Of course, the main units we care about in this deck are the Legion Marauders. We really want as many of him as we can get, which is also why we’re running Strength in Numbers, which gives you 2 in one action. Mist’s Call gives us a way to get them back if they are removed and lets you keep up the pressure.
The deck runs plenty of control tools for dealing with the opposing board to give you time to set up your Legion Marauder gameplan. Ravenous Flock can combine with the various ping effects or Arachnoid Sentry to remove troublesome units.
The Ruination can completely reset the board and swing the game back in your favor. There are also a plethora of drain effects to heal up damage you are taking while removing opposing units, such as Vile Feast and Withering Mist.
If the game goes long, you also have access to The Harrowing, which will summon your strongest allies that died this game. This will usually be your Legion Marauders, allowing you to threaten a lot of damage and usually close out the game.
While the deck does suffer a bit from consistency, as you won’t always get your Legion Marauders when you want them, it has been fun to play. The list wants you to make some large units and hit face, and when it does that, it feels great.
Masters is a unique environment where the best players in the game are constantly trying to redefine the meta.
By looking at the leaderboard, you can usually get a good read about some of the best decks in the game. But because this environment is so competitive, the meta is also very defined, which enables brewers to attack some aspects of it with unexpected off-beat decks.
Every day, Masters brewers experiment and try to perfect their ideas, and in some cases, these can be successful and lead to new meta decks – this is why it is so fascinating to track and follow all the off-meta concepts that are coming from high-elo ranks. One day, one of the wild decks from the list above might just break it.
One final note, while these decks contain some interesting concepts, they are not proven concepts. This can make investing in them as a new player or using them to climb a bit risky.
Still, they can be fun to play, and can even help inspire you to make your own brews. So, I encourage you to pick them up if you enjoy the concepts, are looking for brewing inspiration, or just want to have some fun times in normals.