Earlier in the week, we saw the finals take place in the Korea Invitational, where Xixo (who we spoke to prior to the quarterfinals!) prevailed over Surrender in a clean, three-game sweep. Ordinarily, this is where we’d give you the rundown of the decks that Xixo used to win the championship, just as we did with the decks that emerged victorious at the EU Creators Invitational earlier this month, but the latest balance-adjustment patch went live almost immediately after the conclusion of the Korea Invitational, leaving up in the air the viability of a lot of the decks we saw from that tournament.
So instead, we’ll be doing a more focused breakdown of one of the three decks that Xixo utilized in the finals against Surrender, that being his version of the popular Lucian Elites!
Looking at the build that Xixo put together, this list stands out for being a little heavier than your typical build would be for Lucian Elites. Commonly, Zed is run as the Champion opposite Lucian, but Xixo’s opted for Garen in that spot. Additionally, he’s cut out spells like Relentless Pursuit and Purify entirely, and he’s expanded the top-end of the mana curve with heavy hitters such as Radiant Guardian and Cithria the Bold. All in all, this version of the deck runs more as a midrange deck than the aggro versions that you typically see, but the goal is still the same: play on curve and keep pressure on your opponent with units that can go both wide and tall.
For starters, we’ve got our two Champions, serving as the bread and butter of the deck. In Lucian’s case, he also serves as the deck’s namesake, serving as an ultra-efficient early-game attacker who can instantly put your opponents on a clock. And with this deck also running three copies of Senna, Sentinel of Light, it’s that much easier to get Lucian into his leveled-up state, where you can really dish out some damage, or force your opponents to chump away units so that they aren’t taking a minimum of eight points of damage to their Nexus.
On the other hand, we have Garen, who helps make this particular build lean a lot more into the midrange side of things. The big strong boi is oftentimes just a really sticky unit, thanks to him having Regeneration and a naturally high base health, which means that your opponent will usually be forced to trade off a unit and burn a removal spell to get him off the board. In those cases, even if you do lose Garen, you’re still coming out ahead in resources, since they’re paying two of their cards to deal with your one. In addition, once Garen levels up, he gives you a Rally at the start of every round, which serves as a fill-in for the copies of Relentless Pursuit that the aggro versions of this deck tend to run. And hey, Garen’s actually an Elite himself, so he’s a flavorful fit for the deck, too!
Moving onto the follower units that the deck runs, there’s perhaps no better opener you can have in match-ups against aggro decks than the combo of Fleetfeather Tracker on turn one, followed by a Brightsteel Protector on turn two, if you’re attacking second. Being able to freely pick off your opponent’s Precious Pet or Navori Bladescout while keeping your own Challenger unit alive is a pretty sweet deal, plus you’ll typically get to swing in freely with your Brightsteel Protector as well, since your opponent won’t be too keen to throw out their Greenglade Duo or even a Lucian of their own when it’ll simply get eaten by the Tracker. The bird is a strong defense against another of the meta’s most popular Champions in Zed, too.
Meanwhile, in War Chefs, you’ve got a card that, when it’s not busy being a powerhouse in Expeditions, can help you push through some extra damage, or make your Tracker that much more beefy, for even better trades. The 2/3 body that it comes with is also nice in aggro match-ups, as it can usually survive a strike and live to either attack or block an extra time.
Moving into the middle of the mana curve on our followers, we have Laurent Protege, another unit with that all-powerful Challenger keyword that’ll help mop up some of the more pesky units you’ll run into. That it comes with such a healthy amount of, well, health, for its mana cost, means that it’s another unit of yours that can often trade two-for-one, with one of those enemy units normally being of high value.
With Shadow Assassin, we encounter the only actual card in the deck that’s not Demacian, but if you’re going to pick any card to splash, this is a pretty good one! There’s a reason it was named as one of the cards that Riot are keeping their eyes on, in the notes that came along with the recent patch, but until it does receive a nerf, it’s still a 2/2 Elusive body that replaces itself in your hand for free.
Because nearly our entire deck here does consist of cards from Demacia, it means that we’re almost always going to get the Allegiance ability on Vanguard Bannerman to trigger, providing a pump to our whole board. This’ll make it that much easier for us to defend against a big swing from our opponent, or make it that much tougher for them to defend against a swing of our own, especially if we’ve got a full board of units at our disposal.
Opening up our book of spells, it turns out that our compendium is pretty light. We’re only running seven spells total, all of them serving to either help us maintain an advantage on the board, or to help us push through for damage and finish off the game.
Radiant Strike is a very cheap spell for the early stages of the game, where our main priority is protecting the units that we’re trying to build our board presence with. This can help give us a favorable trade, or push a unit out of range of the removal spell our opponent is trying to cast.
Single Combat, on the other hand, gives us a much more direct way of dealing with certain threats that might otherwise be difficult to deal with, such as Elusive units, or units with powerful effects that our opponent isn’t planning on throwing into battle anytime soon. It synergizes greatly with Brightsteel Protector, too, since you can give a unit protection with a Barrier before having it strike with Single Combat.
Finally, the deck runs a single copy of Back to Back, which you’ll most often be using to close out games with by pushing for lethal damage to the enemy Nexus. Originally, this was a spell that only cost 5 mana, but that proved to be far too powerful a combat trick. Even at its increased cost, if you unleash it at the right time, even if you’re not using it to end the game, you can absolutely blow out your opponent with it by baiting them into some disastrous trades.
Lucian Elites is a great deck for anyone who’s looking for a cheap deck that’s easy to learn, and that can also be played to great results on the ladder. Whether you’re running this championship-winning version of it, going with a more aggro-intensive build, or experimenting with your own home brew, it’s an archetype that anyone can pick up quickly and hit the ground with at a full sprint. Now go out there and put it to the test! For Demacia!