Hello, Agigas here!
This guide is dedicated to Lulu Ahri – an unexpected champion pairing popularized by TealRed that recently showed up as one of the most dominant archetypes of the meta, according to stats.
Lulu Ahri quickly became one of my personal favorites in the last few days. It has a great matchup table, well-suited for laddering, versatile game plan, entertaining playstyle, and high power level – it just feels like this deck has it all.
With 22 wins for 6 losses, this archetype is among my best performers this season. I strongly believe Lulu Ahri is deserving of its Tier 1 spot and will stay there for a while.
Lulu Ahri is a swarm archetype, looking to flood the board by using the discard synergies with Flame Chompers!. This 2-drop is truly at the core of the deck’s strategy, especially in the early turns.
In this archetype, neither Ahri nor Lulu are supposed to level up, as you don’t have anything to support their level-up condition. However, both champions are very strong right out of the gate, as they combine extremely well with Flame Chompers to start snowballing board and tempo advantages and remove the opponent’s key units.
Ahri bouncing your Flame Chompers is generally not a drawback but an upside, as it gives you additional fodder for your discard synergies.
Later on in the game, when the board is getting wide, Sai’nen Thousand-Tailed and Windfarer Hatchling come down for devastating attacks. It is very easy to build a wide board with this deck, and the buffs will often hit 5 units.
While Ahri Lulu does have an early game plan that is very similar to some very aggressive archetypes such as Yordle Discard or Lulu Jinx, it is can also play a very solid midrange game plan. With the draw from Zaunite Urchin, Sump Dredger, and Sai’nen Thousand-Tailed, the deck is able to sustain itself for a very long time and dig for the cards it needs.
- Look for lethal opportunities.
The value you can get from buffing Chompers is always tempting. However, make sure you aren’t missing on a lethal opportunity where you could use Chompers as 0/2 Challengers to pull away the opponent’s blockers. You should watch out for Ahri in particular, as buffs on her are twice as effective because she strikes two times – it is often best to use Suit Up on her instead of a Chomper.
- Keep in mind opponent’s possible answers.
Your combos are powerful, but they can backfire when the opponent holds the answer. The Ahri combo with Chompers in particular should be protected when possible, as the opponent can break it by killing or stunning the Chomper and will then be free to block Ahri with a bigger unit. That said, don’t be paranoid – as an aggressive swarm deck you do need to move your gameplan forward first and foremost, playing around the opponent only in the spots where you can afford it. But you should be aware of potential blowouts and look to play around them.
- Manage your board space.
Lulu Ahri’s ability to swarm is insane, and you can easily run into board space issues. In most situations you should look to force trades as the opponent won’t have the same ability to refill the board. However, you do need a wide board to leverage your synergies, so be more conservative with your units if you start running low on them.
- Don’t over-prioritize Sai’nen’s buff.
While your buffs are often better used on offensive turns, it’s still okay to play Sai’nen Thousand-Tailed on a defensive turn. This is especially true when you already have a Windfarer Hatchling to follow it up on turn 7, and/or have nothing else good enough for the turn.
General mulligan tips:
- Look for Flame Chompers! and Boom Baboon. Flame Chompers is the only discard fodder in your deck, and if you don’t find any of them your plays can quickly become terribly clunky.
- Keep and Ahri and/or Lulu. Champions are the only cards I keep even if I don’t have any Flame Chompers yet. However I would advise to keep only 1 as you still need to cycle a lot of cards to increase your odds of finding at least one Flame Chompers.
- Keep Zaunite Urchin, Poro Cannon if you already found a Flame Chompers. You can also keep Sump Dredger depending on your hand and the matchup.
Be aware that these are just the general guidelines to help you understand the deck’s game plan. Mulligans are very matchup-dependant – please refer to the matchup section below for more specific advice on mulligans against different meta decks.
The matchup table is one of the things I like the most about this archetype on the ladder. Thanks to its high power level and its ability to both go on the offensive and offer a strong midrange game plan, Lulu Ahri does not have any truly bad matchups among popular decks.
Below I’ll go into details about matchups against some of the most popular and powerful decks. While this matchup table doesn’t look like anything special, be aware that Lulu Ahri has a major selling point – it runs over the majority of Tier 2 and below archetypes.
Mulligan for: Flame Chompers, Boom Baboon, Ahri. Keep Zaunite Urchin, Poro Cannon, Lulu, Mystic Shot if you’ve already found Flame Chompers.
- Darkness is a control archetype that buffs and discounts the Darkness card to make it a very powerful removal. Then its champions come down as massive payoffs to the strategy and will quickly take over the game when left unchecked.
- Darkness does have good early units and a powerful late game, but they tend to struggle during the transition between the two. With your massive swarm ability and boad-wide buffs, you shoud be able to overrun them during that part of the game.
- Don’t be afraid of taking things a bit slow if it helps you set up your synergies. It is your mid game that will take over the match, and while early game advantages are always welcome, they are not necessary.
- Twisted Catalyzer is a key unit for their deck, and not getting a hit out of him can make their whole game plan slower and clunkier. Look to remove him with a Mystic Shot, Get Excited, or the Ahri Chomper combo.
- Some version play copies of The Box – look to play around it when possible.
Mulligan for: Boom Baboon, Flame Chompers. Keep Ahri, Lulu, Zaunite Urchin, Poro Cannon if you already found Flame Chompers.
- The Pantheon archetype has 2 different versions: Mono Pantheon and Taric Pantheon. Both play in a similar way, and for you it doesn’t change much which one you’ll be facing as your game plan will be the same against both of them. For your information, the Taric version is easier to win against.
- This archetype looks to play units with the Fated keyword and grow them quickly, to then give them Overwhelm with Zenith Blade and quickly close out games with the help of Rallies or Cataclysm.
- We need to approach this matchup with an aggressive mindset. If we give them time, they will kill us with the Overwhelm keyword and there’s nothing we’ll be able to do about it.
- Following that aggressive mindset, Flame Chompers often won’t be the target of our buffs. Trying to kill their units with a buffed Flame Chompers will rarely ever work if they have some mana left for protection spells – even 1 mana is enough for a Chain Vest. Instead, we should use Flame Chompers to hold their blockers while our other buffed units push nexus damage. The opponent can’t support a large amount of units, and therefore we can quickly overrun them with our wide boards.
- Against the Mono Pantheon version, be aware that when they try to kill you with Cataclysm it is possible to kill your own unit with Mystic Shot or Get Excited to make the spell fizzle.
Mulligan for: Flame Chompers, Boom Baboon, Ahri or Lulu. Keep Zaunite Urchin, Poro Cannon if you’ve already found Flame Chompers.
- Nami TF is a deck playing around several win conditions, the main ones being it ability to swarm the board quickly and cheaply and back it up with engines such as Nami or Fleet Admiral Shelly, and/or creating massive value and tempo with Shellfolk.
- Their ability to swarm the board can make the games quite hard to close out. We don’t have much evasion and no rally, so chances are they will look to chump block our stronger board until they can build up a way to kill us. However, with our more powerful board and large amount of draw, we do have the upper hand for a long time and if they run out of chump blockers the game will likely end on the spot.
- Look to remove Curious Shellfolk, Nami, and Fleet Admiral Shelly as quickly as possible. Without its engines, their deck will strugle to build up something great. Curious Shellfolk is the hardest of their units to remove but also often the most important one, as it will help them to keep generating chump blockers.
- You should also keep an eye on Twisted Fate. While this deck isn’t about turbo leveling him, he can easily level up espacially if you ignore him as they do have a good amount of draw and can stole some more from you with the Shellfolk Prank combo.
- Be careful not to play right into a Twisted Fate’s Red Card.
Mulligan for: Boom Baboon, Flame Chompers, Lulu. Keep Zaunite Urchin, Poro Cannon, Ahri if you already have Flame Chompers.
- The mirror matchup is all about who will use their attack token the best. You need to use Flame Chompers to get rid of the opponent’s key units, so you can pull ahead on the board and build meaningful advantages. Champions and Flame Chompers are the key cards of the matchup, and you should look to remove the opponent’s and protect yours.
- Neither of you have a good way to get through the opponent’s swarm so the game can get quite long if their are no major blowouts in the early game. Being able to generate more value than the opponent, and using Windfarer Hatchling’s buff to force good trade will be very important.
- Use Twin Disciplines to protect your key units or to force trades with the opponent’s key units through protection. Be careful about Mystic Shot and Get Excited, as they can upset your combos.
- When you are the attacker, you have an extra incentive to kill the opponent’s engines over protecting yours. If both players’ key units survive but the opponent is now the one with the attack token, there are good chances that they’ll use this set up to remove your key units at a limited cost. When you are on the defense, the opposite applies and you should likely look to protect your key units over killing the opponent’s.
Mulligan for: Flame Chompers, Boom Baboon, Ahri. Keep Nopeify, Lulu, Zaunite Urchin, Poro Cannon, Sump Dredger if you already found Flame Chompers.
- Gangplank Sejuani is a midrange archetype looking to create pressure with plunder units and level up Gangplank and Sejuani to win the game.
- This matchup can be delicate as a leveled
Sejuani will stop all board-based aggression, and therefore you will need to push enough damages before she comes down. If you get them low enough, you will then be able to close out the game with Burn damage and/or by using buffs after units have been frozen.
- Look to prevent them from triggering Plunder, or at least make it as costly and awkward for them as possible. Not only this could make their early turns clunky, but if you delay their Gangplank and Sejuani level and/or make it so they don’t have something to trigger Sejuani’s ability, it will greatly improve your odds of closing out the game.
- Make it Rain can lead to huge blowouts if you’re not careful. Make their Make it Rain as awkward as possible, either by forcing them to use it on 1 unit to activate plunder, or by swarming the board with bigger units like Flame Chompers. You can also use Nopeify against it, but this spell would also be useful to protect a key unit against a Monster Harpoon.
Mulligan for: Boom Baboon, Flame Chompers, Ahri, Lulu. Keep Zaunite Urchin, Poro Cannon if you already have Flame Chompers.
- Ahri Kennen is an allegiance Ionia deck looking to push elusive damage all the while leveraging recall synergies. They can easily level up Kennen, a great stalling tool for their gameplan, and Ahri, who will close out games on the spot when combined with The Absolver. Fae Bladetwirler can also quickly become a massive threat.
- In the mid to late game, Ahri Kennen is able to generate huge numbers of chump blockers thanks to its numerous cheap units, the Dancing Dropplet draws, and Kinkou Wayfinder. There isn’t much you can do about it, and if you give them long enough Ahri Kennen will kill you with the Absolver combo. Their elusive units can also become a lethal threat, especially if you didn’t find Poro Cannon.
- To be able to come through their blockers, we do need some help from our early game to build up and snowball advantages. Combining Chompers with champions or Suit Up is key to this matchup. Look to challenge a unit that isn’t a recall payoff, such as The Mourned, Navori Conspirator, Ahri, or Fae Bladetwirler, so they can’t save it with a recall all the while making value.
- Look to use your removals as an answer to their recalls so they don’t get their unit back and miss their recall payoffs.
Once you’ve understood its play pattern, Lulu Ahri isn’t particularly hard to pilot overall, though there will always be some trickier spots. I hope this guide will you to understand the gameplan, interactions, and will give you a solid foundation to keep you grounded when you need to make the tougher decisions.
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Thanks for reading!