Breaking down cards when we have only seen such a small amount of what is coming is always a daunting task… but of course we are going to do it anyway! Here are my takes on the most recent Lulu and Ionia reveals, whether they will be competitively viable or just a meme. These takes obviously change as more cards get revealed, but for now this what I am going with! For more of my content on these spoilers check out The Twin Sunz Podcast to hear me ramble on and stay tuned to RuneterraCCG.com as we break down everything that gets revealed!
Here’s our rating scale:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, proven itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes. (Sejuani, Riptide Rex…).
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes. (The Harrowing, Twisted Fate, Mystic Shot…).
- 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes. (Yasuo, Culling Strike, Statikk Shock…).
- 2.0: Can be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks (Vanguard Sergeant, Thorny Toad…)
- 1.0: Doesn’t find its place in the meta (Unstable Voltician, Parade Electrorig…).
Lulu – 3.0
The next Ionia champion has arrived! Lulu continues the trend started with Taric of a champion focused on the Support keyword. The thing that stands out the most about Lulu in particular though, is that she is not difficult to level at all. Lulu doesn’t need to be on the board to progress her quest, and with how much support we have already seen, it seems very possible to level Lulu close to on curve as she attacks.
The Support effect is very strong and can make trading for your opponent very difficult (the wording of “grow” seems to imply she can only increase ally stats, units bigger than 4|4 will not shrink). Once she levels, every turn she will create a Help, Pix! at the round start. Like Targon’s Gem, it has ‘Can’t be cast in combat or in response to a spell’ clause – it is confirmed by Call of the Mountain Design Lead Shawn Main that there will be only two Burst spells with such a restriction in the upcoming expansion. This card will really help you keep Lulu alive on attacks, as you can either give her Barrier, or pull a specific target with Vulnerable. It’s important to note here that this is the only Vulnerable effect so far in the game to be able to be played at Burst speed. That means you can make something Vulnerable and instantly attack, which can be quite powerful.
The reason I am putting Lulu at a 3.0 is because we don’t know how good this Support archetype will be, and it is very meta-dependent. I can easily see Lulu leading the charge of a new style of quick and strong curves pushing the early game very aggressively. Obviously she can pair with Taric decently, but Noxus also interests me as a clearly aggressive region. We have a lot more cards to see, but I think Lulu brings something entirely new to Ionia’s early game, which already has seen a lot of success with the Elusive strategies. Could this be a new way to push that even further?
Whimsy – 4.0
We have our second card ever with Silence keyword, Purify is no longer alone! This card seems like an incredible combat trick, but slightly expensive and specific in targeting since he can only hit followers and not champions. Silencing and turning any follower into a 1/1 during combat will allow you to get the kill pretty easily. Obviously the top end of this is using it on massive units such as They Who Endure, but it also has a lot of value silencing something with Last Breath before killing it, such as Commander Ledros. Another use of this spell is just transforming some large unit that is about to hit your Nexus to save you some health. This will find use out of combat as well, as long as you have a way to secure the kill. The huge downside to this card is that both the Silence and the transformation will revert on the next turn, bringing the unit back to normal after spending some time as a Squirrel. There are a lot of options and flexibility on this spell, and that is why I am scoring it so high. It will for sure find a place in quite a few decks.
Pix! – 1.0
Out of all the support cards we have seen so far in these reveals, Pix! Has to be the worst. First of all, this statline is horrendous. Support units already are going to be blocked most of the time, acting like a bait to push through their ally. Normally they can at least deal some damage back to the blocker, but not Pix! On top of that, we have seen a lot of support abilities granting stats to their ally, while Pix only gives his stat buff until the end of the round. I can’t see this card finding a home even within its own archetype. Also, how does this not have Elusive?!
Fae Guide – 3.5
This card obviously feels very similar to Sumpsnipe Scavenger, which I know saw no play and was one of the worst Allegiance units. The problem with that card was not its effect – in fact it had a very strong effect because giving units Elusive can be game changing. The problem was Piltover and Zaun not having enough good cards to make a solid Allegiance deck. The Fae Guide however, does not make you follow any deck building restrictions. It also happens to be in the region that historically has had the most meta success with Elusive decks.
Comparing this to cards like Ghost and Sumpworks Map is interesting. One problem with those spells, is they take up a deckbuilding slot and provide no board presence by themselves. They can feel dead in hand if you don’t have a good target for it. Their advantage though is being played at Burst speed. I think Fae Guide overcomes that advantage by being a 3/3 body on turn 4. You won’t run into as many situations when you’re waiting for your perfect combo – making anything Elusive is a solid option. Especially if you are giving Elusive to Lulu or other weaker Support units. This card is going to find a home in a few different spots.
Young Witch – 2.0
A known downside to support units is the vulnerability they have as they attack. Having high health can help protect them from trades, but Elusive keyword can do even a better job of it. Her stats are very lacking, but we are used to Elusive units having weaker stats. Her Support ability is interesting, but again is only a temporary buff. Giving Quick Attack is interesting and will cause your opponent problems as they block, in the most scary scenario giving your Challenger units the buff to allow for great trading. There are really only 2 archetypes this can fit in, and that is a Support deck and an Elusive deck. I don’t really see the value of Young Witch over other Elusive units, and I don’t think you need to run an insane amount of Support units in a Support-focused deck either. That makes me put her at a 2.0 because she can be a flex option for these decks but overall I think she is too weak.
Flower Child – 3.0
I love Flower Child. It gives me the exact vibes as the Greenglade Caretaker. They have the same stats and grow the same amount in similar ways. I can absolutely see a really strong curve of Flower Child on 1, Tyari the Traveler on 2, and then Lulu on 3 to make a crazy powerful board state that can quickly get out of hand. On top of that, there are other units that can fill in the Support curve on turn 2 and 3 and still allow your board state to grow. I’m rating Flower Child at a 3.0, because I think in any deck that ends up using Support cards will want to run 3 of this. Only time will tell if this archetype will find success, but if it does, you’ll end up seeing a lot of the Flower Child.
Fuzzy Caretaker – 2.5
Here we have yet another 4-drop with a 3|3 statline, but this time with some crazy Support synergy. This follower, similarly to the Mountain Sojourners, wants to get a conga line of Support units on the board. Even though the buffs this Fuzzy boy gives are temporary, they are significant. Getting +3 health can really save him from downtrades, meanwhile giving +3 power can create a pretty big threat. I’m putting this at a 2.5 instead of a 3 because the 4-drop is a hotly contested spot for Support decks already. We have Taric and Shen, and there are some other really solid 4-drops in this reveal season already. I do think if you are going the huge board conga line style of support, then Fuzzy will find a place.
Tasty Faefolk – 3.0
Lifesteal is a very important thing to have in control decks. It can come in the form of actual units with Lifesteal or in the form of spells/abilities with Drain. This card is very similar to the Deadbloom Wanderer, who found a great home in the Deep archetype due to its ability to sustain you through early game. Tasty Faefolk will play a similar role, except in a wider range of decks. Being in Ionia, which is a region we often see in control decks, makes this card have some solid value. The other thing Ionia has to it is unit protection, so keeping this follower alive in order to get a strike or two off can be enough to stabilize you.
Swole Squirrel – 2.0
I wish I could give this meme lord a 5.0, but I simply cannot. I do however think the Swole Squirrel will find a home in some very niche decks. There has been so much excitement around this card already, we are bound to see it pop up. Using spells such as Single Combat or Whirling Death, you get to double this beefy boy’s power repeatedly. Buffing this unit is another way for him to stay alive longer and ramp into a scary state, but I still believe he will see play only in very weird builds. This does not mean I am not absolutely obsessed with this card like everybody else.
Startled Stomper – 1.5
So they snuck a Targon card into these reveals? The Startled Stomper is not terrible, it is just not great. Overwhelm on a follower with only 2 power is not great, unless you are trying to make sure you get a damage through on turn 2, to level Gangplank or Sejuani. Even if that is the case, there are better options than this. So the use for this has to be buffing either with spells or support. Again for spells, there are better buff targets than this. But for an ally being supported, this isn’t bad. Giving this card some buffs early can create a strong unit that will get some damage through consistently. Maybe this card finds a home in some of those conga line support decks I mentioned before, but I wouldn’t put my money on it.
I am really excited to see where this archetype goes once Call of the Mountain drops on August 26th. There seems to be a lot of viable early drops for a full Support deck, which is something we haven’t seen before. On paper, it feels sort of like a Bannerman deck, where you have a beefy board in the midrange and use that to overpower your opponent. There are some obvious weaknesses in this archetype, but I do like the options Targon and Ionia have so far to push this style. Will Taric and Lulu be a super obvious pairing sort of like how Miss Fortune and Quinn were once Rising Tides dropped? Only time will tell!