Hello, Agigas here! This is my second guide for RuneterraCCG, but if you don’t know me yet I am a master player since beta, with several #4 peak and tournaments win. I am also TSM/Blitz.gg LoR consultant, and I wrote a lot of Reddit LoR guides.
This past week, I have been playing a lot of Swain/Lux in both ladder and tournaments with great results. Playing this deck has been one of my most enjoyable experiences in LoR. It is both very strong and fun to play, and it is a great meta answer to the Ezreal/Twisted Fate deck running over the ladder lately. Hence, I have decided it is time for this underplayed Swain/Lux deck to gain some well-deserved spotlight, and to write a guide to share it with the community! 😄
General Gameplay and Concepts
What is this deck about, what are its win conditions?
This deck is a slow midrange deck, with a high density of threats that are hard to remove (Swain, Lux, Radiant Guardian, The Leviathan, Remembrance). It also includes some powerful removals (Culling Strike, Single Combat, Death’s Hand, Noxian Guillotine, Concerted Strike) and cheap creatures to have some board presence.
The purpose of this deck is to go through the early turns with your cheap creatures and removals (or a turn 3 Remembrance 😏) and then start to play a lot of threats that the opponent must remove, else he would suffer a quick and painful loss. With all your threats being very hard to deal with because of their high health, the opponent won’t be able to keep up the pace and you will start gaining a lot of advantages and win the game.
The most frequent ways to win games are:
- Finding a lethal with Swain, often thanks to The Leviathan + Swain combo.
- Outpacing your opponent with Lux’s Final Spark’s.
- Simply outvaluing your opponent with your big threats and removals, and finish him when he runs out of cards.
- Swain: The central piece of the deck, Swain is very strong and finishes games quickly once you took control. He is quite hard to remove with 6 (or even 7) health for only 5 mana. His spell, Swain’s Ravenous Flock, is also very powerful and will give you uses to your additional Swain (you’ll often get more than 1 thanks to The Leviathan).
- The Leviathan: The ultimate boat, it combos perfectly with Swain to finish opponents. It is also a very powerful threat by himself as 3 damage each turn ramp up very quickly. He is very hard to remove with 8 health, and it tutors the central piece of your deck!
- Lux: With a lot of spells and ways to create new ones (Mageseeker Conservator, Vanguard Sergeant), Lux can rapidly take over a game by herself if your opponent doesn’t deal with it. She helps Swain to level up with her Final Spark’s, and can also activate Swain’s stun once he is level up by using Finals Spark’s on small units! The Barrier also synergizes very nicely with Single Combat. Her spell, Lux’s Prismatic Barrier, can change games, especially against Piltover & Zaun’s best answer to your big threats, Thermogenic Beam.
- Radiant Guardian: One of the most powerful Demacia followers, it is hard to remove, and Lifesteal on a big threat secures the game very quickly. It is a really good target for both Single Combat and Concerted Strike, making those spells a fast-speed way to gain 5 health points besides removing an opponent’s unit!
- Remembrance: Very good at getting a strong threat as soon as turn 3! All Demacia’s 5-cost units are pretty good, and it also has the upside of helping Lux producing Final Spark’s. If you use it after some of your units died, it will cost less and it will also be a lot stronger if you pull a Radiant Guardian!
- Unyielding Spirit: It is not a threat by itself, but when used successfully on one of your threats it can single-handedly win the game. It is especially good at answering an opponent removal (e.g. Vengeance, The Ruination) and is one of the biggest counterplay to Riptide Rex.
- Single Combat: One of the most powerful removals in the game. Thanks to its very cheap cost, you can play a big threat AND use it in the same turn. It has great synergies with Lux and Radiant Guardian, and damage dealt counts toward Swain’s level-up!
- Concerted Strike: “The cooler Single Combat”. Save the same purposes, but it doesn’t damage your own units and deal more damages, in exchange of a way higher cost.
- Culling Strike: Though it has no synergies with Swain, it is still a very good removal.
- Death’s Hand: This one is a bit worse than Culling Strike overall, but it is really great with Swain! If offers 3 points of damage to help the level-up condition, and, once Swain reached his final form, it triggers Swain’s stun while removing a unit.
- Noxian Guillotine: A very good but situational removal. It is especially important against very big units (e.g. They Who Endure, Nautilus..) because your other removals are not so great at dealing with those. However, this build only features it as a 1-of because it is very conditional.
The Cheap Creatures:
- Mageseeker Conservator: After playing a lot of this build, I think this unit is one of the most underrated cards in the game. There aren’t many useless 6+ cost spells, and the surprise factor is insane. Your opponent has no way to play around it since it could be any 6+ cost spell, from any region but Demacia. This card also makes the deck very fun as some spells are really spicy (e.g. unexpected Dragon’s Rage or Pack Mentality are really fun and OP with Swain…). The 1/1 body is also very relevant as it helps to slow down the game and set up for Noxian Guillotine or Swain’s Ravenous Flock.
- Vanguard Sergeant: The 3/3 body helps a lot to have some board presence and For Demacia! is a lot more valuable than I originally thought. By itself, it can be used as a board clear as your opponent won’t have the possibility to let your attack go through and will be forced into unfavorable trades. It also gives a Final Spark when Lux is on board.
- Grizzled Ranger: Helps to gain board presence, the best early creature to activate your Radiant Guardian thanks to the Scout attack.
- House Spider: Cheap bodies to establish early board presence and set up Noxian Guillotine very nicely.
Tips and Tricks
Maximizing Non-Combat Damage:
When your Swain isn’t leveled up, try to maximize your non-combat damage, especially when your hand doesn’t have a lot of sources of that.
- Try to use Single Combat on one of your high attack units.
- Concerted Strike has a weird interaction with Swain’s level-up condition: both your creatures’ attack will be counted toward Swain’s level-up, even if the opponent’s targeted unit dies from the first hit! In consequence, try to use it on your creatures with the highest attack.
- However, don’t take risks to maximize non-combat damage. For example, if your opponent has enough mana to kill your highest attack creature, try to use Concerted Strike on 2 of your units he can’t kill, so your opponent can’t protect his creature.
- Even if you played Mageseeker Conservator and/or House Spider on turn 1/2, you can still play Remembrance on turn 3 if you manage to get these creatures to die on turn 3. Though it relies on your opponent not playing around Remembrance, so, in most cases, you want to avoid playing anything before so you can safely go for Remembrance on turn 3.
- When making trades, be mindful of your Remembrance in hand. You might want to take some suboptimal trades sometimes to get a heavily discounted Remembrance.
- When you have Lux on board, you might avoid casting a discounted Remembrance because it won’t give you a Final Spark if your Lux doesn’t have some Final Spark stacks yet, whereas a full cost Remembrance does.
Be mindful of your Lux level-up:
- When you want to cast several spells with Lux on board, be careful about the order you cast these spells. For example, if your Lux is at 4/6, playing your 2-cost spell, then your 6-cost spell will give you 2 Final Spark’s. However, the opposite order would give only 1 Final Spark.
- To gain a spark without “wasting” mana, here are some interesting combination of spells:
- Unyielding Spirit, Non-discounted Remembrance, For Demacia! and Mageseeker Conservator gives a Final Spark by themselves.
- Concerted Strike only cost 5 mana, but you can still use exactly enough mana despite having no 1-cost spells in your deck thanks to Swain’s Ravenous Flock. Single Combat, Noxian Guillotine, Culling Strike, and Death’s Hand are also fine spells to combine with Concerted Strike to gain a Final Spark.
- Culling Strike/Death’s Hand best combinations are Culling Strike, Death’s Hand, or Lux’s Prismatic Barrier.
- Noxian Guillotine can be cast more than one time, so, under the right circumstances, it can give Final Spark’s by itself. Moreover, the Final Spark can be used to damage a big unit, and finish it with the fleeting Noxian Guillotine!
Sum up: This deck can defend itself against pretty much anything thanks to its solid gameplan. The hardest counter to it are Frosbite cards, because this deck relies on it’s creatures not only for combat but also for some removals (Single Combat and Concerted Strike).
For the mulligan part, you always want to keep Remembrance, as well as early units. Against Agressive decks Radiant Guardian is a key card, whereas agaisnt slower deck that don’t pressure your health points you’ll be more interested in Swain or Lux, to try to have the highest density of threats possible.
- Difficulty: unfavored.
- Mulligan for: Remembrance, cheap creatures, might keep Lux if you already have a good hand.
- Gameplan: This is the worst matchup. Most of your removals are inefficient against them (Culling Strike don’t have great targets, Single Combat and Concerted Strike get countered by freezes), you can’t play Swain before he levels up else it will get destroyed by their Culling Strike, and Reckoning can single-handedly destroy you. The most realistic gameplan to win in my experience is to come out of the early game even, play a Lux, and quickly generate Final Spark’s.
- Difficulty: Favored.
- Mulligan for: Remembrance, cheap creatures, Radiant Guardian.
- Gameplan: In the early game they can take board control and deal some damages to your nexus but by turn 6 you should regain full control of the game. Prevent them to deal damages to your Nexus as much as possible, because once you took control their only win condition is to burn you with spells, Riptide Rex, and/or Ezreal. If you manage to play a Radiant Guardian and use her Lifesteal, it will deny them their win condition. They don’t have good removals to deal with your threats so it is quite easy to build your board. Their best Removal is Thermogenic Beam, but you have too many threats, and it also gets hard countered by Lux’s Prismatic Barrier or Unyielding Spirit. Unyielding Spirit is also a great counter to Riptide Rex because they will tap all their mana to play it. The thing you have to be the most careful about is actually the cards they’ll steal from you with Nab effects.
- Difficulty: Favored.
- Mulligan for: Remembrance, cheap units, Culling Strike, Radiant Guardian.
- Gameplan: This deck has quite a similar idea with Swain + The Leviathan, but they don’t have great ways to deal with your threats without using multiple spells, whereas you have ways to deal with theirs while being very mana-efficient! Culling Strike is really good against Swain as long as he didn’t level up and can also take care of Twisted Fate, and Concerted Strike can easily take down The Leviathan. Your threat density is also a lot higher thanks to Lux, Radiant Guardian, and Remembrance. However, they have better board control in the first few turns, and with stun effects, Zap Sprayfin and burn spells, they can rapidly deal a surprising amount of damage, so be careful about your health point management. Radiant Guardian helps a lot to secure the game. Avoid using Concerted Strike or Single Combat on your damaged units, else they could answer by killing it with Ravenous Flock.
- Difficulty: Even.
- Mulligan for: Remembrance, cheap creatures, Culling Strike or Single Combat, Swain.
- Gameplan: In this matchup, you are clearly the aggressor. Try to take some board control to start pressuring their life total. Keep Culling Strike or Single Combat to deal with Maokai while gaining a tempo advantage: without it, they’ll go Deep slower. Noxian Guillotine is a great way to deal with Nautilus. They can have difficulties removing The Leviathan because Devourer of the Depths isn’t big enough. Usually, you can win the game by gaining tempo, then dropping The Leviathan (potentially with Swain combo). However, if they manage to deal with your threats effectively and come out of the early/mid game even they will start spamming big threat and it can get pretty dangerous. You can still take the win during the late game thanks to The Leviathan/Swain combo, but it will be harder if you don’t have a tempo advantage.
- Difficulty: Slightly unfavored.
- Mulligan for: cheap creatures, Radiant Guardian, Remembrance.
- Gameplan: This matchup can be quite hard because your Culling Strike and Death’s Hand don’t align well against their Jinx and Draven! They also have tons of early aggression, Radiant Guardian is often your savior but they can challenge it with Flame Chompers! to make it hit last after you’re already dead. However, a good Radiant Guardian + Single Combat can quickly turn the game around. Try to contest their early game as much as possible so you don’t lose before Radiant Guardian can help you come back. Turn 3 Remembrance is not at its best in this matchup (at least when your opponent curves well), because it only gives 1 blocker for 6 mana and it leaves you undefended the first 2 turns. However, it is worth keeping one with cheap units, because once discounted it can help a lot, and if you get a Radiant Guardian out of it it can win the game.
- Difficulty: Favored.
- Mulligan for: Remembrance, cheap creatures, a threat if you already have a good hand.
- Gameplan: While your removals don’t align very well with Kalista, Culling Strike, and later Single Combat are good answers to Elise and Neverglade Collector. The key fact in this matchup is that they have no way to easily deal with your threats. This can create very easy games as long as they don’t have a very good draw because you are free to gain value out of your Lux or The Leviathan, your Radiant Guardian can’t be removed without giving you back some health point, you can easily assemble Swain + The Leviathan combo… However this is a deck that can highroll sometimes, and they can very much take the win. They can have very aggressive draws so you better have a solid early game, and you don’t have a way to interact with a big enough They Who Endure + Atrocity combo (unless They Who Endure is damaged AND you have Noxian Guillotine). Though you can often finish them before They Who Endure + Atrocity can kill you, and Radiant Guardian is very good at blocking They Who Endure. Play around Fury of the North, if you don’t you could easily lose the game by losing a key unit at the wrong moment or by letting them go for a lethal. Try to prevent them to successfully cast Glimpse Beyond, denying their draws will make the game a lot easier.
- Difficulty: Even.
- Mulligan for: Remembrance, cheap units, Culling Strike, Radiant Guardian.
- Gameplan: They have very good early/mid game aggression but once you reached the late game there is nothing they can do. Their win condition is to either use their powerful champions Miss Fortune and Quinn (that’s why Culling Strike is really good) or to build up a good board and buff it with Vanguard Bannerman and Genevieve Elmheart. You should be able to deal with their champion with your removals, but avoid letting them play Bannerman with a champion on board or you won’t be able to use Culling Strike on it anymore. To deny their second option, you want to contest the board and trade as much as possible. Don’t allow them to build a powerful board or they will buff it and it can quickly get out of control. Play around Riposte (Quick tip: Riposte is very bad against Concerted Strike!) and Ranger’s Resolve. If you don’t let them go too wild, your threats can easily give you the advantage during the mid-game and they don’t have good ways to deal with it.
Since my first GiantSlayer invitational tournament, I am streaming all my tournaments. I am still getting used to it so it’s far from perfect but at least you can have all the VODs on my Twitch channel. If you want some Swain/Lux content, I was playing it in my lineup in both the last Giantslayer invitational tournament (08/07) and in the last Duels of Runeterra tournament (08/08 and 08/09)!
Here is a little highlight of my last stream (08/09 DoR):
I stream with a delay and no mic, because I want to stay 100% focused on my games. But if you still want to come by, see some high-level tournament gameplay, and/or know when I am doing a tournament, you can follow me and I’ll be happy to have you! I’ll be streaming most tournaments, often during the weekend. The quality of the stream will go up as time goes by, as I am just getting started. 😉
That’s all for this very fun and powerful deck! If you like grinding out opponents and playing with way too powerful units, you should definitely give this deck a shot! Honestly, this is one of my favorite decks of all times: Swain and Lux are extremely satisfying to play, it is rewarding, it is consistent, and it even allows for a lot of creativity with the random 6+ cost spells!
I hope you enjoyed the read as much as I enjoyed writing it, and hopefully, it will help you to find a great deck to play in the last weeks before the new expansion comes out! 😄
If you have any questions or feedback, I will be very happy to answer you in the comment here or on this dedicated reddit post! 😊
If you would be interested in more content from me, you can follow me on my Twitter. I use it to share the best decks I’ve been playing, my tournament performances, and to let people know when I publish a new article! 😊
Good luck & Have fun!