Malphite Review and Theorycraft
A literal Mountain has now joined Legends of Runeterra, and he is as thick as you would expect. Over the past few days, we have been getting some spoilers in Targon that all pointed to Malphite being centered somehow around Landmarks. There was a theory that he would end up being a Countdown landmark himself, but that turns out to not be the case!
I think this is for the best since if they went that route, he would most likely need to be paired with Shurima for the Advance mechanic. Since the only thing he needs is for you to summon landmarks in general, the options are slightly more open. Before I go too off the deep end, first let’s rate each of the newly revealed Targon cards and see where they will land! Let’s rock!
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, potentially a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes.
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes.
- 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes.
- 2.0: Can be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks.
- 1.0: Unlikely to find its place in the meta.
Malphite – 3.0
Overall, I really enjoy Malphite. Landmark strategies desperately needed some top-end payoff, and a way to close games out. Malphite does give these strategies access to both – he should be relatively easy to level-up, and has the potential to end the game with Unstoppable Force.
It is important to note that he gets his first Unstoppable Force on-summon or level-up, and subsequently on each round start as long as you have the attack token. This means you can level him up by playing a landmark while on an offensive turn and threaten a full board stun for 2 mana. That seems very solid in theory but could end up being slightly clunky.
Malphite does require a relatively specific synergy, so maybe he should really be a 2.0 or 2.5. The reason I am putting him at 3.0 is that there are a lot more landmarks in the game now. Also, Malphite just needs to see landmarks summoned, not played. This means that cards like Blue Sentinel and Rock Hopper can even give Malphite level-up progression. An obvious pairing will be Taliyah, who copies a landmark which also contributes to his level-up.
All of this leaves me pretty excited to see Malphite in action. Legends of Runeterra has been wanting to push landmarks to be more viable for a while now, and the new Targon champion will be a big piece of that going forward.
For this theorycraft with Malphite, I wanted to go in a slightly different direction. This list isn’t running a lot of landmarks naturally but rather relies on Time Bombs from Zilean, Roiling Sands from Rock Hopper and Unraveled Earth, Blue Sentinel’s Crest of Insight, which all will help level Malphite. This deck has a strong mid-game that ideally can stall out and trade efficiently until we get Malphite online. Once he is leveled, we will be looking for the win with him, using Unstoppable Force to stun the entire enemy board, and then push our lethal damage through.
Realistically there are a lot of additional cards that could see play here. You can easily lean more into the Predict mechanic to further Zilean’s usefulness. This would maybe take away from some of the powerful mid-game flexibility but give you a more consistent curve to hit. On the other hand, you could easily double down on landmarks and add a lot more to the deck. There are a ton of Advance Countdown effects and units you could add as well, along with some other landmark spell support like
Ground Slam – 3.5
Ground Slam is absolutely incredible and the fact that it is Malphite’s champion spell makes him even better as well.
A 4 mana fast-speed stun and deal 3 is extremely versatile on both offense and defense. You can use this to stun a large attacker, or even stun a defender to get more Overwhelm damage through.
You have to previously summon a landmark for this to deal damage, but this is pretty easy to manage, even in decks that are not focused on doing so. The best part about this card is that it is in Targon. Targon does not have any fast-speed removal spell, and this is huge for the region overall.
Stonebreaker – 2.0
A 6-mana 6/4 without any keywords doesn’t seem all that great, but the skill on Stonebreaker really does make it an interesting option.
In general, Targon has very few removal options, so any removal in the region is worth taking seriously. Adding 2 damage to the Nexus is just a bonus.
This is getting a 2.0 because of the 4 landmark requirement, which obviously locks this to the very specific synergy of a high-density landmark deck.
Spiral Stairs – 1.5
To me, this is the worst card in the batch, but it still might see play with Malphite possibly as a 2x. Targon has multiple ways to access Overwhelm, and those others are a lot better than this one.
This does however play well into the landmark synergy and S
If you are running Advance mechanics or can get this down right on Turn 3, then you might be able to get access to Seed quickly. But this card becomes a completely dead draw later in the game. Seed of Strength also being fleeting requires you to time this all perfectly and it is slow speed. There are just too many downsides here.
Rockfall Path – 2.5
This is actually quite an interesting landmark. Yes, a lot of times you won’t be able to target the exact unit you want to with this, but this can also force your opponent to play differently in order to avoid bad outcomes from this.
There is also a very interesting synergy with some Advance cards so you can actually control when this will trigger. It could be quite powerful.
Earth Elemental – 2.0
I have to give this a 2.0 because of the specific requirement to have played 4+ landmarks, which limits this card’s range.
That being said, this is actually a pretty solid unit. A 3/5 4-drop is something we don’t see all the time in Legends of Runeterra, and this one has an upside of eventually getting a +3 attack, and naturally having the Overwhelm keyword.
The cool thing about this card is that even if it is already on board, once you play those 4+ landmarks, you get the attack boost. This card will be very solid in the exact role it is meant to fulfill.
Blue Sentinel – 3.5
I love that they are adding a jungle creature we all know and love from League of Legends. ‘Blue buff’ is an important part of League, and now I believe it is a very important part of Runeterra.
A 2 drop 2/3 is a solid unit, but the Last Breath is where things get very interesting. Firstly, Crest of Insight gives you a free 2-mana landmark to work towards Malphite, but outside of that a lot of decks will want it.
Targon actually doesn’t have a lot of 2 drops that can just fit in any deck, besides the Mountain Goat. The rest of the 2-drops require some synergy, while Blue Sentinel just offers a lot of value. Targon typically always has something to spend mana on, whether it be Gems, cheap units, or Celestials. Blue Sentinel will for sure be seeing play.
Chip – 5.0*
*Realistically Chip is a 3.0, but anything less than a 5 here and I would have the community in an uproar.
Chip followed by Rock Hopper is going to a very strong 1-2 punch in Targon Shurima, and Chip should find himself being useful in most decks that are running any early-ish landmarks.
Having your 1-drop turn into a 3/3 early will really help you trade efficiently and slow down your opponent’s game plan. This could end up being key for landmark decks that start off a bit slow. Stopping some early pressure will allow you to build up to your win condition, and Chip should do this just fine.
Overall I am really looking forward to seeing if Malphite can finally push Landmarks to be competitively viable after so many other cards have failed to do so.
What do you think? Is Malphite the card landmark players have been waiting for?