Spell based combo decks can be very difficult to evaluate properly in Legends of Runeterra. At times, they are the best decks in the game with their synergy working perfectly, both in terms of available tools and in the popular opponent they are going against.
Other times, their passive approach to the early game, like when trying to level up Nami in this deck costs them too much, and they can never stabilize against an aggressive opponent like Annie Jhin or Scouts.
Nami Twisted Fate Shadow Isles (SI) follows this logic perfectly, as the deck needed a bit of time to find its footing in the Demacia heavy metagame before patch 3.10. Since the balance changes though, the environment has slowed down, much to the benefit of this archetype, who is currently top 10 in play rate.
The deck appeals to a large amount of players, and its difficult mechanics, requiring to plan both our plays and the opponent’s ahead of time, make it much harder for Nami Twisted than for most other decks to be played perfectly. As such, The deck hasn’t broken out in terms of win rate, fluctuating between a 50% and a 52% win rate so far in the patch 3.10.
Decklist and Deck Tech
At its core, Nami Twisted is looking to avoid the combat phase as much as possible. When attacking, the deck is aiming at using the Elusive keyword in order to target the opposing nexus directly, and often times uses Nami or Fleet Admiral Shelly to set up an One Turn Kill (OTK).
When defending, the deck usually is pretty weak in the combat phase and wants to avoid having to block with elusive units as much as possible. Chump blockers are available to the deck, with Double Trouble or Coral Creatures doing a fine job in that regard, but they typically only slow down the opponent rather than solve any problematic board.
Spells like Tentacle Smash or Vile Feast, alongside Twisted Fate‘s Red or Gold cards are the preferred way to counter the opponent’s offensive plans early on. Even with cards like Vengeance or The Ruination to scale our removal into the late game, our goal isn’t accepting to be defensive through the whole game. As such, Nami Twisted Fate is a deck that uses its defensive tools in order to maximize their offensive ones later on in the game.
Once we managed to temper our opponent’s aggressive plans, it is time to actively work towards setting up our OTK. In this phase of the game, we will be looking to draw, play spells to reach 6 played during the game, and be on the lookout for a chance to play Nami or Fleet Admiral Shelly safely.
Once we manage to land one of our key cards or deal some chip damage to the opposing nexus along the way, we should be actively looking for our OTK turn and start pondering the risks and reward of going wide onto the board. Also, it is the time when we should start considering draw options as a priority if our hand doesn’t have a way to push for lethal anytime soon.
If possible, we would like to our biggest development during the opponent’s turn, as it allows us to open attack and takes all the slow spells out of the equation for the opponent. Against other board based decks with limited defensive tools, we can be more carefree in how we develop. It is unlikely they can answer our board at all, so our development phase should be much easier.
Tech Cards and Options
In a similar vein as Double Trouble, Answered Prayer allows us to play early onto the board while using our spell dedicated mana. The card is slowly pushing more early builds of Nami Twisted Fate, removing The Ruination from the deck and looking to fight the opponent on the board a bit more. I personally like this take a bit more, removing The Ruination and a copy of Vengeance for two Answered Prayer.
A card that was associated with Twisted fate for a very long time, Go Hard is a card with controversial opinions about it. On one end, some players think it is a great defensive card, and
On the other end, there is the opinion that you don’t want to add more cards to your deck, as Go Hard reduces the chances of finding your elusive units when you need them most.
Also, it is 2 spells for your synergies if you would need more of those.
Do not enter a war of attrition with your opponent
Although we are starting the game with a passive mindset, and can often find ourselves reacting to what the opponent does for the major part of the game, we are not looking to be a defensive deck. Nami Twisted Fate is only accepting this passive stance as it allows it to buy time and create a better set up for its later offensive.
As such, do not try to win a game through exhausting your opponent’s resources unless the situation specifically comes down to it. Eventually, we want to play our elusive units and go in for the kill, which should happen before any deck runs out of resources.
Constantly count the potential damage on both sides of the table
Although we are a board based deck, our win condition is very damage centered, and we are completely comfortable staying out of combat for a large part of the match.
As such, we should constantly be aware of the amount of damage we are capable of developing onto the board, and how our opponent might react to it. The bonuses of dealing damage through the board is that we can reuse the units for regular damage if the opponent heals. But it is much easier to deal with units than it is with direct damage spells, meaning our opponent has more way to disrupt our lethal set up.
Similarly, it is important to know the opponent’s damage output in order to assess how defensive we need to be and how long do we have to get our OTK ready.
Your spells are a support mechanic
Nami Twisted Tate’s list is heavily unbalanced if we look at the spell to units ratio, yet all the most significant cards are units. Whether it is the elusive units or both our champions, there really is only the Coral Creatures that we can consider as expendable, while most spells could be deserving of the adjective.
When planning your turns, always keep the units at the core of your thinking, using the spells to support them or for later synergies. In the same vein, you would much rather sacrifice some spells to defend against your opponent than an elusive unit which you might need later on to push for damage.
An OTK shouldn’t be your primary focus
Because we are using units to convey our damage, we aren’t forced to push for an OTK every single game. Against an opponent with large AoEs, or if we happened to sacrifice some units for defensive purposes, we can fall back to a plan based on attacking multiple times while stalling during our opponent’s turn.
Outside of matchups where the opponent’s defensive tools tells you what the best options are, the important part to pick one of these plans is to be very careful regarding the health resource:
- If you are behind on life points, you should commit to the board to prevent more damage coming in, meaning you will naturally pick up regular damage on the way.
- If you are naturally getting damage in, you might want to push even more and commit units that you would have otherwise kept for an OTK.
- Your opponent tapped out of mana, and you have a chance to land a huge hit, even if not lethal.
Matchups and Mulligan Guide
– Twisted Fate Annie – Favored
Mulligan for: Nami – Coral Creatures – Vile Feast – Tentacle Smash – Twisted Fate
- Early on in the game, we are looking to advance Nami’s level up while removing Annie, as her level up can be the source of a lot of damage.
- The focal point of this match up is managing to get as much as possible out of Nami before the opponent can remove her. Usually, they will have an answer, but we can fit some spells before theirs resolve.
- The opponent doesn’t play any elusive units outside of Zap, which is quite easily removed. Look to invest into your elusive to get them out of removal range quickly after you play them.
- Keep an eye out for their Twisted Fate leveling up as it could cost you the game.
– Aphelios Zoe Vi – Favored
Mulligan for: Nami – Vile Feast – Tentacle Smash – Double Trouble
- Both decks play a similar gameplan except our scaling is stronger thanks to Nami buffing our whole board. Still, the emphasis should be on removing the opposing champions before they can level up.
- Both decks are locking to gain tempo in order to develop their synergy and force the opponent onto a defensive position. It is oftentimes better to play a unit carelessly into an opposing removal than having to find removal for their units ourselves.
- While they lack elusive units to block ours, the Piltover & Zaun spells are good removal if we do not buff our most important units. Hush can also be a problematic card if you only buffed one unit.
- Aphelios is worthy of using Vengeance or picking Crumble off the Shadow Isles Tellstones. It costs a lot of mana, but it is a necessary sacrifice.
- Zoe should be removed with cheap spells if possible, be careful about Pale Cascade when going for the removal. Don’t wait too long before trying to remove so you can have another shot before she could level up if the opponent was able to protect her.
– Annie Jhin – Slightly Favored
Mulligan for: Vile Feast – Double Trouble – Coral Creatures – Fading Memories – Twisted Fate
- With nothing to answer elusive units, this match is a surefire win if we manage to stay alive. Do not be greedy at any point in the game. For example, using Fading Memories to get an extra blocker or get a stun effect is good enough for the card.
- It is key to use our spells and discount the Wiggly Burblefish as soon as possible, even if it means not leveling Nami. We can’t afford to have any dead cards in our hand.
- Twisted Fate stunning Jhin to deny an attack is already a great deal of tempo in our favor. If you have the champion in hand, look to create a good set up on turn 4 for the gold or the red card.
- Because of the many stuns our opponent plays, we would rather spread the buffs and rely on multiple unit rather than try to get a huge one. It nets better results to go wide both for offensive or defensive purposes.
– Bard Poppy Jarvan IV – Even
Mulligan for: Nami – Double Trouble – Tentacle Smash – Ruination with a good hand
- This match up is a lot about our capacity to fight the board and stay safe from a potential rally. If we can get a board clear at some point or safely play Nami and buff a couple of units, we should be able to turn things around.
- With no direct damage from our opponent, it is usually good to use our nexus as a resource. We are often fine with losing health in order to develop some units that won’t be challenged immediately.
- The opponent does not have Overwhelm on any unit, as such we should focus on limiting their amount of units as we have a lot of chum blockers in our deck. Outside of Poppy, there really isn’t one unit we are afraid to let on the board for a bit.
- Sharpsight can be a problem for our elusive units but there isn’t much we can do unfortunately except get ahead on board to force it out from our opponent’s hand.
– Azirelia – Unfavored
Mulligan for: Nami – Double Trouble – Vile Feast
- Vile Feast (and Go Hard if you play it) is perfect to try removing the Greenglade Duo and the
Sparring Partner. It slows down our opponent quite a lot and saves a ton of blockers on our side.
- The way we win this match is through surviving the constant aggression and managing to push the board in return. You should use your health as a resource, your nexus will get hit at some point anyway.
- Azir is close to impossible to remove for us and is quite a problem in the match up. You should focus on slowing down your opponent the way your deck allows you too, and turn on the aggression when possible.
- Unless you have Nami in hand, look to quickly drop your Wiggly Burblefish onto the board, getting some regular damage is key to racing in the last few turns.
– Thralls – Very Unfavored
Mulligan for: Nami – Wiggly Burblefish if you have Nami
- This match is a race that we are very often going to lose, our opponent getting to much bigger units much faster than we do. If we can’t get Nami and level her as soon as possible, there is no way we can handle the Thralls later on.
Burried in Iceis a card we cannot do much about except open attacking, which plays into Sands of Time. Most of the time, I would recommend not playing around too many cards and just going for the win based on your hand.
- The opponent is quite passive early on, not considering our units like threats. If we can get some damage in during those turns, it could make it easier to set up lethal later on.
- It is much better to invest a ton into our elusive than to massively buff a random board. Fewer units mean Sands of Time won’t be as powerful, and our non-elusive units will likely be blocked anyway, consider voluntarily getting rid of them before abusing Nami’s passive ability.
It is really hard to get a good grasp of Nami Twisted Fate in this metagame. On the one end, it might be one of the most popular decks in the Master’s rank, showing that experienced players trust the deck late in the season. On the other end, the still hasn’t stabilized at a good win rate, routinely dipping below the 50% mark and only rising to 52% at its highest.
There are decks that are so difficult to pilot that they never reach their true potential outside the guidance of the best players in the world. Nami Twisted Fate might be one of those decks, which requires weeks of practice to get good enough at the deck. Another theory would be that the archetype benefits from its reputation and is getting away with a subpar win rate.
I will let you be the judge of this and hope this guide was helpful in a way. No matter what ones think about the deck’s win rate, it is undeniable that Nami Twisted is a deck to take into account both for laddering and this Saturday, when the Open Rounds for the Seasonal tournament kick off.
Good Game Everyone,