Off-Meta Decks For Ranked: Spooky Dragons, Tribeams, and Chireans
Hello! My name is Raphterra. I’m a Youtube content creator, a consistent Master Rank Player, and a two-time top cut finisher in Riot’s Seasonal Tournaments. My Youtube channel focuses mainly on videos where I take decks (meta, homebrew, meme) to the highest rank I can.
In each article in the ‘Off-Meta Decks For Ranked’ series, I will cover three fun, strong, and viable off-meta decks that you can actually climb the ladder with. For each deck, I will provide the following: strength assessment (up to what rank can you take the deck to), quick matchups overview, how the deck wins, how the deck loses. I have personally played all these decks; video gameplay will also be provided if you want to see the decks in action!
Here is the first article of the series if you missed it. Expect more in the coming weeks!
- Gameplay Video: Click here
- Good Against: Nasus Thresh, Azir Irelia, Aggro
- Bad Against: Lissanda Thralls, Shurima Overwhelm
Thresh Aurelion Sol Control, also known as ‘Spooky Asol’, was one of the early builds for Aurelion Sol back when the mighty space dragon was released in Legends of Runeterra. Though it did not really become a high-tier deck back then, XxWhatAmIxX’s latest build is proving to be a solid counter deck against the top-tier decks in the meta. This is the strongest among the decks that I will feature in this article; after playing this deck both in Masters and Diamond elo, my assessment of the deck is that it is strong enough to climb to Master rank in the current meta.
Spooky Asol is a control Invoke deck that wins by surviving the early-to-mid-game, stalling until you win with a levelled up Aurelion Sol in the late game. Having Thresh as a second champion allows the deck to cheat out Aurelion Sol from the deck, effectively spending 0 mana to summon a 10-mana win condition. This is particularly very easy to do against two of the top decks in the meta: Irelia Azir and Nasus Thresh.
Azir Irelia’s constant attacks with Blades and Sand Soldiers makes it very easy for Thresh to level up if you are able to put him down by turn 5. The deck is running Withering Wail and The Box, enabling you to stall the game since most Azir Irelia lists are not running Deny. This is also true in the Nasus Thresh matchup; they aim to get as many Slays as possible to level up their Thresh and Nasus, which means that our Thresh also benefits from this. Hush is another card that the deck runs from the Targon region, which can be used to easily kill Nasus and Sparring Student.
The Invoke package from Targon (Spacey Sketcher, Solari Priestess, Starshaping) gives the deck flexibility and a lot of options against different matchups. Outside of Nasus Thresh and Azir Irelia, Spooky Asol also is favored against aggressive matchups since we are running heal cards from Targon and Shadow Isles. The deck is unfavored against pressure midrange decks that have big units that are hard to remove: Shurima Overwhelm, Lissandra Thralls, Ashe Noxus.
- Against aggro decks, look for early units and cards that will allow you to survive the early game: Spacey Sketcher, Mountain Goat, Solari Sunhawk, Vile Feast. You can keep Withering Wail specifically against decks that run low hp units e.g. Azir Irelia, Thresh Nasus, Discard Aggro. Thresh is a must keep against Azir Irelia and Thresh Nasus since cheating out Aurelion Sol is your win condition in those matchups. You also want to keep Hush against any Nasus deck. Against control decks, you want to keep Thresh and your invoke cards (Solari Priestess and Starshaping).
- You are a control deck, pressing the pass button is the best move for you most of the time. The longer the game goes on, the nearer you are to your Aurelion Sol win condition.
- If you can afford to, try to avoid taking trades until Thresh is on board in order to progress Thresh’s level-up condition. This is especially true against Azir Irelia and Nasus Thresh. Although it might be tempting to take an early Withering Wail against Azir Irelia, more often than not it is correct to be patient and hold it until you have Thresh on board.
- Invokes are probably the most skill-intensive part of the deck. The correct invoke depends a lot on the matchup and the board state, but here are some general tips that I can provide: (1) Equinox is useful against Watcher and Inspiring Marshal. Having 1 copy of Equinox will give you insurance against these cards. (2) Falling Comet is a card that you should be actively looking for against decks that have key units that need to be removed immediately: Nautilus, Ashe, The Leviathan, Swain. (3) Written in Stars can be used when you have no champions in hand. Both Thresh and Aurelion Sol benefit from the cost-reduction and stats buff. (4) Moonsilver can lead to clutch plays if you can bait your opponent into thinking you have no mana for certain scare cards like The Ruination and Vengeance. You can also use it to summon Aurelion Sol earlier.
- Gameplay Video: Click here
- Good Against: Nasus Thresh, Ashe Noxus
- Bad Against: Azir Irelia, Asol Demacia
Aphelios Chirean Sumpworkers was a deck initially suggested to me by Gramy, one of my viewers on Youtube. While this may be the weakest among the three decks that I will showcase in this article, it is still strong enough to take you to at least Platinum if you play it the right way. If you are looking for a fun, skill-intensive Aphelios deck, this is the deck for you!
This is a combo burn deck that aims to summon Sumpworks Posse by using Crescendum to pull Chirean Sumpworker from the deck. This might be the most consistent archetype in terms of summoning Sumpworks Posses since Aphelios, Iterative Improvement, and Gifts from Beyond are effective tools for the task. To add more to the fun, Aphelios’ 3-cost Moon Weapons and other 3-cost cards in the deck allow us to run Tri-beam Improbulator. Zoe is mostly used as an Invoke engine and removal bait, although in some situations she can win you the game if she is allowed to level up.
The region combination of Targon and Piltover & Zaun usually results in decks that have efficient removal, reliable health gain, and insane flexibility. Aphelios in particular provides removal, stuns, and heals, in addition to summoning your win condition from the deck. This deck runs Mystic Shot and Thermogenic Beam to deal with early aggression. Depending on the meta, you can also opt to run Get Excited! and Statikk Shock. Similar to Spooky Asol, the Invoke package allows the deck to adapt depending on the matchup and the board state. In the worst of scenarios, Starshaping can heal your Nexus and provide a late-game win condition.
The deck does well against decks like Ashe Noxus and Nasus Thresh that have no healing and have no efficient answer for an early Sumpworks Posse. Hush also helps a lot in the Nasus Thresh matchup in particular, but would still require a lot of skill and correct decision-making in order to win the matchup consistently. The deck struggles against super-fast aggro decks like Azir Irelia and Discard Aggro, or decks that can easily answer Sumpworks Posse like Asol Demacia or Ezreal Draven.
- Zoe, Aphelios, Lunari Duskbringer are always good to keep in the opening hand. You can keep Chirean Sumpworker if you already have a good hand, but it is also safe to mulligan it away since you can summon it from the deck anyway. Iterative Improvement can be kept if you have Chirean Sumpworker. Tri-beam Improbulator is kept against control decks or if you have Aphelios already. Against aggro decks, Thermogenic Beam and Mystic Shot provide early removal. Against control decks, invoke cards (Solari Priestess, Starshaping) are good to keep.
- This is a combo burn deck. Take every opportunity to inflict free chip damage in the early game. Even small hits to the Nexus with Lunari Duskbringer and Zoe will matter in winning games.
- Your main Nightfall activators for Aphelios will be Zoe, Lunari Duskbringer, and Gifts from Beyond. Do not use the Gifts from Beyond until turn 3 so that you can use it as a Nightfall activator.
- Do not be too focused on using Crescendum with Aphelios or Gifts from Beyond. Assess the situation first if it will be better to use Calibrum to remove a unit, or Gravitum to stop a huge attack.
- If you have Chirean Sumpworkers and Iterative Improvement in the opening hand, bank enough mana to summon the Sumpworks Posse on turn 3.
- For tips on using Invokes, refer to the last tip for Spooky Asol deck.
- Gameplay Video: Click here
- Good Against: Azir Irelia, Burn/Aggro Decks
- Bad Against: Asol Demacia, Cithria Matron
We have another Chirean Sumpworkers deck! This is a modification to the classic Kalista Elise Mistwraiths deck which was a strong meta deck prior to the nerf to Pale Cascade. The list featured in this article was shared by The Twin Sunz Podcast on Twitter. This is a powerful “anti-aggro” aggro deck that you can use to climb to at least Diamond, due to its favorable matchups in the fast meta right now.
This is a flexible burn/swarm aggro deck that mainly utilizes Fearsome units from Shadow Isles to bypass low-power blockers and deal direct damage to the enemy Nexus. The deck also utilizes Fading Memories, Iterative Improvement, and Stalking Shadows to clone units with powerful effects when duplicated: Stygian Onlooker, Chirean Sumpworker, Mistwraith, Doombeast, and Wraithcaller. Such a wide range of good units for cloning gives the deck flexibility to win in different ways. Our champion cards, Kalista and Elise, are mainly used as Fearsome attackers; in rare situations, if you are able to get them to Level 2, it will help a lot in winning games.
The deck is built such that the “cloning” spells will always have value and flexibility; in some situations, you may even create copies of your opponent’s units. The best unit to clone in this deck most of the time is Doombeast. Doombeast’s Torment drain effect is what makes the deck favored against other aggro decks; you’re repeatedly dealing damage to their Nexus while healing yours. You can rinse and repeat this drain effect through clone spells and through Unto Dusk. Chirean Sumpworker and Sumpworks Posse are the new additions to the deck, capable of dealing 5 damage to the Nexus every turn. Cloning Mistwraiths and Wraithcallers can also be effective in matchups where your opponent has difficulty dealing with wide boards or blockingFearsome units.
The deck is good against most aggro decks due to Doombeast’s drain. It is slightly favored against Azir Irelia because they have trouble dealing with decks that can outpace them; this deck is capable of doing that due to their lack of Fearsome blockers. The deck is unfavored against decks that have big units and healing: Asol Demacia, Cithria Matron, Jarvan Shen. These matchups are still winnable with a “god-curve” of Mistwraiths, Wraithcallers, and Risen Mists.
- You are looking for your 2-drops; Elise, Mistwraiths, and Arachnoid Horror are generally good to keep. If you already have a 2-drop, you can keep Kalista as well. If you are attacking on odds and you are up against a deck that has no 1-drops, Stygian Onlooker can also be kept. Do not be afraid to use Stygian Onlooker on the first turn if you are sure that your opponent cannot put out a blocker. You may keep Wraithcaller if you have a good curve already.
- Deciding what unit to clone depends mostly on the board state: (1) against decks that have no Fearsome blockers, you can clone Wraithcaller, Mistwraiths, or Stygian Onlookers; (2) against decks that have no way to deal with Elusives, Sumpworks Posse may be the best option; (3) if you already dealt damage in the early to midgame, Doombeast most of the time is the best unit to clone. Make sure you check if you can inflict lethal damage through Doombeasts and Unto Dusks.
- Against Freljord control decks, do not overcommit to their AOE removals. Develop only if you can afford to refill the board after their removals.
- Do not open attack against decks that have fast-speed and burst-speed answers e.g. Teemo Ezreal, Twisted Fate Fizz. You want to develop against these decks in order to force them to spend mana on developing units instead of casting spells at fast speed.
- Use Stalking Shadows at the start of your turn, so that you can have the full info on all the possible actions that you can take during that turn.
- If you take Chirean Sumpworker from Stalking Shadows, make sure that you play the ephemeral copy first so that your Sumpworks Posse will not be Ephemeral.
In the future, I intend to keep making these articles as I discover more decks!
If you have any suggestions for information that I can add to these types of articles, or if you have any questions regarding the decks, feel free to ask me in the comment section of this article or on my Youtube channel!