Overwhelm Shurima Deck Guide & Matchups
Hello, Agigas here! I am a Master player since beta with several #4 peaks and tournament wins. I love sharing my knowledge about the game and I have been a regular writer at RuneterraCCG. I write in-depth deck guides, articles for tournament players, and curate our constantly updated Meta Tier List.
This particular guide you’re reading is part of our on-going series of guides on meta decks. You can find the other guides and a matchup table on this page.
This guide is dedicated to Overwhelm Shurima – one of the best-performing Shurima decks so far from the Empires of the Ascended expansion.
Overwhelm Aggro was a very powerful archetype in the previous seasons, played mostly in the Freljord Noxus region combination. Shurima arrived with a new very strong Overwhelm package, and the region quickly became a staple for the deck.
Overwhelm Shurima is a very straightforward archetype, looking to play big Overwhelm units to keep pushing damage through the opponent’s blockers. In the first few turns, the deck is actually not as aggressive as the classic ‘aggro’ deck would be, with only a few early units. The opening turns are mostly dedicated to setting up for your mid-game, with cards like Omen Hawk, Rock Hopper, Avarosan Trapper, and Ancient Yeti.
Your plan really does escalate in the midgame. The deck has several powerful tempo plays (ex: Avarosan Trapper’s Enraged Yeti, Ancient Yeti), strong Overwhelm units, and combat tricks to back up the goal to dominate the board. As the game continues, the deck keeps playing big Overwhelm units – Sejuani, Alpha Wildclaw, and Ruin Runner, – which are extremely hard to stop. Battle Fury is the perfect top-end for your gameplan, allowing you to push the final damage for lethal on a devastating open attack.
One of the archetype’s weaknesses often is in its lack of removals. However, Shurima and Freljord do have a mechanic to help you remove the opponent’s key units while pushing damage and establishing your board dominance: Vulnerable. Being able to pick and choose your fights is extremely valuable for a board-centric deck, and Vulnerable has some extra synergies with Overwhelm as keyword and Renekton as a champion in particular.
Sejuani and Renekton are perfect fits for the deck, as they both have the Overwhelm keyword. Sejuani brings the Vulnerable keyword with her ability and Renekton can capitalize on that. He is already a power-house on level 1, but can also level up often enough thanks to the synergy with Vulnerable your numerous combat tricks. Sejuani, however, is very unlikely to level up – but she already brings everything you need in her level 1 form.
Being a somewhat slower but very hard-to-stop aggro deck, Overwhelm Shurima tends to be extremely strong against all kinds of control decks and most midrange decks. However, it can struggle against the more explosive decks that tend to go faster.
Overwhelm is an old archetype and, unlike most decks, it isn’t really tied to a particular fixed combination of regions. The four main regions for the archetype are Freljord, Shurima, Noxus, and Targon. It means the deck has many different versions, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. In this guide, we’re covering Shurima Freljord combination, but let me mention a few other popular and successful builds featuring other region pairings.
Noxus is a very interesting region for any Overwhelm deck – it has many powerful early units and burn spells to close out. Therefore, Overwhelm decks with Noxus tend to be the most aggressive ones. This particular build really embraces the aggressive Noxus style, and even goes relatively light on Overwhelm synergies (ex: no Decisive Maneuver) to pack a huge amount of burn instead. This makes the deck better against archetypes that either have no healing or struggle against early aggressive starts (ex: Fizz TF). As a trade-off, this build loses some power in a board-based war (ex: Fiora Shen).
Freljord Noxus was the most popular and successful Overwhelm archetype before the Shurima expansion. Although Freljord Shurima overtook it in popularity, the deck is just as good as it was before in terms of win rate. Compared to the Shurima version, this one has a more aggressive early game and a great Overwhelm payoff in Decisive Maneuver. Darius is a very impressive unit and requires the opponent to have an answer. However, losing Renekton and the Vulnerable package makes it less efficient at controlling the board and picking its fights, and it has a less impressive mid-game (no Enraged Yeti, no Ruin Runner).
Targon Overwhelm brings us back to even older times – before the Freljord took over as the most popular region for the archetype. While this list is the less-played one out of these four Overwhelm decks, it doesn’t mean it falls flat in terms of power-level. The Targon early units are very impressive and make this deck more explosive and hard-to-stop early.
This archetype, however, has fewer powerful mid-to-late game units than other Overwhelm lists, with only Darius fitting that description. Therefore, it needs to already have a good board for its mid-game pay-offs (Crowd Favorite, Decisive Maneuver). All this makes for a strong aggressive deck, with powerful finishers (ex: Decisive Maneuver), but the deck can struggle more than other versions if it doesn’t create an early board advantage.
- Make the best use of your combat tricks. Your combat tricks, Troll Chant in particular, are very powerful and can swing a game by saving a big Overwhelm unit for cheap.
- Set up your Battle Fury. Battle Fury is an extremely strong finisher, especially against decks with no good answer for it (ex. of which would be: freeze, removal, silence).
- Keep track of your spell mana. You might want to play your Battle Fury on turn 6-7, but to do so you’ll need to plan ahead and bank enough mana.
- Play Battle Fury reactively. This is especially important against decks that do have answers to it. Ideally, you want to attack, threatening lethal without Battle Fury, force them to answer, and THEN cast your Battle Fury.
- Use Battle Fury on Ruin Runner. The Spellshield will make it very hard for the opponent to answer.
- Don’t be too greedy with Ancient Yeti. While it can be tempting to wait for as long as possible to get a maximum discount on Ancient Yeti, you don’t need to be greedy. Playing Ancient Yeti on turn 4 for 4 mana is already an amazing play.
General mulligan tips:
- Avarosan Trapper is a perfect unit to set you up for a great midgame, and should always be a keep.
- Ancient Yeti is a unit you want in your starting hand as well. It should always be kept – unless you’re against an extremely aggressive deck and you didn’t find any early drops yet.
- Omen Hawk, Rock Hopper, and Ruthless Raider are all great keeps when you need some early-game action – often against aggro or other racing matchups. They aren’t so great in slower matchups though.
- Exhaust and Troll Chant are premium tricks in the board-focused matchups and should be kept there if you already have a good hand.
- Renekton is a great unit and should be kept if you already have some early action.
Be aware that these are just the general guidelines to help you understand the deck’s gameplan. Mulligans are very matchup-dependant – please refer to the matchup section below for more specific advice on mulligans against different meta decks.
Click on the box to read detailed info about a matchup of choice:
Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Ancient Yeti, Ruin Runner, Preservarium; Renekton, Ruthless Raider, Battle Fury if you have a good hand.
- Their control package is extremely good against swarms of small units but struggles a lot against your big Overwhelms.
- They have a lot of board wipes, so be careful not to run into an Avalanche, Blighted Ravine, or Withering Wail.
- Both Blighted Ravine and Fading Memories go through Ruin Runner’s Spellshield without breaking it.
- They can pull off their Watcher combo as soon as they reach turn 8 – if they have all the pieces, enough board space, and a Lissandra on board. Look to remove Lissandra.
Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Ancient Yeti, Omen Hawk. Keep Renekton, Ruthless Raider, Exhaust, Troll Chant if you have a good hand.
- Thresh Nasus leverages sacrifice synergies to get a powerful early game, and level up Thresh and Nasus very quickly.
- They don’t have strong answers to your overwhelm aggression. Their numerous 1-health blockers aren’t good at blocking you, and most version don’t have a way to answer your Battlefury (note: some versions play Vengeance).
- Their best shot to upset the matchup is by racing you with their powerful sacrifice synergies. Blighted Caretaker can help them push a lot of damage, and from there they can finish you with Atrocity. Be conservative with your nexus health.
- If they play a Thresh, focus on removing him with one of your big units if you’re not closing out yet. They can level him up very quickly, which would give them a huge tempo advantage and a better shot at upsetting the matchup.
Mulligan for: Ruthless Raider, Avarosan Trapper, Ancient Yeti.
- Their control tools (
Death Lotus,Ice Shard, Avalanche) aren’t very good against your board of big Overwhelm units. Still, be careful and play around them to avoid blow-outs.
- Because you have big units, it can be hard for them to block without a combat trick – they want their units to live through combat to activate their synergies.
- Your small units tend to become out-scaled in the mid-game, and they are soft against board-wipes. Your big units are the key in this matchup.
- Battle Fury can be hard for them to answer, but be aware they can freeze your unit with Three Sisters.
- If they’ve managed to build up their synergies with The Scargrounds, it will be very hard for you to keep up. Try to limit their board, and do not give them too much time.
Mulligan for: Omen Hawk, Avarosan Trapper, Ancient Yeti, Rock Hopper, Ruthless Raider; Renekton, Battlefury if you have a good hand.
- Ezreal Draven is usually a deck that excels in board-focused matchups, leveraging its powerful tempo plays (Ravenous Flock, Tri-beam Improbulator, Arachnoid Sentry). Therefore, it can be difficult to get significantly ahead despite the powerful tempo plays of your own.
- Use the early-to-mid-game to push some Nexus damage while preventing them to go on the offensive. Neither of you has any healing, so all the damage will stick.
- Once you get to the beginning of the late-game, Battle Fury gives you a huge advantage. They don’t have any ways to deal with a big un-damaged unit during combat. Their best answers to a big unit are slow (Thermogenic Beam, Tri-beam Improbulator) or require your unit to be damaged (Ravenous Flock, Scorched Earth).
- Whenever you have a full-health Overwhelm unit on the board and a Battle Fury, you can safely attack and cast your Battle Fury to kill them.
Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Ancient Yeti; Renekton, Troll Chant, Sejuani, Battle Fury if you have a good hand.
- The mirrors tend to go long, as you can match each other’s big units to not take too much Overwhelm damage.
- Sejuani is very valuable – she is an Overwhelm threat that also acts as a removal.
- Battle Fury is often the best way to push a lot of damage through the opponent’s board. If neither player sets up a great Battle Fury, this matchup usually plays out as a long board-centric grind.
- Neither of you has healing, so early damage matters a lot – especially for a potential Battle Fury turn. Be conservative with your Nexus health.
- Play around Troll Chant and Shaped Stone whenever possible.
Mulligan for: Omen Hawk, Rock Hopper, Ruthless Raider, Avarosan Trapper, Ancient Yeti, Exhaust. Keep Troll Chant or Renekton if you have good early units.
- Nightfall Aggro is a deck leveraging Nightfall effects to gain tempo and create pressure. They are also able to play more grindy games thanks to their value, but they don’t have great ways to stop Overwhelm units so it often won’t come to this – tis matchup tends to go pretty fast.
- Their numerous 1-drops can make the matchup very difficult when they get an explosive start. You want to make the best curve out you can and play multiple units over a turn whenever you can, to protect your nexus. If you take too much nexus damage early, it will be hard to kill them before they can finish you with burn and elusive units.
- They have no removal or silence (note: some version play Moonlight affliction), so if you manage to slow down the game they can’t do much against a big Overwhelm unit attacking them. Try to get to your lethal as fast as possible while protecting your nexus so they don’t have time to finish you.
Mulligan for: Omen Hawk, Rock Hopper, Ruthless Raider, Avarosan Trapper, Ancient Yeti; Renekton, Exhaust if you have a good hand.
- In this matchup, their deck has all the answers they need to beat you. Zoe, Mountain Goat, and Sparklefly help them stabilize the early game, Lee Sin allows them to take over in the mid-to-late game, and Hush prevents you from sneaking a Battle Fury lethal in.
- However, they don’t always draw every answer, in the right order. Hence, you need to keep testing them. Your early units will punish a weak early draw from them, and your better-sized units will be great against a draw that has a hard time stabilizing in the mid-game, while Battle Fury will punish them very hard if they don’t have a Hush.
- Be on alert when they hit your Nexus with Zoe, they get access to powerful Celestial cars like Crescent Strike, Equinox, and The Serpent. Be especially careful about Crescent Strike.
- Zoe is a priority target, give her the Vulnerable keyword to remove her.
- You can use Troll Chant to prevent Zoe’s Nexus strike.
- Sparklefly is also an important unit to remove. They can grow it with their various buffs, making it a lot harder for you to close out.
- Their Deny and
Nopeifyare dead draws – you don’t have any fast or slow speed spells.
Mulligan for: Omen Hawk, Avarosan Trapper, Ruthless Raider, Ancient Yeti, Ruthless Raider; Troll Chant, Exhaust, Renekton if you have a good hand.
- Scouts tends to struggle against decks going a little bit bigger than it, which is your strength exactly.
- They are faster than you, so it can be hard to survive if they curved out and you didn’t. Look to trade units and don’t let their board get out of control. Be aware they can rally with Relentless Pursuit.
- It can be hard to deal with Miss Fortune. Your only way – if they don’t put her in combat themselves – is to pick her off through the Vulnerable keyword. They can protect her from combat with barriers (Riposte, Brightsteel Protector),
Sharpight, or Ranger’s Resolve.
- If you want to remove Miss Fortune with Exhaust, do it with an open-attack so they don’t get the opportunity to protect her for the turn with a Brightsteel Protector.
- Their deck is focused on its own gameplan – they are strong and hard to race, but they also don’t have good answers to your plays. Their only reactive plays are combat tricks.
Mulligan for: Omen Hawk, Rock Hopper, Ruthless Raider, Avarosan Trapper, Exhaust; Renekton, Ancient Yeti if you have a good hand.
- They are a very aggressive deck, looking to curve out strong aggro units into a high amount of burn to finish you.
- You don’t have any healing or a way to prevent burn damage. Therefore, you need to be extremely conservative with your Nexus health – every point could matter.
- You need to get a proper curve out, so you can match them on the board and stay healthy enough to survive their burn.
- Try to prevent them from spreading their Nexus damage between different turns – it will slow down their Gangplank‘s level-up.
- They don’t have good answers to your big Overwhelm units, so if you survive you should be able to kill them pretty easily.
Mulligan for: Avarosan Trapper, Ancient Yeti, Rock Hopper; Troll Chant, Sejuani if you have a good hand.
- Their freezes (Brittle Steel, Three Sisters, Flash Freeze, Harsh Winds), Troll Chant, and high-attack units make them dominant in board-focused matchups.
- Your own Troll Chants are especially good to help you keep up.
- Trading units is to your advantage. They have more payoffs for having units than you do (Freezes, Trifarian Assessor), and if you can limit their board it will limit their synergies.
- Ashe is a key unit you must try to remove – the free freeze each turn and the threat of the level-up are very hard to beat.
- If you’ve managed to prevent them from snowballing their board, your powerful Overwhelm units (ex: Sejuani, Alpha Wildclaw) will let you take over in the mid-game.
Mulligan for: Omen Hawk, Rock Hopper, Ruthless Raider, Avarosan Trapper, Exhaust, Troll Chant.
- This is a very fast-paced matchup – neither of you has strong defensive tools against the opponent’s strategy. Your early game can be pretty slow, and their units aren’t suited to block Overwhelm. However, they have the advantage because they set up their plan a lot faster.
- Your best way to upset the matchup is to get a very nice curve-out to protect your nexus health. Omen Hawk into a 2-drop unit suddenly makes the matchup a lot closer.
- They have a lot of burn damage (Decimate, Doombeast, Imperial Demolitionist, Noxian Fervor, Unspeakable Horror, Stalking Shadow to duplicate burn units), and you have no way to counters them. Be extremely conservative with your nexus health.
- If you manage to stabilize and not get in their burn reach – or not give them enough time, there isn’t much they can do. Their best removal is Noxian Fervor, and they have no way to prevent your Overwhelm units from damaging them.
Mulligan for: Omen Hawk, Avarosan Trapper, Rock Hopper, Ruthless Raider, Exhaust; Renekton, Ancient Yeti if you have a good hand.
- Their deck is very explosive and it will be hard for you to get through the early turns – you have no healing, can’t go wide early, and have no board-wipes to counter their flood of units.
- Look to trade units as much as possible. As long as you wouldn’t let them assemble a wide board it will make their synergies weaker (Arena Battlecaster, Vision, Crowd Favorite).
- Because you want to force trades, you should avoid to open-attack in most situations. Develop, then attack, to represent more damage and force more trades. It can also prevent them from playing a key unit because of Exhaust.
- A nice curve-out is your best way to get through the early turns. Exhaust is a great way to limit their board, but can also be used later to remove Jinx.
- If you do manage to survive until the mid-to-late game, they don’t have a good counter to your powerful Overwhelm gameplan.
With the addition of Shurima, the Overwhelm archetype has gained another powerful region to turn to. The Shurima Freljord version quickly became very popular, and while it can struggle against more explosive decks, its ability to punish slower ones makes up for it.
I’d like to give a special shout-out to Rickorex, the “#1 Overwhelm abuser” and the creator of the decklist presented, for taking his time to give me feedback on the guide.
If you have a question, want to share feedback, or discuss this guide, I’ll be happy to answer you in the comments below and in this dedicated Reddit post! 😉
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