Patch 4.1 Masters Climbing Guide: Kayle Zed and Jax Ornn

Join Raphterra in this two-in-one deck guide, where he showcases two decks that he used to climb from Platinum to Rank 2 Masters: Kayle Zed and Jax Ornn.

Hey everyone, it’s Raphterra. Today, I’m deviating from my typical deck guide format and presenting a double deck guide featuring the two decks that helped me make the early climb from Platinum to Masters in Patch 4.1: Kayle Zed and Jax Ornn.

Both of these decks feature champions that received buffs in the balance patch, and it’s great to see the positive impact of those changes. In case you missed out on the patch notes, here’s a link to my analysis of the changes in Patch 4.1.

Let’s get started!

Jax Ornn Equipment Midrange

Statistics and Deck Overview

I’ll begin with Jax Ornn, the deck that I used to climb from Platinum to Diamond with an 80% win rate (20 wins, 5 losses). Jax Ornn is a midrange deck that leverages Weaponmasters to forge equipment and uses Ornn as the primary win condition in the late game.

The stat buff Ornn received in Patch 4.1 is significant because it now allows him to be consistently drawn in each game with the help of Babbling Bjerg. Additionally, the stat increases to Weaponsmith’s Apprentice and Favored Artisan address the deck’s previous issue of weak early units.

Gameplan and Deck Strategy

The gameplan for Jax Ornn follows a conventional mid-range approach and can be broken down into four phases: Mulligan, Early Game, Mid Game, and Late Game..


During the mulligan, look for early Weaponmasters (Jax, Piltovan Castaway, Wandering Shepherd) along with early Forgers (Weaponsmith’s Apprentice, Favored Artisan). Be cautious about keeping too many early Forgers if you don’t have early Weaponmasters in hand.

If you already have units to play in the early turns, consider keeping Ornn or Babbling Bjerg to secure your late game win condition.

If your hand is already strong, consider keeping tech cards or protective spells such as Troll Chant, Fish Fight, and Harsh Winds.

Early Game

In the early game (Turns 1 to 3), focus on setting up your early Forgers with your early Weaponmasters. One of the best openings is playing Weaponsmith’s Apprentice on Turn 1 followed by Jax on Turn 2.

Depending on your opponent’s deck, you may choose to skip a turn to conserve spell mana for early removal spells. For instance, Fish Fight and Entrancing Lure can be used to remove key early units such as Akshan or Aphelios. Another example is saving 5 mana for Bellows Breath to clear the board against swarm decks.

Mid Game

In the mid game (Turns 4 to 6), aim to either apply pressure or stall and prepare for Ornn‘s arrival on Turn 7.

If Ornn is not yet in hand, play Babbling Bjerg to draw him during this phase.

To prepare for Ornn, play midgame Weaponmasters such as Combat Cook, Piltovan Castaway, or Wandering Shepherd. Your weapon of choice will vary based on the situation, but Upcycled Rake is often the preferred option. This Scout weapon will be the best target for Ornn‘s play effect.

The Light of Icathia is another good weapon to duplicate with Ornn. Whichever weapon you plan to duplicate, forge it using Favored Artisan or Hearthblood Mender.

Keep in mind that during the mid game, you may need to pass and conserve mana for counter spells, particularly against combo decks with large attacks such as Illaoi or Varus Midrange. Maintaining mana for Harsh Winds may be key to victory against these decks.

Late Game

The late game begins on Turn 7 and onward. Ideally, start your Turn 7 by playing Ornn, especially if you have the attack token. An unanswered Ornn with an Upcycled Rake is likely to secure the win.

Wrought Colossus is your second win condition in the late game. By this point, you should have 2 to 4 extra equipment cards and can start applying pressure by duplicating and playing multiple copies of Wrought Colossus.

Video Guide: In-depth Gameplay Commentary

Kayle Zed Xolaani The Bloodweaver Combo

Statistics and Deck Overview

Up next is the deck that I used to climb from Diamond to Rank 2 Masters with a 75% winrate (18 wins, 6 losses): Kayle Zed Xolaani. This is an aggressive combo deck that swarms with cheap units and uses Ionia‘s board buffs to enhance the stats of Kayle and Xolaani the Bloodweaver.

Gameplan and Deck Strategy

Kayle Zed can be challenging to play, so I will break down the deck’s game plan and strategy into three phases: the mulligan, the setup phase, and the finishing phase.

The mulligan and the setup phase overlap because you need to know what you are doing in the setup phase to make informed decisions about what to mulligan for.

The Mulligan

For the mulligan, you want to look for a combination of standalone units and combo enablers.

The standalone units in the deck are Zed, Solari Soldier, and Sparring Student. You should always keep these in your starting hand.

Combo enablers are cards that buff other units. These cards don’t offer much by themselves, so you only want to keep them if you already have Zed, Solari Soldier, or Sparring Student.

When deciding which combo enablers to keep, you should consider (1) which standalone units you already have and (2) whether you have the attack token on even or odd turns.

Inspiring Mentor and Gift Giver are good to keep when you have Zed.

Navori Highwayman is good to keep if you have Sparring Student.

The Darkin Lodestone is great with Solari Soldier or other 1-cost units, especially if you have Zed too.

Keeper of Masks and Navori Longtail are great if you have other combo pieces that allow you to play wide, such as Navori Highwayman and Grandfather Fae.

If you already have good early-game units, you can also keep Kayle for the mid-game or protection spells like Twin Disciplines or Memory’s Cloak.

The Setup Phase

The objective of the setup phase (Turns 1 to 4) is to have buffed units on turns where you have the attack token. Your goal is to deal as much Nexus damage as possible and progress the level-up requirement for Kayle and Xolaani the Bloodweaver.

Remember to consider your attack token when planning your mulligan.

For example, if you have the attack token on odd turns, a solid opening would be Solari Soldier on Turn 1, followed by Inspiring Mentor on Turn 2, and Zed attacking on Turn 3.

If you have the attack token on even turns, a good start would be Sparring Student on Turn 1, attacking with Navori Highwayman on Turn 2, and another attack with Navori Longtail on Turn 4.

If you have Kayle in hand, you should aim to have a wide board ready for her summon on Turn 5. You may also want to have 3 spell mana saved for protection spells like Memory’s Cloak.

The Finishing Phase

The finishing phase starts from Turn 5 and onwards, when you can start playing your win conditions. Playing Kayle on Turn 5 is ideal if you have the attack token on odd turns. If you are facing decks with strong removal spells, you may want to wait to play your win conditions until you have enough mana to protect them with Memory’s Cloak.

Xolaani the Bloodweaver is the deck’s secondary win condition. If the game doesn’t go as planned, Xolaani can still provide a surprising win. For more challenging games where winning with Kayle is difficult, you may want to adjust your strategy to focus on improving Xolaani’s stats. Using combo pieces for defense, even if it results in their death, can advance Xolaani’s progress. A single unit transforming with Xolaani the Bloodweaver‘s 16 attack power can be enough to secure a victory.

Video Guide: In-depth Gameplay Commentary

Closing Words

That concludes it for now! I hope you have fun playing with the Kayle Zed and Jax Ornn and I wish you success in your ranked games. In the coming days, I’ll be working on climbing the ranks from Platinum to Masters on my other accounts, so stay tuned for more guides!

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on YouTubeDiscord, or Twitter!

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