Patch 4.1 Masters Climbing Guide: Rockbear Lissandra Thralls and RubinZoo’s Shyvana Fiora
Patch 4.1 is arguably the most impactful update in Legends of Runeterra, as its balance changes have allowed several underplayed champions to shine in the competitive meta. Despite having already featured many champions in my previous guides, the number of viable decks appears to increase day by day! This time, I am sharing a double deck guide on Lissandra Taliyah Thralls and RubinZoo‘s Shyvana Fiora.
In this article, I cover each deck’s strategy in the mulligan, early game, mid game, and late game. Additionally, I have included video guides for each deck if you prefer to see them in action.
In case you missed out, here are the links to my previous double deck guide articles:
- Double Deck Guide: Kayle Zed and Jax Ornn
- Double Deck Guide: Kalista Nocturne Sion and Tristana Teemo
- Double Deck Guide: Jayce Lux and Master Yi Illaoi
Let’s get started!
Shyvana Fiora by RubinZoo
Statistics and Deck Overview
Let’s begin with Steve Rubin‘s Shyvana Fiora deck, which he used to climb the ranked ladder with an impressive 84% winrate. I also played this deck in Master rank and achieved a 61% winrate in 23 games (14 wins, 9 losses). Most of my losses were due to my own misplays as I was still learning the deck.
At first glance, Shyvana Fiora may appear to be a midrange deck that focuses on winning with a large board of units in the mid game. However, it is actually a grindy, board-centric late game deck that relies on Level 2 Shyvana and Horazi to secure victory.
During the mulligan phase, look for early game units and early Equipments, such as your units costing 3 or less and The Darkin Aegis and The Darkin Lodestone. Having Fiora or Shyvana in your opening hand ensures that you have a unit to play on Turn 4. If your hand is already good, you may choose to keep utility cards such as Fish Fight and Single Combat to counter early threats like Zed and Kindred. Concerted Strike is excellent against larger threats such as Viego.
The early game is quite straightforward, you usually just want to play the early units that you draw. One of the deck’s strongest starting openers is to play Steadfast Elkin + The Darkin Lodestone or Petricite Broadwing + The Darkin Aegis. Against certain matchups, you may want to pass on Turn 2 to reserve mana for Single Combat or Fish Fight to kill an early snowball unit like Zed.
In the mid game, you want to build up your board and prepare for the late game. Keep in mind the concept of using the threat of your attack token + your Challengers. With the attack token, challenger units such as Fiora, Screeching Dragon, and Joraal will make your opponent hesitate in playing their key units. This allows you to burn their mana and make them lose a lot of board tempo if they don’t want to play any units.
Play Shyvana only if you don’t have other good options, as Level 2 Shyvana is one of your premium late game cards. It’s better to play other midrange units like Fiora and Screeching Dragon first. These units often warrant hard removals in the mid turns, creating more room for Shyvana to dominate the late game.
Be conservative with your small units, do not trade them away recklessly. These small units can grow larger in the late game with the help of Horazi. Additionally, always preserve mana to represent strike spells for mid-game champions like Gwen, Tristana, and Kayle.
In the late game, Shyvana Fiora will start dominating the board! Level 2 Shyvana exerts a lot of pressure and can take out multiple enemy threats with her Strafing Strike. Horazi will turn your small units into large threats. Equip improvised weapons on Horazi to give her more keywords to duplicate.
If you don’t have Overwhelm, the late game will be very grindy. So be patient and slowly pick off your opponent’s board across multiple turns. If you have nothing else to do with your mana, you can heal up your units by re-equipping your Equipment cards.
Video Guide: In-depth Gameplay Commentary
Lissandra Taliyah Frozen Thralls
Statistics and Deck Overview
Moving on to the next deck, we have Lissandra Taliyah Thralls! I played this deck in Master rank and ended with a 66% winrate in 32 games (21 Wins, 11 Losses). Lissandra Taliyah Thralls is a midrange combo deck that aims to win by attacking with multiple Overwhelm Frostguard Thralls.
In this deck, you always want to have your early Thrall generators: Frozen Thrall, Harbinger of Thralls, and Lissandra. If you don’t have them, you need to mulligan everything away and look for at least one.
If you have an early Thrall generator, you can keep countdown cards as your key combo pieces. These include Rockbear Shepherd, Clockwork Curator, Taliyah, Draklorn Inquisitor, Imagined Possibilities, and Time in a Bottle.
If you’re up against swarm decks, you also want to keep Avalanche and Blighted Ravine for board clear.
The Setup Phase
The setup phase for Lissandra Thralls takes place in the first five turns. You will play differently depending on the cards you have, but the end goal is always to have multiple Frozen Thralls by Turn 6. Keep this in mind when using your combo cards. The most common strategies for this deck usually revolve around its two 5-cost cards, Draklorn Inquisitor and Taliyah.
The Taliyah Hand
If you have Taliyah and an early Frozen Thrall, you want to focus all of your countdown cards on a single Thrall, then duplicate that Thrall with Taliyah on Turn 5. The ideal scenario would be to have the Frozen Thrall down to 1 by Turn 5, just in time for Taliyah to duplicate it and summon 2 Frostguard Thralls on the following turn.
When going with the Taliyah Plan, you have to make sure that you have two board spaces available for Taliyah on Turn 5. Be careful not to play too many units and clog your board space. If you need to create board space, aggressively trade away your other units or clear your board with your board wipes.
The Draklorn Inquisitor Hand
If you have Draklorn Inquisitor instead, you want to spread out your countdown cards across multiple Frozen Thralls. Ideally, they should be at countdown 4 by Turn 5 when you play Draklorn Inquisitor. If you’re up against a deck with hard removals, consider delaying playing Draklorn Inquisitor to Turn 6 where you can protect him with Rite of Negation.
Taliyah and Draklorn Inquisitor are the two key units that dictate your strategy, but Rockbear Shepherd is a new addition to the Thralls decklist.
Rockbear Shepherd significantly enhances this deck’s setup phase. It helps out a lot when you don’t have Draklorn Inquisitor or Taliyah in hand. If you have both Rockbear Shepherd and Lissandra in hand, it’s often better to play Rockbear Shepherd first before Lissandra because he also counts down the Thrall summoned by Lissandra.
It’s hard to give other specific tips on how to play Rockbear Shepherd because it will depend a lot on the board state and the current countdown of your Frozen Thralls. Just make sure to calculate your countdown ticks, and you will have some explosive turns with Rockbear Shepherd.
The Finishing Phase
Let’s move on to the finishing phase, where you can summon multiple Frozen Thralls and gear up for your attack. The key thing to remember in this phase is that it typically takes two attacks to secure a win. Therefore, you don’t need to rush in with your first attack. Instead, you can be patient and gradually wear down your opponent’s Nexus until it’s low enough for you to finish them off with your next attack. This means holding onto your buff and protection spells, such as Three Sisters and Rite of Negation, and using them strategically to ensure victory on your second big attack.
During your finishing attack, you can use Rite of Negation to counter removal spells, and Three Sisters to either buff up your Frostguard Thralls with Fury of the North or remove a blocker with Entomb. Don’t forget about the chip damage from level 2 Lissandra‘s Ice Shard, which can help you close out games.
In the turn between your first attack and your second attack, your opponent will often try to take you out before you can take them out. To protect yourself, make sure to reserve and represent mana for spells like Harsh Winds, Three Sisters, and Sands of Time. This will give you the defense you need to weather your opponent’s attacks and emerge victorious.
Video Guide: In-depth Gameplay Commentary
That’s all for now! This meta in Legends of Runeterra is one of the most diverse we’ve seen so far, with a seemingly endless variety of viable competitive decks. However, this will likely be my final deck guide for Patch 4.1. Rest assured, though, that I’ll be back with more content as soon as Patch 4.2 is released in March.
I hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on YouTube, Discord, or Twitter!