Poppy Zed Deck Primer
Good evening card gamers. IzzetTinkerer has returned with something that I have been climbing with. Now some may look at a list like this and think it’s simply a worse or more hipster version of Rally Elusives. Why not play Lulu and stay low to the majority of versions? To that, I say it’s important to retool and tweak decks. To tinker with decks, and I’m not the only one! This archetype on paper has a lower play rate overall but has a much stronger win rate at Masters, Diamond, and Platinum Rank compared to the classic Elusives counterpart.
The combination of Poppy and Zed is something I put together at the start of the season. Poppy has largely gone on to dominate the metagame, and this style of deck has been one of the many ways she has seen high-level play. Even with that, this version is something I really recommend to players starting in Legends of Runeterra, and those who want an unexpected competitive edge.
Rally Elusives is an archetype that many are familiar with at this point. The reasonable curve of Units, most of whom have Elusive, all consistently put pressure on your opponent through multiple combats.
The key differences between this version and the more stock lists for Rally Elusives are the inclusion of both Zed over Lulu, and the reduction of interactive effects for Nopeify.
Lulu in the more traditional Elusive deck works to be a threat that makes another Unit already on board an additional threat. Zed is a threat on his own, despite the brittle stats. Against decks that feature Improbulator, or multiple pings, the archetype suffers. Having Zed on 3, with multiple ways to protect him – such as deck staples Sharpsight, Ranger’s Resolve, and Twin Disciplines, can ensure a respectable hit if we have the attack on Odds.
The expected suite of protective spells in this deck is standard for Rally Elusive except for the Nopeify. Nope is an incredibly well-positioned toolbox card in the current meta. It answers the Relentless Pursuit in the mirror, as well as the Mystic Shot and Get Excited from Draven/Sion. It’s for this reason, we’ve actually gone down to only two copies of Relentless Pursuit ourselves.
The need for more interaction changes our play patterns. I suggest banking spell mana on two, attacking with one of the nine one-drops immediately. This way, developing Zed on 3 or Poppy on 4 likely leaves you with the spell mana up to protect them, as they do generally draw a lot of hate.
In mulligans, you almost always keep your Champions in your opening hand. The curve in this deck is so low, that finding a one and two mana unit is not particularly difficult. It’s encouraged to keep a hand that has at least one spell, to ensure you can keep your board state safe against interaction.
Poppy/Zed is a great tempo game for players who enjoy applying consistent pressure whilst keeping a reliable trick up their sleeve. The satisfying curve of Units with the numerous interactive options helps you to keep that curve on the board, as well as the extra attacks to consistently turn the pressure up.
It’s true, the Demacia/Bandle version of Lulu/Poppy has an immense 2.46% play rate compared to Poppy/Zed’s 1.75%, but the win rate on Zed/Poppy is 54.3% – significantly higher than traditional Elusives at 52.4%. It’s an amazing surprise to most players to see this champion combination, even though it reads as an obvious pair to me. Anything to get another edge over an unsuspecting opponent.
This deck is incredibly friendly to new players. It teaches newer players the importance of Fast and Burst speed spells and rewards them for building an aggressive board while keeping their interaction available. For the new player, this deck is also relatively easy to build. It has no Epics but does have staple Commons like Twin Disciplines and Sharpsight, and meta-defining Champions like Zed and Poppy – this could be the new starter’s road to Runeterra.