Prankster Burn Guide: Revisiting One of the Best Budget Decks in LoR

Phantom Prankster decks have always been around, hiding in the shadows and sneaking wins through annoying ticks to opponents’ Nexuses.

When Rising Tides dropped, the Neverglade Collector was added as another tool with a similar mechanic, and these decks once again came back – lots of bodies on the board, slowly burning away the opponent. Still, they lacked a level of consistency that other burn decks had.

But now, with Call of the Mountain out, Shadow Isles received 2 more key cards to boost the consistency of the Prankster Burn deck. Doombeast and Stalking Shadows add so much – both in terms of value and additional burn – to make this deck stronger than ever before.

It has become an extremely consistent burn archetype that is doing very well into the current meta, even despite a lot of healing being run everywhere. An extra bonus is that this deck is an amazingly cheap budget deck. There are zero epics in the list below, and 2 copies of Elise are provided for free to every account at the start. So, join me in this article as I breakdown the game plan, core cards, flex cards, tech options, mulligans, and match-ups of the new Prankster Burn.

Game Plan

Burn decks are pretty straight forward in general. You are attempting to get your opponent’s Nexus down to zero as quickly as possible. Every single damage you get through is extremely important, and since we have a lot of pings for 1 damage, they all add up very quickly.

Unlike some other burn decks, this one isn’t about having a super-strong board state. Any damage you deal early is great – normally it comes from Boomcrew and Elise pushing through. But soon after that, you turn into a sort of a combo deck. You want to sandbag cards like Haunted Relic and Used Cask Salesman until you have Neverglade Collector or Phantom Prankster. To maximize your burn efficiency, these cards should almost never be played before you have one of those units out.

Normally after setting this all up, you can get the enemy Nexus very low. Use your card draw to keep the burn pressure going and then try to finish off with some direct damage spells!

Core Cards

3x Elise: She offers a lot of pressure early game. She has Fearsome, so unless you run into someone running a 3-power 2-drop (not a ton of these going around right now), she can normally get her attack through on turn 2 or as an open attack on turn 3. On top of dealing damage, she also will summon an additional body which can become very important once you get the Prankster on board. You aren’t really trying to level Elise in this deck, and it rarely happens. No other champion fits super well in this deck as you want to keep your follower count high for Stalking Shadows.

3x Boomcrew Rookie: Even in his post-nerf state at 3 health, this guy still puts out damage. Like I stated for Elise, not a lot of people are running 3-power 2-drops, so you can normally get an attack in where Boomcrew will survive. This means he is threatening 2 more damage on your next attack turn, unless removal is used. This extra damage adds up quickly, and drawing Boomcrew with Stalking Shadows is really solid as well. That’s 4 mana for both Boomcrews and you’ll deal 4 Nexus damage – plus if they die you normally get some extra pings as well.

3x Doombeast: It is no secret Doombeast has become one of my favorite cards from Call of the Mountain. He has given Shadow Isles more reach, while also adding some sustain since he has Drain. 2 more Nexus damage is huge, and really starts to put the burn potential of this deck over the top. 

3x Phantom Prankster, 3x Neverglade Collector:  I am grouping these two cards together because they serve the same purpose, and are truly the core of the deck. They provide a flurry of pings as your units die, giving extra value to your cheap units. If you get two of these on the board, and manage to keep them alive, a ton of damage will be done.

3x Used Cask Salesman: This card has the most damage output, as long as you have the board space. Each cask will die at the end of the round, dealing 1 damage to each Nexus, then additional 1 damage for each Prankster/Collector you have – and you can pull this off both on offense or defense! This flexibility lets you win on both turns, keeping your opponent on toes during every phase of the game.

3x Haunted Relic: It represents 3 cheap bodies for 2 mana, that can be summoned using spell mana to serve either on offense or defense. You should only cast this when you have a Prankster or Collector on the board, just like you would play the Used Cask Salesman in similar situations. However, attacking after casting Haunted Relic is preferred. If they get through unblocked, they deal one damage to the nexus and then die, triggering the Prankster/Collector. This forces your opponent to block or take additional damage. Attacking with the Unleashed Spirit’s also allows you to clear your board space so you can even end the turn by playing something like a Used Cask Salesman for even more end of turn burn damage. 

3x Mystic Shot, 3x Get Excited!: These are pretty straight forward spells, but still very much needed. Finishing off your opponents at fast speed is important to get around some of the slow healing spells or Lifesteal units. These should be saved for Nexus damage 90% of the time.

3x Stalking Shadows: The card draw Stalking Shadows gives is just insane. It does require you to build a deck a little bit heavy on followers, but it ends up being very worth it. All of our units are really cheap so getting 2 copies of anything is always fine. On top of this, most of these units have either a useful Play effect or Last Breath you can take advantage of.

Flex Cards

3x Warden’s Prey, 3x Hapless Aristocrat: The 1 drops are not super-important, but I have found these 2 work the best. Warden’s Prey gives you additional cards in hand to get some value out of. Many of those generated units fit really well into the theme of the deck. Hapless Aristocrat gives you two bodies for the price of 1, and can even synergize if Elise gets going, even though that normally isn’t the case. Regardless, hitting your 1 drop does help push some early damage through. 

3x Glimpse Beyond: Additional card draw is crucial for a deck with such a low mana curve. There are a few other card draw options you can put here, but I don’t like any more than Glimpse. The ability to get around Lifesteal, Drain, or even Lee Sin’s ability Dragon’s Rage is a huge bonus of this card.

1x Vile Feast: We essentially have one free spell slot in the deck, so you can really put anything here. Why Vile Feast – well, one extra damage to an early unit can help you set up your board decently and you also get a body out of this spell for more burn potential later. 

Tech Options

Unspeakable Horror: This is a really solid option to generate additional value, and can even target your opponent’s Nexus. Cards you get from this can be very useful – there are only a few that just won’t do much or cost too much. 

Zaunite Urchin: A 1-drop that can cycle your hand through dead cards can be of great use. However, sometimes it feels weird to ditch some cards that you really want – only in the hope to not miss on your curve. Ultimately, this was exactly the reason I cut the card.

Blighted Caretaker: This card has huge potential to get a ton of Nexus damage through, especially when you have a Prankster or Collector on board. Board space is the main problem here however, and it is why I don’t favor Blighted Caretaker

Brood Awakening: If you want to play into the Elise package a little more, all the while spawning 3 bodies on the board for burn synergies, this is an option. I think it is over-costed however since we can get 3 bodies for 2 or 3 mana with Haunted Relic or Used Cask Salesman

Mulligans and Match-Ups

Mulliganning with this deck is actually quite easy. Essentially, you are looking for either Elise or Boomcrew Rookie. Keeping 1-drops is always a solid choice – to get ahead on board for the first few turns. Typically you don’t keep combo pieces (Neverglade Collector, Phantom Prankster, Haunted Relic, Used Cask Salesman), since you have enough of them to find later, and you don’t want a clogged hand early. I also tend to keep Stalking Shadows, because the value is just crazy. Everything else – just toss back into the deck!

FreljordTargon Trundle/ASol

This deck can be frustrating to play against, as it has a lot of healing and some powerful board sweepers. They don’t have a good early board presence, so getting some early damage in is important. Open attacking is also important to avoid sweepers. Even with all the healing, if you play around it correctly this usually is a favorable match-up. 

BligewaterNoxus Pirate Aggro

This match-up is also favorable in my opinion. You can normally out-burn the typical Gangplank/Miss Fortune deck and have plenty of chump blockers to get in the way of their damage. On top of that, we have some ability to sustain our Nexus through Drain while pushing for our own win condition.

BligewaterDemacia Demacia Scouts

This is yet another pretty favorable matchup. You can chump-block them for days, and they don’t run any healing. The Challengers and Single Combat’s can be annoying when they threaten your Pranksters and Collectors, so make sure to play around those as much as you can. Their biggest win scenario for them is attacking with a wide board buffed by Cithria, the Bold – we don’t have a lot of units that can block Fearsomes. 

BligewaterShadow IslesDeep

This matchup is pretty tough. They have a strong board presence with efficient blockers, including Thorny Toad and Deadbloom Wanderer who both heal them. On top of that, they have plenty of those Shadow Isles’ Drain spells which pull double duty up to kill your key units and/or wide boards as well. 

FreljordShadow Isles Trundle Warmother Ramp

This is very similar to Trundle/Aurelion Sol, but the healing package is different since they are running the Drain spells. It is still a slightly favorable matchup, as they don’t have a great board presence early and you can normally get plenty of damage through before finishing them with the combo burn.

TargonShadow Isles Nightfall

As I mentioned before, Fearsomes can be a problem as we don’t have many units that can chump-block them. If Nocturne levels up with a decent board, you can easily lose on the spot. Diana can also pick off your important combo pieces using Challenger. Both champions can be troublesome, but the matchup is still winnable.

IoniaTargon Lee Sin Combo

This is a close matchup and there is a lot going on. You can typically avoid the one-turn-kill by Lee Sin by using Glimpse Beyond or killing your own unit with a different spell. If they are on low health, then you can normally use the extra time you just saved to finish the burn. The rough part begins if Eye of the Dragon gets online and consistently creates Dragonlings that have Lifesteal.

BligewaterNoxus Swain/Twisted Fate

This one plays out similarly to Pirate Burn. They don’t have any healing, and we have plenty of chump blockers. TF can be a problem with Red Card for easy board-wipes, and Ravenous Flock can pick off our Pranksters/Collectors but I still think the match-up is still very close.

Conclusion

I had a blast playing this deck, which feels like a mix of aggro and combo and is just overall very fun to pilot. There are a lot of weird ways to get small amounts of damage through, and it really feels like you are just chipping away at their Nexus the entire game. In this current meta, we have a lot of good matchups, even with the healing being prevalent as it is. If we see a shift to more people running Radiant Guardian, more Challengers, or more hard removal – then it all could be bad for this deck and hurt its stance.

Feel free to drop any questions you may have here or on our Twitter, we love discussing decks and have had a blast making this one!

Shane

Shane has played strategy card games since before he could read, thanks to his older brother teaching him how to memorize what each card did. Currently, he is the Host of the Twin Sunz Podcast, a Legends of Runeterra podcast and community with offerings for players of all levels of skill.

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