Along with the new spirit blossom event, the LoR devs introduced us to a new type of purchasable, which should be very useful for beginners: Deck Bundles. These are pre-built decks with a specific theme for you to play around with, if you are tired of the free starter decks and don’t mind spending money on the game.
In this case, the Relentless Raiders deck bundle is themed around Sejuani’s fearsome tribe and Gangplank’s ruthless pirate crew, who benefit from direct Nexus damage through the Plunder keyword and power up the damage of your spells or skills with Powder Kegs. This deck is an enticing offer for beginners, especially since it looks stronger and more focused than the rather chaotic starter decks. It also helps that this deck contains a lot of Bilgewater cards, something you won’t have until you start investing XP in the Bilgewater reward tree. So, is this deck worth the money? Let’s find out!
How It Plays
The primary strategy of Relentless Raiders is to use cards like Make it Rain or Warning Shot to bypass the opponent’s blockers and deal a little tick damage to the enemies Nexus. This will not only trigger the powerful Plunder abilities of your followers like Riptide Rex, but will also level up your champions, who both require you to deal any amount of damage to the enemies Nexus in 5 different rounds.
Deck Code: CEBQCAQGHIAQCAIDAIBACBQJAMDQEBQBAQFREHBAFUBAEAICAQBACAIUFIBQGAQGAIKDEAIBAEQQEAQBAUEA
Another aspect of this deck is the use of Gangplank’s signature token follower, the Powder Keg. This card will power up the damage of all your spells and skills by +1 for each stack of Powder Kegs. This is very powerful if you combine it with cards that deal 1 damage to multiple units like Make it Rain, since it essentially doubles their damage. Relentless Raiders is also somewhat top heavy and offers a wide variety of expensive finisher cards with a huge impact on the board. Especially Riptide Rex and The Tuskraider can end a game very quickly.
The first glaring issue any experienced player will notice is the combination of the Bilgewater Powder Keg package with Freljord. Traditionally, Powder Kegs are used in Bilgewater control decks, which use a lot of damaging spells either from Piltover & Zaun or the Shadow Isles.
Freljord spells on the other hand don’t really deal damage, except for Shatter and Avalanche. Avalanche has anti-synergy with this unit heavy midrange deck and doesn’t deal damage to the enemies Nexus, so it won’t help with leveling up your champions or trigger any Plunder abilities, while also destroying your own units. Relentless Raiders just doesn’t have enough good control tools, especially wide removal, in order for your Powder Kegs to have a significant impact.
Plunder units also don’t really benefit from Powder Kegs. The extra damage is nice but in order to trigger the important Plunder abilities and level up your champions you simply need to damage the Nexus by one, nothing more is required. Therefore it’s better to focus more on easy and cheap ways to trigger their ability like with Warning Shot, which this deck only has 1 copy of.
Another problem is the aforementioned top-heaviness of the deck. It has too many 5+ cost cards, which will make the early and mid game a struggle for survival.
If you are interested in this deck and want to further develop it, there are two different paths you can follow. I would recommend to either turn it into a Sejuani / Miss Fortune deck, which doubles down on the Plunder aspect of Relentless Raiders and is a very competitive deck. Or you can focus on Gangplank and his Powder Kegs, by ditching Freljord in favor of the Shadow Isles and building a full-on control deck with Thresh instead of Sejuani.
Upgrade Path #1: ‘Sejuani’s Pirates’
Upgrade Cost: 4 Champions, 1 Epic, 11 Rares, 10 Commons = 17500 Shards.
I will start off with this upgrade, because in my opinion it’s the better deck of the two upgrades and is also easier to pilot for beginners. It’s however more expensive to craft than the Powder Keg control deck.
Deck Code: CEBQUAQGAUEAWFAWDQQS2OR6AEAQCFQCAIAQEBYAAEAQEBQR
I will also include a budget version for each upgraded deck.
Budget Upgrade Cost: 10 Commons, 4 Rares = 2200 Shards.
Deck Code: CEBQMAQGAUEAWFBNHIBACAIDCYBAEAIGA4BAGAQGAEOCAAICAEBAEAICAYIQCAQBBA
The strategy is very similar to the original Relentless Raiders deck. Hit your enemies Nexus and then play cards with Plunder abilities while also upgrading your Sejuani along the way. Your main finishers are Riptide Rex and Citrus Courier, who are also Plunder cards so try to save a Warning Shot for the late game.
Besides your spells, there are a myriad of ways in this deck for applying direct damage to the enemies’ Nexus. Miss Fortune will guarantee a Nexus hit, as long as you take every opportunity to attack. Speed up her leveling progress by using Island Navigator, a Scout follower that allows you to attack 2 times in a turn. In your defensive rounds you will want to use Make it Rain, which makes you less reliant on the attack token for damaging the Nexus. If you have the attack token on the first turn, immediately play your Jagged Butcher or Omen Hawk. You need to take every opportunity to level up Sejuani, which is more important than triggering Jagged Butcher’s Plunder ability.
If you would rather try a deck with more focus on spells rather than followers, you should go the path of the Powder Keg.
Upgrade Path #2: ‘Gangplank’s Ghost Crew’
Upgrade Cost: 4 Champions, 8 Rares, 7 Commons = 15100 Shards.
This deck is much harder to pilot then the Sejuani deck, but is also very satisfying if you pull it of. This is the most common way to utilize Powder Kegs in a strong and viable deck. It also has the advantage of being rather easy to craft for beginners, assuming you bought the Relentless Raiders deck.
Deck Code: CEBAKAIFCQUCWMJUAYBAMBAICIQCELIBAMAQKAI5GYAQCAIFB4
And here is also the budget version.
Budget Upgrade Cost: 7 Commons, 5 Rares = 2200 Shards
Deck Code: CEBAGAIFFAVTCBACAYCAQERNAICQCBIBDUZDKNQDAIDBYIBCAIBACBIPCQAQEBQC
At a first glance the game plan seems pretty simple. Build up a stack of Powder Kegs with cards like Gangplank, Petty Officer or Dreadway Deckhand, then decimate your opponent with a ridiculously powered up control spell. By using spells which can easily kill multiple units with the support of Powder Kegs, you can farm unit deaths for your Thresh’s level up. Gangplank has a strong body as a 5/5 with Overwhelm, so he is a great target for leveled up Thresh or Rekindler. Another bonus is that Drain effects are also improved by Powder Kegs, so your Nexus will gain more heals from Vile Feast or Grasp of the Undying.
What makes this deck so difficult to pilot however, is that timing is very important. Any of the opponent’s units can force a Powder Keg to block it, when they attack and because it has only 1 health, it will almost certainly die. You also need to take into account that your opponent could easily remove your Powder Keg with a cheap spell like Vile Feast. So you need to develop a sense for when it’s appropriate to develop your stack of explosives and when you should skip a turn or even a entire round. In general, Powder Kegs shouldn’t be spawned unless you already have a plan in mind.
As a rule of thumb, don’t spawn Powder Kegs when your opponent could immediately destroy it before you get a chance to play a spell. Also take into account that if you try to trump the opponent’s removal with your own removal, he could play a second removal to counter you. The best moment to spawn Powder Kegs is also when your opponent is tapped out of mana and has no attack token, preventing him from immediately removing your Powder Keg.
It’s also advisable to get Thresh on the board before you do a huge swing with Make it Rain or Withering Whail. This deck doesn’t have many ways to kill your own units, so you will want to level up Thresh by destroying enemy units.
So, in the end, is it worth it to purchase this deck? If you are expecting it to be a good deck with which you can rank up quickly as is, then no. Relentless Raiders isn’t a very good deck because of the weaknesses that I mentioned earlier.
However, should you buy it if you just want to complement your collection with some powerful cards? The deck bundle costs a total of 1962 Riot coins, if you don’t already own any of the cards in the bundle. Usually buying all the cards would cost you 2180 riot coins, or 21800 shards, so you do get a noticeable discount. But the emphasis here is on acquiring good cards and not all cards in the bundle are necessarily worth it.
Therefore I added up the prices of all the non-starter cards I consider either a worthy addition to anyone’s collection. These are: Gangplank, Sejuani, Jagged Butcher, Avarosan Sentry, Dreadway Deckhand, Ruthless Raider, Yordle Grifter, Riptide Rex, Warning Shot, Parrrley, Make it Rain and Harsh Winds. All in all, their price in Riot coins adds up to 1720 or 17200 shards. As you can see, even if you are only interested in getting all the good cards, it is still makes more sense to just buy the cards individually.