Another batch of cards from the upcoming Legends of Runeterra expansion, Rise of the Underworlds, has dropped on June 27, and I am here today to break them down for you.
This variety assortment feels even more random than usual, which is quite fitting since we have some new Piltover and Zaun goodies to play with. So let’s jump right in and rate these cards, and please stick around until the end to see a spicy Viktor theorycraft, and also the new Elnuks deck!
Here’s our rating scale:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, potentially a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes.
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes.
- 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes.
- 2.0: Can be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks.
- 1.0: Unlikely to find its place in the meta.
Boom Baboon – 3.0
If I were rating cards based on their names alone, this would be an easy 5.0.
Realistically though, this unit is probably the strongest Runeterra card in this batch, but that’s doesn’t say a lot – there wasn’t exactly any tough competition. This Baboon has average stats – but gives you some value, synergizing with discard and the ‘created cards’ theme of Viktor.
There are a lot of solid 2-drops in Piltover and Zaun, so I am not sure this one will make it through, but at least it has the potential to find a home in a few different archetypes as a solid value card.
Glorious Evolution – 1.5
Personally, I love Viktor and have piloted a ton of his decks, and high on the ladder too, so I am a little biased. But even I have to admit, this card just seems pretty bad.
Firstly, 10 mana is VERY steep, even for a spell. Runeterra games have been shorter and shorter lately, and a 10-mana Slow spell that doesn’t immediately affect the board-state seems a pretty hard pill to swallow.
Yes, this card will let you start a snowball, as your units will grow stronger and become cheaper – but to me, this just seems like a ‘win-more’ card.
Volunteer Elnuk – 2.0
Holy cow, I can’t believe I am reviewing an Elnuk! It has been a very long time since this tribe has seen play, but they actually were once so strong the developers had to step in and nerf them.
Now, 9 expansions later, we have a new Elnuk! This card fits perfectly with the rest of the tribe that sprawls across regions of Piltover & Zaun and Freljord. Volunteer Elnuk may very well herald a revival for the deck, so prepare to have an occasional beef with Elnuks in Patch 2.11.
Shifting Sands – 1.0
Even though Shurima doesn’t have much direct removal, I am still not sure that this card will fit anywhere.
Sure, 4 damage to any unit is decent, but Slow speed – and for 6 mana – seems like a steep price. Summoning two Sand Soldiers is an ok bonus – they can be used offensively or as chump blockers, but overall this part of the text just feels like an afterthought on this card.
All of this together makes for a really odd spell that I don’t think will find play.
Treasure Seeker – 2.0
Treasure Seeker has to compete with some other very solid 1-drops in Shurima, but I still believe it could possibly find its own home.
Any card that generates another free card is just pure value, and should not be taken lightly.
However, on the other hand, Waking Sands has seen no play. Maybe the fact that with Treasure Seeker, you don’t have to put this spell into your deck, could be enough to make it somewhat viable.
The Time Has Come – 1.5
This card intrigues me. Essentially you will only play this in decks where you will meet the Predict requirement. That means for 5 mana and at Burst speed you will summon two 1-drops that are 2/2’s.
We do know Burst-speed units like Risen Mists are solid, but unlike Clocklings, Mistwraiths grow over time and have Fearsome. It is possible that there will be a deck with Bilgewater that utilizes 1-drops and builds up their power, and The Time Has Come for that deck – but most likely not.
Reaver’s Row – 2.0
There is a clear specific strategy that this card is trying to play into, but I don’t think it is efficient enough. The idea of a landmark summoning and building up your other 1-drops is actually a really cool concept. There are two main problems though.
Firstly, the buff will apply itself only to units on your board, not everywhere. Also, Fearsome that late in the game might be not that meaningful.
Secondly, it costs 5 mana! On top of that, you have to wait for 2 turns for its countdown effect. So it is at the earliest by turn 7 when you can buff your 1-drops, which is simply way too late.
One cool thing about the card is that you get a 1-drop each time it counts down, so if this is played on turn 5, you’ll get one on turn 6 and one on turn 7. I still can’t see the worth at 5 mana though.
Line ‘Em Up – 2.5
To me, this is a lot more interesting of a card for Bilgewater. At first, you look at this as a Slow-speed Mystic Shot that costs 3 mana, but actually, there’s much more to it than that.
The actual interesting part is that it allows you to summon a Powder Keg at Burst speed, which can be a really surprising play. Being able to sneak a Keg in right before an area-of-effect spell like Withering Wail or Make it Rain can add a lot of damage. And you still get a 1 mana Slow spell that can deal 1 damage to anything.
I don’t believe this will see a ton of play, but there are a few decks I could see running it.
Here is my first brew of what Frozen Ezreal with Elnuks could look like today. I am not doing full meme here, trying to fit all the synergy cards and make a million Elnuks in my deck – I am going for a sensible list that could actually have serious potential.
Elnuk tribe allows this archetype to have a strong (actually too strong) of a mid-game which should sustain the deck long enough to level up Ezreal, who will help to close the game out. Volunteer Elnuk should add consistency and actually make Elnuks worth running again!
Since this deck’s dominance many months ago, there have appeared a lot of new toys to play with, so beyond just the return of Elnuks, this deck is worth revisiting.
Note: I added the newest reveal Practical Perfectionist to this list last-minute because it’s just too perfect for Elnuks! I have not included this card in this article, however, because it will be reviewed in the upcoming piece about Ekko.
Although I rated Glorious Evolution pretty low, I had to at least explore it a little! Along with that, I haven’t played Heimerdinger in quite a while, and the Tech tribe has seen some solid additions to it as of late.
Here I have mixed some Augment and Tech together and just enough spells and created cards to get Viktor and Heimerdinger online. Heimer actually helps level Viktor pretty fast with his free turrets that are created cards.
There’s a surprising amount of synergy here, and most of it is in Piltover and Zaun. That means that Targon doesn’t have to be the correct pairing here, so I encourage you to try a few other regions in its place and see what fits your style best!
Thank you for checking out my ratings and some early theorycrafts!
Please let me know what you think of the decks and what I got wrong in the ratings. Thanks for reading 🙂