Miss Fortune and Quinn is a duo that never gets old. Sometimes, Scouts disappears for a bit, as counters to the deck make it difficult to play due to the deck being rather inflexible in its core mechanics.
For the whole period where Pantheon was a great deck, for example, it was difficult to play Scouts as this matchup was impossible to edge. The same could be said about the Ezreal Caitlyn matchup, or more recently, the various Bard Demacia decks.
With the arrival of Worldwalker Patch 3.10.0, Pantheon got hit pretty hard, which was already a factor in favor of Scouts returning. Then Azirelia made a comeback, which once again strengthened the idea that Miss Fortune and Quinn could be in for Tier 1 contention. Finally, because Demacia was nerfed and Azirelia was now a popular deck, we also have seen some aggressive strategies be on the rise like Annie Jhin or the returned Ephemeral synergy. All of this has lead Scouts to be a discreet, yet powerful contender since the patch, sporting just 0.57% play rate but reporting a 55% win rate!
Things will likely keep evolving until the next seasonal tournament, as players should start grinding for a finish as they look to solidify their position on the ladder. Therefore, today I would like to present to you the latest iteration of one of those decks players could turn to for their grind: Scouts.
Decklist and Concepts
The decklist was largely inspired by Broken Ball:
Scouts is a deck that combines both traits of a great ladder deck. It is a fast, proactive archetype, which you can play against a large variety of opponents similarly. Also, the deck has been popular for so long now that most players can go back to the archetype whenever they feel it is well positioned in the metagame without needing to learn its play patterns.
Speaking of play patterns, Scouts is taking a different form in the current patch, relying much more on its global effects rather than protecting key units. With the addition of Inspiring Light to the list, the deck is going back to its roots, when it was played as an Allegiance build with Vanguard Bannerman. In the previous lists, Miss Fortune was everything to the deck, and we would always keep a spell in order to protect her from a potential removal. The deck now looks to buff all the units at the same time, creating a beefy army we can attack with, and resistant to AoE removal.
With this new way of progressing on the board, Scouts are also less reliant on dominating early in the game, preferring to adopt a midrange kind of gameplay. Even if we don’t get any damage to the opposing nexus early on, a couple of buffs onto 4 or 5 units can immediately threaten lethal in the coming turn.
Also, this kind of gameplay is helping our situational cards like Golden Aegis, which could often be dead in our hand if our board was cleared. With this slower approach, relying on buffing our units rather than pressuring the opponent continuously, our board is more resilient and much more likely to be usable for a
As a testimony to this new direction for the deck, Zap Sprayfin has become a nice inclusion in the deck, providing a bit of draw while being able to push damage if buffed, thanks to its Elusive Keyword.
Tech Cards and Options
A good 2 drop in the idea of swarming the board to receive our buffs, I found Marai Warden to be a bit disappointing overall. There are two reasons for this feeling:
- Demacia has some great 2 drops you already want to include in the deck. Even after their nerfs, Brightsteel Protector and
Broadwing Petricitestill look like staples in the deck, so is Durand Sculptor.
- Because the deck is playing a more midrange playstyle, Marai Warden is fantastic to have some disposable units to attack once we have Miss Fortune. But can also feel a bit useless compared to the other options in the deck otherwise.
In this iteration of the deck, Genevieve gets the nod because of her buffing ability, which fits the deck’s theme a bit better and reinforces even more the beefy aspect we are trying to build our board around.
Cithria would fit better in a build maximizing the attack turns, or in a metagame with more decks weak to the fearsome keyword. As for the Yordle Ranger, the card shines against control strategies as it buffs our board continuously while Genevieve is better on the spot, which seems to be better so far.
Sharpsight is a completely valid card in the deck, and I wouldn’t fault anyone for playing it. The reason I decided not to include it is to include more global or long-lasting options. Ranger’s Resolve allows us to protect our full board and Shield of Durand‘s buff is a permanent one. Once again, it is more a goal of being consistent with the direction of this iteration of Scouts.
Prioritize the board over damage
Although it is tempting to get a ton of damage in early on, Scouts is a board oriented deck, not a damaged based one. Thanks to our buffs, Rally effects and Scouts keywords, the damage potential of the deck is huge, and dealing double-digit damage in a turn is quite common if we are ahead on board.
As such, with the reduction of other Demacia based decks on the ladder right now, we don’t need to be as aggressive as we had to in the past, against Pantheon for example.
Buffing also improves survivability
Obviously, we would like to use our buffs to improve our offensive abilities and transform those additional points of attack in order to beat our opponent faster.
However in reality, the real power of Inspiring Light is making our board much more resilient, difficult to remove as our units will require more resources to deal with. Playing it in order to keep our units alive will give us much bigger board to abuse Genevieve Elmheart or For Demacia! later on.
Force your opponent to play onto the board
With Miss Fortune‘s passive ability, Barriers, the Scouts keyword and the Rally effects, we are much better off with both players developing a board than a clean table.
As such, we want to make the match about who can win on the board, rather than letting our opponent play their spell based synergies and focusing on answering our development. Especially against Noxus or Shadows Isles based decks, who usually has a good amount of removal spells in their decks, we need to create a situation where those aren’t effective.
This way of playing the game prevents the awful outcome of our hand slowly emptying itself of units and having a ton of spells without any targets for them. If both players are playing onto the board, it gives us more room to develop, and then we will be able to use our spells to play round the opponent’s ones.
Time your Slow spells appropriately.
- Before you resolve Inspiring Light, the opponent gets a chance at using spells to remove some units. Look to play the card when the opponent is tapped out of mana, or when even losing a couple of units wouldn’t be so bad.
- If you are using Inspiring Light to push damage, it is much better to do it during your opponent’s turn. So you can open the next turn attacking, and potentially threaten with a rally effect or the second attack you get thanks to the Scouts keyword.
Know when to go wide, when to go big
Our deck is obviously much better at building a wide board and abusing our global buffs afterwards. Our main goal in almost every match will be to overwhelm our opponent on the board and present more problems than they can handle. However, there are times where going all in on one unit might be more beneficial.
Zap Sprayfin for example, can be worth investing into if the opponent is particularly weak to the Elusive keyword, or if we saw a lot of removal be used, and we think we can level up Quinn. As such, we can use Inspiring Light or even a For Demacia! if we know we are guaranteed the damage and looking to push to end the game.
As a rule of thumb, I would always start a game with the intent to go wide and cash in the best Inspiring Light possible. As the game progresses, it still might be good to keep an open mind on what will be the hardest thing for the opponent to answer when we switch from developing to focusing on damage.
Matchups and Mulligan Guide
– Nami Twisted Fate – Very Favored
- Nami Twisted Fate is quite limited in terms of removal early in the game. Feel free to develop aggressively and limit their ability to advance Nami‘s level through banking mana.
- With no AoE in their deck, there isn’t much the opponent can do if we go wide early on and land an Inspiring Light.
- If there is no threat of level up, it can be beneficial to leave an opposing Twisted Fate on the board. It denies a potential red or gold card.
- Down the line, the opponent can race us with their elusive units if we cannot bring enough pressure. Keep in mind how many spells they have played (up until 6) and prevent a safe development of Nami or Fleet Admiral Shelly.
– Azirelia – Very Favored
- This match is a race where both decks will look to develop their synergies and impose their will onto their opponent. Start strong and force the opponent into being reactive to what you do.
- Ranger’s Resolve can allow for a free turn of blocking as most units the opponent summons upon attacking are 1/1.
- Azirelia can be quite good at single target removal thanks to Defiant Dance or Homecoming, this makes our base plan of going wide even more important
- Sparring Student is a card we want to be particularly warry of, as it can grow every turn, making it a problem as an attacker or a blocker. Remove the card early on with a challenger so it doesn’t come to haunt us.
– Annie Jhin – Very Favored
- This matchup is relying on our ability to dominate the early game so we can answer the later threats on our own terms. Use your challenger units to dominate that crucial phase of the game.
- Our health should be used as a resource to make better trades early on, but don’t let your nexus take too much damage. 8 is a good threshold to be safe from Decimate + Noxian Fervor.
- Jhin can often be difficult to deal with when he comes down during our opponent’s attack turn. Look to be dominant early on so you can afford to ignore him for a turn.
- The stun mechanic allows the opponent to setup better board states. If you have a key trade to take with one of your challengers, consider open attacking to play around a stun. During defensive turns, don’t plan your whole defence around 1 single unit.
– Bard Ahri – Favored
- Ionia is a pretty weak region when it comes to defending our early development. As time passes though, and the Chimes add up, the opponent is much more resilient onto the board and able to fight back.
- Concussive Palm and Will of Ionia make the opponent competitive against a single big unit. Going wide will force the opponent to use these 4 cost spells on a cheaper unit for us.
- The Recall mechanic isn’t one we should much concerned about in this deck. Most of the time, the pressure we develop is much more valuable than the value our opponent gets from recalling.
- Bard big health pool makes it difficult to remove for us, and his level up usually means we won’t dominate the trades either. It is important to stay away from stalled situations.
– Annie Twisted Fate – Even
- The constant removals from our opponent can be discouraging early on, but they should run out of gas eventually. Try to make the match about a board based battle.
- Unless forced to, do not damage your key units like Miss Fortune, and most of the time, consider any damaged unit a disposable one.
- Annie and Twisted Fate are really important to remove as their level up grants our opponent a lot of value. Most other units are dispensable and low priority.
- Riptide Rex in the lategame can be quite problematic to our board survival even if we have Ranger’s Resolve. We should turn up the pressure around turn 5 to punish our opponent for drawing and setting up their lategame.
– Bard Poppy Jarvan IV – Very Unfavored
- Poppy Bard is better than us at getting set onto the board and pack quite a lot of challengers in order to dominate the trades. We need to get a hot start and finish before the Chimes take over.
- Miss Fortune is a key card for us as her level up grants us a form of scaling as well, her passive ability matching the buffs from the Chimes. Protect her at all costs.
- For Demacia! is another card allowing us to grow our board bigger than our opponent. Playing passively can be justified with the card in hand.
- Golden Aegis should be used to get ahead on board and some favorable trades. If you wait for the card to give you a lethal opportunity, you might never play it.
With most popular decks representing good matchups, Scouts is looking to be well positioned in today’s metagame.
Most decks are looking to develop midgame based synergies, and open the door to early development to be quite effective. Thanks to be one of the best trading best in the game in the first 3 turns, Scouts can also compete with the other fast decks like Azirelia or Annie Jhin.
I’m still quite unsure why Scouts plays a minor role in the current metagame considering its positive matchup table. My guess would be that Bard still is a problem for the deck and with the champion pushing several archetypes, it is discouraging a lot of players to pick Scouts as their primary ladder deck.
The fight amongst the top decks isn’t over, and which of the current popular builds ends up most popular will heavily impact how good the Scouts deck will be down the line as well.
Good Game Everyone,