Senna Review and Theorycraft
Hey, Agigas here! Senna is the newest Shadow Isles champion that will arrive with the Beyond the Bandlewood expansion!
In this article, I’m going to evaluate the power level of Senna and her archetype, share a couple of theorycrafts around her, and break down all the cards revealed today – with ratings.
Here’s our rating scale:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, should prove itself as 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: Could be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks.
- 1.0: Unlikely to find its place in the meta.
Senna – 4.0
When Veigar was revealed yesterday, the Darkness package was making little sense initially with so few supporting tools. But today, Senna comes in to convincingly complete the archetype.
Senna’s stat-line isn’t that impressive, but you can’t say that she will be easy to remove either. And thanks to the Quick Attack keyword, she will be able to go into combat often, activating her ability to generate Darkness.
Unlike Veigar, Senna is a self-sufficient Darkness engine already in her level 1 form. She creates a copy of the spell immediately when you summon her, guaranteeing you upfront value, and she will continue to make Darknesses every time you attack with her, granted you have no copy of Darkness in hand (note that you can put the copy of Fast-speed Darkness on the stack as she attacks – in this case, Senna will also be able to create a new Darkness in your hand from her attack).
Darkness is a pretty good removal spell once you’ve buffed it with Twisted Catalyzer or Veigar, or discounted it with Stilted Robemaker. Therefore, Senna’s ability is very valuable.
Senna also gives you a unique second passive, ‘accelerating’ all your Slow removals to Fast speed. There’s an obvious synergy with Darkness, but you can also think of a lot of other interactions with Slow spells. Here are a few that caught my attention:
- Fast speed The Ruination would be very hard to play against.
- At Fast speed, Go Hard becomes much more nimble as a spell. You can also put your 3rd and 4th copies of Go Hard on the stack in one action – the second copy to resolve will be transformed into Pack Your Bags at no additional cost for you, meaning you’ve just played a 1 mana Pack Your Bags (0 mana – if Senna is leveled)! This synergy is really impressive.
Senna’s Dawning Shadowsthat accelerates to Fast speed thanks to Senna’s passive is essentially a better Vengeance.
All these abilities make Senna an awesome level 1 champion. As for Senna’s level-up requirement – it doesn’t have a big deckbuilding cost and should happen quite naturally given enough time, thanks to Darkness and other Shadow Isles control tools.
However, unlike many other champions, she doesn’t significantly ‘spike’ after leveling up, only gaining +1/+1 in stats and a cost reduction for removals – a lot of her power budget is already in her level 1 form.
Overall, Senna looks to be an amazing champion that will help the Darkness archetype a lot but could also become a staple in other Shadow Isles control decks such as Go Hard.
The most obvious shell for Senna would be this Veigar Senna strategy, and it looks like an amazing deck.
This archetype is all about buffing and discounting Darkness with Twisted Catalyzer, Stilted Robemaker, and Veigar. It also runs a solid amount of cards that can create Darkness, such as Darkbulb Acolyte, Solari Sentinel, Veigar, Senna, Ixtali Sentinel, and
With this density of Darkness cards, you should be able to consistently generate a ton of value, control the opponent’s threats, and level up your champions. While Senna is both an engine and an enabler, Veigar can act as a finisher – his level-up will allow you to close out the game with a couple of Darknesses to the opponent’s face.
To round out the deck, we add some draw to make the deck more consistent:
We also have access to some powerful interaction spells: Vile Feast – for the early turns, Piercing Darkness – to keep our health total safe, and Minimorph – to deal with appropriate end-game threats. Otterpus will help us to keep up on tempo – we need to compensate for the fact that Darkness is rather weak early into the game.
Against fast, board-based archetypes, this deck should be able to control the game with its massive Darkness value and stay alive with life gains. When against slower or combo decks, Aloof Traveler and Minimorph will be key pieces to counter their strategy.
Because Senna is such an inspiring champion, I couldn’t resist featuring a second theorycraft.
Here, we’re not making Darkness a key card in our deck, but we rather focus on Senna’s ability to accelerate slow removals. Go Hard is our build-around, and we will be abusing its interaction with Senna to unlock its speed limitations and set up a 1-mana/0-mana Pack Your Bags.
The rest of the package is pretty similar to the ordinary TF Go Hard deck we know and love, but it also features a couple more new cards.
TF Go Hard has never been able to find a fully synergistic second champion for itself, but Senna might just be the one.
Dawning Shadow – 2.0
Dawning Shadow on its own isn’t impressive. In a lot of cases, this will end up as a worse Vengeance because of the Slow speed, making it clunky and useless against open attacks.
It reduces the power of opposing units for the round, which might make it interesting as a finisher in a Fearsome deck. However, I’m not entirely convinced a Fearsome archetype would want such an expensive spell.
Dess & Ada – 2.5
Dess & Ada seems like a powerful control tool, effectively being a 7/6 for 8 mana that deals at least 4 damage to the targeted unit (more – if Darkness got buffed), and 2 – to all the other units.
However, even if this effect is really strong against a go-wide deck, the game will be often decided by turn 8 against those kinds of archetypes. Additionally, in slower matchups, the card might not get that much of a value.
One good thing is that Dess & Ada really contribute a lot to leveling Senna and Veigar. All in all, I expect this card to only see play in the Veigar Senna archetype and only in 1 or 2 copies.
Piercing Darkness – 3.0
Drain 5 will kill a lot of things while giving you a good chunk of your health back.
This card is a bit expensive, and the Slow speed doesn’t help, but Piercing Darkness is definitely an interesting control tool for Shadow Isles.
In a deck with Senna, the slow speed downside will be mitigated by her passive.
Buhru Sentinel – 3.0
If you can reliably activate this unit’s buff, 5/4 Fearsome is an amazing offensive stat-line for 3 mana.
However, the main struggle for this kind of card is to find a proper shell. Too control-oriented, and you might not be using the offensive stat-line good enough. Too aggro-oriented, and the buff might end up being too inconsistent to proc.
Still, I think there are some decks that could be interested in Buhru Sentinel, such as the Go Hard archetype, or other tempo decks – maybe a SI PZ Tempo Ezreal deck, using the concept of Ezreal Draven, but replacing Noxus with Shadow Isles.
Demacian Sentinel – 3.0
Similar to Buhru Sentinel, Demacian Sentinel needs to find a tempo archetype that can consistently trigger her ability fast while making good use of the under-costed body.
I expect her to meet the same difficulties as Buhru Sentinel, and she will fit in the same kinds of decks.
Watcher of the Isles – 2.0
In the right setup, Watcher of the Isles can drain a lot of health. It could fit in the same decks as Buhru Sentinel and Demacian Sentinel.
However, I think this card is a bit flawed by design. Play it too early, and you’re losing a lot of tempo in a game where snowball is often key. Play it too late, and it won’t get time to be impactful enough.
Mistkeepers – 1.5
Mistwraith decks don’t tend to kill tons on units with spells, so this card identity seems a bit off.
Even if you are able to trigger it pretty reliably, the reward isn’t all that big. I don’t see any strategy that could be interested in this unit.
Ixtali Sentinel – 3.0
Ixtali Sentinel seems to be quite an impactful unit thanks to the Lifesteal keyword, allowing her to stabilize you against aggressive strategies.
The ability to make a Darkness will offer some board control, and the duplication to the face will accelerate your own pressure and advance Veigar‘s level-up condition.
Overall, Ixtali Sentinel does seem like a pretty solid unit in the Darkness package.
Solari Sentinel – 3.0
This card pales in comparison to Darkbulb Acolyte.
But still, Solari Sentinel brings solid support to the Darkness archetype. She generates value and provides some board presence.
It’s also worth noticing that Solari Sentinel is the only 3-cost unit in the Darkness package. Therefore, she will be very helpful to fill that spot in the curve.
Catalogue of Regrets – 3.0
Catalogue of Regrets costs a large amount of tempo and can be destroyed by landmark removals. However, it can generate a lot of value throughout the course of the game.
It’s also important to note that Catalogue of Regrets has a very nice synergy with Go Hard, rapidly stacking it up while creating even more copies into your deck.
Today’s reveals were packed with some really interesting stuff. I’m really excited about the Darkness deck, but I’m also hyped for all the other archetypes that might be improved with these new cards. I expect to see a lot of Senna experimentation, and she should be a successful champion.
I hope you’re enjoying Beyond the Bandlewood spoilers as much as I do – we’ve got to see so many new cards already, and yet there are still so many ones to be revealed!
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