Shyvana’s Dragons: Archetype Breakdown and Theorycraft
There are a lot of people who absolutely love Dragons. If you have listened to my podcast at all, you’ll know my co-host Mikey will instantly buy anything dragon-related in most games he plays – and he is not alone. So there is a lot of hype built up around Shyvana coming to Legends of Runeterra! Personally, I think this package lives up to that hype, visually, and mechanically. Fury is a very interesting keyword that actually leads to a lot of decision making, despite that it appears simple. With Fury, you have different ways of maximizing value when trading, and now that we have a full Dragon archetype available we will be seeing more of that. So first I will break down these Demacia cards and then jump into theory crafting a full-on Dragon deck with Shyvana.
Here’s our rating scale:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, proven itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes. (Sejuani, Riptide Rex…).
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes. (The Harrowing, Twisted Fate, Mystic Shot…).
- 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes. (Yasuo, Culling Strike, Statikk Shock…).
- 2.0: Can be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks (Vanguard Sergeant, Thorny Toad…)
- 1.0: Doesn’t find its place in the meta (Unstable Voltician, Parade Electrorig…).
Shyvana – 3.0
Finally, we can all live out our Dragon dreams. Shyvana plays with the core mechanics of Fury, being especially effective at it once leveled. She gains bonus stats on-attack, which is a sort of pseudo-healing since at the end of the turn the health gained from this bonus will remain if she was damaged at all. On top of that, once leveled, she essentially creates a Single Combat-effect every turn in your hand on-attack, which is just absurdly good. So it really comes down to how easy can we level Shyvana up. In my opinion, this shouldn’t be too hard to do, but will rarely be happening the turn she is played. You will need a little more set-up for this, but one Concerted Strike and maybe one other strike effect would do the trick. I love Shyvana costing 4, as Dragons archetype has been a bit top-heavy already as is. Overall, I think she is exactly what Dragons need to become a viable deck.
Strafing Strike – 2.5
So now Demacia has Single Combat, Concerted Strike, and Strafing Strike?! This is a lot of combat tricks involving strikes, even though Strafing pales a bit with its mana increase when compared to Single Combat – unless, of course, you are using Dragons. With Fury as your main mechanic, you might as well run all 3 of these cards and just start eating every unit.
Confront – 1.0
Granting a Challenger keyword for 3 mana doesn’t feel like the strongest effect. Demacia already has En Garde, which allows you to give Challenger to all of your units for just 1 turn. That hasn’t seen a lot of use, but this kind of effect might be better with Dragons. The dream of granting 1 huge Dragon Challenger and value-trade while gaining stats with Fury probably won’t be super consistent and is not worth 3 mana in my opinion.
Eclipse Dragon – 3.5
This is one of my favorite cards from a design standpoint. Fitting both Daybreak and Nightfall into one card is a really cool idea, on top of that it is a Dragon! This beast is gonna fit into a lot of places. It obviously has hard synergies you can play with when including it in a Dragon and Celestial deck with Aurelion Sol, but it can fit in a lot of other places too. A cool note is if you have Rahvun, Daylight’s Spear on board, and play this, you actually can get both the Daybreak and Nightfall effects.
Dragonguard Lookout – 3.0
More Rally for Demacia… yay. But seriously this card is fantastic in the Dragon archetype. You should essentially always Behold a Dragon in this deck, so for 6 mana you can get a decent 3/5 body and also Rally. Playing this after you have already attacked is going to be so strong, but also playing this on the defensive turn is just as good and surprising. Shyvana has an added bonus with Rally since she has effects that trigger on-attack as well, so this is a match made in heaven.
Kadregrin the Infernal – 2.0
I can’t imagine the Dragon decks really wanting to run this 9 drop. This unit is strong, as he boosts your Dragons everywhere (in hand, deck, on the board, but also resurrected Dragons and created ones). But typically in this deck, you’ll want to finish the game before it gets to this late. This card could however be used to counter other big unit decks like Deep or Ramp, so your whole board just gets a tiny bit larger and might be able to keep up with the other late game things.
Egghead Researcher – 2.5
This is the first one the trio of new 2-drops being added to Demacia. I am overall very happy to see so many of those coming to Demacia since the region was really lacking in this category. Pretty much you only ever played Brightsteel Protector and War Chefs, unless you were running Elites – then you would be rocking Battlesmith. Now we have options! Egghead Researcher fits into pretty much anything. He is obviously lacking in stats, but he is going to create a Dragon in your hand on-summon. Card advantage always appeals to me, so I could see this fitting in other decks even outside its intended archetype.
Dragonguard Lieutenant – 2.0
This next 2-drop will only really see play in full-on Dragon decks. That being said, he is really solid on-curve. 3|2 with challenger for 2 mana is as good as it gets. The other 2-drops that have Challenger have much more significant downsides than simply Beholding the main unit subtype of your deck. This should really help your early game in the Dragon deck.
Stony Suppressor – 3.0
Out of all of these 2 drops, this one is the spiciest. We haven’t seen a card like this that passively increases the cost of all spells. This effect can be really key for a variety of decks and fits perfectly into Demacia who run mostly unit-heavy decks themselves. This card’s presence will be meta dependent, but Stony Suppressor will be really annoying for decks relying on spell removal, or any other spell-heavy deck for that instance. I think eventually this will become of the most important cards from this reveal, even if that isn’t for a while.
Sharpsight – 2.0
A Burst speed +2|+2 for 2 mana is actually pretty decent overall. Demacia already has some really solid combat tricks, but this one is interesting for sure. It can save some health on your units as they get a favorable trade, and with Fury, that is even more important. The added bonus of being able to block Elusive units is unique, but won’t consistently matter unless we find ourselves in an Elusive-infested meta – which happened more than once in the past and is always possible.
Stalking Broodmother – 2.0
I personally have always thought there was more to Scouts than the generic deck we have seen so far. I’ve constantly tried to make other OTK versions work, or even cook up heavy Vulnerable decks with Bilgewater. But now we have the new biggest Scout and it just so happens to be a Dragon too! Fury and Scout is a very interesting keyword combination since you can get multiple kills in one round and keep your Dragon fed. Or you can just make this thing Elusive and let it go to town. This will only really function in specific strategies but it has a lot of possibilities.
Theorycraft: Shyvana’s Full-On Dragons
Here is my first take at a pretty straight forward all in on Dragons deck. This one is mostly looking to close games out between turns 7-9. We just want to establish a strong board and push through a lot of damage. Viable combat tricks will remove some important opposing units and get that Shyvana level-up. I think we will end up seeing something very similar to this for a while, as it could easily become a new Demacia midrange staple deck. Try it out and let me know what you think!