‘Spells and Stealth’ Beginner Deck Upgrades

Den is here to help new players who want to upgrade the Elusive starter deck!

So, you have just finished the tutorials and now you are left with 3 different starter decks and no clue what you should do next.

Progression is very quick in Legends of Runeterra and after a week or two, you should be well on your way to your very first meta deck. Until then, however, you have to work with one of the starter decks and find a way to optimally spend the few common and rare wildcards you have to upgrade it.

This is the second article in a series where my goal is to help you choose the starter deck that fits you and offer advice on how to improve it. When I offer upgrades I will try to mostly suggest commons (and sometimes – rares) for you to craft, whenever possible. This way, you can save your more important resources (like Epic and Champion wildcards) for when you’ll have a better idea of what you like to play.

In the previous article, we’ve already covered ‘Death and Spiders’ starter deck. If that deck’s reliance on the direct damage and going all-in for their Nexus isn’t what you enjoy doing in card games – maybe this next deck will be more fitting.

‘Spells and Stealth’ focuses much more on the board presence and interacting with our opponent’s units through spells in order to keep initiative.

Before getting into the different variations for the deck, we need to cover one basic concept: what is an initiative?

Simply put, having the initiative means your plays are proactive instead of reactive. In every game, there usually is a proactive player – one that invests his resources first and advances its strategy. A reactive player will try to derail the opponent’s strategy in order to eventually enforce his own. Controlling initiative means that you will be the one developing and making your opponent react to your actions.

Why is initiative important with this deck?

Spells and Stealth, as the name indicates, uses a combination of units and spells in order to achieve victory. Controlling initiative means that your spells can be used in a flexible way, either to remove the opponent’s unit, to protect or support one of our own in some way, or to push some damage to the Nexus.

If we lose initiative and become the reactive player, we will be forced to use our spells and units in a certain much more restricted way. Since we have a lot of Elusives, it is important to be the ones dictating how the game plays out, as Elusive units are usually pretty bad on defense, while on the offense, the keyword helps them to avoid enemy units most of the time.

Elusive keyword can be a pretty strong one to use against fellow new players as they woulldn’t necessarily have the right cards to counter it. As such, a deck that features bad defensive units but is capable of pressure in the early- and mid-game will create difficult to navigate situations for the opponent.

With this build, we’re focusing on building our board and threatening to run away with the game every time we receive the attack token. We can separate the deck into 2 main categories of cards:

  1. Carry. The cards in charge of dealing the damage and winning the game. These are the units we want to protect, buff, and put in favorable situations.
  2. The Support. Cards that help carries do their job, whether it is through buffing them, absorbing the hits during our defense turns, and other necessary things in order to win the game

When looking at a deck based on initiative, our goal is to identify which cards are able to create that situation where the opponent has to be reactive – and make those cards our carries.

In this build, we want to abuse the Greenglade Duo in this role as it is the card with the highest damage potential. They will then be a prime target for Iterative Improvement, in order to multiply the card and get an even bigger snowball going on.

Although Jinx has no direct synergy in the deck, a 4/3 Quick Attack isn’t so bad and with a fairly low curve, we can expect to level her up now and then and help with refilling our hand.

Another way to go with the Elusive route is to remove the PnZ region as a whole and join forces with Freljord. That archetype had its glory days back in mid-2020 and was known as “Kinkou Elusive”. Although it doesn’t exist anymore nowadays in the higher ranks, it can be a good starting point if you enjoy fast midrange strategies.

In this build, we will be mixing Elusive and Overwhelm, two keywords that benefit from attack buffs. The combination aims at pressuring from various angles and making it tougher for the opponent to defend efficiently.

Piltover & Zaun isn’t shy when the general’s orders is to go after the opposing Nexus. And it is what we’ll require as we shift from a board-focused approach to a damage-focused one.

This build is aimed at maximizing Jinx‘s capacity to carry a game once leveled up. As such, once we’ve took the board early, our focus should be on managing our hand in order to set that Jinx flip.

In that regard, our initiative comes from the continuous flow of damage which will force our opponent to make his decisions in a reactive way, in order to compensate for the incoming damage.

While the build looks very damage-oriented, Jinx and Zed can actually threaten the board well and should benefit from the distraction the direct damage provides.

Another way to approach the upgrade is to pair PnZ with the Noxus region in what would be a very cheap build of “Discard Aggro”. If you’re into that kind of gameplay, I would encourage you to check the real meta deck and see if it is a direction you want to invest in. At the moment I’m writing, Discard Aggro is a top 10 deck in the game and is played at the highest level of play.

The bonus is that this deck doesn’t require any additional crafts other than the ones suggested in the previous build so you could have two decks for the price of one.


Here you have it – 4 different ways to adapt the ‘Spells and Stealth’ starter deck!

This archetype is very flexible in terms of gameplay and the crafts suggested can enable quite a variety of strategies. Unfortunately though, Ionia region is one of the weakest in the current state of the game, which means investing into it too much is not optimal. On the other hand, Piltover & Zaun looks like a safe investment for now.

The Elusive keyword is very strong and usually leads to impressive early results on the ladder. Be wary though that once you start playing against more experienced players, or against more refined decks, that mechanic won’t be enough to cheese wins and you’ll prob need something else to keep on grinding the ranks.

Hope this second beginner’s guide was helpful. As usual, feel free to stop by and ask us questions on RuneterraCCG Discord, and on my Twitter page.

Stay tuned, as there is still one more guide to be published soon, where we will cover the ‘Buff and Tuff’ starter deck, pairing Demacia and Freljord!


Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yugioh and then Magic. Hearthstone has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. Although it took him a bit to get into Legends or Runeterra, his EU Seasonal Tournament win was the perfect start to get involved in the community. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on the game. Find him on Twitter at @den_CCG!

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