Spider Aggro Deck Guide & Matchups
Hello, Agigas here! I am a Master player since beta with several #4 peaks and tournament wins. I love sharing my knowledge about the game and I have been a regular writer at RuneterraCCG. I write in-depth deck guides, articles for tournament players, and curate our constantly updated Meta Tier List.
This particular guide you’re reading is part of our ongoing series of guides on meta decks. You can find the other guides and a matchup table on this page.
This guide is dedicated to Elise Spider Aggro – a deck mixing the aggressive power of Fearsome units and burn damage.
Spider Aggro is a deck with a very clear game plan. With its numerous early units, it aims to push as much damage as possible before the opponent can stabilize. Thanks to the Fearsome keyword, the deck can push damage ignoring some blockers.
Elise will level up very often in the deck because of your numerous Spider units. It is not uncommon to level up Elise at the start of turn 4, especially if you have House Spider. Challenger and Fearsome are very synergistic keywords – you’ll be able to pull away the opponent’s anti-Fearsome blockers with small 1/1 Spiderlings to push a lot of damage with higher-attack units like Elise.
When it comes to pushing damage with Fearsome units, Frenzied Skitterer is a key card of this deck. The attack debuff to opponent’s units can disable a lot of anti-Fearsome blockers for the turn while buffing your own units, and it is not rare to win the game on the spot thanks to Frenzied Skitterer.
If the opponent has managed to stabilize the board, the deck switches to a burn plan. With Decimate, Noxian Fervor, Doombeast, Imperial Demolitionist, and Unspeakable Horror, Spider Aggro has a very impressive reach. Stalking Shadows can also help to find more burn, duplicating Doombeast or Imperial Demolitionist.
- Keep track of Elise’s level-up potential. It can be easy to miss the Elise level-up and lose track of your Spiders count. While your main goal is to push as much damage as possible every turn, it can easily be worth not to block – or sometimes not to attack – with a Spider to be able to level up Elise.
- Enable your Stygian Onlooker. In the early turns, a well-timed Stygian Onlooker is a 1-mana Decimate that leaves a 2/1 body behind – not too bad eh? However, you have to enable it – mulligan and play accordingly to set up a nice window for it (between turns 2 and 5, with the attack token). If you’re not actively looking for opportunities, Stygian Onlooker can easily get stuck in your hand and will have a harder time pushing damage later.
- Think through your Stalking Shadows picks. Some units are more useful than others when copied as Ephemeral. Doombeast is often the key unit to look for because of the very valuable burn damage. Imperial Demolitionist can also fit that role as long as you’re sure the opponent can’t make it fizzle. Stygian Onlooker is a great pick if the opponent doesn’t have total control over the board. Frenzied Skitterer can help you if you’re looking to continue pushing Fearsome damage.
General mulligan tips:
- Legion Saboteur, Precious Pet, Elise, and Arachnoid Horror are often kept to put pressure on the opponent right from the start.
- Stygian Onlooker can also be kept if you have a hand that enables it early enough.
- Brothers’ Bond is kept when you’re looking to push as much damage as fast as possible.
- Stalking Shadows is kept when you going to need to keep some value going to get through the opponent’s answers.
- Keep Decimate against slower decks that don’t have healing or counter-spells.
Be aware that these are just the general guidelines to help you understand the deck’s gameplan. Mulligans are very matchup-dependant – please refer to the matchup section below for more specific advice on mulligans against different meta decks.
Click on the box to read detailed info about a matchup of choice:
Mulligan for: Legion Saboteur, Precious Pet, Elise, Decimate. Keep Stygian Onlooker if your hand enables it early.
- This matchup is fairly easy to navigate – all you need is to play out your threats early then burn them down. They don’t have the speed to defend themselves in the first turns and have neither healing nor great speed to prevent us from finishing with burn.
- The way to lose this matchup is by getting a bad early game while they have a good one, or – more often – by not finding your burn. In the mid-game, they will often stabilize the board, and freezes will prevent you from pushing any more damage through the board.
- Once you’re on your burn plan, use Noxian Fervor whenever they go under 3 mana to play around Culling Strike.
- They have a lot more ways to punish you for open-attacking (freezes, Troll Chant, Culling Strike) than for developing (Icevale Archer).
- However, be careful in the mid-game, not open-attacking gives them the opportunity to play Reckoning.
Mulligan for: Legion Saboteur, Precious Pet, Elise, Arachnoid Horror, House Spider. Keep Brothers’ Bond, Stygian Onlooker, or Frenzied Skitterer if you have a hand to enable them.
- This is a “live fast die young” matchup – neither of you is good at defending against the other. Their early game is somewhat slow, but your units aren’t suited at all to block Overwhelm damage.
- You have a clear advantage because your plan comes online faster than theirs. However, if they hit a very nice curve to defend themselves, the game can quickly become difficult.
- In most situations, avoid blocking their units. If you go too slow you’ll lose to their Overwhelm damage. By blocking, even when you set up trades that initially appear efficient, you give them the opportunity to make great use of their combat tricks (Shaped Stone, Troll Chant).
- They don’t have great ways to punish you for developing before your attack – their best answer is to play a unit.
- They don’t have any fast-speed removal, their only way to get rid of units is by challenging them thanks to the Vulnerable keyword. Therefore, they have no way of making Noxian Fervor or Imperial Demolitionist fizzle.
- They don’t have any healing either, so if you get them into your burn range and don’t give them enough time to kill you – you’ve basically won already.
Mulligan for: Legion Saboteur, Precious Pet, Elise, Arachnoid Horror, House Spider. If you have a good early hand, keep Doombeast or Stalking Shadows.
- You both have a similar game plan of pushing early damage with units and then transitioning into burn phase.
- They have fewer synergies than you do. Because of that, your early-to-mid game tends to be superior.
- The Fearsome keyword can allow you to push damage through their board while keeping your units alive to block on their attack turn.
- Elise can quickly level up, especially if they choose to open-attack on their turn (which means you have to do less trading with your Spiders). Their best removal is Noxian Fervor, which would lose them a lot of tempo.
- If no player manages to get a significant early advantage, you should soon be both running out of cards. Stalking Shadows is your main way to generate value, while their best mid-game play is often Gangplank.
- Try to prevent them from spreading their damage over different turns to prevent Gangplank from leveling up too early. Attacking with a leveled Gangplank is their easiest way to upset the matchup.
- Doombeast’s drain is extremely valuable to keep you out of their burn reach. Unlike you, they don’t have any healing themselves to fight the burn of your own.
Mulligan for: Legion Saboteur, Precious Pet, Elise, Arachnoid Horror; If you have a great early hand keep a Noxian Fervor.
- Their early game is a bit lacking, especially when it comes to anti-Fearsome blockers. Take advantage of it by swarming the board and pushing a lot of damage. You need to create a significant early advantage for yourself.
- The fact that they tend to only play one unit per turn allows you to continue pushing damage in the mid-game before you run out of cards.
- One of their best tools against you is Spirit’s Refuge. Keep your Noxian Fervor to deny them the life-gain.
- Use your early pressure to force them into spending their mana. Once they go under 4 mana, you’re free to use Decimate without taking the risk of running into Deny.
Mulligan for: Legion Saboteur, Precious Pet, Elise, Arachnoid Horror; if we have Elise, keep House Spider; if we have a good early hand, keep Brothers’ Bond and Stygian Onlooker.
- They have Deny and Nopeify! to prevent our burn plan and healing to stay out of reach. Our most likely way to victory is to beat them down with Fearsome units. If we put enough pressure on them, they’ll be forced to tap their mana under Deny, giving us the opportunity to use our Decimate.
- Elise can easily level up in this matchup – it’s very hard for them to remove her.
- Be aware they can Hush Elise to remove her passive Level 2 ability for the turn which will allow them to block your Spiders.
- With leveled Elise, you can often find yourself in situations where you can either go all-in for damage at the risk of getting Hushed, or challenge key units (Eye of the Dragon and Zoe) to get better control of the board. Assess the risk/reward and play accordingly. You want to go all-in if they already have Lee Sin on the board and are setting up their own lethal.
- They can struggle to block Fearsome units. However, be careful of Pale Cascade, especially on a 2/1 Dragonling.
- You don’t have a lot of ways to prevent their Lee OTK. You can try to prevent it by using Noxian Fervor on the challenged unit, but it’s likely going to get countered by their Nopeify or even Deny.
Mulligan for: Legion Saboteur, Precious Pet, Elise, Arachnoid Horror, Brothers’ Bond, Frenzied Skitterer, Stygian Onlooker.
- Games in this matchup can end extremely fast. You both are very strong at pushing damage, and not so good at blocking Fearsome units.
- In this matchup, it is crucial to know when exactly you will be able to go for the kill. Plan ahead to set up the turn when you’re looking to finish and manage tempo accordingly.
- Frenzied Skitterer is often a key card of the matchup. You can play it on offense to greatly accelerate the game, or on defense to slow it down.
- Brothers’ Bond is a great offensive card to push a lot of damage, and can also be used defensively to trade their Fearsome units with some of your weaker units.
- Sometimes neither player manages to get a decisive advantage with Fearsome synergies and the game can stall out. Recognize when the game is going this way, and start to prioritize value.
Mulligan for: Precious Pet or Legion Saboteur, Elise, Arachnoid Sentry, House Spider, Stalking Shadows, Decimate.
- Because they have a lot of very cost-efficient removals, and some anti-Fearsome blockers it can be hard to push a lot of early damage. Therefore, you ideally want to go for sustained aggression thanks to the value provided by Stalking Shadows.
- They have great ways to punish both open attacks (Statikk Shock and Mystic Shot) and development (Arachnoid Sentry and Tri-beam Improbulator).
- Commit to either open-attacking or developing as a way of playing this matchup. Usually, you want to commit to developing every attack (if you commit to open-attacking, Frenzied Skitterer and Stygian Onlooker will feel really bad). Continue developing as a consistent approach throughout the game. If you switch between open-attacking and developing, you’re making it easier for them to always have the right answer.
- They don’t have any way to heal or counter your Decimates and Doombeast burn damage.
- However, be mindful that they can finish pretty quickly themselves and you won’t necessarily have enough time to cast your burn.
Mulligan for: Legion Saboteur, Precious Pet, Elise, Arachnoid Horror; If you have a good hand to enable them early, keep Brothers’ Bond or Stygian Onlooker.
- Discard Aggro is often considered to be an aggro deck that is great against other aggro decks. This is because it can often keep up early with its discard synergies, and later Jinx and Augmented Experimenter give it a superior mid-game.
- To upset the matchup, your best way is to attack them in the early game. They don’t have any life-gain, so if you push enough early damage you can finish them with burn damage.
- Try to take trades as much as possible with your non-Fearsome units. They have a lot of board-wide synergies (Arena Battlecaster, Vision, Crowd Favorite), and trading will limit those.
- You might however want to keep your Fearsome units alive. Without them, you won’t push damage, and if you just keep trading without pushing Nexus damage the mid-game will favor them.
Mulligan for: Elise, Precious Pet, Arachnoid Horror, Frenzied Skitterer, Stygian Onlooker.
- Thresh Nasus is a midrange deck leveraging sacrifice synergies to get a powerful early game, a lot of value, and quickly level up Thresh and Nasus. They’re able to match your early swarm with theirs, and later on, they’ll quickly level up Thresh to finish the game with Nasus.
- Your best angle to attack them on board is fearsome units. They are able to build large boards quickly, but Fearsome units can be more problematic for them. Frenzied Skittered is particularly valuable, so Ravenous Butcher and Fading Icon cannot block either.
- If you manage to push enough damage with your board, you have a good shot at upsetting the matchup. They barely have any healing (only Vile Feast for most versions, though some play Withering Wail).
- Try to find a window to Decimate when they can’t play a Rite of Negation.
- To cast Noxian Fervor without risking it to get fizzled by a Black Spear, use it when none of their units died yet this turn – often on the start of your turn. They don’t have any way to sacrifice something at burst speed to activate Black Spear.
Mulligan for: Legion Saboteur, Precious Pet, Arachnoid Horror, Elise. Keep House Spider if you have Elise. Keep Stygian Onlooker if you have a good hand to enable it early.
- This matchup can be very difficult. They can match you on the board early into the game, and they will out-scale you as the game goes on with their more powerful mid-game plays. They can also prevent you from finishing with burn by healing a lot with Torment triggers (Doombeast, Stalking Shadows, Fading Memories, Unto Dusk).
- Your best way to upset the matchup is to put them under a lot of pressure very early. In the first turns, it can be hard for them to trigger their Nightfall units, especially if they didn’t play a Lunari Duskbringer.
- They don’t have a lot of powerful removals – only Unspeakable Horror during your turn.
- You can level up Elise, which will give you better chances of upsetting the matchup.
- Once you get them low enough, try to finish very quickly before they get time to start playing Doombeasts.
- Be aware that playing your own Doombeast can give them access to Doombeast because off of their Fading Memories.
Mulligan for: Elise, Stalking Shadows; If you have some value in hand keep a Legion Saboteur or Precious Pet, but you don’t want multiple 1-drops.
- This is a very hard matchup to upset. Their numerous board wipes make quick work of our board aggression and their healing prevents us from burning them out. Once Lissandra levels up, it’s often lights out even if they don’t have the combo because of the Tough Nexus.
- You need to keep pressuring them as the game goes on until they run out of answers. Stalking Shadows is your best card to do so.
- Try to play around their board wipes (Avalanche, Blighted Ravine, Withering Wail, sometimes Ice Shard) and do not overcommit into one of them. Look for signals that they don’t have board wipes in hand anymore. When you do get a signal, try to push a lot of damage quickly.
- Elise is a great unit because she survives a board wipe.
- With Stygian Onlooker, you can push a lot of damage for cheap when they use Avalanche right before your attack. When you have several of them in hand, it can be clever play to not open-attack and instead purposefully give them a window to cast Avalanche so you can play your Stygian Onlookers right after and attack.
- Another way to upset the matchup is to get a quick start and try to just go fast. This is your best shot if you have a low-value hand, and can be very effective at punishing their bad draws.
Spider Aggro, thanks to its mix of a strong aggressive early game, powerful Fearsome and Spider synergies, and great burn top-end, has proven itself to be one of the premium aggro strategies in the current meta.
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