Spooky Karma/Lee Sin In-Depth Deck Guide

Hello, Agigas here! I am a Master player since beta, with several #4 peaks and tournament wins. I am also TSM/Blitz.gg LoR consultant.

Today, I’m revisiting the deck I’ve got the most success with, Spooky Karma! I’ve been playing this deck for 7 months with great results (won DoR 13, several top tournament finishes and top 10 EU ladder climbs), and a lot of players associate my name with it. This past week I’ve climbed to rank 6 EU with a very unique version of the archetype featuring Lee Sin and Go Hard, and I figured out it would be a great time to make a new guide for my favorite deck! 😄

This is not my first run at a Spooky Karma guide, as I wrote my first guide about Spooky Karma 5 months ago, and a second one 3 months ago. This new guide has been the most requested of all my guides (by far!), I hope it will meet the expectations and that you will find everything you need to help you improve with this awesome deck! 👍

Have a good read!

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Gameplan
  3. Build
  4. Tips and Tricks
  5. Matchups
  6. Conclusion

Introduction

As an introduction, I would like to say that Spooky Karma is probably not the deck you’re looking for if you want something to quickly pick up and rapidly climb with. It is a deck that is hard to learn, even harder to master, and getting good results with it takes time and dedication. Moreover, each game takes a lot of time, and it is the deck that requires the most patience in Legends of Runeterra.

However, if you are indeed patient and trying to improve, you’ve got yourself a strong and interesting deck. Spooky Karma will make you grow as a player because it is very unforgiving and even the best players make a lot of mistakes when playing it because of its complexity. With this deck, I learn something every game.

This archetype is very strong in the current meta, and there are 2 players (Alanzq and myself) using different versions of it in the top 7 EU at the moment when I write these lines.

It also has proven to be resilient through time and several metas. I’ve been playing this deck for 7 months, and despite getting hit by nerfs, seeing new cards being and metas changing, this deck has always been good. Last but not least, it is also a very fun archetype to play, with a lot of possibilities, crazy plays with random spells, and a great feeling of control.

Gameplan

This deck is a heavy control-oriented deck. You deal with all of the opponent’s key threats leveraging your control package, stall, and then, in the late game, you outvalue your opponent thanks to leveled Karma(s).

One of the key things that gets you tons of value in the late game is using Karma’s spell (Karma’s Insight of Ages) with Karma herself on board. Not only will it give you 4 new spells in hand (and those can also get later duplicated by Karma), but it will also create 2 new Karma champion cards in your deck! It means that you effectively have an infinite amount of Karma’s in your deck as the game goes on, and you can’t ever lose by running out of cards. However, if you’ve summoned all your Karma, you won’t have access to Karma’s spell anymore (unless you manage to recall her). So, consider keeping at least 1 Karma in your deck/hand at all times.

This deck has always had the reputation of being a ‘zero-win-condition archetype’, which is basically a stall deck that waits for the opponent to concede. It has been quite accurate until now, and during the last 7 months, I won most of my Spooky Karma games by making my opponents concede or die to mill. However, once Lee Sin went down to 4 mana, I started playing him over Thresh (more on that in the build section – spoiler: both are viable). Additionally, the new Go Hard spell gives us even more possibilities to finish the game. Closing out once you’re in control with Spooky Karma has never been as easy! I think having more ways to close out the game is very valuable in the current meta – Landmarks are hard to deal with, and there are a lot of popular greedy decks (Ledros, Deep, Warmother…).

Build


This build of Spooky Karma is actually pretty unique and new, featuring Lee Sin and the new K/DA spell Go Hard. Below, I’ll go over each card, explaining their purpose in the deck.

Champions:

  • Karma: The centerpiece of the deck, Karma can occasionally provide some value before she levels up – but she truly comes online once you’re Enlightened. Paired with her champion’s spell or Deep Meditation, she provides a massive amount of resources. You can also combine her with your Drain spells to easily deal with the opponent’s threats and gain a lot of tempo and value. Having Karma on the board and online will make everything easier. Even with spells that don’t look all that great with Karma, like Vengeance, she still finds synergies: Vengeance with Karma will kill resilient sticky units (Tryndamere, The Immortal Fire), and go through SpellShield and Deny.
    • Karma’s Insight of Ages: Karma’s spell is a core component of the deck, and you will cast it very often to up the count of resources in your hand and Karmas in your deck. Be aware that there are quite a few bad random spells that you can get, but still this spell is very well worth it.
  • Lee Sin: After Lee Sin’s cost was changed to 4 mana, I started playing him instead of Thresh – and I was not disappointed. He still does a lot of what Thresh did – a Challenger unit, but even more resilient thanks to Barrier. Moreover, Lee Sin even acts as a win condition and is a much better answer for big units in the late game! Lee can also allow you to still win the game even if you don’t find your Karma. The recent nerf to 5 mana makes him a bit slower but he is still a great champion to consider – and in the current meta, I value him over Thresh.
    • Lee Sin’s Sonic Wave: Lee Sin’s spell is very strong when paired with Karma, and will often be used to finish the game. When you cast it with Karma on board, it gets duplicated and gives you two copies of Resonating Strike (or even more if you have several Karmas). And when you cast those Resonating Strike’s, they will get duplicated too, for a grand total of +8/+0 for 4 mana. Use it on a leveled Lee Sin or an unblocked unit to easily finish off the opponent!

Followers:

  • Eye of the Dragon: This unit is very cheap – 1 mana if you can make use of the Attune – and very effective against aggressive decks. You have a lot of spells to enable Dragonling’s generation, and once Karma is on board a single spell will be enough to create one of them.
  • The Rekindler: A core component of the deck. Why would you play 3 copies of Karma when you can play 6? Rekindler makes it a lot easier to make a Karma stick, while also offering a great blocker. It doesn’t feel bad to revive a Lee Sin either – both champions are high-value targets!

Spells – Removals:

  • Go Hard: I was very interested to test that new K/DA spell in Spooky Karma, and I was not disappointed at all! The frontside of the Go Hard spell by itself isn’t that impressive but still is a fine card. It’s a cheap spell that can remove small units, finish damaged units, gain life, destroy SpellShields, and trigger Lee Sin. But it really becomes insane once you transform it into Pack Your Bags. A 1-mana one-sided board-wipe often feels like a ‘get out of jail free’ card, and the tempo gained alongside the face damage makes it a lot easier to close out the game.
    • Go Hard + Karma interaction: Be aware that Go Hard can transform into Pack Your Bags (or back) while it’s waiting to resolve on the stack! Let’s take 2 relevant examples.
      If you have a leveled Karma on board and you cast Pack Your Bags, the first copy will work as expected. However, the second one will transform back into Go Hard and fizzle because it doesn’t have a target (but you will still get 2 copies of Go Hard shuffled into your deck and counter progress towards Pack Your Bags transformation).
      This interaction will also work the other way around: with Karma on board and Go Hard on 2 out of 3 stacks, the first Go Hard will finish stacking up towards Pack Your Bags, and the second copy will transform into Pack Your Bags before it resolves.
  • Vile Feast: A staple in any Shadow Isles control deck, Vile Feast is a strong and versatile tool. It allows you to deal with small units or finish bigger ones while creating a Spiderling to block an opponent’s unit. The draining is also valuable, especially when it is being duplicated by Karma!
  • Grasp of the Undying: This spell is quite over-costed for the damage it deals, but it is still a valuable removal. The lifegain helps you survive until the late-game, and the spell synergizes very well with Karma.
  • Withering Wail: Another Shadow Isles control staple, this card can single-handedly carry the game against aggressive decks with a lot of small units. This spell, when combined with leveled Karma, is incredibly strong, and I consider it to be a core component of the deck.
  • Vengeance: Shadow Isles control staple, your best spell to remove a big unit.
  • The Ruination: This spell completes your arsenal of removals. Essentially, with this removal suite, you are able to punish any play your opponent makes. If they didn’t commit much to the board before the attack, you can counter with your Fast removals. If they did commit units and mana to build up the board, The Ruination will be the punishment.

Spells – Others:

  • Health Potion: This 1-of inclusion is something I’ve been experimenting with in Spooky Karma a lot and I’m very happy with it. Having a Burst-speed cheap spell to gain life gives you more freedom in your play patterns. For example, if you have Health Potion in hand, you can use your mana while on low life – without being afraid of a burn spell. It also a very handy spell to trigger Lee Sin when needed.
  • Steel Tempest: Steel Tempest is a great stalling tool, and can save you a lot of HP for a very cheap cost. Like Health Potion, it gives you more freedom in your play patterns and can protect you at a cheap cost. It can also save your Karma from a Challenger unit.
  • Concussive Palm: Concussive Palm is more expensive than Steel Tempest, but it also provides a lot more value with its 3/2 body. Another great spell to stall the game, it can also be used to build your own board, especially once you have a leveled Karma; a stun + multiple unit summons is what helped me to close out games quite often.
  • Deny: An Ionia control staple, in the current meta Deny has a lot of value. It is a key card against decks with big spells (Warmother’s Call, Feel the Rush, Harrowing…) and can also help you resolve your own key spells against the opponent’s Deny.
  • Deep Meditation: With this very strong draw spell you will never run out of value and will always have the answers you need. Draw spells synergize very well with Go Hard.

Adapting to the meta:

Spooky Karma has always been a pretty flexible deck when it comes to adapting to a meta, and it keeps receiving new options! My version is rather polyvalent, though it is optimized to beat the most popular matchups I faced. While I was piloting the deck to a #6 peak this season 4 days ago, Trundle/Tryndamere, Lee Sin, Veimer and Discard Aggro were all very represented. But already we can see some other decks rising in popularity, like Scout, – and they require different techs. Here are my thoughts about some cards to consider as potential inclusions:

  • Thresh: Let’s start with the most controversial change in my list: Lee Sin vs Thresh. I switched to Lee Sin after he was patched to cost 4 mana, and at that time – after a lot of testing – I felt he was clearly the better option. However, Lee Sin just got nerfed to 5 mana, making the choice a lot closer. Lee Sin is now slower than Thresh, but as I’ve mentioned previously, he is still more resilient, and a lot better in the late game. But Thresh also has upsides: he is faster and easier to set up (he has Challenger by himself), and if you can level him up he offers a lot of tempo, making it easier to get Karma on board when you are under pressure. Overall, I would say Lee Sin is the better option against slower and bigger decks (Warmother, Deep…), and Thresh is the better one against faster swarm decks (Discard Aggro…).
    If you decide to play Thresh over Lee Sin because of the meta or personal preferences, you should also bring in some more units like Hapless Aristocrat to have an easier time leveling up the champion. If you like Thresh better than Lee Sin, take a look at this solid list:

Spooky Karma with Thresh


  • Hapless Aristocrat: A very annoying chump blocker – soaking up 2 attacks for only 1 mana can save you a lot of HP. He is at his best against aggressive decks with non-evasive units (Discard Aggro, Scout…), and at his worst against threats with evasive keywords (Overwhelm in Warmother control, Fearsome in Fearsome Aggro…). I didn’t include Hapless Aristocrat in my list because I wanted a lot of spells and fewer units in my Lee Sin version, but it is a very solid card to consider if you face a lot of its good matchups.
  • Go Get It: This card is absolutely nuts with The Rekindler, creating multiple Karmas – and it gets even better with Karma on board! It is one of the best spells you can get with random effects. But if it is so powerful, why don’t I have it in my list? I think Go Get It is an excellent card in the late-game – however, it is quite conditional and often useless in the early/mid-game, the part where Spooky Karma can struggle to survive. And once you do get to the late game, you probably even won’t really need Go Get It to win – even if it feels really good and easy when you have it. Still, I think it is a viable option because of how strong it is when the conditions are met. I must also admit it is a very fun and satisfying card!
  • Mist’s Call: Mist’s Call can allow you to bring back a champion that just died, for a very cheap cost. It has been a very popular card for Spooky Karma for a very long time, but I think it is quite situational. Still, it is an option to consider as it can give a lot of tempo and value in the right situation.
  • Darkwater Scourge + Death Mark: This old-school combo is still insanely good against aggro and midrange decks as long as they are unable to interact with it using a cheap spell. You might as well include a few more cards to synergize with Death Mark – for example, Mark of the Isles and Go Get It. Be warned that these combos can be powerful but tend to make the deck a bit less consistent (remember your hand with 3 Death Mark and nothing to pair it with?) and it is VERY weak to Glimpse Beyond.
  • The Box: I was playing 3 copies of this card when Anivia Control and Harrowing Aggro were popular. It can be very efficient and it feels good to deal 3 points of AOE damage for only 4 mana. Yet the lack of healing and the natural restrictions of the card prevents it from being included into my list, but it can be a very strong tech in some specific metas.
  • Will of Ionia: It’s a great tech against buff strategies, like Lee Sin or Fiora decks. Outside of that, it is still a solid card to stall the game and/or gain some tempo.
  • Rivershaper: One of the most recent ideas in Spooky Karma, this unit aspires to replace the old pre-nerf Shadow Assassin (RIP). Rivershaper can be an even better card against very slow decks (especially ramp). Also, this card is particularly valuable in the Thresh version – your opponent oftentimes has to kill Rivershaper and so contribute to your Thresh’s level-up progress.
  • Crumble: This card isn’t very good, but it is our best Landmark removal. If you often lose to Landmarks, teching your deck with this card should help.

Tips and Tricks

While the build and the matchups have changed quite a lot, the tips and tricks from my previous Spooky Karma guide have proven to be durable, and are still very valuable and accurate. So, in this section, I will mostly bring them back updated.

  • L2P = Learn to Pass

This skill is extremely underrated and important when it comes to Spooky Karma. Passing gives you the opportunity to gather information and prevents your opponent from reacting to your plays, in the end giving you the edge on every play. If your opponent passes back and goes to the next turn, it means the game is slowed down, which gives you an easier time stabilizing and reaching the point of taking over the game.

This is not something you do to enable a specific play: passing correctly is a core and major part of your gameplan as a whole. If you want to see some nice passing gameplay, this game against Spooky Lux during the DoR 13 finals is a fine example (play it at 2x speed).

Of course, you should think before each pass about the consequences. Ask yourself “What happens if we go to the next turn right now?”. I’ve been doing a lot of limit-testing regarding this (doing extremely greedy passes) and it was a valuable exercise to practice the passing skill.

It is easy to underestimate what a good pass can really achieve, but these kind of plays is often what can change the course of the game.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is WTP1.jpg
Example of a very good pass. I am under no threat with 17 HP against a slow Spooky Lux deck, and I have clean ways to deal with the board state next turn if my opponent passes back. Passing allows me to keep my mana open and forces him to play first.
  • Play chess, not ‘go fish’

Don’t take the risky bet, don’t be like “he only has one Deny in his deck, what are the odds”. 🙄 You should try to deduce what cards your opponent has in hands from the way he plays, not based on the number of cards drawn/left in his deck. Sure you sometimes HAVE to take risks, but you should not take them unless you have absolutely no choice.

I like a lot the comparison with chess, because like a chess player you should ALWAYS be thinking ahead of the play. One of the things that define the quality of a chess player is “How many moves can you see ahead?“. It is EXACTLY the same in LoR. The more you train this skill, the further you’ll be able to see the possible outcomes of a play. This skill is essentially is a mix of thinking ahead and pattern-recognition -just like in chess.

This advice is relevant to LoR in general, but it is especially important when playing Spooky Karma. Games with this deck are long. So, if you keep taking inconsiderate risks and don’t think about the long-term consequences of your plays, there will be moment it goes back to bite you and you’ll lose on the spot.

  • Managing lifegain

You have a lot of lifegain in this deck so you should be careful not to waste it: the aim isn’t to always be as high on health as possible but to have control over your life total.

For example, you might decline to chump block a creature when you have a very high life total and save your chump blocker for later so that the lifegain part of the spells you cast isn’t wasted. This might look like something of lesser importance but you’ll often find yourself going very low to enable certain plays. In those cases, you will need the safety of the healing – and wasting some of that earlier in the game might lock you out.

You should also be mindful of the fact that, when casting lifegain spells (Withering Wail in particular) without Karma on the board, you are losing some lifegain potential for the late game as well.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is capture2.jpg
I often find myself very low. I don’t mind losing some health points: the important thing is to stay in control. You’ll get your life back later.
  • Don’t rush your plays

One of the main difficulties of this deck is that you have to be focused from start to finish. It can be challenging, as games can last for a LONG time. This can lead to rushing some plays, so be very careful: this deck is unforgiving and a late-game mistake can cost you the whole game.

On the other hand, don’t consider it to be a disadvantage: your opponent will have to endure the same game-time as you, therefore you also give them more time to screw up. If you’re used to the deck, you’ll also be a lot more accustomed to this kind of game than them, giving you the edge.

Playing Karma is a bit of a tempo loss before she is Enlightened – but it provides a lot of value. It is usually a good play if you have The Rekindler backup to bring her back from the dead. Remember not to open your turn by playing her! First, PASS, see what your opponent does, then you may play her out.

Be mindful that having Karma in hand is very valuable as she will transform into Karma’s Insight of Ages once you get another Karma on board. Hence you should consider not playing your second Karma once the first one dies, and rather try to create a Karma on board with The Rekindler. This way you can use Karma’s spell to get more Karmas in your deck – and a lot of spells in hand. Playing your last Karma in a slow matchup is very risky because it will make it that much harder to have a Karma in hand ever again and enjoy the infinite value it procures. If you play Thresh instead of Lee Sin, be careful when you get multiple Thresh’s and level them up: if they fetch all Karma’s from your deck at once, it is not always a good thing.

To have an easier time getting stonks of Karma in my deck against slow matchups, I sometimes don’t play my Karma until I have a second one in hand. This way, I can play Karma and cast her spell without giving my opponent time to remove her. Deep Meditation can also be a valid reason to play Karma if you still have more Karmas in your deck.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is capture3.jpg
In this game, I had Karma in hand since turn 2, but I waited until turn 17 to play her. In this matchup, I knew she could easily get killed. So I waited until I had something to either bring her back or instantly gain value out of her. There, drawing a Deep Meditation was the signal to finally play her.
  • How to use random spells

Many of your randomly generated spells are very straightforward. Still, there are some spells that can find some less expected uses. The most important thing is to be creative and to think outside the box, and find new ways to use those random spells.

There are also some spells that won’t be very useful in your current situation: try to cast them when you have extra mana to spare so you can free up space in your hand for your next drawing/creating cards spell.

  • Miscellaneous
  1. To play The Ruination against Ionia decks without running into their Deny, you can either play it with 13 mana and your own Deny in backup or have a leveled Karma on board so there are two The Ruination’s on the stack.
  2. Be mindful of the number of cards in your hand before using spells that create/draw cards.

Matchups

Sum up: The matchup spread is one of the things I like the most about Spooky Karma. Once you’ve mastered the deck and know the matchups, you feel like you can beat anything. The current meta is quite comfortable for Spooky Karma, and bad matchups are pretty rare.

Overall, here is your gameplan:

  • Against aggro, you will look to survive the early game with your cheaper removal and life gain spells. Once you get to the late game, it is easy to starve them out of resources with Karma and get back to a high amount of HP.
  • Against midrange, contain their development with your early removals and try to limit their synergies. If they overcommit, The Ruination is often a key card to punish them. In the late game, Lee Sin and Karma will allow you to outvalue them and deal with their threats, and finish the game.
  • Against control, you often don’t have a lot of things to do in the first turns, but you can start playing early Deep Meditation and developing Lee Sin. In the midgame they will start playing threats, Vengeance will often be a key removal. In the late game, Karma will allow you to be more powerful than them, and leveled Lee Sin can be a key card, removing their big units while acting as a win condition. Most control decks have big spells, so Deny can help you secure the win.

Click on the ‘+’ symbol to learn more about a particular matchup:


  • Difficulty: Favored.
  • Mulligan for: Deny, Lee Sin, Karma, Deep Meditation, Vengeance.
  • Gameplan: Lee Sin is very strong in this matchup. He will help a lot to remove their big units once he levels up. This matchup can be difficult if they get a lot of ramp into a lot of payoffs, but overall it is a good matchup thanks to Deny. Most of the time you will take control of the board thanks to Lee Sin and your removals, and Karma will help you find more fuel. The tempo loss they will suffer if they run into Deny will help you a lot to finish the game, and if they choose to avoid casting their big spells to not run into Deny, they won’t be able to outvalue you. Be extremely picky with your Deny, if you run out of Deny that’s their way to win the game.
    Be aware that some versions run Feel the Rush instead of Warmother, but that shouldn’t affect the gameplay too much. However, some versions play 1-2 copies of The Howling Abyss, and this is a card that can be extremely annoying. In that case Lee Sin and Go Hard can help a lot to finish the game before The Howling Abyss can swing the game back in their favor.

Difficulty: Favored.

Mulligan for: Karma, Vile Feast, Vengeance, Deny, Concussive Palm.

Gameplan: Their early game can be quite annoying with Zed and Mountain Goat. Vile Feast helps a lot, it can trade with a Mountain Goat, chump block Zed, kill a Mentor of the Stones… Try to remove Zed without committing too many resources. Once you get to the mid to late game their plan is to cast Zenith Blade on Lee Sin, or sometimes Zed, to have a powerful attacker that will threaten lethal very fast. If you can remove their threat, you will be in a very good situation to win the game. They will try to protect it with Deny and sometime Bastion, so try to play around that. Sometimes the best way to play around Deny is to stall the game with smaller spells like Concussive Palm, and once you got a leveled Karma on board she will duplicate your removal and it will be much easier to go through a Deny. Be mindful that they can Hush Karma at the start of their all-in turn to prevent you from duplicating your counterplays. If you aren’t able to wait for leveled Karma, you can also try to force them to use Deny so they run out of answers before you run out of removals.

  • Difficulty: Even.
  • Mulligan for: Eye of the Dragon, Vile Feast, Concussive Palm, Vengeance, The Ruination, Go Hard.
  • Gameplan: This deck will try to build a strong board and snowball it out of control with board-wide synergies. Try to contain their development as much as possible. They rely a lot on their champions, Miss Fortune in particular, and you must prevent her to level up. Never forget they can rally with Relentless Pursuit, and be very careful about Ranger’s Resolve. During the end of midgame they will start to run out of resources, and a well-timed The Ruination will often be the best way to close out the game. Once you took control, there is not much they can do.
    My version of the Spooky Karma is not optimized to play against Scout, and if you face a lot of them I would suggest looking at the Build section to find some ideas.
  • Difficulty: Even.
  • Mulligan for: Eye of the Dragon, Go Hard, Health Potion, Vile Feast, Grasp of the Undying, Withering Wail. If you already have a good hand you can keep a Vengeance for Gangplank.
  • Gameplan: This is a very aggressive deck, so look to every possible early play you can get. They tend to develop a wide board of small units – Withering Wail can do a lot of work. Grasp of the Undying can be a very powerful card, but be very careful to not play it when they could use Noxian Fervor as an answer to prevent you from gaining HP from the drain. If you manage to deal with their aggressive early game, you will be in a favorable spot but they still can put a lot of pressure in the mid-game with leveled Gangplank or Captain Farron; in these cases, your healings and hard removals will be very valuable.
  • Difficulty: Favored.
  • Mulligan for: Withering Wail, Vile Feast, Eye of the Dragon, Go Hard, Grasp of the Undying, Vengeance.
  • Gameplan: This deck is very aggressive and will look to swarm the board with a lot of small units to allow synergies with wide boards like Arena Battlecaster, Crowd Favorite, and Vision. Think twice before giving them the priority – you might want to proactively remove their board, so they can’t play a big Crowd Favorite. All spells doing small damages will be extremely useful at answering their gameplan, Withering Wail being the most impactful. Grasp of the Undying is also very good at removing Draven, or even Jinx if they can’t level her up (or if you have a 1 damage spell to back it up).
    Their backup plan is to play an unanswered leveled Jinx – she will close out any game with the extra draws and Mega Death Rocket!’s if she stays a few turns on board, so be mindful about that and try to always have an answer ready for her. Deny is a great answer to Augmented Experimenter’s effect, to prevent them from fueling back their hand.

Difficulty: Unfavored.

Mulligan for: Vengeance, The Ruination.

Gameplan: This deck will look to build a board of wounded units and gain advantages out of healing synergies, and often win through the alternative win condition of Star Spring. This matchup can be difficult for 2 reasons: you don’t have ways to remove Star Spring (unless you get Crumble or Singular Will out of random cards), and a lot of your damaged-based removals are very hard to use in this matchup – cards like Withering Wail or Go Hard will often only give them more wounds to heal. However, The Ruination and Vengeance are very strong against their gameplan, and if you can break their momentum right before they generate too much value out of their synergies with a well-timed The Ruination, it can win you the game. Vile Feast, like other damaged-based removals, is very bad in this matchup by itself but can find great uses in breaking Bastion’s SpellShield when you use Vengeance or The Ruination. When you don’t have control over the game, don’t try to attack their Nexus: it would activate their Broadbacked Protector, giving them more wounds to heal.
If you want to learn more about that deck to understand it more, I wrote an in-depth guide about it a week ago.

Difficulty: Even.

Mulligan for: Vengeance, Lee Sin, Deep Meditation, The Ruination, Karma.

Gameplan: Deep has now gained a new powerful card, The Slaughter Docks, that increase their consistency at reaching Deep early while giving them more threat density. But this matchup is still manageable, and Lee Sin can help a lot once he levels up.
They have 2 ways to win the game against you: through board dominance with Sea Monsters and Nautilus, or through Maokai’s level up. To avoid getting kills by their Sea Monsters, Vengeance and The Ruination are very good tools. Both will allow you to deal with Nautilus, and The Ruination will punish any overcommitment. Stuns can also allow you to gain some time and delay the danger if needed.
Maokai’s level up is also very strong because of the mill. To beat it, you will need a Karma in hand and a way to get a Karma on board (another Karma or The Rekindler if a Karma is already dead). Once they level-up Maokai, you’ll be able to play get a Karma on Board and then use Karma’s Insight of Ages, creating 2 new Karma in your deck and allowing you to never run out of cards. Go Hard can also help you to never die to the mill, though your deck will be only composed of Go Hard and if your opponent still has a lot of resources it will be hard to win only with 1 Go Hard per turn.
If you manage to counter their win conditions, you can kill them with Lee Sin or even let them die through the mill – they run out of cards pretty fast because of Toss. If you want to kill them through the mill, remove their champion so they can’t use their champion’s spell to cycle back a champion into their deck. You can also Deny Nautilus’s Riptide.
Avoid playing Karma into Devourer of the Depths – if she gets obliterated, you won’t be able to bring her back with The Rekindler. Play her when you have an answer to Devourer of the Depths’ ability, like a way to damage it so its health goes below Karma’s. You can also use a Vengeance or Deny to protect her, but those are more valuable – Deny can be used to counter Shipwreck Hoarder’s Treasure spell.

Difficulty: Favored.

Mulligan for: Lee Sin, Karma, Vengeance, The Ruination, Deny, Deep Meditation, Vile Feast.

Gameplan: This midrange/control deck relies on its champions to gain advantages, and if it’s not enough will finish the game with the powerful 7+ cost celestials. Heimerdinger is rarely a big problem because the turrets are small or easily removed with your numerous 1-damage removals, and you can threaten him pretty easily with Lee Sin. Vi is also pretty easy to remove with a Vengeance or to delay with stuns. Even if you give her some turns she takes time to become threatening as long as you have a blocker. The Celestial threats are a bit more resilient and dangerous thanks to their Elusive keywords and SpellShield/resilience. However, leveled Karma allows your removals and stuns to go through it, and even if you don’t have Karma you can break SpellShield with smaller spells. If things ever get out of control or they commit a lot of resources, The Ruination is a great answer. Avoid playing Lee Sin into a good Thermogenic Beam. Deny is great against the Invoke removals (Falling Comet, Supernova…). Some versions run Bastion, so try to play around it when you can.

  • Difficulty: Even.
  • Mulligan for: Withering Wail, Go Hard, Vile Feast, Grasp of the Undying, Concussive Palm. You can keep Vengeance or The Ruination if you already have a good hand.
  • Gameplan: This aggressive deck relies on its powerful Nightfall units and champions to out-tempo you, and has a lot of draw effects to keep getting new threats in the mid to late game. Its champions, Diana and Nocturne, are very representative of the deck: very powerful, but also fragile. Your removals line up pretty well with their threats – your 1-damage removals are great against their onslaught of Stygian Onlooker and Lunari Duskbringer, and can deal with their numerous 2-health units, and Grasp of the Undying can deal with bigger units like Nocturne, Diana, or Crescent Guardian. Try to have an answer if they protect their unit with a Pale Cascade.
    However, this matchup is not easy because they have a lot of value with Stalking Shadows, Unspeakable Horror, and Pale Cascade. So, even if you deal with their threats cleanly, they’ll keep playing new ones for a very long time, and they can make you run out of good answers, forcing you into uncomfortable spots. Be also careful about their reach: Stalking Shadow and Fading Memories, in association with Doombeast, can give them a very high amount of burn. In the late game, leveled Karma with Withering Wail is often the best way to get full control of the situation.
  • Difficulty: Even.
  • Mulligan for: Vengeance, The Ruination, Vile Feast, Eye of the Dragon.
  • Gameplan: This deck can start applying some pressure with its early units and strong removals, and curve it out into very powerful threats in Swain and The Leviathan. Try to contain their early game with your small removals, and be ready to remove every Swain and The Leviathan they play with your Vengeance and The Ruination. Riptide Rex is their most annoying threat – even if you remove it cleanly it will still either gain them a lot of tempo by removing your board or deal you a lot of Nexus damage.

Conclusion

That’s all for this very interesting deck! I hope you found everything you need in this guide, this guide was requested by a lot of players and I put a lot of work into it so I hope it will meet the expectations! If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comments below or in this dedicated Reddit post! 😄

If you like my content and don’t wanna miss out on anything, I use my Twitter account to share things like decklists and performances, and let people know when I publish a new article! 😉

Thanks a lot for reading me! 😉

Agigas

I am a master player since Beta, with several #4 peaks and tournaments win (EU DoR 2, NA DoR 13, GiantSlayer). I am also TSM/Blitz.gg LoR consultant. I love writing guides to share my experience with the game with the community!

You may also like...