Taric and Targon’s Support Theme: Analysis and Ratings
Hello, Agigas here! I am a Master player since beta with several #4 peaks and tournament wins, and today, I’m very happy to bring you a competitive-oriented analysis of Taric and the other cards Riot revealed in the past 2 days! 😄
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…).
Taric is host to the Aspect of the Protector, wielding incredible power as Runeterra’s guardian of life, love, and beauty. Shamed by a dereliction of duty and exiled from his homeland of Demacia, Taric climbed Mount Targon to find redemption, only to discover a higher calling among the stars. Imbued with the might of a celestial being, the “Shield of Valoran” now stands ever vigilant, against any who would threaten the people of this world.
Taric – 3.0
Taric is a very interesting design as he does almost nothing by himself, but there are a lot of possible synergies in the game!
First of all, Taric stats make him quite resilient thanks to having Tough when attacking and especially since you will cast buff spells on him. If you get some buffs and get your strategy going, Taric can be very hard to deal with and can quickly snowball the game. His power-level ceiling is quite impressive for a 4 mana cost unit!
However, he needs a lot of synergies and set-up to be good. If you don’t have any good spells in hand he is not doing much. He looks quite hard to level up because he needs to be on board for all the time you target/support units. And if he does level up, he becomes even stronger but not game-ending by any means.
The first synergistic use of his Support ability that comes to mind is duplicating buffs. The stronger the buff, the more valuable Taric duplication will be. Permanent buffs are very important because, when you cast a temporary buff before combat, the opponent can chump block Taric and the supported unit, and the next turn the value from the spell will be gone. Blessing of Targon, for example, looks really good with Taric. Archetypes that make great uses of buffs, like Elusive, might be a natural fit for him.
Surprisingly, Taric doesn’t rely that much on having a lot of Support units, as he mainly focuses on duplicating buff spells, and Taric might see plays outside of the Support archetype! However, he still has synergies with the Support archetype, so he can be interesting to this archetype if it plays enough good spells for him. Taric also has synergies with Gem’s, as having a lot of cheap spells that target allies will help him level-up quickly.
Now, let’s talk about a very… intriguing combo. Taric with Playful Trickster. Let me explain: you attack with Taric and the other units you want to attack with. During the attack, you use Playful Trickster on Taric and gain back the attack token. Now, each time you attack, Playful Trickster will be cast on Taric’s supported unit, giving you the attack token once again. You can do this indefinitely as long as Taric survives the attack, and even if he dies during the attack it will still allow you to attack 3 times (+1 attack for each attack Taric survives)! In the case you were winning board or you had some Elusive units, you most likely just killed your opponent in 1 turn, using a combo that is neither too expensive nor too hard to assemble. Also, if Taric is leveled up, he and his supported unit can’t be killed or damaged once he attacks, making this combo very hard to interact with!
Now let’s go through some archetypes that might include Taric. A Support deck could be interested in playing him, but only if this deck plays enough spells that synergize with Taric. Bilgewater could also be an interesting fit thanks to the Taric + Playful Trickster combo. Moreover, Bilgewater has access to Pocket Aces, which is looking great with Taric. It also has Elusive units, so I could definitely see buffs and multiple attacks being very valuable in a Targon-Bilgewater deck! Last but not least, Fizz has a great synergy with Taric: he becomes very strong with buffs, and, like Taric, he benefits from casting a spell before the combat phase. Taric might find a lot more synergies with more reveals, and I think a lot of archetypes could be built around him, as long as they can use good spells to abuse his Support ability.
Overall, Taric looks like a very interesting card and he could create several archetypes! However, the fact that he is very synergy-driven might hold him back. He might be somewhat inconsistent because, without any good spells in hand, he is really not doing much.
Blessing of Targon – 2.0
This card reminds me of Stand Alone and Take Heart, but it is more expensive in exchange for being less restrictive. Without synergies, it seems quite expensive for the stats it gives. However, like other permanent buff spells, its value changes a lot depending on the unit you use it on. For example, it could be quite strong with archetypes that can abuse the stats it gives, like Elusive units, Braum…
Of course, you can’t talk about this spell without talking about Taric! This spell is great with Taric’s Support ability, so it will very likely be played in decks using Taric.
Overall, I think this spell isn’t very strong by itself as 5 mana is a lot. But, with ways to abuse the stats buffs like duplicating or using it on specific units, it might find its place in some dedicated buff decks.
Gem – Non-collectible
This one is not a collectible card so it’s doesn’t have a rating. But, I believe it is important to talk it over, as it is generated by many different cards.
Gem might not look amazing by itself, but being as cheap and easy to get, it has some great synergies with:
- Cards that benefit from casting spells or targeting allies (e.g. Lee Sin, Eye of the Dragon, Fizz, Taric, Arbiter of the Peak…).
- Cards that benefit greatly from gaining attack (Special mention for Braum!) or healing (Special Mention to Vi, she can be leveled up very fast with gems and also benefits from healing thanks to her Challenger/Tough combination).
- Discard effects (like Rummage, Get Excited!, Arena Bookie..) as it is a free discard target, like Mushrooms or Draven’s Spinning Axe’s.
Gift Giver – 2.0
At first glance, this card doesn’t look very impressive. However, it could definitely find uses in decks that have synergies with Gem’s. This card reminds me of Coral Creatures. It is effectively the same cost because of Coral Creatures’ Attune (but this one is better when you are curving out with a 2-drop unit, or already have 3 spell mana), and it also gives a 1-cost spell in your hand. Coral Creatures did see plays in decks that could use the 1-cost spells as a discard target or for its effect, and I think Gift Giver will have a similar role in Targon decks.
Mountain Goat – 1.0
Having only 1 life as a 2-drop is a very bad stat line because of Vile Feast, Make it Rain… And, because this card doesn’t give a Gem when it’s summoned or dies, but when it strikes, the 1 health point stat line makes it far from guaranteed to give you a single Gem!
The case where giving a Gem on strike would be interesting is when this unit survives. And, let’s get this straight: with one health point, this card is very unlikely to give you more than one Gem. It synergizes well with protection spells, so you can use can strike more than one time, but, to be fair, you’ll probably have a way more important target to use your protection spells on.
Unfortunately, I dont believe this card will be interesting, even in dedicated decks that use Gem’s effectively.
Mentor of the Stones – 3.0
Now we are looking at a real gem staple! This card should be used in any deck that uses Gem synergies, creating 3 spells in hand while impacting board for only 3 mana is absolutely HUGE. It allows for a lot of discards and helps spells and target allies synergies to have a lot of cheap spells without losing any value.
Its Support ability is the icing on the cake, making this unit something your opponent must deal with as soon as possible because “Grant” does mean that the buff is permanent. It is unlikely to survive a single attack with its very weak stat line, and it could even die before attacking. But, even if it gets removed before using its Support ability, I think this card is already a great deal: your opponent used a card and mana to remove it whereas you just gained 3 new cards in hand.
It still has a good chance to get one attack in and gives a bonus to another unit. Hence, most of the time, it will not cost you a lot of tempo to play that card. And, in case it does attack and survives, it might even start snowballing the game by itself!
Not only is this card a very good Gem generator and an interesting Support unit, but also a great card that synergizes very well with challenger units. You can use the Support buff to set up favorable trades (you can even heal back the challenger unit later with Gems!), and maybe prevent the opponent’s unit(s) from blocking the Mentor of the Stones, so that it survives the attack and can use its Support buff more than once!
With a lot of possible synergies that are very easy to set up and the possibility to start snowballing games from turn 3, this card is definitely something to keep an eye on!
Shards of the Mountain – 1.5
This is a very unique card. By itself, it is clearly very bad as it costs a lot of mana to use both this spell and the Gems. It also doesn’t actually provide a lot of value without synergies. Yet this card has a very high combo potential.
Creating such an absurd amount of cheap spells can be extremely powerful with another card that can abuse it. Discard might not be the way to go since it would require discarding a lot of cards. Nonetheless, Shards of the Mountain might be quite interesting for cards that benefit from casting a LOT of spells.
The 2 cards that immediately came to my mind are Ezreal, and Arbiter of the Peak.
- Leveled Ezreal can easily deal massive amounts of damage with that card! Though there are some flaws in that combination: so far, Targon cards seem more focused on targeting allies rather than targeting enemies, therefore Ezreal could be hard to level up in such a deck. Also, the fact that you can’t cast Gem to answer opponent’s spells is very detrimental for Ezreal, as your opponent will have the opportunity to remove Ezreal before you can cast Gem. Gem resembles a slow speed spell you can cast several times without passing priority, rather than a real burst speed spell.
- Arbiter of the Peak can easily have its cost decreased almost to 0 in combination with that card. Although casting Gem’s will cost mana, it can still be interesting especially if you have several Arbiter of the Peak and other cards that benefit from casting Gem’s.
Shards of the Mountain is for sure a very interesting card with a lot of combo potential, but right now there aren’t a lot of cards that can really abuse it very well. While it doesn’t look like it could fit in a lot of decks, we should definitely keep this card in mind with new reveals to come!
Tyari the Traveler – 2.0
At first glance, this card doesn’t look that great. 2/2 is a pretty mediocre stat line and it is most likely going to die quickly. Moreover, it suffers from comparison to War Chefs.
However, “Grant” means the +0/+2 effect is permanent. It can be particularly helpful to make a key unit harder to remove and make favorable trades with your supported unit. Even if it dies on its first attack, it most likely has already given you some value. Special mention for Fiora, who could really use all these Support buffs (same goes with other Support units that grant a buff), especially since Targon features a good protection spell in Bastion.
Cards that provide value every attack are good with protection spells, or with challenger units to take opponent’s units out of the way. If it manages to survive one or more attacks and uses its Support ability several times, it can snowball the game pretty fast for a 2 mana unit!
While this card isn’t the next meta-defining staple by itself, it could see plays in decks with Support synergies. Especially with some cards, like Mountain Sojourners, that benefit from having a high density of support units.
Mountain Sojourners – 3.0
This card packs a lot of power! Like Tyari the Traveler, this card grants a bonus, so a permanent buff to the affected card(s). With some other Support unit(s) on the board, this card can snowball the game out of control as soon as her first attack. It looks like a very powerful finisher for the Support archetype once you have some board presence.
This card benefits a lot from protection spells and Challenger units, so you can attack with it while keeping it alive. If you manage to use her Support several times, the value and tempo it will give you will be extremely valuable.
However, 2/5 for 5 mana is a bad stat line, as it needs to attack in order to use Support. Plus, it dies without trading against 5 attack units. It is also vulnerable to Culling Strike, which can destroy it before it even gets a single chance to attack. This card doesn’t help you at all when you are behind and don’t have enough other units on board. Hence, it probably only fits the role of a snowball card, for a deck that imposes a strong early board presence and has some Support synergies.
This card could end up being unpopular if it doesn’t find a good shell: it isn’t very strong by itself because of its terrible stats and the need to attack to be useful. However, it could become an archetype staple for aggro/midrange Support decks. We will have to wait to see how strong the Support archetype gets with the new reveals. Still, this card is a step in the right direction to have a competitive archetype.
Arbiter of the Peak – 1.5
This card is very similar to Plaza Guardian and Scuttlegeist, and both these cards have been struggling. This is the kind of card you can’t play during the early/mid game because it is still expensive. Moreover, once you reach the late game, it is very cost-efficient however it doesn’t have a high enough impact on the game at this point.
Still, this one might find its spot if an archetype using a lot of Gem/Support is competitive. If the deck is capable of discounting Arbiter of the Peak’s cost quickly enough, this card can allow for high tempo plays in the mid-game. It also has a better keyword than Plaza Guardian and Scuttlegeist in most cases.
Bastion – 2.5
First of all, let’s get rid of some misconceptions:
SpellShield doesn’t deny cards like The Ruination, it only makes it have no effect on the unit with SpellShield and this unit only.
While it can find similar uses, it is very different from Deny. It is more comparable to a barrier that protects from spells and capabilities instead of damages. There are big differences between this spell and a Deny: when you use Deny on a spell (let’s say Vengeance), the only option for your opponent is to Deny your Deny if he wants his Vengeance to resolve. Whereas, for Bastion, any spell that has an effect on your unit can be used after you used Bastion to destroy the SpellShield. For our example, if your opponent uses Vengeance and you use Bastion, your opponent can still make his Vengeance resolve by using a spell, like Vile Feast, Make it Rain, Mystic Shot… to break the spell shield before Vengeance would go into it.
In most cases, Bastion is worse than Deny. Bastion also cannot deal with spells that don’t target your units, like Atrocity targeting your Nexus, Warmother’s Call, The Harrowing… It is important to note that it is a situational card, and it will be quite bad against matchups that don’t try a lot to interact with your units by using spells or abilities (e.g. Scout, Endure…).
However, let’s not forget it is 1 mana cheaper than Deny, and each mana is especially relevant when it comes to reactive spells. Plus it is in a region other than Ionia, so it provides some protection without needing access to Ionia. There are also some cases where it works better than Deny:
- Pre-emptive use against Burst spells. This can be useful to prevent Ashe decks from frostbiting your unit on your decisive attack for example, while Deny would be useless in that situation.
- Protecting your threat when your opponent has Deny in hand. If you use a Deny to protect your unit from a removal, your opponent can use his own Deny, whereas Deny has no uses against Bastion.
This spell could very well fit in decks that rely on a key unit. It is very strong with big units because, if your opponent tries to remove them, he would have to use a big removal, so you can gain a lot of value and tempo. The fact that it only costs 3 mana makes it very easy to use: you can cast your unit on curve while protecting it, as long as you have 3 spell manas. I think this spell shines the most when you can create pressure so that your opponent is forced to play his removal without waiting to have enough mana to break the SpellShield as well.
It is a very exciting card as it will create interesting situations and decision-making. Playing around it can be very rewarding if you manage to break the SpellShield with a cheap spell.
That’s all for this reveal! We definitely got a lot of exciting stuff, with Taric, who creates a Buff archetype around him while introducing an infinite attack tokens combo, the interesting keyword SpellShield, that could change a lot of things in the meta and in the way we play, the introduction of the Support archetype, and Gem! There are still a lot of question marks, as we’ve only just begun the reveals, and some of those cards might get a lot more (or less) interesting by the end of the reveal season.
I hope you enjoyed the reveals and this article! If you like my content and don’t want to miss any of it, you can check my Twitter, where I share my best performing decks, my performances, and my new articles and guides! 😄
If you have any comments about the article, any questions, feedback, or if you just want to tell me what you think about the revealed cards, I will be happy to answer you in the comments on this Reddit post! 😉