The Butcher of the Sands is Here! Renekton Breakdown and Ratings
It is the moment we have all been waiting for. The next region being added to Legends of Runeterra is Shurima and we officially have our first glimpse at what it will be bringing to the game. I am honored to break down the first batch of cards, and I am so excited to talk about everyone’s favorite crocodile, Renekton.
I do want to preface this discussion; we have seen very few cards from Shurima as a Region. It is immensely difficult to accurately rate cards when we know very little about the Region as a whole. That being said I will do my best to make bold predictions based on what we do know. Let’s dive in!
Here is our rating scale:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, proven itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes.
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes.
- 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes.
- 2.0: Can be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks
- 1.0: Doesn’t find its place in the meta.
Renekton – 4.0
Not only is Renekton the first champion we get to see from Shurima, but he is also the first character with the ‘Ascended’ trait, which we know can achieve Level 3. O
On paper, he looks like a much better Shyvana. Overwhelm is really great and when you do get to challenge opponents, Renekton gets quite a stat buff. He doesn’t have Challenger naturally, so you will have to work around that by applying Vulnerable or granting him Challenger. And looking at his Level 2 and Level 3, that effort could be very worth it!
Renekton could easily become a massive staple in various Overwhelm decks, even if you are only leveling him up to Level 2. An 8/8 on-attack with Overwhelm is nothing to laugh at.
The biggest problem with Renekton will be very similar to the issue with Shyvana and a few other champions. They really only function to their maximum potential when you have the attack token. Yes, Renekton can level up while dealing damage defensively, but he only gets his stat buffs and the power of Overwhelm when attacking. This is very limiting, but I believe he can overcome this.
Later I will break down how to get to Level 3, which is no easy task, but obviously, that is a good thing since Level 3 Renekton is one of the more absurd cards in this game. The stats he has here are insane, but I really want to touch on his ability. This is a skill that works on-attack, but it also triggers when blocking (actually the first-ever ability that does that). That is a very cool mechanic that I hope we see more of in the future.
Ruthless Predator – 2.5
Speaking of ways to allow Renekton to challenge opponents… here is Ruthless Predator.
This happens to also be Renekton’s champion spell, and it has some obvious synergy with him. Playing this on Renekton will allow you to challenge a unit of your choice and have a stat line of 8/5. This is even possible on turn 4 – if you have 2 spell mana ready to go.
This seems like a staple for Renekton, and could even see some play elsewhere as well because making a back row unit vulnerable at Burst speed while giving one of your units some extra power to trade up is extremely valuable.
Baccai Sandspinner – 2.0
This card really interests me. 5/3 for 4 is not terrible stats, but the ability here is what draws me.
On-play you can grant an enemy a permanent debuff of -1 power and Vulnerable. This allows you to trade very favorably while on offense. The persisting Vulnerable plus Renekton remains here as a synergy as well, which could be a part of a really strong archetype once we see what else Shurima has to offer.
This unit could also fit into various other combat-oriented decks, but I doubt he sees a ton of play in some already existing archetypes.
Exhaust – 3.5
Here we have a new speed which spells can be played. ‘Focus’ is now the term that will be given to spells like Gems. Essentially they can be played at Burst speed but not as a response to a spell or while in combat.
Exhaust is the first collectible card with this speed. This is a VERY powerful pre-combat trick. We do need to remember that Vulnerable only has value when you have the attack token, but this card allows us to trade up in insane ways.
This not only allows you to pick what you want to get rid of but also protects the unit you are sending into combat. That seems very important for a Champion like Renekton who needs to survive and deal 12 damage in order to level.
Quicksand – 3.0
Quicksand is another combat trick at Burst speed for 3 mana. It is a sort of a combination of Hush and Flash Freeze, as it reduces the power of a unit and also gets rid of keywords for the time being. This essentially is a semi freeze and a semi hush, which can be really strong in certain situations.
Now of course there will be moments where Hush will do things that this cannot, but still, this appears to be a solid combat trick at the very least. We will have to wait and see what other tricks Shurima gets to see if this will get a lot of play or not.
Buried Sun Disk – 2.0
I absolutely love this landmark. A restriction to build a mono region deck is very intriguing, and also having a card that will start in your hand is a very cool all-in mechanic.
Since we know only of one ‘Ascended’ unit right now, it is extremely difficult to judge how this card will play out. What we do know is that the archetype it fits in will be very narrow, since it will only see play in 1 region.
We can also judge what Level 3 Ascendeds are like when we look at Renekton. It appears like they are just game-ending monsters. They are on a very similar level to some of the really high-end Celestial units, but even a bit more outrageous than some of those too. If there are other Ascended units like this, obviously playing for this condition will be a solid archetype people will try to make work.
Esteemed Hierophant – 2.0
This is an extremely narrow card that only has synergy with one card, which also demands its deck to be mono-Shurima.
That being said, it appears like this card will be great in those decks, and it even has a reasonable stat-line as well.
We really can’t give this anything higher than a 2.0 because even if it finds its place in the meta, it will be forced into just 1 deck, based on what we know currently.
Golden Ambassador – 3.5
I love when new Regions drop and we get to see what the Allegiance unit will be and what flavor it will bring. The Yordle Grifter and the Mountain Scryer both brought some serious firepower when they dropped, and the Golden Ambassador is keeping that tradition going.
The stats are a bit lacking but the effect is massive. Getting card advantage is always good, but when that draw is one of the best cards in your deck while also buffed, it can quickly get absurd. Obviously, you need to be playing a mostly Shurima deck for this to consistently work, but you could also splash for various champions. Certain champions will be really hard to deal with when they get a +2/+2 buff, like Teemo for instance. On the other hand, the one Shurima champion we have seen so far with Overwhelm would absolutely love this buff to help him level quicker, survive, and put more pressure out.
Voice of the Risen – 1.5
We do not have a ton of units in this game with static effects, but I am happy we are getting another.
Again I like the idea of cards being better if you have successfully leveled up a champion. It is a really cool flavor that is very unique to Shurima.
Voice of the Risen will provide a board-wide buff that should include herself as well, giving you a bit more offensive and defensive power. This is a pretty strong effect but right now I can’t see this finding a spot in any deck. I think in most metas you need your 4-drop to not hide on the back row, but actually have an impact in combat.
Ascended’s Rise – 2.0
Without knowing any more Ascended units other than Renekton, it is almost impossible to judge this card.
To me, it has the vibe of something like Pack Mentality or Give It All. It is a high-cost Slow spell with a potentially very powerful effect. Obviously leveling up a champion without having to meet its condition could be insanely strong, but most of the time these cards rarely see competitive play.
I will say that this one has piqued my interest more than something like Mind Meld did when that first dropped, but I am keeping my expectations low.
Raz Bloodmane – 2.0
This is the highest costed unit we have seen from Shurima so far, and it appears to be pretty solid.
Whenever it attacks, it will debuff the enemy units by 2 power, allowing you to trade more efficiently into them as your units survive. But this card also has Fearsome, which obviously has amazing synergy with the ability it comes with.
This along with a few other cards from this reveal that reduce the power of units makes me wonder if Fearsome will be a solid chunk of Shurima. Another region with access to that keyword is always welcome as I personally love playing Fearsome decks.
Rite of Dominance – 1.5
There is one more mechanic I want to discuss that is sliding under the radar on this spoiler day, and that is the mechanic of destroying your own mana crystals.
Other games have had similar mechanics before, and I am very glad we are getting something like this here. It is sort of like in Shadow Isles where your units have value just as targets of other things that want to kill your units. Now your mana crystals have an additional value that you can decide when to use.
This makes for some unique decision-making moments of when to sacrifice some of your own tempo. Obviously, this card has great synergy with Fearsome of some of the self-sacrifice of Shadow Isles, but outside of that, there is not much here (yet!).
Unworthy – 1.5
Going off of what we know now, this card does not seem super playable. 2 mana for a Slow speed spell that reduces 4 power is not that appealing.
The more intriguing portion of this is the fact that if you do have less mana crystals then you actually get to kill that unit instead. This is a pretty interesting mechanic if we see more cards that destroy our own mana crystals, but it also has some value versus Freljord if they are ramping.
Still, with what we know now, I have to keep this rating pretty low.
This brings us to the end of the first batch of reveals. With what we have seen so far we can start to piece together a really solid look at what Renekton will have to offer. There are already numerous decks I want to try with him, and I can’t wait to see what other support he gets in the rest of Shurima.
Beyond just Renekton, we can see other archetypes starting to surface in this region. There is an obvious focus on champions as core region identity and even an underlying focus on debuffing your opponents and some Fearsome units. All of this seems so much fun to build around and I can not wait to get my hands on it comes March 3!