Hello, Agigas here! Now that a very exciting spoiler season has just ended, I wanted to review some of the most promising cards that are coming.
In the end of the article, I’ll also give my rating for each card of the expansion.
This is of course a pretty speculative article – some of the new cards are going to surprise, while some others will disappoint. But still, we can already start forming some early conclusions to get a good start in the upcoming season.
Summoning two bodies instantly is something we’ve never seen before on a 1-cost unit. The stats he provides are also good! Dunekeeper is a really impressive card, and will be very strong on the offense – he pushes up to 4 Nexus damage – but also on defense to create 2 bodies in 1 action at a cheap cost.
Dunekeeper is looking to be the premium Shurima 1-drop, and I expect him to see a lot of play. He might really help hyper-aggro strategies, but should also fit outside of them for any deck looking for a 1-drop. He also finds extra synergies with the Sand Soldier archetype, Ephemerals, swarm, and synergies involving units dying (like Lucian or Kalista).
9. Spirit Fire
Spirit Fire is a premium board-clear. It will help you survive the opponent’s attack, and is a great removal, especially against board-swarm strategies.
This spell being castable at burst speed is the icing on the cake. Its cost is expensive, but the effect is strong – we’ve seen how much a spell like Withering Wail can impact the meta.
8. Ice Shard
Ice Shard has a pretty impressive effect for its cost. Dealing 1 damage to everything is a great way to completely stop swarm strategies, and you can combine it with other damage-based spells to remove bigger units.
Ice Shard looks like a great fit for control Frejlord decks, and could also help to bring some life to the Crimson archetype.
7. Blighted Ravine
Blighted Ravine is very comparable to Avalanche, which is a premium control spell. The heal 2 (heal 4 but then deal 2 to your Nexus) is an important upside, and getting the board-wipe effect only after the turn ends can actually be a big upside.
For example, if you play Avalanche during your turn, the opponent can re-develop a board and open-attack on the next turn. Blighted Ravine doesn’t allow that because it will also deal damage to the units your opponent plays AFTER you played it, encouraging him to not develop any more units.
6. Ancient Hourglass
The cheap cost is very relevant to this kind of reactive spells, because it allows you to tap lower on mana every turn without giving the opponent the opportunity to remove your unit when your defenses are down.
Ancient Hourglass however is a bit less flexible than those spells and does remove your own unit for the turn, so it won’t help you for example to secure a lethal. I’m still confident it will sway many games thanks to its lower mana cost.
5. Rite of Negation
When compared to Deny, Rite of Negation does have an extra cost – but it can often be mitigated, either by sacrificing a very weak unit while the opponent is tapped down or mostly by paying the mana gem cost once you’re late into the game (or when you’re playing Rite of Negation to end the game immediately).
Its upside – being able to counter multiple spells and skills at a time – is very important, especially for proactive archetypes that can force the opponent to put several reactive spells on the stack during your attack step. Rite of Negation will be a key spell of the new region, and while it is meta-dependant, it will incentivize the opponent to play around it even if it’s not in your deck!
4. Rampaging Baccai
Rampaging Baccai is looking very strong and should be featured in a lot of Shurima decks! He has good stats for a 5 drop, the Overwhelm keyword is a nice addition, but what really makes him shine is his ‘Play’ ability.
Rampaging Baccai comes with a Single Combat attached if you’ve slain 4+ units, which doesn’t look like a hard condition to meet even when your deck isn’t particularly built around it. This ability makes him a perfect 5-drop to remove the opponent’s early champion while developing your own board.
Over the past seasons, Overwhelm clearly stood out as an offensive keyword, and numerous aggressive archetypes emerged as an answer to it.
A 4/4 Overwhelm for 4 mana is already something worth looking at for that kind of decks, but Renekton also brings a very valuable self-buff when he challenges a unit, allowing him to push even more Overwhelm damage.
His level up isn’t easy to achieve, but Renekton becomes a terrifying Overwhelm threat once the transformation is complete. I expect Renekton, alongside some other cards, to make Shurima one of the premium regions for the Overwhelm archetype.
Kindred is an impressive value engine, which tends to be a recipe for success. Even without considering their level up, the value, control, and tempo they bring are impressive.
Slaying 1 unit is a very easy task, and you can use a small removal to deal with the weakest enemy so Kindred remove a bigger one. Kindred really shine when they can remove the opponent’s champion without even putting themselves at risk.
While their level up doesn’t bring that much more, it still offers a considerable boost to finish the game, especially when considering that Kindred remove chump blockers with their ability.
Kindred have some flaws, as they are somewhat slow and can be a bit clunky because the opponent still has the rest of his turn to use the marked unit, but overall Kindred is looking like the strongest champion of the expansion.
1. Ruin Runner
Ruin Runner is an impressive Overwhelm unit, and I expect her to really push the Overwhelm Aggro Shurima archetype on the top.
Spellshield makes her very hard to stop, and 6 attack with the Overwhelm keyword is a lot.
Spellshield also makes her a perfect target for buffs to help her survive and push even more damage.
Some cards I couldn’t fit it into my top 10, but they deserve a quick mention because they will also impact the meta:
- Concurrent Timelines: This card has a very strong combo with Commander Ledros (or Corina Veraza) – it has a 50% chance of transforming them into The Dreadway, with their skill still on the stack. It’s also an interesting card outside of the combo. I choose to not include it because of its hit-or-miss nature – it will either from an entire deck around itself or will not see any play.
- Penitent Squire: Impressive 1-drop. The stats alone are already great, but the ability alongside it makes it a very powerful card. I didn’t include it because it’s a bit niche and isn’t gonna have a huge impact by itself because it’s a 1-drop enabler, but it’s definitely up there power-level-wise.
- Golden Aegis: Golden Aegis is very similar to Relentless Pursuit, but also has some added utility at a reasonable mana cost, making it less of a brick in bad situations. It very likely already has a home in Fiora/Shen, a deck that should stay in Tier 1 in the upcoming meta.
- Whispered Words: a very powerful draw option for a region that lacks one. Can be used for its full cost, or for its Reputation cost in more aggressive decks looking for some refill.
- Lissandra: Lissandra is pretty impressive especially for a low-cost champion, she has a lot of impact on a long game. I didn’t feature her because she looks slightly behind in terms of power-level when compared to the cards in the top 10, but she will definitely see some play.
- Jarvan IV: Jarvan will really shine in the right situation and is likely to see play. However, he is slightly behind the featured cards because he has some weaknesses (stuns, occasional awkward play patterns).
- Taliyah: Taliyah does look quite powerful in the right set-up. However, I do think she is a bit too situational and it might be hard to build a deck with a cohesive gameplan with many landmarks.
- Sivir: The combo of Spellshield and Quick Attack makes her a threat. Her level-up condition doesn’t look hard to achieve over a game, and once she does level-up she becomes a powerful anthem effect. However, to level her up you might have to trade your board therefore the anthem effect might not go on a wide board.
Conclusion: Complete Expansion Ratings
This concludes our ranking of the most promising cards of the expansion! I believe there is a lot of firepower there, enough to bring some fresh air to the meta. Overwhelm with Shurima is one of the stand-out archetypes to me, but there are a lot of other decks that should emerge as well.
If you want to check out my ratings for all the cards of the expansion, you can find all of them below!
|Renekton||4.0||Good stats + Overwhelm will for sure see play.|
|Sivir||3.5||Pretty good but could struggle to find a good shell.|
|Taliyah||3.5||Strong but pretty situational.|
|Nasus||2.0||Legion General 2.0, really underwhelming.|
|Azir||3.5||Very powerful champion but might struggle to find a strong shell.|
|Rite of Calling||2.5||Good option for a sacrifice deck.|
|Ancient Preparations||2.5||LoR is all about snowball, and Countdown is a huge downside.|
|Baccai Reaper||3.5||Good aggressive 1-drop for a deck able to make him grow fast.|
|Dunekeeper||4.0||Premium 1-drop, both great on offense and defense.|
|Bloodthirsty Marauder||2.5||Decent aggro 1-drop.|
|Buried Sun Disc||2.5||Shurima alone doesn’t look to have enough cards yet to support a cohesive mono-region archetype. Does have a lot of potential for when the number of Shurima cards will increase.|
|Destined Poro||1.5||You need to level up your champ extremely fast to make it worth running.|
|Exhaust||3.5||Premium spell to remove opp’s key unit in unit-based decks. Looks really good with Overwhelm.|
|Shaped Stone||2.0||Needs a specific shell, and most landmark decks probably aren’t looking for a combat trick.|
|Stoneweaving||1.5||Most landmarks are not good outside of their dedicated shells.|
|Ancient Hourglass||4.0||Very good protection spell, even if it means you can’t use your unit for the turn.|
|Emperor’s Dais||2.5||Pretty good enabler for the right archetype, but doesn’t achieve much by itself and its shells aren’t looking good.|
|Aspiring Chronomancer||3.5||Good body + Predict is good. Really interesting for control or combo.|
|Hibernating Rockbear||2.0||Countdown means you let the opponent snowball, and it’s useless if you draw it too late. Needs a specific shell.|
|Payday||2.0||Adding 1 keyword for a card tends to be bad. Flexibility probably won’t make up for it. Could find some uses in specific shells.|
|Preservarium||3.5||Awesome draw card for spell-heavy archetypes.|
|Rock Hopper||2.0||Very underwhelming.|
|Ruinous Path||2.5||Good card but might struggle to find a spot in a deck.|
|Ruthless Predator||3.0||Not that good but can find strong shells that want it.|
|Waking Sands||1.5||Bad card.|
|Devoted Council||2.0||Only interesting vs aggro.|
|Esteemed Hierophant||2.5||Vanilla units don’t progress your gameplan, Badgerbear never see plays nowadays.|
|Inner Sanctum||2.0||Adding 2 keywords allows you to build a unit for the situation, but might struggle to find a spot into a deck.|
|Khahiri the Student||2.0||Vanilla units don’t progress your gameplan.|
|Quicksand||3.5||A bad Hush that can be used as a combat trick. Good but far from Hush’s flexibility.|
|Sai Scout||2.0||Landmark deck won’t make very good use of the elusive keyword.|
|Unraveled Earth||1.5||Expensive cycle, needs a very specific archetype.|
|Xenotype Researchers||3.5||Strong build around for a deck able to control which units are getting the buff and tutor them!|
|Arise!||1.5||Find uses but very over-costed.|
|Baccai Sandspinner||2.5||Grant Vulnerable and -1/-0 is pretty good, but utility spots are pretty limited in decks.|
|Sandcrafter||2.0||A decent unit, but at this cost the board-swarm archetype should be looking for payoffs.|
|Desert’s Wrath||2.5||Interesting card for the Sand Soldier archetype helps to quickly ramp up the pressure and damage.|
|Callous Bonecrusher||1.5||No offensive keyword.|
|Desert Naturalist||3.5||Strong landmark removal, strong in a landmark deck.|
|Golden Ambassador||3.5||Very strong but could struggle to find a deck, depends on mono-Shurima’s viability.|
|Promising Future||2.0||Situational, need a lot of setup and a shell. Maybe could enable some combos but probably not worth.|
|Rite of Dominance||2.0||Fast speed makes it decent to cast during combat.|
|Salt Spire||1.5||Countdown is a massive downside.|
|Voice of the Risen||2.5||Pretty good anthem effect for a swarm strategy, but conditional and situational.|
|Weight of Judgment||2.0||Too situational.|
|Rite of Negation||4.0||A very important spell for Shurima’s identity.|
|Rampaging Baccai||4.0||Good stats, good keyword, and an amazing effect that isn’t hard to trigger.|
|Ruin Runner||4.5||Impressive overwhelm unit, together with Renekton might push Shurima Overwhelm right into Tier 1.|
|Sandswept Tomb||1.5||You need a lot of attacks to make it decent and isn’t that great of a payoff. Scout won’t cut Miss Fortune for it.|
|Inspiring Marshal||2.5||Powerful anthem effect but payoff spots are often very limited.|
|Siphoning Strike||2.0||Pretty bad card but fills a unique role in Shurima, could find a spot in mono-Shurima if it is viable.|
|Khahiri the Returned||1.5||Very weak.|
|Ricochet||2.0||Too random to be reliable and Slow speed. Combos well with Funsmith and maybe Kegs?|
|Ascended’s Rise||1.5||Very slow. Needs to combo with Sun Disc.|
|Boomerang Blade||1.5||Expensive, Slow speed, situational.|
|Raz Bloodmane||2.5||Good finisher for fearsome archetypes, 7 mana unit that needs a board is a lot for an aggro deck though. Maybe with Harrowing?|
|Spirit Fire||4.0||Very good control tool at burst speed, really great vs swarm archetypes.|
|Emperor’s Divide||1.5||Both too expansive and not enough impactful.|
|Sanctum Conservator||2.0||Super-niche finisher. Hard to rate before testing, but I think slaying 13+ units will take too long to make it strong.|
|Sandstone Chimera||1.5||Not really worth considering without a keyword.|
|LeBlanc||2.5||Gonna have a hard time contesting Draven’s spot. Maybe in Ashe Noxus and Reputation deck.|
|Crimson Bloodletter||2.5||A good 1-drop for Crimson synergies, but is in a struggling archetype.|
|Black Rose Spy||3.5||Pretty situational, but being able to copy champions is very impressive. At worst she is a decently-statted unit.|
|Mimic||1.5||Overcosted without Reputation. Reputation decks will have very limited spots for cards that don’t help before Reputation.|
|Thorn of the Rose||1.5||5/1 is not good stats, Guile isn’t a good card. Suffer the comparison with Arachnoid Sentry.|
|Bloody Business||3.5||Very good in a reputation deck, but doesn’t fit everywhere.|
|Shrieking Spinner||2.0||Only useful with Spider Aggro and probably will struggle to make the cut even there because of Crowd Favorite.|
|Sigil of Malice||2.0||Very over-costed early – when your mana constraints are harsh.|
|Whispered Words||4.0||Great refill with an aggressive archetype. Can even fit in less aggressive archetypes for its full cost.|
|Strength in Numbers||1.5||Pretty mediocre card, reserved for a non-competitive archetype.|
|Jarvan IV||3.5||Has a very high potential. However, he also has some lows, especially in some play patterns or against stuns.|
|Battlefield Prowess||0||Probably the worst card in the entire game right now.|
|Dragon Chow||2.5||Pretty good card, but in a struggling archetype. It will also trigger your dragon’s Fury.|
|Penitent Squire||4.0||Very impressive 1-drop and a great enabler. You don’t need a lot of Elites to make it worth running.|
|Honored Lord||2.5||Need the right shell to work, but is worth running if you need elites and can easily give him Challenger.|
|Cataclysm||2.0||Needs high-synergy units to work (Quick Attack, Overwhelm, on-attack effects), otherwise is very underwhelming.|
|Gallant Rider||3.5||Pretty good Elite unit, if you can transform it into a 5/5 Tough early it can quickly dominate the board.|
|Golden Aegis||4.0||Relentless Pursuit + some added utility at a reasonable mana cost, making it less of a brick in bad situations. Already has a home in Fiora/Shen.|
|Towering Stonehorn||2.0||Not very impactful because of its lack of keyword or effects.|
|King Jarvan III||2.5||Hard to rate because very all-or-nothing. Looks too situational for a 7-cost unit.|
|Lissandra||3.5||Tough is a strong keyword, especially early on. She doesn’t level up fast, but it’s not hard either, and when she levels up she is very impactful.|
|Frozen Thrall||1.5||Even in decks it’s good, I’d rather create it than maindeck it.|
|Three Sisters||3.0||None of the 3 options feel incredible overall, but flexibility is a huge upside.|
|Ancestral Boon||2.0||Great with Enlightenment but at that point, you should be closing out the game, not starting to buff your deck.|
|Ice Shard||4.0||Very good control tool vs swarm and combines really well with other damage-based wipes. Very strong in Crimson decks for what it’s worth.|
|Spoils of War||1.5||Underwhelming protection spell in the region that has some of the bests (Elixir of Iron, Troll Chant).|
|Blighted Ravine||4.0||Very comparable to Avalanche, better in some situations and worse in some others.|
|Cold Resistance||1.5||Worse Catalyst of Aeons.|
|Draklorn Inquisitor||3.5||Powerful enabler for your Frozen Thralls, and summon one himself which makes him good value.|
|Entomb||2.5||Not strong, but a rare way to deal with any unit (even if only temporary) in Frejlord.|
|Kindred||4.0||Impressive engine. Sometimes slow/clunky, but powerful.|
|Fading Icon||2.5||Unimpressive but will still fit decks that really want early bodies.|
|Lamb’s Respite||1.5||A combo card, but the combos with it are looking pretty underwhelming so far.|
|Mask Mother||2.5||Decent 2-drop for a sacrifice deck, or for a Fearsome deck looking to do something with a non-Fearsome body.|
|Sea Scarab||2.0||For Deep/Toss archetype, and doesn’t look impressive even there.|
|Song of the Isles||1.5||Can give you a massive heal with a big unit, but there are better options to heal.|
|Unto Dusk||3.5||2 mana draw means it’s never a brick, and there are great nightfall units to target.|
|Soulspinner||2.0||Triggering his effect can be annoying and even then it’s not impressive.|
|Spirit Leech||2.5||Pretty good for a sacrifice deck, could struggle to find a spot though.|
|Spirit Journey||2.5||Not strong, but very flexible (stop an attack, remove buffs or level-up progress, protect a unit, combo with Rekindler).|
|The Etherfiend||1.5||Crumble with a body, too expensive.|
|Shadow Apprentice||3.0||High potential, but might struggle to find a good shell because ephemeral are struggling.|
|Field Musicians||3.5||Very high potential engine. Does not fit into any existing shell but could help create one?|
|Loaded Dice||2.0||Combo-oriented card, will find its place in meme decks but looks too slow and conditional for competitive archetypes.|
|Lost Riches||2.0||Very slow, but Treasures are very powerful.|
|Piltover & Zaun|
|Production Surge||2.0||Every turrets are worth less than their cost.|
|Concurrent Timelines||4.0||The possibility to choose among 3 makes it good in a deck built around it (summon/play effects). Strong combo with Ledros or Corina (can transform into Dreadway).|
|Startipped Peak||1.5||Random instead of Invoke makes it a lot worse, Countdown is a big downside.|
|Destiny’s Call||1.5||Pretty bad, need a strong combo to find a use|
If you have a question, want to share feedback, or want to share your opinion on a card, I’ll be happy to answer you in the comments below and in this dedicated Reddit post! 😉
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