The Fangs

Top 4 Decks for Day 1 of Patch 3.13.0 (Gnar Monkey, Nightfall, Ashe LeBlanc, and Celestials!)

Hi everyone, den with some theorycraft! With the massive Patch 3.13.0 going live later on today, everyone expects the metagame to be impacted, at least a little. The majority of the community will be on the lookout to see how dominant the new Kai’Sa and Bard will be after this patch, as their nerfs will likely be the biggest impact of this entire balance update. Other decks have received direct buffs and could be in line for some long awaited recognition.

Bandle City, the Celestial package or the now customary Ashe LeBlanc archetype are amongst the notables buffs in this patch. However, I believe there are other archetypes to explore in addition to these tomorrow, and hopefully help Legends of Runeterra find its way to a more balanced metagame. This article is not aimed at telling you what will be the best deck for day 1 of the patch. Rather, I tried to focus on various synergies which look to be worth exploring now that the biggest hurdles are out of the way. Still, if you are feeling competitive, I’m sharing my view on which decks I would bet to be dominant early on in the closing words.

With that out of the way, let’s talk decks!


Gnar befriends some monkeys

I’m well aware the current trend for the Monkey archetype is to play it alongside Teemo. However, I believe Bilgewater has a very good 1 drop in the form of Shellshocker though Yordle Grifter isn’t so good of a 4 drop. To be fair, if Blighted Ravine didn’t get nerfed, it would be in the deck over the Grifter.

With Gnar being slightly buffed in the patch, and the archetype looking promising already, I fully expect the Monkey archetype to have a shot at being a reasonable deck in the next metagame. Especially in the early phases of testing, the aggressive start and focus on the enemy nexus should be able to get some cheap wins.

I know this first entry isn’t so creative, considering the deck is already quite a popular pick nowadays. However, I don’t see many options in order to test Gnar considering neither Frejlord nor Bandle City received anything impactful to the champion in the patch note.


Nightfall finally has a fighting chance

At its core, Nightfall is an off-tempo aggressive deck, looking to develop some pressure while setting up powerful synergies for the upcoming turns. With Kai’Sa and Bard ruling the metagame lately, the planning for later turns never stood a chance. With that, this patch should likely slow down the metagame, which could be great news for a deck looking to build incremental damage before going for a big offensive. The change to Duskpetal Dust might be anecdotal down the line, but it could also have some impact on the open attack capacity for Nightfall.

Mainly, a card like Moonlight Affliction could benefit a ton from the new and improved Duskpetal Dust. This simple interaction opens up some new patterns, where the deck would set up its attack during the opponent’s turn for an open attack when getting the token back. In the past, the deck was forced to play a card before attacking as a way to enable the Nightfall effect of its spells during the attack.

In order to make use of this “new” interaction, I feel like Nightfall might adopt a much more aggressive mindset compared to older builds, skipping entirely on more expensive units like Cygnus the Moonstalker or The Winding Light.


Ashe LeBlanc gets help, again!

With both Harsh Winds and Bloody Business being buffed, it feels only logical to think about Ashe LeBlanc and their connection to the reputation mechanic. While Harsh Wind could push the duo to a more standard build, the change to Bloody Business makes me think we want to reach to Reputation’s requirement as fast as possible – and who better to accomplish this feat than an army of Yetis?

Compared to a more traditional Ashe LeBlanc deck, the Yeti archetype is looking to be very straightforward in its approach: We focus on getting the Yeti snowball going first, then consider our other options. In this strategy, both champions are not required to do most of the heavy lifting, like they would otherwise in other Ashe LeBlanc archetypes. This alleviates the problem with both champions having quite low health counts, and allows focusing on their high roll potential rather than their survivability.


Bard joins forces with the Celestial army

With Bard’s nerf, I don’t expect him to be making an impact in midrange strategies like the champion has been until now. However, I don’t think Bard has become unplayable either, even if skipping 2 turns of Chimes hurts quite a bit. With the buff to Starbone and the revert to Starshaping, the Celestial synergy obviously looks improved with the patch. Considering this Targon mechanic always pushed for a slower, grindier play style, I think it could fit well with Bard’s new identity.

We accept to suffer during the early part of the game, mostly chump blocking with Byrd, the Bellringer or using our nexus health as a resource. After that, this deck looks poised to dominate once it gets going and manage to stabilize its health. Value wise, Targon always has been a premium region thanks to generating a ton of cards through the course of the game. With Bard and Starbone joining forces to buff our side of the battlefield, even our cheapest Celestial unit could represent a big threat down the line.

The big question mark for this deck are the defensive tools in order to stabilize as quickly and efficiently as possible. The newly buffed Cosmic Binding might be a nice addition, but Celestial Wonder gets the nod for Allegiance purposes. Adding chunkier units could help fight potential aggression early on, making Mountain Goat or Solari Sunhawk appealing 2 drops. Starry Scamp could also provide a bit of tempo
as it should consistently cost 0 in this deck. As for the healing part, I’m counting on Starshaping’s buff and The Fangs to be enough, as it feels like Sparklefly would be very slow to grow big enough with the new Bard.


Closing Words

With small changes to a lot of different archetypes and synergies in Legends of Runeterra, it feels like this patch could take the metagame in many different directions. To be honest, I don’t believe most of the help Bandle City received will matter much, and the nerf to Papercraft Dragon feels like a much bigger deal than all the buffs the region received.

Evelynn also received a bit of help, but needed a ton of it in my opinion, and considering how far she is currently in the competitive rankings, one can only dream of seeing her again until she gets a complete overhaul. In the end, I truly believe the nerfs will be much more impactful than the buffs. It is in the opportunities opening through Kai’Sa and Bard being less prevalent that we should see the true change in the metagame. Mostly I’m very curious to see what control archetypes can achieve now that all three of their worst match ups (Kai’Sa, Bard, and Thralls) have been nerfed.

As such, I would put my money on Feel The Rush or Heimerdinger Jayce to be some early contenders in the future environment. Maybe Deep could benefit from having more time to develop as well. These decks should also benefit from the expected surge of aggressive decks, as they haven’t suffered anything major in the patch.

Have a build you want to share with the community? Feel free to post it on our Discord! As for myself, you can get in touch through Twitter, either tagging me on your posts or through direct message.

Good Game Everyone,

den
den

Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yugioh and then Magic. Hearthstone has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. Although it took him a bit to get into Legends or Runeterra, his EU Seasonal Tournament win was the perfect start to get involved in the community. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on the game. Find him on Twitter at @den_CCG!

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