Hi everyone, it’s den at the desk, with a few theorycraft builds I thought were worth sharing for anyone looking to have fun early on in the new Forces from Beyond expansion.
As a disclaimer, I didn’t build any of these decks with the intent to be super competitive, but rather explore some new concepts or cards from the Forces from Beyond expansion. In a few days, Sorry will write an article about the best performing decks from the first few days of ladder, so for today, let’s focus on the fun discovery aspect!
Something I liked a lot in the new batch of cards is the support a lot of archetypes received through the variety non-Champion support cards. Obviously, Kai’Sa, Gwen and Evelynn are looking great to play with and explore in various archetypes, but I’ve always liked being able to look back in time and finding enjoyable archetypes that were not playable in the past.
I hope all those decks might spark your interest, so let’s get to the decks!
Yasuo, competitive at last?
Yasuo has been a fan favorite for a very long time now, but the unreliability of its decks has always kept him out of competitive play. With the addition of Windswept Hillock, a lot of players believe that problem might be fixed.
There are a lot of decks that could be built around Yasuo now that we have a much better chance of drawing into the card. Yasuo Leona and Yasuo Malphite were two builds I have seen a lot while doing research on which decks were featured by the community.
I decided to go with Kennen, in a build reminiscent of the previous Kennen Ezreal build. With Ezreal being nerfed recently, the archetype lost the little popularity it had and disappeared. Yet, I believe Yasuo can be a great ally to Kennen, using the Mark of the Storm to clear the opposing board rather than just stunning units. The 4 mana champion serves as a great lategame support to the deck, opening the way to the opposing nexus as we remove or stun the opponent’s board.
Also, with Yasuo being an Ionia card, it opens up for a different region to splash in the deck (Ezreal forcing us to go with PnZ). I naturally went with Golden Aegis, as Rallies tend to be the best complement to a board based deck. If Yasuo indeed allows us to dominate the board, we should be able to find great opportunities for attacks, which will also generate more Marks of the storm on the way.
Frostbite turns to the undying wolves
The Frejlord – Noxus pairing is the obvious frontrunner when we talk about the Frostbite archetype. Yet, Ashe and LeBlanc never really made it as a great deck in the previous metagame, even with buffs the deck received in the previous patch.
In Forces from Beyond, the other way to build Frostbite received a lot of help, the addition of Frozen in Fear and Cracking Ice looking massive in my opinion. With new ways of freezing opponent’s and another card summoning a Rimefang Pack, the deck gets some help on both key parts of its synergy.
In this take of the Frostbite archetype, we are taking things much slower, looking to build the size of our future Rimefang Pack through frostbiting opponents. Ashe becomes the centerpiece of the synergy in the deck, representing both a way to frostbite opposing cards, but also a win condition once leveled up.
Alongside the Rimefang Denmother, Ashe represents the perfect card to revive with The Harrowing, as we should get a mix of big Rimefang Packs and leveled up Ashes to create an impossible to block army.
This archetype never really caught fire in the past as it always felt too weak, both in the way it pressured the opponent, but also in its defensive mechanics. Up until very late in the game, Zombie Ashes tends to be very slow and prone to lose to a regular flow of damage.
In this revisited build, the Rimefang Pack should help us bring pressure earlier in the game, forcing the opponent into a defensive stance. Also, I find the addition of Cracking Ice to be a huge one, as it has a ton of synergies in the deck:
- You can do it at the end of your attack turn to prevent the opponent from being able to open attack. Against aggressive decks or with challenger units, we can slow down their attack and find time to play Icevale Archer for even more freeze, or simply play more blockers.
- You can do it during your non-attack turn, so you can open using the Rimefang Wolf to remove a unit, or simply have another opposing unit unable to block if you have a leveled Ashe on board.
I don’t believe the archetype will go from zero to a top tier metagame in Forces from Beyond. Yet, diversity in the game also comes from being able to revive former archetypes that were left for dead for years. As such, seeing another way a building the Frostbite archetype should at least make players happy, especially considering the success of Ash LeBlanc in terms of popularity.
Shen finally has enough support?
Shen might be the champion which received the biggest support in the last month. Buffed in the previous patch to be granted the Barrier Keyword, Shen now receives 2 new cards with Moral Support and Kinkou Student.
I won’t lie, the Demacia pairing alongside Jarvan IV is naturally feeling like the go-to option when trying to insert Shen back in the metagame. Personally, I believe this ship is long-gone and Demacia has much better options to build around with Bard or Taric for example. As such, I tried to get a little creative in the way I would use Shen, and insert the card in the support mechanic alongside Lulu.
The big problem of the support mechanic currently is the weak units that represent its core. Indeed, without Mountain Sojourners to allow for a massive buff to our board, it is difficult to bring enough pressure onto our opponent.
The Barrier keyword is looking absolutely perfect to protect our rather weak units until the point they can grow out of control. And even without the Mountain Sojourners, a leveled Shen could represent a good enough win condition in terms of how much damage it develops on our board with the additional 3 points of attack to units with a barrier.
While building around the barrier mechanic, a second potential win condition arises with Greenglade Caretaker and Fae Guide, both cards feeling quite natural in the deck. The idea is to naturally grow the Greenglade Caretaker through the course of the game, and then grant her elusive for a massive blow to the opposing nexus.
Outside this specific use of both cards, I believe they can simply help the deck perform. The Greenglade Caretaker often becomes a must remove target for our opponent, and the Fae Guide can be used to grant Elusive to Lulu, Shen or the Moutain Sojourners as a way to protect them when attacking.
Gwen is the best Viego support in the game
The logic behind this deck couldn’t be simpler, and the few people I talked with about the builds I was going to feature all told me the same thing: Why would you mix both synergies, aren’t they already are good on their own?
Well, first, why not? Also, both synergies are looking to naturally fit together. Viego requires seeing 20 points worth of power die, and the Hallowed synergy buffs the attack of the most left attacker. In my book, the Hallowed synergy might allow to turbo Viego’s level up while being able to pressure the opponent with Gwen and her synergy. This gives us access to 2 very different win conditions, one being the Hallowed synergy overwhelming the opponent, and the other one being Viego ruling over the board.
The other reason I want to try this deck is because of Supercharge, which is looking to be way too good of a card. As the Hallowed synergy allows growing a unit to high counts of attack, being able to grant the Overwhelm keyword could represent a ton of damage. Also, thanks to Spellshield being attached to the card as well, we can use Supercharge to protect our champions from removal spells too. With Viego already being associated with Shurima, I felt it was a good starting point for the deck.
The big problem in this list is the disposable space we have in our deck, both synergies being quite demanding in terms of card slots. I had to sacrifice the Invasive Hydravine, but figured that Gwen represented just as good as a win condition in the lategame. The Dancers are looking like they provide a similar value while contributing to the Hallowed synergy, but I’m not closed to making the switch for the Invasive Hydravine after more testing.
Pantheon Yuumi turns to the Shadow Isles for help
This deck isn’t my idea, it comes from Trec, a close friend from the CCG world, who tried this archetype back when Pantheon was first released. While he flopped hard back then, he saw a lot of potential for Starhound Pack and Mikhael’s Blessing in the deck.
Without Demacia’s combat tricks and rallies, the deck is obviously less explosive, and will rely on slowly growing out of proportion rather than trying to turbo Pantheon’s level up and attacking several times with the champion.
In this iteration, we are fine taking things slow. Starhound Pack makes the deck competitive against slow strategies, the card coming in addition to Pantheon as a lategame threat thanks to retaining its buffs. And Shadows Isle allows us to have some lifesteal potential with the Darkwater Scourge, a card I can’t wait to land a Mikhael’s Blessing on.
Overall, the deck will probably be a gimmick because of its lack of flexibility, for example in the removal department. But just as Cithria, Lady of Clouds, managed to push an archetype, one can wonder if growing huge units might not be good enough at times.
Eternal Dancers unlocks a new One Turn Kill (OTK)
This is another concept I didn’t come up with, I only helped refine the final decklist. This one comes from YGOreturns (fitting username!), a Twitch viewer hanging out in chat while we were reviewing the cards with friends.
The concept of this deck is to combine Eternal Dancers with Lamb’s Respite so they cannot die on the turn. Upon attacking with the Eternal Dancers, we revive Ruined Reckoner, which created a new Midnight Raid and this can go on forever. As the Dancers cannot die, the opponent will eventually run out of blockers and lose. In order to get to this point, we obviously need to draw into our 3 key cards, but also get at least one Hallowed unit die, so the Eternal Dancers reach 4 attack and are able to revive the Ruined Reckoner.
The rest of the build was centered around card draw and removal, which felt the safest route to our combo. Obviously, the balance in between how much draw and removal we want will depend on the upcoming metagame.
As more Legends of Runeterra expansions are released, I feel like the amount of new cards we get aren’t enough to create a big change in the metagame. Once again, the “How are we going to take the best decks down?” tune is tossed around on social media, players being worried that Bard or Thralls will gate keep new decks from being competitive.
I akways like to see an old archetype being supported, as a way to offer a “new” possibility with just a couple of cards rather than printing 25 to push a brand-new archetype. I also believe all 3 new champions are bringing unique flavors to the game, although for now, It’s really only Gwen which caught my deckbuilding attention.
Raphterra has also shared his best decks from his Early Access to the expansion – you will find there other archetypes I didn’t explore myself.
Combined, our articles represent 11 new decks we think may be fun to try in Forces from Beyond, and I’m sure other options are still left to explore. Not all of them will be competitive, for sure, but it doesn’t take more than a couple of decks to shake up a metagame.
Good game everyone,