Top 6 New Decks of Day 1 of Patch 3.17 – The Darkin Saga: Domination

Sorry shares 6 of the best decks on the ranked ladder from day 1 of The Darkin Saga: Domination expansion

The new Expansion-The Darkin Saga: Domination is out and we have three new champions joining the Runeterra roster. Varus, Vayne, and Seraphine are now in the game, along with many new support cards!

Patch 3.17 didn’t only contain new cards but also a nerf to Nami. The champion has dominated both the ranked ladder and the tournament scene, turning Nami Lee Sin into the best deck in the game. Nami now only gives +2|0 stats, which likely will kick the fish out of the meta.

It’s been a day since the expansion dropped, and players have been in their experimental phase trying to figure out the best builds for the new champions. Today, I’ll feature six popular new decks that were played on the first day of Patch 3.17.

Seraphine Aphelios

The Seraphine Targon version performed well on the first day. Seraphine was paired with Aphelios, that looks to generate value with his Moon Weapons in the early game while also working on leveling up Seraphine.

Both champions work hand in hand to get the most value out of each other. Seraphine’s ability means you’ll be able to cast a New Moon Weapon twice! This means Infernum can become quite a powerful play, giving +4|2 stats and an Overwhelm keyword for only 2 mana. A leveled-up Seraphine can also turbo-level up your Aphelios, which can later become quite bothersome for your opponent and even a win condition on your side of the board.

Fanclub President is one of your strongest cards in the deck as the cards it manifests can come in handy depending on the situation of the game. It’s an adaptable card, and the mana reduction down to 2 means the manifested card will synergize with your Seraphine.

You’re basically looking to run your opponent out of value and win the board. They’ll have to commit resources to deal with your champions and once those resources are done, either Seraphine or Aphelios can dominate the game.

Vayne Pantheon

Vayne Pantheon found the most success on the first day of the expansion. This exact list managed to hold a 65% win rate on the ranked ladder!

The Targon Demacia Fated deck was already a top-tier deck on the competitive ladder, but Pantheon was paired with Fiora. Players have replaced Fiora with Vayne and added a couple of new cards to the list, like The Darkin Aegis and Bloodcursed Harpy.

Your main focus is to target a unit once every single turn in order to level up your Pantheon as soon as possible. If you have a Saga Seeker on the board, you’ll be able to buff up the unit by activating the Fated keyword, later turning it into a win condition if not answered.

Vayne offers the Tumble card that activates Fated and also contributes to Pantheon’s level-up condition. Moreover, the Tumble’s main purpose is to add pressure on the opponent. It sets up an attack by one of your strong units, and if that unit has the Overwhelm keyword, it can become a win-condition play.

The Darkin Lodestone is a neat tool to target units and buff them up. However, the equipment can later be played as Horazi, which sets up strong attacks with its supported unit.

A leveled-up Pantheon can potentially take over the game. The randomly generated keywords can be too difficult for your opponent to deal with, and the Tumble Vayne provides, will set you up for more than one swing with your Pantheon.

Akshan Varus

Players paired Varus with different champions in an attempt to find the best duo. Kayn, Riven, Pantheon, and Akshan were all solid candidates to pair with Varus.

I decided to feature the Shurima Akshan version as it was the most popular on the first day of the expansion, and I even took the deck for a test run!

Similar to all Akshan decks, you want the champion on the board as early as possible to work on Warlord’s Palace‘s condition. The list includes The Darkin Bloodletters and Swinging Glaive, which accelerate the landmark’s condition.

Momentus Choice is the strongest cheap spell in the deck! It provides two triggers for your landmark and Varus’ level-up condition. A versatile card that can be played either offensively or defensively, and it helps you draw Varus early on as it counts as two Cultist spells.

While you work on leveling up Akshan, you’ll be advancing Varus’ level-up condition as well. A leveled-up Varus can become a win condition with the additional damage he gains from The Darkin Bow and the Overwhelm keyword. The Expanse’s Protection gives you an extra layer of protection with the Spell Shield to keep Varus alive during his attack.

Although Blooming Cultist costs 3 mana, the Attune and Elusive keywords compensate for its cost. It’s technically a 2 mana unit that can chip Elusive damage and lower your opponent’s Nexus health enough for Varus to end the game. Additionally, playing equipment on Blooming Cultist can set up stronger attacks.

Vayne Gwen

The Gwen Demacia concept isn’t new at all. However, the archetype never really found success, and it vanished from existence. With the addition of Vayne and a lot of new support cards, players have picked up the archetype again in an attempt to make it stronger.

Vayne Gwen uses the Hallowed keyword and Vayne’s Tumble to put pressure on the opponent on both attack and defensive turns. Gwen can be annoying to deal with due to her Quick Attack keyword and the slow burn she deals to the enemy Nexus. The Tumble helps you level her up faster, turning Gwen into a threat as her small burn damage now packs a punch.

The Demacia region offers Golden Aegis as well, a Rally card that lets you set up strong swings and accelerate the game to your favor.

Gwen isn’t the only target you’re looking to start an attack with. Eternal Dancers can be a solid attacker as it revives your strongest ally in the attack phase, creating a powerful attack.

Seraphine Viktor

Bluegod from the America shard piloted Seraphine Viktor on the first day of the expansion, managing to hit an over 70% win rate with this list.

The control value deck looks to generate a lot of spells while working on leveling up Seraphine and buffing up Viktor with the generated keywords.

Viktor and Seraphine synergize with one another as the created cards help level both champions. Viktor’s Hex Core Upgrade contributes to Seraphine’s level-up condition as well.

Once leveled, Seraphine becomes a pure value engine, empowering your New cheap spells. You’ll be able to outvalue your opponent and force them to commit their resources to deal with Seraphine.

In the late game, Viktor will become your win condition. The generated keywords turn him into a threat difficult to answer especially if he gains either the Overwhelm or Elusive keyword.

Back Alley Bar is an expensive landmark to play, but its effect does wonders for the deck! Making cards cheaper in your hand means that you’ll have more plays in one turn, and those spells might fall into Seraphine’s ability range, allowing you to squeeze more value out of them.

Kayn Varus

The two Darkin champions team up! Kayn can be drawn from the deck after playing three cultist units, whereas Varus can be drawn after three cultist spells are played. The origin effect means you’ll always have a champion in your hand, ready to join the board.

Both champions can act as win conditions. Kayn will most likely be your first champion to level up. Furious Wielder can accelerate Kayn’s level-up while also dealing with a unit on the opponent’s side of the board.

In most scenarios, you’ll choose the Rhaast transformation. Rhaast can put a lot of pressure on the board, pick off units, and push Overwhelm damage. It’s difficult for your opponent to deal with Rhaast through sheer units, he will force a removal spell out of them.

As for Varus, he’ll take a while to level up, but once leveled, your champion can push a lot of Overwhelm damage with his ability, setting up a powerful attack that could close out the game.

Moreover, Headless Ressurection allows you to redevelop a champion after they’re killed. It sets you back on track, forcing your opponent to find another answer to your champion.

Finally, Utter Devastation is basically a The Ruination that keeps your Darkin and Equipped units alive on the board. It’s an expensive spell but can win you the board if you manage to cast it.

Closing Words

The experimental phase has been tons of fun so far! All three champions feel powerful in their own way, especially Vayne and Seraphine.

Nami’s nerf gives players a breath of fresh air, allowing them to test out new archetypes without Nami dominating their games. Remarkably, Annie Jhin has found success again. The old aggressive deck managed to stream-roll the new archetypes, and it seems we’ll be seeing a return of it on the ranked ladder.


Alaa "TricksterSorry" Yassine is a competitive Legends of Runeterra player. His passion for card games ignited in his youth with favorites like Yugioh and Pokemon. Currently, he dedicates himself to achieving professional excellence in Runeterra, while also creating informative video and written content for the Runeterra community.

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