Hi everyone! In this theorycraft piece, I’d like to share ideas worth exploring once we finally can get our hands on all the new cards coming with the expansion, The Darkin Saga: Awakening.
Obviously, the new Equipment mechanic should be the big thing to explore in the early days of Awakening. Considering there are 3 champions (Jax, Ornn and Kayn) related to the new Equip keyword, the ladder could be popular with decks built around these, at least until we can figure out if they are strong enough to stay.
However, the new expansion is also introducing some tools for a ton of different synergies, reinvigorating my interest into many dead archetypes! As such, expect to see a bit of everything in this article, from decks that seem logical to build, to attempts at high rolling the hell out of my opponent.
Also, Raphterra will be publishing a similar article, sharing decks he could play on the test server ahead of the official release, so make sure to check his piece for even more ideas!
Disclaimer: This is not a try at guessing the best meta decks emerging with the expansion.
Norra is a dirty high roller
While Norra could push a good Bandle Swarm deck thanks to her Mysterious Portal synergy, reminiscent of the Lulu-Jynx or the Tristana-Demacia archetypes, she doesn’t look like a champion satisfied with summoning just 2 or 3-Cost units, and I fully support this decision.
In this deck, we are looking to turbo level up Norra through summoning created by allies using Haunted Relic, Vile Feast, Elise, Crawling Sensation and Grandfather Fae. Once Norra is on level 2, we will simply look to use the portal synergy to summon as many 4, 5, 6 or 7-Cost units as we can, and overwhelm the opponent this way.
Iron Forged Fiora
I know Mono Fiora is the archetype that always promises, yet never delivers. But considering Demacia and Frejlord got a lot of new toys to play with, especially when it comes to growing units out of proportions, it seemed fit to at least try to do something with it.
What I am most excited here, is the Time and Dedication card we can generate with Favored Artisan or Ornn’s Forge. Alongside Demacian Steel, the deck could finally have a way to not go back to square one every time Fiora gets dealt with. Instead, we could have a nice Equipment waiting in hard and immediately growing our new Fiora to a decent size.
Outside the vital added survivability to our key card, being able to grow Fiora’s attack also strengthens cards like Single Combat or Judgment, that also become much more effective as Fiora gets bigger.
Master Yi + Lee Sin
This archetype probably is one of the most self-explanatory on the list, Master Yi and Lee Sin sharing a common love for decks aiming to play spells. While Lee Sin never really found a second champion from Ionia for his deck, usually being paired up with Akshan from Shurima or Zoe, Aphelios from Targon, Master Yi’s arrival opens the way for much more flexibility regarding the second region.
Considering Lee Sin still loves to make use of the Overwhelm Keyword, Master Yi shouldn’t be too bad at using it either. I decided to go with Noxus as the second region, because the Great Hammers look like the perfect equipment for the deck.
Outside of both champions, the card can also work with the Dragonling from Eye of the Dragon, and trigger Entrancing Lure‘s draw condition. It feels so good in the deck, and it may even edge out Soul Sword, which looks like it was created to go in such builds.
The last card in the deck is Whispered Words, because drawing is nice in a Lee Sin deck!
Taarosh is a damn good win condition
The Slay archetype has made a triumphant return lately, posting one of the best win rates in the last couple of days. Well, it might just be the beginning, as I anticipate The Darkin Halberd to be another boost to the synergy.
In this build, I tried to maximize our chance to reach turn 10 and being able to summon Taarosh and use it as our big finisher. Down the line, having Nasus in the deck could be even better, as it would mean the opponent has another thing to deal with even they want to stay alive.
Gameplay wise, I expect the deck to play a control gameplan, using The Darkin Halberd to grow its units, forcing the opponent to take action against them and slowing down their progression. The card can also be used for champion’s protection, as a 6|5 Kindred or a 5|8 Thresh looks like hell to remove with damage based spells.
The other card I am really curious about is Quietus, a very cheap removal which could the downfall of a ton of low attack units like Elise, Ahri,
Kayn Jarvan IV
Kayn is honestly a difficult champion to work with so far. The Cultist synergy is looking nice, but also quite small to be able to push a complete deck and only look for support from the second region. However, I believe Kayn can be a nice champion to work around, if the metagame happens to be unit focused. Alongside Jarvan IV, Kayn should receive plenty of support to be exploited, both in order to level up quickly, but mostly for its
As always with Jarvan IV, the most difficult part is to find a way to level up the champion reliably. In that regard, we have the usual Challenger units, which should be able to pick their blockers. But mostly, I expect great things from Ranger-Knight Defector when it comes to forcing blocks and surviving it.
The rest of the deck is support to this core of units, in the form of the usual Demacia suspects (Sharpsight, Cataclysm and Golden Aegis) and the newly arrived Equipment package with Demacian Steel, Catch! and Furious Wielder.
Jax and the multi-region madness
I’ve had a friend try to convince me that Jax Bandle Tree could be a thing, considering all the five Weaponmaster units combined were covering the 10 regions. I didn’t buy into his idea, but I recognize Jax has a strong multi-region side to its synergy, and it could be something to consider.
While I find it difficult to find a win condition to the deck outside Jax snowballing out of control or Tristana receiving Overwhelm through an equipment, hence the inclusion of Shell Game to help in that regard. I think Jax should end up in a deck with similar play patterns, looking to quickly get on the board and harass the opponent with Quick Attack units.
Through the Improvise synergy, this deck has a lot more gas than it looks, and should be able to pressure the opponent for quite some time if they cannot wrestle the board back. Otherwise, the play patterns are looking quite simple, we are looking to maximize the use of Jax and Tristana’s passive abilities and keep the pressure on the opponent, who hopefully won’t be able to keep up with our equipped units.
While it shouldn’t change the play pattern of the usual Timelines deck too much, Frejlord and Piltover & Zaun received several cards that feel like they make a lot of sense in the deck.
First, The Improvise units (Piltovan Castaway and Combat Cook) work perfectly with our featured card, as the equipment will be on the units we pick after the Concurrent Timelines have resolved. Then, because of this equipment synergy going on, we can splash Ornn in the deck as the last champion, something that the deck struggled to find up until now.
With Vi in the deck, Revna, the Lorekeeper, and the equipment we can use to manipulate our unit’s attack, there is a fair chance we could level up Ornn. I don’t think there is enough to justify running more than one copy of the forge god, but I like it as a potential late game bomb.
As always, the community has been buzzing with ideas around the newly released cards, and it looks like this expansion created a lot of hype around them. I personally love the theme and several synergies that are being pushed with these new cards. I had a lot of fun with this article, both creating decks from scratch or browsing the hundreds of creations I could find online.
As a result, if nothing on this list might look interesting to you, I’m sure you will be able to find some spice amongst the creations of all the other players.
Want to share your day 1 creations or combos? Feel free to join our community Discord!
Good game everyone!