Twisted Fate Go Hard Deck Guide & Matchups
Hello, Agigas here! I am a Master player since beta with several #4 peaks and tournament wins. I love sharing my knowledge about the game and I have been a regular writer at RuneterraCCG. I write in-depth deck guides, articles for tournament players, and curate our constantly updated Meta Tier List.
Important Note: This guide was written before the Go Hard/Pack Your Bags nerf that happened in patch 2.0.0. Most of the advice in this article is still applicable. However, the patterns of Pack Your Bags play have changed and the actual matchup positioning and percentages may have shifted. Depending on whether TF Go Hard will remain viable in the meta, we’ll update this guide in the near future.
This particular guide you’re reading is the first installment of our brand new series of articles that we’ll be releasing over the course of the next few weeks. We aim to publish a total of 10 deck guides for the most popular archetypes of the Cosmic Creation meta that are aimed to help both ladder and tournament players.
The main focus of these guides will be on exploring the featured decks’ matchups. I will be evaluating how decks stand against each other and assign percentages to determine how favorable/unfavorable particular matchups are. Additionally, I will be providing in-depth advice on how to play out those matchups, how to mulligan, and will be laying out the tech options that exist.
While playing on the Ranked ladder, you can use this advice to strengthen your knowledge and boost your confidence piloting against popular meta decks. If you are a tournament player, the matchup tables provided in these articles will help you build optimal line-ups.
The first article of the series is dedicated to Twisted Fate Go Hard – the deck that in many ways has been the defining presence of the Cosmic Creation meta so far.
Please also be welcome to check out the Fiora/Shen guide, Zoe/Lee Sin guide, Ezreal/Draven guide, and Discard Aggro guide. In the coming weeks, you can also expect to get similar guides for these archetypes: Kench/Soraka, Targon Plaza, Scouts, Ashe Noxus, FTR Control.
Note: as soon as these guides are published the links to them will be added above.
After this 11-guide series is released, we also plan to tie everything together with the comprehensive matchups spreadsheet of Cosmic Creation meta based on the info provided in the articles.
Going forward, I intend to continue writing new guides for other archetypes that were not featured previously and adding them to the series, while also keeping previously published guides updated as much as possible. Over time, the purpose of this series is to include a competitive-oriented guide for every prominent deck in the meta, backed up by an in-depth matchup info.
The idea behind Twisted Fate Go Hard is pretty straightforward: it is a deck that cycles well and gets to cast Pack Your Bags as early as possible (usually it happens around turn 6-9). Besides the cards that accelerate your draw (Twisted Fate, Pool Shark, Fortune Croaker, Glimpse Beyond, and Salvage) you also have Zap Sprayfin who tutors either Glimpse Beyond or Go Hard itself.
Twisted Fate is the perfect champion for this archetype, with his ‘Destiny Card’ ability providing draw and control tools. But more than that, he is also an additional win condition! This deck can level him up very quickly – it is not a rare occasion to watch him flip over the duration of just two turns. Once he is leveled up, Twisted Fate can win games all by himself.
Don’t underestimate this deck’s midrange nature either: with lots of cycling and small units, it’s capable of flooding the board rapidly. Elise is a great champion to help that aspect of the deck. This board presence allows the deck to defend efficiently, all the while lowering the opponent’s health gradually to prep a devastating Pack Your Bags.
- Don’t play out Pool Shark on turn 1. Playing Pool Shark too early greatly increases the chance of drawing a Fleeting card you can’t make use of. Pool Shark is a unit you want to avoid playing before turn 3 (you have a lot of important 4-cost units you can draw into with it). Waiting for even a bit longer than is often advisable.
- Optimize your ‘Go Hard management’. Be aware that every time you play Go Hard you shuffle two copies of it into your decks, which means you essentially increase the chances of drawing Go Hard. Because of that, you want to sequence things right and cast Go Hard before casting card draw.
- Sometimes it is better to hold off on casting Pack Your Bags. You want to play Pack Your Bags as a finisher: build a threatening board, then use Pack Your Bags to clear your opponent’s units. They will have only 1 action to play a unit to defend themselves. This way, you can get a very powerful attack in. Once you’ve transformed Go Hard into Pack Your Bags, your opponent has to play around it. They will slow down or even stop developing units altogether. Because of that, you can take things slow yourself and cast Pack Your Bags only once it really gives you the upper hand.
- Use Pack Your Bags after casting Commander Ledros, if possible. This way you optimize the damage output of your deck. For example, if your opponent has 11 Nexus health points, playing Ledros and then Pack Your Bags would kill them. However, doing things the other way around won’t.
Click on the box to read detailed info about a matchup of choice:
Mulligan for: Twisted Fate, Zap Sprayfin, Go Hard.
- They can’t play around Pack Your Bags very well and it’s hard for them to come back from it.
- The only way they could come back from Pack Your Bags is if you haven’t gotten enough value from it. Don’t rush it, wait for the good moment to cast it.
- They can have a hard time dealing with Twisted Fate. Culling Strike and Trifarian Gloryseeker are their best answers.
- Zap Sprayfin can do a lot of Nexus damage to set you up for lethal, they don’t have ways to block Elusive units.
- A well-timed Reckoning is their best shot at winning the game, be careful and play around it.
- You don’t have good tools to stop a leveled-up Ashe lethal so don’t let her live.
- In the late game, avoid dropping low on Nexus health if you don’t have the tempo – they could burn you out with Captain Farron.
How to tech:
Mulligan for: Jagged Butcher, Dreadway Deckhand, Go Hard, Withering Wail, Twisted Fate; Fortune Croaker – if you have Jagged Butcher.
- In the first few turns take every trade you can and remove as many units as you can to deny them the big Crowd Favorite. You don’t have great ways to remove him, so it’s their best tool to win the game.
- If you are attacking ‘on evens’ and have TF in hand, play a Dreadway Deckhand after their turn-3 attack. The Keg that it will summon in conjunction with TF’s Red Card on turn 4 will destroy their Crowd Favorite plan.
- They have a lot of 1-health units, so Red Card and Withering Wail carry this matchup. Go Hard is also a great way to stop their board from spreading.
- Once you’ve dealt with Crowd Favorite, your main objective is to remove Jinx as soon as they play her. Leveled-up Jinx would win them the game very fast all by herself.
- Vengeance, Go Hard (or better, Pack Your Bags), and TF’s Gold Card are your best ways to remove Jinx. After you’ve dealt with Discard Aggro’s early onslaught, you can start saving those cards in hand as answers for Jinx.
How to tech:
Withering Wail, Grasp of the Undying, The Box
Mulligan for: Go Hard, Elise, Twisted Fate, Zap Sprayfin, Jagged Butcher.
- In this matchup, you want to be proactive and serve the role of the aggressor. If the game goes late and you can’t present enough pressure, they will kill you with Lee Sin.
- Your proactive plan can be slowed down by an Eye of the Dragon and/or a buffed Sparklefly significantly. Don’t give up on trying to pressure them, the number of cheap units you have access to is usually overwhelming for them.
- If you are proactive enough, it will force them to play into Pack Your Bags later.
- On turn 1, Go Hard is a great answer if they start with Zoe. However, don’t pass if you have Jagged Butcher – play him out. If you pass they’ll be fine playing Zoe on turn 2 instead, and you would just handicap your own gameplan.
- Flood the board early to push damage, in the first turns it’s difficult for them to defend efficiently (they don’t want to trade off Eye of the Dragon and it takes time to start generating Dragonlings; they don’t want to block with Zoe; Sparklefly is small and often can’t trade efficiently).
- You generally want to develop before attacking instead of open-attacking – there should be a specific reason to do otherwise.
- If possible, try to make them tap under Nopeify mana before you cast your first Go Hard.
- They usually can’t remove TF without Lee Sin or the 0-mana Celestial follower The Serpent. Playing TF on turn 4 can present them with a real threat.
- Even if they have Lee Sin, it’s tough for them to use all their mana to play him out on turn 5 if you’re also pressuring them on the board. A leveled-up TF gives you an incredible boost in pressure.
- They can slow down TF with Hush.
- If they go below 4 mana with Lee Sin on the board you want to use Vengeance on him.
- If they manage to get to the point where they can kill you with Lee Sin, you still can try to remove Lee Sin with Vengeance/Ruination or to use Glimpse Beyond on the unit he is kicking to make the kick fizzle. But those are dangerous situations if they still have some mana up.
How to tech:
Doombeast, Crumble, Pool Shark, Chronicler of Ruins
The Ruination, Commander Ledros, Withering Wail
Mulligan for: Go Hard, Zap Sprayfin, TF, early units (Jagged Butcher, Elise, Dreadway Deckhand).
- They have no healing, so every point of Nexus damage you deal gets you that closer to a victory.
- Yourself, you can sustain some damage and gain health with Go Hard and Withering Wail. However, if you get too low they get to kill you with Ezreal or Farron a lot easier.
- They can struggle to keep up with your cheap units in the early game.
- Draven is their key early unit. You want to kill him with Go Hard before he does too much damage.
- In the mid-game Tri-beam Improbulator can give them the big tempo-swing. Finding Go Hard before it’s too late is key, so optimize your draw.
- Resolving your Glimpse Beyond and not having it fizzle is very important. The Fast spells to play around are Ravenous Flock, Mystic Shot, Noxian Guillotine, and Stattick Shock. Some versions play Get Excited too.
- Once you find Pack Your Bags it’s time to close out the game.
- As you’re getting ready to cast Pack Your Bags, stop trading units if possible, and assemble a large board of your own.
- If using Pack Your Bags doesn’t set up a lethal immediately, you can delay it and wait for both boards to get bigger. Alternatively, wait for them to play a key unit like Ezreal, so Pack Your Bags has a proper impact.
- To optimize Nexus damage, you can even deliberately hold off on playing Pack Your Bags a few turns and wait for your Ledros turn. However, consider carefully if it is something you can afford based on your current game state.
How to tech:
*There exist numerous versions of Targon Plaza decks, the main two variations currently being Garen/Asol and Leona/Asol. The advice in this section is mainly intended for use when facing the Garen/Asol version. Be sure to make adjustments when playing against another version like Leona/Asol.
Mulligan for: Zap Sprayfin, Go Hard, Jagged Butcher, Elise, TF; Fortune Croaker – if you have early plays.
- During the early game they are very slow; take advantage of this and apply pressure.
- Avoid open-attacking on turns 3-4: you need to put pressure on them, not letting them an easy window to develop The Grand Plaza.
- Glimpse Beyond can be difficult to resolve because of Single Combat.
- They have a lot of healing so you need to keep the tempo up. The transition to the late game will be difficult if you don’t have pressure.
- Be mindful that most versions play 1 Judgment, but Garen’s champion spell is also Judgment.
- However, don’t go out of your way to play around Judgment – only if you have the luxury to do so. Give them too much time – and they will heal out of your reach and dominate the late game.
- In the late game, Ledros + Pack Your Bags will close out matters if you created enough early pressure.
How to tech:
*This matchup is even if you play a version with Kegs and Withering Wail, and very unfavorable if you don’t.
Mulligan for: Twisted Fate, Go Hard, Dreadway Deckhand, Doombeast, Petty Officer, Withering Wail.
- Kegs help you remove their units immensely, and they don’t have special ways to interact with them.
- Always develop before attacking, and attack with every unit that has at least 2 power. You want to push as much damage as possible. If you can force them to block with Fearsome units you can remove them easier.
- You want to proc Jagged Butcher’s plunder effect so he becomes an anti-Fearsome blocker.
- They have no removal. Twisted Fate can level-up and is a key card:
- Twisted Fate’s Red Card can be very impactful, especially with a Keg.
- Their only way to deal with TF is Kalista’s champion spell, Black Spear.
- Don’t block a 1/1 spider with TF if they have 1+ mana, they could buff it.
- When using Withering Wail during their attack, be aware that they can save their units and increase damage output at the same time with Pale Cascade or Mark of the Isles.
- In the late game, you want to play around The Harrowing. Save up Pack Your Bags, The Ruination, or Withering Wail/TF + Keg for that moment, if possible.
- If they have The Harrowing mana, hold off on using Withering Wail until after they’ve declared attackers. This way you’re preventing them from refilling the board that turn.
- Race to finish them off as soon as possible, don’t give them any more time to find lethal.
How to tech:
Gangplank, The Box, Withering Wail
Elise, Commander Ledros
Mulligan for: Twisted Fate, Go Hard, Zap Sprayfin, Glimpse Beyond, Elise.
- Elise and Zap can push a lot of damage with their evasive keywords.
- Twisted Fate can level up very fast.
- Go Hard + Keg or two copies of Go Hard are the easiest ways to remove TF. Avoid casting your Go Hard too early if you lack ways to remove an opponent’s TF that is coming.
- Leverage your Kegs to the fullest – the opponent can’t remove them for cheap at fast speed.
- When their Go Hard is transformed to Pack Your Bags:
- It is harder for them to produce small targeted points of damage. Force them into a situation where they have to use their Pack Your Bags on your not-so-big board.
- Spend your mana on limiting their board rather than expanding yours. You want to have a few units out to defend efficiently – avoid playing into Pack Your Bags you can’t recover from.
How to tech:
Withering Wail, Gangplank
The Ruination, Vengeance
*This matchup is favorable against versions that run Fleetfeather Tracker and don’t have Nopeify.
Mulligan for: Go Hard, Glimpse Beyond, Twisted Fate, Zap Sprayfin; Dreadway Deckhand – if you have Go Hard.
- Fiora is a potent win condition of theirs:
- Glimpse Beyond can slow down Fiora win condition and counteract the value of their Barriers.
- Vengeance is strong but can get Denied and overall has a huge tempo cost. You would also like to have it up for Cithria.
- It can be safer to try and remove Fiora with cheap spells instead (Go Hard, TF, Pack Your Bags) – if possible.
- They can have trouble beating through your cheap units and the constant stream of value in a ‘fair’ game.
- If you manage to prevent Rivershaper procs they can run out of value.
- In the late game try to set up some anti-Fearsome blockers – or Pack Your Bags – for Cithria’s ability.
- Some versions play Nopeify. If possible, use your first few initial copies of Go Hard when they are under 2 mana.
- Be careful to not run into Deny with a big spell like Vengeance or The Ruination. However, if you have several big spells in hand, you might want to force Deny with a first spell to clear the way for the others.
How to tech:
Mulligan for: Zap Sprayfin, Go Hard, Twisted Fate, Vengeance, The Ruination.
- In this matchup, removing Soraka is your top priority:
- Removing her with damage seems near impossible, so your tools to do that are Vengeance and The Ruination.
- The matchup can be very hard when they have Soraka on-curve – your answers for her come late.
- If you can’t remove Soraka, play for the burn plan. Go for Nexus damage and finish with Ledros + Pack Your Bags.
- If they don’t have Broadbacked Protector out quickly, their only other Nexus healing option is Guiding Touch.
- Sometimes you don’t even want to level-up your TF at all – his Red Card accelerates them toward Star Spring win condition.
- Avoid trades and let them fill their board up with small units – these will die once you get to Pack Your Bags.
- Don’t be afraid to let their attacks through – they are not very likely to beat you down, and even if they try to, all you have to is to keep chumping Star Shepherd.
- Big units that survive Pack your Bags and the Star Spring are the two only threats that they have against you.
- When you try to remove a unit, play around the protection spells they could have (Guiding Touch, Pale Cascade, Sunblessed Vigor, Astral Protection, Bastion).
- Withering Wail can be used to break Bastion’s Spellshield.
How to tech:
Crumble, The Ruination
Withering Wail, Petty Officer
Mulligan for: Go Hard, Zap Sprayfin, Twisted Fate, Dreadway Deckhand.
- Focus your efforts on removing Miss Fortune – if you don’t, she will win the game:
- Don’t use Go Hard on Fleetfeather Tracker turn 1, keep it for Miss Fortune.
- They have protection spells (Sharpsight, Ranger’s Resolve, Riposte), it might take more than 3 damage to remove her.
- Most versions don’t have ways to interact with Kegs at fast speed, so those are very helpful to remove MF. If they play a version with Garen they have Single Combat.
- TF’s Red Card is strong, especially with Kegs. Be aware of Ranger’s Resolve though.
- Cithria the Bold can help them to push a lot of damage with Fearsome. Represent The Ruination with 9 mana open on their attack turn so they can’t develop Cithria. Twisted Fate’s Gold Card is another way to stall her.
- If you manage to hold them off as long so that you get to cast Pack Your Bags, they shouldn’t be able to ever come back from it.
How to tech:
Pool Shark, Chronicler of Ruins
Mulligan for: Jagged Butcher, Elise; Fortune Croaker – if you have Jagged Butcher; Go Hard, Zap Sprayfin – if you already have a good hand.
- Go wide as soon as possible to start applying pressure. Elise is a key unit.
- Try to play around their Avalanche and Withering Wail. However, you can’t always play around them, sometimes you got to hope they don’t have it.
- Avoid open-attacking on turn 3 – you would give them an easier time playing Wyrding Stones, Catalyst of Aeons, or even Kindly Tavernkeeper.
- They will struggle to fizzle out your Glimpse Beyond if you cast it on your 2+ health units.
- Playing TF when you have a small board can force them to Avalanche him to prevent his level-up. It will clear the path for you to rebuild and go wide.
- Make Tryndamere level-up to scare them away from Feel The Rush when you have The Ruination mana.
How to tech:
Crumble, Passage Unearned
TF Go Hard is one of the most powerful decks you can find, with a very high win rate and play rate at all levels of play. I hope this guide helped you understand it better!
Like I said earlier, this guide is part of a series where I’ll go over all the top decks in the meta so you have all the resources needed to learn the deck you want and improve as a player. This series is my most ambitious project so far, I hope it will be helpful!
If you want to share feedback, have a question, or want to discuss this guide, I’ll be happy to answer you on this dedicated Reddit post! 😉
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Thanks for reading!