Even though Udyr is in the middle of receiving a Visual and Gameplay Update (VGU) in League of Legends, that is not holding back the Legends of Runeterra team from introducing The Spirit Walker in their game!
Udyr is known for his ability to take different ‘stances’, and how he switches between them for various unique fighting techniques that give him so much versatility. So how does that transition to LoR? Let’s find out! The following is the grading scale I will be using to rank the new cards:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, should prove itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes.
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes.
- 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes.
- 2.0: Could be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks.
- 1.0: Unlikely to find its place in the meta.
Udyr – 3.0
Udyr provides a lot of versatility. He and some of his supporting followers create Stance Swaps that allow you to choose from a wide variety of effects, primarily buffs.
The Bear Stance grants +2/+2, the Boar Stance grants +0/+2 and Regeneration, the Wildclaw Stance grants +2/+0 and Overwhelm. The Ram Stance is the most unique from the Stances as it deals 1 to everything else, including both Nexuses.
These buffs are very substantial, especially in the fact that they grant keywords. Overwhelm can help you close out the game while Regeneration allows you to enable sustainable blockers.
On the surface and by himself, Udyr looks a bit weak – he is 5 mana for just 4/4 in stats with no keywords. He creates a Stance Swap on-summon and on-strike – and if you already have one in hand, the mana-cost reduction will be hugely impactful, since most Udyr decks should be quite curve-focused.
Leveling Udyr to me appears relatively easy. He doesn’t need to be on the board, so he will gain level-up progress naturally while in your hand or deck. Since this package and other existing packages offer a lot of ways to just ping the Nexus, I want to believe you’ll be able to get this done consistently.
The problem is that payoff for leveling Udyr isn’t all that insane. He gets a simple +1/+1 buff for leveling and an addition +1/+1 for each stance you cast throughout the game. Luckily, you can grant him Overwhelm easily!
Overall, I think Udyr has a lot of versatility and can enable its gameplan well. This is all without us seeing another upcoming Freljord champion – Gnar, who I am guessing will pair nicely with Udyr and provide some Impact for the archetype!
I have a lot of ideas about Udyr, some are more generic – in line with what we all expect to be strong, and some slightly weirder decks. The list above falls in the latter category.
This is a very curve-focused midrange deck that tries to apply pressure quickly with a really strong finish. Leveling our champions is very important, so we are utilizing cards like
This also helps trigger our Shaman’s powerful Round End transformations. Combining a strong early game with powerful finishers is a classic approach to the Freljord Bilgewater midrange archetype.
We are lacking in spells and removal options in this deck, but we will be getting some options through the Udyr package. This will keep our hand stocked, and our Stances will help keep our most important units alive, or give us the extra boost of damage to close out games.
Spirits Unleashed – 1.5
As far as champion spells go, Spirits Unleashed is not too bad. But as a maindeckable card, I can’t see this making many lists, even if they go all-in on Udyr.
Not only does this card cost 5 mana, but it is also a Slow spell and also requires you to have a board already to get good value out of.
Hyara Allseer – 2.5
I love the Hyara Allseer. This card obviously fits very well in the Udyr game plan by giving you a free Stance Swap the turn he is summoned. This will help with the overall Udyr plan, but also give him key buffs he needs to get going.
The thing I like most about this card is that it is not forced to be in this archetype. Creating one of these powerful buffs could see play in a lot of different lists potentially, and it still has a decent 5/5 stat-line on it as well.
Vulpine Wanderer – 2.0
This follower will function really well with Udyr. Creating a Stance Swap in hand prior to the champion coming down will allow Udyr to make that spell cost 0.
Outside of this particular synergy, this card won’t see much play because it is very particular but also because Freljord already has some amazing 2-drops.
Shaman’s Call – 2.5
I am putting Shaman’s call at a 2.5 for the same reason I put the Allseer at a 2.5. Since this card creates free Stance Swaps, it can be utilized possibly outside of just the Udyr archetype.
There is also the added synergy of this costing 6, and double-casting it with Jayce seems pretty hilarious.
Wrath of the Freljord – 2.0
Most high-end units like this end up with a lower score since they fill very specific roles or tend to be used for some counter scenarios.
Even though Wrath of the Freljord is only getting a 2.0 according to our scale, it does not mean I think it is bad. This card has an extremely powerful effect, which pairs well with Frostbite.
On top of this, if the new Formidable package becomes extremely prevalent, this card can serve as an amazing counter.
Mammoth Shaman – 3.5
Shamans are very interesting cards. Their triggers sort of act like a Plunder, but they happen at the end of the round. This means you will have to play the card and utilize as-is for at least a turn.
The Mammoth has some weak stats, but once it transforms it can get dangerous quickly. It already has Overwhelm, and will get a +2/+2 at every Round Start. This will trigger on the first turn after he’s been transformed, instantly becoming an 8/8 Overwhelm for just 6 mana! And it can grow!
Murkwolf Shaman – 2.5
This Shaman has the same kind of trigger, but a totally different flavor.
For 4 mana you can end at a 5/5 with Regeneration that also draws you a unit. While this isn’t a win condition, it is a solid and consistent unit that cycles.
Tusk Speaker – 4.0
Freljord has a lot of great 2-drops, but they just got another one.
3/2 with Overwhelm is a solid base for decks that are trying to get damage through. But the Tusk Speaker goes beyond that to deals 1 damage guaranteed to all Nexuses.
This is extremely important for multiple reasons. First, this unit can trigger Nexus damage proc to set up Plunder or give Sejuani and Udyr level-up progress even on defense. Secondly, he can do so before combat, allowing you to get other important procs like Plunder in before you commit an attack.
Expect to see a lot of Tusk Speaker on this new wave of Freljord midrange decks.
I am so excited to dive right into playtesting Udyr on February 16th when Legends of Runeterra’s newest expansion ‘A Curious Journey’ drops!
Let us know what you think about Udyr and his package. Which cards did I under- or overrate? What do you think his archetype is missing that the Gnar might add?
Thanks for reading!