If you’ve been following this website for a while, you should know that talking new cards and building decks with them is my favorite thing. And once again, that is exactly what we are going to do here today!
In this piece, I’m going to explore four different archetypes featuring the newly released champions: Viego and Akshan. These newcomers are looking like some very flexible ‘chess pieces’. Viego seems like a great fit for midrange and control strategies, and Akshan is an early threat who can also act as a support with his Warlord’s Palace and Warlord’s Hoard landmarks.
So without further delay: let’s get into it!
Despite several consecutive nerfs, Thresh Nasus still remains in contention for the Tier 1 status. However, the deck did lose a bit of its firepower and now feels slower out of the gate than before.
During the spoiler season, I’ve seen a lot of players come to the same conclusion as I did: Viego shares a lot of qualities with Nasus. However, where they differ is that Viego wants to slowly assert the dominance and gain value once on the board, while Nasus is actively looking for the immediate win once in play.
The deck above is essentially a rework of the current popular build of Thresh Nasus that goes Viego’s way.
We are still playing a midrange deck, capable of dominating the board early and curving out towards bigger threats as the game progresses. The Slay mechanic is still around and so is Atrocity, Rite of Negation, as well the staple SI draw package.
With Viego, we can take on almost any opponent in the late game – and we will not be afraid of that battle. The inclusion of The Rekindler will give us a great late-game capacity against most opponents trying to wage a resource war.
Soothsayer, a card that has never found a spot in Thresh Nasus, looks more promising now as Viego with Spellshield might be only described as a nightmare for your opponents.
Akshan is a champion that is easy to imagine as a support in many various shells.
The most obvious one to me is the Reforged build alongside Riven. It provides plenty of cheap, Burst or Focus-speed spells that can target allies, as well as some solid, tempo-asserting units – it doesn’t get much better than this in order to help Akshan level up.
The deck relies on a simple concept: play the tempo gameplan, help both of your champions level up, and look for the kill once you’re ahead enough.
But that doesn’t mean Akshan will be bad – Quick Attack is the best keyword to exploit alongside the Vulnerable tag, which we have many ways to apply.
The rest of the build focuses on combat support and maximizing damage with Overwhelm units, either through buffing them or removing their blockers during the fight.
As I’ve said in the first deck segment, Viego is not only a solid mid-game champion, he should also absolutely crush in most late-game fights. And if we are going for that late game, we can add another champion who is famous for her affinity for long games: Karma.
In the spirit of the classic Spooky Karma deck, this list wants to stay alive, keep the opponent at bay, and eventually reach Enlightened status – for that late-game punch either with a flipped Karma or a buffed Viego.
The main concern I have about this list is how often will we be able to flip Viego with it – we don’t have that many units to sacrifice. The Eye of the Dragon and the capacity to protect Viego with Ionia spells should help a lot in that task. The Dragonlings are also a great way to consistently spawn the Encroaching Mists.
Overall, we are looking at a Spooky Karma variant here, where Thresh has been replaced with Viego for a bigger mid-game, but at the cost of worse defenses. However, a lot of Ionia spells have been buffed recently, which should help a ton with that lowered defensive stability of the archetype. For example, the Twin Disciplines are now perfectly set up to help us abuse the Rivershaper in order to draw spells.
Obviously, this archetype will evolve over time as all control-oriented decks always need more time to become refined.
When Empires of the Ascended expansion was released back in March, the players ventured to explore a new version of the Lee Sin combo deck that traded Targon for Shurima’s Lucky Finds and the Predict mechanic. It didn’t really work out at the time, but with Akshan added into the mix, Shurima Lee might finally become relevant.
Just like any Lee Sin deck, we are looking to slow down the pace of the game early, dig through our deck while evolving Lee Sin, and set up our win condition.
While the conventional Targon builds have a lot of support in the deck in form of Gems and the Lifesteal, as well as various interaction and stall tools, Shurima brings a combo approach to the forefront that puts the emphasis on Lee Sin, and now Akshan as well!
I have my doubts about this build since in the past Lee Sin decks felt the best better when they had enough ways to interact with the opponent – and this will always be better enabled by Targon.
But as time passes, and the deck finds new ways to get faster and more consistent with its combo, it might eventually put it in a spot where it can go the opposite route – avoid the interaction and go all-combo. At the bare minimum, this turn of events will punish control decks, which could be a nice angle to attack particular metas.
Both Akshan and Viego are highly synergistic champions, who require you to carefully build your decks around them. It will take time and tinkering to find optimal lists around them. Rest assured though, they both look like they have enough power-level (and fun-level!) to them to be played a lot and eventually find their way into a competitive deck or two.
Talking about competitive, I will be in this Friday’s Fight Night Europe tournament, and I’m gonna bring some spice – maybe even some of the decks that were featured in this article. You can follow the course of that competition here.
Also, if you would be looking to get competitive yourself, feel free to reach out for some coaching. You’ll be able to find me on Twitter or roaming the channels in the RuneterraCCG discord. Wishing you a ton of fun with the new cards and as always:
Good game everyone,