Viego Deserter: a New Way to Play Viego
Legion Deserter raised many eyebrows during reveal season due to his crazy effect. Players started theorycrafting ways to break the card and wondering how his effect worked – and it didn’t take long for the community to point out the synergy with Viego.
A few days into the expansion, a successful list abusing this synergy came up, and it is boasting impressive stats. It uses a Noxus/Shadow Isles control shell featuring Disintegrate and Ravenous Flock in combination with Shadow Isles’s small drain spells both as enablers for these execute spells and to help out in the early game.
It’s hard to not compare this deck with one of the best decks from the last patch, Mono Viego Shurima. Due to the lack of protection spells and Rite of Calling, this deck is less reliant on Viego and plays more like a classic control/midrange rather than a combo deck.
Legion Deserter offers an alternative win condition and a third threat on top of Viego and Invasive Hydravine. After playing a single Camavoran Soldier, the Deserter becomes a 7/6 Overwhelm for five mana – a cheaper Alpha Wildclaw for almost no cost. Any additional mists you summon make him absurd.
Many other archetypes have a game plan that boils down to summoning bigger units than your opponent to then dominate the board, such as Illaoi, Fated, and Bard decks.
But this deck doesn’t only have big units, it also features strong hard removals that don’t rely on your board, like Disintegrate or the more expensive Vengeance. These cards can create huge swings against decks that try to match you on board with stats rather than going wide or trying to remove your threats.
This deck is not helpless against aggressive lists that go wide either. It is very competent in the early game, which, combined with Vile Feast and the new Undergrowth, makes it hard for burn decks to break through, especially because this deck can easily kill out of nowhere thanks to Legion Deserter or Viego combined with Atrocity. With that said there are few flex spots in the deck so if you feel the need you can tech in a few copies of Withering Wail.
Atrocity is another card that gains a ton of value in this list. Legion Deserter adds another good target and his Overwhelm pushes a lot more guaranteed damage compared to Viego’s fearsome. You can also be a lot more careless when sending him into combat.
In a way, diversifying your threats is a way to protect them. If your opponent has to choose between killing a Viego and Deserter it doesn’t matter if Viego dies. The main skill you will need to master with this deck is knowing when to go on the offensive and when to keep your engines in the back and scale up – this will come with time and knowledge about the opponent’s deck.
Elise is a decent champion for SI control decks that need some help in the early game and appreciate her pressure. Her level up is not unlikely so keep it in mind as it can be very powerful to push lethal or control the board.
Katarina’s buff turned out to be quite strong and she is seen quite often as 1 of in lists that run Ravenous Flock and appreciate her extra value and her rallies. This deck appreciates all of these attributes so she fits perfectly.
Talking about tech cards, the most popular list runs 2 copies of Spirit Leech, which I heavily disliked in their place I run a copy of Splinter Soul which can be insane on a Viego or Deserter as their copies keep their buffs, but it also finds good targets in Camavoran Soldier and
On the last spot, I went for Culling Strike as it finds a lot of good targets in the metagame, like Illaoi or Ezreal.
In the mulligan against aggressive decks look for House Spider, Elise,
Against other decks you look for Camavoran Soldier as finding this card makes your Viego and Deserter on the curve a lot stronger, so finding it is critical.
If there are powerful engines that demand attention in the early like Miss Fortune or Gleaming Lantern keep Flock and Disintegrate with their respective activators.
If you have your early game covered Viego is a great keep as he allows you to advance your game plan that much faster.
I came across this deck on the stats with an insane win rate and it felt even better when I played it, so the deck is either very strong or abusing the surprise factor, but for the time being, the deck is performing and is a fresh new way to play Viego.
Whether you are an avid Viego fan or you want a strong deck to climb with I encourage you to give this deck a shot!
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