Hi there, Raphterra here again. Today was the big reveal day for LOR’s new expansion! This time, Riot went for a different approach with the World Ender card reveals, with the cards from the new set getting revealed all at the same time. This will be a very pivotal expansion for LOR, as the Worlds Finals will be played with the release of the new set.
In this article, I give my personal assessment of the new champions in the expansion, and I present my picks for the Top Five New Cards in World Ender.
Without further ado, I’ll be starting off with what I think of the three new champions!
First up is the star of The Darkin Saga and the leader of the Darkins, Aatrox! Aatrox‘s origin, The World Ender, might be the strongest origin in the game. Some Darkin weapons are extremely powerful, and having access to all of them should be broken in certain deck builds. The World Ender almost looks like a stronger version of Jax‘s Grandmaster at Arms. I’m expecting The Darkin Bloodletters, The Darkin Aegis, The Darkin Harp, and The Darkin Lodestone to be the staple Darkin weapons in Aatrox decks.
As for Aatrox himself, I’d say that he’s one hell of a finisher! He’s pretty expensive at 6-mana, but just casting World Ender‘s Assimilate on a few units equipped with Darkin weapons should be game-winning. Even if you don’t have equipped Darkin weapons on board, level 2 Aatrox should be able to close out games on his own. Discounting World Ender looks to be very doable at an acceptable pace, given that Aatrox decks will be running all the good Darkin weapons.
Aatrox‘s champion spells are Deathbringer Sweep, Deathbringer Slash, and Deathbringer Descent. I found these spells very cool because they are in line with Aatrox‘s champion skills in League of Legends. However, I think these spells are only efficient once Aatrox gains Regeneration at Level 2. This may be redundant because you should already be winning the game at that point.
Author’s Edit: I misread Aatrox‘s Level 1 text. He will have Regeneration even without levelling up. His champion spells are better than I initially thought! Shoutout QueenElizibeth from Reddit for correcting me!
In terms of deckbuilding, I think Aatrox will likely be ran with Demacia or Shurima. Vayne and Demacia should enjoy getting access to all the powerful Darkin weapons. Demacia can now run The Darkin Harp without needing to pair up with P&Z. Shurima is quite an easy region choice for Aatrox due to Darkin-synergistic cards like Forsaken Baccai and The Altar of Blood. Shuffling weapons to progress Akshan‘s landmarks should be stronger than ever with Aatrox‘s access to all the Darkin weapons.
Ryze is a lot harder to evaluate compared Aatrox. We probably won’t know how strong he is until we’re able to test and play him once the expansion starts. Just from viewing his cards, my gut tells me that Ryze is incredibly strong, and likely broken. The Rune Mage origin’s ability to include non-targeting Burst and Focus spells from any region has high potential for broken, polarizing combos.
Level 2 Ryze having an alternate win condition is very reminiscent of pre-nerf Fiora, The Bandle Tree, and Star Spring. These types of cards can be very frustrating to lose to especially if they can quickly activate their alt wincons. Drawing Ryze in every game should be very consistent because you can always run Entreat as a champion tutor. However, there seems to be more options for counterplay against Ryze since he needs to attack to destroy the Nexus. Removals, recalls, and stuns should be able to delay Level 2 Ryze for a few turns.
Ryze looks to be a very complex and flexible card with his World Runes, almost comparable to Aphelios‘s moon weapons. A weakness of Ryze might be that his World Runes would require a lot of mana to setup in the early game. All the World Runes and Delve Into The Past cost 2 mana each, which can be quite expensive if you don’t get the Shard of Reverence early. This setup phase may be enough time for fast aggressive decks to bring down Ryze‘s Nexus.
There are several possible Ryze decks with the flexibility of The Rune Mage origin. Seraphine gets access to more unique spells, Twisted Fate gets to run more draw spells, and Master Yi can activate Flow easier with a larger spell pool. These are just the first ideas that come to mind, and I’m sure the community will come up with more once the expansion goes live.
I think Kayle is the weakest out of the three new champions in World Ender. This is pretty understandable given that Aatrox and Ryze are Runeterra champions; they count as their own region so they will need to be slightly stronger than normal champions. Her level-up seems to be hard to achieve, unless you build your entire deck around her. This can be quite risky since Kayle is expensive at 6-cost, and she’s very vulnerable to the game’s control spells. My first impression is that she’s very similar to Varus, but slightly harder to setup because of her high cost. Her power level will depend a lot on how easy it is to progress her level-up requirement.
There are plenty of ways to progress Kayle‘s level-up. In Targon alone, there are plenty of Gem generators, Daybreak buffs, and buff spells like Pale Cascade. Noxus has Arena Battlecaster and Reveler’s Feast; Demacia has Poppy and Genevieve Elmheart; Ionia has Keeper of Masks and Sai’nen Thousand-Tailed. Freljord‘s Spirits Unleashed is another interesting option for Kayle decks.
Top Five New Cards In World Ender
The Black Flame
The Black Flame is one of the most interesting combo cards released in Ionia. Just in that region, The Black Flame can (1) summon duplicate copies of Kennen, (2) allow Irelia / Blade Dance to be ran outside of Ionia + Shurima, and (3) reliably activate Death Mark. There are also some cheesy combos with Shadow Isles‘s Hecarim or The Rekindler. This is just from the top of my mind, there are probably a lot more just waiting to be discovered!
Eye of God
Will Illaoi be viable again? It might actually be possible with Eye of God! Illaoi‘s main weakness is that she has almost no board impact if you don’t have any Tentacles when you play her. This new equipment might just be what she needs, as it gives Illaoi decks a reliable, recurring Tentacle generator.
Vladimir support? Yes please! Despite Riot announcing that Vladimir will be rotated out of the standard format in 2023, it seems that they won’t stop trying to make him playable in the eternal format. Crimson Pigeon has potential to be one of the strongest 1-drops in the game. This early unit can snowball out of control if you can establish a good board. A simple example would be a board with Crimson Pigeon, Ruthless Raider and The Scargrounds.
Caustic Riff is straight-up a one-sided, cheaper, powercrept version of Ice Shard, right? This new Flow spell will 100% be included in Seraphine decks; as if wasn’t strong enough in her current state!
The Darkin Spear
I’m choosing The Darkin Spear for my last pick. This might not be the strongest in terms of power level, but it has huge implications for the Frostbite archetype. With the Freljord‘s Darkin weapon now in the game, it’s never been easier to activate The Unforgiving Cold. The Darkin Spear should allow Ashe Frostbite to be more flexible in terms of region combinations. No matter what happens, Riot never misses an opportunity to buff Frostbite!
World Ender might be the most exciting expansion in 2022! All of the new champions are very thematic and they all look fun to play as well. We will see these decks in action in the upcoming World Tournament! I think both Aatrox and Ryze will be properly represented in the event. Which of the new champions are you most looking forward to playing?
As usual, I will be releasing another article with my recommendations for decks to play on the first day of the expansion. Stay tuned!