Zilean Ekko has existed as an archetype and a champion pairing for a long time, but it has never really performed well on the competitive ladder. The deck simply was too inconsistent and couldn’t set up its gameplan efficiently, especially against aggressive decks.
A couple of months ago, Ekko received a buff to lower his level-up requirement – down to 4 Predicts. It failed to really propel Ekko into the meta, and the champion once again was swept under the rug, quickly forgotten.
That is until Scathus, a Master rank player on the American server, recently has started experimenting more with the archetype, building a more aggressive version of the deck that focuses on turbo-leveling up Ekko and taking advantage of Chronobreak
The newer version of the old archetype has also added Voice of the Risen, a card that didn’t really see much play previously, outside of a brief stint in Irelia Azir.
Unlike older versions of Ekko decks, this list focuses on a more aggressive approach rather than the late-game value game plan.
In the mulligan phase, you’ll mainly be looking for Ancient Preparations, Aspiring Chronomancer, Ekko, and Zilean. Fallen Feline is a good keep against aggressive matchups, shuffling Hexite Crystal in the deck early on in the game gives you more time to find it with your Predict cards.
Ekko is the star of the show, whereas Zilean is mostly in the deck for the Predict keyword. The list runs a lot of cheap Predict cards like Feral Prescience and Scrying Sands all essential to help level up Ekko as soon as possible.
In most cases, you will have Ekko leveled up by turn 4, just in time to have him played on the board and create a 0-mana Time Trick once he strikes.
Once leveled, Ekko will shuffle 3
Voice of the Risen is a key card for your game plan. The fact that you’ll be able to level-up Ekko early on in the game will activate its ability, giving your cheap low-attack units +2|0.
When you’re ordering your combat, make sure Voice of The Risen is attacking last. Her buff ability will only remain active if she is on board, which means you’ll want her to be the last unit to die.
Let’s get back to those Chronobreaks you shuffled in the deck! The Predict cards allow you to look for them and the chance you will get to cast at least one every game is quite high. Do not fully trade away your board until you have a Chronobreak in hand! You’ll need the card’s full possible value on the revive.
The Absolver is another tool in the deck that allows you to push additional damage – the Overwhelm keyword can catch your opponent off guard, forcing an answer out of them.
It’s important to note that both The Absolver and Voice of The Risen require a leveled-up champion for their effect to activate, hence why it’s crucial to level up Ekko to advance your game plan.
Zilean Ekko has been popular lately on the competitive ladder of the American server, multiple players have managed to climb to Master rank with the archetype.
I took the list to the Ranked ladder as well, and it performed remarkably well – I climbed from Diamond 4 to Diamond 2 with it on my American alternate account.
The aggressive playstyle seems to work much better for this champion pairing, as opposed to the slow value game, which falls apart once Ekko dies.
This version of the deck doesn’t really require Ekko to remain on the board throughout the whole game, as simply shuffling the Chronobreaks in the deck and managing to find at least one with Time Trick and other Predicts is enough.
If you’re looking for a change of pace from the current meta decks and still want to climb the ladder, Zilean Ekko seems to be a good pick-up right now! And if you want to read an in-depth guide to the archetype written by the original creator of the deck Scathus, check out this Reddit thread right here!