LoR: Bilgewater Guide
Bilgewater was the first new region to be added to the core set as part of the Rising Tides expansion!
Overall, the region has an explosive playstyle with mechanics that can be risky but really reward you for being able to think ahead.
Similar to the other existing regions, it does have quite a bit of variety in terms of the directions you can build.
Whether it’s trying to kill your opponent quickly with cannons and guns or playing controlled with huge sea monsters, you’ll find viable builds across the aggro to control deck spectrum.
Bilgewater’s Signature Characteristics
“Nestled away in the Blue Flame Isles archipelago, Bilgewater is a port city like no other—home to serpent hunters, dock gangs, and smugglers from across the known world. Here, fortunes are made and ambitions shattered in the blink of an eye. For those fleeing justice, debt, or persecution, Bilgewater can be a place of new beginnings, for no one on these twisted streets cares about your past. Even so, with each new dawn, careless travelers can always be found floating in the harbor, their purses empty and their throats slit…
While incredibly dangerous, Bilgewater is ripe with opportunity, free from the shackles of formal government and trade regulation. If you have the coin, almost anything can be purchased here, from outlawed hextech to the favor of local crime lords.
With the recent removal of the last “reaver king” of Bilgewater, the city has entered a period of transition, while the most prominent captains try to agree on its future. But as long as there are seaworthy ships and crews to sail them, Bilgewater is likely to remain one of the most colorful and well-connected places in Runeterra.” from Riot Universe.
Mechanics and Playstyle
Bilgewater’s playstyle revolves around swashbuckling with pirates and sea monsters to test fate and earn your fortune.
Take risks, parley, and plunder to outwit your enemies. Just look out for scurvy!
Here are some of the new keywords and effects to give you an idea of how Bilgewater works.
Plunder and Pillage
Plunder is a new mechanic that triggers an effect for a played unit if you damaged the enemy Nexus this round.
Let’s take a look at Jagged Taskmaster, one of the new cards with the keyword.
All it takes is at least 1 damage to your enemy’s face before playing it and allies everywhere (in your hand, on your board, your deck, and generated by other cards) will gain an additional 1 Power.
In exchange for this upside, however, Plunder units are generally under-statted.
If you’re able to plan your turns ahead to get the most out of these effects, you can snowball a game.
However, if your plays become clunky, you may find yourself playing catchup since you’ll be playing weaker units and miss out on their Plunder effect.
This keyword doesn’t seem amazing without build around. In most cases, you’ll want some easily accessible burn damage so you can activate your Plunders when you’re on the defensive end.
Master Monsters from the Depths
Below the waters of Bilgewater lie massive and mysterious creatures that rule the deepest reaches.
You can harness the power of these Sea Monsters with new mechanics such as Deep, which activates a +3|+3 buff to all creatures with the keyword as soon as you have 15 cards or less in your deck.
By combining Deep with mechanics such as the recently revealed Toss keyword, you can try to thin your deck as fast as possible to go tall above your opponents.
By turn 6 you’ll have 30 cards left in your deck by default. You will have to draw or Toss out 15 cards from your deck by turn 6 to trigger deep.
By utilizing multiple toss cards, and cards like Glimpse Beyond, this is very reasonable to achieve by turn 6 or 7.
Attune and Sling Spells
Outside of sea monsters, Bilgewater also has mischievous magical creatures in its ecosystem that you can Attune with.
Attune is a new mechanic that grants you 1 refilled spell mana after you summon a creature with the keyword, such as Coral Creatures.
For players that enjoy having a lot of options and combo potential, this is the aspect of Bilgewater for you.
At a baseline, Attune gives you access to strong 1 cost spells like Elixir of Iron even if you’re curving out units.
The keyword also lets you develop blockers while saving up mana for your next turn. It will take some time to see what mana breakpoints open up for players but the new keyword should offer unique deckbuilding opportunities.
In this section, we’ll discuss the Bilgewater champions in order from lowest mana cost to highest.
If you’re unfamiliar with how champions work, check out our LoR mechanics guide.
The TL: DR is:
- Every deck can have up to 6 total champions, only 3 of the same kind.
- Champions fulfill unique conditions to level up.
- When they level up, they become stronger and gain new abilities. Leveling up causes all copies in a deck to level up.
- Only one copy of a specific champion can be on the board at once. If you draw other copies while a champion is on the board, they will transform into a spell form until that champion is removed. Playing the spell will shuffle the champion back into your deck instead of going to the graveyard.
If you thought Teemo was a pain, Riot has successfully replicated the dread of playing against a Fizz on Summoner’s Rift for LoR.
He’s a unit that can become conditionally Elusive by casting a spell and every time you do so, you can effectively counterspell/prevent any spells cast upon him.
He’ll need a deck that can continually cast multiple spells without running out of mana or cards – try him out with Attune units and cheap buff spells.
Fizz Level 2
Upon casting at least 6 spells (which should be pretty easy), Fizz gains 1|1 and will create a Chum the Waters each time you Nexus Strike.
Chum the Waters is a bit awkward, slow speed spell, Longtooth is easy to remove, and it’s pretty expensive at 4 mana.
However, with Overwhelm, it will punish opponents that can only remove it with chump blockers if your Fizz can stay protected and continue generating more.
Fizz’s Champion Spell: Playful Trickster
This is an interesting card that sort of acts like a conditional Relentless Pursuit.
The best way to use it would be to save an ally in response to removal or combat trick then get a second attack off.
It works best in decks that want to open attack since it gets punished by Slow speed answers if you’re trying to develop your board
With a great stat line and potent effect, Miss Fortune offers an aggressive option for Bilgewater.
MF is able to beat out chump blockers and trades up into 4 health units.
She doesn’t require you to attack with her to trigger her Love Top effect so you can keep her safe if there isn’t a good trade for her.
It will be difficult to level her unless you’re main decking recurring Rally effects like the Scout mechanic.
Luckily, she’s a solid card even if you never level her similar to Draven.
Miss Fortune Level 2
If you are able to level up Miss Fortune, you’re in a very good spot.
She becomes a 4|4 with board wipe + face damage when allies are attacking, makes it difficult for your opponent to block effectively.
Times on the clock for your opponent when MF hits level 2 as you’ll be quickly closing the game on the turn she flips if you ever do level her.
Miss Fortune’s Champion Spell: Make It Rain
Make it Rain isn’t the best against full boards because of the RNG but it’s still good value against 1-3 units.
If you order your plays correctly, it should be pretty easy in most cases, to line up boards where you can hit guaranteed Make It Rains.
Use this card to get rid of spider boards and other chump blockers or to combine with Miss Fortune’s attack to burn the enemy blockers for 2.
Twisted Fate will be a godsend for players that like to build decks that offer a lot of options and adaptability.
On his own, he’s a 2/2 Quick Attack body which is okay and offers upside for being buffed.
However, the major thing to pay attention to is his Destiny mechanic, which allows you to choose one of his three signature color cards.
Blue Card allows you to refill 1 spell mana and draw a card.
Red Card deals AoE damage to all enemies and the enemy Nexus, acting as a board clear and offering some burn to face.
Lastly, Gold Card can be used to lock down a threat, dealing 2 damage and stunning the strongest enemy.
All three of these effects are valuable at different stages of the game so TF offers a ton of versatility.
Twisted Fate Level 2
With only 2 Health as a 4-drop, it will definitely hard to keep him alive without protection before he sees 8 draws.
Luckily, the Rising Tides comes with a lot of ways to chain draw quickly so there may be an opportunity if you drop him on later turns when you have access to 8 or more mana.
If you’re able to bring him online, lady luck is smiling!
3 Destiny Cards each turn is an incredible amount of value and you should be able to adapt to nearly any situation to swing the game into your favor.
Keep in mind that you will have to play the cards in the following order: blue, red, and then gold.
Twisted Fate’s Champion Spell: Pick a Card
Pick a Card allows you to make a short term investment for a long term payoff at the beginning of your next round. It’s nice that Twisted Fate’s champion spell enables him leveling him up a lot faster.
You’ll have to have a decent amount of mana since the cards you draw will be Fleeting, meaning that there may be some deck building limits you’ll have to adhere to in order to avoid awkward or wasteful turns.
If your TF is level 2, it will get you to play 3 Destiny cards off one spell if you’re able to play the three cards you draw.
Similar to his League of Legends form, he’s incredibly tanky with 6 Health at 4 mana.
This tankiness is crucial as his core mechanic revolves around using An Acquired Taste, which he receives at the beginning of each round.
An Acquired Taste causes Tahm Kench to strike a unit and then Capture it, effectively removing the unit from battle.
If Tahm Kench dies, the enemies he swallowed will be released, so it’s crucial to try to heal, buff, and protect Tahm Kench by all means.
Upon Capturing 3 units, Tahm Kench levels up.
Once Kench levels up, the fun really begins as he will Obliterate all enemies that he’s Captured every time he attacks.
This not only includes the three he had when he leveled up, but all others that he accumulates as he continues to gain An Acquired Taste each round.
Tahm Kench’s Champion Spell: Bayou Brunch
Tahm Kench’s champion spell is Bayou Brunch, which allows you to temporarily sacrifice an ally to buff another ally with their stats.
You may have noticed that both his level 1 and level 2 forms mentioned releasing his allies.
Once you consider the combo of using Tahm Kench with Bayou Brunch, that effect should make more sense.
So in practice, you can use Bayou Brunch to make a really big Tahm Kench that’s hard to remove.
Once he levels up, you get a lot of tempo back since you’ll not only destroy Captured enemies, but you’ll also regain all the allies you Captured.
Gangplank is a 5 mana 5|5 with Overwhelm which is a great body and value.
Add his Powder Keg ability and you have a champion with a ton of potential as a top-end in aggro decks.
Power Kegs offer a new mechanic that allows you to use a unit slot on your board to stack Powder Kegs.
For each Powder Keg, your spells and skills will deal 1 extra damage.
This makes GP look like an ideal pairing with the likes of Noxus and Piltover due to the number of burn cards they have.
In order to level him at a reasonable time, you would need enough direct damage spells and effects to reliably trigger Nexus damage on your defending turn.
Gangplank Level 2
After you’ve damaged the enemy Nexus on 5 separate turns (GP doesn’t have to be on the board), he will level up to being a 6|6.
From that point onward, he’ll generate a new Powder Keg at the beginning of each Round Start.
He also gains an Attack effect that deals 1 damage to all enemies and the enemy Nexus, similarly to Anvia.
This means that if you’ve built up a ton of Kegs before leveling up, you could have a huge swing turn where you board wipe and deal massive face damage.
Note that even if Gangplank gets removed or recalled when you play him, he still leaves behind a Keg that can convert into 1 extra damage with burn.
Gangplank’s Champion Spell: Parrrley
Gangplank’s champion spell, Parrrley helps himself level up, push damage towards lethal, and take out low health units to open up better attacks.
You can even Parrrley your own unit to deny things like Ezreal triggers and Vile Feast drains.
Nautilus is fittingly, a massive behemoth of a unit at 0|12 with Tough.
The Fearsome is also nice if you’re able to buff him
We learned earlier that the Deep mechanic triggers once you have fifteen or fewer cards in your deck.
This may seem slow but build properly around Toss and Deep, you can reliably have Nautilus leveled by the turn you play him.
Nautilus Level 2
If Nautilus levels up…look out! He becomes an absolute unit at 13|13, being incredibly hard to answer with Tough and Fearsome.
Naut also gains a discount for playing Sea Monster allies so Terror of the Tides suddenly sounds a lot scarier when Nautilus is in the picture.
Cheap, large, Fearsome units that can shrink your opponent’s board so they can’t block? Nautilus is the linchpin behind a whole deck archetype and he pays off big when you commit to him.
Nautilus’s Champion Spell: Riptide
Nautilus’s champ spell is pretty nice and basically acts sort of like a Will of Ionia if you have him on your board.
Tucking a card into your opponent’s deck is one of the strongest types of hard removal and it’s not too highly costed.
Without Nautilus on your board, it’s definitely expensive for its effect but can still be handy in a pinch.
We hope you enjoyed our dive into Bilgewater!