How to Play Aurelion Sol Plaza
Today we’re going to be taking a look at one of the boogiemen of the current format, Aurelion Sol Plaza.
One of the scariest things about this list is how many different ways it can be built.
We’ve seen versions without Pale Cascade, we’ve seen versions with Starry Scamp, we’ve seen people cutting most of the Demacia cards and running Leona and Mountain Scryer, we’ve even seen the odd Garen or two spinning his way to the top in the giant space dragon’s company.
Whoever you decide to bring along through this deck has a simple and powerful game plan that consists of three deadly phases and is deucedly hard to disrupt.
Deck Code: CEBQQAYJBEODSVCVKZQGIAQDAACQUAIBAANAEAQDBERVOAICAAAQCAIDBEBQ
Let’s break it down.
Phase One: The Stall (Subphase: The Oops You Lose)
This phase consists of the first three to five turns of the game where you are likely to be a bit on the back foot trying to survive.
During this phase, you’ll be using cards like Spacey Sketcher, Solari Shieldbearer, and Solari Sunforger to weather the opening assault of your opponent’s deck while Egghead and Zoe collect value, and your early combat tricks stand by to assist.
I went with the Zoe version of this deck because her inclusion gives you a cute little sub-phase in the early game.
Zoe is, strangely enough in this deck, a defensive card. You play her because she demands removal, or she will win the game on her own with her Level Up.
Almost any removal of Zoe will cost your opponent some amount of tempo, and the tempo is all this deck needs to get to its crushing late-game potential.
Occasionally though your opponent will simply fail the Zoe test and she will win all on her own.
Don’t get too focused on this though, if you fall for the trap of overinvesting in your Zoe you might not be set up right to win if that falls through.
It’s called the “Oops You Lose” because it should rarely happen on purpose.
If you see the shot to get a leveled Zoe then, of course, you go for it, but +90% of the time you should expect your Zoe to die and be very okay with that.
Her threat level exists more to make her a good tank for your nexus than to ever be actualized.
Phase Two: The Plaza
This is the part of the game where you want to take back the tempo you gave up earlier and lock down your control of the board.
Usually turns four to nine. Grand Plaza gets this phase all to itself as it shines with the entire rest of your deck.
Whether it’s a Golden Sisters off of Priestess, a Sunforger, or even the cute one-two punch of Sketcher into messenger, with Plaza online you will quickly erode or even destroy any board or health advantage your opponent has gained.
If you’re in this phase without an active plaza then you are going to be extending phase one and just doing your best to survive until your big threats can come down to save you.
Even without Plaza, you’ve got a bunch of good chump blockers and ways to buy time, so don’t think you need it every game to win, it’s just always nicer when you’ve got it.
The other interesting thing about this phase is that sometimes it will end early.
If you are in a spot where you’re not going to just die you can kickstart phase three as early as turn seven by going Eclipse Dragon into Aurelion Sol.
Getting an Aurelion Sol down on turn eight is a great way to win against any midrange or control opponent.
Phase Three: Finish Them
One of the most important things to understand about piloting any deck is how you plan to win the game.
Going on, usually from turn 9+, this deck has two main ways that it wants the game to end.
The first and most likely is a leveled Aurelion Sol.
Get 25+ power on the board, watch the beautiful animation, and spend the next five minutes waiting for your opponent to concede as you drop a handful of giant celestials on their face.
Simple, sweet, and always a good time.
But sometimes your dragon friend just decides to AFK. What do we do then? Are we just doomed? Do we give up those percentage points?
Of course not!
It’s often much harder to push through a victory here, but this is where the Nightfall half of your Eclipse dragons and your Star Shaping prowess will really get a chance to shine.
We’ve still got six different ways to make non-champion giant Celestial threats.
We can put those to good use in either seeking victory with large Elusives, or in the case of Supernova or Cosmic Rays simply keeping our opponent away from their victory long enough for Aurelion Sol to decide to join us.
LoR has an amazingly complex and quick changing metagame and we definitely don’t have the room to go into every matchup, let alone every variation on every matchup.
So instead, I’m going to grab one from each of the four major archetypes, aggro, midrange, control, and combo, and try to give a few tips for how to play out a game against that kind of deck.
Deck Code: CECQGAQGBELD4AYCAABAMCIDAEAASFJFAEBQMCACAMAAUDQBAIBAABYKAA
The deck that so many people love to hate, but keeps putting up crazy results anyway.
Whether it’s with Miss Fortune or Plaza they have the ability to put on an enormous amount of pressure very quickly on turns 4-5 and you’ve got to be ready.
Thankfully we most definitely are.
Between our Plazas, Single Combats, and Concerted Strikes they will have a hard time keeping a champion on the board.
Make that the focus of your game here. If you keep their champions gone, then almost anything else we can handle.
Beyond that, as we start to get a little bit low on Nexus health from the tempo we might need to sacrifice to clear their threats, star shaping, and sun forger will have our backs.
In the mulligan more than anything, you are looking for Shieldbearer, Sun Forger, and Plaza.
Zoe is always going to be a keep, simply because of her insane potential, but she is at her worst in this matchup due to how easily they remove her.
Don’t expect too much, but be happy to keep her and try to get a little bit of value or tempo.
If you already have one of your Daybreak defenders then you can consider also keeping a Single Combat to go with them, but if they are not making an appearance then that always has to get thrown back to give them more chances to show up.
Deck Code: CECAGAICCMQCWBABAAERULJTAIBQABQOAEBAAAIDAEBQEFACAEBCKMICAEACKNAA
Fiora Shen has been around since beta and it’s not going anywhere.
The reason for that is simple. It has a metric ton of interaction, a threatening alternate win condition, and a late-game that many other midrange variants cannot compete with a Brightsteel Formation.
Against this deck, our game plan is based around getting down our beefier units and trying to use plaza to trade into their support cards.
Remember, every time a Shen dies to a Solari Sunforger a Sparklefly gets its wings.
As we get to the late game we are actually quite well equipped to compete even there as our giant space dragon can often go over the head of even a board full of Barriers, and if we get Eclipse to go with him we can even get there a turn earlier than they do.
When mulliganing against this deck it is almost correct to hard-mull for your Plaza. If you have one then for safety’s sake I would keep a card you can play for between one and three mana, Zoe, clearly being the best, but mostly it’s all got to go.
The only other card I would consider keeping is Hush.
Hush is your best friend in this matchup.
It stops Fiora from winning the game, removes a Barrier with mana advantage, or even just shuts up an aggravating River Shaper about to get his card draw on.
If you have either a Plaza or an early play then keeping Hush can quite often be correct when trying to fight through the Barriers.
Control: The Mirror
I’ll give you what tips I can, but mirrors are always going to be very draw dependent and this one is no exception.
I hate to break it to anyone out there trying to tech for the mirror, but I’ve tested this pretty extensively and the matchups between different Targon Plaza decks playing into each other are all pretty much the same.
The most important card is always going to be Aurelion Sol.
Whoever plays their Aurelion Sol first usually wins, as you just aren’t going to be fast enough to aggro your opponent down before they can.
That means that your main goal in this matchup is to go Eclipse Dragon on seven, followed by Aurelion Sol on eight.
The mid-game can matter a little bit, as you can use Priestesses to grab Comets, which in conjunction with a spell Shieldbreaker can obliterate a giant space dragon.
This is also where your Plaza can come into play. If one player has Plaza and the other does not the Plaza player will be hugely ahead on tempo going into the turns where it’s time to fight over Aurelion Sol.
With that in mind, mulligan for your Plaza and your Zoe to present early threats and midgame tempo, but strongly consider keeping an Aurelion Sol in the opening hand.
The danger of bricking is far less than the danger of being alone against your opponent’s dragon.
Strongly consider taking written in stars off of Solari Priestess or Moonlight off of Spacey Sketcher or Zoe in this matchup if you have Aurelion Sol but are not going to get him down on turn eight.
Maybe they won’t either and your turn nine dragon will still be early enough to put the game’s heading firmly in your favor.
Combo: Lee Sin
Deck Code: CEBAOAYJBENSGKBJGNOAEAQCAMDAIAQDBEVFKAIDAIKACAICGEAQEAQJAIBAGCITKYAQEAQF
There are two types of decks against which, no matter what your original game plan was, you are forced on to a new one.
Those decks are combo decks and burn decks.
Against someone who is simply going to ignore everything you are doing and reduce your nexus health to zero you only have two options.
You can either be extremely aggressive and kill them before they can successfully execute their game plan, or you can drop everything you are doing and try to interfere with what they want to happen instead.
Given that we aren’t really an aggro deck we’re going to have to choose the second method.
I’m not going to lie to you, this matchup is very difficult.
At the end of the day, they have more ways to protect their game-ender than we have ways to stop it, but that doesn’t mean it’s doomed.
Your job in this matchup, above everything else, is to kill Lee Sin, and there are a couple of ways to do that.
The best is usually going to be with some kind of large Challenger unit, backed up by a Hush, and perhaps also a Concerted Strike or Single Combat.
Try to exhaust how many defensive resources they can have in a given turn.
But occasionally our hand won’t be able to do that, and the best we can do is Invoke a Comet and pray to RN-Jesus that they can’t stop it.
To that end in this matchup, I would recommend mulliganing for Hush, Plaza, Zoe, and Solari Priestess.
You have to accept going in that you’re going to need to get a little bit lucky to win so we’re going to be giving ourselves the most chances to do so.
Attack their Lee Sin early and often and don’t feel too bad if it doesn’t work most of the time.
If you can play to your outs well enough to get up to a 40% win-rate against Lee Sin then you are doing great, and your good matchups against so many other decks will carry you to victory.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask WhatAmI during his streams (around 10AM PST basically every day).