How to Play: Big Kitty (Sejuani Gnar Burn)
You might think that a Kitty is just a cute name you call a cat. I’m Jordan “WhatAmI” Abronson and I’m here to tell you that anything you can imagine an adorable five-year-old yelling “Kitty!” at, is, in fact, a Kitty.
So Alpha Wildclaw has it, but under our new definition, Gnar, Sejuani’s mount, Boom Baboon, even Ancient Yeti? All Kitties. And Ballistic Bot? With that adorably homicidal progress bent that it’s got going? One hundred percent Kitty.
Deck Code: CEEACBABBIBQCBBHFU2ACAYEAUAQIBAQAIBACAQGAECQCBQBAUFKCAICAEARUHYCAEBQCAQBAEAQKAA
All cuteness aside though this deck is a streamlined engine of destruction. Almost every single card fits into one of three categories. Overwhelm, Burn, or Protection. The few outliers give us a sprinkling of card draw and a solid way to clog the ground and drag pesky high health units out of the way.
What that means is that you are going to execute your primary game plan extremely consistently. Make big Kitties, hit your opponent with them very hard, and then if they haven’t obligingly fallen over yet, point burn at their face.
Let’s talk about secondary game plans though. With a full fifteen cards that can interact directly with your opponent’s nexus, this deck has a pretty unreasonable amount of reach at the end of games. Back that up with leveled Sejuani soft locking some decks out of the game and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success
Phase One: The Beats
This phase will go differently depending primarily on our opponent’s game plan. If they are slower moving then our early drops will likely get in some solid damage before the mid-phase of the game kicks off. In this scenario, we are giving out the beats to our enemy.
Ruthless Raider and Tusk Speaker will almost always push solid damage, and Ballistic Bot makes up for its speed with brutal consistency. Even Boom Baboon will occasionally get a hit in against an unready or unwilling to trade opponent.
We sit in the middle of the curve though, so if we are playing against a true aggro deck, say Scouts or Noxus style burn, we will be looking to primarily trade our early units and stay alive. Here we will be receiving the beats and looking to turn things around later.
Phase Two: Kitty Power
Here is where the deck gets its name and the big beaters come down. When you’re already tempo positive from the early game this will often be where the game ends. An onslaught of large Overwhelm units that can start on turn four is nothing to shake a Pokey Stick at.
However, when you start the game off on the back foot it will generally be your turn four through six plays that look to get the game back on track. Your champions generate a huge amount of tempo, but Ancient Yeti is kind of your secret third champion in this deck.
A five/five blocker stalls board very hard, and will almost always push through some amount of damage on attacks. Combined with the crushing power of Alpha Wildclaw I’ve had plenty of games where I have won without drawing a single champion. Just beefy beaters and burn will sometimes get the job done.
Phase Three: Secondary Win Conditions
One of the things I love most in a deck is when it has multiple ways to close a game. The most obvious secondary win condition here is a simple burnout game plan. Get in some early punches and then I’ve seen this deck drop opponents from as much as ten nexus health.
The other thing this deck does well, almost accidentally, is level Sejuani. Whether through Ballistic Bot’s pings, Gnar poking things, or just aggression, a leveled Sejuani will happen quite a reasonable amount of the time. Some decks simply cannot handle the perma-freeze, and Sejuani delivers.
Last but not least is an old favorite of mine in Battlefury. It’s scary as anything to pre-commit eight mana onto an attacking unit, but the card is there for a reason. Sometimes all you need to finish a game is a fifteen-power ferocious Alpha Wildclaw. The true “Big Kitty” that the deck is named after.
While the whole they make is significantly more than the sum of these parts, attentive readers will note that this deck has quite a few of what are traditionally considered “bad cards,” in it. Alpha Wildclaw, Ancient Yeti, and Ruthless Raider don’t tend to make it into many top ten lists.
So, are we betraying the deck-building concept of “Don’t play bad cards to make your good cards good?” Well, not quite. Our good cards here are already quite powerful on their own. The more mediocre ones are here because in this particular package they fit well with the other synergy points we are already using to help our good cards.
Confused? Look at it this way. If we start with Sejuani, Gnar, and the discard package. What goes well with that? Burn spells to finish games and protection for our threats are solid. Battle Fury on a unit slipping by on the wide side or either of our champions is a great way to close a game.
Once all those elements are already in play, having access to secondary large overwhelm threats adds consistency. It makes the deck’s gameplan streamlined rather than fractured, and the principles of deck building continue to be upheld along the way.
Also, Battle Fury is fun. Come on, who doesn’t like yelling “Rawwwwwr” as an unreasonably large unit crashes through your opponent’s pitiful defenses. Just one of those wonderful little things that makes the game worth playing.
At the end of the day, you’re playing a deck that is very good at finding avenues to push damage with a powerful burnout package. That is almost always going to be a recipe for success when the meta isn’t incredibly hostile towards it.
We get just a touch of interaction from both our champions, our burn spells, and the occasional freeze effect to keep us alive long enough to get that last attack in. It doesn’t seem like all that much, but those little bits that your opponents have to play around change the dynamic of the game dramatically.
Even better, we get to put our opponent on multiple clocks. Ask any old-school plunder player, there are plenty of decks that simply cannot beat a leveled Sejuani. And Mystic Shot might be even better for shutting down attack steps with her than Warning Shot. Fast speed Frostbite is exceedingly broken.
Last but not least, the deck is a blast to play, and has more depth than it looks like at first glance. I will often be planning out my lines three or more turns in advance figuring out my mana usage and how I plan to end the game. And when I get there I will inevitably give the deck’s signature battle cry “Kitty SMASH!”
If you have any questions, feel free to ask WhatAmI during his streams (Tuesday-Thursday around 3PM PST and weekends for tournaments).