How to Play Ezreal Vi Pranks
It’s been nearly a month since the first Runeterra World Championship.
In addition to being a spectacular event, it also brought us a new innovative archetype piloted by the World Champion himself!
Alanzq’s Ezreal Vi gained a ton of popularity on the ladder and it’s no surprise because it takes pranking to a whole new level.
It’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung here and today we’re taking a look at more than just our opponent’s hand.
Deck Code: CEBQKBIKAQUDDJQBXQAQGAIEEQVTIAIFAQGAIAIBAQNQCBIECEBAKCQBTAAQCAQEBABQCBAEA4AQGBALAECQUGQ
Curious? Well, pay attention, because there’s a lot to unpack!
When it comes to combo decks, Ezreal Vi is near the peak on the difficulty scale. There are so many things to account for at any given time.
From choosing the right card with your Pranks to managing your Manifests, our options can shift in a single moment.
Rarely can we be fully certain, so we must plan accordingly and take our best odds. Sometimes this means choosing a card that’s useless now, but crucial later.
Other times we can’t afford to plan ahead.
Overall, our goal is to set up a massive value engine with Curious Shellfolk so that we can close the game with Ezreal.
Time Trick and Trinket Trade provide absurd value, and alongside a flipped Ezreal we’ll surely blast them to defeat!
Ezreal Vi is the type of deck that can be completely runover when you have a bad hand. While the deck is loaded with value, we lack any form of healing outside of stealing from the opponent. If we’re against any form of aggression, be prepared to drop everything that won’t help you stabilize.
- Chempunk Pickpocket
- Mystic Shot
- Vi: If you’ve already got at least two other solid cards, keep Vi.
- Curious Shellfolk: High priority keep in slower matchups.
- Thermogenic Beam: Keep against any aggressive matchups or versus Zoe when you’re attacking on evens.
- Pokey Stick: Keep against decks with one health units.
- Sump Fumes: Prioritize against decks with problematic three health units; Draven, Poppy, etc.
Example Hand 1
Example Hand 2
I want to begin by addressing the one key change I’ve made to the list. In order to help combat against aggro, I’ve opted to remove Loping Telescope in favor of Chempunk Pickpocket.
This simple change gives us a much-needed three-attack blocker to trade with those pesky Stone Stackers.
Aside from an enabled Sump Fumes or Thermogenic Beam for three, it can be a real struggle to deal with.
Even so, we’re trading down on mana just to remove a measly 2-drop. Chempunk Pickpocket trades cleanly barring the one impact damage.
This is a huge help to ensure we’re not rolled over from the beginning.
Against control matchups, you can occasionally get free value off the Pickpocket’s trigger. Most players won’t know to expect this, and so they’ll mulligan away their spot removal.
This can force either an unfavorable block on their end, or generate you a free spell. Just like Karma Ezreal in its original Beta days, we play it to force their hand.
At worst, we trade evenly. At best, we get a nice advantage from the get-go.
Throughout the early to mid-game, we tend to play just like any other Ezreal deck.
Prioritize key targets when necessary, point more removal to stack level-up triggers, and generate some incremental value. However, as we approach turn six we want to prepare for Curious Shellfolk.
Our entire deck revolves around this engine, and our opponents know this. We need to be cautious not to overextend Curious Shellfolk into removal.
A lot of our cards become far weaker without it, so utilize the pass button to ensure safety.
Minimorph is the biggest concern as the burst speed prevents any possible value. This denies our ability to play Trinket Trade reactively before being removed.
Aloof Travelers can help scout for this beforehand, as thankfully most Bandle decks don’t include cards above six mana.
When playing Ezreal Vi it’s important to always be thinking about your win condition. While games against aggro will typically come down to survival, other matchups will force us to actually end the game.
Despite the crazy value from Curious Shellfolk, the deck can perform rather durdly at times.
Our hands will often get clogged and we’ll need to dig for Ezreal. We also must factor in the RNG involved between Manifests and Pranks.
Our number of “catch-all” answers is limited to Minimorph, so we’ll need to find other ways to deal with opposing threats. Stress Defense is often a great choice against threats like Sion and Lee Sin.
In desperate times we can even choose Flash of Brilliance and hope to high roll into a Minimorph.
Keeper’s Verdict and Hextech Transmogulator may do the job in some situations as well. Between this and any valuable cards from our opponent’s hand there’s plenty of options.
owever, wait too long to win and we’ll be at the mercy of RNG to bail us out.
Ezreal is incredibly important as a finisher for this deck, but there are times when we have to work a little harder to enable him.
Despite the abundance of spot removal, we lack other ways to target enemies. We don’t have followers like Arachnoid Sentry or Icevale Archer, so we’re limited to naturally casting spells.
Sometimes this means wasting removal just to make progress as it won’t always line up perfectly each time.
Other times we can get two triggers by Manifesting a Timewinder or Bouncing Bomb. All in all it’s not particularly difficult, but we do have to ensure we’re working in a timely manner.
You may have noticed I’ve only included two copies of Vi. The reality is while she’s a fantastic card to have, she is awful in multiples.
Her champion spell is rarely useful, and trading her off to play a second copy doesn’t feel great.
She’s primarily a tool to remove priority targets, or simply threaten them from being played. Once you’ve reached turn five, make sure you don’t burn your attack token without thinking.
It’s often correct to pass and threaten a potential Vi, as it’ll make the opponent think twice before dropping their best card.
Lastly, if you happen to Manifest an Ambush or Sumpworks Map you can go in for a sneaky strike to their nexus!
It’s crazy to look back at reveal season knowing now just how insane this card is.
Six drops that don’t do anything upon summoning don’t usually find a home, but Curious Shellfolk is too bonkers to not see play.
Throughout the early game, you’ll want to save your Pranks from Otterpus.
Trinket Trade should also be saved unless needed to enable Sump Fumes.
Hand size is incredibly important, so be aware of which cards you’re Pranking to ensure they won’t clog things up even more.
While the chosen card may be the biggest hindrance to them, it could be equally useless in your own hand.
Manifesting spells that discard can help trim down and open space for what’s important. Don’t forget, a lot of the deck depends on Shellfolk’s survival.
If we’re not careful, it’s very possible to run out of steam.
Ezreal Vi Pranks is an incredibly rewarding deck to pilot, but remember, this is not an easy deck to play!
Each turn will provide you an incredible amount of lines beyond simply accounting for the natural turn progression and game state.
You will make mistakes and be punished for them. A lot of games come down to the wire, but that’s what makes it fun!
Patience is key, so if you’re up for a challenge, this is the deck for you!
Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day
If you ever get an idea about something you’d like to do one day, make note of it.
Keep a regular list of these things and soon enough you’ll have a plethora of exciting ventures.
After weeks or months have passed, review and re-evaluate what you’ve written down. You’ll likely notice that some of these have lost their spark, and so you can cross them off. Others, however, still ignite that passion inside.
Follow that passion.