How to Play Fiora Shen
Fiora Shen is a classic deck that has been played in almost every meta except the Ashe Nox meta, it was one of the most popular decks in the first Seasonal Tournament and was at least tier 2 in every meta in the past.
Fiora Shen is a pure value deck that usually doesn’t lose when you don’t run out of units/spells, when you’re outvaluing your opponent with efficient trades and draw cards with Rivershaper this deck usually has all the spell it needs to counter or deal with the opponent’s game plan.
In some matchups or spots, Fiora’s effect is a legitimate win condition like against Go Hard or generally against decks that play small units and swarm the board.
A good understanding of the fundamentals of Legends of Runeterra is needed to play this deck at its fullest potential.
Deck Code: CEBQGAIABENC2AQDAADA4AQBAIQCWBIDAEBBGJJRAEBQABIBAMBBIAQBAASTIAICAAAQEAICAADQEAIABIKQ
Here’s a video detailing some of the most important concepts to master that will allow you to understand how to play this deck better:
The win rate of this deck is incredibly high, making a solid tier one deck in the current meta :
Versions of Fiora Shen may vary depending on what you’re facing on ladder, some versions are running Nopeify! as 3x instead of 2x when Go Hard and Ez/Draven decks are substantial or 3x Deny when Feel the Rush or other control decks are present in the meta.
In this article, we’ll go in-depth on how to play the deck, key cards, mulligan, and matchup tables.
As I mentioned above, Fiora represents both a value tool and a finisher. Her Challenger keyword, when combined with cards like Shen, Brightsteel Protector, Riposte or Sharpsight will allow you to always come out on top in terms of value in combat exchanges.
When you add cards like Single Combat and Concerted strike, she can easily finish her needed condition to win the game by killing 4 enemies.
She’s also a huge target in this deck, sometimes the opponent will be forced to use multiple cards, and lots of mana to be able to remove her and that plays a role in the value exchange we’ve talked about.
Shen, unlike Fiora, doesn’t reliably provide a win-con on his own, but in terms of value, he is the most important card and the one that’s generating the most amount of value in games.
When combined with Fiora or Screeching Dragon, Shen allows you to protect one Challenger unit by giving it a Barrier. That plays a huge role in reactivity vs proactivity.
Basically, this deck benefits a lot from banking mana and having a lot of mana available at all times, because of the different options you’re offered when you can use multiple combat tricks instead of having to only play 1 when you lack mana.
Shen’s effect synergies with Greenglade Caretaker, giving it more attack every time you give an ally barrier, he also represents a huge threat when combined with Brightsteel Formation.
Note: Even if you already have a Barrier on a unit, Shen’s level up effect will give it a +3 attack if you RE-apply Barrier on it. When attacking with a leveled up Shen + Fiora, Shen will give Barrier to Fiora (+3attack), if you use Spirit’s Refuge on Fiora while she still has her initial Barrier, she will get a +3 attack again from Shen’s effect.*
Rivershaper is one of the most important cards in this deck.
Whenever he strikes you draw 1 spell ( from the top of your deck).
‘Strike’ implies that the effect works when used with Single Combat or Concerted Strike.
Rivershaper will on average draw you at least 2 cards, this deck has the tools necessary to protect Rivershaper for 1 for 2 trades and cycling.
Riposte, Sharpsight, Nopeify! Brightsteel Protector, Shen, and Ranger’s Resolve are all cards that will allow you to get as much value as possible from Rivershaper by keeping him alive.
Egghead Researcher is the new addition to this deck, he represents a proactive early game unit to slow down some of the aggression while generating a Dragon follower without needing to be protected.
He’s comparable to a Laurent Chevalier that doesn’t need to be protected to generate value.
Egghead Researcher can generate one of these 8 Dragons (in order of best to worst for this deck):
- Screeching Dragon
- Inviolus Vox
- Fused Firebrand
- The Empyrean
- The Infinite Mindsplitter
- Eclipse Dragon
- Whiteflame Protector
- Kadregrin the Infernal
Brightsteel Formation is another win condition in this deck.
If you manage to keep a board with units until turn 9, Brightsteel Formation will generally win you the game, especially if Shen or Greenglade Caretaker is on the board.
Protective Burst spells
Protective burst spells like Riposte, Spirit’s Refuge, Sharpsight, and Ranger’s Resolve are your main combat tricks.
Even though they’re burst spells, meaning that you can play them proactively and open attack without allowing your opponent to play a Slow card.
You always want to keep them in hand to answer your opponent’s first action. Reactivity is key.
Vs Aggro decks
Never keep any of the spells except Spirit’s Refuge if you have a good hand (Egghead Researcher +Fiora + Shen + Spirit’s Refuge)
Keep all units except Brightsteel Formation and Screeching Dragon.
If you’re against super-fast aggro decks like discard aggro or spider, don’t keep Shen unless you’re attacking on evens and have Fiora or Rivershaper in your hand
Vs Midrange decks
Only mulligan for Shen, Fiora, Screeching Dragon, Rivershaper, and Egghead Researcher. Everything else is generally not worth keeping.
Vs Control decks:
Rivershaper, Fiora, Shen, Screeching Dragon, and Deny are the key cards. Keep Egghead Researcher if you’re mulliganing away all the other cards.
- Always keep Brightsteel Formation in the mulligan against these matchups: the mirror(Fiora Shen), Ez/Draven, Swain/Draven, Zoe/Asol.
- If the opponent is not putting any pressure on turn 1-3, don’t play Egghead Researcher and bank spell mana.
- It’s totally okay to abandon the Fiora win condition and try to out value the opponent with Rivershaper. If you notice that Fiora win con is unlikely, switch to the value game plan.
- When you have Brightsteel Formation in Hand, Symmetrical passes become more valuable for you. Start playing your units on turn 6-8 and protect them until you play Brightsteel Formation.
- Bluffing is SUPER important, even if you don’t have Riposte in hand, for example, always keep 4 mana open to make the opponent play around it.
- Shen’s Champion spell, Stand United, can be used to save an ally from cards like Concerted Strike or Vengeance or any other single target spell by swapping that ally with another unit.
Deck Code: CECAKAIEAENSIJRUAEBAGCIDAEBRILRXAEBQIEIEAEBQIBIBAMBQ2AQBAQPTUAIBAMZQA
Ez/Draven is a midrange deck using spells like Mystic Shot, Thermogenic Beam, and Ravenous Flock to control the board.
It focuses on removing units before open attacking with their own for some early chip damage. Captain Farron is how they finish the game.
This deck excels at removing units, with spells like Mystic Shot, Ravenous Flock, Statikk Shock, and Thermo.
Shen Fiora struggles to keep their units alive even with all the protective spells.
Ez/Draven can effectively remove the value tools like Rivershaper and Shen which puts Shen Fiora decks in spots where they don’t have enough mana to protect every unit.
Against this deck, Nopeify! And Resolve are key, keep them in your mulligan.
Deck Code: CEBQEAIFAEUAGAIBBQKCOAIDAEDAGBABAEAQGGRSAIBQCAQWAMAQKDYZDUBAGAIFCMQTMAIBAEVA
Feel the Rush is one of the best control decks in the meta. Their main win condition is playing expensive slow spells that heavily impact the game, The Ruination, Feel the Rush…
Demacia has always been a good region against SI/Frejlord because of the board pressure and protective spells.
But the key card in this matchup is Deny, it allows you to deny them their The Ruination or Feel the Rush.
In this matchup, play around not giving too much value for Avalanche, and keep Deny in your mulligan.
Deck Code: CECQGAQGBELD4AYCAABAMCIDAEAASFJFAEBQMCACAMAAUDQBAEBAABYBAIAQADJT
Pool Scouts is one of the best if not the best deck in the current meta.
In the past, old versions of Scouts were unfavored against Fiora Shen. The addition of The Grand Plaza and all the draw cards like Pool Shark and Fortune Croaker are what makes this matchup even.
The Grand Plaza allows their Scout units to pressure units like Rivershaper and MF by challenging them. It also allows them to go for a value win-con even if they lose MF.
Pool Shark and Fortune Croaker will help them cycle and draw multiple cards, and thus not run out of units or combat tricks.
In this matchup removing MF is crucial, Screeching Dragon, Rivershaper, Shen, and Fiora are important.
Always keep Riposte or Sharpsight if you have a good hand.
Overall, Fiora Shen is a very flexible deck that can be modified to fit whatever decks you’re facing the most on ladder, it also is a very good tournament deck when mastered.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask Swim during his streams (10AM-6PM PDT).