How to Play: Sentinel Jayce
While I do come up with quite a few of my original deck ideas, you might be surprised to learn that about fifty percent of my “creations,” are cool decks I found elsewhere and gave some serious tweaking.
I’m Jordan “WhatAmI” Abronson and today’s list is one that actually caught my eye while being piloted by a recent opponent in a tournament.
Let’s check it out.
For more spicy deck brews, check out WhatAmI’s other deck guides!
Deck Code: CECQEBIFBMHQIBIECYMBWHYBAECDIAQBAUASQAIFBKMACAYBAECBWAQBAUOTKAIFAQGAEAIBAUYQCAQEBA
So, at first glance, this looks like just another variation of Corina Control. You know, the first of these many Shadow Isles/Piltover and Zaun decks that mostly traded one for one, sometimes even going negative on resources till Corina and Ledros came down to mop up the game. But where are the flagship cards?
Or maybe it’s a Sentinel-based burn deck, often known in the community as the “Scathus Pile.” Get down some under-costed beaters and use their fearsome power alongside removal and burnout tools to find lethal before other decks’ top end can really come online. Except we can compete in late-game scenarios too.
This deck is a new hybridized version of the previous iterations on this region combination. It might actually be one of the few honest to goodness midrange decks that can exist right now.
And as far as power level goes, I have been personally playing it at the top of Masters ladder, and it is a solid high tier two contender with a good matchup spread in the current meta. So how do we play?
Phase One: What’s The Angle?
Like any true midrange deck, your plan of attack will depend heavily on what your opponent is playing. This goes right down to the mulligan. There are plenty of powerful linear decks that have certain cards you always want to keep. That is not what we are gaming with here today.
There is not a single card in this deck that is a snap keep in every matchup. So instead of going card by card, I’m going to give you the questions you want to be asking yourself as the game begins. And as always with a WhatAmI article, they start with the most important, “What is your win condition?”
Against extremely aggressive decks you’ll often be looking to deal with their early threats and then corner turn. How much you value your own pressure though should depend on how much refill your opponent has. Do you need to be trying to preserve board state and push damage, or can you grind them down?
Here we’ll be looking for our early removal, Elise, and the Sentinels that are able to beat through our opponent’s defenses and block well. Potentially even keeping a card like Withering Wail against a matchup like non-Demacia Yordles in Arms.
Against a slower opponent though we might look to open keep our larger champions, Aloof Travelers, or even Vengeance. Everything is situational, which makes this the type of high decision-making-based deck I love.
Phase Two: Sequencing Questions
Now that we know what our plan is the question becomes how exactly to execute. We’ll often have a variety of different options on each turn of the game, and the only way to know which one is right will be to look into the future and ask ourselves what are we doing and what is our opponent doing in the next couple of turns.
For example, it might be tempting to curve out all of your units and push as much damage as possible. However, if you’re playing against a Gnar deck that is going to have the turn four attack token, then it might be more important to make sure you have banked spell mana to Shock Blast the little guy as he hits play.
The same kind of questions can be asked about when we want to play our removal versus our Sentinel cards. Obviously, we want to power them up, but can we afford to sacrifice the health necessary to do so, or do we need removal now? It depends on how much reach our opponent’s deck represents.
Even something like Aloof Travelers has important sequencing questions. What is the last opportunity you’re going to have to attempt to discard the card you want to hit before your opponent can play it? Can you afford the loss of tempo necessary to take your shot? So much of this deck’s play is in its sequencing.
Phase Three: Burn it all Down
While there are plenty of different ways to get there at some point we will generally be looking to close the game with burn power. While we might not look it this is a deck with a pretty unreasonable amount of reach.
Jayce doubling Shockblast puts on a huge amount of pressure, and Albus Ferros gets in for large chunks while guaranteeing a Jayce threat on a later turn. Ferros Financier also has a huge selection of spells to choose from, many of which will go face. Depending on your desperation sometimes you can even rip an Atrocity.
The other game-ending board states can be Sentinel tempo-based or just a leveled Jayce with his signature spell. Get a wide enough board and you can do a pretty solid Yordle in Arms impression with a doubled Acceleration Gate.
Yes, three is the correct number of Albus Ferros. He’s a huge burn spell, draws you a second win condition, and demands a blocker, all for seven mana. This card is cheaper and generally better than Leviathan, so take that as your starting point and trust me that he is not the cut.
For actual swing slots, your biggest ones are going to be Withering Wail, Archivist, and Vi. For these slots, you want to ask what you are planning to have to deal with the most often in a given meta.
Being able to take down boards of small units and heal a touch seems very worthwhile right now, so wail gets the nod. In other metas I might look at Ruination, Aftershock, or many other solid options.
Station Archivist is mostly there to try to find more Vengeance against Pantheon, but also a random three-drop that can sometimes hit value is not the worst. The only really locked champions in this deck are the three Jayce, and there are lots of other options so feel free to experiment.
I’m a midrange lover so finding something new that runs in that same mold is always going to be something that excites me. If you’re tired of the Aggro/Control/Combo wheel and looking for something different this is a great deck for you.
I’m not going to claim this is a tier one deck, but it packs enough solid power and play in it that I can definitely see it doing well in either a ladder or a tournament setting. And on the fun side of things I’ve got to say, doubling a Shockblast into my opponent’s face is a thing of absolute beauty.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask WhatAmI during his streams (Tuesday-Thursday around 3PM PST and weekends for tournaments).