How to Play Turbo Thralls
Hey guys, it’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung here. We’re a week into Patch 2.9 and about to take a dive into the land of the Frozen Thralls!
While we are approaching explored territory, this time we’re going to go even deeper. With fewer blades in the air and more time on our hands, it’s our turn to take control.
On second thought… that time thing? We might manipulate that a bit.
Deck Code: CEBQIBABAECQMDQEAQDQ2HZMIIBACAIUGIBQCAIBAEAQIAIJAICAOO2JAIAQCAJKAECAOIQ
Turbo Thralls has generally been considered a “Meme Tier” deck for its entire existence.
While there seemed to be some potential early on, it didn’t take long for Thralls to be put back into the freezer.
Lissandra already had a better home with Trundle and Spectral Matron so why even bother?
In fact, her summoned Frozen Thrall was arguably a drawback as it took up precious board space that Spectral Matron needed.
So you may ask, what’s changed? Is it the fact Taliyah got a +1|+1 stat buff? While it’s a fair improvement, the main reason lies in the smaller presence of Azir Irelia.
The nerfs certainly didn’t kill the deck, but it helped reduce its play rate, which is important as it’s our worst matchup. Turbo Thralls is a mix of controlling stall tools and committal combo pieces.
We have tons of board wipes in Avalanche, Blighted Ravine, and Ice Shard. Then a whole ton of situational combo pieces such as Clockwork Curator, Promising Future, and Time in a Bottle.
Countdown is a tricky mechanic which requires proper timing and use of board space.
Things can get a bit clunky at times, so you’ll need to plan accordingly to ensure survival and push enough damage to win. When things do go as planned, we can have a swarm of 8|8’s as early as turns 5-6!
When we enter a match we need to be mindful of opposing threats.
Our proactive curve is extremely slow, so depending on the matchup, we may need to mulligan more aggressively for defensive tools. Survival comes first above all else. We can’t go all-in on the turbo game plan if we die before turn 5.
- Always Keep:
- Frozen Thrall
- Keep (Against Aggro):
- Blighted Ravine
- Ice Shard
- Kindly Tavernkeeper
- Situational Keep:
- Clockwork Curator: When you have a Frozen Thrall in hand.
- Draklorn Inquisitor: Against slow matchups, and only if the rest of your hand is solid.
Example Hand 1:
Example Hand 2:
When we queue into a match we need to think carefully about how to approach it.
How aggressive is the opponent’s deck? Do we have the tools to survive? How long can we go until it’s our turn to put on the pressure?
Turbo Thralls is sort of a combo deck in its own right. The Region combination of Shurima Freljord doesn’t have the tools to play a full control game, nor the ability to interact with everything our opponent is doing.
Healing and small board wipes can only go so far. This is why it’s important to know when to flip the script and have our opponent overwhelmed by us!
Our turbo clock is extremely variable on how soon we drop our first Frozen Thrall.
Due to this, it’s imperative that we mulligan more aggressively to find one.
Having the Countdown begin from turn 1 can be the difference between winning and losing.
Other than holding anti-aggro tools, we should be tossing back everything to find that first Thrall.
The one exception you could keep is Preservarium.
Due to the clunky and situational nature of the deck, it helps to have an efficient option early before we’re out of time on later turns.
This will help smooth things out to find your answers and combo pieces more reliably.
Once you’ve summoned your first Frozen Thrall, evaluate whether or not you need to answer the board. If the coast is clear, aim to set up a Promising Future or Taliyah turn.
Taliyah is best used when Thrall’s Countdown is already reduced further.
You can use Clockwork Curator or Time in a Bottle before summoning Taliyah so that the Advance effectively applies to both Frozen Thralls.
Promising Future can be cast earlier as you’ll only have one target to reduce in order to release both Thralls.
In this deck, Lissandra functions mostly as support with a backup win condition.
Her Frozen Thrall comes down later than we would like, so unless paired with Draklorn Inquisitor and our Advance cards, it’s usually an afterthought to the first Thrall.
However, in games where we don’t draw our Thrall early, she helps sustain our plan albeit a little later.
During longer games, if it really comes down to it, she’ll make sure The Watcher has our back to obliterate the opponent’s deck.
Newly buffed with more reasonable stats, Taliyah fits well as essentially our fourth and fifth copies of Promising Future.
She’ll make sure our efforts get doubled and eventually put on some pressure herself. Once leveled, she attacks for up to 10 damage so long as you have a landmark.
If you really wanna heat things up, you can use her to copy a Frozen Thrall that’s already been buffed with Promising Future.
How does FOUR Thralls at once sound!?
Once a complete Meme, this card is a big part of this deck’s existence. The deck-building cost and playstyle of this deck is a huge upfront commitment.
So if we’re going through all this effort to summon an early 8|8, you gotta know we’ll double it and then some!
Be careful when playing against Noxus as Scorched Earth can lead to a huge blowout in their favor.
The obvious namesake for a reason, Frozen Thrall is actually pretty powerful when supported. As mentioned previously, we need to dive deep and mulligan for this one.
Don’t rely on our other units to summon them because there’s no time for that! When these are drawn later, you need to strongly consider whether or not you can afford to play them.
You don’t want to cost yourself board space and miss out on your Promised Future Thralls or Taliyah copies.
Sometimes it’s best to leave Frozen Thrall stuck in your hand… Frozen.
The Clock Hand
An odd card that has no other home, The Clock Hand comes around as a backup plan.
Sometimes your first couple Thralls weren’t enough, or maybe you’ve got others still frozen for what feels like an eternity.
The Clock Hand ensures a quick means of recovery with a handy fast-forward to make that final push.
Time in a Bottle
I wanted to save what I feel is the best for last. Time in a Bottle is our greatest trick to kick our plans into overdrive.
While setting up Promising Future or Taliyah, we can hold this spell to prepare for a focus-speed surprise attack at the enemy!
We all know the power of a strong Burst-speed attack when we’re not ready for it.
But how about dealing with burst-speed 8|8 Overwhelms? Time in a Bottle is fantastic for Advancing your strategy, but don’t forget its potential as a win condition!
While this deck is built around its survival, if the meta does slow down you can always trim back a bit onboard wipes like Avalanche and Blighted Ravine.
Ice Shard is even more situational, so without enough 1 health targets, you could consider cutting it altogether.
More draw is always welcome, but this does come at the cost of board space. Not the best fit in the current metagame but a reasonable option when there’s less Blade Dancing.
I’ve always been a fan of this card as it’s one of the best development punishers in the game.
Unfortunately, another card that’s terrible against blades. We also don’t want to overload on extra situational cards, but I could see an environment where he’s worth being considered.
The deck generally doesn’t struggle to close games once the Thralls are out, but you could consider a 1-of Battle Fury as a surprising way to end the game sooner.
That’s a wrap. We finally have a Frozen Thrall list that’s a real potential contender. It’s still early to know just how well they will fare, but there’s definitely ground to stand on and explore.
Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day
We can make tasks easier by being more clear with our words.
Instead of saying “I’m going to workout later”, rephrase it to “I’m going to drive to the gym after work at 5:00 pm”.
That simple direction of time and location prevents any thought of uncertainty later on.
We tend to back out of plans when we’re unclear of the process.
Make it easy.