How to Play Vinding Light (Vi + Winding Light)
One of the most iconic decks in Runeterra’s history is the Rubin Pile. This semi-random assortment of good cards was put together with the most emphasis on leveling Zoe as quickly as possible.
Now, thanks to that deck, any odd-looking value/tempo deck gets its creator’s name and pile slapped onto it as the title.
I’m Jordan “WhatAmI” Abronson and today we are going back to the Pile’s roots.
The first pile was a Piltover and Zaun plus Targon deck that combined a slew of threats with a small amount of value and a burnout end game.
That is exactly what new card The Winding Light has allowed us to recreate here today.
Deck Code: CEDAEAYJJHMQCAIDAQCQCBAECABACBBHGQAQEBAIAEDASJQFAEBQIEQEAMEQ2I2WLQAQKBAYAEAQIJQBAICACAA
At its core, we’re looking at a tempo-oriented discard synergy deck. We’ve got eleven cards that are here solely to give us fodder to discard. To back those up there are nine payoffs for that discard.
That number does go up slightly though when we factor in that both Aphelios and The Winding Light enjoy using our Duskpetals for their intended purpose. Aphelios is powerful, but an old hat at this point. Dropping a giant Overwhelm body and buffing your board on turn six though, that’s something new.
It gets even better when we realize that Vi will often be a part of that board. The Winding Light can represent lethal swings in any number of different ways, but a twelve-power Overwhelm Vi is definitely the most satisfying.
To round out our threat package we’ve got a couple of Subpurrsibles, Moonlight Affliction to either buy us a turn or set up a huge open attack, and a solid burnout package. Get Excited, Mystic Shot, and Ballistic Bot are old buddies and will keep your opponent on their toes or dead much of the time.
Phase One: The Synergy
For the first couple of turns of the game, a lot of our focus will be on enabling and then activating or discard cards. We’ll use these to fill our board and generate a bit of value at the same time while we set up for the later turns of the game.
Don’t underestimate the chip damage we can get in here though. Just going ahead and dropping a pair of Poros on turn two can get in for a Decimate or more over the course of a game. Remember that lots of games end with burn spells to the face, and value every point of damage you can find accordingly.
That said, we only have a moderate amount of burn. We’re not a full-on aggro deck. You’ll have to look ahead a few turns to figure out which of you and your opponent benefits more from having a wide board as you decide whether to trade down your early units or not.
Phase Two: The Wind Up
Our mid game for this deck is going to be heavily dominated by our champions if we’ve managed to find them. Both Aphelios and Vi are absolute bastions of tempo creation and that’s what this phase is all about.
Calibrum, Gravitum, or just plain punch your opponent’s units in the face to force the board state into your favor. In most matchups, the board will matter significantly more than either life total, so act accordingly.
Get in that chip damage where you can, but make sure that you are using this phase to primarily set up for your phase three. We want to be powerful and ready for when our big finish comes down.
Phase Three: The Punch
One of the things I love most in a deck is when it has multiple ways to close a game. The obvious here is to simply drop The Winding Light on to a large board and swing for the fences. That will often be enough, but what fun would it be if that was our only plan.
Aphelios can be his own plan entirely, and if our big finisher is missing then dropping an Infernum onto a high-power Vi is often going to be enough to get the job done. Against an aggressive deck, even a single big Severum swing will often lock a game away.
The card that gets underestimated and cut the most in this deck I think is subpurssible. The little kitty is an absolute engine, biting in for five point chunks while drawing us closer to the additional burn we may need to finish the game.
Every time I take out that card, I end up regretting it. A large chunk of this decks power is the many different ways you can cobble together a win condition. Elusive units backed by burn is a great secondary plan, and without the sub it just isn’t strong enough.
The first and biggest question that I get asked when I show people this list is always “Where are all the invokes? This is supposed to be a Targon list, what’s going on here Jordan?”
Well, this deck did originally have quite the invoke package. From Solari Priestess to Starshaping there was definitely another sub-theme here of outlasting our opponents and getting into some seriously late-game brawls.
However, with the advent of The Winding Light that really just doesn’t feel like the most efficient way to handle things anymore. Slowing down our game plan to give the opponent more time to react just seems worse than effectively slamming a smaller Scourge on turn six to eight.
This does definitely make us worse in some matchups, losing access to Meteors and The Great Beyond is a huge deal. However, what it also does is streamline the deck. It adds a huge amount of consistency that gets rid of many of the worst kinds of bricked out hands we used to suffer from.
The other large question is “What is up with Moonlight Affliction?” That slot can honestly be a lot of different things. I settled on the affliction because it’s another way to push through for lethal, while also stopping our opponent’s threats.
Those are quite obviously the biggest swing slots in the deck. You can probably also mess around with the third Ballistic Bot and the third Winding Light quite easily. As with any “Pile” deck, changing with the meta is a huge part of its strength, and I encourage you to innovate.
At the end of the day, this is a powerful proactive deck that has some solid value and a smidge of interaction. That’s the kind of deck that I like to ladder with and I’ll give it the old WhatAmI recommendation for any battlers out there. Best of luck, and I’ll see you on the climb.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask WhatAmI during his streams (Tuesday-Thursday around 3PM PST and weekends for tournaments).