How to Counter Aggro in LoR (Empires of the Ascended)

How to Counter Aggro in LoR (Empires of the Ascended)

How to Counter Aggro in Legends of Runeterra

My name is Jordan “WhatAmI” Abronson and I don’t know about the rest of you but after the third or fourth time I die on turn five or get that last Decimate topdecked against me I start to get a little bit salty.

Whether it’s gauntlet, ladder, tournaments, or even norms, aggro has been everywhere the last couple of weeks.

We’ve got good old-fashioned Discard Aggro, we’ve got starter-style Spider Burn, we’ve got Nightfall, we’ve got Pirates, we’ve got Azir, we’ve got Teemo, we’ve got it all.

Today we’re going to do a dive on how to counter the burn-out menace using Elise as our main example, but don’t worry, the ideals we go over should hold you in good stead whatever flavor of spice you run into.

Elise (LoR Deck)


[See Elise deck details]

While it looks simplistic this deck and decks like it can be extremely hard to deal with.

You have to be able to match their first blisteringly fast rush of aggression or you just get bowled over.

After that they’re packing a whopping thirty-nine points of burn, not to mention Stalking Shadows or that Frenzied Skitterer or a leveled Elise can kill out of absolutely nowhere.

Stalking Shadows (LoR card)

So get on your learning hats and your spider-stomping boots my friends, and let’s look into how it’s done.

While this one might be a boogeyman of the format in my estimation that is a point in its favor rather than one against it.

Starring almost every form of sweeper effect under the sun as well as plenty of healing and a quick clock, please welcome Matron to center stage.

Solution #1: Matron

Matron (LoR Deck)


[See Matron deck details]

The Game Plan

While we initially suggested that the best way to deal with aggression is to match their early game, this deck is not particularly interested in that plan.

Instead, we’re going to let our opponent do whatever they want and then clean it up with a variety of Avalanche and Withering Wail type effects.

Avalanche (LoR card)Withering Wail (LoR card)

Then when they are running low on cards and trying to burn us out we will simply heal out of range before dropping The Watcher hammer to end out the game.

As often as not you won’t even need the full Spectral Matron combo to find victory.

Once you stabilize a simple leveled Lissandra or Trundle is likely to be enough to secure the win.

Lissandra level 2 (LoR Card)

The Mulligan

Matron (LoR Mulligan)

Your best cards here are going to be Avalanche, Blighted Ravine, Withering Wail, Ice Shard, and Kindly Tavernkeeper.

Lissandra actually does quite well as a blocker as well so I would highly consider keeping her around.

Throwback the rest of your larger removal and combo pieces and trust them to filter back around on the guitar when you need them.

As long as you can sweep the board a couple of times the rest of the game should be looking pretty rosy, so focus up on that and let the rest take care of itself.


  • Don’t underestimate the amount of reach they can have.
  • Stabilizing at twelve or so health might feel pretty safe, but if you drop your shields then a couple of Decimates later you can be in a pretty rough spot.
  • The pass button is going to be your friend.
  • Remember that they have to be proactive trying to kill you and it’s going to be your job to punish them.
  • They’ll always be looking to bait your removal and sweepers, so hold them for the perfect moments and collect that victory.

Solution #2: Fight Fire with Fire

From the ancient times of a couple of months ago comes an old dog that still has a few tricks left to show off.

Gone are the days when this deck was a Tier One menace, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some places it can get some serious work done.

Elise-TF-Gangplank(LoR Deck)


[See Elise/TF/Gangplank deck details]

The Game Plan

Sometimes you’ve just got to fight fire with fire.

While we’re not exactly an aggro deck we’re stealing an arrow or two from their quiver with Elise and Doombeast.

Elise level 1 (LoR card)Doombeast (LoR card)

Into the aggro matchup you mostly just want to look to trade down in the early turns of the game and then get a kegged-up Withering Wail or Twisted Fate to slide the game firmly into your favor.

After that, it’s just a matter of time before your opponent’s bags are packed.

If they’re proving particularly stubborn then the towering top end of Ledros and Dreadway can deliver kills as early as turn nine even if you haven’t managed to lay a scratch on your opponent.

Commander Ledros (LoR card)

The Mulligan

Elise-TF-Gangplank(LoR Mulligan)

While all that card draw looks enticing it’s really not where we need to be at the beginning.

Throw it back and keep Twisted Fate, Withering Wail, Go Hard, and your early creatures.

This deck has enough cycling that we really don’t need to worry about hanging on to our late, or even mid-game pieces.

We’ll confidently draw into them in time as long as we can survive and stabilize to get there.


  • Don’t be afraid to take perceived anti-value trades or “chump-blocks” with this deck.
  • Between Twisted Fate, Withering Wail, Go Hard, and Kegs to back them all up, your opponent’s creatures left alive on one or two hit points are unlikely to stay that way for very long.
  • Champions are extremely overrated. They get good work done but don’t worry about protecting them.
  • This deck is absolutely over-flowing with value, so send the super friends into combat to keep you safe and trust that the rest of your deck will bail you out over the long haul.

Solution #3: Demaci-Sol

Sometimes the best idea is to just do the opposite of what your opponent is doing as hard as you possibly can.

Here to answer the question of “What happens if I jam every point of Lifesteal I can find into a deck?” is Demaci-Sol.

Demaci-Sol (LoR deck 4-15)


[See Demaci-Sol deck details]

The Game Plan

We’ve got Radiant, we’ve got Sunforger, we’ve got Fangs, even Solari Priestess can find Golden Sisters.

Solari Sunforger (LoR Card)The Fangs (LoR card)

Starshaping and the Demacia Strike cards are just nails to hammer into the coffin of your opponent’s hopes of burning you out.

Will we win the game with Aurelion Sol eventually? Sure.

level 1 aurelion sol jpg

But significantly more to the point is the abject suffering we can inflict on turn four when our opponent watches all their hard work go up in a puff of smoke with Solari Sunforger plus Single Combat healing for ten.

The Mulligan

Demaci-Sol (LoR Mulligan)

Look for your early drops to trade and then one of the nine big Lifesteal units to turn the game around.

If you already have one of each of those consider keeping Single Combat but throw everything else back.

While you might know to get rid of space dragons on turn one, that Starshaping can look mighty tempting.

Trust me and get rid of it. You might want a copy later, but unless you get your early and mid-game curve all the Starshaping in the world won’t be able to save you from being eaten by spiders.


  • Zoe is a great value generation engine, but don’t get too stuck on her.
  • If your opponent plays a 2|1 on turn one and all you have to respond with is Zoe you should seriously consider blocking.
  • Unless that Star-Chart is absolutely vital to your early curve your health is going to matter more than the power of star girl.
  • Don’t worry about winning the game too much. The game will be over in your favor when you stabilize with a Radiant Guardian plus a couple of friends in play.
  • Focus on cementing that win and keeping your life total high rather than slamming Aurelion sol as soon as possible.
  • While space dragons are enticing, victory will always be sweeter.

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Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask WhatAmI during his streams (around 10AM PST basically every day).

WhatAmI streams at around 10AM PST every day