LoR Deck Counter Guide: Dragons (Guardian of the Ancient)
Throughout all of the flying blades and angry sand soldiers there’s been a new contender emerging, or more accurately, making a comeback.
This time, however, the spotlight isn’t on Zoe… It’s on Shyvana?
Hey guys, it’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung here, and we’re about to dive into the anomaly that Shyvana is one of the best-positioned champions of this patch!
Before we dive in, let’s re-examine the status of our current metagame to gain a better understanding of where we’re at.
While the overall metagame is fairly diverse there are still two clear favourites; Azir Irelia and Thresh Nasus.
Azir Irelia’s greatest strength is its blade and soldier spam.
The consistent swarm and damage output causes immense pressure for the opponent to deal with.
However, due to the furious nature of Dragons, that strength becomes a great weakness.
Deck Code: CECACBAABYCAGAAGBAFQ4AIBAANACAYJ3UAQGAIEBECAIAYJKRKVOZABAIAACAQEAMEQGCJZLQBQCAAHBMHQ
Shyvana and Screeching Dragon prey on the 1|1’s all while becoming a menacing force of their own.
If that’s not enough, The Fangs, Starshaping, and lifesteal make it extremely difficult to close the game.
Thresh Nasus aims to build up slay triggers early on but can struggle against the larger-stat followers of Demacia.
There are few ways to deal with enemy challengers on defence, so maintaining board presence isn’t as easy.
The usual Nasus + Atrocity inevitably can actually become a liability due to the existence of Hush and excessive amounts of healing.
Now that we’ve cleared things up, you’re probably wondering how can we slay the Dragons? Or maybe you’ve stopped reading to go queue up with Shyvana yourself.
For those that are still with me, we’re gonna explore three different paths to victory.
- Efficiency – Ezreal Draven
- Inevitability – Lissandra Trundle
- Punishment – Ashe Marauders
1. Efficiency – Ezreal Draven
Deck Code: CECAIAIEDMPSINABAIBQSAQDAQCRCAQBAMKC4AYCAECACJQDAEBQIMZXAEBQGDIBAECAGCQ
Ezreal Draven has been around for a long time and for good reason. It’s one of the most efficient decks around.
You get to play units that generate additional cards and slow down opposing pressure.
Your spells answer basically every threat for less mana than they paid.
And then as the game comes to an end, sparks fly as axes and missiles shatter the enemy nexus.
So how does this apply against Dragons? Basically, in every way possible.
First off, despite all of the Challengers, Midrange Dragons is actually a pretty reactive deck.
They can have some clunky draws and don’t apply much pressure before turns 4-5.
As Ezreal Draven, we get to have some aggressive draws in addition to our natural reactive game plan.
However, that aggression is a bonus as we aren’t punished by anti-aggro.
During the midgame, when they get to Shyvana and Screeching Dragon, we can slow them down with Arachnoid Sentry, Thorn of the Rose, or House Spider.
Then if they aren’t careful, we can punish them with Ravenous Flock or Scorched Earth.
Try to be smart and use stuns to protect your champions, or when you can set up a successful flock.
Single Combat is generally the card to watch out for as it can be difficult to answer undamaged mid-sized threats at fast speed.
Although in the worst case, we can usually still pick off the unit afterwards.
In the late game, we do have to be mindful of Aurelion Sol, but you’ll generally be in a place where they can’t afford to commit that much mana.
You can finish them with Ezreal or Captain Farron, and they’ll struggle to keep up due to their mana inefficiency versus yours.
While your Tri-Beams are doing double duty, they’ll be stuck holding clunky Concerted Strikes.
- Plan your spells accordingly. It’s important to use Statikk Shock or a correct block to set up a Ravenous Flock or Scorched Earth.
- Even at Fast speed, they are useless in certain board states, so don’t let that happen.
- Save some discard fodder. The deck can run low on gas so be sure to allow your Sump Dredgers and Rummages to refuel you.
- Don’t let Ezreal die to a Hush block.
2. Inevitability – Lissandra Trundle
Deck Code: CECAEAIFFQXQGAIBAMKB2AQEAECQ4AIDAEDAGAIBAUUACBABBEBACAIHGIBAKAIFAEHRGHJRAMAQCAILFI
Our next deck is of course the beloved Lissandra Trundle! Too soon?
Okay okay, I know this is a controversial one, but you can’t argue that the deck packs power.
And that power comes from its meta-defining inevitability.
While it may no longer reign at the top of the ladder, it’s still a great option to consider.
I guess we outta thank Azir Irelia for helping out with that.
Once again, the name of the game is pressure, and in this case lack-there-of.
Lissandra Trundle makes sure everyone knows they’re on the clock.
End the game quickly or your deck will be OBLITERATED! Literally. It will.
During the early turns, unless they present something, all you have to do is pass.
Use excess mana to tutor Spectral Matron and your champions so long as you’re not pressured.
It’s very difficult for them to put on early aggression so they heavily rely on drawing their Dragons. A casual Blighted Ravine or Avalanche will prevent anything if they do get an early start. Just be mindful of a timely Sharpsight.
- Don’t play pre-levelled Lissandra unless they’re tapped out and you can guarantee a level-up on the next action.
- Make sure you can play at least 2-3 Watchers. They have the potential to Invoke a Crescent Strike, Equinox, or other removal spell.
- Don’t throw the game due to your lack of patience and planning.
- Remember they can cast their champion spell to put another card into their deck.
3. Punishment – Ashe Marauders
Deck Code: CECAIAIBAMFR4JQDAEBQIFI7AEBQCAQDAQBQEBARAIAQCAIEAIAQGNJYAEAQCAIB
Last but not least, my favourite and final means of dealing with Dragons, punishment!
I know some of you just scrolled to the end because you like completely shattering your opponent’s hopes of winning.
I can’t blame you, and this is a great way to go about it.
PS: We’re all friends, be respectful. 🙂
One of the greatest counters to Demacia, if not the greatest, is Freeze.
With it, we completely shut down every Challenger, every strike spell, and gain a massive edge in combat.
Every exchange we hold them mercy to our tricks, as all of ours counter theirs.
There are few windows where they can be confident unless there’s an error on our part.
You want to go into the game with two key pieces; a threat and a protection spell.
For example, Legion Marauder and Troll Chant would be a great start.
Always keep some spell mana available and look to get a champion on board.
Ashe is devastating for them as it lets you attack with a huge advantage all while holding up a defence to counter any response.
Having Ashe + Trifarian Gloryseeker is just plain mean.
Outside of buffs, you also have Icevale Archer to halt any attempt at Challenging or striking your units. There are few cards to worry about, but be mindful of the occasional Invoke.
If completely owning the combat phase isn’t enough for you, well there’s more.
You can often bait your opponent into getting blown out by Reckoning as their only hope of countering is a Hail Mary strike.
On the rare occasion that things get outta hand, Culling Strike basically acts as hard removal alongside the plethora of Freezes and debuffs.
- When you have Ashe, always look for situations where you can set up a burst Freeze to gain an unblocked open attack. You can steal games out of nowhere this way.
- Shunpo also wins games. Let them overcommit their mana to force them into awkward blocks. If you cast Shunpo on their turn, remember you can just open attack for the win on the following turn.
- Be mindful that the opponent can Hush their own units to remove your Freezes.
Well, that about wraps things up. One of the best things about Runeterra is the amount of complexity and counterplay it provides. There’s plenty of options, you just gotta find the one that suits you best!
Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day
How often do you self-reflect on your daily situations?
This could be about anything.
Do you live reactively to your environment, or intentionally to your own desires?
If you have a moment, just pause and think.
Are you living true to yourself?