How to Counter Irelia Azir (3 Deck Recommendations)

How to Counter Irelia Azir (3 Deck Recommendations)

LoR Deck Counter Guide: Irelia Azir

Jordan “WhatAmI” Abronson here for the weather report.

We’ve got blades on blades on blades out here and they swear it’s a dance but to this journalist, it’s looking more and more like a storm.

Tired of death by infinite cuts?

Well, ready those umbrellas because we’re going to go ahead and break down how to keep safe from the spring storms of this impressive new aggro deck.

The three decks we’ll be recommending as counters are:

  1. Radiant Dragons
  2. Nasus Time
  3. Azir Burn

Blade Scouts (Irelia Azir)

Blade Scouts (LoR Deck)


[See Blade Scouts deck details]

This is our public enemy number one today.

It’s still pretty new so if you ask three different people how to build it you’re liable to get five opinions, the first two have changed in the time it took to ask number three.

That said, all the builds have an impressive, direct, and deucedly hard to disrupt theme.

Like any other swarm deck, it’s all about the ramp-up and the payoffs.

Your one drops, Dais, and your Blade Dance cards flood the board, while Inspiring Marshall, Greenglade Duo, and sometimes even Voice of the Risen kick it up a notch.

Emperor's Dais (LoR Card)

Azir and Irelia, the deck’s two signature three drops get to be both ramps up and payoff and Azir is surprisingly hard to get off a board, even when not protected by recalls.

Azir level 1 (LoR Card) Irelia level 1 (LoR Card)

Add to that the fact that this deck creatively dodges the traditional swarm deck problem of only having a six-wide board maximum, and you’ve got yourself a lean, mean, killing machine.

Sounds like a pretty tough nut to crack, eh?

Well, trust in Riot and trust in me because where things look broken, there will almost always be counterplay and ways to shut them down if you look closely enough.

Counter Deck #1: Radiant Dragons

Radiant Dragons (LoR Deck)


[See Radiant Dragons deck details]

Do you know what all those unreasonable amounts of tiny minions really don’t like? Large Lifesteal bodies.

Worse is large Lifesteal bodies with Tough.

Radiant Guardian might not be a 5|5 anymore but four is plenty of power to deal with most of the Blade Scouts deck, and unless they have a pumper online she can block Blades and Sand Soldiers all day long.

Backing her up we’ve got a bevy of high toughness units, often with Lifesteal or Fury, and six spells that amount to basically hard removal against anything that tries to go big instead of going wide.

Garen makes a cameo appearance to make attacking us even less enticing as he’ll just level up, heal up, and swing back twice as hard alongside all his friends.

Garen (LoR Card)

While Aurelion Sol doesn’t exactly shine in this matchup it’s important to have someday to close out games, and a giant space dragon will do that if not faster, then more concretely than basically anyone else.

Quick Tips

  • Don’t be afraid to Hush an Azir, Irelia, or other high-value effect units on your opponent’s turn, if you need to buy some breathing room.

  • I know we generally like to save those to get value but our opponent is effectively an aggro deck.
  • Our larger bodies will find all the value we need as long as we can survive to get them down.
  • Be a little careful about exchanging nexus health for the health of your units.
  • While I’m always the guy out here chanting “One HP Gamers,” this matchup is kind of the exception.
  • Look for your spots to get value, but make sure you don’t get surprised by one swarm turn taking away your hard-fought victory.
  • Sharpsight can cosplay as a removal spell alongside a challenger unit to take someone beefy.

Sharpsight (LoR Card)

  • It feels a little wrong to pre-commit a buff much of the time, but it’s right surprisingly often.
  • Try to get the best reads you can, but when in doubt remember the NA mantra, “Make them have it.”

Counter Deck #2: Nasus Time

Nasus Time (LoR Deck)


[See Nasus Time deck details]

Do you know what sounds like it would really hit the spot against a blort-load of tiny things attacking you just begging to die? Yeah, that’s right, something that profits off of every single one of those delicious slay triggers.

This one is a little bit of a spicier take on the classic of Thresh/Nasus, but I personally find I much prefer having the control tools than hoping my initial push overwhelms my opponent’s defenses enough for my champions to get the job done.

Each to their own though. Even a more traditional version of this deck will do just fine. The basic idea holds though you use a board full of bodies rather than removal spells.

Just hold onto your life total, mop up whatever they throw at you, and get ready for a huge Nasus to come down and finish things up.

Quick Tips

Zilean Level 1 (LoR Card)

  • I feel like I say this a lot, but every time I turn around people forget so I’m going to keep saying it. Don’t overvalue your champions. Zilean is a 1|4 blocker with Predict.
  • That’s fine. While you’ll occasionally high roll a level on him and win a game that’s not what he’s here for.
  • If he chump blocks, gets Glimpsed, buys you the time you need to stabilize the board?
  • Then he’s done everything he’s in the deck for. I’ve even used Blighted Caretaker on him when I’ve had to, though never particularly happily.

Blighted Caretaker (LoR Card)

  • Don’t be afraid to trade down value, or even mana for your important targets.
  • If you get Azir, Irelia, and the “embiggeners” off the board then the 1|1’s your opponent generates really won’t be that impressive.
  • Vengeance on Azir might feel bad, but if your opponent is out of mana it will very often be a correct decision.

Counter Deck #3: Azir Burn

Azir Burn (LoR Deck)


[See Azir Burn deck details]

Last but definitely not least there is a reason this was the first deck to make it to masters this season.

Sometimes your opponent is out there doing an impressive, beautiful, complicated sword dance, and you just pull an Indiana Jones and shoot them in the head.

One of the few things the blade scouts deck is not good at is blocking, and with twelve one drops followed up by thirty-six points of straight-up burn damage, that is just what this deck demands.

As if that weren’t enough, every Blade your opponent makes will grow your Baccai Reaper, letting it do a mini-Nasus impersonation.

Baccai Reaper (LoR reveal)

Then Ruin Runner and the one of Darius come down at the end to overwhelm any pitiful defenses your opponent can have left.

Quick Tips

  • You’re probably open attacking too much. Any time you are deciding whether to go for that open attack or not take a moment and think about what your opponent can actually respond with.
  • A lot of the time it will be even or better for you to develop more units, especially against an opposing aggro deck like Blade Scouts.
  • This is a matchup where it is more ok to drop low. You are one hundred percent running a race, and it is usually going to be more important for you to run faster than to slow them down.
  • Take what few value blocks you can, and do what you need to stay alive, but point everything you’ve got at their face.
  • I know this should be self-evident to most aggro players by now, but I’ve seen too many turn four or five non-lethal Decimates not to comment on it.
  • Unless you’ve got nothing else important to do, your burn comes last. You’ll always be able to use it for those last points of damage, so get your creatures down early while they can do their job.

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