How to Counter Lee Targon
With his recent buff to being 4 mana and the Bastion changes, Lee Sin has become one of the bigger menaces on the ladder, often being able to kill people from a full 20 health when combined with Overwhelm from Zenith Blade.
Playing against this deck often feels incredibly annoying since there are very few ways to effectively interact with Lee Sin because of the card’s ability to give himself Barriers and the deck’s ability to protect the card with buff cards like Pale Cascade and Bastion.
Deck code: CEBQEAQCAMDAMAYJCMNSGKJTLQAQCAQJAIBQGCKVKZQAEAQCAUEQGAIDBEYACAICG4AQEAQI
For this article, I want to look at the specific spots and turns where the deck has weaknesses and propose some deck builds based off of these weaknesses.
A big thing to think about with countering decks is to think about how the turns for the deck play out. On turn 1 they have access to two plays – Gift Giver and Spacey Sketcher. The one way to answer these sort of cards is to include cards that just trade favorably into them on turn 1.
This would be any of the 1 mana 2/2’s in the game, so Jagged Butcher, Cithria of Cloudfield, and Solari Soldier all seem like good options.
Setting up for value in the long run with cards like Fleetfeather Tracker and Omen Hawk is also viable.
Another angle is to play cards so these cheap cards can’t block, this includes cards like Precious Pet, Poro Cannon, Teemo, or Flame Chompers off of a discard from Zaunite Urchin.
Turn 2 is very likely Lee Targon’s weakest turn. Their best cards are Eye of the Dragon, Mountain Goat, Claw of the Dragon, or a Celestial off of Spacey Sketcher. Speaking of Sketcher, you need to think about how likely it is that they got Crescent Strike. That card in particular can be devastating if forgotten about.
Overall, turn 2 is incredibly vulnerable to several cards because none of the powerful plays the deck can do on this turn involve removal spells.
The best possible cards are tools that allow you to snowball a powerful turn 1. This could be Brightsteel Protector or Young Witch for Fleetfeather Tracker to get a free kill on any of their units.
Playing a cheap unit buffed from Omen Hawk is also pretty nice here too. Mystic Shot is the cleanest answer to any of their 3/2 units and can allow you to attack with your 1 drop or just blunt their aggression very hard.
Units that are basically impossible for their deck to block are quite strong here too, such as Lucian, Solari Shieldbearer, or Poro Cannon again.
Lastly, cards that accumulate value in the long term are quite good to land on this turn because the opponent’s deck has basically no way of threatening them. This would be cards like Starlit Seer, Faces of the Old Ones, or Battlesmith.
Turn 3 is where things start to get a bit scary. This is the turn that they can land a Zed plus a protection spell like Bastion or Pale Cascade.
When Zed is attacking, usually just block with your single weakest unit. If you have a super good aggressive head start and can race them down, don’t block at all.
The best cards for this turn are the big attack punishers in the game like Solari Shieldbearer, Icevale Archer, and Arachnoid Sentry. These cards effectively render Zed useless for this combat.
Outside of that, there are several combat tricks that are incredibly effective on this turn. Troll Chant, Brittle Steel, and Flash Freeze are the biggest and usually will lead to you killing their Zed for free on this turn.
If you were able to get them to tap under 2 spell mana then Mystic Shot is super effective here. Just having reasonable stats that trade into 3/2’s is pretty solid here too, so a card like Laurent Protege does quite a bit.
Beyond that, if you are on attack, being aggressive is incredibly effective here. Almost any Challenger is solid to get a free kill on their Eye of the Dragon, powerful 3 drops like Draven, Miss Fortune, Frenzied Skitterer, Reckless Trifarian, and even your own Zed all seem quite solid.
Developing for long-term value is also still good here because they still have no removal on this turn to deal with your threats. Cards like Wyrding Stones and Rivershaper are both solid examples.
Turn 4 is where things start to swing in Lee deck’s favor because they get to land their key card. The hope is that by turn 4, you have done enough to put them behind on board by forcing them to spend mana so they don’t get to Challenge a unit with Lee Sin the turn they play him, however, there are still good cards for this turn.
Stuns and Frostbites are still the best cards for this turn so Icevale Archer, Arachnoid Sentry, Twisted Fate, Leona, and Flash Freeze are all reasonable.
If you were able to play a Trundle ahead of the curve by ramping with Wyrding Stones, this is a great turn to play Trundle or some other big dude. Capitalizing off of your already powerful board with a card like Vanguard Bannerman is pretty effective here.
On attacks, a card like Ashe is incredibly strong because you can invalidate Lee Sin as a blocker.
Turn 5 and Beyond
After this point, the Lee Deck should realistically always be able to keep Lee Sin alive so you need to figure out how to win the game despite that.
One great way is to just kill them with burn spells. If you have enough damage to kill them with Decimate, Noxian Fervor, Mystic Shot, and Get Excited! it doesn’t matter if they have a Lee Sin in play or not.
Any card that is effective through Bastion is super effective here, this includes Frostbites, The Infinite Mindsplitter, Swain leveled stun, and combat tricks like Troll Chant.
Ways to pop Bastion or Spellshield are quite strong here too because they can allow you to remove Lee even if they have protection. Make it Rain, Miss Fortune, leveled Gangplank, Tarkaz the Tribeless, and Troll Chant are all reasonable options for accomplishing this goal.
Genevive Elmheart is also a neat way to beat Lee Sin, if you can force them to Barrier on her Scout attack then you should be able to kill Lee on the Regular Attack.
Good Options vs Lee Sin Targon decks
The first clearly good option is Pirate Aggro. Your early game is generally just better than theirs, you have many pings for Lee Sin, and you have a win condition that doesn’t require you to attack into their Lee Sin.
Deck code: CEBQOAQGBALCAJRNHI6AEAIDEUUAEAQDAMCAEAQBAMBDOAIDAYDACAICAY7A
Another good option is a deck that is able to ramp quickly into an Infinite Mindsplitter or Trundle with Troll Chants and Freezes. This would be Mind Splitter Freljord control:
Deck code: CEBQEAYBAIDAIAYJCMKVIYADAEAQODBSAMBQGCJDGNLAEAIBAEKACAQBAIAQCAYJKU
Mystic Shot seems incredible against their deck in general. As such, a go wide aggro deck like Discard Aggro seems super good, especially when you keep in mind that your win con involves burning them with Get Excited! and Mystic Shot which they can’t stop by blocking with Lee Sin.
Add onto this that they have very few ways of dealing with Vision plus Poro Cannon and it could be super reasonable.
The last is a Demacia Midrange or Aggro deck. This is because you should generally be able to snowball early boards since basically every early game card in their deck useless.
These are options like Fiora Shen and Demacia Targon Mirange: