Swim’s Meta Talk: Thoughts on the K/DA Cards

Swim’s Meta Talk: Thoughts on the K/DA Cards

LoR’s K/DA Cards and Their Effect on the Meta

Hi everyone, Swim here, today I’ll be talking about the K/DA cards, their design, and how they are affecting the current meta.

Make sure to check out the video this article is based on if you want to know exactly what was said:

Card Design

Legends of Runeterra’s card design is very special. The game designers usually have a set idea or an archetype that they want the cards to be used in, this directly affects players’ creativity and innovation outside of what the cards have been designed to be played in.

Meme decks do not follow these rules since you can always win with a suboptimal fun deck but it will never be designed to be competitive or Tier 1.

This generally applies to most cards in Legends of Runeterra so far. Cards are usually designed to be competitive in one archetype without having a lot of synergies in other deck concepts.

For example, from the latest Targon set, Soraka and Tahm Kench, two of the new champions revealed in that set were clearly designed in a very specific way. They were designed to work together in one deck and one archetype.

Tahm Kench Soraka (LoR Deck)
Deck Code: CIBAIAYGAQDQQDYHAMER2IZNGM2DOVICAEBQMCICAMETYYQBAEBQSEY

[See Soraka and Tahm Kench deck details]

Even the version of the deck may vary depending on what players choose to add or remove but the core concept and playstyle of the deck remains the same. And thus, not giving players enough room for innovation since these two champions are not competitive in any other deck concept.

But the K/DA cards represent some very unique design unlike any other cards or set we’ve had in the game so far.

Go Hard is the Shadow Isles K/DA card. This is the card that is seeing the most play on the ladder right now.

Go Hard (LoR card)

Pack Your Bags (LoR card)

Go Hard (LoR Card Data)

It’s the most competitive out of the 5 new cards and is seeing play in many different Tier 1 and 2 decks. The design of this card is very interesting since it’s competitive while also having the flexibility to be played in different deck archetypes.

After the K/DA patch launch, people experimented with Go Hard combined with different regions like Ionia (Spooky Karma), Piltover and Zaun with Rummage and Counterfeit copies, and Bilgewater with Zap Sprayfin and Fortune Croaker or other versions with Kegs or even Commander Ledros.

TF Go Hard

TF Go Hard (LoR Deck)

Deck code: CECAEAYFAYIAMAQGAQERUHJGHIAQGBQIAEAQKMIBAMAQKAJQGUBQCAYFBAAQEBRAAIAQKDZB

[See TF Go Hard deck details]

[Check out the deck guide made by Precipic and Bones]

This is the most competitive deck that is built around Go Hard. it’s definitely Tier 1 and is considered the best deck in-game at the moment by many top players.

Spooky Karma

Karma Thresh (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CICAGAICFEVTCAQCAICQSBIBAUKB2KBLGQAQGBIQAEBQCBIBB4RACAIDAILA

[See Karma Thresh deck details]

This Shadow Isles Karma Control deck started using Go Hard as a board wipe and a win condition when combined with Karma.

Rivershaper and Deep Meditation somewhat consistently drew multiple copies of Go Hard and thus making it hard for the opponent to play around The Ruination + Pack Your Bags.

Rivershaper (LoR Card)Deep Meditation (LoR Card)

Another version of this deck was tested by Alanzq on his stream. The version cut all the spells except for Go Hard and Deep Meditation.

Alanzq's Go Hard (LoR Deck)

This basically allowed Go Hard to be drawn by Rivershaper and Deep Meditation consistently which made playing multiple Pack Your Bags in one game very common.

Go Hard was also played in multiple PnZ Decks like the one showcased in this video:

This is a very fun combo deck that plays very differently from the other deck concepts which again proves the great design behind Go Hard.

Go Hard was also seeing play in Shadow Isles/PnZ decks like Corina Control:

Elise Vi (LoR Deck)

[See Silverfuse’s Corina Control deck guide]

The once-dominant archetype had fallen out of favor for some time but has risen once again due to the addition of Go Hard.

Go Get it

Go Get It (LoR Card)

Go Get It is the Fast K/DA spell in Ionia. It saw a lot of play on the ladder and in tournaments for the first few weeks after the set release.

There was a decent amount of experimentation in different decks such as:

Wraithcaller decks with Go Get It:

Shadow Isles Ionia (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CEBQMAIFBYIBSHRPHADAGBICAMCAKBQNAEBQEFQAAEAQCBIU

(See Shadow Isles/Ionia deck details)

A Fearsome deck using Kalista and Nocturne. Go Get It was usually used on Wraithcaller, which summoned a first Mistwraith from the ephemeral copy of Wraithcaller and then another Mistwraith from the 0 cost copy of Wraithcaller in hand.

This combo generated a lot of value, especially when combined with cards like Risen Mists that summons another Mistwraith while buffing every other copy in the deck, board, and hand.

Risen Mists (LoR Card)

Go Get It was also used on Frenzied Skitterer to lower the attack of all units on your opponent’s board by 2, nullifying some Fearsome blockers and allowing deadly attacks.

This deck did very well overall but was soon replaced with a Targon version of the deck.

Go Get It was also seeing play in Spooky Karma:

Shadow Isles Ionia Spooky Karma (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CECACAYFCADACBIBCQOSQKZUAMAQEKJLGEBAEAQFBEBACAYCCYAQCBIPAA

(See Spooky Karma deck details)

Generally used with The Rekindler, summoning another Karma from the ephemeral copy of The Rekindler and allowing you to summon another Karma on the board from the 0 mana copy of The Rekindler in your hand.

Like in the Fearsome deck, this generated a lot of value and usually allowed games to go from unwinnable spots to a favored position.

The Rekindler (LoR Card)

Players, however, stopped running this card in Spooky Karma because of its incapability to deal with aggression, which is an archetype that this deck struggles to beat.

Even though this card’s effect and value generation are huge, the fact that Ionia as a region is somewhat feeling underwhelming is holding it back.

Out of the Way

Out of the Way (LoR Card)

A 5 mana Slow spell from Targon. Even though its effect is completely unique this card has seen the least amount of experimentation and competitive play.

It fundamentally changes one of the rules of the game: all temporary buffs except Barriers become permanent after you play Out of the Way.

Unfortunately, its cost doesn’t allow it to be competitive in any way. A 5 mana Slow spell that doesn’t have any impact on the turn it’s played usually leads to a huge amount of tempo loss.

Troll Chant (LoR Card)Pale Cascade (LoR card)

The effect it provides also doesn’t compensate for the tempo loss of its cost. Most temporary buffs like Troll Chant and Pale Cascade are used reactively in combat to be able to trade effectively on that turn, keeping the buff after that specific purpose doesn’t have that much of a positive effect or value generation.

Diana Taric (LoR Deck)

Give it All

Give It All (LoR Card)

An 8 mana cost Slow spell from PnZ. Even though this card doesn’t have the potential to define the meta like Go Hard, its effect is nonetheless very powerful while promoting some very unique and interesting styles of deckbuilding.

It’s seeing play in Heimer Vi :

Heimer Vi (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CEBQGAIEDM2DQBYDBERTGUCUKVOGAAICAQEAGAIBAQTQCAYJCMAQEBAGAEAQGBAW

[See Heimer Vi deck details]

It’s used with Heimer Turrets, to give the whole board multiple keywords: Fearsome+ Elusive + Overwhelm + Tough, etc.. resulting in a very strong attack.

You’ll have trouble spots where you’re behind and losing control of the board but will help you close out games faster.

It’s also seeing play in Discard Aggro:

Give It All Discard (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CEBQCAYECICQCBAMDQTSQLIFAEBQOCIUE43QEAQBAQAQ2AIDAQLACAIBAMRQ

(See Give It All Discard deck details)

Discard Aggro is a deck that can develop a wide board by turn 4 or 5 very easily. With Daring Poro and Crowd Favorite all your units become as big as Crowd Favorite with multiple keywords: Overwhelm and Elusive being the main ones.

This results in some very funny moments even though the card is not really needed in the deck.

Like Go Get It, Give It All is also held back by Piltover and Zaun as a region that is mostly very weak especially its followers.

Feel the Rush

Feel The Rush (LoR Card)

This is the 12 mana Slow K/DA spell from Frejlord that is comparable to Warmother’s Call. The K/DA set got released in a meta environment where Warmother’s Call / Shadow Isles decks were dominating the meta.

It didn’t take long for players to replace Warmother’s Call with Feel the Rush to create better matchup tables for the deck and be even more dominating.

It enables a lot of different strategies and is seeing play in different deck concepts:

Teemo/Sej

Teemo Sejuani (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CECAMAIEBAMRWNBVHIAQGAICAIAQCKRSAIBACAQHAMAQCAJAAEBAIBQBAMARMAIBAECDC

[See Teemo Sejuani deck details]

This is the classic Teemo/Sej deck playing to deal damage every turn to level up Sejuani. Using Puffcaps and other spells to activate her effect consistently is the deck’s main goal.

The addition of Feel The Rush makes gives the deck another win condition: summoning a 10/10 Teemo and 10/10 Sejuani is how you’re able to finish games most of the time.

Gangplank/Sejuani

Gangplank Sejuani (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CEBASAQGBMJBIHBAEETC2MIBAIAQEAQEAIDAIBIIHQAQGAIWAA

(See Gangplank Sejuani deck details)

Similar to Teemo/Sej, this deck plays to deal damage every turn, leveling up Sejuani AND Gangplank as soon as possible using them both as finishers.

Adding Feel the Rush to this deck represents a great finisher by summoning a leveled up 10/10 Sejuani and 10/10 Gangplank.

In terms of design when compared to Warmother’s Call, this card doesn’t have a big deck building cost thus making it more flexible and more competitive overall while also hitting different archetypes.

Closing Thoughts

The general consensus of these K/DA cards is that they’re all very interesting design-wise. They allow a lot of creativity and innovation which is why the K/DA set has received a lot of positive feedback from the community.

I hope that we’ll see more cards with this type of design getting released because of their healthy impact on players’ creativity.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask Swim during his streams (10AM-6PM PDT).

Watch Swim live at twitch.tv/swimstrim everyday 10AM-6PM PDT