Path of Champions Guide: The Prodigal Explorer (Ezreal)

Path of Champions Guide: The Prodigal Explorer (Ezreal)

The Prodigal Explorer Path of Champions Guide

Hey all, it’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung and I’m back with the next chapter of Path of Champions.

Get your maps ready because we’re taking on Ezreal, The Prodigal Explorer!

Vi’s suited up once again. From this adventure onward, it’s about to get more challenging.

We’re continuing our previous adventure against The Saltwater Scourge, so there are no additional reputation advantages beyond what we’ve earned so far (Reputation Rank 6).

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However, now that we’ve acquired our first common item slot, I’ve gone ahead and equipped Vi with a Stormrazor to grant her Quick Attack. Paired alongside Challenger she’ll be able to take out just about anything! We’ve also finally got some starting rerolls. This will help avoid having to select any awful cards.

Before we continue, let’s revisit a couple of disclaimers.

  • Your experience will vary depending on your champion, but this should serve as a reasonable baseline to compare to.
  • When it comes to PoC, the choices and possibilities are endless. One run can be completely different from the next, and your experience will differ from mine.

Adventure Preparation

The Prodigal Explorer is the first adventure with an impressively challenging Miniboss. This encounter is no joke and will sway our draft decision-making drastically. Before we go any further, let’s take a look at the Mutators which enhance all of this map’s encounters.

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Each enemy starts with a free Mystic Shot in hand. This is important to keep in mind in terms of both deckbuilding and gameplay. We don’t want to summon a key unit just to have it immediately removed. Thankfully, we can take advantage of the AI and bait the spell pretty easily when needed.

Karma

  • Game Start: ALL players start with 10 mana gems.

Karma breaks the rules of the game by making both players immediately Enlightened. She’ll also summon herself from the get-go to start creating absurd amounts of value. We can’t allow this to happen. The only saving grace is the AI isn’t afraid to attack, making it easy enough to trade into her. But even so, there’s almost always a second Karma around the corner!

Preparation

Forgo everything you’d normally do in a draft and heavily prioritize impactful expensive cards, or at the very least, removal for Karma. We need game enders, so find the biggest and best bomb you can.

Ezreal

  • The Foe’s spells cost 1.
  • Round Start: Create a Fleeting Statikk Shock in the Foe’s hand.
  • If the Foe has leveled a champion, create a Fleeting Trueshot Barrage instead.

While Karma breaks the rules of the game for everyone, Ezreal does it all for himself. Every one of his spells costs only one mana, and he generates free removal each turn! Avoid drafting units with one health as they’ll be immediately pinged off by the endless Statikk Shocks. For this encounter, we’re better to go tall than wide. This helps to slow down Ezreal’s level-up and prevent getting punished by Trueshot Barrage.

Preparation

Focus your efforts towards building a few stronger units that can survive cheap removal. Champions are your best friend. Value and card draw is also important to sustain a board in the long run. If you’re vulnerable to Trueshot Barrage you’ll be in for a rough time. Lastly, ensure you have a few ways to answer Ezreal.

Note: There’s more detailed info on the bosses as we approach them.

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These three common powers all have some useful application, but without synergy, don’t perform very well overall. While I like the idea of Duelist against both Karma and Ezreal, it’s not very fitting alongside Vi’s starting deck. Sticky Fingers and Fast Deal are both fine, except rely on RNG to be effective. I could make due, but I’m not sold on anything, so let’s reroll.

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Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! That is one heck of an epic power. We’ve already got two Elusive cards with Poro Cannon and Amateur Aeronaut. Additionally, thanks to our Rank 6 Reputation, we now have access to a random starting item on a random card. What’s the item you ask? Spellshield on Amateur Aeronaut. Yup. We’re off to a pretty wild start with this one!

Hextech Observatory

  • Game Start: ALL players summon a Hextech Observatory.

Our first encounter, unlike past adventures, does pack some power. As you can see, mana manipulation is the overall theme, and it starts now! Hextech Observatory may start slow with its -1 mana gem, but recovers fast thanks to its landmark.

They will remove your units and follow up with their own, so be careful. One notable spell to watch out for is the PoC exclusive, Jolt.

Jolt

  • 3 Mana
  • PnZ Slow Spell
  • Deal 1 to all enemy followers.

This is a one-sided sweeper that’s extremely punishing if you’re caught off guard. Alongside the guaranteed Mystic Shot and other removals like Thermogenic Beam, they can clear your board quickly. Ferros Financier fuels the late game and can lead to some blowout turns. Thankfully, the low Nexus health means it shouldn’t take much to defeat. Just don’t wait too long!

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Leona is pretty worthless against both Karma and Ezreal, as their power comes from abilities rather than combat. Mystic Shot is solid, but Thermogenic Beam gives us an answer to those pesky champions. It’s not particularly efficient, but it’ll be important to have!

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I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better champion package. We want late-game cards, and the game gives us Aurelion Sol. Now we’ve got a perfect card to mulligan for against Karma! And if that’s not good enough, just look at The Fangs. We’ve now got a Lifesteal follower to combo with Sharing is Caring, plus all the Invoke cards. Lookin’ good so far!

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Jae Medarda

  • Round Start: Create a Fleeting Sumpworks Map, Rising Spell Force, or Suit Up in ALL players’ hands. They cost 1.

This encounter is a wacky one. Jae Medarda packs a bunch of unique effects with cards like Chempunk Pickpocket, Defective Swapbot, and Eminent Benefactor. Together with the random Round Start spells, each turn can provide some strange interactions. If you can make good use of the free spells you’ll have no problem, but RNG will play a role in this match.

Eye of the Dragon

  • When the Foe casts its first spell each round, summon a Dragonling. The Foe’s Dragonlings have +1|+0.

If you’re wanting a more consistent experience, Eye of the Dragon is a better choice. RNG will be less of a factor, but overall this can be a more challenging fight. The Dragonlings are abundant and you’ll need a way to deal with them, or else their Lifesteal will halt your combat. You’ll want to get rid of all Eye of the Dragons ASAP to minimize their summons.

Beyond its powerful defense, this encounter also packs a punch! Sparring Student and Coastal Defender grow quickly if not properly managed. Sonic Wave can lead to some threatening attacks and there’s always the potential of a surprise Claws of the Dragon.

On your attacking turns, take your time to bait out their cards. See if you can let them cast Concussive Palm before dropping your biggest threat. Also, having some form of evasion via Elusive or Overwhelm helps bypass the Dragonlings. Otherwise, it can be difficult to push through.

  • I chose Eye of the Dragon thanks to our power, Sharing is Caring. It’ll be easy enough to grow an evasive board and avoid the Dragonlings entirely.

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Two bad cards, and a huge dragon. While the keywords have some synergy, there’s no chance it’s worth including either of the 3-drops. Eclipse Dragon fits perfectly with Aurelion Sol, gives another late-game option, and gets a free attack when played. Easy choice!

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Darn, I was hoping to sell off my own Golden Crushbots but it looks like that’s not happening. There’s no chance I’m dropping The Fangs or Eclipse Dragon. Astute Academic isn’t amazing but is a necessary early game for a deck full of heavy hitters. No deal.

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Amateur Aeronaut

  • Round Start: Each unit with 2 or less power has a 50% chance of being Stunned and a 50% chance of getting Elusive this round.

Oh man, this encounter is annoying. If you choose Amateur Aeronaut, you’ll be at the mercy of RNG. The extent of RNG will vary depending on your own units’ stats. With some lucky stuns to the enemy, you get to either avoid combat or have free reign to attack their Nexus. But this goes both ways and can be devastating.

The enemy will swarm the board fast with its 1-drops and Eager Apprentices. Production Surge and Scrapdash Assembly also speed up the process. It may be wise to avoid this encounter if you lack ways to deal with wide board states. While your units can potentially defend against it, they could just as easily be stopped entirely.

Silent Shadowseer

  • When a unit dies, grant a random unit in that player’s hand +1|+1.

Just like before, our second option provides more stability. There’s still some minor RNG with where the buffs land, but overall can be minimized and better managed. Chump blockers and cheap removal are your friend in this matchup. We’ll want ways to deal Shadow Fiends and one mana Silent Shadowseers to mitigate damage. Once we hit around six we’re likely to see a giant Horns of the Dragon with Spellshield. And where there’s Horns of the Dragon, there’s Dawn and Dusk, so be sure to have enough blockers.

Ephemerals hit hard, but defend poorly, so it’s pretty easy to beat down their Nexus. Don’t worry too much, the AI is exceptionally bad in this encounter. They have no problem casting Dawn and Dusk on defending turns. Just don’t get caught off guard!

Once again I went for consistency with Silent Shadowseer. Poro Cannon is excellent in this matchup and should make this a breeze.

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I typically place a higher value on healing cards in PoC, but with our Targon package of The Fangs and Starshaping, I think we’re pretty well set on that front. Pick a Card is best in low curve decks or those that can better utilize discard effects. The last thing we want is to discard our Asol. Blessing of Targon gives us a form of protection to help buff our units to survive removal. Plus at -1 cost, this is a solid pick.

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These are all very weak, especially for our game plan. I think it’s time to use our second reroll.

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Sticky Fingers once again is not what we’re going for. Counterfeit Production is pretty awful unless combined with insane amounts of card draw. Thankfully, Higher Education is a solid pickup as a common power. Even without a ton of support, the buff can stack up fast. Any future card draw items turn normal cards into win conditions. Excellent!

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Speaking of Counterfeits and card draw items! These Counterfeit Copies will supercharge our deck with cheap draw potential. The downside is mitigated by it cycling itself, provided that you pick a card worth duplicating.

Miniboss

Karma

  • Game Start: ALL players start with 10 mana gems.

Hard mulligan for late-game cards and removal for Karma. Whatever your biggest and splashiest unit or spell is, toss everything to try and find it!

Utilize the pass button. If you haven’t found your answers and need to buy time, let Karma make her move first. The AI loves to spam and waste spells in any way possible. Let them act before playing everything out. It’s very possible to trade with Karma if you can present a blocker after Concussive Palm is used. Although Sonic Wave can be problematic.

Deploy your win condition carefully. Will of Ionia can be punishing if you walk into it. If Karma’s still on board, take extra precautions. You’ll need to deal with her ASAP.

Very few cards can simply bypass and overpower Karma’s insane value. Ionia as a region is good at stalling large units, so don’t assume you’re in the clear just because you’ve got a big body on board.

Overall, this encounter is pretty straightforward. Deal with Karma, or you lose. She’s got a ton of clunky spells like Shatter, Aurora Porealis, and Ritual of Renewal. Without Karma onboard, these spells are basically worthless. Use this to your advantage and take over the game!

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Note: I totally missed this screenshot by accident, but allow me to recall the options.
  • Sneaky Zeebles (+ Overwhelm)
  • Veteran Investigator (+3|+3 Ephemeral)
  • Chronoshift (When cast, heal your Nexus equal to my cost.)

As you can see, I opted for Chronoshift. Sneaky Zeebles is pretty irrelevant and fits awkwardly into our curve. And well, I’d rather not turn our Veteran Investigators into Ephemeral units. I’m not happy with Chronoshift, but a burst seven heal that revives a champion could be useful against Ezreal.

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We’ve already got a ton of keywords but I’m not opposed to more. I’m always happy to grab Welcome Gifts, and it’s the clear choice over the other two mediocre powers.

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Intrepid Mariner

  • Round Start: The player shuffles their hand into their deck and draws that many.

Forget the prep work, Intrepid Mariner doesn’t allow that. Each round you’ll be forced to shuffle back your hand and draw a new one. Of course, you draw the equivalent amount to what you had.

The enemy’s game plan matches the theme – random. Fallen Feline, Conchologist, and Coral Creatures essentially make up the deck’s spell package. So it’s hard to know what to expect. There’s nothing particularly threatening about this one, but it helps if you can block Elusives.

Fae Bladetwirler

  • Round Start: Stun the player’s weakest unit.

Well here’s a familiar face. Fae Bladetwirler is back! This time we’re more prepared as this match is deeper into the adventure compared to The Fae Sorceress.

Remember, you will constantly have your weakest unit stunned and be down one attacker/blocker each round. Fae Bladetwirler grows in power fast, so if you can’t keep up you’ll be dismantled quickly. If you decide to take on this node, be sure you can go wide enough to minimize the impact of the stuns.

Higher Education makes the Intrepid Mariner encounter hilarious. I’ll happily buff my board several times per turn at no cost!

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More card draw items tacked onto cheap spells? Making our Starshaping cost four mana is nice, but I can’t pass up a Mystic Shot that replaces itself.

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Luck is certainly on our side in this adventure. I suppose it had to happen eventually, right? Anyway, we’re always happy to grab The Piltover Enforcer upgrade whenever available!

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Remember what I said about Higher Education? How’s that for a common power!? We’re happily grabbing both the Counterfeit Copies and Mystic Shot upgrades. One mana draw two is busted, and adding Predict will ensure we filter the cards we need. While I could take the Chronoshift, I don’t think healing 14 will be needed. So I’ll grab the Reroll Token and hit keep moving.

Astute Academic

  • Cards the Foe draws cost 2 less this round.

Astute Academic plays a lot of cheap units to try and swarm the board early. This is aided by the passive ability, occasionally allowing multiple cards to be played. Most of the draw won’t come out until later, but if allowed time, can snowball into some heavily cost-reduced turns. Apply pressure early and it’ll be easy to sustain a good lead before they catch up.

Herald of Spring

  • When one of the Foe’s allies is supported, grant it +1|+1 and its supporter’s keywords.

Another familiar encounter, except this time it also grants keywords. This adds a bit of extra pressure to deal with the support units before they can attack. But overall, doesn’t change the fact that supports are easily punishable. Just like before, be cautious of a surprise Elusive from Fae Guide, or Quick Attack from Rush.

I went for the Epic Item Chest. Either encounter would’ve been fine, but Herald led to better rewards.

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Eclipse Dragon is clearly the strongest pick in terms of power, but with how well this draft is going, I’ve only got one concern… The early game. We’ve got tons of ways to win and plenty of answers to Ezreal. The only way things will go south is if we brick our opening hand. So with that being said, I’m happily grabbing a buffed Astute Academic.

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Since I’m looking to survive the early game, I’m gonna skip all of these. Buffing Amateur Aeronaut to a 4|3 is cute, but unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. Let’s reroll.

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Yeah, these won’t do. Boomcrew Rookie is a 2-drop, but not worth picking up. I’ll skip the others to prevent further diluting our deck.

Final Boss

Ezreal

  • The Foe’s spells cost 1.
  • Round Start: Create a Fleeting Statikk Shock in the Foe’s hand.
  • If the Foe has leveled a champion, create a Fleeting Trueshot Barrage instead.

Ezreal is the real deal. The passive value is basically infinite, all while building up to an even greater finale. We all know how powerful Ezreal is as a finisher. How about adding one mana Trueshot Barrages every single turn!?

Here’s the kicker. Aside from the generated spells each round, the only other spell in his deck is Gotcha. You’ll mostly be facing an army of PnZ nonsense. Many of these are statted poorly but can grow stronger with Augment. Armed Gearhead can apply pressure early on and Nyandroid can be a problem if left unchecked.

Funsmith is a notable unit to watch out for. Consider it “kill on sight” or else the Statikk Shocks will overwhelm you.

What’s more important is playing around Statikk Shock. Don’t allow yourself to be punished, and if you can, pass priority so that Ezreal casts it on one unit. Delaying the level-up is important to prevent the Trueshot Barrages for as long as possible. By the time they come out, you’re going to need a way to close the game.

Hopefully, you’ve built up a powerful champion that can pressure throughout the early or mid game. It’s best to get the ball rolling quickly before the true pressure begins. If not, just be sure you can survive long enough to deploy your win condition.

Big units are pretty safe against Ezreal as it would take multiple spells to remove them. But it’ll take more than that to hold off the aggression. If Ezreal’s on board, you’ll be burned out fast. Even without, Trueshot Barrage can potentially kill three units at once and deny your ability to block. Pay close attention to your Nexus health and be careful.

So long as you’ve got enough card advantage and appropriate answers, you’ll be ready for this challenge. But if your deck is likely to run out of steam, you’re in trouble. Good luck!

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Conclusion:

The Prodigal Explorer has been defeated! Yeah, we kinda high-rolled this one, I won’t lie! But despite that, this should be a good example of how to approach the adventure. See ya next time!

Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day

Life doesn’t have to be difficult. If one task feels like a lot to swallow, split it in half.

It’s all about our approach. Things are often only as bad as we make them out to be.

If you enjoyed this guide, check out our past and future Path of Champions guides.