Deck Doctor Episode #3: AntiHero36’s Lucian Darius
Hey there! This is the third episode of Swim’s Deck Doctor series, where he works on improving one of your decks. I’m dpmlicious and I’ll be summarizing Swim’s thoughts from his video into this article.
You can submit one of your decks for the next episode by leaving your deck code or Mobalytics deck link as a comment to his video:
The objective is not just to fix a single deck, but for everyone to learn skills on how to build and improve their own decks. This week, Swim covered the concepts of:
- Aggressive deck cards and strategies
- Ratio of combo cards
- Mana curve consideration
This Week’s Deck
This week, Swim selected a Lucian-Darius deck from YouTube by AntiHero36. The request was to make any changes but keep Lucian and Darius. AntiHero36 mentioned they liked “winning off combat tricks”, but had difficulties in “making them work together”.
Here’s what the deck looks like when you plug it in its code:
Deck code: CEBQOAIABEGRMGQ5EYVQCAYDCIBACAYTEYCACAQABEAQCABFAEAQGGABAMAAMAQBAEBRMAICAACQ
For this episode of the Deck Doctor, Swim used the following steps:
- Play one unranked game with the original deck without looking at it beforehand.
- Edit the deck and play another unranked game.
- Edit the deck and play another unranked game.
- Last edit and trying one ranked game.
Below, you’ll find what the original deck looked like. The boxed cards are the ones that were removed. Highlighting the number is when the number of cards was changed.
Note: This deck was submitted before the patch when War Chefs was a 2 / 3 card.
Next up is the improved version. The boxed cards are the ones that were added in. The boxed number shows a change in the number of cards. It went from two copies of Kato the Arm to three copies.
Deck code: CEBAIAIABELB2JQFAEBRGGA2EYUAGAYBAMFQ6EICAIAAOCIBAEABKAIBAEBS4
1. Aggressive decks and strategies
Aggressive decks need to be more proactive than reactive. They need to be putting pressure early in the game to avoid other archetypes from stabilizing or dragging on the game to their advantage.
The original version of the deck had spells and cards which were more reactive than proactive so a lot of the changes made related to this theme.
The following cards were removed, mostly for the deck to become more aggressive and streamlined:
War Chefs x 3
- This was removed since after the patch is it now less impactful.
Screeching Dragon x 2:
- Tried to see if it could fit in. At first, looked viable because it can help stabilize a board. However, it was removed because it could have been a reason why good boards were not achieved in the first place.
Chain Vest x 3:
- Not as flexible as Ranger’s Resolve. Ranger’s resolve can gain more value by saving more units from Make It Rain, which is a popular card in the current meta.
Apprehend x 3:
- Highly dependent card on Darius. Tried to have it as a one-of, but it still felt too clunky.
Single Combat x 3:
- This is too reactive for an aggressive deck.
Noxian Guillotine x 1:
- Not a bad card, but doesn’t fit with the aggressive game plan.
Riposte x 2:
- Way too reactive and also mana-clunky. We are wanting to play units, so saving up to have enough mana for a reactive 4-mana card is inefficient.
Unyielding Spirit x 1:
This is a long-term game card.
The following units were added:
Legion Saboteur x 3:
- Needed more 1-drop units to build momentum and pressure the board.
Precious Pet x 2:
- (Same as above.)
Legion Drummer x 2:
- Needed to have more 2-drop units for Fleetfeather Tracker to latch onto.
Reckless Trifarian x 3:
- (Same as above.)
Arachnoid Sentry x 1:
- Stun for offensive potential is actually more impactful than it seems because of the double up value.
Kato The Arm x 1 (Increased from two to three cards):
- Good to threaten to close games.
The following spells were added:
Ranger’s Resolve x 2:
- More flexible than Chain Vest
Relentless Pursuit x 2:
- Increase the “double up” value
Whirling Death x 2:
- We can delete a blocker and a card with overwhelm can do full damage.
2. Double Up Value
The deck has multiple cards that have the Double Attack keyword that might be activated and we are running Pursuit, as well as having Pursuit as Lucian’s signature card, it is good to maximize “round effects” as much as possible. “Round effects” are effects that only last during the round it was activated.
For example, Might, which “gives an ally +3|+0 and Overwhelm this round” could potentially hit through four times, if used on a card with Double Attack in a round where Pursuit is also played.
3. Ratio of Combo Cards
When it comes to combo cards, we want to have a good ratio where you are more likely to draw the independent card more than the dependent card. This is because the independent card does well on its own, while the dependent card is often useless without the independent combo piece and can make a hand clunky.
For example, Darius is good if you don’t draw Apprehend, but Apprehend is only good with Darius. If you cut Apprehend from three cards to one, it decreases the chance to draw Apprehend when you don’t have Darius from 19% to 11%.
Since you only want it when you have Darius, this is an important cut. Though, after the whole process, Swim cut all Apprehend cards out as 11% was still too clunky for an aggressive deck in this meta.
However, for a combo like Senna and Lucian, Senna is a bit worse on her own, but not totally dependent on Lucian, so we do not need to cut down her numbers.
4. Mana curve consideration
Do you check mana distribution by looking at a mana chart? Mana curve consideration goes beyond looking at a mana cost curve. When considering mana distribution, consider the main cards you expect to play in each round, whether or not you have a combo and do not count the reactive cards. For example, Arachnoid is not a 3-drop, not a round 3 play.
Also, your mana curve may look different depending on the deck archetype. More aggressive decks tend to have multiple lower-cost units and spells.
Below is the mana cost curve of the improved deck. It does not look like a bell curve, but it is optimized for the deck:
At the end of the day, the improved deck is not a tier 1 meta-changer. Swim believes it is hard to create a Noxus-Demacia deck because their core strategies clash. Noxus finds ways of abandoning the board for value, while Demacia wants to maintain the board to gain value. It tends to end up being a worse version of mono-Demacia decks.
Swim felt like there could be a better Noxus-Demacia aggro deck, but it would need to remove Darius and use Genevieve instead. But, since the request was to keep both Lucian and Darius, he stuck with it.
To sum up the deck-building tips:
- If you are going for an aggressive deck, go for more proactive than reactive cards.
- If your cards have Double Attack and you are running Pursuit, consider cards to maximize your “round effects”.
- Avoid having a clunky hand by adjusting your combo card ratios.
- You don’t need a bell curve mana distribution. Consider which cards are being played on curve and which are more situational.
To see more details on his thought process, check out his Youtube video where he plays the four games and talks through his decisions.
Hope you all, including AntiHero36, have fun with this deck! Maybe Swim’s tips on deck-building can help everyone create more cool decks.
Please let us know what you think of this series. Happy to receive suggestions.
To have a chance to be selected for future Deck Doctor episodes, be sure to reply to Swim’s weekly tweet or leave a comment below.