When To Choose Each LoR Invoke Card: Part 1 (0-3 Mana)

When To Choose Each LoR Invoke Card: Part 1 (0-3 Mana)

Invoke Deep Dive (Part 1 of 3)

Let’s do a deep-dive into the Invoke mechanic, its power, its strengths and weaknesses, and its current place in the metagame.

Throughout the article, we’ll be discussing these cards in the context of these Invoke-heavy decks:

This will be a three-part series that’s organized by mana cost.

In Part 1, we’re covering the Invoke cards that cost 0 to 3 mana. Keep an eye out for Parts 2 and 3 in the near future.

Hold tight to your danger-noodles because here we go!

The Serpent

First off, welcome the man, the myth, the legend, the one, and only Serpent. You can’t ask for too much for zero mana, but oh boy does this little noodle deliver

The Serpent (LoR Card)

Strengths

1. The Soft Pass:

  • Having the ability to ask your opponent what they are doing this turn when they have to be proactive is a big deal.
  • Oft times it will be right not to play this little man the turn you draw him so you can effectively burst-pass with a creature.
2. The Mystic Shot:
  • Not much to say about this, point, click and hope they don’t have removal.
  • Occasionally he can also combine with a Pale Cascade to take down a more serious threat.
3. The Nightfall:
  • Most often this will come up when you are looking to Nightfall an Eclipse Dragon, or occasionally a Diana or Cascade, but this is another excellent reason not to drop the snake as soon as you can.
4. The Chump:
  • Sometimes your board just really isn’t wide enough and you need to live through an incoming scary attack.
  • Zero mana is the perfect price to help get tempo back when you need it.
5. The Herald:
  • One thing that gets overlooked about this guy is that he has secret text which reads “Skies Descend costs two less mana this turn.”
  • Having access to that mana boost for the bomb can make it come down on turns when your opponent was not expecting to have to play around it swinging entire games

Weaknesses

1. The Smol:
  • At only 2|1 worth of stats for something that you had to at some point spend another card (The whole Invoking bit) to get access to, he doesn’t exactly swing a board state on his own, and he can only remove other small targets.

When you want it Playing Zoe/Lee (only here for the 0-3 cost Invokes)

While most of the time you are looking for spells to work on your Lee Sin win condition, there are exceptions to every rule.

Serpent is a great pickup when facing down an opposing Zoe, a Twisted Fate that is threatening a level, or just a board of aggressive units wider than you are really comfortable with.

When you want it playing Zoe/Diana

This is one of your favorite friends when running this list.

He trades when you need it, he sets up Skies Descend, he triggers your dragons and your Nightfall and stalls out the board while growing the big Celestials you want to win with, and he does it all for the perfect mana cost.

The only time you don’t want to take this card is if you need another option to fill a hole in your curve, answer a specific threat, or try to win the game.

When in doubt, take the snake.

When you want it playing Zoe/Sol

While Mr. Noodle can still do his thing here he’s not in the highest of demand simply because you will often have Plaza out to give you the Challengers you need to stabilize the board.

Look for him when you seriously need the tempo boost or are missing your Plaza, but generally, see if you can do better.

Moonsilver

Next, we have the oft-overlooked Moonsilver. They say it’s always the quiet ones and this is no exception, let’s see what they’ve got.

Moonsilver (LoR Card)

  • Moonsilver
    • 0 mana Burst spell
    • Text: Reduce the cost of a card in hand by 1.

Strengths

1. The Accelerant:
  • Dropping a key card a turn early is always sweet.
2. The Surprise:
  • Ever had that moment where you breathe a sigh of relief because they finally don’t have enough mana for that crushing answer you’ve been playing around, and then Moonsilver ruins your day? Now you get to be on the other side of that. Good times.
3. The Trigger:
  • Whether it’s Nightfall or Lee Sin this card plays its role in setting up other power plays perfectly.

Weaknesses

1. The Loneliness:
  • This one is always the bridesmaid never the bride. You will always need something powerful you are supporting, otherwise, it does very little.

When you want it Playing Zoe/Lee

There will be plenty of specific moments when another card is even more necessary to the given board state, but when in doubt this is your pick.

It triggers Lee and helps your tempo problems, which is everything this deck could ever ask.

When you want it playing Zoe/Diana

This card can be good early to get an Eclipse Dragon online a turn earlier, or a good choice late when you already have all the value you’ll need to wrap up the game and you want to do something sneaky.

But be careful choosing it in this deck. You’re very reliant on your Invokes for actual value and you won’t get that here.

When you want it playing Zoe/Sol

While you can occasionally use this card to get in a sneaky fast or burst spell your opponent isn’t expecting, or drop an A-sol on nine when Eclipse Dragon is AWOL, most of the time you can do better.

Mostly this will only get taken when you’ve got no better options.

The Charger

Weighing in next at 1 mana is the little brother of the Overwhelming Celestial duo, The Charger. Run it down, little buddy!

The Charger (LoR Card)

Strengths

1. The Trade:
  • 4 power for only 1 mana means unless your opponent has spell-based removal the bull will almost always get to trade up in tempo.
2. The Look Ma’, I’m an Aggro Deck:
  • If you are sensing a moment of weakness then Spacey Sketcher or even Mountain Scryer into this can make a brutal early attack.
  • Take this line only when your opponent stumbles, but don’t overlook the potential.
3. The Herald:
  • This guy does this job a little less well than the snake, but it still takes 1 mana off of Skies Descend on its own and can get two off with a mountain scryer’s assistance.
  • Not to be underestimated.

Weaknesses

1. The Agency:
  • Unless we have a Plaza there’s no Challenger keyword to be seen, which means our opponent will often get to choose where and when this card trades out.

When you want it Playing Zoe/Lee

Again, taking units here is rarely what you want, but every once in a while you’ll need to stop a flow of Fearsome attackers or decide it’s your turn to SMOrc it up, and then this is the card for the job.

When you want it playing Zoe/Diana

You’ll most often take this card when you are tight on mana and looking to set up a big Descend. Take him every once in a while to get aggressive early, but always think through your opponent’s potential responses to that line before you do.

When you want it playing Zoe/Sol

If you give Charger a Plaza to play with it is suddenly happy to be taken quite often.

Grab this when you have Plaza for a great piece of removal, or later to level A-sol. 1 mana is a great price for a 5|2 Challenger Overwhelm.

Equinox

Here we have possibly the most hated one of all the Invokes. Welcome crazy Hypno-deer itself, AKA Celestial fun police.

Equinox (LoR Card)

  • Equinox
    • 1 mana Slow spell
    • Text: Silence a follower

Strengths

1. The Anti-Plaza:
  • You paid 3 mana so your unit could kill mine this turn? Maybe even get Lifesteal or some other cool nonsense going on? Yeaaaaah, no.
2. The Tiny Meteor:
  • Whether it’s a Leviathan, a Brightsteel Formation, a Mind Splitter, a Crowd Favorite, or even an unsuspecting Ballistic Bot, taking your opponent’s sweet unit and making it a vanilla stat stick can be a big deal.
3. The Level Shifter:
  • Got that one big Elusive you need to get through to end the game but rude mister opponent tried playing one of their own? Dying to a scary Elusive creature on the enemy side? Equinox has got your back.

Weaknesses

1. Not actually removal:
  • Whatever you target with this will still have a block of stats. You’ve got to be careful not to just get run over by random dumb beaters, even if you’re the one who made them dumb.

When you want it Playing Zoe/Lee

This is a great one later if you are scared of getting locked down by a Leviathan or big dragon, and great early to protect a Zoe from a Plaza or stop an incoming bombardment.

Even better it triggers Lee. You still need some sort of plan, but take this one early and often.

When you want it playing Zoe/Diana

You really do have to be careful taking non-creatures as your Invokes in this deck. Think long and hard about how important it is to answer what you are planning to answer, and if your curve is going to be alright before you make this choice.

When you want it playing Zoe/Sol

Most of the things this card answers can be answered better by other cards, and as a plaza deck you often just want more creatures. Unless you have a specific and necessary use in mind for this card I would probably skip it.

The Messenger

Beware the Barkus! Everyone’s favorite pupper is here to play! How do his skills measure up?

The Messenger (LoR Card)

  • The Messenger
    • 2 mana 2|2 follower
    • Text: When I’m summoned, draw 1

Strengths

1. The Fetch:
  • Quite in character, when you are Invoking but need something in your deck rather than in the pool, the best boy can help you out.
2. The Value:
  • More than almost any of the rest this little dude will get you instant card advantage which is never to be overlooked.

Weaknesses

1. The Impact:
  • Barkus is a simple little devil, he does one thing and he does it well. You’ve got to remember though that you used a card to Invoke your Celestial, and what this card does not do is change the board state much.

When you want it Playing Zoe/Lee

This is actually one of the creatures to seriously consider taking.

If you have holes in your early curve, need a specific answer, or even are just missing lee-sin, The Messenger does a great job of standing in for a missing mountain goat and drawing you closer to the matchup breaking cards you need.

When you want it playing Zoe/Diana

Messenger is the perfect slot in here. It cheapens Descend, draws you answers, and clogs the board.

It plays a key role in any of the myriad of game plans this deck can be on.

Unless there is a very compelling reason to take another card, The Messenger is where you want to be.

When you want it playing Zoe/Sol

Any time you think you’ll have a spare two creature mana it’s worth taking messenger to keep yourself on the curve and the board full.

Usually, you’ll look to drop this with another two drops on a turn four or with a four drop on a turn six. Try to have a plan for his timing before you choose him.

Moonglow

Forgotten an unfortunate amount of the time, but waiting in the wings to cause some really nasty swings, Moon Glow, come on down!

Moonglow (LoR Card)

  • Moonglow
    • 2 mana Slow spell
    • Text: Grant an ally +0|+2 and SpellShield

Strengths

1. The Oops You Lose:
  • Take a card that’s only balanced because of its fragility and remove that factor, a recipe for an insta-broken card, SpellShield Zoe anyone?
2. The Double Down:
  • Drop this on a card that is already game-winning and watch your opponent cry at the futility of resistance.

Weaknesses

1. The Slow:
  • Like snail slow. Like, continental crusts shifting underfoot slow.
  • Until I met this card I didn’t realize you could go this deep on a play for only two mana but oh boy did I learn.
2. The Over Commit:
  • If you have ever had your unit removed in response to this spell and wanted to shame concede, I empathize, it’s a tough moment.
  • Choosing this card creates the very real possibility of those moments.

When you want it Playing Zoe/Lee

This is the best home for this card because you can back it up with faster spells.

Getting this on a Zoe, Lee, or even Sparklefly can make finding a path to victory very hard for your opponent.

Grab this any time you think you can make it stick.

When you want it playing Zoe/Diana

It’s a spell, and it’s a Slow spell that gives your opponent counterplay at that.

Take this when your opponent has no possible responses or all other options have failed you.

Occasionally okay off of Scryer because then it only costs 1 mana.

When you want it playing Zoe/Sol

This deck is incredibly mana hungry and is going to have better options and better things to do 90+% of the time.

Take it only when your opponent can’t respond and you think that spell-shielding your Zoe will let her level and win the game.

The Trickster

The low end of the Elusive Celestial curve. How well does this curious little ferret pull his weight?

The Trickster (LoR Card)

Strengths

1. The Blocker:
  • Whether it’s Fearsomes, Elusives, or just mid-sized creatures, Trickster is here to get in the way of aggressive curves.
2. The Bonker:
  • Sometimes you just need pressure.
  • With as many other threats as there are in the Invoke lineup, you can occasionally get six or even nine damage out of this card, not to be underestimated.

Weaknesses

1. The Mediocre:
  • While Trickster always does his job alright, he never does it amazingly. Sometimes mister ferret will be the best you can do, but you’ll almost always be looking for someone else. *Insert bad romantic decisions joke here*.

When you want it Playing Zoe/Lee

You’ll take this card when you need a curve filling blocker, or when you are doing your best imitation of an Elusive aggro deck.

You won’t really want to, but you’ll realize it’s the best you can really do.

When you want it playing Zoe/Diana

Ferret can be a mid-mana Elusive for setting up a descend a few turns in the future, and can sometimes create or relieve some pressure.

Take Trickster when you need a creature and are not being offered anything else that fits your curve.

When you want it playing Zoe/Sol

You really, really don’t want to be paying three mana for a creature given the way this deck’s curve tries to work itself out.

If you’ve got no better options and need a body then sometimes ferret is your boy, but in general, try to stay away.

Crescent Strike

Possibly the most tilting of the early Celestials is here to wrap up this segment. Just like it has wrapped up the hopes and dreams of so many attacking creatures.

Crescent Strike (LoR Card)

Strengths

1. The Bluff:
  • This card is almost as powerful when you choose not to take it as when you do.
  • The possibility of this card makes the second, and sometimes even the first creature development very scary for an opponent who wishes to aggress.
2. The Savior:
  • You might not want this often, but when you want it you really want it.
  • Whether it’s a rush you just really would rather not feel, or a Harrowing that needs to take a chill pill, a Crescent Strike can swing game states hard.

Weaknesses

1. The Mana:
  • Three is an awful lot of mana to pay for a card that doesn’t actually affect the board long term.
  • Casting this in the early game can often lead to some very unfortunate tempo scenarios.
2. The Card Disadvantage:
  • As referenced above, this card doesn’t actually affect the board state.
  • This means you just used a full card, and an Invoke card at that without costing your opponent a card themselves.
3. The Nope:
  • Most decks that get this card have very few Nopeify! targets in their actual decklists.
  • Making this choice can turn on a card that was previously bricked in your opponent’s hand in a way that gives them mana tempo.

When you want it Playing Zoe/Lee

This deck just wants to stall out and kill you with a leveled champion or a large butterfly.

It can afford to sacrifice long term tempo and even card advantage for the short term gains necessary to do that.

Take this card relatively often to help you stay alive for your combo kill finishes.

When you want it playing Zoe/Diana

I would only take this card in the most desperate of circumstances against an aggressive deck, or if I already have the game sewn up and need to make sure I can survive a Feel the Rush or a Harrowing.

Maybe very rarely to push through a lethal attack. Usually not what you’re looking for.

When you want it playing Zoe/Sol

As I’ve mentioned many times this deck is extremely mana hungry.

Looking for three mana you don’t want to use for something else is a tough ask.

Take this if you absolutely need to survive a little bit longer to get your big heals and stabilization tools online.

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 twitch.tv/xxwhatamixx around 10AM PST every day