World Ender Upgrades to Old Archetypes
Our final expansion of the year concludes an era of LoR. Not only is it the third part of the Darkin release, but it’s the last time we’ll be experiencing the card pool as a whole. Upon the first set of next year comes rotation, and alas some archetypes as we know them will eventually fade away, at least competitively speaking.
World Ender brings with it a nice handful of cards set to revitalize some older archetypes. While these decks have greatly struggled in the past, they’ve been given some powerful new tools that could edge them closer to viability.
It’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung here and today I’m bringing you five decks that received upgrades from the new expansion. I figure with rotation around the corner, now’s the time to dive in and make the most of our current card pool. We don’t know which cards will be rotating, so let’s make sure we give each deck their last hurrah!
Deck Code: CECQMAIAAEGBIIREE4AQMABLAECQACQBAMAQEAIEAAEAGAICAADQGAIAAYZTMAIGAAUQA
Elites have been around since the very beginning of the game, but unfortunately never quite found their footing. Despite receiving a decent amount of buffs and additional support cards, including adding the Elite tag to many existing units, it was never enough. Now, things could change.
Elites are meant to have above-rate stats at the cost of having other beneficial text. While cards like Battlesmith are powerful, the deck lacked early units to really get things going. But now there’s Trusty Ramhound! This is pretty much the first one mana 3|3 that’s existed in Runeterra, and thanks to the way it’s worded, only functions when played with Elites.
I’ve built this list to take advantage of the board early. Battlesmith and Durand Sculptor are our only non-Elites, but they both bolster the squad so they survive long enough to be buffed by Bannerman. Now that we can run six Elite 1-drops, we can more consistently reduce Vanguard Squire’s cost to zero and build a wider board.
I’ve dipped into Freljord for our Allegiance splash as Troll Chant outshines just about every other combat trick when battling on board. Between that and Ranger’s Resolve, our units will trade much less often, allowing us to set up an assault.
Finally, the addition of Champions’ Strength gives Elites a real game-ender. Casting this on a wide board will almost certainly spell victory, or at least put you far enough ahead to win the following turn. While I can’t say whether this is enough to make Elites viable, there’s no denying that these are two outstanding upgrades!
Deck Code: CECQCBADCIAQMAZJAQAQCCINCURQEAIDAYPACAYBCQDACAIBAQAQMAJDAEAQGLYBAMAQEAIEAEEQCBQDE4AQCAQBAE
Scargrounds has definitely existed in some capacity over the years, at least to a much greater extent than Elites. However, it’s really only been niche playable at best. That may be about to change.
Crimson Pigeon is an absurd 1-drop. At worst it’s a one-mana 2|2, but after even just a single support, it immediately grows to a 3|3.. And that’s not even accounting for the fact it can continuously keep growing! Having another self-damage 1-drop alongside Crimson Bloodletter makes Unscarred Reaver a lot more appealing, as it can more reliably function as a one mana 3|2 (or better).
We’ve also been given another juicy combat trick with Here To Help. At worst it’s the defensive half of Twin Disciplines, while at best it’s a well-above-rate +2|3 buff.
Probably the worst part of the card is that the deck already has access to premium options like Elixir of Iron, Troll Chant, and Transfusion. But I suppose with rotation around the corner, it never hurts to have a few redundancies.
Ice Shard often functioned as a mid-combat trick to push extra damage with Scargrounds or Scarmother Vrynna. Now in addition to that, we have Reveler’s Feast, which is just a straight up two power board buff that also triggers a self-damage proc.
Albeit situational, it can push absurd amounts of damage with the right board and will likely help the deck make its final punch through the enemy nexus.
These new cards should help fix some of the deck’s consistency problems while also adding some strict power creep to the deck.. But Scargrounds deserves it!
Deck Code: CECQCBQFEADAKCRRHFOV4YVGAEAQCBJIAEDAUFYCAUCQQCIBAIAQKAJOAIBACBIPGEAQKCQB
Okay, I’m somewhat cheating with this one. Darkness didn’t exactly receive direct support, but there’s no denying it got something good.
Puzzling Signposts gives Bandle City access to its own Deny, meaning Bandle City control decks like Darkness can now interact with the stack. This is a pretty big deal. The deck already has just about all the removal it could ever want, but could find itself in sticky situations when things don’t line up properly.
Rallies have always been a struggle to deal with, and now there’s a way to straight-up halt them, at least for the turn (assuming not enough mana).
In other cases, it’s absolutely vital that Senna or Veigar survive the round. While the deck does have access to Mist’s Call or Transposition, it’s sometimes not good enough. Actions are extremely important as we often need priority in order to cast or generate Darkness before enemy response.
Puzzling Signposts is a great insurance policy. Sure it’s not Deny or Rite of Negation, but it’s certainly close enough and a welcome addition.
Deck Code: CECAMBIABEFAYDYSCQCAGCJDGM2DOAIDAAHACBQAFQBACAIADIAQEAABAA
Formidable always came up short ever since its release, and a big part of that was the lack of actual Formidable units. Sure, Durand Architect could give an ally the keyword, but having to play a three mana 1|4 is a massive cost for such a minimum benefit. After all, we’re playing Demacia. Stats matter.
We may not have gotten much, but Petricite Charger is a solid upgrade on its own. It’s effectively a three mana 4|4 that also can’t be damaged by skills or spells. That’s a great line of text for an early Demacia unit. Spell-based decks will have to present some blockers if they hope to get rid of it. Unless they have Quietus, but let’s not talk about that.
The trend of upgrades continues with this one by giving access to a reliable unit for added consistency. It was pretty strange that we only had a one, two, and five drop, but no three or four. While we still can’t fill in the four-slot, Petricite Charger is a welcome addition for slot number three.
5. Cunning Acolytes
Deck Code: CEDQEBQHFYYAGBIHAMIBIAQEA4GU6AQGAQUSUAIDAQGQCAIEGQAQIBAMAEBAIBZ3NUAA
Our final deck isn’t actually an existing one, but a concept that was never able to exist. Riot gave us Ruinous Acolyte as another Fearsome “everywhere” unit, except the support just wasn’t there. It’s basically a Mistwraith with downside, as in order to get the buff, we actually have to destroy our own landmark.
That is a tall ask considering we can only play so many copies of the card in the first place. We also didn’t have a reliable landmark to destroy, making it unlikely to even play an Acolyte on-curve.
World Ender greatly fixes this with the introduction of Acolyte’s Reliquary. Not only does it function as the perfect fodder, but it self sustains the deck by generating a Ruinous Acolyte and adding itself back to the top five cards in our deck.
With the potential to consistently chain Ruinous Acolytes, this new “everywhere” archetype looks somewhat feasible. They start to look pretty good as two mana 4|3’s, 5|4’s, 6|5’s, etc. To add to our copy shenanigans, we’ve got the new card Cunning Kitten which can also come down as a 4|4 for 1-2 mana.
Is this deck a complete meme? Probably. But it looks like a ton of fun, and it certainly has the potential for some nutty draws!
Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day
Every now and then we could all use a reset. This doesn’t have to be at the start of a new month, year, or specific date. It can happen any time.
Find a moment to go and do something different. Go for a walk in a place you’ve never been to before. Discover and research a brand new topic outside of your regular interests.
Novelty can help us escape the routine we set for ourselves. Give it a chance and see where it takes you.