Worldwalker LoR Spoilers Day 5: Illaoi
Hey all, it’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung here and today we’ve got the Illaoi reveals!
Yesterday they introduced the Spawn keyword, and now we get to see it in action!
In case you missed it, here’s a quick refresher.
Those familiar with the Amass mechanic from MTG will feel right at home, except this time we’ve got a whole champion’s worth of build potential to explore!
NEW KEYWORD: SPAWN
The Mother Serpent is always hungry, but cowards and doubters taste the sweetest. pic.twitter.com/XuacgLwe8J
— Legends of Runeterra (@PlayRuneterra) May 16, 2022
Spawn (X): Summon a 1|1 Tentacle.
If you already have one, give it +1|+1 for each Spawn.
What a cool design! At a first glance, Illaoi feels similar to Viego. Except instead of summoning multiple Ephemeral units, she’s focused on buffing one up to become as big as possible.
Illaoi’s level-up condition will require some work. Her entire game plan is very reliant on Spawn synergy, and she needs to see the damage in order to flip. Thankfully, she’s got pretty great stats. As a four mana 1/6, it will be very difficult to remove Illaoi efficiently, outside of something like Culling Strike. Even then, it would often need to be cast preemptively before the attack trigger.
An important thing to note is that defending damage is still relevant damage. The opponent will have to be mindful when attacking into your Tentacles in order to not level-up Illaoi. And if they aren’t careful, Buhru Leader will launch a free attack for that final damage!
Once leveled, Illaoi ensures your Tentacle stays as healthy as possible, preventing the opponent from damaging and setting up a trade later on. And even if your opponent can chump block the Tentacle, Illaoi’s got Overwhelm and she’ll be HUGE!
While I can’t say just how good Illaoi will be, I’m stoked to be able to explore this new archetype. Unlike many reveals from the past, we actually don’t have cards that push us towards the archetype’s second region…and I love that! Time to start brewing!
Tentacle Smash (Illaoi’s Champion Spell)
This is an excellent spell for the Spawn archetype. At a baseline, this spell summons a 3/3 that strikes an enemy of your choice. If you’ve already got a Tentacle, you could strike for a whole lot more!
Tentacle Smash greatly punishes the opponent for developing, and will greatly encourage open attacks. Being able to kill a 2/3 and still present a 3/1 blocker is incredibly valuable, effectively defending two threats with one action. We’re approaching Arachnoid Sentry levels of punishment.
There’s a lot of flexibility with this one and will introduce some really cool lines. However, if you don’t have any Tentacles in play, it’ll be pretty awful against board states with larger units.
Eye of Nagakabouros
A five mana draw two is absurdly expensive, especially when we’re already moving away from four mana draw twos.. But when you add Spawn 2 to the mix, it’s suddenly very interesting.
Decks that want this type of draw are typically slower control decks. The problem normally is they can’t afford the investment, especially when staring down against aggro. Eye of Nagakabouros lets us draw two while also summoning a burst speed blocker! It gets even better when you factor in Spawn synergies, effectively acting as a +2|+2 combat trick to your Tentacle.
I’m not sure how many other archetypes could afford to play this. Although I could see some decks experimenting with it thanks to its burst speed blocking potential.
The first thing this reminds me of is Invasive Hydravine. Both cards are intended to be late game value engines/finishers for their archetype, and both consistently summon other units.
Nagakabouros is a little tricky to evaluate. At eight mana it’s incredibly slower, especially considering Invasive Hydravine often came down for six mana. Playing Nagakabouros on defense is pretty awful as we only get a 5/8, while Hydravine immediately summons an additional blocker.
However, the big upside is Tentacles aren’t Ephemeral. It’ll only take a couple turns before things get completely out of hand. And if you ever reach the 12+ Power threshold, the game is over!
Coming back to reality, having your 8-drop survive multiple turns is a lot to ask. So we’ll have to see the full play patterns to see whether it’s truly worth the investment. Regardless, very cool card!
Bonus Deck – Targon Tentacles
Deck code: CEBQMBQGAYDQSDY4EMAQICIEAMBQSGZDGMBAEAYJBFQAEBQGBMPACAQDBFK5SAI
If you’ve read some of my other articles, you’d know I just can’t get away from this region pairing. There’s just something about it that “has it all”.
This fun brew brings Zenith Blade into the mix to allow our Tentacles to become a threat as early as possible. Guiding Touch and Pale Cascade help keep them alive longer in combat.
Buhru Leader has some bonus synergy with Zoe, allowing us to give her a free attack as early as turn three! And while the deck isn’t built around Aphelios, he’s here to help give Lifesteal and Overwhelm to our Spawn!
Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day
A single small decision can impact days, weeks, months, or even years.
Consider spending more than a few seconds when deciding.