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LoR Deck Guide Ekko Zilean (A Curious Journey)

How to Play: Ekko Zilean (A Curious Journey Update)

Ever since the balance patch, Shurima is everywhere!

And it’s not just Mono Shurima, we’re seeing all sorts of decks looking to find their place in the meta.

It’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung here and today we’re jumping into Ekko Zilean!

The deck’s seen some light play in the past, but with the newly buffed Quicksand, it’s trying to make a comeback. After all, that’s what Ekko does!

Ekko Zilean (LoR Deck)


[See Ekko Zilean deck details]

Deck Overview

Ekko Zilean is an aggressive combo deck that looks to level-up Ekko as early as turn four! With a multitude of Predict spells in its arsenal, this is a very achievable goal. Once achieved, the deck floods the board with cheap units, buffs them, and swings into the Nexus. And if you think it ends there, Chronobreak will reset the board so it can strike once again!

RNG certainly has a stake as we dig deep to find the key pieces. But don’t think that means we lack control. We’ve got just about the entire Predict package here, and with it comes a whole lot of decision-making! If you enjoy a little chaos and combo-ey goodness, you’re in for a treat!

Mulligan Tips

In general, we want to aim to flip Ekko by turn four or five. Early Predicts are a welcome sight alongside Fallen Feline, but above all else, if you find Ekko, keep him! There’s nothing worse than having a solid start of four Predicts, but no Ekko in sight. You’d think he’d be easy to find with all that Predicting.. Don’t let him prove otherwise.

Always Keep

  • Ekko
  • Ancient Preparations
  • Fallen Feline

Situational Keep

  • Zilean: Keep if you already have a 1-drop.
  • Aspiring Chronomancer: Keep if you already have a 1-drop, unless you have Zilean.
  • Feral Prescience: Solid keep alongside two other ideal opening cards.
  • Scrying Sands: Reasonable keep against aggressive decks alongside a 1-drop.
  • Mystic Shot: Keep against aggro or decks with kill-on-sight 2-health targets. Overall, it’s generally not a priority in this deck.

Example Hand 1: Ancient Preparations – Fallen Feline – Zilean – Ekko

Ekko Zilean (LoR Mulligan1)

Example Hand 2: Fallen Feline – Aspiring Chronomancer – Scrying Sands – Ekko

Ekko Zilean (LoR Mulligan2)

Game Plans

Our overall game plan is to level-up Ekko, set up a wide board, then use Voice of the Risen plus Chronobreak to close the game. Ekko alone doesn’t typically pose enough of a threat, but with proper planning, you can create a threatening board out of nowhere. All those Dropboarders look a lot scarier with a +2|+0 buff.

Dropboarder (LoR Card)

As with many Shurima decks, Ancient Preparations is the ideal starter. It’s the most efficient Predict card in terms of cost and doesn’t sacrifice card advantage as many other Predict spells do. Fallen Feline is our other 1-drop of choice that gives the deck a secondary win condition. While the Hexite Crystal doesn’t exactly win the game on its own, it’s an extremely powerful card when drawn and can lead to some blowout scenarios.

Ancient Preparations (LoR reveal)

During the first few turns, it’s important to aim for one Predict per turn. We generally don’t want to play more than one each turn unless we’re drawing the initially Predicted card before playing the second. Also, note that Time Trick should be played prior, or else you’ll erase the card you put on top. This is a good rule of thumb to follow, but don’t feel bad about breaking the rule if you’re in dire need of a specific answer.

Ekko should almost always be leveled up when you play him. If you haven’t met the four Predict threshold, it’s generally best to hold off. Even as a 5|3, Ekko is a primary target for removal. Stuns are a big problem. If you know your opponent’s deck has good answers for Ekko, take your time before playing him. Waiting until you can hold up a Rite of Negation can be a big help. Additionally, if you’re lucky enough to find a Chronobreak quickly, you can safely attack without worry. If Ekko gets to generate a 0-mana Time Trick, you’ll be in a fantastic spot to win the game. Just keep in mind, that your opponent’s goal is to prevent that from happening.

Time Trick (LoR Card)

Station Archivist is best-used post-Echo to help find Chronobreaks. Additionally, it can also be used to find and create a second Hexite Crystal. Keep in mind that Station Archivist doesn’t shuffle the deck afterward, so what you choose is often close to the top.

Once Ekko gets going, almost nothing will stop him. It’s just a matter of digging out the pieces and closing out the game. Again, Voice of the Risen is key. The Absolver can also put on the pressure, and the Overwhelm half helps Ekko strike through even when ghost-blocked. Flood the board, buff ‘em up, and strike the Nexus repeatedly!

General Tips

Zilean has the capability of leveling, but it isn’t a priority. Don’t feel like you can’t block and trade Zilean. He’s ultimately a two-mana 1|4 with Predict, so trade him off as you normally would with any unit. Double drawing Zilean is pretty bad, so let the first one die and you can play the second.

Think twice before trading your board. Chronobreak and Voice of the Risen don’t do much with an empty board. If you’re close to popping off and can afford to take a hit, then do so.

Chronobreak (LoR Card)

Shurima is everywhere right now, and where there’s Shurima, there’s Roiling Sands. You can cast a Predict spell in hopes to find a Dropboarder to snag the Vulnerable. There’s some luck involved, but it can come in handy.

Roiling Sands (LoR Card)

On the flip side, a poorly timed Dropboarder can mess with your own board. For example, you may pop a Roiling Sands and accidentally level up Xerath. It could also clog up your board when you need to resurrect a certain amount of units with Chronobreak. Predict with caution!

Quicksand is the clutch answer to help by ourselves a turn or pick off a pesky unit (ex. Elusives). If you’ve already got a solid hand and happen to discover a Quicksand during a Prediction, consider picking it up for later.

Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day

Start before you overanalyze. The reality is often much easier than we make it out to be.

For more decks, head to the Deck Library! To build your own, head to the Deck Builder.