NOTE: There is an updated version of this guide masteringruneterra.com/lor-deck-akshan-sivir/
Once upon a time, there was a deck so busted that its matchup table was only lit in green. After an emergency Shurima Hotfix, we arrive at the decklist we are investigating today. Welcome to this Akshan/Sivir/Demacia deck guide!
Akshan/Sivir tries to out-tempo their opponent by slamming powerful units on curve and dealing the final blow with a leveled-up Sivir.
When attacking, a leveled-up Sivir grants her keywords to all allies, which makes her an incredible threat with her innate Quick Attack and Spellshield keywords. Akshan summons a Warlord's Palace which will allow you to burst-speed summon a Sandstone Charger or predict-draw a finisher to close out the game. Your game draws out a little more than intended? No problem, as Akshan levels up when Warlord's Palace finishes and summons a Warlord's Hoard, which should seal the final nail in the coffin.
Before talking about our finishers though, let’s first talk about early-game strategy. Because Sivir’s level-up condition is to deal a total of 30 damage, we usually want to play units on curve to strike with them and deal damage. This is why we run six one-drops.
Treasure Seeker has a solid stat-line for its cost that trades with almost every 1-drop in the game and creates a Waking Sands in hand, which summons a 5/2 ephemeral Sandstone Charger, perfectly fit to deal more damage and level up Sivir. Fleetfeather Tracker threatens early-game units like Zoe or Akshan and can trade for free if we put a barrier on it with Brightsteel Protector.
As mentioned earlier, Akshan creates the Warlord's Palace landmark when you play him, so we usually want to play him asap for its timer to tick down. If you miss Akshan in your starting hand, worry not, as we run Vekauran Vagabond for that case! Since we are playing champions with Quick Attack, granting enemy units Vulnerable with Merciless Hunter creates favorable one-for-zero trades for us. Merciless Hunter’s stat-line and Fearsome keyword are also awesome to sneak in extra face damage that additionally helps to level up Sivir.
When you play Sivir on turn 4 or 5 (depending on your attack turn), her high attack power means that she kills almost everything she attacks that turn. This is the reason why we seldom hold her back on her power turn to sneak in crucial damage for her level-up condition.
Vekauran Bruiser is the new addition to the deck after Ruin Runner got nerfed. Its 5/5 stat-line assures that Vekauran Bruiser gets to strike most of the time at least twice and is also a good drop on a defensive turn as a blocker. The Lucky Find it creates when striking will 1. target an ally, so it advances Warlord`s Palace/Hoard, and 2. it grants – favorably Sivir – a keyword or bonus stats.
When it comes to combat tricks, Shaped Stone and Sharpsight are a great addition to buff up your Quick Attack units to threaten one-for-zero trades or keep your win-conditions alive. Shaped Stone usually gets activated by summoning a Warlord's Palace.
Single Combat, Cataclysm and Concerted Strike help to remove key threats that our units can’t reach and delay our opponent’s game plan. Since Cataclysm is only powerful when we target an allied Quick Attack unit, it is very situational, thus we only run a single copy of it in our deck.
Preservarium helps you to create card advantage in slower matchups and draw that extra card to find your combat tricks and finishers. It also activates Shaped Stone, so that’s nice!
Finally, we arrive at The Absolver, which is an incredible tool to finish the game. After Sivir levels up, The Absolver creates The Absolver's Return, which when put on Sivir, gives all your attacking units Overwhelm. Since the main problem for this deck is to push lethal damage and not get endlessly chump-blocked, Overwhelm is the key component to end the game in your favor. Golden Aegis adds to this by letting you strike a second time with your Overwhelm units in the closing turn.
Below you can find some of the most common tech choices for this deck. Keep in mind that our goal is to not clutter our hands with too many reactive cards that disrupt our aggressive tempo-based play-style.
Riposte: Invaluable combat trick in the mirror match, as it allows us to block Quick Attack units like Sivir. While its +3 attack gain is nice, we seldom make use of barrier effects additional to Brightsteel Protector because we usually want to be on the offensive with our Quick Attack units that don’t need it. Make this maximum a one-off in your deck.
Grappling Hook: Since we play quite some targeted buffs and a Lucky Find engine, grappling hook can be a cheap Concerted Strike removal spell. Its slow speed and the fact that it is already Akshan’s signature spell make it less attractive though and can clutter our hand.
Rock Hopper: It’s a 2-drop that summons a landmark that activates Shaped Stone and grants the next summoned enemy unit Vulnerable, which then falls prey to our Quick Attack units.
Rite of Negation: Since we have access to Shurima cards, we might as well play a powerful deny effect. While it is superfluous in the current meta, it can come in clutch in slower matchups (think of The Ruination, Feel The Rush, …)
Ruin Runner and Screeching Dragon: Since the nerf of Ruin Runner, a couple of 5-drops have fought over its slot in the deck. While our main deck runs Vekauran Bruiser, it can be replaced by any mix of the above two. Screeching Dragon allows you to challenge the back row of enemy units like Veigar or Bandle City Mayor, while Ruin Runner threatens more nexus damage with its Overwhelm keyword. Because Ruin Runner has Spellshield, it is hard to disrupt but falls short of surviving an attack with its nerfed three health.
Tips & Tricks
Mulligan for an early Warlord's Palace
This is not true for all matchups, but as a general rule of thumb you want to find Akshan or Vekauran Vagabond early on to play Relic of Power asap to find a finisher and not run out of cards to play.
This is not a control deck
You have to always keep in mind that our goal isn’t to remove every threat that our opponent plays, but rather to out-tempo them by playing powerful units on curve. We only disrupt key threats to slow our opponent down and close out the game before they can out-value us with their win conditions.
Learn which buffs Lucky Find can give you
It might seem overwhelming at first, but once you played this card a couple of times, you will realize that there aren’t that many different options. Key buffs that you want to play on Sivir are Overwhelm and Fearsome. Don’t be afraid to cast Lucky Find on other units as well, either for a stat buff or keywords like Tough, Quick Attack, or Spellshield.
Try to spot lethal attacks
With so many combat tricks, buffs, and rallies in the deck, it is easy to miss lethal. Remember that The Absolver only spawns The Absolver's Return if you have played a champion and saw their level-up animation. When one of your units has Overwhelm, you can cast Single Combat or Concerted Strike on its blocker to push extra damage.
Relic of Power and Sentinel's Hoard have a pick 1 effect
It is easy to get trapped into thinking that you should always draw cards with those effects. While this is a great rule of thumb, it isn’t always true. Summoning a burst-speed Sandstone Charger can push Sivir’s level-up condition over the edge or present lethal damage. Recently, in the very first match of the third edition of LoR Masters Europe, Germany even found a lethal spot where they used Sentinel's Hoard to play Shield of the Sentinels.
Keep in mind on what turns you have the attack token
This can make a huge difference. For example, if you are attacking on turn two, keeping Fleetfeather Tracker and Brightsteel Protector in hand during mulligan poses an unrivaled turn two attack. On the other hand, when you don’t attack on turn two, that play falls flat, and looking for a Warlord's Hoard activator might have been the better idea.
Darkness: Favoured (65%)
Their game plan is to draw out the game and play cards that create more cards, like Darkbulb Acolyte or Conchologist until they outvalue you and get a big Darkness to fire at the enemy nexus with Veigar.
Since this is a slower, value-based matchup, mulligan for Akshan or Vekauran Vagabond. Your deck deals incredibly well with removing Veigar and Senna efficiently, so their best shot is to play Vile Feast and Conchologist to slow you down.
Don’t panic if you see Twisted Catalyzer. It doesn’t matter if their Darkness is at three damage, as most of your units have two health anyway, so you don’t have to mulligan for a turn two answer.
It is also difficult for them to remove Sivir because of her Spellshield and Vekauran Bruiser because of his high life total. Only Minimorph is a threat if they remove Spellshield from Sivir beforehand which can make closing out the game tricky at times. If you don’t try to impatiently aggro them down, this is a favored matchup for you.
Fizz/Poppy Bandle City\Noxus: Slightly favored (55%)
Our opponent’s game plan is to summon tons of small units and win through The Bandle Tree. Since we do not run removal for landmarks in this deck, we have to close out the game before they can level it up.
Since our opponent develops a lot of chump blockers, we can only push lethal nexus damage by leveling up Sivir and giving her Overwhelm or Fearsome through The Absolver or Lucky Find.
To quickly level up Sivir, we aim to play our units on curve. Merciless Hunter is especially powerful, because she goes unblocked most of the time thanks to her Fearsome keyword.
Key turns for our opponent are turns three and four, where they want to develop Bandle City Mayor and Poppy, respectively. It is a game-changer to remove Bandle City Mayor asap, so don’t be afraid to pass on turn three without playing a unit until your opponent has played either Bandle City Mayor or something else to threaten Merciless Hunter granting it Vulnerable.
Lulu/Poppy Bandle City/Demacia: Slightly favored (55%)
There are two types of decks that run Lulu and Poppy. You can discern them by the region that they are paired with, one is played with Demacia/Ionia, the other one with Demacia and Bandle City. Here we will be discussing the Bandle City/Demacia variant.
This matchup plays incredibly similar to the Fizz/Poppy Bandle City one, so first, read up on that one. The main difference is that here they run Yordles in Arms and rally effects, so their game plan is to strike you down with buffed-up units.
In this matchup, there are simply too many threats to target: from Poppy and Lulu to Bandle City Mayor and Yordle Smith to Bandle Commando. Thus, our win condition is to play more valuable units on board and create trades that favor us.
Mulligan for Akshan and Vekauran Vagabond, you need the predict/draw to find The Absolver and finish the game. If you already have a 1-drop in hand, you can also keep Sharpsight to block their Bandle Commando.
Zoe/Nami: Slightly favored (55%)
Zoe/Nami is a deck that most of the time completely disregards what their opponent is doing. Their game plan is to deploy and buff up elusive units like Wiggly Burblefish and Sparklefly that ordinary units can’t reach. Their buff engine is Nami and later on Fleet Admiral Shelly, while Zoe is a 1/1 elusive unit that can generate Supercool Starchart for free.
To level up Nami, they play Double Trouble or Line 'Em Up on turn three and a cheap spell on turn four. We can use this to our advantage by leaving alive one of the non-elusive units from Double Trouble to soak buffs from Nami.
Keep in mind that when they play Zoe on turn one or two, they can’t level up Nami on turn four as they can’t gather enough spell mana in time.
If an elusive unit comes down before Nami does, it is important to remove that unit asap, especially if it is Sparklefly. Otherwise, they will play Nami a turn later and before you can cast a fast or slow spell to kill her, they will play burst-speed spells, so Nami will buff up their elusive unit before she dies.
If they play Nami and only have four or fewer cards in hand, focus on removing the elusive units on board rather than Nami. They will be able to play out their remaining cards anyway before you remove Nami and a Nami without spells in hand isn’t worth removing.
Despite all of that, don’t panic if you can’t remove all their threats. As mentioned earlier, our game plan isn’t to remove everything they play, but merely to disrupt some of their units to explode their nexus before their threats can come online.
We mulligan for Sivir since they can’t interact with her and she deals a lot of damage and Sharpsight, as it allows us to block and (hopefully) kill one of their elusive units.
Lulu/Poppy Demacia/Ionia: Even (50%)
The enemy’s game plan is similar to Nami/Zoe in that they deploy elusive units that get buffed up. Where they differ is that they use Lulu and [Poppy]] to buff up their elusive units and strike multiple times a turn with Relentless Pursuit and Golden Aegis.
Our way of counterplay is through Sharpsight and Merciless Hunter, reaching their elusive units. Don’t be afraid to target small elusive units with your removal spells and Merciless Hunter, as they need to attack with Poppy and Lulu anyways to buff up their units and you can regularly block those.
Keep in mind that they play Ranger's Resolve, Sharpsight and Twin Disciplines to keep their champions alive, so be prepared for that!
Gangplank/Sejuani: Even (50%)
The enemy’s game plan is to activate Plunder in the early turns and drop leveled-up Gangplank and Sejuani to close out the game. Don’t get tricked into thinking that this is an all-out aggro deck.
Since we are a board-centric deck, Sejuani is our nemesis. We need to make it as awkward as possible for our opponent to activate Plunder while posing enough threats to level up Sivir and finish the game. Keep in mind that Spellshield doesn’t block the leveled-up effect of Sejuani.
We mulligan for a 1-drop and Warlord's Palace activators. The 1-drop can block Crackshot Corsair or Jagged Butcher while Warlord's Palace helps us close out the game.
In general, we aim to remove Crackshot Corsair, because it gives them a free plunder activation every turn they attack. It is also important to remove Sejuani the turn she comes down, hopefully unleveled, i.e. with Concerted Strike.
Their only 3-drop is Monkey Idol, so they are likely to either play several lower-cost units or bank the mana for spells later on. We don’t mulligan for it, but if you happen to have a Merciless Hunter in hand, playing it in response to Monkey Idol can be a game-winning play.
Caitlyn/Draven: Unfavored (40%)
The enemy’s game plan is to remove every threat you present and out-grind you. They do so by cycling Lost Soul and Twinblade Revenant infinitely. They also look to play a lot of 3-cost units and removal spells to cast a huge Tri-beam Improbulator later on.
Since the opponent looks to play Twinblade Revenant on turn four, we don’t want to keep Sivir in hand. Since this matchup tends to go all the way, we desperately need a Warlord's Palace online and probably even a Warlord's Hoard. This means we mulligan for Akshan and Vekauran Vagabond.
If the worst-case occurs and they play a Twinblade Revenant, remember that Brightsteel Protector can save your high-value units for one turn.
Draven/Sion: Heavily unfavoured (25%)
Just like us, our opponent is playing a tempo-based midrange deck. Their game plan is to aggro us down, discarding lots of cards in the process to finish the game with a leveled-up Sion.
Their strongest ace is Lost Soul, which generates a Twinblade Revenant in hand on discard. Unfortunately, this means that our Sivir will get eaten most of the time when we play her. If they have the attack token on turn four and open pass, don’t play Sivir or else she will die. For this reason, we don’t want her in our starting hand. In the best-case scenario, we find her later in the game, leveled up, and play her with The Absolver to finish the game before they find their Sion.
Also, be aware of Survival Skills, as they can burst-speed discard it, and block your Quick Attack units. Evaluate if the game state allows you to play around it though, the matchup is so bad for you that you probably can’t afford to most of the time.
As some lists run Ravenous Flock, don’t block their Sion if you have sufficient nexus health. Otherwise, they can cast the spell on their own damaged Sion and get a free rally effect.
For this reason, it is important to block most of their early attacks and maintain a healthy nexus. Mulligan for 1-, 2-, and 3-drops. Brightsteel Protector can come in clutch and make them waste a whole attack turn if they don’t want to lose one unit for free.
Ezreal/Vi Bandle City: Heavily unfavored (25%)
Their game plan is to draw out the game to turn 6, where they play Curious Shellfolk with a variety of pick-a-card effects like Prank, Trinket Trade or Time Trick to refill their hand and out-value you in the long run.
This allows us to mulligan more aggressively for our champions. They will develop Otterpus and Conchologist early on, so Merciless Hunter is a great card to bypass them. If you find Merciless Hunter or Akshan in your starting hand, it can be a good idea to also keep a Sharpsight or Shaped Stone to play around Mystic Shot.
When they play their Shellfolk, you hopefully found a removal spell or kill them that turn, otherwise, this matchup is close to impossible to win because they will indefinitely delay your game plan and find absurd lethal spots, i.e. with four Mystic shots to your face or your own cards they got from Prank.
Regarding the winrate, despite what the ladder stats might infer, Alanzq, the current world champion, said that he hasn’t lost in 10+ games when playing the Ez/Vi side. One reason for this discrepancy might be that Ez/Vi is an incredibly hard deck to play, so most players on the ladder don’t know how to pilot it.
On ladder, this deck performs well against most meta-decks, but it shines even brighter in a tournament or gauntlet set-up where you can ban Noxus/Piltover and Zaun, leaving it with almost no bad match-ups.
I hope this guide gave you some insights into piloting Sivir/Akshan to success. Naturally, there is more to the deck than we were able to cover here, so don’t be afraid to deviate from this guide at times and make your own conclusions.
If you have advice on how to improve this guide or want to share your experience and what you have learned playing this deck, feel free to leave a comment. I will be happy to read and reply to them!
Thanks for reading and see you in the next guide 🙂