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 Sivir grants her keywords to all allies, which makes her an incredible threat with her innate Quick Attack and Spellshield keywords.
To level Sivir, we need to deal a total of 30 damage throughout the game. We do this by playing units on curve to maximize our damage output.
Treasure Seeker is a phenomenal unit in that regard. She not only starts early to chip in some damage but also creates a Waking Sands in hand which will deal another 5 damage.
Fleetfeather Tracker is another unit that deals some damage early. Since we are aiming to play units on curve, Fleetfeather Tracker will consistently get activated on turn 2 or 3, making it a great fit in our deck. It often challenges early threats like Dancing Droplet or Fearsome units we couldn’t deal with otherwise, making it a valuable inclusion in the deck.
Brightsteel Protector works especially -- but not exclusively -- well with Fleetfeather Tracker as it allows you to challenge and kill a 2 HP unit for free thanks to the Barrier effect. We can also use her on defense to make an attack for our opponent less attractive.
Akshan is the key piece of this deck that holds everything together. Without him, we would run out of cards too early and wouldn’t get to our key finishers. Since this deck is running a lot of targeting spells and units, it’s impossible for us to not countdown Warlord's Palace if Akshan is played on turn 2.
Since we can’t run 6 copies of Akshan, we play Vekauran Vagabond instead to summon a Warlord's Palace reliably. That’s how dependent we are on this landmark! If we already summoned the Palace, Vagabond will advance it by two turns which can come in handy to level Akshan quicker and summon a Warlord's Hoard as well as activating The Absolver.
Vekauran Bruiser might look like nothing special with his 5/5 body and extra stats generation through Lucky Find generation, but he is a powerhouse in disguise. Some call Kennen or Zed sneaky because they are real-life ninjas, but Vekauran Bruiser is a Sumo Ninja.
He can battle it out with the big boys while also hoarding tons of Lucky Finds. The Lucky Finds not only create extra stats but can also generate keywords. If you grant those keywords to a leveled Sivir, she gives them to everyone. In particular, Fearsome and Overwhelm are perfect for closing out the game.
If those arguments are not enough for you, here is the final straw breaking the camel’s back: the Lucky Finds generated target a unit, advancing Akshan’s landmarks. This means that oftentimes you will be able to get several Sentinel's Hoard (the thing Akshan’s second landmark spawns upon completion).
If Akshan is the glue that holds all the pieces together, Vekauran Bruiser is the Sumo Ninja that punches the plank in your face.
A long time ago, Merciless Hunter received a 1 health nerf due to its incredible strength. Her 4/2 Fearsome body makes her perfectly fit to push a lot of damage to level Sivir and her Fearsome keyword means that on turn 3 she oftentimes goes unblocked! She also grants an enemy Vulnerable, setting up a free kill with our Quick Attack units or Barrier effects.
Speaking of Quick Attack units, Sivir has a 5/3 statline that will assure that almost nothing can survive her attack when she gets played on turns 4 or 5. Her Spellshield can also come in handy to protect her from removal spells like Vengeance or Minimorph, forcing your opponent to pop the Spellshield first and waste at least two cards to deal with her.
Preservarium is a gap filler that helps us to not run out of cards, preferably in slower matchups.
Note that we will never keep this card in the Mulligan as to mulligan it away (thus drawing a card) is the same as playing it (for two mana) and also drawing a card.
Pump spells are a natural inclusion in this deck to advance Warlord’s Palace and keep the units of our board-centric deck alive. Sharpsight is one of the best 2-mana spells in the game and a natural inclusion.
Shaped Stone does almost the same as Sharpsight for 1 mana less since it will almost always be activated thanks to Warlord’s Hoard and Preservarium. Our deck is particularly fond of buffs to attacks, because our Quick Attack champions don’t rely on the extra health!
Our deck has the luxury of running so many removal spells because they advance Warlord’s Palace at the same time. We run a healthy combination of Single Combat, Cataclysm, and Concerted Strike to deal with different types of threat (Single combat/Cataclysm for small ones/against aggro, Concerted against bigger threats).
The Absolver and Golden Aegis are our two finishers. While we’re not a traditional tempo deck and can drag the game out, Golden Aegis can come in clutch to catch our opponent off guard if they spend too much mana on their turn or can’t refill their board quick enough after our attack.
One of the main problems this deck has is getting chump-blocked to eternity. The Absolver is crucial to close out most games and will be picked the most if we see it in our predict-draw from Relic of Power (that's the thing that Warlord’s palace generates). Played on our leveled Sivir, our whole board gains Overwhelm, pushing lethal damage.
This will be our main line of winning the game: dropping units on curve and waiting for Sivir to level until we can play The Absolver on her to close out the game.
Notice that these two finishers, The Absolver and Golden Aegis, work very well together and you can use the buff from Absolver twice if you Rally in the same turn.
As you will see in the discussion below, this deck has very versatile tech options depending on what matchups you want to improve. While the original list is the best “average” for the ladder, especially in Best of 3s or a stale meta, teching your deck can be quite promising.
Riposte is a convenient Pump Spell that can catch your opponent off-guard. It works especially well on defense but comes with a high mana cost. Replace Cataclysm with this card.
An additional copy of Golden Aegis or even one copy of Relentless Pursuit can make the deck stronger against decks that struggle to develop chump blockers or contest the board. Add it instead of Preservarium.
Rite of Negation is an extremely reactive card that doesn’t fit the playstyle of Akshan Sivir well. The benefit is that it can protect your board from hard removal like The Ruination. If you want to target specifically control decks you can make this a one-off, but for the ladder, I would advise against it! Replace Preservarium with it.
Screeching Dragon works well with our board-centric, combat-oriented playstyle. While we already have some mechanics to challenge our opponent’s units (Merciless Hunter, Challenger from Lucky Find, or Removal Spells), Screeching Dragon feels great in our deck and can work very well.
The problem is that we usually replace our Sumo Ninja with it which I’m not fond of. Consider replacing Preservarium with Screeching instead!
The same goes for Radiant Guardian, though this unit has a higher justification to replace Vekauran Bruiser than Screeching Dragon. Radiant Guardian is specifically good against aggro decks and Scouts, so if you see more of them include this card.
General Gameplay Tips
Count you lethal damage
With so many combat tricks, buffs, and rallies in the deck, it’s easy to miss lethal. Remember that The Absolver will only create 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. You can also use Cataclysm with Overwhelm units to deal nexus damage.
Relic of Power and Sentinel's Hoard have a pick-one 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. Protecting your champions with Shield of the Sentinels can also lead to unstoppable lethal attacks!
Learn which buffs Lucky Find can give you
It might seem overwhelming at first, but once you’ve 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 to not get chump blocked. 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.
Don’t be afraid to use Sandstone Charger early
While it might seem wasted to play a Sandstone Charger early to push 5 nexus damage or kill a chump blocker, it’s not. The 5 damage helps to level Sivir quickly, and removes a chump blocker that would otherwise block Sivir’s 5 damage attack. Also, dealing 5 damage to the nexus for 2 mana is incredibly powerful. In comparison, Decimate only deals 4 damage and costs 5 mana!
Basic Mulligan Guide
Mulligan for an early Warlord’s Palace. Without it, you will often find that you are one finisher short to close out the game. This means that we often full-Mulligan aggressively for Akshan or Vekauran Vagabond.
Sivir is not always a keep. While she might be tempting, finding one of the above two units is more important. Especially against aggro decks or decks with many chump blockers like Darkness or Ahri Kennen, she will get chump blocked so focussing on more efficient removal is better.
If you have Akshan already in hand, keeping a pump spell (Sharpsight or Shaped Stone) is advisable to protect him from removal. You can also more freely attack into blockers with him as you will have a spell to buff him should they decide to block.
Merciless Hunter is also an extremely powerful card that works well with a lot of cards in your deck, so she’s almost always a good keep (if you already have Akshan/Vagabond).
Finally, if you get lucky enough to have Akshan/Vagabond and Sivir in hand, you can think about keeping The Absolver as a finisher. You already have all your key pieces in hand, and since The Absolver is only a 2-off, keeping it will make sure you can close out the game quickly.
Click on any of the decks to get linked to a common decklist for the archetype!
Scouts - favored
Mulligan: Fleetfeather Tracker, Treasure Seeker, Merciless Hunter, Vagabond
Brightsteel Protector if one-drop in hand
This is a pretty straightforward matchup. If you draw your early units you win, if you don’t you lose. Our advantage in this matchup stems from our slightly better control of the board and longevity, as well as our removal tools.
Scouts rely on having units on the board who they can AoE buff with cards like For Demacia! and Cithria the Bold. Our entire deck is built to efficiently trade away enemies and remove key threats. Especially their key unit, Miss Fortune, has almost no chance of surviving our removal, thus tipping the matchup in our favor.
One key thing to do is to (mercilessly =)) bluff Merciless Hunter on turn 3. Don’t play anything on turns 3 and 4 if they don’t tap under 3 mana (or you can remove MF otherwise). This will give you a deciding tempo advantage!
Screeching Dragon works well in this matchup because it can challenge enemy units before they become buffed. Radiant Guardian works well because of the tough keyword making it immune to MF’s Love Tap and overall being a valuable blocker.
Darkness - favored
Mulligan: Akshan, Vagabond
Sivir and Merciless Hunter if one of the above in hand
Recent Darkness lists have become more greedy and cut their 1-drops, which is a key advantage for us. Our main way of losing this matchup is if they can indefinitely stall until their champions take over the game.
One key observation is that we don’t need to mulligan for one-drops to block Twisted Catalyzer. Your key units have either 2 or 4 hp, so there is no significant difference between a 2 and 3 damage Darkness.
We are favored in this matchup because we can remove their champions aka value generators extremely efficiently. Just make sure that you leave enough mana open to remove their champs if they could play them (e.g. keep two mana open if you have Sivir on board, threatening to kill Veigar with a Single Combat should they play him).
Their way of winning this game is through chump blocking and removing Sivir’s Spellshield, removing her with Vengeance or Minimorph should we play The Absolver on her. Don’t be afraid to trade Sivir away if she lost her Spellshield.
Lurk - slightly favored
Mulligan: Fleetfeather Tracker, Treasure Seeker, Brightsteel Protector, Vagabond, Merciless Hunter
This matchup is extremely coin-flippy, literally -- most of the time it's won by a coin flip, depending if they go first or not. Lurk -- or how I like to call them: Urgh -- has a 10% difference in winrate depending on if they go first or not (link to source). Yikes!
Since Urgh’s one-drops grow over time, we want to block them as early as possible with cheap units. Brightsteel Protector is a keep even without a one-drop, because it can block Xer'sai Caller and their Fearsome Xer'sai Hatchling.
Be prepared that they may play Snapjaw Swarm, so make sure to play a unit on your attack turn instead of open passing!
If they find Pyke the game can get incredibly rough, but since we can remove him fairly efficiently (just like Senna in the Darkness matchup), he is not a game-losing unit for us.
Finally, keeping five mana open to play Concerted Strike and kill Rek'Sai as soon as she is played can be a game-deciding moment. Good luck, may the coin flip be in your favor!
Ahri Kennen - grim
Mulligan: Fleetfeather Tracker, Akshan/Vagabond, Merciless Hunter
Sharpsight if Akshan/Vagabond in hand
Ahri Kennen has many one-drops, and ways to summon even more one-drops through Kinkou Wayfinder. They can also stop your removals spells and even stun Sivir (even if a little costly for them).
While in theory, this match should be okay for us with all our challenging, Vulnerable granting, and early pressure, it isn’t.
They can simply recall the units we threaten to kill or deploy new ones without running out of cards. This is a parade example of why Ahri Kennen is completely busted and needs a nerf IMO.
The only useful advice I can give is that you shouldn’t be the one to cast a spell first. Make your units block their unit and force them to use a recall spell first, and then cast a removal spell. This way you can at least try to make them run out of recall effects.
Also, be aware that they can -- even though costly -- recall your Warlord’s palace with Homecoming!
Pantheon Taric - slightly unfavored
Mulligan: Akshan/Vagabond, Sivir
Concerted Strike, Riposte if Akshan/Vagabond and Sivir in hand
This matchup depends a lot on how well they draw. If they find a Fated unit and Zenith Blade it gets very difficult to control the board and kill their units.
Concerted Strike is pretty much the only removal tool that deals enough damage to threaten their Fated units.
Don’t be afraid to block one of their Fated units without killing it -- you will have to sacrifice one or two units before you can take theirs down.
A sneaky trick in this matchup is to open pass and wait until they spend mana to target one of their units. If they don’t repeatedly make use of the Fated keyword and progress Pantheon’s level-up condition, they cannot win the game!
Fizz Lulu - slightly unfavored
Mulligan: Fleetfeather Tracker, Treasure Seeker, Brightsteel Protector, Akshan/Vagabond, Merciless Hunter
Sharpsight, Shaped Stone if Akshan/Vagabond in hand
If they find Lulu and Flame Chompers! on turn three it’s difficult to win as they kill one of your valuable units for free. It’s also difficult to kill Lulu on turn three if they pull one of your 3+ attack units away with Flame Chompers. They also can kill Sivir with them, keep that in mind.
If they don’t find the Lulu Flame Chompers Combo though, this matchup is winnable with our superior ways to trade units.
Bluffing Merciless Hunter on our attack turns to delay their Lulu/Yordle Captain and killing them with our removal spells on their turns as soon as they are played is key to winning this matchup.
Feel The Rush - even
Mulligan: Akshan/Vagabond, Sivir
FTR can be tricky to deal with because of their removal and Trundle. Since Trundle’s HP got buffed to 6 health, there are no units in our deck that can kill him without an extra spell.
If they get to turn 9 and can cast Feel The Rush, there is no coming back. We are on a clock from turn one and need to finish the game before that.
Rallies can be extra powerful because they cannot produce a lot of chump blockers.
Iceborn Poros - slightly favored
Mulligan: Akshan/Vagabond, Merciless Hunter
Sharpsight if Akshan/Vagabond in hand
This matchup is slightly favored for us because we have many ways of removing their Daring Poros before they get big. We also exert enough pressure to close out the game before they can cast several Iceborn Legacys or Poro Snaxs.
It can be awkward for them to block Sivir if they don’t find one of their few non-elusive units. If we manage to find our key units, this matchup should go well for us!
Elise Spider Aggro - slightly favored
Mulligan: Fleetfeather Tracker, Treasure Seeker, Akshan/Vagabond
Brightsteel protector if 1-drop in hand
Radiant Guardian if two of the above units in hand
I think it’s helpful to realize this: If they draw all their one drops, we can’t win. Akshan Sivir is not meant to be an anti-aggro deck.
If we can find our one-drops, we can usually avoid most of their board damage and they will run out of cards before they can burn us down.
It’s important to not only think about how we can survive but also how we can kill them! If we give them time, they will be able to draw enough burn to kill us eventually.
They usually don’t want to chump-block with their units so Sandstone Chargers and Sivir can push a lot of damage.
Xerath Zilean - favored
Mulligan: Akshan, Vagabond, Sivir
Since this deck doesn’t have a lot of cheap blockers, our Quick Attack units are extremely powerful in this matchup.
Lastly, Hexplosive Minefield is a card, so consider open attacking if it’s pressuring enough. It’s often only a 2-off, so don’t always blindly open attack if you don’t have a threatening board. Think about Risk and Reward 🙂
Akshan Sivir has been around for a while and is still kicking ass! With its strong matchup spread, the deck is a hidden gem on Ladder that only really auto loses against Ahri Kennen.
The deck can especially shine in a Bo3 format where you can ban Ahri Kennen. I personally found success with this archetype alongside Pantheon Taric and Lulu Fizz or Scouts, leaving you strong against almost anything that isn’t Taric Pantheon.
I hope you enjoyed this guide as much as I did writing it and learned something new. If you have any questions about the deck whatsoever, want to know more about a matchup that wasn’t mentioned, or want to discuss your take on the deck, please leave a comment in the Reddit thread!
As always, thank you for reading, and keep your eyes on the stars!