Eleven Legends of Runeterra Decks with Jax
Reveal season has come and gone, meaning it’s time to build new decks! Jax has leapt onto the scene as one of the new Runeterran champions, bringing a number of new mechanics with him: Equipment, Improvise and Forge – below we'll share eleven LoR decks, pairing Jax with every region in Runeterra!
New Cards and Mechanics arrive to LoR
Equipment is a new card type that attaches to a unit and grants its stats and keywords to the wielding unit, with the Equipment returning to hand if the wielder is removed (in other words, Equipment works like Attach units such as Yuumi… but it’s not a unit).
We also have two new mechanics. Improvise allows for you to choose a weapon to equip to a unit on summon, out of two randomly selected items from a set pool that progressively empties. And Forge either grants +1/+1 to a unit with no Equipment, or if the unit is equipped then the Equipment gains the stats instead.
Being a Runeterran champion, Jax has a more limited card pool – therefore, the secondary region that you choose is quite important. I think each region has something to offer the Grandmaster at Arms, but some definitely bring more to the table than others.
Bandle City: Jax Tristana – A Tier
Yordles in Arms is back, baby!
Old-school Yordles in Arms sometimes had trouble finding a fourth region to trigger the extra +1/+1 by round five, as most multi-region cards that we had were Bandle City + X, but Jax’s package has introduced a whole swath of new multi-region cards that aren’t half Bandle City!
We can now have Yordles in Arms active on round two with just Fireth, Reaper of the Sands and Grandfather Fae, Blastcone Seedling, or Ionian Hookmaster. And if we can’t find Yordles in Arms , the old swarm strategy has gotten a lot of new weapons.
Since all of Jax’s followers are multi-region cards, Bandle City Mayor can help us to cheat out our Improvise units and flood the board. He can also find us an additional Improvise unit if we haven’t quite found the piece of Equipment that we want.
This horde of multi-region minions TURBO-boosts our Tristana's level-up as well and makes her absolutely enormous. Having access to Scout and Overwhelm through our Equipment makes these stats much more meaningful, and she becomes an immediate must-answer card. On summon, Tristana will also grant Impact and +1/+0 to the majority of our followers, which can cause headaches for our opponent even if we don’t find Yordles in Arms .
Yordle Captain functions as another value engine as he makes our Improvise units incredibly mana-efficient. Most of our units have low Power before they Improvise, and will get an additional +1/+1 on summon, making them absurdly large for the cost. Ionian Hookmaster with Yordle Captain and Pot O' Pain is a house, coming down as a 2 mana 3/4.
Bilgewater: Jax Illaoi – B Tier
Tentacle took a hit with the Bard nerf and have fallen out of favor, but maybe Jax is equipped to help them Forge a new place in the meta!
Tentacles can get tall pretty quickly with just the tools available in Bilgewater, but stats don’t mean much if a 1/1 can stand between you and the enemy Nexus. Illaoi and The Sea's Voice can help our Tentacles here by giving them Overwhelm and letting them power through chump blockers, but what do we do when those two are nowhere to be found?
The Keywords on each piece of Equipment that Jax’s followers can create are all great for our Tentacles to wrap around. Fishawhack, Sandworn Amulet and The Fix-Em 5000 are especially good by making blocks much more awkward for our opponents, and they can also protect our key units – like Illaoi and The Sea's Voice – when we attack, to ensure that we get more than one swing in.
Once we’ve equipped our Tentacle, any strikes that it makes will contribute to Jax’s level-up condition. Jax is a valid alternate win condition for us; The Light of Icathia can be an imposing weapon once it has Overwhelm and gives us another way to push through damage with our Tentacle.
The stats that the Equipment provides also contributes to our typical Tentacle tactics by further boosting our tentacle’s power. Putting a piece of Equipment on a Tentacle over Illaoi will usually be better because it will add to the power that she copies on attack.
Demacia: Jax Poppy – B Tier
Stat buffs and Challengers, name a more iconic duo.
Our gameplan is pretty straightforward: we take control of the board by buffing our Challenger units with Equipment, and run our opponent over with Poppy and Golden Aegis.
Poppy has always loved being able to get an extra swing in with her hammer, but Jax also benefits a lot from having Rally effects available to him. Getting an extra attack can significantly progress Jax’s level-up condition and he will quickly grow out of control once he is leveled.
Equipment is also very synergistic with Poppy, as the boost to her Power ensures she gives our whole board a +1/+1 buff, while the extra Health gives her a chance to stick to the board and possibly level up.
The amount of Equipment in our deck also all but guarantees that Ranger-Knight Defector comes down with Scout active. With Quick Attack or Challenger from Entrancing Lure we can apply additional pressure, especially if we are able to pair our Poppy with Upcycled Rake!
Combat champs love Demacia and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jax is able to find a home here.
Freljord: Jax Ornn – C Tier
Jax and Ornn look to be the new premade pair for the Awakening expansion, and I’ve decided to go all-in on Forge. The entire premise of this deck is to make an enormous weapon with Weaponsmith's Apprentice and our other Forge cards, so that Ornn can come down swinging hard.
Unfortunately, our apprentice is a touch fragile at 1 Health, and slapping her down on Round 1 without protection is not always going to be a viable option. Even if we miss a few Forge triggers, it is much better to wait until we can get a piece of Equipment on her and ensure she sticks around.
We have a number of other Forge cards at our disposal if we lose our Weaponsmith's Apprentice, and I’ve included a copy of Ornn's Forge to provide a consistent source of stat buffs for our Equipment.
Bellows Breath not only gives us an additional source of Forge, but also helps to ensure we live long enough to actually slam down our big forge boy by trimming down the enemy board.
Troll Chant and Three Sisters help to keep our important cards on board and Three Sisters can also be used offensively to level our Jax, or to push additional damage by removing a blocker.
Wildclaw's Ferocity may look a bit out of place here, but transformed units keep their equipment, and surprising our opponent with a 10/9 Scout and Overwhelm unit to push for lethal sounds like a good time to me!
Ionia: Jax Master Yi – D Tier
Master Yi may need to learn to use something other than a sword – our gameplan here is to trigger Flow and use Equipment on Master Yi to progress both his own level-up and Jax’s at the same time.
The extra power from Equipment helps to accelerate Master Yi’s level-up condition, while the health boost ensures we keep him on board long enough to actually level. As far as keywords go, Scout and Overwhelm are still the stars of the show, but Fearsome and Tough can go a long way for the Wuju swordsman.
To keep Master Yi relevant, we have to go fairly spell-heavy with our build. Momentous Choice is very efficient in our deck as one-mana +2/+0 or +0/+2 that also triggers Flow. Entrancing Lure is very strong when paired with our Quick Attack units and can also be used to ensure that we push maximum damage with Overwhelm. And Horns of the Dragon may look cheesy here, but anyone who remembers Papercraft Dragon decks knows that Double Attack is insanely strong when paired with Overwhelm.
By the time that we slap down Horns of the Dragon on board we should be able to either equip him with Fishawhack or swap The Light of Icathia over with Sharesies, to finish off the enemy Nexus.
Noxus: Jax Rumble – B Tier
Rumble’s got missiles and a flamethrower, but what if we added a rake? This deck is all about finding Rumble, giving him Equipment, and obliterating the enemy Nexus with our Spellshield, Quick Attacking, Scout Mech on round four.
Since we can’t stack Equipment keywords, we have Might to give us a source of Overwhelm and extra damage if we do manage to find Upcycled Rake.
In addition to just killing our opponent, Rumble can fulfill half of Jax’s level-up condition with a single swing, making it very easy to put Jax on the board leveled and providing us with an additional threat. The rest of the deck is set up to pressure the opponent and cycle through Equipment to set up for a big swing once we find Rumble, and burn down whatever is left of the enemy Nexus with Decimate if our opponent manages to survive.
Parts Made Whole is in the deck to help us to find Rumble and Jax while applying additional pressure with the summoned Icathian Mirage. Blades of the Fallen makes our trades more efficient by summoning an Icathian Mirage to replace our dead unit, while we hunt for our win conditions.
Piltover and Zaun: Jax Vi – C Tier
Cards with good summon effects and bad stats… these belong in a Concurrent Timelines deck. This is admittedly a worse version of the Freljord Timelines deck since we lose access to Ice Pillar, but it still makes enormous units with good keywords!
Not to mention summoning a 9/7 Ancient Crocolith with Overwhelm is pretty funny.
Vi can become an immense threat here, with the extra stats and keywords from Improvise. Quick Attack can make it easy for us to remove our opponent’s threats efficiently, and Fearsome can set us up to go straight for face.
In short, Improvise is cracked with Concurrent Timelines, but stick to the Freljord list and just add Piltovan Castaway and Combat Cook.
Shadow Isles: Jax Gwen – C Tier
I’m sure you’ve noticed, but big stats are good with Scout and Overwhelm. Hallowed lets us build a permanent attack buff, making every unit that lands on the board a threat, and also making it much easier to level Jax.
Gwen definitely benefits from having Equipment available to her as the extra power makes her harder to block, and accelerates her level-up condition.
Blades of the Fallen keeps our board healthy while we trade away our Hallowed units, and ensures that we have a unit to take advantage of our Hallowed stacks. Trading away our Hallowed units also lets us profit from the discount for Malefic Spear. If we can’t manage to finish our opponent off with a big Gwen or Jax, we’ve still got The Harrowing in our back pocket to seal the deal.
Shurima: Jax Renekton – D Tier
Big Overwhelm units + more stats = good.
Renekton has been overshadowed since the last expansion by Kai'Sa and Void Blaster, and the recent nerf to Papercraft Dragon has further pushed him to the fringes, but with a little help I think the old croc can shine again.
Renekton needs to do damage to level and oftentimes his low Health makes it hard to keep him on the board. Giving him Tough, Quick Attack, or even just a couple more points of Health make him much more likely to stick around. Entrancing Lure also triggers his attack buff while drawing a card, keeping us from running out of gas and while taking down our opponent’s board.
Ruin Runner benefits from Equipment in a similar manner, using the stat gains and keywords to ensure that she is able to swing more than once and continue to push damage to the enemy Nexus.
Targon: Jax Pantheon – B Tier Copium
Pantheon was a long-standing meta staple, until the fateful day it took a nerf to the knee and was left forgotten when Zenith Blade was nerfed to only Give (instead of Grant) Overwhelm, and Scout was removed from Pantheon’s keyword pool. But now with Jax, we can Grant Overwhelm again and slap Scout right onto Pantheon instead of praying to the keyword casino gods (he doesn’t like them anyways)!
Fated makes Equipment incredibly efficient: targeting Wounded Whiteflame, Saga Seeker, or Pantheon will grant an additional +1/+1 on top of the stats from the Equipment, not to mention the keywords that come with it. Big units love keywords and the whole pool of Improvise weapons are at least situationally useful, but some are definitely more useful than others and we are typically looking for Scout, Quick Attack, Overwhelm, or Tough.
Seal In Steel is a perfect fit for this archetype. It allows us to save our built-up stats from Fated triggers, and transfer them to a new unit when the previous wielder is targeted with hard removal like Vengeance. This allows us to maintain pressure with a large unit instead of having to start over from scratch.
Seal In Steel can also give us two separate triggers for Fated: once for the spell and once for when we play the Equipment, furthering Pantheon’s level-up condition.
Kayn Jax – Imagine if I Had a Real Decklist
Once again, Runeterran champs don’t mix. The pools of cards are too small to make an effective deck and even if they appear to have synergy, it isn’t enough to compensate for their limitations.
Jax has a very flexible pool as Runeterran champion, and in my opinion is likely to find a home in a Tier 2 deck as the meta settles.
Improvise is a fun mechanic to play with, and gives opportunities for skill expression throughout the game. Even if Jax doesn’t stay relevant, I believe that his followers will be present in the meta, especially if Timelines becomes a top tier deck.