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Spider-Gwen: an Elise Gwen Deck Guide

Scissorsbox takes the Fearsome route for their first MaRu article, sharing a detailed breakdown of Spider-Gwen!

Spider-Gwen, currently one of the best Gwen decks in the game, is much like mono-Elise Spider aggro, which is a deck that has been around since beta, and while not always a high-tier deck for tournament play, usually represents a high win-rate on ladder.

Our deck tries to go wide in the early game with low-cost units – many with Fearsome – in order to get the opponent’s Nexus as low as possible, before giving up board control and transitioning to finishing the opponent off with burn (that's to say, cards that can deal direct damage to the opponent’s Nexus, such as Mystic ShotMystic Shot, Get Excited!Get Excited!, and DecimateDecimate).

In the mulligan, you usually want to look for cards like EliseElise, Precious PetPrecious Pet, and Boisterous HostBoisterous Host

You usually keep Fearsome units that you can play in the early game, while throwing away burn cards like GwenGwen and DoombeastDoombeast in hopes to draw them later in the game as finishers.

In hands where you have EliseElise and House SpiderHouse Spider, it is usually worth it to mulligan aggressively for the third spider to go for an early Elise level-up, especially if you are attacking on evens, as you can oftentimes level Elise by round four.

Regions
Noxus
14 cards
Shadow Isles
26 cards
Rarities
23 600
champion
6
epic
0
rare
11
common
23
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
14
2
11
3
3
4
0
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
2
Elise
3
Elise
4
Gwen
3
Gwen
Followers
26
1
Boisterous Host
3
Boisterous Host
1
Precious Pet
3
Precious Pet
1
Stygian Onlooker
3
Stygian Onlooker
2
Arachnoid Horror
3
Arachnoid Horror
2
House Spider
3
House Spider
2
Imperial Demolitionist
2
Imperial Demolitionist
2
Phantom Butler
3
Phantom Butler
3
Doombeast
3
Doombeast
3
Frenzied Skitterer
3
Frenzied Skitterer
Spells
8
3
Noxian Fervor
3
Noxian Fervor
3
Stalking Shadows
2
Stalking Shadows
6
Decimate
3
Decimate
Open deck in builder

Card Breakdown

LoR Deck Spider Gwen -- Elise

Elise

Elise

Spider Queen EliseSpider Queen Elise is one of this deck’s win conditions.

The opponent will have to invest a lot of resources in order to deal with a level-twoElise, or will take enough damage for you to finish them off with burn.

Spider Queen EliseSpider Queen Elise with a Frenzied SkittererFrenzied Skitterer on round four can sometimes have the opponent conceding on the spot.

With Spider Queen EliseSpider Queen Elise, since all your Spiders have Fearsome and Challenger, it is usually good to drag away all three-attack blockers with SpiderlingSpiderlings and your other lowest attack Spiders, and leave the blockers with less than three Attack behind, but depending on the opponent’s deck, it can sometimes be better to drag all of the units to play around buff spells and ensure your higher attack Fearsomes get their damage in.


Hallowed Units

Boisterous Host Phantom Butler

Some might wonder why we are running Hallowed units, instead of units like Legion SaboteurLegion Saboteur or Legion RearguardLegion Rearguard, that can deal more damage. 

Boisterous HostBoisterous Host may deal less damage initially, but he puts the opponent in a predicament of whether to take two damage or kill the Hallowed card, which offers one extra potential damage each turn. 

Being able to put the Hallowed buff on Fearsome units, along with Phantom ButlerPhantom Butler being a Fearsome unit himself, allows for more potential damage than the one-drops commonly used in this deck before.

You can also put the buff on a summoned SpiderlingSpiderling if all the opponent’s blockers have two or less HP, but have the attack necessary to block Fearsomes, since this will force the opponent to take more awkward blocks than they would like.


Spiders

Precious Pet House Spider Arachnoid Horror

As mentioned before, this deck runs a plethora of Spiders in order to work for the Elise level-up, as well as pressure the opponent’s Nexus. 

Precious PetPrecious Pet and Arachnoid HorrorArachnoid Horror are useful in almost any hand, as Fearsome units that the opponent often struggles to block, while House SpiderHouse Spider is more useful in hands with EliseElise or Frenzied SkittererFrenzied Skitterer, as a Spider Queen EliseSpider Queen Elise will allow House Spider and the SpiderlingSpiderling it generates to have both Fearsome and Challenger.

And House SpiderHouse Spider with EliseElise and another spider, or [Elise's Crawling Sensation]][ will almost guarantee Elise’s level up.


Combo Fearsomes

Stygian Onlooker Frenzied Skitterer

These units are not very useful by themselves, but allow for terrifying boards when paired with other cards.

Stygian OnlookerStygian Onlooker is often not played on round two in this deck, since with only nine one-drops in the deck, you will often not have three one-drops on the first two rounds, and it is often better to play a one-drop plus a two-drop in these cases.

This means Stygian Onlooker will often be played on round three or later, as playing two or more of them in a round can threaten 8 or more damage, without including the card played before Stygian Onlooker to activate Nightfall.

Frenzied SkittererFrenzied Skitterer is a card that is often used as a finisher when you have a board full of Spiders. While it is correct most of the time to play this card on a round you have the attack token, if the opponent is low enough on health, it can sometimes be worth it to play this card on a defensive turn in order to stall and wait to draw your burn.

These two cards can also be fantastic targets for Stalking ShadowsStalking Shadows. As we've already mentioned, playing multiple Stygian Onlooker in one round can prove to be deadly, and playing two Frenzied SkittererFrenzied Skitterer on rounds 6 or 7 can not only buff up an entire board of spiders, but also lower the attack of the opponent’s board making some of them unable to block Fearsome units.


Stalking Shadows

Stalking Shadows

As your only form of draw in this deck, this card is crucial in order to finish off games where you would otherwise run out of gas too quickly to finish off the opponent’s Nexus.

This card is often played later in the game, when you would usually pick your units that provide burn: DoombeastDoombeast and Imperial DemolitionistImperial Demolitionist – your opponent’s Nexus health will often be low by the time you play Stalking Shadows.

If their Nexus health is not low enough, or you do not hit the burn units off of Stalking ShadowsStalking Shadows, Stygian OnlookerStygian Onlooker and Frenzied SkittererFrenzied Skitterer are also great targets.

House SpiderHouse Spider is a great target if it helps you level-up EliseElise, but the other units in your deck are not amazing and should only be taken if necessary.

An important aspect to note about Stalking ShadowsStalking Shadows is the Ephemeral copy of the card that it creates should usually be played on a turn that you have the attack token. However, it can be played on a defensive turn if it significantly reduces the damage you would take from the opponent’s attack.


Burn Units

Gwen Doombeast Imperial Demolitionist

These units all have skills that can deal direct damage to your foe's Nexus, and therefore they are all used to close off the game when you are giving up board control to your opponent, and their Nexus health is low. 

Imperial DemolitionistImperial Demolitionist should be used on high-health targets in order to lessen the risk of this skill getting canceled by your opponent removing the target unit. However, beware of Noxus Control, as using Demolitionist on one of your high-impact units, like EliseElise, can lead to her getting killed by cards like Ravenous FlockRavenous Flock or Scorched EarthScorched Earth.

Unfortunately for GwenGwen fans, in this list she does not play for the Hallowed buffs or her level-up, but she is simply a DoombeastDoombeast every attack token that forces the opponent to chump-block her. This is great though, as a drain-two effect every turn can often force the opponent to remove her or take two damage every turn. 

While oftentimes you should not play Gwen on round four – it's often better to go wider with units and swing – with clunky hands it may be necessary. Gwen having the Hallowed keyword also means that if the opponent spends the resources to remove her, she is able to buff up Fearsome units and is not just a waste of four mana.

Another important aspect about DoombeastDoombeast and GwenGwen is that when they cast their skill, the skill does not get canceled if they die. This means that unlike Imperial DemolitionistImperial Demolitionist, whose skill can be interrupted if the target is removed, Doombeast's and Gwen's skills can only be canceled with DenyDeny or Rite of NegationRite of Negation.


Burn Spells

Decimate Noxian Fervor

These spells are meant to hit the opponent’s Nexus when they are low on health, and end the game.

While DecimateDecimate is fairly straightforward, it is important to note the opponent’s deck and make sure they are tapped under DenyDeny, Rite of NegationRite of Negation, and if possible, any way to Heal past the Lethal range of Decimate.

Noxian FervorNoxian Fervor is burn that can be canceled if the target dies, so it is important that you keep in mind the opponent’s removal spells. Noxian Fervor is not only great for hitting the opponent’s Nexus, but can also be used to deny the lifedrain from an opponent’s spell, or combat from an opponent’s Lifesteal unit.


Other Options

Legion Saboteur Legion Rearguard Might

Legion SaboteurLegion Saboteur and Legion RearguardLegion Rearguard are sometimes run so the deck has twelve one-drops. With twelve one-drops, one can often have thre one-drops on round two and have more aggressive openers, in exchange for EliseElise’s level up potential or more consistent finishers from burn.

MightMight can be used as an extra finisher card: with Hallowed counters, GwenGwen and some Fearsome units can become big enough to threaten lethal when chump-blocked. 

This is added to the fact that most people will be inclined to block Gwen with cheap one-health units because of her quick attack. 


General Gameplan

LoR Deck Spider Gwen -- Frenzied Skitterer

This is an aggressive deck. This deck's main priority is establishing a wide board with Spiders and Fearsome units in the early game, in order to get the opponent’s health as low as possible. 

At a certain point, most decks will be able to block and trade with your early game units and you will find it difficult to push damage through attacking.

This is when you:

a) Transition to burn

This will be one of the most common ways you close out games. Using your burn units, spells, and Stalking ShadowsStalking Shadows to find more burn units, you should be able to use the Fearsome units you do not care about anymore to block and survive while finding the last bit of burn you need to finish your foe off.

b) Spider Queen Elise

Use Challenger Spiders to pull away the Fearsome blockers, in order to deal enough damage to hopefully finish the game. 

When trying to close the game with this method, if you ensure your Spider Queen EliseSpider Queen Elise will not be removed, it is okay to draw House SpiderHouse Spider and other Spider cards with Stalking ShadowsStalking Shadows, instead of burn units.

c) Play double Frenzied SkittererFrenzied Skitterer

Often found through Stalking ShadowsStalking Shadows, playing two Frenzied SkittererFrenzied Skitterers with a large Spider board on rounds six or seven has the potential to win the game. This is due to the large attack boost to your units, as well as the attack decrease to your opponent's blockers, making many of the latter unable to block your Fearsome board.

This method is especially effective when combined with method b, as two Frenzied SkittererFrenzied Skitterers along with Spider Queen EliseSpider Queen Elise will usually be enough to end the game.


Matchups

LoR Deck Spider Gwen -- Gwen

Azir Irelia - Very favored

Even in their prime, Azir Irelia was fairly weak to Spider Aggro, but back then they could high-roll their way out of it and beat Aggro decks with lucky draws. 

Nowadays, their deck's potential is not nearly as threatening as before, and they will have a hard time racing your deck. 

Firstly, they do not have any natural Fearsome blockers so you are usually able to get attacks in freely, and block their units if you need to survive. Exceptions to this are Sparring StudentSparring Student, Shadow ApprenticeShadow Apprentice, AzirAzir when leveled, and Waking SandsWaking Sands from Treasure SeekerTreasure Seeker. All of these can be avoided by open-attacking, not giving our foe the chance to play a unit or Blade spell.

Other Fearsome blockers they could have even if you open-attack are IreliaIrelia – but they usually will not block with her – or units buffed by Twin DisciplinesTwin Disciplines or Shaped StoneShaped Stone

Overall, play this matchup as stated above and you will win most of the time. Be aware of Defiant DanceDefiant Dance on your GwenGwen, as that could be a big enough Tempo loss to lose the game.


Kai’sa Demacia - Favored

I think that these decks often do not have any Fearsome blockers that matter until turn five with Kai'Sa or Radiant GuardianRadiant Guardian.

It is very important to try and play around Radiant GuardianRadiant Guardian in this matchup, as they need to hold up five mana, and have a unit die in order to play her. Do not block and kill a unit on round five for free. I would even go as far as playing Noxian FervorNoxian Fervor on my unit in order to prevent a single combat or Challenger if need be. 

A very common way for them to win is getting Radiant GuardianRadiant Guardian down and giving Kai'Sa Lifesteal, and eventually Scout. Otherwise, you can often end the game before the Lifesteal comes online through burn.

If they are holding up five mana, you are able to develop as much as you want and set up a very large attack, so when Radiant GuardianRadiant Guardian comes down it does not matter as much.


Yasuo Katarina - Even

I can not believe the day has come to where this matchup is even!

A lot of their Stun cards are slow, so open-attacking is your friend in this matchup. Save Noxian FervorNoxian Fervor for a possible Spirit's Refuge as it could be game-winning for them.

Force them to tap below DenyDeny before using DecimateDecimate, or conversely bait their Deny with Decimate, so they do not have mana to Stun a large board threatening lethal on your attack token.

Aside from a buffed Fae BladetwirlerFae Bladetwirler, they want to save their Fearsome blockers – such as Arachnoid SentryArachnoid Sentry and The StagehandThe Stagehand – for when you are either not open-attacking, or for when YasuoYasuo is on board, which is even more of a reason for you to open-attack.

Since we want to open-attack against this deck, Frenzied SkittererFrenzied Skitterer is hard to develop on attack tokens and can be used on defensive turns.


Annie TF - Even

Annie TF is even because they do not have any early Fearsome blockers aside from Arachnoid SentryArachnoid Sentry

They do have a lot of AOE one-hp removal with Twisted FateTwisted Fate's Red CardRed Card and Make it RainMake it Rain, which means that in the mulligan you should be careful about keeping too many one-hp units. 

You should try to go as wide as possible, and avoid relying on GwenGwen or EliseElise too much in this matchup – they have many ways to remove single units, with cards like DisintegrateDisintegrate and Ravenous FlockRavenous Flock.

You are on a clock in this matchup. If TybaulkTybaulk gets played it is fine, but if Riptide RexRiptide Rex comes down and you are not ending the game that round, you often lose the game.


Thralls - Unfavored

As a deck with AvalancheAvalanche and Blighted RavineBlighted Ravine, this matchup is hard. Your early game goal is to go as wide as possible, and these cards aim to prevent that. The fact that Ravine is also a 'heal 2' is very frustrating.

When in doubt, do not develop into AvalancheAvalanche. Develop when they go under four-mana, and open-attack if possible. 

It is important to recognize games when you can and can not play around these board sweeps. Sometimes it is best to develop and hope they do not have it, if it is your only way to win.

Remember: in a losing matchup it is often on you to take more risks than the opponent.


In Closing

With this deck you’re looking to go wide, swing hard, and burn face to finish the game.

This was my first deck guide here, by the way, so I hope you guys enjoyed.

Thanks for reading, and good luck in your games!


LoR Deck Spider Gwen -- Elise Gwen

Thanks to Alaexaender from the MaRu Discord for noting the hollow > hallow typo! =)


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