Caught between a rock and a hard place, and trying to figure out what to include in your lineup? Well, your favorite giant, talking rock-mountain is here to help!
Howdy, GrandpaRoji here! With seasonals right around the corner I will be bringing you a rock-solid deck guide for my favorite deck this patch: Malphite / Taliyah!
Malphite / Taliyah is currently an extremely powerful deck in the tournament meta. With the buffs to Quicksand and Malphite, and the addition of the new card Celestial Wonder, the archetype went from being an already strong deck to becoming a colossal threat, and a ROCK SOLID pick for your seasonals line up.
I love to have cards that essentially say “I win the game” when I play them, and what better way to close out a game than with – Malphite?
Malphite is the biggest payoff for the Landmark archetype.
When you achieve this game-ending level-up, his Unstoppable Force acts as a one-sided board wipe for only two mana, allowing for your units to punch through and OTK your opponent.
His ability to stop opponents from developing – with his new Rockslide skill – makes him a huge development punisher, while also allowing you to fork your opponent by removing a blocker on your attack token and being able to hold up the Unstoppable Force, really putting your opponents in between a rock and a hard place of either not developing and getting attacked by our wide board, or developing and getting slammed, resulting in no blockers yet again.
Such a powerful level-up comes at a great cost – 10+ mana worth of landmarks is nothing to scoff at, and it entails a big deck-building cost.
Luckily we have our favorite rock-mover: Taliyah!
Taliyah really helps to tie this deck together. Her ability to copy landmarks generates huge tempo swings, and her amazing level-up dominates the board.
And she can also double as another win condition for when you don’t draw Malphite.
We run a lot of landmarks, and which one we'll want to copy with Taliyah depends on the matchup, for example:
- Salt Spire is our 'Golden Combo' landmark,
- If we run into a landmark-removal deck we have Sarcophagus,
- To generate value we can copy Preservarium.
Planning ahead is EVERYTHING in this deck – whenever you play a card, you need to have thought about what your next six round will look like.
If you miss a single beat, you will be out tempoed. You need to plan for your Salt Spire round, your Taliyah round and the round leading up to Malphite.
Make sure you bank two spell mana somewhere before round seven!
Ancient Preparations allows us to search for the combo pieces that we need, the combo being Salt Spire and Taliyah, and thus provides our deck with quite a bit of consistency.
It also gives us an early unit, Clockling, to help us get to our later turns. Don’t be afraid to block with these at will!
Preservarium is our main way to draw cards, and helps us dig into our deck to find our combo pieces.
If we have no other landmarks for Taliyah to copy, we can always copy Preservarium and start to out-value our opponents. This can be particularly strong when we’re against slower decks.
Salt Spire is our main tempo play. We need to reach its condition of having summoned four landmarks, which is really easy for us:
- On round one we play Ancient Preparations,
- Then we can summon Rock Hopper or Preservarium on round two/three
- Then we can play Salt Spire on round four, and
- Follow it up with a Taliyah to copy Salt Spire for the last landmark needed.
After we land the combo, we will be granting the strongest ally +4+4, usually resulting in one 9/8 and one 5/4 Grumpy Rockbear for a huge tempo swing.
We also have a couple of units that generate landmarks that we can work with.
Rock Hopper gives us a really great early-game unit, while also summoning a Roiling Sands that allows us to control the tempo of the game.
It does this by forcing our opponent to summon an important unit later that they would normally want to, in order to prevent it from getting Vulnerable.
Sometimes they do not have the choice, and have to play into Roiling Sands granting their crucial unit Vulnerable, allowing us to remove it through combat.
We can also play Rock Hopper before our Malphite turn, or before we use Unstoppable Force to give any unit the opponent summons Vulnerable, letting us pull it away and clear the path for our larger units to slam face!
Endless Devout is a key part of the deck. This card allows us to get on board, trade into a unit or chump-block, and it continues to generate value by summoning a Sarcophagus after it dies.
Endless Devout can also be used to create some nasty tempo plays with Rite of the Arcane, and our opponents will go out of their way to not block or kill the Devout, in an attempt to prevent you from getting value.
If you can kill the Devout by blocking, I would generally do so and save as much life as possible. It has more value as a landmark than as a unit!
Non-Landmark Unit Choices
Chip is in my opinion the best one-drop in the game. Usually coming down with a wock-solid 3/3 statline, not many units can take on this little guy with ease.
Chip is our first line of defense against aggro and midrange decks, and he also applies a lot of pressure – taking two hits from this rock means you’re already at fourteen health.
Herald of the Magus turns our champions into ascended gods – I like to call this our “Level 3 champions” buff.
Granting Malphite and Taliyah Overwhelm and +2/+2 allows us to punch through any blockers. If you’re able to play the Herald and have one or both champions on the board, the game is surely coming to a close in the next attack or two.
Stonebreaker is one of my favorite cards in the game. He has a huge statline as well as a destructive Play effect – once you’ve played at least four landmarks, Stonebreaker deals four to an enemy unit and two to the enemy Nexus on play.
As this large unit comes down you’re removing a unit, gaining a tempo swing, and burning your opponent down. There are many game-states where 2-4 burn damage is the difference between winning and losing. This card is very effective removal, and you can deal with most threats in the meta just by simply summoning him.
The Absolver synergizes really well with our deck's whole idea, which is to generate large units and smack our opponent in the face, hard. We can take any of our units being blocked and simply give them Overwhelm while also adding TONS of damage!
Rite of the Arcane can be used on Sarcophagus to kill a Fearsome blocker while simultaneously generating a Fearsome attacker to shift the tempo on the board quite a bit.
It can also be used defensively to remove immediate threats. I wouldn’t shy away from using a mana gem if you can’t destroy a landmark, or if you’ve passed the mana threshold of five and seven for either of our Champs.
Unraveled Earth makes it really hard for your opponents to develop, allowing you to control the pace of the battle and decide what is blocking what. Our deck is able to take advantage of the Vulnerable tag really well, since we have so many big units.
Quicksand recently got buffed and can target two units now, making it really powerful against keywords like Overwhelm or Elusive, which used to pose a major issue for us before.
We can now effectively block any attack, and make use of our large units to try and keep us alive until we can finish off our foes.
Celestial Wonder is a new card that was added to help Targon with open attacks, and boy, does this card help!
Being able to stun two units that we can’t block – like for example Elusives, or simply because the enemy is wider/bigger than us – is huge. Celestial Wonder shores up our weaknesses against a lot of decks, and helps us live that one extra turn we need to close out the game.
Ancient Hourglass is a very powerful card in the current meta. Being able to neutralize spells like Vengeance for only two mana gives us a massive mana swing, while also saving our unit!
We can push this even further and increase our advantage by copying the resulting Stasis Statue with Taliyah, getting two copies of the same unit when the Statue resolves
Rite of Negation is what stops our opponent’s board-wipes (like The Ruination) or power plays (like Feel The Rush). It can even be used to stop burn lethal.
With Hourglass, we have a powerhouse of denial spells that prevent the opponent from trying to remove our board. Try to save Rite of Negation for AoE spells and Ancient Hourglass for single-target removal.
Our mulligan usually consists of us looking for our combo pieces, as well as our early game units. If you find Taliyah or Salt Spire, keep them!
Early game units
You always want to play Ancient Preparations on round one, to enable landmarks for Chip while simultaneously looking for combo pieces.Rock Hopper is a solid early-game unit that helps flip your champions and activate your combo. You can hold this unit in hand and play it on turns when your opponent may want to summon a valuable unit.
Chip is a wock-solid early-game unit, becoming a 3/3 once a landmark has been played –this means he can trade into most units up to 4 mana easily. Chip stops aggressive decks dead in their tracks.
Endless Devout allows us to generate a landmark that Taliyah can copy if we don’t find a Salt Spire, while also being a big body that blocks and trades well.
If our early game has panned out like we predicted with Ancient Preparations, we should be able to play our key piece, Salt Spire.
This is our main way to level-up Malphite and generate multiple, huge, Grumpy Rockbears for a massive board tempo swing, putting us ahead of our opponent. Pair these large bears with our Unstoppable Force and our opponent has a hard time blocking our legion of threats.
Taliyah is here to copy Salt Spire – once she has done that, her job is done.
If the opponent can’t remove her the turn she is summoned, then they’re in a whole world of hurt as she becomes a larger threat on Malphite turns. She may also become her own win condition with our Overwhelm buffs: Herald of the Magus or The Absolver.
Unraveled Earth really helps us activate the Salt Spire condition of having summoned four landmarks, by giving us the only two landmarks we need before we summon Spire and copy it with Taliyah.
Unraveled Earth can help us find a combo piece by drawing us that one card we need – consider playing this after predicting with Ancient Preparations for a streamlined draw.
Preservarium should be played on turn two if the matchup is slow enough as it’ll increase the odds of you drawing Salt Spire on turn four by a few percentage points. Which could be the difference of hitting the combo on turn four or not, therefore missing the draw by one turn and setting you behind the whole match.
Pantheon Yuumi - Favored
Mulligan: Salt Spire Taliyah Ancient Preparations Quicksand
Since Pantheon Yuumi usually plays only one or two very large units, we can land a Roiling Sands on the opponent's Fated unit and drag it out of the way.
We really need to hit the combo in this matchup, so we can represent an OTK on round six by pulling the Fated unit to the side with a Clockling or Rock Hopper, and making way for our 9/8 and 5/4 Grumpy Rockbears and our Taliyah – by herself pushing 10 damage – for a total of 24 damage in one attack!
We can also hold up Rite of Negation on this attack to stop any attempt to prevent lethal.
On the chance we don’t OTK them on round six we have quite a few cards to stall the game from their large Overwhelming units: two Celestial Wonders, three Quicksands and even three Malphite’s Rockslide to get to our Unstoppable Force turn.
Pantheon Yuumi can’t answer a slam while also lacking units, which usually leads to the end of the game.
Trundle Tryndamere - Very favored
Mulligan: Salt Spire, Taliyah, Rite of Negation, Unraveled Earth
Try to play Preservarium on round two to try and find Salt Spire by turn four and Taliyah by five. Early game damage doesn’t matter, they’ll play Blighted Ravine or Catalyst of Aeons anyway so we just need to hit our combo to OTK them.
In this matchup they will just ignore our Endless Devout and never give us the Sarcophagus value. Hitting the Salt Spire plus Taliyah combo is the key to winning this game.
Taliyah can also copy Preservarium to find more protection spells. This is a matchup where we can use Celestial Wonder if they play Feel The Rush without us having Rite of Negation and feel safe for a turn, or we can save our Rite of Negation for The Ruination after we summon Malphite
Sun Disc - Slightly Unfavored
Mulligan: Salt Spire Taliyah Herald of the Magus Preservarium
The way we win this match up is by landing the combo before turn 8 and being able to play Herald of the Magus before we summon Malphite, to represent as much damage as possible on one turn.
The turn Malphite comes down to play Unstoppable Force is the last turn we have to OTK our opponent – afterwards, our board will get shredded by Xerath's level three skill.
We can try to prevent our opponents from being able to level their champions by not trading with their early units and playing for our Unstoppable Force turn, to completely bypass their defenses and smack them for 20+ damage
Taliyah Ziggs - Favored
Mulligan: Salt Spire Taliyah Ancient Preparations Endless Devout
This matchup plays a lot like the mirror – we are them, but bigger.
Our power play with Salt Spire generates huge Grumpy Rockbears that can easily trade with the enemy Taliyah or Ziggs, therefore not allowing them to attack properly. We follow up with a Malphite to seal the deal and close the game.
We have to be wary of Desert Naturalist on our Salt Spire turn, so try and get them to tap under needed mana before we summon Salt Spire, as this is the main way we win this match up.
Try to land a Roiling Sands on the enemy Taliyah so we can pull her to either our own Taliyah, or a large Grumpy Rockbear.
Pirates - Unfavored
Mulligan: Ancient Preparations Chip Rock Hopper Endless Devout
This matchup is bad for us as we are a mid-late game deck and if we don’t draw an Ancient Preparations on round one followed by one or two Chips, we can be in a bit of trouble.
We lack healing and we can be burned out very easily – we must rely on our solid early game units to prevent as much damage as possible, and then Rite of Negation to stop their burn spells like Decimate
We want to copy a Sarcophagus to go over the top of them as well as The Absolver on Taliyah to surprise-lethal them.
We can also get some good tempo swings with Rite of the Arcane being used on the Sarcophagus to kill their Miss Fortune, or another Fearsome blocker.
Viego Shurima - Slightly Favored
Mulligan: Salt Spire Taliyah Unraveled Earth Ancient Preparations
This deck has a slow start to it so we have some leeway to find our combo. If we are able to land the combo on curve, we are very favored to win the match up.
You want to try and time your Roiling Sands on their Viego turn so they can’t develop him, and delay him from leveling as long as possible. If we do land a Vulnerable on him then he will be very easy to remove with our Taliyah or 9/8 Grumpy Rockbear.
After applying a lot of pressure to them with our Roiling Sands and Salt Spire plus Taliyah rounds, we will drop Malphite on round seven or eight to close out the game with a Unstoppable Force.
We have Ancient Hourglass to prevent their Vengeance on our Taliyah or Malphite, while being able to save our Rite of Negation for their Rite of Negation being used on our Unstoppable Force, or to stop them from saving Viego with their own Ancient Hourglass.
This deck has a great time in a tournament meta with a lot of control and midrange, which is the current trend.
Since we’re weak to Sun Disc and aggressive-slanted decks, you want to pair Malphite & Taliyah with other decks that want to ban Pirates or Sun Disc.
That's why I will be pairing Malphite & Taliyah with Sun Disc and Pantheon Yuumi – they have that exact same ban strategy.
Hopefully this gives you a good idea on how to better pilot the deck, and understand how the deck works.
Feel free to ask me ANY questions you may have!
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