Taric Poppy is your run-of-the-mill Demacia midrange deck. However, Taric takes Rally to a new level, being able to Rally twice at the price of one card!
Best LoR Decks: Taric Poppy – Card Breakdown
We usually win the game the same round we level Poppy thanks to her +2|+2 board-wide buff that also grants Impact. On the other hand, Mountain Sojourners can emulate a similar effect when you hit a +2|+2 buff chain with support units.
What connects these two cards is Golden Aegis and Relentless Pursuit. We want to attack as often as possible with Poppy and Mountain Sojourners, while also protecting them since they have to attack for their effects to take place.
Taric is a high-grade tool to double down on this fact. When you cast one of your Rally spells on him, he will copy it onto his supported unit, Rallying again. This means that he can cast a Golden Aegis onto your Poppy, allowing her to attack again, as well as protecting her at the same time!
Let’s focus on our Demacian Yordle first. To make use of her, we need to run cheap units that can benefit from Poppy’s buff.
The birds and their supervisor are just the right candidates for this job! They all have less than three Power, so they’ll get buffed by a vanilla Poppy. As an added bonus, they can Challenge enemy units into combat giving us backline access, as well as pulling away dangerous blockers from Poppy.
All the above units are already powerful without any help – we are not relying on playing Poppy to have a strong early game. Keep this in mind in your mulligan.
Let’s move to the support package for Mountain Sojourners.
Esmus, Breath of the World is low-key one of the best two-drops in the game, even if Bard is no longer viable. If left unchecked, Esmus will permanently buff your allies round after round, providing ongoing value. Since not many decks play Elusive units right now, Esmus stocks are high!
Just like the Breath of the World, the Traveler Tyari works well with our Challenger units that can pick their target for a favorable trade. Tyari works especially well with Petricite Broadwing, together producing a five-health unit on round three.
Frightened Ibex doubles down on these two support units. If we miss Fleetfeather Tracker in our hand, Frightened Ibex provides a support target for Tyari or Esmus, all the while buffing them as well. Oftentimes, this fact allows Tyari to attack on round two without dying because he will become a 3|3 unit!
Combos are nice, but they are susceptible to interaction. The world of LoR is a harsh one, and
Puppy Poppy making big eyes won’t spare her from getting punched in the face by a Tentacle. This, added with the urge of using our spell mana, gives us reason to run protection spells.
Since we are a unit-focused deck, we want to run as few spells as we can get away with. This means we include a lot of one-ofs like Bastion and Ranger's Resolve, which can be good but can also hinder us from developing more units.
Leveling Poppy, or getting a big support chain with Mountain Sojourners feels nice, but oftentimes isn't necessary to win the game. Figuring out when to go for your combo, and when to overwhelm your foe with strong Demacia followers instead is the key to mastering Taric Poppy.
More importantly, though, they make an unfair combo with Taric. While they don’t break fundamental game mechanics (like pairing Taric with a Rally) they do let you draw two cards with a two-mana spell!
While Taric might not be our prime win condition – since he doesn't raise allies’ stats or deals direct Nexus damage – he is a flexible tool that can protect your win conditions, draw you cards, and make you Rally twice.
This makes Taric a multi-talent, being able to provide us with something in almost any game state – for example, he provides us with gas against removal-focused matchups like Norra Heimerdinger, and tempo plays against combo decks like Nami Ionia. We are almost always happy to keep Taric in the mulligan.
Two of these cards are easy to explain – The Darkin Lodestone is a cheat to make one of your units a Supporter. This makes Mountain Sojourners stronger, or lets you double down on your two-cost Support units. In a lot of games, though, we will lack a normal unit at the end of the support chain and not lack a Supporter, making The Darkin Lodestone only a one-of.
Brightsteel Protector is just another valuable Demacia follower. Since her nerf, Brightsteel Protector’ stats have been too weak though, and we prefer other options, but her occasional Barrier on a Challenger, or even on round 5+ when we can protect Poppy or Mountain Sojourners, makes her a situational but worthwhile inclusion.
Concerted Strike is the hard one to explain – we don’t have many high-attack units, so we won’t be killing a Viego that has seen some Encroaching Mists. That being said, removing a key threat like Nami on the spot, on a round when we can't Challenge her, can delay our foe’s win conditions just enough for us to close out the game.
Since our list is an update of this archetype, Concerted Strike can be seen as a residuum of the old Taric Poppy that stood the test of time!
Besides the more reactive list that I just showed you, with more Concerted Strikes, there are not many tech options. When it comes to Taric Poppy, most people – aka statistical data – agree that the list I provided to you is the best one.
Sharpsight is the one card I could see running, but it doesn’t work as well as Guiding Touch and Pale Cascade with Taric. So only add it if you already run three copies of the other spells, or want that extra health buff you wouldn’t get otherwise.
LoR Deck Taric Poppy: Tips and Tricks
When your opponent has a lot of chump blockers, e.g. due to Vile Feast, buff Esmus when you can. In time, he’ll be able to deal significant damage to the enemy Nexus and force a costly removal spell that otherwise would’ve hit your Poppy or Taric.
On your opponent’s turn, hold four mana open to threaten a Rally. Oftentimes, your opponent will be hesitant to use their removal, because you could just develop another threat.
If your foe has the attack token and you have a great open attack next round, don’t commit your Rally prematurely. They need to do something, not you. Make your enemy’s choice as difficult as possible. Not doing anything can also exert pressure! =)
You don't need to take every attack. If you have the attack token and your opponent is unwilling to play cards, while you already spend your mana, consider passing without attacking. In essence, you’re trading missed Nexus damage for a tempo advantage.
Taric Poppy is not an aggro deck that needs to push damage early. It is much more about getting one key attack in which we can buff a wide board with Poppy, or double-Rally with Taric.
LoR Deck Taric Poppy: Mulligan & Matchups
Keep Ibex only when you have a Support two-drop in hand – otherwise, the card does very little.
As said before, Taric is the card you will almost always want to hold, due to his flexibility and synergies. The only time we throw him out is when facing aggro, since we need cheap units to block early with.
Poppy is a more delicate choice to keep. She has only three Health, which is low for four mana. When she gets removed before she can attack, we are almost guaranteed to be behind on tempo.
I go about her this way: If our opponent is bad at contesting the board early or removing units out of combat, keep her. Otherwise, don’t. Poppy needs allies to be useful, and a safe deployment, making her high-risk high-reward!
Norra Heimerdinger/Veigar – favored
Norra SI specializes in removing units with cards like Vile Feast and Vengeance. Taric is the perfect card here, allowing us to not run out of cards, as well as pushing for lethal with double Rally when they spend mana on a wincon of their own like Eclectic Collection or Portalpalooza.
Besides that, there is not much to say. Be mindful about when to develop your high-cost units – in a perfect world, wait until they tap out of Vengeance mana. As said in the Tips and Tricks section, feel free to pass back if they don’t spend their mana. If you don't use four mana, but your opponent needs to hold six mana open for Vengeance, you can simply pass to gain a tempo advantage!
Nami Ionia – favored
Mulligan: Early game, Poppy, Bastion if Taric in hand
This is one of the matchups where Poppy can run away with the game. They don’t have direct removal for her, or easy ways to kill her when blocking. When we force them to Homecoming her, they are left with no blockers for our early-game board.
Do not focus on Taric in this match. He is fine to keep in the opener for Rally plays, but we want to develop a strong early-game board rather than drawing tons of cards with him.
I have played this matchup a lot from the Nami Ionia side, and every time Tappy missed a one- or two-drop, I felt relieved. If the Nami player Recalls Taric while the Tappy player doesn't have a solid board online, Nami will likely be able to out-scale Tappy once Nami or Fleet Admiral Shelly hits the board.
Nasus SI – unfavored
This matchup is rough because our opponent can compete with our early game. Even worse, we can’t deal with Nasus well since he has too much health. Our best shot is getting a good curve and finishing the game with a double Rally before they can develop Nasus.
Viego Decks – even
The challenge in this matchup is Viego’s strong early game. If we lean on an early board, they’ll be able to block us enough to set up Viego and win the game.
On the other hand, we can’t bide our time either. Once they develop Invasive Hydravine, they have too many blockers and will lock us out of the game.
I found the most success when focusing on my champs and Mountain Sojourners – they can’t develop Viego and kill our big units at the same time. Unfortunately, Viego will have too much health to be killed by a Concerted Strike.
And that's about it!
Tappy has been a strong deck for quite some time now – as we've seen, the current version is not too different from the optimal build from months ago, only adding The Darkin Lodestone. And, since it's not getting touched in the upcoming balance patch, it should remain fairly strong until the next expansion.
Thanks for reading, and happy Rallying!