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Ephemeral Onslaught – A Zed Hecarim Deck Guide

Old as Beta, Zed Hecarim is an aggressive combo deck that creates wide Ephemeral boards to threaten huge damage, and that with buffs and added support has become a very viable deck for climbing to Masters.

Hey guys, it’s Scissorsbox here, and today I am bringing you a guide for Zed Hecarim Ephemerals, a deck that has existed since Legends of Runeterra's beta. Although it was not very competitive back then (nor for a very long time), the archetype has received many support cards throughout several expansions and it is now a viable deck to climb to Masters, or even play in some tournament lineups in the current LoR meta.

This deck is an aggressive combo deck that aims to win by attacking with wide boards of Ephemeral units. 

Regions
Ionia
20 cards
Shadow Isles
20 cards
Rarities
32 600
champion
6
epic
8
rare
12
common
14
Mana cost
0
0
8
1
15
2
8
3
1
4
5
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Zed
3
Zed
6
Hecarim
3
Hecarim
Landmarks
5
2
The Black Flame
3
The Black Flame
3
Opulent Foyer
2
Opulent Foyer
Equipments
3
2
The Darkin Fan
3
The Darkin Fan
Followers
18
1
Boisterous Host
3
Boisterous Host
1
Shadow Apprentice
3
Shadow Apprentice
2
Redeemed Prodigy
3
Redeemed Prodigy
2
Shark Chariot
3
Shark Chariot
2
Soul Shepherd
3
Soul Shepherd
3
Moonlit Glenkeeper
3
Moonlit Glenkeeper
Spells
8
1
Momentous Choice
2
Momentous Choice
4
Deny
1
Deny
5
Defiant Dance
2
Defiant Dance
5
Dragon Ambush
3
Dragon Ambush
Open deck in builder

Best LoR Decks: Zed Hecarim – Quick Mulligan Guide

This section is for people who just want a quick breakdown of the mulligan. Details about each card will be explained in the Card Breakdown section later. If you are new to the deck, I highly suggest following this mulligan guide, as it is very simple and will work in most matchups.

Always keep: Shark ChariotShark Chariot, Boisterous HostBoisterous Host, Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd

Keep with Shark Chariot: The Black FlameThe Black Flame, Opulent FoyerOpulent Foyer, Redeemed ProdigyRedeemed Prodigy

Keep if the opponent has no good removal: ZedZed 

Keep wit Zed: The Darkin FanThe Darkin Fan


Zed Hecarim – Card Breakdown

Your Wincons

Shark Chariot Soul Shepherd 

These are two of the core cards in the Ephemeral archetype and it is usually hard to win without them – on the other hand, drawing both, or even one of them, sometimes allows you to threaten really wide, high-damage attacks that force blocks from the opponent that let you to end the game really quickly.

Shark ChariotShark Chariot is by far the best card in the entire deck, and it can be worth it in some matchups to mulligan your whole hand to find one copy, and I suggest doing so if you think you cannot end the game fast enough without one. It pretty much revives itself on every attack, since every attack you make should include an Ephemeral.

Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd either forces out removal or makes your wide boards extremely deadly. Giving +1|+1 may not seem like a lot on paper, but this can often add up to threatening an extra four or five damage every time you swing. With Dragon AmbushDragon Ambush and Defiant DanceDefiant Dance in your deck, these buffs can even threaten extra damage when you do not have the attack token.


Champions

Zed Hecarim 

ZedZed is an extremely good card in our deck and should be kept in any matchup where the opponent does not have easy ways to remove him (such as Mystic ShotMystic Shot); but if you have Momentous ChoiceMomentous Choice in hand to protect him, he can be kept every time. ZedZed pressures the opponent with Quick Attack and an Ephemeral attacker, he combos well with most of our cards including Shark ChariotShark Chariot and Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd, and is the best unit to equip The Darkin FanThe Darkin Fan to.

If the game goes long, HecarimHecarim is the main finisher in our deck. His level-up is usually enough to win the match if he attacks, and our deck can often level him around round six or seven. And something to note (above all if you've played Hecarim before): Hecarim (level 2)Hecarim (level 2) was recently buffed so as to provide his +3 Power bonus to Ephemerals even if he is removed from the board.

Hecarim (level 2)

That is to say, even if Hecarim (level 2)Hecarim (level 2) is no longer on the board, the buff from his level-up still applies – so, even if the opponent has VengeanceVengeance, Thermogenic BeamThermogenic Beam, or other removal for him, if you play Hecarim after meeting his level-up requirement, it should still be enough to end the game.


Hallowed

Boisterous Host Redeemed Prodigy Opulent Foyer

The Hallowed keyword buffs the Power of the leftmost attacker by +1, for each Hallowed unit that has died. This makes the keyword extremely powerful in a Hecarim Zed deck, as the Hallowed buff provides constant value throughout the game, and threatens devastating attacks even without the attack token with Dragon AmbushDragon Ambush and Defiant DanceDefiant Dance.

Boisterous HostBoisterous Host is a solid Hallowed one-drop that provides constant value throughout the game.

Redeemed ProdigyRedeemed Prodigy usually only creates one Ghastly BandGhastly Band, but through this it can revive Shark ChariotShark Chariot, add +1 to the Hallowed buff, and can combo extremely well with The Black FlameThe Black Flame, although I will expand on this more when talking about the landmark.

Opulent FoyerOpulent Foyer provides a constant stream of Ephemerals and ensures you have the option to revive all the Shark ChariotShark Chariots you have on each open attack, so the opponent will not be able to interact.


Dragonlings

The Darkin Fan Dragon Ambush

These DragonlingDragonling generators work extremely well in a Zed Hecarim deck because not only are they Ephemeral, but they have Lifesteal. This is good because we oftentimes do not want to block with our units and will use our Nexus health as a resource while trying to race the opponent. Dragonlings allow us to heal back up, while threatening a large amount of damage and comboing extremely well with Shark ChariotShark Chariot and Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd.

The Darkin Fan is a new Equipment card, and it usually wants to be placed on ZedZed, as in our deck he is the best wielder for the Fan. This is because ZedZed has Quick Attack, so he will usually stay on board and you will not have to waste mana on replaying The Darkin FanThe Darkin Fan – other Fan wielders will often die from being blocked while they attack. You can still play The Darkin FanThe Darkin Fan without ZedZed, but just be aware that you will likely need to spend an extra two mana if you want to replay it.

Dragon AmbushDragon Ambush is extremely good at threatening lethal on rounds when you do not have the attack token. And, at higher ranks in the ladder, even if you do not have this spell in hand you can still keep up five mana to bluff it, and force your opponent to keep an unnecessary amount of mana up in order to survive this card. Dragon Ambush is also helpful for restoring our Nexus Health, of course.

Games with a Hecarim Zed deck will not often go up to round nine, but on the off-chance it does, The Darkin FanThe Darkin Fan can instead be played as Praa the BreachwalkerPraa the Breachwalker and end the game. This will probably happen in less than 5% of your games, though.


The Black Flame

The Black Flame

This landmark combos extremely well with many cards in our Hecarim Zed deck, but we usually want to see just one – multiple copies aren’t dead draws, but usually one copy is good and can provide amazing value. 

Firstly, The Black FlameThe Black Flame can be used on Shark ChariotShark Chariot, which allows you to constantly create more Shark ChariotShark Chariots while reviving the old created Shark ChariotShark Chariots on every attack. This means you can often create a six-wide attack extremely fast with this combo; throw a Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd on board, and the opponent will have a tough time dealing with our onslaught.

In the early game (usually on round two if you are attacking on odds) the Flame can be used on Boisterous HostBoisterous Host and constantly create a Hallowed unit that also revives Shark ChariotShark Chariot.

Another good combo is using The Black FlameThe Black Flame on Redeemed ProdigyRedeemed Prodigy. As stated above, Redeemed ProdigyRedeemed Prodigy will oftentimes only get one attack before dying to a blocker and won't provide us with much value – but with The Black FlameThe Black Flame, you can make constant use of Redeemed ProdigyRedeemed Prodigy’s effect.

ZedZed is another decent option to combo with, as it ensures that when you attack you will get his effect off without allowing the opponent to remove ZedZed before the attack happens.

In the late game, HecarimHecarim can be a good target for the Flame, although usually it will not be necessary; but if the game does go late, it can be an extremely powerful combination.

Finally, since the Black Flame's effect only triggers once per round, it works extremely well if you play Defiant DanceDefiant Dance and Dragon AmbushDragon Ambush on rounds where you do not have the attack token. This is great with all the combos listed above, but is amazing if The Black Flame is used on Hecarim, as you will be able to trigger HecarimHecarim’s attack on your defense rounds.


Other Units

Shadow Apprentice Moonlit Glenkeeper

Shadow ApprenticeShadow Apprentice is a solid one-drop that either forces removal or threatens a lot of Elusive damage, as it can easily grow up to 4-6 Power in a single round.

Moonlit GlenkeeperMoonlit Glenkeeper creates a SaplingSapling to remove key units from the opponent, which is really good because this deck does not really have removal. With Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd or other buffs, the Sapling can oftentimes remove units with four or more Health. In certain cases it is good to keep a one-drop in hand (like Shadow ApprenticeShadow Apprentice or Boisterous HostBoisterous Host) in order to trigger the Nightfall effect of Moonlit GlenkeeperMoonlit Glenkeeper easily.

Also, just generally having this card in the backline along with a Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd or second Moonlit GlenkeeperMoonlit Glenkeeper can make your Ephemeral attacks extremely lethal.


Other Spells

Momentous Choice Deny Defiant Dance

Since we run The Darkin FanThe Darkin Fan we are allowed to run Momentous ChoiceMomentous Choice as a cheap combat trick to save key units or threaten lethal.

DenyDeny is a fantastic card, especially in this meta as it can deny World EnderWorld Ender against Aatrox decks (and in different metas, this spell could be replaced with Nopeify!Nopeify!). This is a good card to keep in hand to protect HecarimHecarim on round six or seven.

Defiant DanceDefiant Dance is usually used in tandem with The Black FlameThe Black Flame, as it allows you to trigger the landmark’s effect on a round you do not have the attack token, as well as bounce back an expensive enemy unit to remove a blocker and gain tempo.


Other Options

The Stagehand Nopeify! Twin Disciplines

The StagehandThe Stagehand is a good card in the mid to late game in order to stun enemy blockers and trigger Shark ChariotShark Chariot attacks.

Nopeify!Nopeify! is good in certain metas where there are not too many high-cost spells (which would make DenyDeny not as useful).

Twin DisciplinesTwin Disciplines is a good card if you plan to run less copies of The Darkin FanThe Darkin Fan because it can be more consistent than Momentous ChoiceMomentous Choice, but slightly more expensive in cost.


Zed Hecarim – General Gameplan

As said above, Zed Hecarim is an aggressive combo deck that aims to utilize the Ephemeral package to create wide boards to threaten large amounts of damage and force blocks.

In the early game, try to set up cards like Shark ChariotShark Chariot and Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd to maximize the value of your attacks on future rounds. Combos with The Black FlameThe Black Flame are also good to set up, if possible.

In the midgame, you can pressure the opponent with wide Ephemeral attacks, and keep mana up on your defense rounds to punish them with Dragon AmbushDragon Ambush or Defiant DanceDefiant Dance.

On round six or seven, if the game is not over, try to win with HecarimHecarim. And, if the game somehow goes to round nine, you can use Praa the BreachwalkerPraa the Breachwalker as a last resort.

If possible, it is good to have a DenyDeny or Momentous ChoiceMomentous Choice in hand in order to protect HecarimHecarim against decks with sufficient removal.


Zed Hecarim – Matchups

Aatrox Vayne (Quinn) – Unfavored

In this matchup, if you do not have Shark ChariotShark Chariot or Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd, mulligan for them. If you do have them, you can keep other cards like ZedZed or Boisterous HostBoisterous Host

Aatrox Vayne has amazing consistency and can constantly pressure you with TumbleTumble from VayneVayne and Scout units before you get your setups going.

However, if you manage to play multiple Shark ChariotShark Chariots and a Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd early, it can be hard for them to survive your onslaught while they try to build up their board.

Forcing blocks is really good because most Demacia decks rely on board control in order to win the game.

Further reading: For the other side of this matchup, check our Aatrox Vayne Quinn Deck Guide.


Kayn Aatrox – Even

Unlike the previous matchup, this Aatrox deck does not have VayneVayne to constantly pressure us.

Aatrox Kayn often wins by playing World EnderWorld Ender and then playing a bunch of Darkin units, so being able to set up a big HecarimHecarim round can win you the game before they are able to do so.

ZedZed is an extremely good card to keep against Aatrox Kayn, as they will usually have to use Furious WielderFurious Wielder or The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold against him. The former can be countered with DenyDeny, and the latter can sometimes be countered with Momentous ChoiceMomentous Choice.

Ezreal Viktor Seraphine (BC) – Slightly Unfavored

In this matchup, the enemy deck runs a lot of one-of spells in order to level-up SeraphineSeraphine, so their deck is not as consistent as others. This means that if they get unlucky it can be hard for them to deal with your Shark ChariotShark Chariot and Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd.

Opulent FoyerOpulent Foyer is great against this deck because it allows you to open-attack with an Ephemeral unit. Oftentimes, the opponent will try to kill or stun your Ephemeral units so you do not get to summon Shark ChariotShark Chariot

Cards like ZedZed, Redeemed ProdigyRedeemed Prodigy, and HecarimHecarim, that can summon Ephemeral units on attack, should be set up the round before you get the attack token, in order to open-attack with them.

Further reading: For the other side of this matchup, check our Bandle City Ezreal Seraphine Deck Guide.


Katarina Gwen – Even

In this matchup, try to set up Shark ChariotShark Chariot and Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd as soon as possible, and hard mulligan for them. Katarina Gwen is a tempo deck, and it is good to force out removal like Ravenous FlockRavenous Flock on Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd.

Ravenous FlockRavenous Flock is often only run as two copies in their deck, so if they play one copy, you can play other key units, such as ZedZed, in order to force out blockers and threaten damage.

The Darkin FanThe Darkin Fan and Dragon AmbushDragon Ambush are great cards in this matchup in order to heal, as well as force out blockers. If you force them to block often, then they will not be able to have enough damage to threaten lethal.

Defiant DanceDefiant Dance is a good card to use against Eternal DancersEternal Dancers.

Try to end the game before they set up a good The HarrowingThe Harrowing round, as you likely will not be able to survive.

Further reading: for the other side of this matchup, check our Katarina Gwen Deck Guide.


Rumble Vayne – Even

In this matchup, it is also important to hard mulligan for Shark ChariotShark Chariot and Soul ShepherdSoul Shepherd, but I would also keep ZedZed, as Rumble Vayne has a hard time dealing with him.

If RumbleRumble does not have Overwhelm (which he gets via Equipment), it is good to save a blocker like Boisterous HostBoisterous Host to prevent as much damage as possible.

If you can kill RumbleRumble with Moonlit GlenkeeperMoonlit Glenkeeper’s SaplingSapling, you should do it because their deck is usually heavily reliant on RumbleRumble in many hand states. However, bear in mind that they have many protection spells, such as RiposteRiposte, Whirling DeathWhirling Death, and SharpsightSharpsight.

Overall, it is a race to see if they can kill you with RumbleRumble or you can have a wide enough attack to threaten lethal.

Also, if possible, do not trade into their Blade SquireBlade Squire, to avoid giving Rumble free discard fodder.

Further reading: for the other side of this matchup, check our Vayne Rumble Deck Guide.


In Closing

That ends my Zed Hecarim Deck Guide!

This deck aims to use Ephemeral cards to establish a wide board that threatens a lot of damage and forces blocks. It utilizes many cards that combo well with each other, in order to buff Ephemerals or add more units to the attack.

Thank you all for reading, and I hope you learned more about this fun archetype!

If you have any questions, let me know – Here are some of my socials:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sciss0rsbox

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/Scissorsbox

Twitch:  https://www.twitch.tv/sciss0rsbox



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