Hello, my fellow Runeterrans. How vast is the Shuriman Desert? That’s the question I intend to answer today. So if you enjoy Emperors and traitors to said Emperor then man do I have a deck for you! Azir and Xerath might hate each other in the lore and game but oh boy do they combo well together in this deck.
But enough of the lore recap, one of the main reasons why Azir Xerath Mono Shurima has been seen everywhere is because of the change to Azir. As of the patch, he now counts landmarks and units for his level-up condition. Shurima has always functioned well with landmarks, a few examples being Shaped Stone and Rite of the Arcane. With the addition of Xerath to help ping down units and to control the state of the board, you have a winning strategy. Let's crack into the deck guide!
Basically, you want to turbo-level your champions to level three as fast as humanly possible. Once that happens your deck is transformed into the Emperor’s Deck and your remaining cards are replaced with overtuned cards that usually win you the game in a few turns.
Now obviously the deck is a bit vulnerable because you play a single copy of Buried Sun Disc. The other game plan is to just tempo them out with a midrange game plan involving Endless Devout and friends. People often think that if they can immediately destroy your initial Buried Sun Disc that the game is over for you. On the contrary, this list is prepared for it.
Functionally, you want to play landmarks and/or units to level them both. Azir levels from units and landmarks coming into play and Xerath levels from the latter being destroyed. Unraveled Earth is an all-star leveling both of your champions while also helping to control the board due to it giving opposing units Vulnerable. Rock Hopper serves a similar purpose by providing a unit and vulnerability to their units. It’s basically a removal spell in the deck.
Soothsayer serves multiple purposes for us. It gives us an early blocker vs aggro, gives your champions spellshield, and helps make your lone sun-disc harder to crack. Also, note that it’s a come into play ability so you can reset spellshield with Ancient Hourglass.
Rite of the Arcane is simply just a good removal in our deck that can work well with destroying landmarks. Don’t be afraid to lose a mana crystal in a pinch if you need something to die on the spot and don’t/can’t lose a landmark.
Endless Devout is just a solid unit that you can trade a Vulnerable enemy unit with, turning into a Sarcophagus, another landmark that synergizes with our deck. Speaking of which, comboing Sarcophagus with Rite of the Arcane is excellent to kill a unit and get a 5/3 Fearsome follower.
Quicksand is the best combat trick in the game currently. The ability to give a single unit -4/0 and it loses all its beneficial abilities or does the same with two units is very powerful and not to be overlooked. A good example is completely depowering an opposing Viktor when it attacks with Ambush or taking away Overwhelm from a Wounded Whiteflame.
Ancient Preparations is by far the best turn one play you can do. It Predicts, provides a landmark for both Xerath and Azir triggers, and gives you a 2/2. It’s an auto keep in almost every single hand.
Golden Ambassador is simply a way to immediately draw a champion if you don’t have one in hand. It also gives it +2/+2 and can function as a blocker for units with Fearsome.
Most mulligans will just consist of us looking for our early game. While we don’t necessarily need to reach level three champions and the emperor deck, it is the ideal situation for us.
Early Game >>>
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Generally, you want to play Ancient Preparations on turn one as it ensures two counts for Azir and helps to shape your hand out. Rock Hopper is the best thing to play on turn two because it allows you to tempo as well as level your champions. The exception to this rule is if your opponent has a relevant unit or champion that you want to give Vulnerability to. Soothsayer is solid on turn two because it protects Buried Sun Disc, is generally good into aggro, and as previously stated can be reset to protect your champions with Ancient Hourglass.
With an early game secured, the next main card we are looking for is Xerath. This champ helps to control the board and is just a solidly statted unit that is part of leveling the Buried Sun Disc and generates value by landmarks being destroyed. It’s very good in matchups where we need to trim the board such as versus the various Yordles in Arms decks. By having him in play with landmarks being destroyed, he keeps the spell from being a major issue.
Riven Viktor (30/70) - Unfavored
Unfortunately, our deck is soft to Ambush due to us not having a great way to deal with Elusives outside of Quicksand. That being said, you want to mulligan for Quicksand, Rock Hopper, and Endless Devout.
The idea is that you can force them to play awkwardly due to not wanting their relevant units to have Vulnerable. This allows us to interact with their combo pieces and attempt to not get overpowered. If you can make it to the late game the interaction of the level three champions will pull you through.
Caitlyn Ezreal (60/40) - Favored
In this match, you want to mulligan for Rock Hopper, Ancient Preparations, and Endless Devout.
If you have the attack token on even, then you want to go for Soothsayer asap. If your opponent has the attack token on odd turns, then they can just bank mana and Scorched Earth on turn two if they have it. Your gameplan is to go wide and to generate value through giving their champions Vulnerable and through Quicksand. Caitlyn and Ezreal do not block well if their keywords are taken away and they are given -2/0 or -4/0.
Aurelion Sol Ramp (55/45) - Slightly Favored
This matchup is odd due to the interaction of Targon's Peak. If you don’t have any experience playing against the deck then allow me to summarize it. Sometimes they play Targon's Peak, hit one of their big spells like Aurelion Sol, Feel The Rush, or She Who Wanders, and you just lose on the spot. Other times they hit nothing relevant and the archetype does nothing. So when you play against the deck you just want to go wide against them as they usually only have one or two units/champions in play. Mulligan for your champions, and then units that can Ascend them as quickly as possible, like Rock Hopper or Endless Devout.
Ancient Preparations, Azir, and Rite of Negation are the other big cards. They don’t have a meaningful way to interact with Azir outside of Falling Comet – a Celestial card they first need to Invoke – or She Who Wanders. He levels rapidly and applies pressure.
Ancient Preparations is the best one drop in your deck. It allows you to Predict, gets you a 2/2 unit, and triggers both of your champions.
Rite of Negation is there to stop the early Feel The Rush and to stop it later when they can hard cast it. Overall a very winnable match.
Aphelios Viktor (50/50) - Even
Ancient Preparations, Rock Hopper, Soothsayer are the cards to mulligan for.
Soothsayer makes the celestial pool very awkward as they need to cast a spell and then cast a removal spell to deal with your champions. It also protects your Buried Sun Disc from Aftershock, a game-deciding play.
You generally want to attempt to give their champions Vulnerable and remove them efficiently. This match is very winnable but can be a coin flip depending on what things the lists are playing as it is currently varied.
Lulu Fizz (60/40) - Favored
In this match, your opponent is going to attempt to go wide and cast Yordles in Arms to pump their board and to trade profitably with yours. Therefore, we want to keep Rock Hopper, Xerath, and Ancient Preparations.
Xerath shines in this match as he allows you to trim down their units as several of them are x/1’s and his trigger will kill them.
Overall this match is won by going wide while ascending, and relying on Rite of Negation to stop the Yordles in Arms from resolving.
Pantheon Yummi (60/40) - Favored
In this match, you want to stall as long as you can, chump blocking their units until you can get the Emperor’s Deck with level three champions. Quicksand, Ancient Preparations, and Rock Hopper are the cards to mulligan for. Be aware that while Quicksand removes Overwhelm, Tough, etc, it does not remove the Fated stats buff.
Don’t be afraid to go wide versus them as they usually only have two or three units in play at once. Do be careful of playing into Single Combat or Cataclysm to interact with your champions. So in essence don’t play them until they are leveled unless you have Ancient Hourglass or Spellshield via Soothsayer. It’s winnable but it can be tough.
Taliyah Ziggs (60/40) - Favored
This midrange deck is similar to ours but we can go over the top of them. Our champions when leveled simply more valuable than theirs. They generally do not start getting aggressive until turn three. This gives us quite a bit of time to set up our own game plan – finding our champions and Ascending them.
Ancient Preparations, Unraveled Earth, and Rite of the Arcane, all shine in this match. As in most of the midrange matches, you want to level your champions and get the Emperor’s Deck as soon as you can.
Don’t be afraid to give up a mana gem with Rite of the Arcane to kill Ziggs. He is very relevant to their win condition. Quicksand allows you to set up profitable blocks when they attack your board. Unraveled Earth as per usual draws you cards, gives their units/champions vulnerability, and levels your champions. Quicksand is somewhat of a silver bullet against their The Absolver turns as well, because it negates the spell.
Elise (Spiders) 60/40 - Favored
Blocking fearsome and soaking up damage with units is the name of the game here. You want to mulligan for Rock Hopper, Endless Devout, Quicksand}, and Xerath. The ability of Xerath triggering to pick off their units is great, Rock Hopper blocks Fearsome units and creates a landmark for Xerath, Endless Devout is a unit they essentially have to kill twice, and Quicksand eliminates the Fearsome keyword, makes their attacks awkward and can allow you to trade up on their attacks.
The major issue is if they have a super aggressive opener, then they can just curve out and proceed to burn you out once you stabilize. You do have Rite of Negation, so don’t be afraid to use it to stop burn by sacrificing units.
This deck was considered to be Tier Zero on the first day of the patch. Now that things have begun to settle down, I think it’s simply a good Tier One deck. All of my stats were taken from www.lor-meta.com with complete credit being attributed to Balco.
Let me know if you have any questions! You can find me here:
Hydroflare#3356 on Discord