Greetings! With Patch 4.1.0 we get some exciting changes! We get a balance patch that should take down the power level of some popular decks like Kayntrox and GWAT, but also breathe some life into lesser played champs like Jax, Ornn, and Illaoi! We also got a pair of new cards added, Soul Cleave and Castigate. And on top of all that we’re kicking off the new competitive beta season! That means there’s going to be a new system of daily & monthly tournaments to join, a new rewards track with exclusive cosmetics, and more! It’s important to note that this is just a beta test season to see how everything feels, and once it’s all good and set this will be the path to qualifying towards the World Championship!
But enough about that, let’s take a look at some new decks to brew!
Jax Ornn Jax Ornn
So to kick things off, we got 2 champs who got buffs to themselves and their packages. Jax got Overwhelm on his level 2 form, and the Weaponmaster package got Roar of Icathia and Fish Fight added to the region. Ornn got a small stat buff to bring him up to 5/5, Weaponsmith's Apprentice got another point of health, Favored Artisan became a 2/3, and finally Hearthblood Mender got -1 attack but now Forges an ally twice instead of once. With all these changes together, I think we can finally see Jax Ornn be quite the powerhouse of a deck.
In this list we have Apprentice, Artisan, and Mender as the supporting cards for Jax’s Weaponmasters. Being able to Forge the Equipments that Jax, Piltovan Castaway, and Combat Cook get go a long way since they can be transferred later with the buffs that get put on the Equipments. There’s also one copy of Ionian Hookmaster that I felt fit in just as another 2-drop to play after Apprentice. One copy of Adept Weaponsmith is great as a solid Forge 3-drop, though if you feel you need more healing, a Kindly Tavernkeeper can be slotted in.
So another great thing about Forging the Equipments; since the buffs are on the Equipment and not the unit itself, once the unit dies or you get that Equipment back to hand you can transfer it to another unit who could make better use of it. Cards like Sharesies and Fish Fight can help transfer Equipments to different units. Ornn is another card that benefits from having buffed up Equipment since his ability will create a copy of it on himself to use, and even if he gets removed you’ll still have that copy to use on another unit.
Overall I think Jax Ornn will be a deck that’ll be tried by many, the buffs really helped revitalize both champs and as an Ornnthusiast I’m interested to see how it’ll go.
Illaoi Vayne Illaoi Nagakabouros
Here’s a deck I played a lot of that got buffed. Vayne Illaoi!
Illaoi and her Tentacle package got some big buffs in this patch. Illaoi herself got +1 attack, Tentacle Smash became a 3-cost spell, and finally Nagakabouros the almighty will now activate on Summon as well as Round Start! Along with Quietus being nerfed, Illaoi has less to fear from Shadow Isles decks and has some more power level to boot!
The whole gameplan of the deck is to really just Spawn a giant Tentacles, hit your opponent with it until they die, and level Illaoi so they can die faster. Vayne is a great champion to pair with Illaoi because the Tumble she creates works very well with Illaoi to spawn Tentacles and buff herself. And it’s extremely useful with Eye of God to Spawn an even bigger Tentacle, great to put on a Tentacle and have it buff itself! (Note: Eye of God equipped on Illaoi does not work in the good way. Illaoi effect will activate first, she’ll get her Spawn and attack buff, then Eye of God will trigger it’s Spawn.). This is also why Cataclysm works well in this deck to help Illaoi or a giant Tentacle push through a ton of damage when they have Overwhelm.
You also have a lot of strike spells like Single Combat, Fish Fight, and Tentacle Smash. They help level Illaoi if used with herself or a Tentacle, and it just helps keep the board clear. There’s only 1 copy of Tentacle Smash because I do think Fish Fight might just be better overall, but we’ll see how it feels after trying.
And finally, there’s 1 copy of Nagakabouros to have some sort of high end finisher that could blow out your opponent if you have a big enough Tentacle. With Eye of God I’ve gotten some really big Tentacles, but didn’t have Illaoi or The Sea's Voice to have an easy way to close out the game, so Nagakabouros should help there a bit.
Lucian Azir Lucian Azir
With Lucian getting changed to be a 1-cost 2/1 unit, the first thing that came to my mind was revisiting an old classic, Sand Scouts. I thought about the Lucian on 1 into Emperor's Dais on 2, and Azir on 3 curve. That seemed really promising and I had to try it out.
So going over some of the card choices in this, on the combat tricks like Ranger's Resolve and Sharpsight I went with a full 3 copies to try and keep my units safe from early ping spells for a cheap price, though with Lucian having 1 health now, Tough won’t protect him from something like Mystic Shot, but it will stop Vile Feast or Pokey Stick. You’ll also notice there’s Domination and Voice of the Risen to make your units hit harder, particularly your Sand Soldier units since they are created simply by just attacking and benefit from both Domination and Voice. Finally there’s 3 copies of Greenfang Warden and Blinding Assault, which are your scout units to try and abuse Dais and Azir’s Sand Soldiers. Constantly attacking with a Sand Soldier generator on board will eventually overwhelm your opponent, and if you have your champs on board they’ll quickly level up thanks to the whole setup of summoning Ephemeral Soldiers and them dying on their attack.
It all flows really nicely together, but we’ll have to see how strong the deck is these days, how the meta shapes up to be, and if Lucian is just too easy to kill now being at 1 health.
Darkness Soul Cleave Veigar
Out of the two new cards we got, the one I wanted to try out the most (and I think everyone had the same thoughts) was Soul Cleave. Castigate was cool and all, but Soul Cleave can do some really funny things. Using it on cards that have Last Breath effects like Junk Construct or Hunting Boar can be really exciting, but using it on cards that have summon effects like Cunning Kitten or Rissu, The Silent Storm was the first thing that popped into my head.
So while this Darkness deck doesn’t contain Kitten or Rissu, it does have a bunch of other good cards to copy. There are lots of units in this deck that can give you little advantages, or can be used to do some tricky stuff. Using Soul Cleave on a Stilted Robemaker will make your Darkness cost 0 right away, or using it on an Aloof Travelers will net you 2 more draws and discard 2 more cards from your opponent’s hand. Using it on Rekindler will get you more revives of a champion if you need to fill up the board with Senna or Veigar. Speaking of Senna, while she’s on the board she’ll make Soul Cleave a Fast speed spell, so you can use it in a pinch if your opponent decides to use some sort of removal on something. Finally the main reason I went to the Darkness route for a Soul Cleave deck was Ixtali Sentinel. If you summon multiple copies of Ixtali Sentinel on a turn, it will copy another Darkness to the enemy Nexus for each time it was summoned. So if you summon Ixtali, play Soul Cleave on it, then Darkness a unit, it will send 3 Darkness to the opponent’s Nexus all together…and I just found that really funny and could see it actually being a decent play.
The rest of the deck is pretty much standard. Twisted Catalyzer to buff Darkness up, Vengeance, Vile Feast, & Pokey Stick to ping down units and control the board, Darkbulb Acolyte to generate Darkness, and Conchologist to generate some spells according to the situation. There’s a few 1 of cards that I put in to fit what I expect to see the first few days (Probably Jax decks, Gwen, Lucian decks) like The Ruination, Group Shot, Wallop, and Stress Defense.
Well there you have it, some new decks to try out, and new concepts to play around with. I’m really looking forward to seeing what people come up with in regard to Soul Cleave decks. I think Illaoi and Jax will be the most played decks in the first week or so since their changes were quite big. Lucian’s change was big too but it’s hard to tell how well it’ll work out. But overall, I’m really happy with the patch and I’m looking forward to see all the different kind of brews people come up with. I’m especially looking forward to the first Daily Rumble with the Unlimited Champions format!
I hope you all enjoyed the article and decks, and best of luck with the new beta season!
Thanks for reading!
About the Author
Playing LoR since beta, consistent masters player. LoR Dreamhack Champion/Aegis Season 0 Champion(BEAU) and other high-level tournament win/top cuts. Crazy deck builder, omega cracked player. I like garlic bread.
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