Our first revealed new Legends of Runeterra champion for Fate's Voyage: Onward expansion is none other than Nilah! The ascetic warrior is here to change up the game with her unique ability, giving Bilgewater and the Brash keyword more potential for the upcoming meta.
We've also had new support cards revealed along with Nilah that synergize with her and should play a key role in setting up Nilah's winning game plan.
I'll go through all the new cards and give my rating and opinion on them.
Here’s my rating scale:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, it should prove itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes.
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes.
- 3.0: A solid playable could serve as a staple for some archetypes.
- 2.0: Could be used for specific synergies or to counter some decks.
- 1.0: Unlikely to find its place in the meta.
Nilah is a 2-cost champion with a solid 2|3 stat line that makes her difficult to kill. Brash is an awesome keyword for Nilah to have, and it'll play an important role with her ability.
Brash makes it difficult to block her in the early stages of the game, which allows Nilah to remain safe and shuffle Slipstream into the top 6 cards of your deck.
She's a value engine that fits perfectly in decks that require you to run a lot of cheap spells. Champions like Twisted Fate and Nami can synergize well with Nilah. The additional card draw will ensure you don't run out of resources, and it'll accelerate the level up of Twisted Fate. Jack is another champion that comes to mind, and that'll definitely come in handy with his Brash keyword and Coins.
Since Slipstream grants Fleeting to the drawn cards, it's crucial that you are able to play those cards on the same turn. Hence, a deck that runs low-cost cards is perfect for Nilah.
Nilah's level-up condition can be daunting; she requires you to draw 16+ cards, but she doesn't have to be on the board to see them drawn. This means she needs an archetype capable of turbo drawing to get her leveled up quickly and gain value out of her level 2 ability.
Nilah has an interesting level-up ability. She's able to deal AOE damage to the opponent's board and Nexus once she attacks, but nothing can go below 1 health! This means opponents can still use those units as blockers, but it will allow you to put more pressure on them and even trade with high-health units.
Nilah's ability takes the Brash keyword to another level! It can make it difficult for the opponent to block units with the Brash keyword due to her AOE damage and will create opportunities for players to strike the Nexus and threaten a lethal attack.
She could fit in with aggressive archetypes that look to swarm the board and chip away at the opponent's Nexus.
The Swindler's Den hasn't seen much play since its release, but it's potentially a great fit with Nilah, allowing you to turbo-level her up and set up powerful turns.
Formless Blade is a low-cost 2-damage spell, but it can't drop the health of the unit below 1. The champion spell, along with Nilah's level-up ability, makes sense in decks capable of creating a Brash board of units to strike the Nexus.
An AOE Power buff to your units that also heals them for 2 at burst speed will be a powerful card that will most likely be seen in a lot of different archetypes. This increases your attack pressure and can make it difficult for your opponent to kill your units. Ideally, this should be played as a counter-spell once your opponent has committed their blocks and damage spells. Playing it reactively provides even more value than playing it proactively.
I can also see this card being an inclusion in Soraka Tahm Kench decks that rely on healing to advance their Star Spring.
Dedicant of the Challenge
This card works in specific archetypes that are capable of drawing a lot of cards. It can gain a lot of stats, but it has no powerful keywords to use those stats to your advantage. Something like Overwhelm, Elusive, Brash, Fearsome, or Challenger would have given the card a huge boost.
The cost discount from the Updraft keyword will play a key role in the specific archetypes that Dedicant of the Challenge fits into. It'll set the stage for powerful future turns, allowing you to play more cards as you'll need fewer mana resources.
It can also be played as a card-draw tool if you've run out of cards in your hand. The downside will be a low-stat unit for 4 mana, but you're at least drawing two cards in the process!
Dedicant of the Challenge could be included in a new Jinx archetype, giving you access to Super Mega Death Rocket! on the spot, and Jinx should help replinish your hand.
All hands on deck! Runeterra welcomes a new ship to the game! The Tidedancer draws you a Nilah and plays a crucial role in her game plan by giving units the Brash keyword.
Once three cards are played per round, The Tidedancer will turn all other units into a threat capable of pushing a lot of Nexus damage with the additional +2|0 buff and Brash keyword.
Obviously, you'll need to damage the opponent's units and lower their health below three to set up that powerful attack, and that's where Nilah will come in handy with her AOE damage.
Additionally, since you'll be playing a deck that grants Fleeting to your cards, The Tidedancer has a special ability that reveals itself to the opponent instead of becoming a Fleeting card. This is exceptionally useful, allowing you to draw cards with no fear of losing one of your important win conditions if you don't have the mana to play it on the spot.
A solid early-game unit capable of squeezing Nexus damage or trading with units. In decks that have a lot of card draw, it'll be an easy task to fulfill Master Lookout's requirement and gain that +1|+1 buff and Brash.
The Brash keyword is what makes Master Lookout strong, as it can later play an important role in striking the Nexus.
Nilah brings an exciting playstyle that revolves around taking advantage of the Brash keyword! We've had Tristana Bilgewater decks with The King's Court that were able to set up that Brash win condition. However, with Nilah and The Tidedancer, we'll be seeing much more of the Brash archetype in the upcoming meta.