FROM: Dr. Tykwyrd - Director, Department of Weaponizable Advanced Research - MonteXerghans Aeronautics & Industrial Mining Corporation
TO: Dr. Illya Pentaak - Director, Second Laboratory of Aeronautic Yokedevilry
I think we're nearing a breakthrough. Doctor Van der Grind says he's close to solving Legna's Equations for the current Meta-point. If Legna's Universal Riven Frequency hypothesis is indeed correct, and for every possible Meta configuration there is at least one under-played Riven deck, we should be able to zero on it in the next few days.
But I'll need your help to fly-test our theoretical solutions.
This first one is just for reference -- we do know this particular build does not fulfill Legna's URF hypothesis, too low WR:
As mentioned, according to Van der Grind the above build is not the solution to Legna's Equations for this Meta-point -- WR is below-50, but it's the most common result his dataset spits back to us for now.
If your fly-rats find out what's wrong with it though, and what cards underperfom, it may help us crack L-E faster.
This is the next one:
Again, the above build does not fulfill Legna's URF -- but der Grind says this reaches equilibrium at 50% WR, which is by itself promising.
If you take the above one for a spin, try not to get too many of your yoke devils killed while playing with Death Lotus -- you know how Flaurent hates having to hire more of them.
Last but not least, what comes next is the solution that got der Grind's knickers twisted in a knot:
My favorite nerd says this one approaches a theoretical 54% WR. I think he had a boner when he told me; not the image I wanted cauterized in my brain for the rest of my afternoon, so you better get back to me with good news to make it worth it.
De Grind also got his Multi-Expanded Tensor Amplifier to spit these numbers for your fly-rats -- use with the usual care, theoretical results, yadda yadda:
It would seem that:
> Adding 3x Blade Squire would be a good idea,
> Poison Dart sucks,
> Noxian Guillotine sucks too, maybe keep 1x but data suggest 0,
> Death Hand is good, but maybe 3x is too much,
> I would recommend cutting Hidden Pathways down to two,
> Scorched Earth at 2x seems okay.
You know none in my crew can't make heads or tails of these put together, though, so see what happens when you test these tweaks in your airfield.
According to Van der Grind, this is what you can expect:
The top dogs, namely Discard, Lurkers and Yordle Burn, are gonna give you trouble but are within the acceptable risk range (I know, know… "Says the Witch of the Underground Bunker who's not out there risking life and limb and LPs," yeah, I know, guilty as charged, can we move forward please?). You should have smooth sailing against most of the remaining field, though. You'll even gorge on Darkness for breakfast.
So: man up, get out there, and bring me empirical results.
And don't get more yoke-devils killed than you need to! We don't want to give Flaurent any more reasons to start harping us about budget cuts, okay?
FROM: Dr. Illya Pentaak - Director, Second Laboratory of Aeronautic Yokedevilry - MonteXerghans Aeronautics & Industrial Mining Corporation
TO: Dr. Tykwyrd - Director, Department of Weaponizable Advanced Research.
I have run extensive tests on the hypothesized formula and found it to be nearly there. I made some adjustments of my own and came to the conclusion that this list is the actual solution, or much closer anyway…
Your theories surrounding Blade Squire, Death's Hand, and Hidden Pathways were on point. In the current meta, early game is way too important to have zero one-drops; in this sense Blade Squire helps you out by pushing damage and letting you get Riven online that much sooner.
While Death's Hand did improve as a removal option (above all since Draven being downgraded to two health), it’s still a bit underwhelming overall and as such I opted to cut it down to two and make room for some other tech options.
Hidden Pathways is one of the best draw cards in the game but this deck doesn’t need a full set. You have ways of generating cards, therefore you’ll have lots of ways to spend your mana and shouldn’t be hurting too much for gas. There’s more important cards to include.
I opted to continue running one copy of Noxian Guillotine as it serves a different purpose from Scorched Earth and in my opinion it is better into Lurk which is very prominent in the current meta game.
I did also cut Scorched Earth down to a single copy, this is potentially an error on my part but there’s not a lot of Bandle Tree or Frozen Thralls running around and we already have a second execute in the form of Noxian Guillotine.
The last thing you might notice is that we’re only on two copies of The Leviathan. There’s a lot of ways to actually deal with The Leviathan in the current meta and it’s simply just not as good as it was in the past, with this deck’s ability to play for early aggression, through Riven, it made some sense to swap one of these out for a Captain Farron and give the deck an alternate way to close.
Group Shot simply didn’t make sense for the list on paper so I was terribly surprised to see it in your initial solution. I swapped them out for Trinket Trade almost immediately; Trinket Trade and Conchologist are incredibly strong and very versatile in this region combination, the deck was also lacking early game blockers and sometimes an Otterpus is just what you need. Interestingly, after testing I kind of warmed up to Group Shot as I found it was, oddly, often active. I wouldn’t suggest running a full set of the card, but if you wanted to you could swap back.
As for the additions… well we’ve added two copies of Trinket Trade as discussed above, a very versatile card that will let you spot-check a lot of different situations. Blade Squire was a wonderful inclusion for the early game, it’s presence was definitely noticed in my games against Lurk. The one copy of Runeweaver currently in the list is probably the most experimental card and could easily be swapped but I wanted just a bit more Reforge to ensure Riven got online in time. Captain Farron provides a faster way to close out games for when you open with a Riven-oriented hand. Farron also has the added benefit of potentially eating a Minimorph that would normally be aimed at your Swain or The Leviathan.
My last inclusion is a Minimorph of our own: transform effects hit different spots than executes (Scorched Earth,Noxian Guillotine) and the card can be used to remove things like Curious Shellfolk that would normally take us multiple priorities to remove.
I’m not certain this is the ultimate list but I feel like the changes I’ve made have improved it from the initial datamined copy.
As for the matchups? Well your data leads were almost correct there as well...
Sion is definitely a bully, apart from Arachnoid Sentry to stall an attack turn we don’t really have a good way of dealing with him (before including Minimorph we had no real way of dealing with him), try to dodge this matchup… If you can’t then aim to aggressively control the board in the early game and keep your HP total high, try to sneak a win with overwhelm on Swain or Riven keep your executes handy and be aware of their burn potential, a lot of lists now are on three copies of both Mystic Shot and Get Excited!.
Lurk is actually very manageable, Arachnoid Sentry deals with Rek'Sai nicely, executes with their 5-8 drops, and Pyke is easily removed by Ravenous Flock. Prioritize saving HP in the early game, try to find a one drop, a ping and an execute in your mulligan. Always keep at least one copy of Arachnoid Sentry if it shows up. You should be able to chump block and then execute their bigger lurkers, it has been my experience that you’re able to just kill them before they can kill you so long as you focus on keeping your health high through the early game and keep mana available to answer their champions. I went 4-0 against Lurk in my testing, this is definitely a spot where the stats are trying to trip us up, the matchup is very winnable.
‘Poppy piles’ are strange, every Poppy matchup I played on ladder during testing felt different from the last. The only commonality was that I always wished I had an Arachnoid Sentry to deal with her attacking on turn four. Be conservative with your removal spells against these ‘piles’, when going to use your removal keep their combat trick options in mind so you don’t get blown out by Ranger's Resolve, Sharpsight, or Twin Disciplines. With some careful thinking and a bit of practice these matchups should also be within your grasp!
The deck plays out in the most interesting ways, your early game is usually comprised of playing some early units like Blade Squire and House Spider to try and take control of the board or develop some chump blockers to let you stall out and build your own, Riven or Swain, win-con. You almost always want to slam Riven down on turn three if you can, the sooner she can start reforging the sooner you’ll be able to use her to end the game so it’s important to get started on curve. Through the midgame you’ll make use of your pings and executes to keep control of the board before finally using your reforged fragments and/or blade on your champs to close out. One of your big overwhelm eight drops may also end up being your win-con.
Some general tips:
- Don’t over value your Riven
- Try to save Conchologist and Trinket Trade until you have an idea of what you want off of them
- Don’t throw out Arachnoid Sentry like it’s any other minion, remember it stops most of the meta’s major threats and it enables Ravenous Flock!
- Lecturing Yordle is another card that works wonderfully with blade fragments!
- Don’t forget that overwhelm units can’t be chump blocked, don’t be afraid to use your removal and push lethal.
Though I do not believe this will ever become more than what it currently is, I am comfortable releasing this formula to the public for further testing and analysis. Once they get their hands on it our data quantities should skyrocket, letting us come to some more concrete solutions. I leave the distribution of the formula to your capable hands.
Wishing for our greatest success yet,
Monte’s final conclusions on the list - Riven Swain is a very fun archetype that got some serious power from Bandle City. My overall record with it was 18/10 W/L, that’s about a 64% win-rate, this shows that the deck can definitely hold its own in the current ladder metagame but, in my opinion, it’s matchup spread is not good enough or polarized enough for a tournament lineup. The deck could potentially be teched further to make certain matchups (Lurk, Poppy, Sivir) better but further testing, beyond which I felt was necessary for the scope of this article, would be necessary.
If you’re a long time fan of Swain or Riven I would highly recommend you take this list for a spin!
Dr. Illya Pentaak, field testing & deck optimization: MonteXristo
Dr. Luna Tykwyrd & data cherry-picking: Herko Kerghans
Data gathered from Legna and Balco.
Legna's URF Hypothesis adapted (in jest =) from a usual comment in Legna's Meta Reports.