Welcome once more to Rogue Deck Doctor, the place where every forgotten mechanic and uncherished design finds its home. Just because something never reached the lofty heights of Tier One viability doesn’t mean there isn’t craziness to unveil and fun to be had, after all.
Today we’ve been given an interesting challenge. We’ve been asked to look at a series of followers that were passed over and choose three of them to get their own chance at a moment in the sun. So, check backstage, re-align your spotlights, and come with me as we investigate our very own set of abandoned bandles.
Who are the Abandoned Bandles
Set the wayback machine for the original release of Kennen. Alongside this powerful lightning mouse, a set of five followers made their entrance to theoretically assist him in his bouncing shenanigans. Those were Gust Monk, Tornado Warrior, Ember Monk, Thunder Fist, and Rissu, The Silent Storm.
Unfortunately for them, the consensus came down from on high that the most powerful way to build Kennen was hugely Ionian-based, leaving no room whatsoever for his loyal followers. So now we are going to ask which one can have the most powerful effects in a deck based around them.
Starting from the top, Rissu, The Silent Storm creates a large unit with Impact, but for the price of a small body. If we could do something useful with that small body then perhaps the extra value generation would be of sufficient power to get some interesting things done.
This makes me think that we want either sacrifice outlets, swarm attempts, or Concurrent Timelines. And I am going to admit to a small bit of bias here and let you know that my inner mad scientist is always going to be drawn to some messed-up Timelines anytime I get the opportunity.
So if we’re going to be making a Timelines deck for Rissu, The Silent Storm to shine in, it seems like the other two abandoned bandles we want to take with us will be Gust Monk and Tornado Warrior, for their ability to interact well with our signature spell.
Gust Monk will give value when transforming, and can be used to push lethal or pick back up any powerful followers we may transform into. Not to mention that, in games where Concurrent Timelines isn’t active, replaying Rissu, The Silent Storm will work out quite well.
Tornado Warrior is interesting because it will boost the power and grant a random keyword to whatever it becomes. There are plenty of transform hits that look absolutely busted if you stick an extra attack and keyword on them. Three/Two Lifesteal Navori Conspirator anyone? Elusive on literally anything?
As I’ve said before, Consistency means different things in different contexts. Here I want to look at three different yet likely scenarios, where things are not going perfectly, and make sure we perform acceptably in them all.
First scenario: we don’t immediately draw Concurrent Timelines, and need help to find it. Second scenario: we don’t draw our Rissu, The Silent Storm and need other things to help Timelines do its job. Third: we never draw Concurrent Timelines and need to make sure our deck still does *something*.
For the first scenario I like the draw power of Zaunite Urchin and Pokey Stick, as well as the searching functionality of Station Archivist. Looking at the top five cards will hopefully find us what we need, and if it doesn’t, it will at least inform our decision significantly about what the rest of the game will look like.
The second scenario brings along old fan favorites Aloof Travelers and Ferros Financier. Even when we miss our giant cloud-making friend, these two will provide an awful lot of value – potentially enough to win us the game, or at least delay till our Rissu, The Silent Storm puts in an appearance.
The last scenario is the darkest Timeline here, but I do still have at least some plan. Iterative Improvement is a solid way to multi-trigger any powerful value engine, and a few copies will give us a game plan if we’re having problems figuring out where to turn.
Paying the Price
So, we’ve put into our deck a few quite powerful cards that need some extra help to function, namely Zaunite Urchin and Station Archivist. While they certainly deserve their slots, if we don’t assist them then we will find ourselves with nothing we want to discard, or missing completely on spells far too often.
While Gust Monk can definitely give discard fodder, as can extra copies of Concurrent Timelines, I prefer to have things I actually enjoy discarding. Enter Boom Baboon stage left. And when you don’t have something to discard, a Flame Chompers! you can simply play it, with Concurrent Timelines, will transform into a two-drop.
Station Archivist demands spell density. We really do want to get up to *at least* twelve spells for her to hit. To that end I will look to consistent role-players Mystic Shot and Get Excited!. These will also give us some much needed interaction and burnout potential at the end of games.
This brings us to the last couple of cards in our deck. And this is the point where we really need to start asking the important questions about what our deck is missing – all decks will of course have different levels and priorities on each of these, but the basic checkmarks on my notepad here include the following:
- A way to win,
- A way to make that win consistent,
- A way to consistently spend our mana in the first couple of turns,
- A way to stop our opponent from winning with attackers,
- A way to stop our opponent from winning with backliners,
- A way to deal with our opponent developing into us before attacking,
- A way to deal with an open attack,
- A backup plan.
For our win condition in this deck, we are primarily planning on pressuring with large units that generate value and backing that up with burn spells. We will be able to grind out many other midrange decks, as well as get crazy tempo plays that will kill our opponents before they get started.
Our consistency is going to come from the massive amount of card draw this deck ends up packing. When you have nine different ways to draw, and most of your other cards bring more cards with them, you don’t really need to ask for more than that consistency-wise.
The conglomeration of small units will do just fine against early attackers, we’ve got pretty much infinite chump-blocking bodies. And beyond that we’ve put in a solid amount of burn to be able to deal with pesky backline threats.
Our burn spells will also help our defense against open attacks. Our only current punishes to development are mostly just to play a unit of our own, so that could perhaps use some adjustment.
We also don’t really have a backup plan, or champions… Wait, I didn’t put champions in this deck!? Well… Maybe if we put those two problems together, they can find a way to sort each other out?
Development punishes and a solid backup plan for winning the game, huh? Honestly that puts me in mind of the exceedingly beefy duo of Viktor and Vi. Sometimes the only development punish you really need is to make your opponent’s unit look silly if it wants to attack into the beef you drop in front of it.
Vi will also happily do her thing in contributing to our tempo and board-control theories. On the other side of things, Viktor will love all the created cards we’ve already put into our deck – and if left unanswered, he is a backup plan to basically anything, all on his own. It’s really not all that hard to find a way to win when you end up with an infinite attack unit with a large smattering of random keywords. Just give him time and Viktor will at some point laugh maniacally, and gleefully cause your opponent’s entire nexus health to vanish in one swell foop.
At this point our deck looks like this:
While that is the full forty, I think we can probably still make a few improvements here before we make our way out into the wilds of ladder.
First of all, love him as we do, and part of the original group though he is, three is a bit too many Tornado Warriors with all our other two-drops, so we’ll shave one off the top.
I also very much enjoy Iterative Improvement, but I think with all the power and value our deck has we won’t find opportunities to cast it all that often. I think we are going to end up rather mana-hungry, in fact, so I think we can go down to a one-of.
With these last couple of slots I want to help out a problem that this deck is most definitely struggling under, namely ways to deal with gigantic units. It’s fallen out of fashion a bit, but good old Minimorph will make a threatening Kai'Sa, an Overwhelming Illaoi, or giant Tentacle look like confused seals just as much as ever.
And with Minimorph we’re even adding a tiny bit of consistency to our Station Archivist during this update, by giving her the additional versatility to try to wait until the late game and find big answers. All told, this gives us the final Abandoned Bandle Decklist.
Let all those who have maligned the great Rissu now flee before the coming storm of Timelines. Fly my pretties, fly!
All important and well-deserved gloating aside, the final piece of the puzzle is to actually go and play the crazy new concoction, subjecting it to the rigors of battle to learn what cards perform up to their level, and which may eventually need to be cut to make room for other powerful plans.
Of note, I did not include Chief Nakotak in this original list, not because I felt he was undeserving but because we seemed rather pressed for space. Looking into whatever cards seem to be underperforming in the real world and swapping them out for that transform-loving hooligan might be a solid plan.
As far as advice on how to play the deck goes, it will likely play like most other non-combo-based Timelines decks have played before it. Your plan is to control the important things your opponent is trying to do, and bury them in an avalanche of either value or tempo.
You’ll have to decide based on the matchup whether you are trying to be the aggressor or the controller, and both mulligan and play accordingly. This is my favorite thing about playing these sorts of midrange decks. What’s the plan today? You decide.
All I know for certain is that the Abandoned Bandles will at last have their own deck that they can hang out and have power in. I wish you luck out there on the ladder and until next time, may your Timeline always be a bright one.