Runeterra Expeditions: Co-Drafting Fiora-Lux
Howdy folks! Welcome to another Expeditions drafting session. I’m Herko Kerghans, and I’ll be your host this evening.
Advising us today is expert drafter Conansson, and on the Token we’ll have Myzrael, whom I’m told has been causing quite the impression among seasoned Expeditioneers. Isn’t that so, Conan?
Conansson: Indeed. He’s been getting seven-wins runs almost daily since joining the Drafter’s Club Discord.
Herko: Tell us a bit about yourself, Mizrael. I’ve heard you have a rather impressive competitive background in that… other game?
Myzrael: Something along those lines, yes. My Hearthstone journey started somewhere around 2014. I played a lot, mostly casually, but I’ve won many Fireside Gatherings in Poland. A year and a half ago I started playing competitively, and became a member of ILH Esports where I faced the very best players in Tournaments. I’ve secured some nice bonus money, too.
Herko: Nice! And you arrived at Runeterra just recently, right?
Myzrael: Technically I tried LoR last December, but I got hooked on Slay the Spire, so I came back somewhere in September. I found out about the Drafter’s Discord and I’ve never had a run without at least 6 wins in at least one trial since I joined. The channel is full of cool people; it’s really nice being able to talk with our experts, or people like SolitaryPlace who always comes to my drafts to help. I learned a lot about both Expeditions and game mechanics and I really like this place.
Herko: That’s super nice to hear! Yet your sight’s set on Constructed, right? At least in part?
Myzrael: Correct. I did come to LoR to be a Constructed player, so I’m probably going to play less Expeditions in the future (I’m only using my tokens right now). But I’m still gonna jump in for the drafts and talk with people.
Herko: Well, then let’s find out what this Token brings, shall we?
Myzrael: Alright. I’m torn between the Left and the Middle packs. I like Irelia as a champ, and I like Demacia as a region.
Herko: If we go by the book, this is a snap-pick Fiora. She’s at the tail end of our Playable Champions Tier, while both Irelia and Lissandra are Trash Tier’s barrel-bottom.
Conansson: Yeah, I agree. I dislike Irelia myself (data from Balco puts her at 38%), and also Lissandra. Fiora is boring, but gets the job done.
Myzrael: For the honor of House Laurent, then.
Myzrael: I do feel the urge to give myself to the Dark side…
Herko: All three strong Champions. Again going by our Tier list, Myzrael is correct: it would be Veigar, then Lux, then LeBlanc.
Conansson: This is a good example for when your first Champion changes quite a bit how you rate your second Champion.
Darkness seems bad here. Veigar and Fiora are two different win conditions: Veigar would give us the Bandle City side of Darkness, but we would miss the Shadow Isles half, and all the Shadow Isles control tools. Darkness will become a bad three-mana card then.
Both Lux and Leblanc are fine here, though. Lux is probably a bit overpowered after the buffs last patch. I haven’t had the chance to try her yet, but she was already among the strongest Champs and she just became stronger.
But if you want to go more aggressive, go with LeBlanc; I feel like that’s more your style, Myz.
Myzrael: Well, Lux is among my top three champs… I’ve played with her a lot.
Conansson: Same here. 86,7% winrate pre-buff, with twenty-six wins and four losses.
Myzrael: Okay, sold. The sun is shining, we should too!
Myzrael: Mentors, I guess? Pompous Cavalier is double-region, so the algorithm should still consider our deck mono-Demacia, correct?
Herko: I believe it does, yes.
Conansson: Hum… this is awkward. I’d rather not get into Piltover & Zaun because it would screw our Grand Moments buckets. I really want to stay in Demacia here.
Swiftwing Lancer is an excellent card; Detain is weaker, but only slightly so. Purify is a bad card, and Pompous Cavalier is trash-tier.
Since we should show our Algorithmic Overlords that we’d welcome more Grand Moments choices during our next picks, I’d go Left here. Having said that, Middle seems reasonable as well…
Herko: Well, you said it: awkward.
Myzrael: Alright, let’s try to hack the system. We’ll take Grand Moments.
Conansson: We can’t pass University.
Herko: Didn’t we want to stay in Demacia?
Conansson: I know, but The University of Piltover is one of the few cards that I’d rate as a perfect 10. It’s infinite value: we won’t lose a long game with University in play.
We can take the Fist of the Dragon pack if you want to stay mono-Demacia, but Ranger’s Resolve is bad in my opinion. So is Confront, by the way.
Myzrael: I’m not sure I like University here. It would mean saying “screw you” to our Champions, and stop building around them. We don’t need a lot of late game if I have University.
Conansson: No, no. University is our backup plan. It set us free to draft more early game.
Myzrael: Aha… I see. You mean we can go for a stronger curve early on.
Myzrael: Yeah, I’m gonna say that I should pay more attention to my early game. Alright; this changes our macro plan a lot.
Conansson: If we don’t get outvalued, and have ten cards over our opponent, then we win. But if we are somehow getting outvalued, University gives us infinite resources.
Think it this way: If Lux stays on the board, you eventually win. Same with University. But Lux can be killed, while realistically speaking University can’t.
Herko: But do we really want two similar wincons? Isn’t that redundant?
Conansson: University can win a lot of matchups by itself: again Shadow Isles Control decks, against Darkness, Targon sometimes…
Herko: Ah, yes. First rule of Draft Club is, you never pass Screechy.
Myzrael: Ranger’s Resolve and Riposte are not bad, especially with Fiora.
Conansson: Resolve is very hard to use unless you have a swarm deck. With Fiora, it’s just +0/+1. Riposte is often over-costed and hard to play, in my opinion.
And even if you want to draft around Fiora: a Fiora deck loses to removal-heavy decks with big units, so a backup plan wouldn’t be too bad in this case, either.
Myzrael: How likely is it that, after picking the Cloning Program pack, the algorithm won’t show us any early game cards at all?
Conansson: Everything is possible, but it’s unlikely with how rarity and the buckets work.
Myzrael: Alright, let’s go to college.
Myzrael: I like going Middle here.
Conansson: I wouldn’t. Vanguard Lookout doesn’t really help against aggressive strategies, and is plain awful against Midrange decks.
Herko: I have to agree. The Lookout’s poro poop in my opinion.
Myzrael: From personal experience, I feel like Lookout helps us a lot against Aggro. It blocks two units early game.
Conansson: The typical curve for Poppy swarm is Yordle Squire on turn one, Bandle Commando on turn two, Arena Kingpin on three, and then go hammer-time with Poppy on four. Our Lookout stops their Yordle Squire from attacking and prevents 2 damage, but doesn’t do anything in the mid-game.
Or we face Shyvana, and they play Egghead Researcher and we’re just sad. Then they Challenge our Lookout with their Screeching Dragon, and maybe even give it +2/+1 if they played a Ruined Dragonguard the previous turn.
I think it’s Left for us here: a two-drop, and a good card-draw spell. Parade Electrorig is fine, but Shady Character is hard to use, so the Cloning Program pack is not a good choice.
Herko: And by taking Grand Moments, we’d be asking our Algorithmic Overlords to forgive us for our sins from pick#4, right?
Conansson:(chuckles) You mean forgive us for taking University rather than sticking with Demacia? Yeah, taking Left would lead us towards their leniency.
Myzrael: I can’t say I’m convinced. Single Combat is good, and I don’t see how we can pick Progress Day here. Eight-mana spells are gonna get us killed against any deck with a curve.
Conansson: Progress Day is a good card by itself, with the draw and the discount it provides. And we need six-cost spells for Lux.
Herko: Well, technically, Lux only wants us to spend six mana on spells—not necessarily on a single spell.
Conansson: True, but I like us having six-mana spells so that we don’t pass on priority. And Lux’s followers, like the Mageseeker Persuader in this pick, or the Mageseeker Investigator, they all do care about spells costing six or more.
Myzrael: I’m sorry, still not convinced.
Herko: Well, your Token, your choice. Is it Mentors here, then?
Myzrael: Yep, let’s go Middle.
Herko: … aaand rejoice, for our sins have been forgiven!!
Myzrael: Yeah! Slam-dunking those Grand Moments.
Conansson: Well, in fact, we could consider… naah, snap pick!
Herko: Let’s just mention, for newcomers to Expeditions, that after the sixth pick we won’t be offered Regions that are not in our deck. Taking Mentors on the Left would turn our deck into a three-regions deck, that’s normally not a good idea, and of course even less so with these particular choices. So, if we pick the Left or the Middle packs, we’re assured we’ll only see Demacia and P&Z from now onwards.
Conansson: Exactly. In general I don’t like going three colors. Minimorph is very good with Lux, but not enough to branch into Bandle City. And the Grand Moments cards are just great for us: Remembrance is a six-cost spell we can play on turn three, and if that’s too slow (like against LeBlanc for example) we have Mystic Shot.
Herko: Okay, much as I’d love to thank our Overlords for their Grand Moments, it’s back to Cloning Program now. Right?
Myzrael: Yup, Right’s right.
Conansson: Indeed. You know my stance about Vanguard Lookout, and Eminent Benefactor has underwhelming stats.
Conansson: We should take Left, I think. Stony Suppressor actively hurts our gameplan. I could see us considering Concerted Strike, but we don’t really have the units for it.
Myzrael: Agreed. And I want that one-drop. Having a ten-cost sucks though. Glad we passed Progress Day!.
Conansson: Can’t say I am, but, you know… your Token.
Herko: Wouldn’t the Suppressor be fine, depending on our spells?
Conansson: We are playing Lux Fiora, therefore combat tricks and as many good spells as possible.
Herko: … not fine, then. Got it.
Myzrael: Alright, let’s go Left.
Conansson: This is an easy Grand Moments, to avoid dreadful cards: Counterfeit Copies is worse than trash-tier, and, yeah, no, no more Vanguard Lookouts, please.
Myzrael: Agreed. Our lack of three-drops
makes us want Mystic Shots.
Herko: I think I would take Demacian Steel here. I’m quite fond of The Grand Plaza, though.
Conansson: We don’t have a curve for Grand Plaza, I’m afraid. I agree that the two early units of the Middle pack seem like our best pick here.
Myzrael: I’m thinking about Death’s Door, actually. We have a single three-drop right now, and that’s Fiora.
Conansson: I’m thinking you may have a thing for bad units.
Herko: Yeah, well, you know… that’s just, like, Myzrael does have a perfect 100% winrate with Zilean. Do you?
Conansson:(chuckles) I do not, actually. But, still: I’d rather play a 3/2 than a 2/5. And we do have Remembrance in case we miss our first and second turn. That’s our early game.
Myzrael: That’s actually a very good point. Okay, let’s take the Middle pack.
Myzrael: It’s Middle, isn’t it?
Herko: Yeah… poor Lux, she ain’t never seein’ no level two in this deck.
Myzrael: Gonna send you a screenshot later, just you wait.
Conansson: Yeah, well, you know… Grand Moments is actually stronger, from the point of view of power. Mystic Shot is a two-drop for us, while this Demacian Steel pack is just filler.
Myzrael: Alright… sold again. We’re taking Left.
Herko: Are we being stalked by Lookouts?
Conansson: I would think so, but no matter: Lux is levelling up alright. Easy Right, that Mageseeker is exactly the high-cost spell we want. Except Death Ray, all the cards from other packs are awful.
Myzrael: Agreed, snap pick here.
Myzrael: I think I like Cloning Program.
Herko: Really? I think I’d take the Mentor bucket here.
Conansson: We don’t have targets for Ranger’s Resolve. Unless you want to protect our Lookout…
Herko: Heh. Good point.
Myzrael: Yeah, we’re grabbing the Middle pack here; the only option with two playable cards.
Myzrael: Easy Left?
Conansson: I’d go Right here—better units. The Eager Apprentice is basically free for us, since we’ll easily spend Spell mana. And Sump Dredger is one stat point stronger than Vanguard Redeemer.
Herko: Isn’t card draw a factor, though? I mean to prefer the Redeemer.
Conansson: We generate infinite value in multiple ways, and we don’t have early units eager to die for Redeemer to draw us a card every time. The Sump Dredger is just reliably improving our hand (remember you can also skip the discard if you like your current hand) and has one more attack
Myzrael: That makes sense. Death’s Door it is then.
Conansson: Ah, at last! Get that Lookout trash outta here.
Myzrael: But… but… muh Lookout!
Conansson: I’d trade the Lookout for battlefield prowess in this deck. That’s how bad I think he is.
Herko: Whoa… let’s not get carried away!
Myzrael: I have to say, I don’t think Lookout is as bad as you make him out to be.
On the other hand, in retrospect, I do wish I had taken Progress Day!. I was just worried about having too many late game cards.
Conansson: Yeah. I think Progress Day! would be good in our deck. We only have three late-game cards.
Herko: Anything else you’d like to point out about the deck? Let me bring it up for our readers…
Herko: … bear in mind there’s only twenty-nine cards (instead of thirty) since Myzrael’s deck has a fourth Mystic Shot.
Conansson: Alright. I’d say this is not a Lux deck—more of a Midrange deck, in my opinion. I think P&Z Lux can be good in general, even though the Grand Moments Archetype isn’t great. You do need to nudge our Algorithmic Overlords to give you lots of removal, though.
Myzrael: I think you could argue that, with four Mystic Shot, we are not that far from Control.
Conansson: We don’t have enough hard removal or late-game threats. Mystic Shot is just a very flexible card, really. It fits into every Archetype.
Herko: Would you say that hard removal is mandatory to be a Control deck?
Conansson: You always have to adapt. In every matchup, someone has to switch to Control, while the other plays Aggro; that’s the basic concept of “Who’s the beatdown”. Hard removal is mandatory if you want to have a late-game plan vs Champs like Veigar, Shyvana or Aurelion Sol, or even simpler threats like a flipped Sejuani.
Herko: And how about the University of Piltover pick? That’s perhaps what I’d consider a playstyle-dependent choice. Some drafters—like I’m guessing Myzrael—focus a lot on putting pressure on the opponent. Others—I know you’d be among them—prefer drafting towards an inevitable victory.
Conansson: That’s true, that’s why I recommended LeBlanc for Myzrael, since she’s more his style.
But about the University pick, in a bigger picture: both Fiora and Lux have a similar play pattern, in that they both like us banking mana during turns one and two, and then either play Fiora with some protective spell, or cast Remembrance and summon a five-drop—both very strong plays for turn three.
This strategy is very good against midrange decks—it’s really hard for them to answer our Screeching Dragon or Greathorn Companion by turn three. And then Lux shows up and helps us pound the midrange deck to dust by generating tons of value. Of course we have to adapt against aggressive decks that play big threats in turns one or two, like Trifarian Gloryseeker, but that’s what Mystic Shot is for.
Every strategy has a place in the bigger picture. Lux’s role is to grind Midrange decks, while still generating value against Control decks, and scraping by, or even, winning if we survive against Aggro.
If we try to draft cards that would improve our odds versus Aggro, we make ourselves weaker against the decks we’re good at beating, while not really “winning” the Aggro matchups (Our Lookout friend, as a 1/4, doesn’t do much against an aggressive Noxus curve).
I tend to prefer focusing on what I want to beat, rather than hedging for certain matchups with mediocre to bad cards.
Herko: Wow, that’s a great breakdown. Playing to our strength, right?
Herko: Well, I guess all that’s left to say is: Take it for a spin, Myzrael, and good luck out there.
Myzrael: Thanks. And same again for all the help!
Herko: Thank you for drafting with us today, folks!
Readers that would like to learn from videos would do well to check Conansson Youtube channel. Those that may feel like trying a cooperative draft, you’ll find most of us in the Draft Club Discord Channel.
I’m Herko Kerghans, and I hope we draft together again soon!