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Leer and Monte Test-Pilot Five Fresh Decks

Leer and Monte take Annie Elise, Aphelios Zoe Vi, Timelines, the new Azirelia (and Bard TF?!?) for a spin!

Aphelios Zoe Vi

The untrained eye could look at Zoe Aphelios and see “Invoke control”. Counter-intuitively, it’s quite the opposite.

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
25 cards
Mount Targon
15 cards
Rarities
22 400
champion
6
epic
0
rare
5
common
29
Mana cost
3
0
8
1
16
2
9
3
0
4
1
5
0
6
3
7+
Champions
6
1
Zoe
2
Zoe
3
Aphelios
3
Aphelios
5
Vi
1
Vi
Followers
23
1
Lunari Duskbringer
3
Lunari Duskbringer
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
Zaunite Urchin
2
Boom Baboon
3
Boom Baboon
2
Ferros Financier
3
Ferros Financier
2
Flame Chompers!
3
Flame Chompers!
2
Mountain Goat
2
Mountain Goat
3
Sump Dredger
3
Sump Dredger
7
The Winding Light
3
The Winding Light
Spells
11
0
Poro Cannon
3
Poro Cannon
2
Mystic Shot
3
Mystic Shot
2
Pale Cascade
2
Pale Cascade
3
Get Excited!
3
Get Excited!
Open deck in builder

Zoe Aphel is a discard aggro deck that has similarities to Fizz Lulu. Fizz Lulu relies on LuluLulu buffing a Flame Chompers!Flame Chompers! in the early game, and closing out the game with Yordles in Arms Yordles in Arms .

Compared to Fizz Lulu, Aphelios Zoe has more “orthogonal win conditions” like ApheliosAphelios out-valuing the foe, ZoeZoe leveling and granting the entire board Elusive, or The Winding LightThe Winding Light buffing five small units, akin to Yordles in Arms Yordles in Arms .

In the current meta, Aphelios Zoe seems to be the better fit than Fizz Lulu due to their more valuable champions, as well as the recent nerf to Yordles in Arms Yordles in Arms .


Leer’s experience

Let me start by saying that Zoe is one of the champs I like best, and that Aphelios is actually the champ I like the most – he got me into playing Competitive LoR over Expeditions.

I’ve written multiple guides on Aphelios archetypes, especially on Aphelios Viktor, which can be considered a forerunner of this deck. As a matter of fact, the only reason I’m not writing a guide on Aphelios Zoe Vi is that there already is one!

With that out of the way, you will of course get a biased opinion from me. And my opinion is that the deck is absolutely nuts! =)

In the games I tested Aphelios Zoe Vi, I climbed several ranks in Diamond. The deck works especially well against aggro decks like Annie Jhin, due to our ability to match them with unit numbers, but out-value them with card draw.

Aphelios Zoe almost beats everything the meta has to offer – from Viego Noxus to Fizz Riven to the aforementioned aggro lists. 

The only thing the deck struggles against is reactive archetypes that dab into Shadow Isles or Piltover ‘n Zaun. This includes the likes of Annie Elise and Heimerdinger Jayce.

And Lissandra Taliyah might be our biggest adversary, due to their AoE removal and our inability to chump-block Frostguard ThrallFrostguard Thralls. 

In my personal experience, Aphelios Zoe is super fun to play and has different win conditions that keep the deck fresh even after your 20th game. As long as you can avoid some pesky SI PnZ homebrews and Thralls, you’ll be doing a lot of winning.

Just a heads up though – the archetype is quite difficult to pilot. From deciding your discard targets, to what win condition you should actually go for (Do we out-value the opponent with ApheliosAphelios? Do we attempt a ZoeZoe level-up? Or do we go for a The Winding LightThe Winding Light lethal?), Aphelios Zoe has a lot of decisions to make.

But that’s exactly why I love this list – You always have something to learn, and get rewarded for making the right decisions! =)


Annie Elise

Regions
Noxus
23 cards
Shadow Isles
17 cards
Rarities
29 800
champion
6
epic
6
rare
9
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
15
2
5
3
5
4
2
5
0
6
1
7+
Champions
6
1
Annie
3
Annie
2
Elise
3
Elise
Landmarks
5
1
Ravenbloom Conservatory
3
Ravenbloom Conservatory
4
Catalogue of Regrets
2
Catalogue of Regrets
Followers
7
2
House Spider
3
House Spider
3
Arachnoid Sentry
3
Arachnoid Sentry
8
Captain Farron
1
Captain Farron
Spells
22
1
Go Hard
3
Go Hard
1
Ravenous Flock
3
Ravenous Flock
2
Disintegrate
2
Disintegrate
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Unspeakable Horror
2
Unspeakable Horror
2
Vile Feast
3
Vile Feast
3
Scorched Earth
2
Scorched Earth
4
Whispered Words
3
Whispered Words
5
Withering Wail
2
Withering Wail
Open deck in builder

Annie Elise is a control deck that plays around Ravenbloom ConservatoryRavenbloom Conservatory and Catalogue of RegretsCatalogue of Regrets. It’s one of the few decks that maximize TybaulkTybaulk’s summon effect, by running many Drain effects and small units.

Naturally, the deck works very well against aggro thanks to said healing cards and chump blockers. 

AnnieAnnie and EliseElise are the perfect champions to strengthen our early game and have the potential to become game-ending threats if not addressed.

Since the deck runs so much removal and Skills, we’re able to proc Ravenbloom ConservatoryRavenbloom Conservatory reliably. It’s another story to know when to play TybaulkTybaulk without dying, but our cheap drain effects, that benefit twice as much from the damage increase and healing, go a long shot.


Leer’s experience

I actually beat my first opponent with EliseElise, thanks to almost exclusively drawing spider cards. Imagine going into this thinking Annie Elise is a control deck, and ending up killing your opponent on round six with six spiders on the board! =)

I discovered this archetype (as probably everyone did that know Annie Elise) through Bajatak’s Twitter post. As he states in the Tweet, Annie Elise is an incredibly difficult list to pilot that will often be lost in the Mulligan.

Knowing what you want in which matchup is key. Against aggro it’s pretty straightforward: find removal like Vile FeastVile Feast, and House SpiderHouse Spider or EliseElise

Against midrange and control, it becomes a lot more tricky though.

Do we want DisintegrateDisintegrate in our starting hand? EliseElise?

Bajatak replied in the comments to this question, that we most of the time search for Catalogue of RegretsCatalogue of Regrets to not run out of value.

This makes a lot of sense. We barely run any card draw in the deck, but play three copies of Go HardGo Hard. The card can feel like a huge brick in the wrong matchup though, especially if you draw it early and are forced into shuffling more of them into your deck.

Deciding when the right is to play Go HardGo Hard, or when to hold back and tank damage is one of the many intricacies of Annie Elise that I found myself struggling with.

I’ll probably need to play more than 50 games with the archetype to get a solid understanding of it, and hundreds of games to feel comfortable with it. 

Still, I find Annie Elise can be incredibly fun to play with its reactive playstyle and many decisions to make. Just don’t go in expecting you’ll get one puzzle, like with most other decks – you’ll get three every turn! =)


Better avoid… Twisted Fate Bard

Monte’s Experience

This deck does one thing very well; it baits strong players into thinking it might be good. While it feels really good to highroll ChimeChimes and flip Twisted FateTwisted Fate, this deck is just really clunky. Surprisingly, I had to worry about decking out quite frequently.

I did change the list from the monstrosity our editor Herko dug up from the data. This list is the final build I settled on and I still don’t think it’s worth playing if you’re trying to climb. 

Regions
Bilgewater
25 cards
Runeterra
15 cards
Rarities
26 500
champion
6
epic
3
rare
9
common
22
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
12
2
0
3
13
4
3
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Bard
3
Bard
4
Twisted Fate
3
Twisted Fate
Followers
23
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
Byrd, The Bellringer
1
Pool Shark
3
Pool Shark
1
Prowling Cutthroat
3
Prowling Cutthroat
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
3
Esmus, Breath of the World
2
Fortune Croaker
3
Fortune Croaker
4
Marai Greatmother
2
Marai Greatmother
4
Zap Sprayfin
3
Zap Sprayfin
6
Maduli, The Gatekeeper
3
Maduli, The Gatekeeper
Spells
11
2
Make it Rain
3
Make it Rain
2
Pick a Card
3
Pick a Card
4
Salvage
2
Salvage
5
Cosmic Binding
3
Cosmic Binding
Open deck in builder

Marai Greatmother is a really funny addition to a deck that cycles so much. You will almost always have the mana available to cast something and I think it actually improves the deck. 

Bard Twisted Fate’s problem is that it’s awkward. Bard wants you to hold units in hand, as does Twisted Fate (because almost all your units draw), but you need to play out units to be mana efficient. Having both your champs cost four mana plays into the deck’s awkwardness as well. 

If you do decide to play this deck you’ll want to flip Twisted Fate as quickly as possible. This becomes surprisingly easy if he gets a few Chimes on him because the deck is composed almost entirely of card draw. Eventually pray you can close out with a few buffed elusive units, Prowling CutthroatProwling Cutthroat.


Leer’s experience

I really hate this deck. I didn’t win a single game of test-piloting TF Bard. I actually came close in one game. “Leer, how the **** is that even possible?” you might ask, justly so. I aggro’d my opponent down… until I had to develop a Mystic VortexMystic Vortex =))))))

Frustration aside though, the concept of TF Bard doesn't seem terrible. Bard plants tons of ChimeChimes in your and what do you wanna do when all the buff bells befit your deck? Draw them of course! 

Thus pairing Bard with Twisted FateTwisted Fate, who loves drawing cards, is more than a solid idea.

The problem this list runs into is that it lacks win conditions. If we don’t draw Twisted FateTwisted Fate and level him, there’s no way for us to win the game. But the deck doesn’t run any protection for TF. Hence, if our opponent plays a single Mystic ShotMystic Shot, we lose the game.

Having an 18/20 Maduli, The GatekeeperMaduli, The Gatekeeper on board might be a fun experience, just until it gets chump blocked by our opponent’s 1/1 SpiderlingSpiderling. The deck lacks Overwhelm effects like MightMight to justify focusing on growing our units to unseen heights.

Also, a lot of the cards in the list don’t benefit our game plan at all. Make it RainMake it Rain and ShakedownShakedown might have very specific situations where they are okay, but 80% of the time they are dead meat. 

Why do we even play ShakedownShakedown? We don’t have enough value in our deck to out-control our opponent, and no finisher to win the game on our own. The best option we have is praying that our foe concedes because he sees a leveled TF.

And have I mentioned that we play Bone SkewerBone Skewer in the deck?! 

The whole archetype seems to suffer from the fact that we combine two bad regions that don’t have 40 synergistic cards. Unfortunately, BardBard’s region limits the card pool too much, and he needs a more solid region like Demacia to function properly. Twisted Fate Bard might just be the proof of that fact!


Trundle Timelines

This deck is a longtime favorite of mine and one I’ve slowly tweaked as time goes on. I can’t decide on my current preferred champion split and Sqweeby was making a case for Viktor, so I’m currently testing out all of them. They all serve a different purpose but can act as a win condition if they get going. Feel free to default to a more normalized champion split with any of these champs.

Regions
Freljord
16 cards
Piltover & Zaun
24 cards
Rarities
30 700
champion
6
epic
7
rare
8
common
19
Mana cost
1
0
5
1
13
2
6
3
5
4
4
5
2
6
4
7+
Champions
6
4
Gnar
1
Gnar
4
Viktor
1
Viktor
5
Trundle
3
Trundle
5
Vi
1
Vi
Followers
17
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
Zaunite Urchin
2
Ferros Financier
3
Ferros Financier
2
Icevale Archer
1
Icevale Archer
2
Vulpine Wanderer
1
Vulpine Wanderer
3
Station Archivist
2
Station Archivist
4
Aloof Travelers
3
Aloof Travelers
6
Revna, the Lorekeeper
2
Revna, the Lorekeeper
8
It That Stares
2
It That Stares
Spells
17
0
Thermogenic Beam
1
Thermogenic Beam
1
Three Sisters
2
Three Sisters
2
Concurrent Timelines
3
Concurrent Timelines
2
Inner Beast
1
Inner Beast
2
Mystic Shot
3
Mystic Shot
2
Troll Chant
1
Troll Chant
3
Aftershock
1
Aftershock
3
Get Excited!
1
Get Excited!
3
Sump Fumes
2
Sump Fumes
9
Buried in Ice
2
Buried in Ice
Open deck in builder

Monte's experience

With the addition of Revna, the LorekeeperRevna, the Lorekeeper, this deck got a decent upgrade. I’ve never really liked the lists with Boom BaboonBoom Baboon and I feel that Station ArchivistStation Archivist is mandatory for the deck so I’ve adjusted accordingly. 

This deck still centers around its powerful round eight – getting double mana and a free unit off of TrundleTrundle’s Ice PillarIce Pillar is too much for most decks to handle. You’ll want to control the board as much as possible while also trying to plan ahead and keep mana for Buried in IceBuried in Ice if you need it. 

I think this deck is fairly well positioned at the moment and you can find a lot of success with it.

You can tweak the list as you like but I wouldn’t cut Station ArchivistStation Archivist or Aloof TravelersAloof Travelers. I’ve seen some people go without Buried in IceBuried in Ice and I don’t like that much either.


Irelia Azir

You can all thank Zorig for this one!

Regions
Ionia
27 cards
Shurima
13 cards
Rarities
25 000
champion
6
epic
2
rare
7
common
25
Mana cost
0
0
13
1
12
2
6
3
3
4
6
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Azir
3
Azir
3
Irelia
3
Irelia
Landmarks
3
2
Emperor's Dais
3
Emperor's Dais
Followers
21
1
Dunekeeper
3
Dunekeeper
1
Shadow Apprentice
3
Shadow Apprentice
1
Sparring Student
3
Sparring Student
1
Treasure Seeker
2
Treasure Seeker
2
Ribbon Dancer
3
Ribbon Dancer
2
The Stagehand
2
The Stagehand
4
Field Musicians
2
Field Musicians
5
Blossoming Blade
3
Blossoming Blade
Spells
10
1
Rite of Calling
2
Rite of Calling
2
Lead and Follow
1
Lead and Follow
2
Syncopation
1
Syncopation
2
Twin Disciplines
2
Twin Disciplines
4
Homecoming
1
Homecoming
5
Defiant Dance
3
Defiant Dance
Open deck in builder

Monte's experience

The StagehandThe Stagehand is surprisingly really good in this deck and I was told Zorig was the one to first add it. I played a lot of this list on my own climb to Masters, fine-tuning the ratios.

I really like the one-of SyncopationSyncopation at the moment, Darkodius argues for the second HomecomingHomecoming instead. I think Syncopation provides a lot of surprise kill potential and protection while Homecoming is too costly. 

This deck wants to play as it always does, if more aggressively.

With a full set of Shadow ApprenticeShadow Apprentice I often found myself keeping opening hands of entirely one-drops when attacking on even rounds. Most of the time you will still want to be mulliganing for your power cards (soldier generators) – AzirAzir, Emperor's Dais. If you already have those it’s ok to keep Irelia and other stuff. Just have a plan with your mulligan.

Come out of the gates swinging and find an opening to get Field MusiciansField Musicians down. Once you’ve done that most of your cards will cycle if you have a soldier generator, which you looked for in the mulligan.

The StagehandThe Stagehand can be used to remove pesky blockers and up your potential damage output. Sometimes they’re just four damage plus the sand soldier in the early game, and that’s ok!



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