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The Mulligan Show #4

Learning how to Mulligan in Legends of Runeterra is one of the most important skills required to be a winning player. WhatAmI takes us to school.

 

The New patch just dropped and the world of Runeterra has shifted on its axis. New decks are everywhere and old ones are being revitalized. Today we’re going to check out the play patterns of the old favorites and test your memory of the previous format’s top-tier decks that have come back to life. If you already know what’s up then go ahead and skip ahead down to Stage One and I’ll meet you there. For everyone else join me in the spoiler tag for a moment and we’ll talk this through.

 

Here’s how this is going to work. For each stage, I’ll be the one setting it. I’ll describe our deck, our opponent’s deck, our opening hand, and any other factors that I find relevant to the decision-making process. Then you try to decide what you would mulligan, and more importantly why you would do so. 
 
After you’ve got that answer, or if you just want to watch instead of participating, go ahead and pop open the spoiler tag underneath and see if we agree. At the end hit me up in the comments or drop by my stream later if we have conflicting opinions and you think I got it wrong. I am always down to learn new things.
Also, take note that these scenarios will often intentionally be designed to be at least a little bit tricky. Don’t just go with your gut reaction but take at least a few seconds to think through the ramifications before you decide. Ready? Let’s jump into it.

 

Stage 1

 

The biggest baddest boogeyman on everyone’s mind right now is the revitalized dragons deck. Who’s to say if they’ll stay on top of the heap but at least for now we’re playing them. Against us, and holding the mighty attack token is the aggressively scaling power of Lurk. Our first four cards are Dragon Chow Single Combat Solari Sunforger and Shyvana. What do we hang on to and what’s got to go?

 

 

 

 
People are dismissive of Lurk decks but the stats rarely lie, this is a rough matchup for us. The main reason for that is that our opponent’s small units can grow quickly out of control to the point where they will trade with our much larger ones. At this point, we simply can’t keep up in terms of mana and tempo and the game quickly spirals.
 
The question then is, what kinds of hands can prevent this? Folks who look at Lurk as a straight aggro deck might be tempted to hold Solari Sunforger and Single Combat and throw the rest back for a few more early drops to stymie the bleeding. Here though I think that kind of thinking will get you into some serious trouble.
 
Lurks power lies in the fact that it is not just an aggressive deck, but also scaled very hard into the mid-game. Keeping that and our rough matchup here in mind I think we need to take a much riskier approach, looking to win rather than simply not lose. 
I would pitch Single Combat and Solari Sunforger attempting to get as close to our own god-draw as we can and make a ridiculously large Shyvana to pillar on and attempt to win. We might miss hard and die to their aggressive early attacks, but this is the style of play that I believe will give us the best chance to find victory in this matchup.

 

 

Stage 2

 

This time we’re going to put the scary dragons on the other side of the battlefield. Representing our neighborhood hero is going to be a slightly nerfed but still impressively powerful Sion deck. We’ve got the attack token and our opening hand is Zaunite Urchin Poro Cannon Boom Baboon and Sion. Who gets discarded today?

 

 
So this feels like a later game matchup where Sion is going to be absolutely integral to our eventual victory right? One where we can afford to play a bit slow since our opponent will be as well and our large lad will eventually take over the game? Well, not quite.
Sion is still a ridiculously powerful card. The issue here is that unless we have pressure building in the early game he is simply not going to be enough. The dragons on the other side of the field can grow to truly ridiculous proportions, and stopping them from doing so, or at least slowing their rate via nexus pressure is an integral part of this matchup. 
If we don’t manage to land any damage on our opponent’s nexus, or worse if they are the ones in the driver’s seat come turn seven or eight, then our Sion is simply not going to be that impressive. They can simply tank or slightly mitigate one ten damage hit, Level an Aurelion Sol, and laugh all the way to the infinite value-free celestial bank. Not to mention that with six strike spells sometimes our Sion will simply get eaten by dragons. We cannot 100% rely on him to get the job done.
With that in mind Zaunite Urchin and Boom Baboon are here to stay and apply those early beats. The other two are making a trip back into the deck in the hopes that we can find some solid discard targets and aggression. Perhaps a Draven or a Fallen Rider will make a cameo appearance. Even a Mystic Shot to deal with our opponent’s early ramp card would be a welcome sight.
 

 

Stage 3

 

Let’s take a quick break from those fiery lizards and jump onto one of the other cool decks that have been released from the time-out zone. Few of their actual cards got hit, but as the meta shifts more and more towards midrange Gangplank/ Sejuani plunder looks better and better. We’re playing with the attack token into a Poppy pile with Ziggs on backup duty and our deck offers us Gangplank Crackshot Corsair Make it Rain and Monkey Idol. Who stays and who gets plundered?

 

 
This looks pretty close to what our deck really wants to be doing right? Just set up our triggers and blast away till our opponent falls over. The only card that really sticks out here is the Gangplank. It’s a little scary to keep a five mana card against a deck sporting three Decimate and planning to start happily lobbing them at your skull as soon as possible.
However in this particular position that is exactly what I would advocate for. I think that one thing people forget about an unfortunate amount against aggro or burn decks is counter pressure. The more time you give them to draw the burn finishers they need, the less your early stabilization will matter. This hand has a significant chance of having a leveled Gangplank swinging in on turn five, and almost certainly killed by the turn seven open attack.

Given that I think this is actually a full keep. This matchup will always devolve into a scary race no matter how I play or mulligan. The best we can do is try to make sure we’re on the winning side of it, and I think this hand actually gives us a pretty solid chance to get that done.
 
So how did your decisions match up against mine through it all? You with me, learned something, maybe think I am crazier than Bandle City’s own mayor? I’m always interested to hear feedback in comments so hit me up here, or on my stream or Twitter at twitch.tv/xxwhatamixx or @xxwhatamixx respectively. And as always, I’ll see you out there on the ladder.