The Jayce mini-expansion is live and hammer-swinging its way throughout the Legends of Runeterra metagame. Midrange mish-moshes of multi-faceted murder are over running the ladder and everyone is having a great time with it. Today we’re primarily going to talk about how to mulligan with and against these new brews so that as the 6+ cost spells keep falling, you’ll be ready.
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.
First let’s take on the role of the ultimate innovators with our Jayce/ Heimerdinger Bandle City midrange deck. Our opponent takes the attack token and shows up with their old reliable Yordle Burn ready to come for our tasty nexus health. Our first four cards are Jayce Heimerdinger Conchologist and Mystic Shot. Which do we get to keep and which need some innovation?
If you’ve never been here before then, welcome in. If you have then you probably know by now my first piece of advice is always to ask how we are going to win the game we are currently engaged in. In this matchup we want to trade down the board as much as possible early and preserve our life total as we don’t have burn. Then our higher value cards will slowly take over.
To me that means Conchologist and Mystic Shot are pretty solid keeps. The question then is our champions? Since we’ve already got our first couple of plays taken care of, maybe they get to stay and start that “taking over,” part as early as possible?
Well, one of them does, but that’s because he is a removal spell, and one that can kill a Poppy at that. Because we have the early locked up, we get to keep the card for the mid game, but even still our late game keep would be a bit greedy. If you’ve played against Yordle Burn then you know that you are very unlikely to have the turn five breathing room necessary to drop Heimerdinger.
Given that I would keep three out of four and send our more expensive champion back to the academy for a while. If we can run our opponent out of tricks then we’ll have plenty of opportunities to actually close out the game. In this matchup our biggest win condition is simple survival.
Alright this time the enemy has innovating duo, but now they are paired with Targon and the invoke package. We’ve brought our trusty Thralls deck, snagged the attack token, and our first four cards are Blighted Ravine Avalanche Time in a Bottle and Icevale Archer. Who stays and who gets frozen for a few turns first?
This is an interesting one, at least to me. Veteran Thralls players may call me a tad silly for thinking this is a tough choice but for the rest of us it feels worth a look. Thralls is a very cool deck to me personally because it has two specific gameplans. It’s a Freljord control deck as well as a Shurima combo deck.
You’ll generally need some of each of those plans to win any given game, but figuring out which one you are supposed to be leaning on more heavily in any given matchup is a large part of the play skill when it comes to this deck. Against a slightly slower more controlling midrange deck I think we are trying to lean as heavily as possible into our combo potential.
With that in mind, no matter how safe and secure any of those removal or stall effects might look, I would mulligan all four of the cards in this opening hand. Our power in this matchup will come from the Thralls themselves, and if we don’t get them ticking then a good matchup will become a bad one very quickly.
For our last stage we’re going to step back into the shoes of Jayce midrange, this time bringing Lux along for the ride, and we’ll nab the attack token. On the other side Gangplank and Sejuani wait to nab some other things right back. We’re given Ferros Financier The Forge Of Tomorrow Lux and Shock Blast. What are we keeping to fight off the oncoming horde?
Playing against Plunder as a midrange or control deck the game is generally divided into two stages. In stage one you want to attempt to deny their triggers and stabilize the board. In stage two you want to turn it to your favor and keep their powerful champions clear of doing the game wrecking things they want to do.
We’ve got a solid two and three drop to fight for the board early, so those are going to be keeps almost always. The question then is what we are doing with the other two cards in our hand. In this matchup Lux is actually a very solid win condition. Generating lasers to keep the board clear, and so I think we actually open keep our five drop champion, even into this semi-aggressive deck.
I would consider even keeping Shock Blast as well to power her up, but our Financier is going to be able to find us something, and securing a turn four play would definitely be a boon. So of our four cards I think the blast is the only one I would toss in this situation.
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.