The new patch has just dropped and everyone has got their brewing hats screwed on tight. Everything is still in that beautiful flux before testing and refinement show us the way. In episode nine of the Mulligan Show, we'll consider what to keep and what to throw away when playing against them.
Whether into other new decks or existing top dogs, this is a decision we are going to have to make often, so let’s see what it’ll look like. If you’re new, hit that first spoiler for me to find the rules of the mulligan show. If you’re a returning veteran then jump on down to stage one and we’ll check it out together.
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.
Let’s start in the shoes of one of the decks I am the most excited to test out, Riven/ Pantheon, or as I like to call it, the Masters of the Universe. We’ve got the attack, but our opponent has brought a Poppy pile sporting Rumble and Noxus to go with her. Our first four cards are Saga Seeker, Zenith Blade, Wounded Whiteflame, and Iula. Which of these are Fated to remain?
The main question we need to be asking ourselves is what our role in this matchup is. Our opponent is likely to be some pretty impressive level of aggressive. While we can certainly also have aggressive draws, I think we are more of a combo-centric deck looking to kill or create unstoppable advantage in the turn four to seven range.
What that means is we are going to have to start the game by defending ourselves a bit to make sure we get there. In that vein I think that both Zenith Blade and Iula have got to go. We need either more units to trade down early, or a pump spell or two to make sure our first trades are favorable.
Funnily enough, early combat tricks and removal spells serve almost the same purpose. We might prefer a Mystic Shot but as that is out of our regions, killing their unit and letting our survive will accomplish much the same effect.
I like keeping both our one and three drops to stack buffs on and seeing what else our deck will offer. If we can get a handle on the early game then our deck will provide forms of Overwhelm later for us to actually close the game with. There’s no need to get greedy and hang onto it now.
For this next one we’ll take the boogeyman Gangplank/Sejuani. Our opponent shows up with the attack token and Zed/Kennen with Shadow Isles backup. Our first four cards are Gangplank, Sejuani, Monkey Idol, and Make it Rain. What will we keep to help our plundering and what gets thrown back?
I don’t know about you, but to me that particular combination of champions and regions reads a lot like an Encroaching Shadows elusive aggro/combo deck. And I’m going to be real with you, that is an absolutely horrid matchup for any kind of midrange, ourselves included. It’s so bad I think we start this matchup by asking “ok, how can we win?”
There are two ways. We can either be extremely aggressive and attempt to race, or we can level Sejuani and attempt to lock. With the attack token against us that first option is going to be a hard ask. I’m therefore inclined to take a very odd mulligan path and be all in on Sejuani from the word go.
That’s right, I think that despite this hand being extremely awkward for our often powerful and streamlined deck, I would advise mulliganing only Gangplank. If we can find one or two more Plunder triggers then Sejuani may be able to save us. I think taking the other route from this starting point is optimistic in the extreme and this is our best attempt at victory.
Last but certainly not least we’re going to take up the hammer of what is looking to be an extremely scary new version of Poppy Bandle City Rally coming in strong with the next patch. Our opponent is on Draven/ Ezreal/ Caitlyn, but we’ve got the attack token. The first four off the top are Poppy, Lecturing Yordle, Sharpsight and Yordle Explorer.
This is definitely a scary matchup for us, but it is winnable if we can manage to navigate it correctly. Our opponent is on the traditional removal.dec. So, we are going to have to lean significantly more heavily on our value engines than on any kind of fast paced early aggression.
I think Yordle Explorer is always a keep, as every once in a while they won’t be able to answer it and we will simply run away with the game. Lecturing Yordle fits the value gameplan quite nicely and so gets to chill despite being four mana.
However awesome Poppy and Sharpsight might be in a vacuum, here they are not our main plan, especially as we will not be attacking on four. I would ship those two back and look for more ways to fight for the board. Mayor and telescope come to mind as very solid picks if we can find them.
… 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.