Thralls is a deck that wants to slow down and stall out the game for a few turns giving themselves time to set up a massive board of 8/8 overwhelm units! With Promising Future and Taliyah, a single Frozen Thrall can become a board of four Frostguard Thrall’s as early as turn six! Some people believe thralls to be inconsistent because they see their opponent pull off this combo and then go to try it themselves without having the fundamental knowledge they need to pull it off, this is also the reason why Thralls has come to be known as a “high-roll deck”. In this guide Cameron and Monte will do their best to teach you how to “high-roll” consistently and overwhelm your opponents with 8/8’s!
3x Frozen Thrall - This card is absolutely central to your gameplan as it is the building block for our combo. Once the countdown completes, this landmark turns into an 8/8 Overwhelm Frostguard Thrall. You will want to have this down on turn one every single game if possible, doing so will let you streamline your game plan and make managing the gamestate much easier as you will have inevitability on your side and can focus on using your resources to slow down your opponent
3x Three Sisters - Three sisters is your primary interaction in this deck. All 3 options can be put to good use, making it an excellent inclusion. Flash Freeze will be the most common choice enabling you to survive swings from common threats like Sion or Rek’Sai. Entomb will let you temporarily take threats like Sion or Rek’sai off the field, save your own units (this can sometimes matter against Ezreal decks) or it can also be used to set-up lethal attacks with your overwhelm units(you can’t “ghost block” a unit with the overwhelm keyword). Despite being a weaker option than the other two Fury of the North will still find its moments, the HP buff off of this card will enable you to save your unit and push damage in some niche situations. Overall the versatility of Three Sisters in this deck makes it an amazing inclusion
2x Imagined Possibilities - In most games you will be using Imagined Possibilities to accelerate your countdown(s) by one, usually you will play this after using Taliyah to duplicate a Frozen Thrall that has had Promising Future cast on it. In an extreme pinch it might be worth it to try and high-roll a Blighted Ravine or a Preservariumoff of the create option, keep in mind there are fourteen landmarks with countdown currently in the game, this means you have approximately a 7% chance to hit any one specific landmark, this truly is a hail-mary play and should only be considered when there are no other options.
3x Clockwork Curator - We are a deck that wants to accelerate the countdown of a landmark, Clockwork Curator does exactly that while being relatively cheap and has decent stats. Sometimes you will just need a unit to not die to aggro, in those matchups it’s fine to play this as a vanilla 2/2
3x Time in a Bottle - More countdown acceleration, this time it’s a Focus speed spell that also lets you predict! When deciding what to take off of the predict you’ll want to be VERY picky! Consider what you will actually be able to make use of in the next few turns, and then also think about whether or not there are other, better, card options in your deck to help you deal with your current situation. Don’t forget you can skip your prediction by clicking the pass button!
2x Preservarium - A landmark with countdown that draws you more cards. Taliyah level up is negligible in this deck but it is important to have access to card draw and this is the best option in our region combination. In a pinch you can combo Preservarium with Time in a Bottle or Clockwork Curator to draw two cards in a turn (one of your choosing if you used Time in a Bottle)
3x Kindly Tavernkeeper - A little bit of healing can go a long way when all it takes is one more turn to countdown, create a board of 8/8 overwhelm units and win the game. Tavernkeeper is our only fearsome blocker, this is something important to remember when playing against Sion or aggro decks running Precious Pet
3x Lissandra - The one and only Ice Queen, before the nerfs to The Watcher Lissandra was more often a win-condition on her own nowadays her primary purpose is to create a Frozen Thrall on turn three or to give your nexus tough letting you survive another turn. Remember that the generated Ice Shard will push one damage directly to nexus as well as an additional point of damage for every blocker under a Frostguard Thrall it hits
2x Ice Shard - Cheap, fast speed removal. There aren’t currently a lot of x/1’s in the meta so we don’t want to be maxing out on Ice Shard, you’ll mostly be using this to clean up left-over x/1’s after an Avalanche or Blighted Ravine
3x Avalanche - One of the deck’s two main removal options, very effective at dealing with the wide boards that plague this meta. Don’t be too greedy with this, always ask yourself “am I ok taking this damage if they don’t play another unit?” If your answer is “No” then you shouldn’t be greedy with Avalanche. Though they do similar things Avalanche is a better development punishment than Blighted Ravine so try to use it as such!
3x Blighted Ravine - Avalanche in a landmark! Ravine has the added benefit of healing you for two effective HP and dealing two damage to the enemy nexus! This will sometimes be the best, or the only, way for you to close out the game. Be careful though because the nexus damage can also kill you! You can use Blighted Ravine in a similar way to Avalanche but you can also use it to stall an opponent’s development for a turn.
3x Promising Future - This is your main combo piece, using it on a Frozen Thrall will let you create two Frostguard Thrall, throw a Taliyah into the mix and suddenly you have a full board of overwhelm units ready to set the enemy nexus to 0! Be cautious using this against decks with landmark removal, as they will be able to disrupt your combo, you’ll want to hold off until the last possible moment so you can guarantee the double Frostguard Thrall
2x Succumb to the Cold - Succumb to the Cold fits this meta perfectly, it is an answer to all the big threats like Sion, Rek'Sai or even Poppy. On top of frostbiting a unit it also gives you a Frozen Thrall! It has different uses in different situations, don’t hesitate to use it as a way of unbricking thrall-less hands.
Although this won’t happen often, this can burst level up your Taliyah, doing so will prevent your opponent from being able to react and you’ll be able to push some extra damage.
1x Draklorn Inquisitor - A lot of people may question why we are only running one Draklorn Inquisitor, the reason we’re not playing more is because this card is surprisingly clunky and we want to play this list as a combo deck. Draklorn Inquisitor makes it harder to get four Frostguard Thrall’s out of one Frozen Thrall because it summons a Frozen Thrall of its own and clogs up your board space.
2x Taliyah - Taliyah often is just your second promising future with a body that is also extra reach for damage, however if you copy a thrall that has already been casted promising future it will be four thralls and that is usually game winning.
2x The Clock Hand - Clock hand is a card that bails you out of the games that you didn’t draw thrall early, it gives you two spells that lets you advance your landmark four times in burst speed. This means you're giving your opponent only one action while you can burst out, usually two units which are very deadly that they cannot react to.
In Depth Deck guide:
Learning how to mulligan properly with this deck can be very difficult, according to CameronHanzo this is the MOST difficult part of learning this deck, and you would have to spend LOTS of time trying and failing to figure it out on your own. Luckily CameronHanzo already put in the time so you don’t have to!
We’re going to begin by breaking up our cards into three different categories:
- Win-con - Frozen Thrall generators
- Lissandra, Frozen Thrall
- Stall - Cards that help you prolong the game
- Blighted Ravine, Kindly Tavernkeeper, Avalanche
- Advance - cards that advance your wincon
- Promising Future, Time in a Bottle, Draklorn Inquisitor, Taliyah
The biggest mistake someone can make in the mulligan is being TOO GREEDY. Throwing away important cards for different matchups without considering if you can properly utilise the cards you keep.
This means you always want at least one Win-con card in your mulligan, while the other three cards you’re looking for are highly matchup dependent.
Against aggressive decks, you want three stall cards alongside your one win-con card. Let the Frozen Thrall tick down while you bide your time surviving with your stall cards, then when they’re running low on cards apply the pressure with any advance cards you’ve drawn into and turn the tables on them!
Against control decks, you want a max of two win-con cards and any number of advance cards
Be conscious of the opponent’s removal tools and set your Frostguard Thralls loose on the opponent as fast as you can!
Remember not to be greedy, use the time allotted to you during your mulligan phase wisely and reflect on how you want the game to go before setting your game plan and mulling appropriately.
For a fun mulligan puzzle and a good read on decision making in the mulligan phase check out xXWhatAmIXx’s article “The Mulligan Show Reloaded”!
Knowing when to turbo
Though the deck is known as “Turbo Thralls” , getting a single Frostguard Thrall out rarely has any effect on the game state. Don’t expend all your resources to activate one Frozen Thrall, always ensure you have a method of getting a second Frostguard Thrall out alongside it. That could mean two Frozen Thralls being activated back to back with Draklorn Inquisitor or simultaneously with Taliyah + Imagined Possibilities. Try to plan ahead and keep ways to produce threats beyond your initial Frostguard Thrall, learning to do so will greatly improve your success with the deck! Cameron’s pro tip - Sometimes you’ll want to hold your win-con and advance cards until you have specific cards like Promising Future and Taliyah to increase your threat density!
Other Cards Options:
You can swap the ratios on Draklorn Inquisitor and The Clock Hand to suit your preference, Draklorn can help you get out multiple early thralls, without combo pieces, letting you stabilize a bit sooner.
Preservationist - better in slower metas where you’re able to cast promising future earlier into the game and can curve out with Preservationist
At this point in time the list is pretty optimized. I’m (Monte) normally one to promote experimentation and curating net-decks to fit your style but this is one deck where you just can’t play around very much. Cameron has worked hard and found the best 40 card list so you don’t have to, he’s not THE America’s shard Thralls one trick pony for nothing!
If you’re looking to tech for tournaments you could consider Rite of Negation as a potential inclusion.
Ping City - 70-30 Favoured
Mulligan for Frozen Thrall, frostbite effects like Succumb to the Cold or Three Sisters can be valuable for dealing with Gangplank but stall cards like Kindly Tavernkeeper, Avalanche and Blighted Ravine will go a long way towards keeping you in the game. This matchup is over the moment Lissandra levels. Her level two ability of granting your Nexus Tough will deny all their pings and shut them out completely. Cameron’s Hard rule - You can keep Promising Future in the mulligan ONLY if you have a turn oneFrozen Thrall
Aggro (Pirates, Poppy/Ziggs, etc.) - 40-60 Unfavoured
This matchup is unfavoured, while Lissandra can solo-carry the Ping City matchup by denying their pings with the Tough Nexus; true Aggro decks deal damage in much larger chunks and have more effective burn. This makes it much more difficult to stay alive, in your mulligan you want to find Frozen Thrall, frostbite cards are only good when your hand is already strong once again stall cards like Kindly Tavernkeeper, Avalanche and Blighted Ravine are what you’re looking for. The goal in this matchup is to tave every point of HP you can while setting yourself up to kill them in one turn.
Poppy Piles (Demacia, Ionia or Bandle) - 30-70 Unfavoured
Poppy is just too fast and makes boards with HP thresholds that are too high for our removal to deal with. Freezes are incredibly strong in this matchup as they allow you to stall the Poppy swing. If you already have an avalanche in your hand you will want to look hard for an Ice Shard so you have a way to immediately deal with Poppy. Even though the Demacia versions run ]]Ranger’s Resolve]] it is almost always correct to try and remove Poppy, forcing them to have it; being so unfavoured in this matchup means we have to take big chances to come out ahead.
Sion - 55/ 45 Slightly Favoured
This matchup is similar to the Poppy one in that Avalanche + Ice Shard will deal with their entire board. If you have one of the two (three if you include Blighted Ravine but this is a weaker option as it cannot be played before turn four using spell mana) you should look hard for the other so you can deal with their board once it gets too big. You will win this matchup by setting up a turn six or turn seven Thrall board, they will play sion and then you will swing in and Entomb the Sion that goes to block this
Darkness - 60/40 Favoured
This matchup should be very good for us, both players are trying to play solitaire in the sense that they are more focused on trying to advance their own win-condition. We will come out ahead as we can get our win-con online faster than them and we have ways to stall the development of their wincon. A turn four Veigar can be problematic but this matchup should be one you want to hit. Look for combo pieces like Frozen Thrall, Taliyah, and Promising Future in your mulligan phase
Nami Zoe - 25-75 Very Unfavoured
The only way to win this matchup is with an early Frozen Thrall, into Promising Future and Taliyah or…. the perfect hand. If you can set up in the first three turns while they are passing and have your four Frostguard Thralls online by turn six you can force them to trade down their board and leave them unitless. The two deck’s “go-off turns” kind of coincide, and if we high-roll we can get ahead of them which is why this matchup isn’t completely and utterly hopeless.
About the authors
CameronHanzo is a Seasonal Top 4 finisher as well as a World’s Qualifier known in the AM shard for playing Thralls almost exclusively to climb the ladder even in unfavourable metas, a true master of the deck. MonteXristo is a seasoned veteran of the game, having played since beta he has dedicated his time to learning, improving and understanding LoR so he can help others improve on their LoR journey’s. Monte is also not without some tournament accolades, beating players like BBG and Emoetional he took first place in the Streamer Sideboard Showdown and went 7-2 in the previous seasonal (unfortunately his ladder rank wasn’t high enough for the top cut blessing). These two players have come together to deliver you this guide! You can find Monte and Hanzo on Twitter where they’d be happy to answer any questions you might have!