Legends of Runeterra Deck Archetypes. If you are playing Legends of Runeterra, then you will have seen that different decks behave in unique ways. Some deck archetypes come at you right from turn one, while others seem to negate everything that you throw at them, before dealing a crushing blow in the late game.
Knowing how to read what you are up against, and how to deal with it effectively, is key to climbing the Legends of Runeterra ladder. The “meta” is defined by which decks are currently played the most. You will want to play decks that handle or counter that meta to succesfully rank up.
Each archetype is defined by some basic principals:
- Threats vs Solutions – In your deck how many cards are there to threaten your opponent versus how many are included, to deal with your opponent’s threats?
- Early vs Late – In your deck how many cards are there to make an immediate impact on the game versus how many are there to deal with early threats, stabilize the game and end it in later rounds?
- One-Trick vs Analogous – In your deck, do many cards perform a similar function, or is the deck reliant on drawing specific cards in order to win?
- Tempo vs Impending – In your deck, how important is timing? Do you require that certain cards be drawn early, mid-game or late, or is the doom of your opponent unavoidable no matter when your cards come to your hand?
- Interactive vs Linear – In your deck, how many cards are there to complete your plan vs how many are there to unsettle your opponents’ win condition?
With that in mind, here are the deck archetypes used in Legends of Runeterra. They are the same archetypes used in Magic The Gathering: Arena and Hearthstone.
Aggro decks come at you from the very beginning. Their goal is to win as quickly as possible. From a basic premise, aggro decks are Early, Linear, Threats and Analogous. They force you to come up with solutions to their early threats. If you are coming from Hearthstone, think “Zoo”. If you are coming from MTG:A, think Mono Red.
Aggro decks don’t fare well in long games. If you can withstand the early onslaught you can usually turn the tide. These types of decks usually have a very low mana cost, as they are trying to get as much in your face as fast as possible.
Aggro decks in Legends of Runeterra include:
Swimstrim’s Ionia-P&Z Upgrade
This deck uses Elusive and Quick attacks to impede your opponent’s ability to block. To this, it adds buff effects like Inspiring Mentor to boost damage. The optimal opener for this deck is Inspiring Mentor / Zed, which puts you in a position to have two quick attacking 4/3’s on turn 3,
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Combo decks are fun to play in the same way that a lottery can be fun to play. These decks rely on being able to draw specific cards, and then have those cards interact with each other to create a combined effect that wins the game. These types of deck are usually Linear, One-Trick and Impending.
If you are coming from Hearthstone, think Malygos Rogue. If you are coming from MTG:A, think Nexus.
In Legends of Runeterra, Combo decks include:
Full Yasuo by v1ci0us
The “combo” in this deck is based upon Yasuo’s special ability. He strikes every enemy unit that you stun or recall. The deck is built around this synergy.
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Control decks suck the life out of your opponent’s deck. They are usually built almost entirely out of Solutions, Late, Impending, Interactive archetype cards. This deck type has no intention of winning the game early, instead, it provides solutions to your opponent’s strategies by wearing them down until you can play your win condition in the late game. These are fun decks to play, and very frustrating to play against. Control decks usually win decisively once they have worn out their opponent by playing one-turn-kill, or powerful threats to end the game.
If you are coming from Hearthstone, think Dragon Warrior. If you are coming from MTG:A think Jeskai Control.
In Legends of Runeterra, Control decks include:
Warmother Control by Hewitt Benson
This deck uses removal (Shadow Isles) with Freljord’s ramp. Late game the deck aims to drop Anivia or Tryndamere with Ruination on the following turn, to create a one sided board wipe. In slower match ups, Warmother’s Call allows you to get multiple Tryndamere’s on the board at a time to close out the game.
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This type of deck is about lasting long enough to bring big, huge, gigantic threats to bear on your opponent. This deck type is all about Threats. It splashes many of the other basic premises to live long enough to do its thing, but in the end, it is about having big threats that smash your opponent.
If you are coming from Heathstone, think Embiggen Druid. If you are coming from MTG:A, think many green decks like Golgari Midrange.
In Legends of Runeterra, Midrange decks include:
Barrier Fiora by Hewitt Benson
This deck uses Barrier and Challenger to take out your opponent’s minions. The deck can win through normal combat but can also win easily through Fiora’s alternate win condition against decks that try to utilize smaller followers.
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These four archetypes cover every deck type, but there are also sub-types of each. The sub-types lean toward specific playstyles, but still follow the main goal of the over-arching archetype. For instance, a “Mill Deck” is a deck that tries to run your opponent out of cards, winning the game by exhausting every card in their deck. In most cases, it is a Control deck, but in some, it is a Combo archetype. The umbrella archetype is the piece of information that matters most, as it tells you how your opponent plans to carry out their plan.
Enjoy the game. I hope this breakdown of deck types helped you not only win more games, but have more fun.