Good deck building is an essential part of every card game. But for many players who are just getting into Legends of Runeterra, trying to decide on which deck to start with can feel overwhelming. So today, I’ll be going over the three Legends of Runeterra archetypes and provide some decklists for each one!
Perhaps the most simple archetype to understand is Aggro. With an Aggro deck, your goal is to end the game as quickly as possible, relying on cheap creatures and burn spells to do so. This means that Aggro decks will have a low curve, with most cards costing between 1 and 3 mana.
Let’s take a look at one of the most popular Aggro decks in the game right now: Burn Aggro.
The goal of Burn Aggro is to deal as much damage as you can with your creatures, and then finish off whatever’s left of your opponent’s life points through direct damage spells. Precious Pet and Broomcrew Rookie are great examples of aggressive creatures. Why? It’s because they make it hard for your opponent to avoid damage.
For example, Broomcrew Rookie is great because it deals 2 damage every time it attacks, regardless of whether or not your opponent blocks. Precious Pet has Fearsome, meaning it can only be blocked by creatures with Power 3 or greater. Not many early creatures in Legends of Runeterra have 3 power, which means Precious Pet should have an easy time getting in a few attacks.
So, you may be wondering why the deck is called burn aggro when there’s no card in the deck called Burn. Well, here’s a fun fact: burn is a term that comes from Magic: The Gathering. In Magic, burn spells are cards that can deal direct damage to your opponent and are usually associated with the color red. Hence the word, burn.
Now, if we look back at our Burn Aggro deck, we have copies of Mystic Shot and Decimate. These cards are great examples of burn spells that will help push our that last little bit of damage.
So, the basic pros of aggro decks are:
- Aggro decks are beginner-friendly and have a simple strategy. Play your creatures, attack, and burn them down with your spells.
- They’re usually budget-friendly.
- Aggro decks tend to have a lot of reach. Having reach means aggro deck users still have a good chance of winning the game even if their opponent was able to stop the pressure.
And some cons:
- Aggro might not be the best option for those who are looking for a more interactive deck.
- Although aggro decks have reach, without a strong start, they can fall behind really fast.
Control decks are the complete opposite of aggro decks. Instead of trying to win the game as fast as possible, control decks try to win the long game. As a control player, your primary focus is to shut down your opponent’s threats first. Then, once you’ve put a halt on your opponent’s game plan, you play your threats.
Let’s take a look at one of the most popular control decks out there, Heimerdinger Control. The objective of this deck is to control the board for as long as possible until you can play Heimerdinger safety.
Cards like Thermogenic Beam, Mystic Shot, and Get Excited help get rid of early creatures, while cards like Deny and Will of Ionia help you gain some tempo over your opponent. Once you feel like your opponent is losing steam, you finish off the game by playing Heimerdinger. Heimerdinger gives you a free Turret creature every time you cast a spell, and eventually you’ll overwhelm your opponents with value and win the game.
Pros of control decks include:
- Control decks have plenty of answers to different decks, giving them a fair shot at winning almost any game
- Interactive gameplay!
- If control decks can get to late game, they usually win decisively.
And the cons:
- Control decks require a lot of match-up knowledge.
- Control decks are usually difficult to play, because they require perfect resource management. “Should I use this removal spell on this creature now? Or does my opponent have a bigger threat I don’t know about?” Even one wrong choice can heavily punish control decks.
Okay, so we know that aggro decks want to attack, and control decks want to defend. There’s a type of deck that can do both but doesn’t swing completely in either direction: midrange.
Midrange decks are well-balanced decks that are capable of being aggressive or defensive depending on the match-up. We can understand this better by looking at one of the most popular Midrange decks currently in Legends of Runeterra -- Midrange Bannerman.
On one hand, Midrange Bannerman can curve out aggressively, playing Fleetfeather Tracker, into War Chefs, into Loyal Badgerbear, and finishing off with Vanguard Bannerman.
This start would be great at pressuring slower control decks. However, let’s say you were playing against a fast aggro deck like Burn Aggro. Well, in that case you probably won’t be able to outrace your opponent, and would need a different approach.
So instead, Midrange Bannerman can change their game plan and mulligan for cards like Brightsteel Protector, Fiora, and Laurent Protégé to help make favorable trades.
Pros of midrange decks:
- Midrange decks are flexible. They sacrifice speed and stamina for the capability to be good in all situations.
- Midrange decks usually have a great curve of cards, making them very mana-efficient
- The main difference from a control deck is that midrange doesn’t have inevitability. What does this mean? Well, it just means that unlike control decks, midrange decks aren’t guaranteed to win games just because they survive long enough.
- They need to prioritize curving out their deck, or else they’re going to have a tough time.
Just remember that different people like different playstyles. Every archetype is going to have its pros and cons, and in the end you choose an archetype you think you’ll like the most!
That’s all I have for today. Feel free to leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments! Stay tuned to SQUAD for more Legends of Runeterra content and guides.