Patch 2.7.0 arrived earlier this week, and with it came 42 new cards as part of the Guardians of the Ascended expansion. Let’s take a look at some of the new releases that have either already done well in the early stages of the new metagame or have the greatest potential to impact the competitive landscape in the near future.
- The Wings and the Wave
- Buried in Ice
- Blade Dance package (Irelia, Ribbon Dancer, Blossoming Blade, Lead and Follow)
5. Solari Sunhawk
To me, Solari Sunhawk is like a Leona that has worse stats, but is better in almost every other way. It costs 2 instead of 4 and does not take up a precious Champion slot, allowing you to make use of higher-impact Champions like Zoe, Diana, and Aurelion Sol. Most notably, Sunhawk not being a Champion means that you can play a second copy even if you already have one on the board (as opposed to extra copies of Leona transforming into Morning Light if you already have her in play).
Invoke-centric strategies, such as Zoe/Aurelion Sol and Zoe/Diana Atrocity, will likely make good use of Sunhawk. While it will compete with Targon’s other two-cost units like Solari Shieldbearer and Mountain Goat, the fact that Stuns are good at virtually every stage of the game will generally make Sunhawk more appealing than its competition.
4. Dancing Droplet
Dancing Droplet is the payoff to a Recall strategy that Ionia has wanted for a long time. When combined with Navori Conspirator, Retreat, and the newly released Lead and Follow, Droplet is capable of drawing multiple cards over the course of a game, ensuring that you do not run out of steam in the mid to late game. The fact that Droplet also possesses two of the best keywords in the game in Attune and Elusive is icing on the cake.
Expect to see this card in most Irelia decks, as well as in some uncommon or niche Elusive strategies like Encroaching Shadows Elusives.
While it may not seem like it at first glance, Syncopation is an extremely versatile 2 mana Burst spell that finds value on both offense and defense. While attacking, you can swap a blocked unit with an unblocked unit to push through more damage or react to how your opponent has blocked in order to force a favorable exchange through combat. Defensively, you can swap out an attacking unit with one on your bench after your opponent has committed a combat trick (such as Hush or Flash Freeze) in order to save it or change the target of your opponent’s single-target removal (such as Mystic Shot or Vengeance).
It is too early to tell if Syncopation will end up being a staple spell that gets splashed into almost every Ionia deck, but even if it is not, it will still likely find applications in a variety of strategies - most notably in Irelia and Lee Sin decks - and make the units in those decks more resilient to removal than ever.
2. Merciless Hunter
Boasting a 4|3 statline, the Fearsome keyword, and the ability to grant any enemy Vulnerable, Merciless Hunter is an insane card and has seemingly power creeped Baccai Sandspinner - a solid card in its own right - overnight. Previously, units that granted Vulnerable to an enemy of your choice while summoning a body at the same time cost at least 4 mana: Razorscale Hunter costs 5, while Baccai Sandspinner costs 4. Hired Gun could grant Vulnerable to an enemy as well, but it automatically gave it to the strongest enemy instead of letting you choose one to target. The fact Merciless Hunter allows you to choose what to grant Vulnerable to in addition its fantastic stats and evasion through the Fearsome keyword - all for the low cost of 3 mana - is extremely powerful.
Expect to see this card in almost every Shurima deck, with Thresh/Nasus and Shurima/Freljord Overwhelm being the two decks that will likely make use of it the best. I also expect this card to be nerfed in the future: reducing its attack by 1 or removing Fearsome from it are likely where I would start.
1. Chirean Sumpworker/Sumpworks Posse
While Chirean Sumpworker may be nothing to write home about, combining it with cloning tools like Iterative Improvement, Fading Memories, and Stalking Shadows to turn it into Sumpworks Posse is an extremely powerful strategy. Between Posse hitting for 5 damage every time it attacks, as well as burn tools in Mystic Shot, Get Excited, and Doombeast, Shadow Isles/Piltover and Zaun aggro may end up being an extremely potent aggro deck. This sample decklist from FloppyMudkip makes use of these ideas, and while it could likely use some refinement, it is a good shell to get started with.
All images via Riot Games
Angus "Morppadorp" Lam is a Canadian Legends of Runeterra player for Team Aretuza.