This is part 3 of my analysis of the Call of the Mountain expansion where I look into some of the new cards that have been added to the game. If you missed out on the previous articles, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2!
This time around we will be looking into 3 popular champions that really encapsulate the entire expansion and its galaxy/celestial theme. Since there are a lot of cards being revealed, I’ll keep the analysis of each segment as short as possible before I run the risk of writing a 5,000-word thesis.
Leona was revealed alongside a new keyword, Daybreak, whereby the card’s effect will activate if the card is the first one played that turn, making it the polar opposite of Nightfall. Leona herself is quite strong as she stuns the strongest enemy when her Daybreak effect is activated.
I’ve previously mentioned that champions that have immediate effect to the game board when played, like Sejuani or Twisted Fate will always be playable, and could even be meta-defining. Plus, Leona’s leveled-up form will allow her to stun the strongest enemy whenever the Daybreak effect is activated. Pair this up with cards like Leona’s Morning Light, and you could potentially stun multiple units in a single turn using a single spell.
Another strong card to highlight is Sunburst. If it has its Daybreak effect activated, it can silence a unit before dealing 6 damage to it–which even includes champions. This is probably the first card revealed that can silence a champion, and it’s basically a 6-mana delete-a-unit spell, as there aren’t many units that can survive 6 damage on top of being silenced. This card alone will deny Tryndamere of his level-up condition, prevent Commander Ledros from activating his Last Breath effect, and remove the stats of They Who Endure. The potential to remove so many cards effectively is sure to make this card a must-have in decks that runs the Targon region.
Zenith Blade is also worth a mention as it is probably the only spell that can grant a permanent Overwhelm keyword onto a unit, which opens up possibilities like a Lee Sin with a more consistent Overwhelm. On top of that, it allows you to draw another Zenith Blade if its Daybreak effect is activated, essentially replacing itself if it’s the first card played in a turn, increasing the consistency of many decks that require a lot of spellcasting, like Fizz or Lee Sin.
Rahyun, Daylight’s Spear also makes Daybreak a powerful keyword, as he effectively removes the only downside of Daybreak by allowing you to activate multiple Daybreak in a single turn. This in turn helps Leona level up, or activate her skill in her leveled-up form.
As most people have already noticed, Yasuo-Leona could be a powerful combo, but many are doubtful if Leona’s stun potential alone is worth sacrificing the other cards that can stun in the Noxus region. We will have to sit back and see if the Leona-Yasuo combo works out.
Diana, being the opposite of Leona, runs with the fitting keyword Nightfall. Diana isn’t really a strong champion on her own like Leona, but she makes it up for it by having two really strong keywords, Quick Attack and Challenger. However, I’m not really convinced she is worth building a deck around since she requires you to play another card to activate her Nightfall ability, which means in most cases, you wouldn’t be able to play her on round 2 unless you banked some spell mana or played a 0-mana card.
On top of that, if you’re not on an even attacking turn, the first turn you could play Diana and benefit from her Quick Attack and Challenger is on round 3, which opens her up to many more removal options. To me, it takes too much effort to make her work, which is a similar issue faced by Lucian and Zed.
While Diana is not really worth building a deck around, her accompanying cards seem quite powerful, such as Diana’s spell card, Pale Cascade, which is both a buffing card and draw card. Since this card is burst speed, you could potentially use it to draw another card that can swing the battle to your favor, on top of buffing a unit to trade favorably.
Besides that, Hush is also a very interesting card–a burst speed silence card that can also silence champions. It differs from cards like Noxian Guillotine as you can use it to silence multiple units during the battle phase, provided you have enough mana. This card can also be used on your own units to remove Frostbite. This can be a very powerful combat trick spell, depending on the meta.
Overall, Diana’s supporting cards aren’t really that powerful or interesting on their own, with perhaps the most deadly card being the Lunari Shadestalker. With a beefy 3 health for only 2 mana cost, she can activate her Nightfall ability to grant her Elusive. She is perhaps the strongest Elusive unit for her cost, and if she is played on round 2, activating her Nightfall ability will make her virtually unkillable unless the opponent has an Elusive unit of their own or banked some mana from the previous turn.
Duskpetal Dust is also a very interesting card to use as it reduces the cost of the unit by 1, and costs 1 mana itself, which allows you to play Duskpetal Dust into Lunari Shadestalker for a total of 2 mana while activating her Nightfall ability in the process. However, committing so many resources for just one 2/3 Elusive unit might mean this extremely aggro play style will run out of steam very quickly unless you can replenish your hand.
The much awaited Aurelion Sol did not disappoint at all. As the champion that’s basically the Big Bang in dragon form, the card and its accompanying units reflect that in terms of devastating power levels.
As the first champion that requires 10 mana to play, his statline and keyword reflect that power. His 10/10 stats and two keywords, Fury and Spellshield, ensure that Aurelion Sol will get stronger if not dealt with immediately, and prevent him from getting killed or removed instantly with a spell.
Fury grants +1/+1 every time a unit with the keyword kills another unit. Fury itself isn’t really that great on Aurelion Sol, since having +1/+1 on such an endgame unit won’t make much of an impact on the game. Spellshield, on the other hand, will be the keyword that ensures Aurelion Sol won’t be removed instantly when he comes into play.
Aside from the 2 keywords, Aurelion Sol is also paired with Invoke as his thematic keyword. When this keyword is activated, you will be given a choice between 3 random celestials to be created in your hand. Celestials are cards that are often slightly more powerful than cards of similar mana cost, with some being so powerful it’s worth reserving Invoke for them.
One such insane celestial card is The Immortal Fire, which is basically an Elusive Tryndamere. This card alone could deal tons of damage even in its base form without any buffs, on top of being Elusive, which is already a pain to deal with. It has functionally two lives, which allows you to potentially use Chroniclers of the Ruin to create a copy of The Immortal Fire as it will not die the first time it is killed.
An obvious downside to an Invoke archetype deck is that Celestial cards don’t boast strong statlines. Essentially, you sacrifice stats and immediate payoff to Invoke cards that are stronger to be used down the line. Not only are the stats for Celestials pretty bad, they usually require some conditions to be met such as having Nightfall, Daybreak, or discarding a card. This means Invoke is generally very high-cost, and depending on how many aggro decks are in the meta, it may severely impact the viability of the Invoke archetype.
Finally, we have an assortment of several other cards which are not tied to any of the new champions. I’m especially interested in Apprehend, which is an interesting card that can indirectly buff Darius. Apprehend allows you to stun an enemy and rally for only 2 mana if you have Darius on the board, which could prove to be really lethal. Even though it is a slow spell, and your opponent could potentially try and remove Darius to deny the rally effect, it would prove to be difficult if Darius is at full health.
The low mana cost of the spell also ensures you will almost always have enough mana to cast it. I’m not sure if this single card will be able to make Darius more playable, but it is definitely an indirect buff to Darius, and it makes me wonder if we will see similar cards for all the other champions, or if this will only be reserved as a method to indirectly buff weaker champions.
There’s also Jack, The Winner which could potentially make a Noxus-Bilgewater aggro deck work better. The consistent generation of spells that can directly damage the opponent’s nexus in exchange for damaging your own ally could play very well into increasing the viability of aggro burn decks, which have been severely nerfed. This card could also be used alongside cards with Regeneration such as Braum to reduce the impact of dealing damage to your own unit while slowly chipping away at the opponent’s nexus health.
There are other interesting cards here that we can basically discuss all day, such as Singular Will, which is essentially Ionia’s version of Ruination; and Tri-Beam Improbulator, which may greatly change Heimerdinger’s playstyle and viability. However, I will avoid discussing all of these cards at length and leave the best card for last.
It is none other than Porofly, without a doubt the best card in this expansion. It is cute, it flies, and most importantly, it is a Poro that could honestly make Poro decks more viable with its Spellshield keyword. Spellshield can effectively reduce the biggest weakness of the Heart of the Fluft Poro archetype – getting removed instantly with a single spell.
That concludes our analysis for this newly released expansion. I hope you enjoyed these articles as much as I enjoyed writing it, and I hope I will see you guys at the peak of Mount Targon!