Deck Guide: Ashe LeBlanc Frostbite Midrange

Legends of Runeterra

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Deck Guide: Ashe LeBlanc Frostbite Midrange

11/08/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

Ashe Leblanc is a classic deck that remains relevant. It is quite strong against a big portion of the current meta, and, as all points to, will remain strong in the next few patches.

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Ashe has been a part of Noxus decks ever since the Legends of Runeterra beta. During the Rising Tideslink outside website expansion, this deck reached new highs, being one of the strongest decks of the second season of this expansion in the form of the infamous Ashe Sejuani archetype. With LeBlanc's release, this deck found a better partner and ever since then they have gone along together in the Noxus' Reputation package. Today, this strategy is quite strong as an anti-meta option, and because of that, it ended up being the deck I used to reach masters this season.

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The only really crippling weakness here at the moment are Seraphine decks, but against Vayne this deck is a menace, so in case you're facing a lot of Demacians, this is a list worth discovering. Even with a Patch coming in the next few days, this deck seems to remain unaffected and will keep being very efficient at what it does, if not better situated in the meta as its biggest weakness, Ezreal Seraphine, will get nerfs.

The Deck

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Ashe LeBlanc is a midrange deck that battles for the board head to head with other decks. Its focus is to win trades that happen in combat by keeping its units alive and removing opponent units. For that, you have Frostbite cards that guarantee that all your trades are going to be favorable. However, Frostbite has a value ratio of 0 cards, as after all you will be spending a card in exchange for an enemy unit and it is at that time that we will have our biggest guns coming in with this combo to actually make valuable trades.
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The first one is the highest ranked one: The Unforgiving Cold. This spell allows you to frostbite two opponents at once, guaranteeing an immediate card advantage for the cost of just 4 mana. Compared to Flash Freeze, which is also a guaranteed Frostbite, it's one extra mana to Frostbite one extra target, but it has a deckbuilding cost: it is necessary to equip a unit for that. Fortunately, Noxus Freljord allows us to use two excellent Improvise units: Ionian Hookmaster and Combat Cook.
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The second advantage to this deck compared to other midrange decks is the possibility of easily drawing cards. Whispered Words allows a good draw for 4 mana and an excellent one for 2 after you activate Reputation. Another option is the Trifarian Assessor, which requires a bit of prep, but also guarantees a better draw by putting in a body on board as part of this card. Throughout the match your objective is to keep your units alive so you can win through Rally or Ashe's passive level 2 effect. In long matches, you can win by having more cards and bigger units than your opponent. It is possible to remove key enemy units to delay or even remove their win condition completely.

Champions

Ashe and LeBlanc are great at creating win conditions, each in their own way. But this deck doesn't need you to always have them on board to win.
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LeBlanc is a great champion to have in a midrange brawl, but she fails miserably against control decks. This means that against the decks we hope to face, she is one of the biggest weapons. None of them can take blocking a 5 power quick attack unit, so we'll always have favorable trades with her. Besides that, the spell she creates when she levels up, Mirror Image, allows us to copy a 5+ power allied unit. This allows us to make plays that almost immediately win games, so I will go into detail about these plays later in this guide.

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Though she offers game winning options, don't cling to LeBlanc too much, as she is quite vulnerable and after she creates a Mirror Image, her duty has been done. But usually when she manages to level up, she also manages to survive for a bit longer.
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Ashe is the deck's most obvious win condition: she prevents enemies from blocking and thus allows for more damage to be dealt. Currently she levels up quite fast: The Unforgiving Cold is responsible for 50% of her win condition alone and we have further Frostbite cards to complete the rest. Ashe is excellent against the decks we do want to face, but she shines even more against decks that usually only have one or two powerful units on board, such as Rumble, as this usually means they will have less blockers. A surprise attack Frostbiting multiple enemies through cards such as The Unforgiving Cold and Brittle Steel can catch a lot of opponents off guard and, unless they have multiple buffs, it means a victory for you. Besides her game-finishing powers, Ashe also guarantees a lot of protection as when she levels up she creates Crystal Arrow, but just like Mirror Image, I will speak more about it later in this article.

Units

Ionian Hookmaster and Combat Cook are two very important units, as they will be the ones to activate our The Unforgiving Cold. It is very important that you can play at least one of them during a match. After playing, you will have to choose which weapon you're Improvising. The order of importance depends on what you're up against, but usually it is: The Fix-Em 5000 Fishawhack Sandworn Amulet Combat Reel Pot O' Pain Pan O' Pain Shepherd's Authority Upcycled Rake The Fix-Em 5000 guarantees favorable trades with your high power units, Fishawhack allows for them to deal Nexus damage in every trade, but its utility falls depending on the size of enemy units, and Sandworn Amulet allows them to not be so easily blocked. Combat Reel guarantees extra mana, but this one, Amulet and Pot O' Pain are up there because they also guarantee extra health points, which might be very important. Shepherd's Authority also does that, but prevents your unit from blocking and this might be very bad in case you have just a few units on board. Pan O' Pain is only useful with the biggest health points units, such as Avarosan Hearthguard, and it doesn't pay off with the Ionian Hookmaster, but it is a nice option for Combat Cook. Finally, Upcycled Rake brings Scout, which is only really impactful on Ashe. Usually the other weapons do a lot more to win us the game with her.
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With Combat Cook, try to prioritize equipment that have more than 2 power points, as with its Forge he will go to 5 power, which is very important for it to activate reputation. Against decks that use Piltover or Bilgewater, prioritize Pot O' Pain and other weapons that provide more health points, as they will help protect your units a lot.

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Trifarian Gloryseeker is one of the best cards in the deck, but also one of the most vulnerable ones, and because of that we only bring two copies of her. She acts as a removal for this deck as she can guarantee favorable trades. Alongside Frostbite, she forces out a 0 power unit into combat to remove it. Because of that, its strength is also proportional to the number of removals your opponent has at their disposal. She is very weak against Piltover and Bilgewater, but excellent against the other regions. She also has a very important role to finalize matches alongside Ashe: she is capable of challenging the enemies that have any power points left when you try to finish matches. Icevale Archer is a very weak unit early on, but its power grows throughout the match, especially because it can combo with Culling Strike. Its biggest use is to prevent enemy attacks and, after Ashe levels, remove a blocker. It also matches Gloryseeker really well. Trifarian Assessor is one of your most important cards for late game, and she will almost never be played on curve. Try to save it for after you've played an Avarosan Hearthguard, as your draws will have more value after that. Try to plan ahead to keep 5 power units on board for when you plan to play this card, even if this means taking a bit of extra damage or spending some resource: for each unit on board is an extra card drawn. There is not much to be said about the Avarosan Hearthguard, as it is a very strong 5/6 unit and the value it brings throughout the game is unmatched. If you're against a control deck, he will be your biggest ally. Incisive Tactician is a great finisher. It is so strong that at times I kept it in my initial hand though it costs 8 just because of the pressure it represents. With it in hand, you can open attack when it's your attack token turn to force your opponent to spend some resources and then Rally immediately to win a match. It works really well with Ashe, which when attacking twice benefits double from passive skill at any of her levels. Tactician also has its role in defensive turns if your opponent taps out of mana.

Spells

Three Sisters is a versatile spell that allows you to have three important tools at your disposal: Frostbite, protection or removal. Most matches you will use Frostbite, but its versatility can be very important at times. Brittle Steel has a great cost to benefit ratio, but its utility falls down as the match progresses, which is why we use only two. But it has its use until the match is finished: targets that were damaged become vulnerable to it. Troll Chant is one of the strongest spells in the game. By just 2 mana it can guarantee you up to two favorable trades. Any time you can try to use it in two separate combats, but not always this is possible. It is one of the few defensive options that we have in the deck when it comes to increasing our units' health points, so it is normal to use it just for the buff. If that happens, keep in mind to also use it to reduce a 2 power unit's power to 0, as this also guarantees Ashe one more point for level up.

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The Unforgiving Cold is the deck's main attraction, and it works extremely well to guarantee favorable trades and prevent enemy attacks. But it is very important to keep in mind it has weaknesses: you can't choose its targets, and it always affects the strongest enemies. Keep that in mind when blocking: sometimes you will be forced to block enemies that aren't frostbitten. Another important thing is its double activation criteria: equipping an ally. Avoid the best you can to use it without having played your Improvise units and keep an eye out for that golden shine around the card that means you've done that. Whispered Words are your basic card draw, try to use it with its reduced cost, but if you don't have any plays planned for your next turns or if you're out of cards, use it at its original cost. This tends to happen against more control decks such as Shadow Isles which prevent your 5 power strikes or even remove your units. Brutal Skirmish and Culling Strike are your removal spells in this deck. Both work really well against frostbitten targets, with Culling Strike being the most reliable removals, however destroying equipment is something very important in this meta, being one of the best options to destroy a Bloodcursed Harpy, for instance. Be aware when using Brutal Skirmish against opponents which are able to react and remove your units.

Mirror Image and Crystal Arrow

Both champions create very powerful cards when they level up. Both have very important uses for us to win matches. Mirror Image allows us to copy a 5+ power unit. This can impact your match a ton, but must be used carefully as, in general, you can only do it once or twice. Which are our options and what do they offer? LeBlanc is one of the worst targets to copy. She only offers us cheaper Mirror Images. When you don't have any other option, but also need a strong attack, this is your option. Ashe is also not that amazing, but sometimes frostbiting one more target when attacking can guarantee victory with her level 2 passive. Against decks that don't have much removals but a lot of buffs, this can be a great play. Combat Cook will create another random weapon as it was summoned but not played, so it isn't very relevant, but if you're really tight for more units or weapons, it can save you. Avarosan Hearthguard is also of little impact, but we have even bigger important effects now: it will buff your whole deck once more. This tends to be very strong in dragged out matches. Trifarian Assessor is one of your strongest targets for Mirror Image, though she needs a little help to get there. If she was buffed by Avarosan Hearthguard or an equipment, it gets its 5+ power and can be copied. It will draw you many cards and can guarantee a victory on pure value alone. Incisive Tactician is another very strong option. It will guarantee another attack which will for sure be annihilating, as it will be paired alongside another body identical to the one copied. An important detail that is sure to provoke an early surrender from your opponent is that if you already have LeBlanc on board, it is very easy to infinite loop your attacks as one attack with the Tactician is enough to create another Mirror Image.

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Ashe also contributes to victory with her Crystal Arrow, which is way less flexible than Mirror Image, but still is very important. While you have this card in hand, your opponent will avoid developing, as they will be opened then to be answered by the Arrow. Even if Ashe is no longer on board, this card can be used really well alongside a powerful attack that forces out trades in your favor and this works even better if you have a Tactician to force out another attack. Unfortunately, the Crystal Arrow does clutter your next card draw, which can be very bad. In case you need to use it to draw more cards, do it in your attack token to take advantage of the frostbites. Another important detail: you don't need to use it every time you want to win with Ashe. If your opponent can answer your Ashe before you attack after the Arrow, it is best to attack only taking advantage of her passive effect.

Mulligan

Your initial hand will always depend on what you're facing. But it tends to follow some patterns. If you're facing a

midrange

deck, the most important thing is to find a weapon, so if you need to, full mulligan away all your cards. With a weapon you will guarantee your best frostbite card. Always keep Troll Chant, as it is very strong against removals and helps out in guaranteeing favorable trades. Against decks that use a lot of

removals

, don't keep LeBlanc, Ashe, or the Trifarian Gloryseeker, as they are easily removed and don't do anything if they are. In these matchups, the best options are still the Improvisers, but it is also worth it to keep Avarosan Hearthguard. Rarely you will want Trifarian Assessor early game, as it depends on other cards and ideally you will want it to come along with the Avarosan Hearthguard's buff. Icevale Archer is also another one that you usually don't want in your initial hand early game, but it is very important if you are against an

aggressive

deck or a deck that plays a really strong unit that you might want to remove with Culling Strike, such as Pantheon or Rumble.

Favorable Matchups

Midrange decks are your best matches, as you will resolve most of them with one basic rule: Frostbite and let them kill themselves when they try to hit your units. Because of that, I will only go into details in matchups that might offer more problems or have certain details.

Vayne Rumble

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This is one of the most common opponents that I have faced. Against them, keep in mind that your most important card is The Unforgiving Cold, so the priority in your initial hand is to find it and a way of activating it. It is very important to activate it, as it is a perfect answer for Rumble: it takes out spellshield and frostbites it afterwards. Another good option is to have Icevale Archer, which ignores spellshield and prevents it from attacking at turn 4. By frostbiting Rumble, it is very easy to block and let it kill itself. However, there is a big problem: Legionary Charge. By just 2 mana, Rumble goes back to having 5 attack. So keep an eye out on your opponent's mana. A good tip is to check if your opponent used that card to draw Rumble.

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In general, when they have Rumble they don't keep this card and when they don't they keep this card to draw the champion. Even still, it is very important to have a unit that can block it without much fear: Avarosan Hearthguard. With its 6 health points it is an excellent answer to this Yordle, as it will force out another card to be used before you have to react. Another strong option to deal with this deck is Trifarian Gloryseeker which can easily deal with Rumble, as the deck only has Whirling Death and Riposte as answers and, in general, you will have more options to react after they do that. If the match drags after that, you will have the value advantage, so even if Rumble survives all of that, don't give up.

Vayne Gwen

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This is a very vulnerable deck to Frostbites, as it is entirely dependent on Hallowed to increase their units' power and all removals they have are by striking. Another very important detail is that Icevale Archer is a very bad card in this matchup, as Hallowed applies after combat was declared, so you want to frostbite only afterwards. Your objective will be the same as in the other matchups: protect your units and remove enemy units in combat. Attack just enough to force out blockers and use your frostbites and attack reduction spells afterwards. Brittle Steel is very useful in this matchup as Hallowed units tend to have 1 health. Culling Strike works really well too as it can slay both champions in this deck, the Eternal Dancers too, without requiring further resources. The most dangerous turn for this deck is potentially a final The Harrowing. If you think the match will go to that turn, try to keep the Crystal Arrow for your defensive turn.

Unfavorable Matchups

Ezreal Seraphine

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In this matchup your opponent will prevent you from keeping your units on board. Don't keep any of the Trifarian Gloryseekers, as they are very vulnerable, or Trifarian Assessor. Your best cards here will be the Improvisers, as they give out value even after they are dead, and also the Avarosan Hearthguard, which is hard to remove and also protects your next units. An important spell to keep is Whispered Words. Even if you hardly can activate Reputation, card draw is fundamental. Your removals are very important as Culling Strike can slay both of the enemy champions in that deck, which are fundamental to its workings. But be careful about Brutal Skirmish and use it mostly as an answer for something your opponent does. Ideally your weapons and Avarosan Hearthguard's buffs will make removals difficult and you will be able to keep your units on board long enough to manage a win.

Miss Fortune Swain

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Ashe LeBlanc is a deck that suffers a lot against aggro, but this is one of the most difficult matchups to beat as it gained more control tools recently. Be careful about Icevale Archer and the Trifarian Gloryseeker, which are easy targets for a Make It Rain, but still, the Icevale Archer is a great card for a defensive turn 2 as it answers two enemy cards. Culling Strike is still very good both to remove Miss Fortune early game or take care of a The Leviathan. But ideally, the match will end before turn 7.

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Ashe is very important as it usually guarantees a victory faster through her passive, but Crystal Arrow is also very strong to keep your opponent from developing. Prioritize weapons that have health points to get favorable trades or Fishawhack and Sandworn Amulet to deal more damage. Recently I played in Cards Realm's Runeterra Royale tourney using this deck, so I can show how this matchup went. The match starts around 1:10:03.

Possible Changes

Frozen in Fear: If you're playing against many control decks that drag out matches, such as Heimerdinger Norra, this might be a good card as it allows for the summoning of a really strong unit. It is possible to remove a Whispered Words in favor of it. Brittle Steel: If you're playing against a lot of decks that use less units but that have great powers, such as Pantheon Varus, it might be a good idea to remove one or two of the Brittle Steels and replace them by a third Trifarian Gloryseeker or Culling Strike. Reckoning: This once was a very important card in this deck, but today it sees less play. However, it is very strong against aggro decks, so if you are having trouble against them, it might be worth it. It is possible to use it on turn 4 or 5 with a LeBlanc or Combat Cook on board. In this case it might be a good idea to take out a Incisive Tactician or a Whispered Words.

Final Thoughts

Even with a patch coming soon, by the preview shown on twitter, this deck might only grow more. It is a deck that can face Varus Pantheon and easily win against Vayne. Its biggest enemy, Seraphine, will be nerfed so might see less play. With Rimefang Wolf being buffed, it might also be a strong card to be added in this deck. Besides that, as apparently we will have a Darkin for each region, we will see Aanakca, the Freljordian Darkin, come along as a weapon very soon, and probably will be related to Frostbites. The presence of more equipment will make this deck even more powerful as it must guarantee more safety for these champions and other key units. This is a very reliable deck that is very nice to learn how to play. This is one of those decks that have great potential when the meta is just right for it, so even if it does weaken at some point, in the future it will be back.
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Gabriel "Aerebi" Meyer

Legends of Runeterra player for the WINGS team, in love with the Runeterra universe and really like games in general, including board games. I don't play with the best decks, I play with the decks I like.

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