Legends of Runeterra’s Seasonal Tournament happens this weekend (Open rounds on the 16th and Top 32 on the 17th) and a deck that might show up a lot in the competition is Ahri/Bard. The list is quite popular, both in ranked queue and in grassroots tournaments and I will explain how this deck works.
General View of the Deck
The list revolves around the Chimes that Bard and his followers put in the deck and the recalls that make Ahri level up.
The idea is to drop the units that put chimes in your deck early on board — Byrd, The Bellringer and Esmus, Breath of the World — so that they can fall on your elusive units and, so this way, they deal more damage in their attacks.
The interesting play is to combo Byrd, The Bellringer with Navori Conspirator, which recalls Byrd, The Bellringer to your hand, making it possible to play it again, put even more chimes in your deck and buff even more your units.
You get the gist of it, right? The deck works with this snowball effect, in which the small units grow more and more and become extremely strong and difficult to deal with. As most are elusive and not every deck has answers to elusives, the attacks become each time more dangerous and lethal.
Ahri here acts as the deck’s finisher, because in her leveled form, the champion becomes very strong, given her ability to strike the Nexus and swap places with the ally to her right, recalling it and doing this till there are no more allies. If your opponent doesn’t have any blockers or a way to stop Ahri (be it with stuns, freezes or removals), this champion can finish the game easily.
Another way to play with this champion is to summon her early on board and use her ability of recalling allies to recall Byrd, the Bellringer or Esmus, Breath of the World and this way make them put even more chimes on your deck. However, if you have no ways of protecting this champion, it isn’t interesting to summon her, as she is quite fragile and can die to a simple Mystic Shot.
Think it over well before summoning her on board!
Bard is this deck’s biggest protagonist! Just by being in the deck at the time of deckbuilding, he puts 3 chimes randomly in your deck’s cards at each Round Start, so if you’re lucky and draw a lot of chimes, your units will be quite strong.
Besides that, when Bard attacks, he puts even more chimes in your deck (3 in level 1 and 6 in level 2) and when he levels up — which is quite easy in this deck — buffs allies according to the amount of chimes you draw, so having this champion on board is quite valuable, mostly because if you have another Bard in hand, you’ll have access to the spell Bard’s Traveler’s Call, which is similar to Corina, Mastermind’s skill and activates all chimes present in the top 3 cards in your deck. So, depending on the amount of chimes there are in your deck, you can grow your allies quite a lot and consequently, manage to get lethal damage through an unblocked unit.
Considering that this list has many elusive units, many won’t be blocked in an attack and Bard guarantees your victory!
As they were mentioned before, Byrd, The Bellringer and Esmus, Breath of the World, are the units which guarantee chime draws, as they plant chimes on the top card of your deck. Besides that, Esmus, Breath of the World, has a support effect, granting the ally to its right on attack +1+1, so it is quite a strong unit.
In this deck there are many elusive units which tend to go with Ahri decks, so there are The Mourned, which is a unit that can bring on aggression early and help Ahri’s level up, because this unit returns to your hand when it strikes the enemy Nexus;
Dancing Droplet is a way to draw cards, because there are many ways to recall this unit; Shadow Assassin also performs this card draw role, though at burst speed, when she is summoned. Lastly, we have Navori Conspirator, which is a unit that makes the deck work better, due to returns of units like Dancing Droplet, Byrd, The Bellringer and Esmus, Breath of the World.
To finish up we have Navori Highwayman, which is a 2 in 1 unit. For just 2 mana, you can have two blockers, which in case they have chimes on them, can take a lot of damage. Oh, and besides that, they also count for Bard’s level up.
And speaking of Bard’s level up, we have Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed, which is almost always the one responsible for making this champion level up at burst speed. Besides the buffs he gives allies in the round he is summoned, he makes you draw 2 cards, which with a leveled Bard is excellent, because if you activate a lot of chimes on these drawn cards, your units grow even more.
Ionia is one of the strongest regions when the subject is spells, isn’t it? And this deck has quite strong decks from this region, such as Deny and Nopeify!, which are quite good to negate your opponent’s important spells.
There are also the recall spells - Homecoming and Recall -, which can be used both as a way to protect your allies, and also (in Homecoming’s case) to recall an opponent’s problematic unit.
Lastly, we have Twin Disciplines, which can also be used defensively or aggressively and Ionian Tellstones, which is quite versatile and offers healing with Health Potion, which is useful to counteract spells such as Ravenous Flock or Scorched Earth and mostly burns which go directly to your Nexus. Among the options, we also have the presence of Homecoming, which works very well in this deck and Stand United, which in some cases can also be interesting.
Mulligan and Playstyle
You’ll always keep in your hand Byrd, The Bellringer, Esmus, Breath of the World and Ahri, besides some recall spell, such as Recall or Homecoming. Other good units to keep in your hand are Navori Conspirator and Dancing Droplet.
The idea is to put in your chimes early and make it so they fall on your elusive units, to develop attacks even more powerful. However, Ahri/Bard isn’t a deck that likes to block early game, as its units are still small, so you need to use your Nexus as a resource and give back the damage you suffer in your attacks. Still, you need to pay attention to how much it is worth it to not block, since some decks bring a lot of burn and being low in health can be quite dangerous.
If you have Bard on round 4, it is safe to summon him. He has a lot of health and you have ways to protect him, so it’s interesting to attack with this champion, to plant more chimes and make your units grow even more.
Keep in mind that tempo is the biggest ally to Ahri/Bard, so the longer the games last, the better it is to you, as there will be more chimes and your units will be gigantic!
Hardly your opponent will be able to compete with this deck’s late game, so make good, careful choices early on, then take risks with your decisions and do whatever you can to stall the game until late turns because it will be more comfortable for you and this way, you’ll be able to finish your games with ease!
As the Thralls deck became slower with its nerfs, Ahri/Bard can easily play this matchup and counter the list, recalling the landmarks which are close to finishing their countdowns. Besides that, this Freljord/Shurima list doesn’t offer many answers to elusive units.
Feel The Rush
Again, because it is a slower deck, Feel The Rush suffers to overcome the strength of Ahri/Bard. Not to mention the main spell in this deck can be countered by a Deny.
Remember I told you about Ahri/Bard’s difficulty in blocking and letting go of its units? So… Here it is practically impossible to stall the game, as your opponent usually has an ample board and you have just a few units that are not interesting to hand in when in combat.
This deck can be quite aggressive early game and in round 7, in which the unit The Winding Light is summoned, Ahri/Bard probably still hasn’t finish up their game, so it is quite hard to stop Aphelios/Vi/Zoe’s powerful attack.
Did you manage to understand a little bit how Ahri/Bard works? Have you ever played with it? Do you think it will show up a lot in Seasonals? Tell me all about it in the comment section! ;)
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