Jax and Ornn: First impressions of Legends of Runeterra's new champions

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Jax and Ornn: First impressions of Legends of Runeterra's new champions

30/08/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

The last Awakening champions are here: Jax and Ornn, to finish up the first equipment expansions full of benefits for this mechanic.

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translated by Joey Sticks

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revised by Tabata Marques

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Wit the end of

Awakening

's reveal season, we have the last two champions of this set: Jax and Ornn. The first is one of the new Runeterra champions and the second is from Freljord. Both came to compliment the equipment cards, being the most connected to them. In this article you will get to know more about them and also get some deck ideas.

Jax, Grandmaster at Arms

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Originally called

Saijax Cail-Rynx Icath'um

, Jax was born in Icathia, the same region as Zilean. He grew up listening to stories of the great warriors of the region, called Kohari, who fought against Shurima trying to protect Icathian from the Shuriman expansion, but that, after failing their mission of protecting the Mage King, took their own lives. After winning the war, Shurima exposed the bodies of the Mage King and the Kohari to serve as an example, an act that Jax's dad witnessed.

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As a member of a long-living race, Jax lived many centuries training as a warrior, learning every weapon possible: from Icathian weaponry to Shuriman ones, becoming one of Icathia's best fighters. Until one day an earthquake in a nearby province revealed a big secret:

The Void

. This revelation promised powers to the Icathian mages so that they could challenge Shurima and their ascended god-warriors, such as Nasus and Renekton. With motivation and power, the Icathians declared war against Shurima and reestablished a new Mage King and new Kohari warriors, with Jax as a member. During the war that followed, the mages released Void powers and brought great devastation to all Runeterra. Icathia was lost to the Void, creatures from there destroyed everything and the horrors of war corrupted even the Ascended that became Darkins after they went mad. Jax went to the crater where the Void was summoned, with the intention of taking his own life as the Kohari warriors of the past did. But instead, he saw a light fend off the Void's darkness. It was a flaming staff, a lantern, which even though was fallen and abandoned, still shone and fought against the Void. He took inspiration from that and started to bear the "Last Light of Icathia '' as his weapon. Like so, he abandoned his home temporarily, while searching for new warriors to train as Kohari so that, when it was necessary, they had strength enough to fight against the Void again. In

League of Legends

, Jax is a basic attack based fighter. He is a specialist in getting close to an enemy and keep hitting hard and constantly, dealing blows faster and faster due to his passive,

Relentless Assault

, which increases his attack speed at each attack. He has

Leap Strike

to get closer to enemies from afar,

Empower

which deals a blow stronger than usual, and

Counter Strike

, which protects the champions from basic attacks and AoE damage and afterwards stun enemies around him. Finally, his Ultimate is

Grandmaster's Might

, which passively makes each third attack deal extra damage and can be activated to increase his defenses.
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Just like in League, in

Legends of Runeterra

, Jax is an attack based champion and his simplicity was also kept. The only skill that was completely translated into the game was

Counter Strike

, which became his champion spell of the same name, Jax's Counter Strike, which protects him and boosts him through the Forge effect, which grants +1/+1 to him or to his equipment. His other skills came in a less literal way through the incentive to constantly attack to take advantage of his

Quick-Attack

, representing his passive, and his Ultimate represented in his level 2 skill of increasing his power and defense through equipped allies. Besides his skills, he also got his weapon: The Light of Icathia, which is the one responsible for his key-words and even if this champion is slain, he can pass his weapon forward. Besides his whole kit, his Origin: ability Grandmaster at Arms doesn't have any other passive besides allowing the deck builder to add any Weaponmasters in the deck.

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Besides the champion, we also got his support cards: The Weaponmasters. They are the first multi region followers which are not Bandle City cards, opening up future possibilities for the game. All followers use the

Improvise

mechanic, which gives out equipment from a predefined list. Important highlights go to Ionian Hookmaster which has the lowest cost so it might offer up more possibilities and Wandering Shepherd which can buff low cost units such as Zoe, Norra, Teemo and Saga Seeker. The spells also offer up much potential, with Catch! and Entrancing Lure having great cost - benefit ratio and also Sharesies to protect equipment from the removals that we will see being used.

Where will Jax play?

Jax seems to be one of the main responsible culprits for equipment cards seeing play. Because he is a Runeterra champion, he allows for the use of cards from many different regions, also all focused on equipment. Because of that, cards such as Momentous Choice and Heedless Resurrection will have their benefits activated immediately when he is summoned. He must be played in

Midrange

decks, maybe even more aggressive ones, with the potential of being a good finisher, but as his biggest benefit is his weapon, he might pass along this potential to any other high power card that wants Overwhelm. He can see play in decks with Kayn, as the cards that most take advantage of the equipment effects are Cultist cards. But he also has potential with Master Yi because it can activate Momentous Choice and offer Overwhelm to Ionia, besides having great cheap spells. Another good option, using already existing cards, must be Akshan who takes advantage of the ally targeting that equipment allows for. Finally, to everyone's terror, we will see decks trying to use The Bandle Tree with Jax's followers, as they have all 10 regions. Jax seems to be a very impactful champion to the game. He himself might not see much play, but his kit will open up many options for deckbuilding. Besides that, a 3/2 unit with Quick-attack is always strong, even more so because even if he is removed, he can still grant Quick-attack to other units for just 1 mana through his equipment. For sure Jax will see play.

Ornn, The Fire Below the Mountain

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Ornn, the demi-god, is known in Freljord for being the Forge God, the one responsible for crafts, being the first-born of the demi-god children and for being the one who helped create Freljord's land. He is also the most recluse of his siblings, preferring to be absent from the world to make his own creations in his Forge known as Hearth-Home. Even so, a group of craftspeople, set on enhancing their techniques, constantly searched for Ornn's wisdom and went after him in search of improvement. They were known as Hearthblood. Ornn didn't interact much with them, but everyone knew that deep down he admired their will to craft and to improve their craft.

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However, a millenia ago, Ornn and his brother Volibear had a row in the peak of the mountain. Volibear believed that Freljord should go back to its wild roots, while Ornn disagreed. The fight became a fire and lightning storm which completely destroyed Hearth-home and killed all the Hearthbloods. After that, Ornn went into complete exile. However, with the world transforming again, Ornn is starting to reappear in stories and legends. In

League of Legends

, Ornn is a tank that uses debuffs on his enemies to help his allies have easier duels. As a forgemaster, he has two passives:

Living Forge

, which allows him to create his own items instead of buying some in the store, and

Master-Craftsman

, which allows his allies to get better items than usual in the game. His other skills are

Volcanic Rupture

, which opens up a crack in the ground which damages and slows down enemies and creates a rock pillar,

Bellows Breath

in which he advances, breathing fire, making enemies brittle and

Searing Charge

, which allows a sudden leap that knocks up enemies in case he collides against a surface. Finally, his Ultimate is

Call of the Forge God

, in which he summons a great Fire elemental to attack and knock up enemies.
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Legends of Runeterra

's Ornn was more loyal to lore than to his playability. He truly is the god of the Forge, with a focus on Forging his allies and their equipment, crafting incredibly powerful equipment that can be copied by him when played. When summoned, he allows for this equipment to grow more and more as every time he attacks he forges more and more. At level 2, he makes his big stats worthwhile by creating a big unit with Overwhelm. The only League skills that were kept were

Bellows Breath

, that got a spell with the same name and damages enemies and allies while forging an ally and

Call of the Forge God

, which became his level 2 skill.

Where will Ornn play?

Ornn, as a high cost champion, must see play in decks more focused around a long term gameplan, but still keeping a Midrange style. Especially due to the fact that he can create a lot of value by copying powerful equipment that was forged throughout the game. He must play in decks similar to Pantheon's and his Fated kit, but this time in Freljord. His focus will be to create a big unit that Ornn can copy when played.
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Ornn's support cards offer many different ways of Forging, but don't offer many options for equipment, which might limit this champion's possibilities. Among the cards, the only equipment is Bone Club, but there's also Combat Cook which can create Improvised equipment. Other cards are made to Forge, counting with Weaponsmith's Apprentice which must work really well with the Improvisers and also with Favored Artisan which allows for a future Forge. The best card long run must be Ornn's Forge, which offers buffs every turn.

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Regions that match him will be the ones with good equipment, as Freljord only has Bone Club. Noxus must be a good inclusion as it has Great Hammers and The Darkin Ballista. The Hammers offer exactly what this region combination wants: to mix great stats to a game-ending keyword: Overwhelm. This region might also have extra rallies through Ruined Reckoner and Katarina. Another interesting option might be Targon with the Fated cards, as Ornn's Forge allows them to activate their effect every round, besides Seal in Steel allowing you to reuse a unit that is about to be slain. The combination also allows for the use of Sharesies to protect equipment from removals. Of everything in the new Expansion, Ornn must match Jax really well. The duo allows for easy access to a lot of potential equipment, such as Fishawhack and Upcycled Rake, besides Jax's own The Light of Icathia. The potential to curve out Weaponsmith's Apprentice with Jax is also quite powerful, summoning this champion as a 4/3. Another interesting possibility is Master Yi that, with Ornn's Forge, can get cheap and constant spells to activate Flow, and on top of that increase this champion's damage so that he can level up. Ornn seems to be a fun champion, working similarly as Taliyah copying a previous investment and with Illaoi, as you will invest a lot in one unit. It might be that he suffers if his equipment isn't well protected, so in case Shadow Isles remains strong he might not see much play.

Conclusion

With all the champions revealed so far, now all that is left is to wait for the new season that is coming on the 31st. We have 5 champions that seem quite invested in working well amongst themselves and a new type of card to test out. In case you want to see about the other three, check this outlink outside website! Already have a deck in mind to test out? Tell us. Another important thing to remember is that Awakening is just the beginning of the

Darkin Saga

. We will have more expansions with this theme, so if you're waiting to see Aatrox, Varus and even Xoolani as champions, just wait for the next reveals.
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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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