Legends of Runeterra

Deck Guide

Eternal Deck Guide: Encroaching Shadows - Champless Elusive

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Today, we'll discuss one of the most popular lists for those who want to reach Masters on the Eternal ranked queue - Encroaching Shadows Elusives. This deck is popular among competitive players because it was used in Aegis, the team-based tournament - but this deck really shines in the ranked queue!

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переведено Joey Sticks

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рассмотрено Tabata Marques

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We're in the Eternal ranked season, and, therefore, we're all racing to get to Masters before the Eternal ranked queue is closed.

Eternal is the perfect place to test out new combos and crazy decks, and, considering the current state of Legends of Runeterra, I decided to bring you a guide to one of the craziest lists I've ever played; it even took me out of Platinum this season. I'm talking about champless Encroaching Shadows Elusives.

Champless Encroaching Shadows Elusives - It is Impossible to Stop this Deck!


For those who keep up with my work, you probably know I'm currently competing in the "Aegis FVB -League", a team-based tournament, alongside my team, "Lotus Be Humble". During one of our rounds, we faced this Encroaching Shadows list and lost pretty badly - so much so that we decided to play this deck on the following week. Even though it didn't bring us many victories because of its matchups and the ban system, during our Aegis prep, we found out that this archetype is practically unstoppable in the Eternal ranked queue.

This list can dictate the course of the game on turn 6 or 7 very easily, and many times you'll even declare 20 points of damage on a single attack because of Encroaching Shadows. We nicknamed this list "Zed Gwen, but good" because it really looks like a better version of this archetype.

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This deck has 15 1-drops, 15 2-drops, 3 copies of Encroaching Shadows, and 3 copies of Stalking Shadows. This means you'll be armed to the teeth with low-cost units to play on the board after you play Encroaching Shadows.

Even though it is relatively easy to pilot this deck, there are some plays and nuances that are critical, and you must understand them before you take it to the ranked queue. We'll address each one of them in this article.

Before all of that, however, take a look at my match history after I started playing this deck:

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Main Strategy

Our main strategy will be to play Encroaching Shadows as fast as possible, and then, right afterward on your attack turn, develop your units coherently to win the game in 1 or 2 turns at most.

I'll say it again: "develop your units coherently". This is this list's greatest challenge. If you just play your cards on the board without thinking it through, you'll end up losing the game.

So, there are two ways to play this deck - if you have Encroaching Shadows in your starting hand or if you don't.

If You Don't Have Encroaching Shadows in Your Starting Hand

Prioritize your Hallowed followers, and try to play them on curve if possible.

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With these cards on the board early on, you can put on pressure on the board while you stack Hallowed for your other Elusive units, if your Hallowed units end up getting removed or killed.

Playing these cards early on will force your opponent to spend their removals on them instead of spending them on your Elusive units.

Unfortunately, playing without the Encroaching Shadows buff makes your deck significantly slower. In these situations, your only consistent source of damage will be Greenglade Duo. Don't play this unit too early: wait until you have enough mana to summon, with it already on your board, many other followers, and like so stack as much damage as you can.

If You Have Encroaching Shadows in Your Starting Hand

Don't play any units - better yet: don't play anything until you play your Encroaching Shadows on turn 3.


If you're attacking on odds, some cards, like Vastayan Disciple, The Mourned, and Silent Shadowseer, will be available on turn 3 as well, right after you play Encroaching Shadows. These cards recycle themselves back to your hand when they strike the enemy Nexus, and don't "aren't lost" through Ephemeral.

During your defensive turns, you can play Stalking Shadows or Shadow Assassin, and draw cards. Avoid, at all costs, playing your other Elusive units on these turns; only play them if you really need to block an enemy unit to not lose the game.

My own experience taught me that, if you have Encroaching Shadows in your starting hand, you can finish the game on turn 6 or 7, depending on the turns you can attack. This will give us an average of two to three attacks with Elusive units per match.

Mulligan Strategy

This deck's mulligan strategy is extremely simple - if you don't have Encroaching Shadows in your starting hand, send back all of your cards.

You must make this spell your highest priority, even when you already have one copy of it in your starting hand. You also don't need to make any other follower or card in your deck a priority. This means you can't leave a Shadow Apprentice in your hand on purpose just because it is a strong card, for instance - we need to look for Encroaching Shadows at all costs.

The chances of us drawing Encroaching Shadows until turn 4 comes along, if you use this method, are close to 70%. I've already calculated this number before when I wrote an old article about Vayne Rumble, which uses this same technique to draw Rumble.

The perfect starting hand for the champless Encroaching Shadows deck should look like this:

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If you have two Encroaching Shadows, you should play a copy on turn 3, and another on turn 4. This will likely guarantee you a victory on turn 5 or 6, and you'll have, probably, more than 20 points of damage on your board when you do attack.


Unfortunately, as this deck is extremely new, and is only popular among competitive players, we have close to no data on it on stats websites. However, my own experience taught me this deck is favorable against any type of Midrange deck that doesn't interact with your board. We're talking about Yeti lists (which are popular), and some Elder Dragon decks that only deal with the enemy board on turn 6.

Against Shadow Isles lists, you should struggle a bit because of cards like Vile Feast and other early game removals.

However, as the meta isn't too prepared to deal with your archetype, you'll hardly have problems on the ranked queue while playing this list. This makes it one of the best choices for those who want to climb the ranked ladder as fast as possible.

Fast, But Very Important Tips

- Shadow Apprentice goes on the board and buffs itself when you play it and it has Ephemeral. Please remember this when you're doing the math to see if you have lethal.


- In terms of stats, Silent Shadowseer is the most powerful card in your deck. But, in some matches, Phantom Butler will make more sense than her, considering its keyword, "Fearsome".

- If you don't have Stalking Shadows in your starting hand, try to always play Redeemed Prodigy on turn 2. This card allows you to attack with 4 points of damage early on, and also stacks 1 Hallowed for you.

- Even though Prancing Sea Spirits is excellent in this archetype, many times you'll realize it is more valuable to play two Navori Bladescout instead of a Prancing Sea Spirits on your turn. As a result, this card shouldn't be at the top of your priority when you summon your followers; it is a "last resort" - type of thing.

- Be careful when you're developing units. The order you develop your units is the most important factor in this entire deck. Always start with Shadow Apprentice if you played Encroaching Shadows. Other than that, always start with Greenglade Duo.

- You must not, under any circumstances, block with your Elusive units. Always block with your Hallowed followers, or Navori Bladescout when he is no longer Elusive.

- We have one copy of Concussive Palm in this deck. However, feel free to swap this card for any spell or follower you prefer. Think of this "slot" as a free space in this list; you can use it to add whatever cards you like the most. I particularly enjoy using Concussive Palm to survive against aggressive decks.

- When you use Stalking Shadows, always try to bring to your hand your cheapest follower, or Greenglade Duo. Your highest priority will be Shadow Apprentice.

- The only follower you'll summon on your defensive turns is Shadow Assassin, to draw cards.

- Stygian Onlooker was a card we considered for this deck, while we were discussing its first version. But, because of how Elusive this archetype is, this card has become a bit obsolete. Still, if you really want to test out this follower in this list, feel free to do so. You can swap out The Mourned for Stygian Onlooker.

Final Words

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If you read this far, thank you! I hope you had fun.

Don't forget to share. See you next time!