The new cards from the Fate's Voyage: Beyond set are here, and, as usual, I'm here to bring you a complete analysis of each one of them, including the champions, new keywords and new mechanics.
This content was based entirely on my 3-year experience playing and casting LoR competitive tournaments. We'll grade each card from ★☆☆☆☆ (One Star to ★★★★★ (Five Stars)), like so:
★☆☆☆☆ - Very weak card, which won't be played in any deck, and could even be harmful to the archetypes it tries to support.
★★☆☆☆ - Weak card, which won't be played a lot, and will only be relevant in very specific situations.
★★★☆☆ - Good card, which can show up in a specific archetype as an engine or support card.
★★★★☆ - Very good card, which can show up in more than one archetype, and will be great in numerous instances.
★★★★★ - Card that will probably define the meta as it is too strong.
In this set, several new mechanics were added to the game.
When an allied Deathless unit dies, revive it with 1 health, Stunned.
This effect "revives" the revival identity in Shadow Isles, which was in part rotated earlier this year. This mechanic will be the main combo tool in Mordekaiser lists which we'll see later on, bringing an entirely new archetype to the game.
Curses are negative effects in card form placed on your opponent's hand. Players must spend that card's cost to dissolve Curses.
This effect comes as the main answer against LoR's Midrange metas. Stopping units and spells is a very strong mechanic in Runeterra, and forcing your opponent to spend mana to "free" their units forces your opponent to play slower, like you.
Can't Be Stopped
This unit can't be blocked, Stunned, Frostbitten, killed, obliterated, Recalled, Transformed, targeted, Silenced, etc!
This effect might seem a bit confusing at first, but it is easy to understand once you ask yourself the following question -"If I do x, do I stop this unit?" and the answer will always be no. Once on board, there's absolutely nothing your opponent can do against this card, not even block it.
The only way to remove this unit that can't be stopped from the board is if their own controller obliterates it while they have a full board, to summon another unit. Which means, only those who are playing this unit that can't be stopped can remove it.
Elder Dragon - ★★★★☆
The Elder Dragon came to Runeterra with an entirely different approach than anything we've ever had in the entire game: it is the absolute finisher, and its archetype's engine. It is the archetype itself.
Its Origin is extremely strong, and the range of cards that can go in its deck is gigantic, enabling countless combos. Elder Dragon lists will also be quite varied, and I predict we'll have more than one list with it that will be popular, or even more than one meta deck using this champion.
But, straight away, I can say it matches Freljord's Ramp system a lot. And it also matches Targon's Control cards, particularly the new cards we'll see in a bit.
I don't think the Elder Dragon will be a broken card, or too strong, but it will definitely be meta. Its level-up condition is relatively difficult to achieve, which is easy to understand, as we have a similar level up requirement with Volibear, which is already quite hard.
Probably, if it is played on the board leveled, the game will already have ended a long time before, but as the game will get considerably slower when this set is released, it is possible matches end up taking long enough for you to level up your Elder Dragon.
Mordekaiser - ★★★★☆
Mordekaiser brings an entirely new approach to Noxus, and also revives the Shadow Isles archetype focused on slaying allied units. This champion seems to have a lot of synergy with cards that already exist in the game, such as the Reputation cards and "self-sacrifice" spells in Shadow Isles.
This champion has also come with many support cards that are a new way of playing Midrange, one that is a bit faster and hits harder, for Shadow Isles. I'm quite optimistic about his archetype, considering Shadow Isles tends to be an extremely competitive region because it has the best removals.
And now that this region has stronger early game cards that bring a bigger board presence, it is easy to say there will be meta decks with this champion, even if he is the weakest out of all the three new champions.
Morgana - ★★★★★
Morgana will be the new face of Runeterra's meta in the next few months, because this champion, by herself, will be responsible for retiring Midrange lists from the meta. She Curses an enemy unit on board twice - this means your opponent will be forced to spend 4 mana to free their unit from the Curse. This is extremely strong, because you'll force your opponent to lose an entire turn to refill their board, or give up on the Cursed unit and move on to other win conditions from ground zero.
This mechanic has everything to be extremely toxic and competitive, so you can expect many Morgana decks to pop up in the next few days, and some players might get very frustrated with this champion. Not to mention it brings absolute Control elements to Demacia, which so far was exclusively a Midrange region in Standard.
She is also the first champion with Lifesteal released to the game, which is just a slap to the face for aggressive decks, which will also probably retire from Runeterra for a while.
Indestructible: - ★★★☆☆
This spell is a very interesting tool even outside Mordekaiser's archetypes, but it might be a bit too slow for this champion's main decks, which will most likely be more fast-paced.
This card can end up competing for space with more valuable cards in the Deathless deck, but, even then, 1 or 2 copies will probably be played without any further issues.
Death's Grasp - ★★★★★
Shadow Isles really needed a more direct removal such as this one, and dealing 5 damage is very strong. The number of cards this spell can remove is a considerable amount, and on top of it all it matches Deathless units and Mordekaiser lists really well.
This is a card that can be an easy addition to other Control lists apart from the Iron Revenant's archetype, so it deserves a really good grade.
Realm of Death - ★★★☆☆
This card is surprisingly good, even though it costs 10 mana. It is a mass removal that gives you one free attack, and it has synergy with Mordekaiser and all his package of cards.
Considering Runeterra will have a slower meta in the next few days, this card might not even be bad, and can even be a good finisher for the Deathless archetypes. Only time will tell if it is indeed too expensive, but it is fair to give it an okay grade, considering it has a somewhat expensive cost, besides being quite vulnerable to denies.
Shackled Ghasts - ★★★★☆
This unit will be the main source of slay fodder for the self-sacrifice Deathless archetype. Considering you'll constantly kill your allies, Shackled Ghasts won't let you run out of resources while playing. This drastically increases the consistency of Deathless lists, and can be essential to make this archetype work on the first few turns.
Legion of the Severed - ★★☆☆☆
Legion of the Severed might be a bit redundant for the Deathless archetype, considering these cards, most of them, already have Deathless. Another factor that makes it weak is that it doesn't have 5 power, which will make it harder for this archetype to synergize with Reputation cards.
Lord Mallat - ★★★☆☆
Lord Mallat is the Deathless card kit's "vanilla" unit, only having the Deathless keyword and nothing else. Anyway, it is a card with 5 attack, and matches the Reputation archetype.
That being said, it is possible it will show up in Mordekaiser lists, but there is no guarantee, considering that, as much as his stats are strong, he really needed a more complex effect to be good. This effect can be in other cards in this archetype that might take Lord Mallat's place in Deathless lists.
Amalgamation of Vile Rites - ★★★★☆
Amalgamation of Vile Rites can be the health regulator for Mordekaiser's archetype, as lists with this champion will struggle to block enemies, and might have to use their Nexus as a resource a bit too much.
Healing will be welcome in this slower meta, both to push away more aggressive decks, and to monitor the mid-game against other lists that are slower that are also playing threats on the board.
Slaying a unit to be able to play Amalgamation of Vile Rites will be more likely a benefit to the archetypes that bring this card instead of a con.
Deathgrasp Cultist: - ★★★☆☆
This follower brings a game strategy that is a bit too ambitious, but, if its effect is applied more than once throughout the match, it is extremely strong. This card's problem is that it doesn't really match Mordekaiser lists, and can be a much better unit in other Control lists.
That being said, it is a good unit, but it is a bit too limited to a specific Shadow Isles Control archetype with Titanic units, which we don't know whether it will be meta or not next season.
Threshold of the Grey - ★★★★☆
This landmark is perfect to put those Midrange decks that have a strong early game in their place. Terror is a very strong Curse to deal with your opponent's attacks, and, considering the mana cost they need to spend to free their unit from the Curse, depending on the deck, it won't be worth it for them to spend 2 mana on turn 3.
The card draw effect in this landmark is also extremely strong, considering Mordekaiser is a Titanic card, and, even if it is the only Titanic card in your list, he will still give you a lot of value with this landmark on the board.
Iron Legionary - ★★★☆☆
This card embodies the entire aggressive/sequenced Midrange identity in the Deathless archetype. Iron Legionary is useful as a direct removal alternative for this archetype, and can also be an incredible attacker.
This is a cheap card that demands your opponent to remove it as soon as it is played on board, and, for that reason, its health stats (which are quite low) aren't that bad. Even more so because most ping spells are rotated currently.
This is a unit that plays well in Standard, but, even then, is a bit limited, and will probably only be played in the Deathless archetype.
Dark Binding - ★★★★★
This spell is very strong. It will be the next best Control spell in the meta, simply because it ends any Midrange deck only by existing. Besides Stunning an enemy at fast speed for just 3 mana, you'll be Cursing them, forcing your opponent to spend their mana to be able to "free" their card again.
This card creates a lot of value for free, and, for me, is already a strong candidate to be nerfed to 4 mana.
Black Shield - ★★★★☆
This spell, even though it has a downside, if played wisely, can win matches on it own. Having Spellshield for just 2 mana in exchange for a Curse, in a deck that might not benefit from attack anyway, and has a gigantic arsenal of Control spells, is a more than fair trade.
If you really think about it, binding your unit to the board won't be that bad most times, if what's important is to have it active on the board.
Magical Fettering - ★★★☆☆
Suppression might be the strongest Curse in the game in Runeterra's next meta, which will probably be a slow one, as most decks will be Control or slow Midrange lists, full of spells. For 2 mana, you'll be saving one of your units from removals, and preventing it from being removed in the future, at the same time.
This spell is great, but it might be a bit too slow, and not strong enough against Shadow Isles removals which check unit stats, such as Soul Harvest.
Sinner's Vise - ★★★☆☆
Cards that have "everywhere" effects are usually a bit too greedy, and, if they're too cheap, they're completely broken. This might not be the case for Sinner's Vise, considering this spell has a fair cost of 6 mana.
Its effect, if used both active and reactively, is a bit too slow - but it is fair. This card might be the greatest question mark in the new season, because we'll only be able to analyze it precisely in practice. But it is fair to give it an average grade, considering its effect, long term, is very strong, and matches will probably go on for longer after this set is released.
Lisa and Dolly - ★★★★☆
This follower is very strong and can be a staple for this archetype and any list that brings Morgana. This is the perfect unit to Curse something and have a bit more board presence. It is a simple and strong card, and will be used a lot in the next few days. I hope it has good voice-lines and cool visual effects, considering we'll see it a lot.
Ruby-Eyed Conjurer - ★★★★★
This card is very strong and practically plays in any deck you want it to. The possibilities here are endless; you can both prepare incredible combos granting an Enraged Firespitter Overwhelm, or protect your units from threats, such as level 1 Elder Dragon itself.
Two mana is quite cheap, and its stats are more than fair. This card is also a strong candidate for a nerf, and maybe in a nearby future it will cost 3 mana.
Mageseeker Inquisitor - ★★★★★
This card is being released into the game as one of the best Demacia cards already. Besides really matching this region's anti-mage identity, it is a very strong follower that carries two keywords and a remarkable effect.
Suppression's Curse effect is possibly the strongest in the game as it completely locks down lists focused on playing numerous spells. If played wisely, it can even prevent your opponent from removing your big units with heavy removals. Not to mention it is a follower that monitors the board well with great offensive stats, and a defensive keyword that will really help it survive battles against smaller units.
Mihira, Aspect Ascendant - ★★☆☆☆
Mihira, Aspect Ascendant is attempting to be Morgana's archetype finisher unit. Unfortunately, she might not be enough to finish matches, as there are several other options in the game currently that are just better. So, even though her effect is strong, and her stats are strong too, she'll hardly be a card that will win you games as soon as she is played on the board.
Maybe, if she was an 8/8, we could give her 3 stars, but, unfortunately, she is another Epic card that probably won't see play.
Ocean Drake - ★★★☆☆
Even though this is the weakest Dragon out of all Dragons revealed in this patch, Ocean Drake is certainly not the weakest Dragon in the game. Actually, it is very strong, and its effect activates automatically if you're playing an Elder Dragon list. This card's issue is that you might only play 1 or 2 copies of this card in these decks simply as there are several other cards that are just better and are at this archetype's disposal.
Unfortunately, it has stats that are too weak, even though it is an Elusive unit. Even then, its healing can be vital in some matchups. The issue is that, at least for the first few days of the new set, it won't be that strong, because everyone will be playing extremely slow decks. Which means, healing won't matter that much, even more Ocean Drake's, which is slow and gradual, and attached to a card that is a bit too expensive.
Dragon Allegiant - ★★★★☆
This is the famous unit that will be the Dragon archetype's "staple" unit. Beholding Dragons is already an old familiar mechanic in the game. As a result, it will be easy to incorporate it in your lists. Not to mention that, now, the number of Dragons in the game practically tripled. So, this unit will be extremely consistent, and will certainly activate very easily in your matches.
Ottrani Dragon-Worshiper - ★★★★☆
This follower is extremely strong not only for Elder Dragon lists, but also for any slower Control deck that brings Targon. Actually, this card can be responsible for reviving a few more ambitious Targon lists, as it is a unit that promotes mana Ramp, something that no longer exists in this region after rotation.
This is a very flexible card that, besides protecting you, enables your list's combos earlier. This stimulates players to create Targon decks, and more creative players will get along splendidly with Ottrani Dragon-Worshiper next season.
Heisho, Shell of the World - ★★★★☆
It is a bit difficult to grade this card, but I'll risk giving it a high grade. Currently, we have a few quite interesting mana Ramp alternatives in Freljord, and they can go really well with Heisho. Not to mention Spellshield in this big of a unit, with this strong of an effect, is quite a threat, and it will need to be removed.
If this card is popular, it might start a new era with an extremely slow meta in Runeterra, in which you'll need to bring heavy removals in your own list, otherwise your opponent will play gigantic cards for 0 mana every turn.
I'll give it my vote of confidence and say this unit is good and isn't too expensive for the effect it brings. I'll give it 4 stars, praying for it to be true, because it would be great to play with a Heisho deck.
Red-Barbed Razormace - ★★★★☆
This unit will be released to the game already as the best card in the Gnar Darius archetype, which is quite a competitive deck that can survive the slow meta that is approaching. This card, despite Cursing the enemy, isn't part of Morgana's archetype, and, instead, is a unit for Overwhelm lists that want Burn elements. That is, all of them.
Cloud Drake - ★★★★★
This might be the best Dragon in the game currently. This card will be the big engine that will consolidate Elder Dragon, Warden of the Tribes and maybe even Formidables lists in the meta. Historically, cost reduction in LoR is a broken mechanic, so you can expect some craziness with Cloud Drake in the next few days.
Alatis the Gallant - ★★★☆☆
This card is another card that might be a bit difficult to assess straight away. As a result, I'll give it an average grade, considering that Elder Dragon lists will not necessarily only play with Dragons. Alatis works only in Elder Dragon lists, and only if that assumed Elder Dragon deck is full of Dragons.
As playing with only Dragons in this deck might not be the ideal way to play with the Elder Dragon, Alatis the Gallant might be a card that, even though it has a strong effect, won't be played as much, because you'll hardly get 100% value out of its effect.
Tomb-Raider Barbara - ★★★☆☆
At a first glance, this card might seem a bit weak, but it is a great unit in Evelynn archetypes. It might even finally be the follower that we were missing to revive the long-buried Kai'Sa Evelynn archetype.
But, as these two champions were nerfed, and are quite weak at the moment, even though Barbara goes along nicely with both of them, it might not be enough for these decks to see play.
Yadulski Snowdog - ★★★★☆
This unit was released to Runeterra already as one of the best units in Warden of the Tribes lists. It has very fair stats, but it also has an extremely strong effect, and goes along nicely with all lists that bring Freljord. Not to mention it is a card that can be an early game follower even for the mono Freljord decks that were becoming popular among more competitive players.
This is a card that has a very long shelf life in Runeterra, and can be the main star in a few future metas if the game once again allows faster Midrange lists to shine.
Charlatan Fishmonger - ★★★☆☆
Forcing your opponent to draw cards might be a valid strategy in this future meta, as we'll possibly have slower plays and Curses occupy a space on your opponent's hand.
But, Piltover & Zaun might finally stop being the best region in the game, considering many new cards are focused on disrupting spells, and we also have followers prepared to survive through removals with the Deathless keyword. Like so, this card, even though it has a strong effect, might not see that much play next set.
Honest Croupier - ★☆☆☆☆
This card is too weak, and requires you to build your list specifically to activate its effect consistently. Knowing that, even if this deck did exist, it would be too weak, because granting +1/+1 to a 3 cost unit isn't that useful, not to mention there are countless ways of doing that more easily in Runeterra.
Croupier also doesn't match Bilgewater's region identity at all.
Early Bird - ★★★★☆
This card is an Aloof Travelers for Standard. It isn't a broken card, but is certainly a great disruptive Control alternative for Bandlecity, reinforcing that this is this region's identity now; disrupting your opponent and preventing them from playing with their cards efficiently.
Early Bird's cost and speed are quite fair for its effect. It might be a card that is a bit too difficult to fit in Bandlecity lists in the meta right now. But, as everything points to us having a slower meta from now on, Control decks that bring Bandlecity, such as Norra Heimerdinger, might end up using this spell thoroughly.
Sugary Snare - ★☆☆☆☆
This card is so bad it makes me want to give it 0 stars. But, as we're working with 1 to 5 stars, I won't break the rules.
That being said, this might be the newest Worst Card in the Game, stealing this title from Sunk Cost. There is no reason for you to spend 8 mana to swap a unit on the board with one on the top of your deck in Runeterra's current state.
Besides being an effect that doesn't really match Bandlecity, it is an unbelievably slow card. I don't know what Riot is preparing for 2024 to make this card work in the game, but I think not even an entire package of cards to support this effect would be enough to make it playable.
Empyrean Dance - ★★☆☆☆
Empyrean Dance is a counter that tries, at the same time, to remove an enemy unit and put on pressure with Elusives on the board. It is definitely a card that tries to do too much, and, to make up for all the value it brings, it has an extremely high cost. As a result, 99% of the time it might be better to use Deny instead of this card.
In very specific cases, it might win you the game on the spot, but, even then, you'd have to be very lucky, and pray your opponent isn't playing with an archetype that stops your The Empyrean. Remember Morgana makes units Immobile on the board, and she will be one of the most played cards in the next few months.
Handy Harness - ★★★☆☆
This equipment is a support card for Warden of the Tribes lists, and might be an aggressive alternative for these decks, for those who don't really enjoy using The Darkin Spear. In any way, its aura effect might be too strong in end-game stages to make sure you'll have the damage you need to end the enemy Nexus.
Even still, it is a very fair card, and might not see that much play, even more so because we don't know if Warden of the Tribes will be a viable archetype in the meta.
Shady Spectacles - ★★☆☆☆
This card is too slow, and has an effect that needs a very specific setup to be strong and even work right. This equipment also doesn't give its bearer any additional keyword, and doesn't really match any Piltover & Zaun is trying to do in the game nowadays. Even though this is a very cool effect, there might just be no reason to play it in Runeterra.
Marai Reef Spire - ★★★☆☆
Even though it is a cheap landmark that creates a lot of value, Nami lists are too slow nowadays, and aren't strong enough to hit this next meta head on, considering it will be focused on preventing your opponent from playing spells.
Bladepierced Revenant - ★★★★☆
Bladepierced Revenant might be the greatest engine in the entire Deathless archetype. It is a follower that creates an incredible value on the board when you slay your units. It reinforces the slow Midrange identity of Mordekaiser's archetype, more geared towards Control, in which you remove enemy units by striking them with your own.
This style dictates that these archetypes' greatest win condition will be the Nexus aura effect Mordekaiser gives you, considering your focus will be to slay your opponent's units, and not prepare a great offensive attack with one gigantic unit.
Ancient Malediction - ★★★☆☆
This spell is a 2 mana burst spell that removes 3 attack from an enemy unit temporarily. Its effect isn't that strong considering the current state of Shurima.
There is supposedly a Fearsome archetype in Shurima that Riot has been pushing down our throats throughout the years, but it never worked out. Maybe this card is finally the spell that will kick-start this archetype and make it work?
In any way, it is a very cheap spell, and it is fair to give it an average grade, even more so because, if it is created randomly with Seraphine, this card will be exceptional.
Gentle Gemdragon - ★★★☆☆
This card has an extremely strong effect. However, just like Alatis the Gallant, this follower is only strong in an Elder Dragon list, focused on Dragons. And as this champion will not necessarily play in a list that only brings Dragons, it might be a bit difficult to take advantage of Gentle Gemdragon's effect. Which is a pity, as it is a card that brings an immense snowball potential, and might as well carry the matches for you, depending on the archetype you're playing against.
Unfortunately, as this meta will be full of slow lists that interact with the enemy board a lot, a deck with only Dragons is very vulnerable to removals, and this strategy might not be efficient enough. This is why I gave only 3 stars for a card with such an incredible effect.
If you've read this far, you're a warrior, because it is a lot. Thank you! I hope you enjoy the Fate's Voyage: Beyond set!
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