With the arrival of the new set, the popularity of Samira and Fizz lists are sky-high, such as the control deck Sett Karma. But, I didn't identify with none of these lists, and when I went looking for one to go on my Masters climb like I do every season, I was faced with lots of questions.
Usually, I would climb to masters using Gangplank Sejuani lists, because I've always felt comfortable with that archetype, but now as that deck was rotated, I was seemingly without many options unless I adhered to the meta.
But my hopes of a smooth climb came back when I finally found a list that won my heart, Gwen Demacia! Today we'll talk about it, and I'll tell you how I climbed from Plat to Masters with only that deck.
Gwen Demacia - The Patient Deck
But my love for the Hallowed archetype started when I was experimenting on new lists with Irelia at the end of last season.
It just so happens that I enjoy Azir Irelia a lot, and as I knew my favorite Ionia champion would rotate out, I wanted to test her with everything. The duo Irelia Gwen, or Pink Gwen, was amazing, and that list brought me to the last Seasonal Tournament Open Rounds. Sadly, I didn't classify to Top 32 by 1 game.
It's funny to think that nowadays Gwen is one of my favorite cards, because when she came out, it was definitely one of the champions that I least enjoyed at that time. But time went on, rotation came, and now we are here with the newest Gwen Demacia list. Let's take a look at the deck!
It is a deck that, though it seems simple, actually, it hides many secrets. The ideal way to play this type of deck is being as patient as possible, waiting for the right moment and attack with all your might. And all of that without letting your opponent have time to breathe.
The two champions are a part of the cards that make up the deck's win condition package. Just like the landmark Opulent Foyer and the spell Cataclysm. These cards are the most important in the whole deck.
Understanding what the deck does
The main strategy with this list is increasing your units' attacks by using the Hallowed keyword mechanic, which all Gwen supporting followers and herself have.
The quickest way to increase your units' Hallowed is with the card Opulent Foyer. This landmark is amazing, as every time you have the Attack Token*, Foyer will create for you an ephemeral hallowed unit: Ghastly Band.
As a result, this deck works most optimally if you are attacking on even turns. In case you're attacking on even turns, your turn number 3 will be a defensive turn, in which you'll have mana enough to play Opulent Foyer on curve, in a defensive turn.
After you've established on board your Hallowed stacking engine, the champions should begin to appear, so you can finish the match.
The Champions, Gwen and Quinn
Gwen's main role is to guarantee your Nexus remains healthy throughout the intermediate turns. And as this champion establishes herself on board, she will also serve as the main damage source against your opponent.
As for Quinn, she performs a much more complex role, as the interaction of the keyword Scout with Opulent Foyer causes that, at each attack, an extra Ghastly Band is created on board, speeding up a lot your match's win condition. But, the champion also has an extra role, as your main source of removal.
That happens because Valor has the keyword Challenger, which is quite valuable in today's meta, and this Demacia birdie is the card that will be responsible for carrying Hallowed stacks to remove enemy units most times.
Tips to Optimize your Plays
Here are some things that you must know before taking certain tough decisions with this list.
Remember: As this is an aggressive Tempo deck, you'll always look for the best play possible in your turn. But many times the best play possible is not playing anything, or entirely changing your order of attack. Let's talk about these decisions.
The Order of your Attacks Matters
As this is a Hallowed list, the attack increase will only go to the unit that is attacking first on the left. As a result, it is essential to pay attention to this interaction.
It's important to remember that, in case you're attacking multiple times in a turn, it is possible that your stacked Hallowed value increases and this way it will make more sense for you to change the order of attack, so you can take most advantage of that.
Another case which happens a lot with this list is scenarios in which you will have to choose between removing a unit using the Hallowed combo with challenger, or just pulling the blocker to the side, so you can deal more damage.
Usually, the answer to that question is: choose to deal more damage only if you can finish the game in two turns at most, or if you have more than one challenger unit.
Playing on Curve is not always Best
The Gwen Demacia list brings a series of combat tricks which, if played punctually, will practically win you the match on the spot.
Cataclysm without a question is the list's key-removal. This card when played with Gwen transforms this doll into a weapon of slaying enemy units. And that is why it's always important to save mana for this spell.
Even if you have 0 Hallowed stacks, Gwen will still level up if you attack twice.
Attacking 3 Times in one Turn
We all know that it's possible to attack twice in one turn by using the Scout keyword. But did you know it is possible to attack even 3 times?
You must attack as normal, ignoring the Scout interaction, then play any of the cards mentioned above (Cataclysm must be played on a unit with Scout in particular). And then, you attack only with Scouts. This way, you will create a third Attack Token, allowing you to attack 3 times in the same round.
This list benefits a lot from an aggressive Mulligan. Your perfect initial hand must have the following cards.
In case your initial hand doesn't have any of those cards, throw everything away. Even if Quinn is in your hand.
You'll hardly be *bricked in this list, because you have low-cost cards that repeat itself in 3 copies mostly, this way making this list very consistent.
* > (Bricking refers to the literal word Brick. So "being bricked" means you might as well have bricks in your hands instead of cards, because your hand is very heavy in mana cost, and you can't play anything)
This deck has a win rate around 50% against everything in the meta right now.
But against everything else, you won't have many problems. The Gwen Demacia list is not a threat yet to the ranked ladder, so there are only a few players who are prepared to face this deck.
My Journey with Gwen Demacia until Masters
As you can see in the previous paragraph, this list doesn't guarantee your victory against the two most popular lists in the meta. And knowing that, it is easy to think that playing this deck is probably not a good idea. But that isn't true.
As it happens, Samira now makes up for 13% of all lists played in Masters, and Sett Karma makes up for around 10%. Adding that, we have 23% of the whole ranked queue playing these decks, and 77% of the people playing literally anything else.
Supposing Gwen Demacia is an archetype that plays against most decks very well, it's to be expected that even though it is a list that doesn't play that well against the popular meta, it still has a very high win rate.
And that is confirmed in my status compared to the general deck status.
So, when I was against anything else that wasn't a Samira or Sett deck, my victory was almost guaranteed. That is without saying that occasionally it was possible to win against these Samira or Sett decks. So, at the end of the day, my climb was quite fast, and I took less than a week to go from Plat IV to Masters.
The hardest part is for sure the Plat queue. That rank, as you climb, gets harder. Unlike Diamond, which as you climb, gets easier.
That happens because in Plat you're still placed with players who are climbing and are in diamond. But in the Diamond queue, you're placed against Master players who are testing out decks. So, it is a lot easier to face bad lists when you're high ranked in Diamond.
If you've read so far, you have the power of knowledge enough to make a journey as epic as mine until you reach Masters queue using Gwen Demacia!
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