With the end of the Runeterra Open World Qualifier, the competitive focus is returning to the Eternal format, and, as we move to that crazy format, I decided to bring a guide on one of my favorite lists of all time: Timelines.
If you like playing 5D chess with interdimensional time travel, this deck is sort of like that, but much simpler. Let's take a look at this deck, which is one of the favorite lists of Eternal competitive players.
Timelines - The Multiverse of Madness
Timelines is the affectionate nickname we give to Concurrent Timelines, the main card in this deck. Actually, the whole deck is built to abuse this card's effect as much as possible.
Timelines' effect is a bit hard to understand, so I'll explain it briefly: After playing this card, the first time, each turn, until the game ends, you play the first follower on board, after applying their "play" or "summon" effect, they will transform into another follower of the same cost.
This other follower is chosen between 3 random options of followers which will show up on your screen, similar to Conchologist's Manifest effect. Notice that transformed followers don't activate "play" or "summon" effects, so be careful, as, for instance, if you transform an 8-cost ally follower into a Tianna Crownguard, you won't Rally.
Notice that almost all followers in this list have "play" or "summon" effects, besides low stats. Like so, when you play your units, they'll do their effect, and afterward transform into a follower of your choice, which will have much better stats. Basically, the whole deck centers around the idea that, early on, you'll pay 2 mana to play your Concurrent Timelines, losing a turn, to be able to play your units with no issue later on without suffering from their lack of good stats.
Not to mention the interaction that this card has with followers which Improvise is incredible, as Improvised weapons are kept by the transformed followers, so it is possible to have on board unexpected units, with even more unexpected keywords.
The deck's main strategy involves playing as soon as possible your Concurrent Timelines, and playing units which Improvise. The strongest unit in your deck, and your main win condition, is Combat Cook. This card, alongside Timelines, can, at turn 4, transform into absurd cards, such as a 10/8 Ancient Crocolith with Overwhelm, or an 8/7 Hunting Fleet with Scout. Cards which have stats of units which cost, at least, double what they do.
In Eternal format, all cards are available, so the range of 4 mana cards is gigantic, and the possibilities regarding combining the weapons with the units are endless. Not to mention Combat Cook forges his Improvised weapon, increasing even more the unit's stats.
Another win condition is the Ice Pillar from your Trundle. This card has a very strong effect when played with an active Timelines, recovering 8 points of mana after it is played - which means you'll have on board an 8 cost card of your choice, and full mana, after playing the Pillar. The 8 cost cards already usually have effects and stats which finish matches, and, if they are played practically for free on board, it is possibly one of the strongest plays in the entire game.
And, lastly, you can end games with one of the most classic combos in Freljord: Buried in Ice + It That Stares. You'll obliterate all enemy units, put each of them in a landmark, Frozen Tomb; afterward, in the other turn, just choose It That Stares' option to obliterate all landmarks on board, and there you go, your opponent will lose their entire board, and you'll still have yours.
Before we discuss matchups, I need to tell you that we still don't have much data on Eternal's ranked queue, and, as a result, matchups will be based on my own competitive experience with this deck.
Sett Trundle Feel The Rush - This is one of the few competitive lists in Eternal which can bring Ionia as their support region in a Control/Combo list, which wins against Timelines. Ramping mana is an effect which, in practice, is really similar to Timelines' effect, and, this mechanic, added to all Ionia's Stun tools and Freljord's Frostbite tools, allows this list to absorb much of the damage from this Piltover & Zaun list.
Another important factor is that Timelines can't do anything about Feel The Rush: once this card is played, the 10/10 champions on the other side really escape the range of your units in terms of stats.
Samira Seraphine - This is the best list in the Eternal format, but stat numbers really deceive you, as many players don't know how to pilot this deck correctly. Don't be mistaken: Samira Seraphine, if well-played, can easily win against Timelines.
Your list can't easily interact with the opponent's board, and, as a result, you'll give free space for the Seraphine's list champions to work in any way they'd like. The opponent player can easily level up their champions.
Level 2 Samira and Seraphine turns are extremely strong, and Timelines can't compete with the value created or the Rallies. While you play a card with gigantic stats, on the other side your opponent will have done 10 actions in a turn and attacked twice.
Teemo Elusives - Elusive lists are very complicated to play against. As it is known, Timelines doesn't interact with the opponent board: you only position your gigantic units and attack. However, against Elusive decks, your opponent will do the same as you - the big difference is that they'll be able to block when they need to, and you won't.
Eventually, your opponent will have many more resources to manage attacks and defenses, meanwhile you'll only be able to build strong attacks, with no type of defensive play.
This deck in general can be considered too strong, as it will hardly have bad matchups, and most of the meta really suffers against the matchup adaptability potential this list has. As you can see, only Elusive lists, Samira Seraphine lists and a Ramp deck can handle this list well.
As a result, for good matchups, I got 3 competitive decks which orbit around 40% to 50% win rate against the Timelines list, which means, somewhat solid matchups for the deck, but not that much. Otherwise, you can be sure Timelines is strong enough to win, adapting to the matchup if necessary.
Ryze Ionia - Ryze's deck, despite being built to hit Midrange lists, doesn't have that big of a win rate against Timelines, as it is possible for the player to transform allied units into other units with Spellshield. That makes it really hard for Ryze's Control list strategy, which always tries to Stun or return to the opponent's hand their enemy units.
Another card which really makes it hard for Ryze's matchup is It That Stares, which can obliterate the Ryze's player landmarks, and delay the list's win condition. Other than that, it is a complicated matchup for Timelines, in case the player lowrolls and can't transform their units adequately.
Jax Ornn - The goal of this deck is quite similar to Timelines, but without the interdimensional time travel transforming your units, which gives the Jax's list a faster rhythm and allows them to have much stronger initial turns when compared to Timelines.
But, even then, in case any Timelines transformed unit gets enough stats to stop any attack from Jax's deck, it is already enough for the Piltover & Zaun player to come back into the game.
But Timelines isn't any Midrange deck, as transformed units may have Spellshield, or Lifesteal, or even Challenger. These keywords really make the difference, and even if, on the other side, the Jhin Annie player has all their offensive resources, it is possible, many times, to hit head this aggression head on.
At the end of the day, it is all a matter of who can better adapt during the match, and, certainly, this matchup is a classic in big tournaments.
Fast, but Very Important Tips
Always try to transform your units into followers with the biggest stats possible. But, depending on the matchup, sometimes it is best to prioritize keywords such as Elusive, or Lifesteal, which you can't get from Improvised weapons.
The champions in this deck aren't the main characters in this list, so much so that we haven't even discussed them in the article, and, for that reason, it is very common for you to see Timelines lists which don't bring Vi, or that bring Trundle only. Even versions with Caitlyn are possible, and it will really depend on your personal taste.
This deck forces the player to make creative decisions throughout the match. It is usual, in the first few matches with the deck, to get a bit lost when it's time to transform your units, and you might lose the game because of it. But don't give up, as the list is very strong and really rewards those who think outside the box.
Fanclub President is one of the strongest cards in the deck, and when it comes to creating value, this card alone can change the course of the match and guarantee you the victory. The range of 5-mana cards into which it can transform is very strong.
Aloof Travelers is one of the best cards in the game, but only if played correctly. If you can really hand-read your opponent, you can discard their win condition, and win the game on the spot.
Despite Innovative Blacksmith being a unit which Improvises, in some matches it is not very interesting to transform it, as you might need the healing.
The new card, Crystalline Stormraptor, which just got here in Patch 4.8.0, is a great addition to this list. So far, we haven't had much data regarding this card in the deck, but we can conclude that it brings an effect that is quite valuable; Avalanche's effect.
Avalanche stopped being used as it is a very slow card, even for the Standard meta. Maybe Crystalline Stormraptor can bring back this effect to Freljord lists, even more so with Timelines, as it can transform into a random 5-cost unit with better stats.
If you've read this far, now you're ready to come back into the Eternal format!
Don't forget to share and comment on this article on social media. See you next time!