In the Eternal format, the Celestials archetype got many buffs. From the beginning of the competitive season until now, Targon decks which abuse the Invoke mechanic are dominating the ranked queue.
Viktor Zoe - Immune to Damage, Immune to Everything
The Celestial archetype so far collects different decks, with different game styles, which play well with Invokes. We have the mono Targon version, the Samira version, and the Shadow Isles version bringing Atrocity. Piltover & Zaun, as the best support region in the Eternal format, couldn't stay out of it, and soon appeared to also be a part of the Celestials scope, with Viktor.
Starlit Epiphany is a card that many of you didn't even know existed, I bet. That is because it has always been a very bad spell, and with no competitive value considering the strategies which were meta with Targon, throughout the years.
With the arrival of Sump Monument, Runeterra now allows combo lists to survive attacks and offensive strategies which wasn't something possible before - Making this whole Control, and Combo archetype, in general, stronger.
The problem is that you're only delaying your inevitable death, shuffling 5x more damage than you took into your deck, which you will draw eventually. And that is when Starlit Epiphany comes in, as your whole deck will be switched for 20 copies of Behold the Infinite, obliterating the shrooms planted, and completely annulling the entire damage that your opponent has dealt to you.
Not to mention that your list is already extremely strong, full of value creation resources, and defensive tools. Let's see how this deck works to reach victory.
To accomplish that, many cards are at your disposal, such as Cosmic Call, Mountain Scryer and Starshaping. These will be the cards responsible for creating the Celestials that will finish the match for you.
Besides Celestials, there are other ways of winning games. As all Celestials are created cards, your Viktor will easily level up, and can be big enough to be a strong attacker as well, depending on the keywords this champion gets. If he has Elusive, or Overwhelm, many times that is already enough for him to be a threat.
Another win condition is your Zoe's Level 2. You only need to flip your champion, and any and every high-cost Celestial will share their keywords with the whole board. You may share Elusive and Spellshield with everyone in case you play The Great Beyond, for instance, or Overwhelm and Spellshield, in case you play The Destroyer.
This deck is specialized in levelling up Zoe now that cards such as Startipped Peak are a viable tool for the Celestials archetype, allowing you to have access to cards with different names much more frequently.
And, lastly, the icing on the cake is the broken combo of Sump Monument with Starlit Epiphany, with which you make your Nexus immune to damage which isn't coming from shrooms. That gives you time enough to build a strong board, or to Invoke a Celestial that you couldn't before due to the pressure put on by your opponent. In case you can't Invoke yet or finish the game, just play Starlit Epiphany, and that's it, you'll obliterate all the shrooms in your deck, and you can start to build your board from 0 again.
This list, despite being a deck filled with card creation cards and control tools, isn't a hard deck, and its Mulligan strategy also isn't hard. Just have in your hands low-cost cards which Invoke Celestials, and some of your list's combo pieces.
Usually, I only put 4 cards in my Mulligan recommendations, but in this one I put 5, as Cosmic Call is a very important card, even though you'll only play her after turn 5. So, always consider keeping this spell in your hands, as it is the main tool which will make this deck's engines turn, besides Mountain Scryer.
Startipped Peak is one of the strongest cards currently, as this landmark generates you a lot of value, and having access to Celestials in such a cheap way really makes your list's strategy easier.
Giddy Sparkleologist will be responsible for caring for your Zoe and protecting your champion. To activate this card's effect, you need to Behold a Celestial, so wait until she glows orange to play her.
Viktor is an important card for the deck, but it isn't your main priority, once all cards listed above are better to increase your list's main win conditions. Imagine Viktor is just a card which wins you some matches as it is a stand-alone champion, which grows on its own. In some matches, Viktor can even be too slow, and might delay your strategy of Invoking big Celestials.
Classic Timelines - In general, classic Timelines lists are equipped with somewhat slow units and resources. They are still decks which attack through the board, and have moderate Burn resources, and that is why you have enough time to Invoke your Celestials at will.
Sump Monument can struggle against removals, as it is common for some players to bring Aftershock in Timelines lists, but that usually isn't enough for this archetype to come out on top from the value battle. Your late game is infinitely better, and there's nothing the Timelines deck can do about Viktor as well.
Lee Sin Akshan - It's in this matchup that Sump Monument shines. Lee Sin's list usually needs only one turn to win the matchup, and in this turn they need countless set-ups, besides the fact that many cards must be played to make the deck's whole combo work. That allows you enough time to position your Sump Monument easily on board, and absorb all the damage that Lee Sin deals in that turn.
After the attack, it is common for Lee Sin lists to run out of gas and become unable to come back into the game. And that's when you turn the tables and hit head on with your Celestials. Ionia Shurima decks usually can't deal with Elusive, Spellshield attackers.
Lulu Braum - Yeah, this deck has gotten into the competitive radar, and is a list which must be respected. Lulu's deck is a sort of Neeko list without Neeko, which abuses Support mechanics, and interacts really well with Warden of the Tribes.
Knowing that, the deck hardly interacts with the opponent's board, and that is enough for Sump Monument to completely stop any offensive declared by this list, and gain you time to Invoke your Celestials.
Samira Seraphine - Seraphine's deck has enough resources to deal with your list's whole strategy. Keep in mind that you only interact with the opponent's deck through Celestial removal spells, Invoked by you. Which means, much of what your deck can do in terms of Control is based on RNG, and created cards, even still, many times are too expensive to deal with Seraphine's list.
Samira Akshan - Despite this list not being able to deal with landmark, the deck's combo is extremely sped up, and Samira's player can easily Rally many times throughout the match. That happens because, as we discussed, the Celestials deck doesn't interact well with the enemy board, leaving them free to do whatever they want. And that is enough for the Samira deck to combo all the time.
Sump Monument is the only card which can save you in this matchup, but, even then, many times it is impossible to finish the match, as removal tools from the other side can usually destroy your Celestials. And eventually the colossal damage dealt to your Nexus will kill you through shrooms.
Fiora Galio - This is another deck which can win against yours even before you can do anything in the match. The damage potential that this list can declare is insane, and you can hardly control your enemy's board.
The other very important factor is that Fiora is a card that provides an independent win condition resource, which ignores the Sump Monument effect. So, your small units, which are many, will always be in danger if there is a Fiora on board, and remember; you can't even protect your units, nor remove your opponent's unit. The only thing that your deck does is Invoking, and playing gigantic units with many stats and strong keywords.
Fast, But Very Important Tips
- Remember that Starlit Epiphany can only do its effect in case you have a Celestial on board, unlike other cards in the archetype which Behold Celestials. Which means, there's no use to playing it if you only have Celestials in hand, and not on board.
- Cosmic Call can only be played discounting your Celestials' cost by half from turn 5 onwards, in case you have 3 spell mana banked.
- The Warrior is one of the strongest mid-cost Celestial cards in your deck as it can deal with enemy units which are threats, and can also survive these trades very frequently.
- Giddy Sparkleologist is a card that wins matches alone many times. That is because many decks can't deal with Spellshield.
- Equinox is a card that completely destroys some strategies based on Overwhelm and many times can also be a card that removes Elusive from an enemy unit.
- The low-cost Celestials choice are always the hardest, as they are all very strong. But always try to make a choice that fits best the current game state; if you need to pull a blocker, choose The Serpent, if you need to attack head on, choose The Charger.
- Remember that level 2 Zoe doesn't need to be on board to share her keywords to her allies. But that also doesn't mean she isn't an important card: you can attack with her and create in your hand a 0-cost Behold the Infinite.
If you've read this far, now you know everything about the latest broken combo in the game.
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