In Patch 4.8.0, we were gifted many buffs to Targon cards, which Invoke Celestials. The Invoke mechanic has existed since the very first Targon expansion, and it was the main character of many competitive metas throughout the years. However, many units and Invoke cards were rotated to the Eternal format, leaving the Standard format lacking in Celestials.
Now that we're in the Eternal competitive season, Riot decided that it would be interesting to boost this mechanic's morale, and buffed many cards which Invoke Celestials.
Invoke is so strong, that in the first few days it was responsible for guaranteeing Masters to many players. Right away the whole community gathered to create many lists which work well with this package of Targon cards.
If you go into any Runeterra stats website, you'll see around 4 different Celestial lists, with different regions, and varied game styles, but 80% of those decks are the same.
We're already seeing reports of competitive players winning tournaments with triple Celestial lineups which abuse these decks.
As a result, I felt obligated to come here and explain to you all what is the difference between these Celestial lists, besides when and how you're supposed to use them.
Mono Targon Celestials
One of the main buffs to this archetype was to Mountain Scryer. This card discounts the mana costs of Celestials in hand, and it is a backrow follower.
Backrow followers are units which don't need to attack or defend, as they have some strong aura effect, so, risking losing these units in an attack or defense is horrible for your list's broad strategy.
That is the case for Mountain Scryer: his discounts are very important, and this unit is very valuable in your deck.
However, Scryer comes with an Allegiance effect, which is also a mechanic which was exiled to Eternal. Allegiance only activates if the card on top of your deck is from the same region as the unit which activates the effect. This way, you're obligated, many times, to build your list considering your region's mana curve.
To guarantee that in this list the Allegiance effect from Mountain Scryer activates every time, all cards in the deck are Targon cards.
This is the version which came first, in the first few days of the Eternal ranked season.
Celestials now have an early game curve with the card Startipped Peak; the landmark creates a lot of value and is one of the most important cards.
This card was evaluated by me as a 4-star spell - Strong, which will show up in many decks, as a finisher option. But we didn't expect that the effect of paying 8 points of mana to lower by half the cost of Celestials globally would be so strong.
This card, when played on turn 5, can win you the game automatically on turn 6 or 7 in many matchups. This play is currently one of the strongest in the whole game.
As players were realizing that this archetype has the potential to be one of the best in the game, the community quickly created lists which are less optimized, but which can still abuse the same cards.
Like so, the Shadow Isles Celestials came to be.
Shadow Isles Celestials
The Shadow Isles region, historically, has always been one of the best support regions for Allegiance lists due to one particular card, Atrocity. This spell, for a long time, was the best finisher in the whole game, and, in the Eternal format, this card still captures hearts across the world.
The Shadow Isles version is basically the same deck, but with only one copy of Atrocity, or even sometimes two. These copies of cards not from Targon are so low in number, that they don't alter the deck's consistency in activating the Allegiance effect.
Atrocity brings a better end game for the deck, besides helping this archetype win mirror matches.
This list is dynamic enough to be consistent, finishing matches with many units on board, or just with a gigantic Celestial with a very high attack power. In the matches you were only able to Invoke one big Celestial to end the game, Atrocity helps you enhance your win rate.
So far, we haven't mentioned the champions in the deck.
Zoe is the main champion in this list, and levels up very easily in this archetype. Aphelios, on the other hand, is quite slow, and very situational. In some matches, Aphelios will be the star of the deck, with Gravitum stunning key-units on your opponent's side. But that happens very rarely.
Diana is much better for this archetype. This champion can guarantee an offensive and very punctual presence very early on, and can be responsible for stopping a great part of your opponent's aggression on the first few turns.
Notice that the only card that changes in this list is the champion. And the deck automatically gets 6 additional points in its win rate. Amazing.
To finish, we have the Samira version, which, in my opinion, is the best of all.
Samira is nothing more than a better Diana. If you stop and think about it, both champions do the same thing, have the same stats, but Samira is more consistent, besides performing better as an independent unit.
Not to mention the deck can, currently, very easily, Invoke Celestial units and cheap spells because of Startipped Peak, and that makes it easier for Samira to level.
You might not bring Atrocity in this deck, but you don't miss that card as much in this archetype. As we're only taking one copy, many times you won't even draw the spell, and Celestials also finish the game much more frequently with extensive boards, than with big lonely units.
You'll be surprised with how often Samira levels up, and even more so when she Rallies.
Three copies of Samira don't butcher the consistency with which you activate Allegiance in the deck as well.
An unexpected addition here were the Draconic Bands, which really help you protect the champions, besides transforming them into eminent threats on board.
This deck is possibly the most well-refined form that we have for this archetype currently, but it is still possible we'll see new versions appearing in the meta.
If you've read this far, now you know the main difference among the Celestial lists in the Eternal meta.
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