The early days of a new Legends of Runeterra season start out very chaotic, with many decks being tested and new mechanics being absorbed by the meta. That makes it very stressful to find which list is the best to climb and reach masters with.
Players who get to masters early on always play aggressive decks to punish players who are testing out new lists still in development. Those who don't have as much time to play ranked games end up frustrated, because, after a day, the meta changes and the super aggressive lists are no longer the best option.
Let's see how this deck works and understand why it is so strong to climb the ranked ladder with.
Senna Nasus: Preventing Your Opponent From Playing
After Nasus Vaults of Helia archetypes were completely destroyed by nerfs, this champion took a break from the meta. On the other hand, we had several mana cost buffs to a few slow speed removal tools in Shadow Isles. It was a matter of time until those cards finally found their place in the sun.
What made the Shadow Isles heavy removal control archetype come back into the game was the need to have spells that clear the board, due to the huge number of lists focused on sharing stats to a board full of followers, such as Warden of the Tribes decks.
Besides that, we have many Formidable lists popping up on the ranked queue. Formidable followers are very fragile against Shadow Isles removals which check their attack status, such as Eradication and Soul Harvest.
Notice all spells combo really well with Senna, and are perfect to deal with literally all threats in the current metagame. Castigate, when played with Senna on board, mostly, can answer open attacks at fast speed, many times winning you the game on the spot.
Let's analyze the cards in this list.
This list's main strategy is removing all enemy units and preventing your opponent from dealing damage to your Nexus, until you get an opening to place Nasus on board. Nasus is the deck's main finisher. You can easily grow his stats to level him up throughout matches.
Senna is equally important for this list's strategy, considering that, in the current metagame, even with a deck filled with removals, you still can't deal with everything your opponent might play on board. As a result, it is important to have access to your removals at fast speed, to guarantee your spells have enough tempo to deal with your opponent's whole board.
Another card that is useful as a win condition is The Undying, which, if it sticks on board, comes back every Round Start if it was destroyed. Some of your cards interact by slaying target allies, which is why having a unit you'll always want to slay on board at all times is very important.
Another way to win is by exhausting your opponent's resources, preventing them from winning the game after you remove basically anything they play. The only problem with that is that you also don't win the match until you draw your Nasus.
So, you'll only be delaying the inevitable all the time. For that, you'll need the only healing spell in the list, Piercing Darkness, which practically seals matches against any aggressive deck.
Lastly, you only have one copy of The Darkin Halberd, which, when played as Taarosh, will bring back from the dead all units you killed throughout the whole match, including your opponent's. If you destroyed a few big followers, they'll come back to attack your opponent.
This list's main card is Castigate, so try to look for at least one copy of it for your initial hand. More than that is a bit too much for early game.
Fading Icon is useful to get you 2 blockers early on. One of them has 3 attack, which basically destroys any 1-2 cost unit in the game. The rest of the cards are quite self-explanatory. They are cheap removals which deal with practically anything that ranges from 1 to 3-cost units.
Hate Spike isn't recommended to keep in your initial hand, except if you have a low-cost unit to pair with this spell. Despite being a removal which deals 3 points of damage, unfortunately you need to destroy one of your units to use this spell, and this list doesn't play many units on board until turn 6 or 7.
Speaking of matchups, let's see how this list's matchup tables are.
Gnar Jarvan IV Warden of the Tribes - This is one of the strongest and most popular decks in the current meta, but it is your best matchup by far. As it is a deck which interacts very little with the opponent's board, this list can't deal with your Senna, and that is why it is very easy to play your Castigate at fast speed.
Not to mention practically all their units can be killed by our removal spells. As this Demacia deck only protects their units by giving them health, your Vengeance, The Ruination and Castigate will always destroy your opponent's units no matter what. Eventually, you'll play your Nasus, and he will have bigger stats than any unit buffed by Warden of the Tribes.
Galio Volibear - Galio decks are obviously filled with Formidable units, which means, they're all terrible against your removals that check enemy units' statuses. That means, for just two mana, you can destroy most units in this list with your Soul Harvest.
Petricite Broadwing, besides dying to Soul Harvest, can also be killed by Quietus. Out of all units in this deck, the only one that isn't affected by our spells is Galio, due to Spellshield, but it's nothing that a good removal combination can't solve.
Fizz Samira - Many players have been playing Fizz Samira, but even if Fizz is a champion that escapes targeted removals, he can't escape an Eradication. Samira's list is very fast and powerful, but not enough to defeat you before you pop off.
Another play you must do is to try to play your Piercing Darkness as fast as possible, so you can heal yourself. If you can do this, you can be sure the game is in your hands.
Swain Illaoi - Unfortunately, you can't deal with the rhythm this deck imposes on you when it comes to raising their Tentacle's status. Your removals need to check the enemy units' attack, and in case the Tentacle reaches more than 4 attack, you can only remove this unit with Vengeance, Castigate or The Ruination. The issue with this is that, until you have enough mana to play these cards, your enemy has already dealt enough damage to win the game.
Karma Sett - Any Karma version immediately defeats your list. Despite your deck also being a control list, Senna's list isn't prepared to deal with other control decks. Our list is only and exclusively strong against aggressive or Midrange lists.
You can't kill most units in Karma's deck, and when you do declare a removal spell, you'll always be answered with a counter, or recall effect.
Akshan Pantheon - The combination of Targon and Shurima makes this list great at dealing with removals. This list has Rite of Negation and The Expanse's Protection to stop any sort of removal you play on board.
Another thing is that your enemy can easily grant any of their units Spellshield, which really makes our life even harder.
Fast, But Very Important Tips
Despite this deck's theme of removing anything in sight on your opponent's board, don't go around wasting your removals on any card. Wait until your opponent plays their more important units on board, so you can be more precise with your removals.
If your opponent has a unit with more than 4 attack points, you can easily deal with it with a combination of Quicksand and any other removal you bring.
This list has only one copy of Merciless Hunter, and that is by far the hardest card to fully take advantage of in this list. A play I usually do is putting her on board as a blocker, but not attacking with it, so you can have a Hate Spike target on defensive turns.
Ceaseless Sentry, despite being a premium unit, isn't a follower you must search early on. It is great to give you card draw, but, unfortunately, it doesn't have enough stats to compete against most meta deck's boards. It is more useful as a blocker unit later on in the match.
The Undying will always be killed when you play your AoE removal spells. So, bit by bit, you'll always be feeding this win condition as you remove enemy units.
Many times, the secret to this list is knowing when to play Nasus. I always try to play him on board when he's already a 7/7, so we aren't caught off guard by enemy attackers.
Senna levels up very frequently in this deck, and that is extremely satisfying. (This isn't a tip, but it is very important that this deck is satisfying.)
Eradication is a card that has never really seen much play in the meta, but don't underestimate this spell and invest in it, as it can win games for you on its own.
Rite of Negation has synergy with your deck's slay effects, but, even then, avoid playing it sacrificing a unit. You need to respect your opponent's fast removals too.
Use Castigate even when you think your opponent will still develop more units on board. It is best to take from 3 to 6 damage than lose the match, isn't it?
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