Whenever the metagame is going through a transition phase, Tristana shows up to disrupt the lives of ranked queue players. Since the champion got released, every time the meta asks for a deck that is a little bit faster than usual and has units that have Spellshield, Tristana is always chosen to be the champion that will dominate the ranked queue.
Shortly after the 4.4.0 patch changes, we saw a remake of the Bandle Gunners, a card that led to the Tristana and Teemo roster suddenly being the best competitive option possible in ranked queues. If you want to climb fast, this is the deck for you!
Today we're going to see how one of the most impactful lists in the meta works.
Tristana and Teemo - Impact and Spellshield
Bandlecity finds itself in a rather strange situation in the meta. Currently, the region is on par with most Control decks, as it is the only region that has a fast spell that does 1 damage: the Pie Toss.
It is also the region that has the safest and fastest development of Spellshield units: the Hungry Owlcats. So, it is very likely that we will see, in the big tournaments, the Control and Aggro archetypes working a lot with Bandlecity, which will probably be the most used region in the game once again.
In this article, we are going to talk about the new aggressive identity that Bandlecity adopted with the multiregional followers and the champion Tristana.
This deck is filled with cheap units with very strong stats, both in terms of attack and defense. Also, most units will have the keyword Impact. This Impact theme allows units in the deck to have bigger and more defensive stats compared to units with Overwhelm.
In this way, each and every unit on Tristana's roster functions as an Overwhelm unit, however, its damage against the Nexus is limited to the amount of impact the unit has.
Another concept of the deck is the large number of cards that have Spellshield. Units with this keyword are extremely difficult for normal removals to remove them, forcing your opponent to play a strategy focused on bringing in units with Challenger.
However, even so, strategies that seek to answer the board through Challenger are slower than the Tristana deck, and the multiregional followers tend to outperform in the keyword field compared to your opponent's units.
This deck plays simple, fast, and on the mana curve. Most of the plays are pretty self-explanatory, and we won't have much trouble understanding the main strategy from the list. You should play as many multiregion units as possible, to level up your Tristana as quickly as possible.
This champion is not your main win condition, but it serves as a milestone for your mid-game, as if it is not answered, you tend to create a value snowball. With Tristana on the field, you'll likely dish out too many offensive stats on your board to the point where your opponent can't respond.
And as we play other followers, your Bandle Gunners will be constantly reducing its cost in the hand or in the deck, and will eventually be played for very little mana.
Other cards that are very important to your strategy are all the followers that spawn Hungry Owlcat, such as Bandle Commando and Grandfather Fae. The Owlcats, in addition to being multiregional followers, have Spellshield and a lot of synergy with other followers in the deck and are also Fae units. It's amazing how complete this little 1 mana unit can be.
The deck abuses the Elusive keyword as well. Currently, only Demacia has an interesting anti-Elusive strategy with the Blocking Badgerbear, so, apart from that, almost all other regions are forced to bring direct removals against the Elusives.
Teemo is far from being the star of the deck, but he is a great sidekick. Like Tristana, the Piltover&Zaun champion works like a small time-bomb, which, if not answered in time, will explode. So, 5 mushrooms can become 15, and 15 mushrooms can become 30 in a few turns.
This list has many offensive alternatives, but what most frustrates those who play against it is the amount of value that it generates with cards like Bandle City Mayor, which generates multiregional units in your hand, and even Tenor of Terror, which creates a very strong 3|1 attacker on the board with impact.
To sum up, your win conditions are: deal as much damage possible with units that have impact, or elusive, or Spellshield, or all those aforementioned keywords. If all else fails, you still have Tristana as a very aggressive and incisive unit and the Bandle Gunners, which have very high defensive stats in addition to Spellshield.
Tristana's deck has a lot of low-cost cards, and it's very easy to have a forceful and playable starting hand. But that's not to say there isn't a mulligan strategy other than picking the cheapest cards.
In fact, your starting hand depends a lot on the matchup being played. Even so, there is still an ideal starting hand for the vast majority of situations, and it should look like this:
Tristana's deck plays better if you're proactive in your picks, but not too much; in Runeterra it is common that even aggressive lists have elements of control, and this deck is no different.
So, these responsive choices start even at the time of the mulligan, because, if you have a Tristana in your starting hand, it is common to choose multiregional units to go with her, in order to have a very interesting combo: not developing all your units aggressively before Tristana enters the field.
Therefore, if you play Tristana first on the board before the other followers, you will have a better use of the champion's effect of sharing attributes to your multiregional followers, and you will have a much more aggressive and dominant board. That's why this deck can also be classified as combo/aggressive.
Facing the Opponent
Even so, there are strategies that do well against this list and that manage to face the enormous strength of multiregional followers.
— Seraphine Jack - Seraphine's deck is amazing at handling small units and large boards thanks to Caustic Riff and Mischievous Marai. This duo was made to put an end to the dreams of any aggressive list that presents a board with many units.
As much as Spellshield is an issue for the Seraphine deck, the Piltover&Zaun deck's followers are enough to defend these threatening units most of the time.
The real problem is the Impact keyword, because in the Piltover&Zaun and Bilgewater regions, there are no alternative healing cards other than Ebb, so Seraphine players have chosen to take this card on their lists, since it is the only spell that can mitigate all the guaranteed damage that Tristana's deck presents with Impact.
— Vayne Aatrox Quinn - This deck is proficient at playing units with Challenger. And as we already mentioned, this keyword is extremely strong against the Tristana deck, even more so if the board has a Valor + The Darkin Harp.
Teemo Tristana's deck only has one removal, which is Buster Shot, and Vayne's deck suffers a lot to removals, in general, so because the Teemo Tristana deck barely interacts with the enemy table, it's very easy for Vayne to position its followers on the field without any problem.
Not to mention that Aatrox heals a lot of health during the match and this breaks our strategy of dealing small instances of damage with Impact every turn. The Darkin's value is also too uncontrollable in the late game, and all Darkin units win trades against Tristana's followers and are unlikely to be removed.
The list is filled with cheap heals and removals, and as much as card draws and spell mana costs are an issue for the deck, Heimerdinger fixes all the deck's issues by bringing back massive blockers and a constant table.
Historically, removing units and summoning others on the board in the same turn has always been very strong, and Jayce's list with Heimerdinger does just that. Once Jayce is at his level 2 on the field, the doubled spells handle the Spellshields of Tristana's units very well, and eventually the aggressive deck's gas runs out after losing so many units for Jayce's deck.
— Nautilus Maokai - The Deep deck can't compete with the aggressive pace of the Tristana archetype. Deep doesn't have that many removals and units to deal with each of the possible threats that aggressive decks present.
Vengeance is too expensive to be an effective play, and it's not guaranteed that every game you'll start the game with Deadbloom Wanderer and other low-cost units to serve as blockers. And even if you draw all those units, you're not guaranteed to have a strong start to the game.
That's because Tristana's aggressive play style and the value generated by her followers during mid-game will always be enough to handle everything Deep has in its deck.
— Karma Sett - The most feared deck in the meta suffers a lot to Tristana. The Karma archetype doesn't remove units easily, and a big part of the strategy is to stun or bounce opposing units. So very cheap units being returned to the hand will simply be played again on the same turn.
Not to mention that the removals that Karma Sett has are too limited, so, since the board is always constantly full of units, removals from Karma's list only find one or two units per turn. And that's nowhere near enough to compete with the pace of the game imposed by the TristanaTeemo deck.
So far, we've noted that champions and effects that double spells on the stack are strong against Spellshield, but Karma takes too long to come in to double those spells. Therefore, you will hardly see the Karma player having enough time to resolve the Tristana list.
— Ashe LeBlanc - The reputation list has some strong freezing tools against fast attack followers. However, it is a deck that suffers a lot to Elusives and Spellshields. And since Teemo usually appears in our early game, the Piltover&Zaun champion tends to do a lot of damage against the Ashe deck.
Spellshields are strong against the Freljord freezes and removals, and the Bandle Gunners shine brightly in this matchup because of that. Another very important factor is Ashe LeBlanc's very slow pace of play if the champion from Noxus doesn't show up on the curve.
LeBlanc is the only early game offensive and defensive alternative to go head-to-head with Tristana's deck, and if she doesn't appear, there's no way for Ashe's deck to deal with the intense damage pressure that the Bandlecity roster will propose.
Quick but important tips
— Avoid trades in which you lose units without doing any damage against the opponent's Nexus. The idea of the deck is to deal a little damage to the opponent's Nexus every turn, and the list has many tools that buff units and interesting synergies as well.
Therefore, being patient and taking a little damage to your own Nexus and then preparing an explosive attack turn will always be more worthwhile than losing your units.
— Tristana works best if you start the turn by playing the champion before the other multiregion followers, as this way she will share attack points and impact attributes to your followers and your board will be stronger.
Many players even lose entire games, because they decide to develop after the attack. Remember that as much as your deck has valuable tools, you generally lose late game to the vast majority of meta lists, so an All-In focused strategy is needed eventually.
— The choices we must make about which follower to bring into the hand when playing Bandle City Mayor will always be different from game to game. And that decision-making will often dictate whether you win or lose the match altogether.
— It is significant that you do the math of how much damage you need to deal to win the game, and many players when doing the math are not attentive enough and forget to count the Impact keyword of the units. Therefore, always abuse the oracle to make sure you are counting your damage correctly.
Your list has a clock in matches and, no matter how much damage you do, your damage eventually runs out, so prepare offensive shifts with great caution, always keeping in mind how much damage it will take to close the match.
If you've read this far, you're now a trained Bandle Gunner ready to destroy the ranked queue with your impact and Spellshield.
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