Legends of Runeterra Rise of the Underworld Early Access Insights with Home of the Aces
Legends of Runeterra’s (LoR) new expansion, Rise of the Underworld, came with interesting updates and patches for the one-year-old online card game. Besides the usual nerfs and buffs to the existing cards, Patch 2.11.0 introduces a new keyword with ‘Lurk’, 43 additional cards, and three champions — Ekko, Pyke, and Rek’sai.
Thanks to the folks from Riot Games, Esports Inquirer was able to obtain early access to the new expansion for playtesting. We also sat down, talked, and theorycrafted with players John Marlo “ZeroAces” Villeza and Ralph Adrian “Aeolius” Kintana from Filipino LoR community group Home of the Aces (HOTA).
THE INTERVIEW WITH HOTA ZEROACES AND AEOLIUS
Esports Inquirer: For those who don’t know you, can you briefly introduce yourself?
ZeroAces: Hello, I’m John Marlo Villeza a.k.a. ZeroAces . [I am a] LoR player since beta, the founder of HOTA, and a Tyrants Member [as well].
Aeolius: Hello, Ralph Adrian Kintana a.k.a. Aeolius. Just a casual LoR Player and also a member of Home of the Aces.
Esports Inquirer: What are your initial impressions of the new expansion?
ZeroAces: Sa new expansion talagang inabangan ko si Pyke kasi [Bilgewater] ang isa sa pinaka gusto kong region. Maganda yung kit nya [kasi] aggresive na may napakalakas na game ender. Magandang addition din sila Ekko at Rek’sai pati yung mga ibang bagong cards like Atakhan, Bringer Of Ruin.
Aeolius: First impression on the new expansion, super satisfied with the changes though there are some that I don’t like. The token buffs will surely be helpful for the old cards to catch up with the new meta. Hopefully, the balance team will keep implementing token buffs in the succeeding patches as well. The new cards are great, can’t wait for new decks to arise on the ladder. There are so many things to experiment I don’t even know where to start.
Esports Inquirer: What’s with the new keyword ‘Lurk’? Is it meta-breaking? The new trend? A future constant in deck building?
ZeroAces: Yung lurk archetype sigurong maraming maglalaro nyan sa 1st week. Kapag nahanap na yung pinaka optimal na build nung deck tingin ko isa sa magiging meta yan.
Aeolius: Lurk is a fun concept [that] may be intended for casual players. The archetype will not be meta-breaking though but it will surely be seen on [ranks]. It will be a huge trend on the first week of expansion though I don’t see it securing the number 1 spot on the meta.
Esports Inquirer: Which new champion would be the best pick? Who is your personal favorite?
ZeroAces: Best pick siguro is Ekko. Sa mga nakita kong plays nung deck para syang si Aphelios dati, napakaraming ginagawa at sobrang solid nung foundation ng archetype nya. Personal favorite ko si Pyke [kasi if] ma-pull off mo yung board wipe sa level 2 nya napaka satisfying [gawin].
Aeolius: I think the best champ would be Ekko, as he can actually be played with pretty much a lot of regions due to how self-sufficient he is. Pyke is great and all but there are a lot of ways to stop him from being effective like deny, rite of negation, barriers, spell shields, etc. For Rek’sai, she’s pretty much straightforward though she is a great asset to the lurk archetype.
Esports Inquirer: What are your meta predictions for rank climbing and tournament decks respectively?
ZeroAces: Mahirap mag-predict ng meta lalo na madaming dinagdag na cards tapos sinabay pa yung patch notes kahapon. Pero kung ma-optimize ang build with Ekko, siguro papasok ito lalo na sa high elo pero hoping ako na mag meta rin ang Pyke decks para magkaron din ng diverse na meta.
Aeolius: People will still play the staple decks like Pirate Aggro, Discard Aggro, and Ezreal-Draven for climbing the ladder with the addition of the new upcoming decks that will arise in this expansion. For tournament decks, [it’s] still too early to say. With the nerfs to the tier 1 decks, [the nerfs] will give room for other decks to shine. Some people are already experimenting with elnuks and yetis — the latter being also one of my favorite archetypes. Maybe with the new support cards they get, they will get a spot in tournaments.
Esports Inquirer: What is your message for aspiring LoR players who try to improve themselves in the game?
ZeroAces: Do scrims and explore other archetypes. Wag mag stay sa iisang deck lang kasi dun palang nililimitan mo na sarili mo para mag grow as a player. Wag din mahiyang magpatulong pero make time din na mag self learning.
Aeolius: No matter how hard it gets always remember the community is always there to help you
DECK SAMPLES INSPIRED BY THE NEW EXPANSION
After theorycrafting and play testing in the HOTA x Vietnamese Community Early Access Casuals tournament, here are some of the decks these HOTA players recommend.
Deck Code: CMCACAIEG4AQGBANAMCAOHCPMQDAIBABAICAKBYMAIAQIBYBAIBAIA-
Description: Centered around Ekko and the Chirean Sumpworker follower, this midrange deck relies on the keyword ‘Predict’ and card duplication. It has the potential to continuously conjure units which is theoretically a bad idea for decks that rely on the ‘Deep’ strategy considering a player immediately loses when their deck runs out of cards. The deck is also capable of presenting OTKs if used correctly.
Deck Code: CMBAMBAGAEBAGBAFB4DAIBYTIFCEUT2QAIAQIBQHAECAOFQA
Description: Crafted by Reinier “ZeroInfinity” Laroya and approved by ZeroAces, this deck relies on a simple game plan – overwhelm the opponent with lurk units to make good use of the attack token especially if Pyke is present. Rek’sai’s +1 power to all lurk units makes it an essential component for an early game power spike. The presence of the Jaull-Fish unit makes the possibility of wiping out the entirety of your opponent’s board a scary tactic.
For more information about Patch 2.11.0, you can read the patch notes here. The Rise of the Underworlds expansion is now live for all players since 1 AM today.
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