Azir to be added to Legends of Runeterra in Empires of the Ascended

Shurima’s Emperor has made a grand return.

Image via Riot Games

Legends of Runeterra: Empires of the Ascended’s teaser season has entered its last day and the final champion joining the newest expansion has been revealed. Riot Games introduced Azir today, a champion that warps the game in a drastic way once he reaches his final level.

Azir is a three-mana Ascended champion with 1/6 combat stats and an ability that summons a 1/1 Sand Soldier whenever you declare an attack with any of your units. Azir reaches level two after you’ve summoned 10 allies.

When Azir reaches his second level, he gains +1/+1 combat stats and keeps his Sand Soldier summoning ability. In addition, whenever you summon a unit, both Azir and the newly summoned ally will gain a temporary +1/+0. Since Azir is an Ascended unit, the Emperor of the Sands can level up again by restoring the Buried Sun Disc.

When he ascends to his highest level, Azir’s combat stats become 6/6. He loses his power-boosting ability when cards are summoned but now summons 5/2 Sandstone Chargers as opposed to 1/1 Sand Soldiers. The main draw to level three Azir is that he replaces your entire deck with his unique “Emperor’s Deck” and then draws you a card from it.

The Emperor’s Deck is similar to Celestial cards in that they’re drastically above the power curve for their respective mana costs due to the extra effort that’s required to attain them in the middle of the match.

Related: Every card found in Azir’s Emperor Deck

Most of Azir’s cards in his deck usually have an extra cantrip effect of letting you draw a card when they’re summoned or played so that way you can cycle through your new deck faster. Aside from the cards that you draw when activated, some of them, like General’s Plaza and Ascended’s Call, provide Rally effects, giving you more opportunities to end the game faster.

One major aspect to consider when playing the new deck that level three Azir provides is that there are only 16 cards in it, meaning you’re at risk of decking out if you fail to end the game. While it’s unlikely this will ever occur due to how absurdly powerful the cards are, mill effects like Pilfered Goods and Yordle Grifter can reduce the amount of time you have to eliminate your opponent.

Since you need to rely on a mono-Shuriman deck to attain the Buried Sun Disc on turn one, Taliyah is an excellent partner for Azir-styled decks. This is due to the fact that she can duplicate your sole copy of your Buried Sun Disc.

If your opponent manages to destroy your only copy of your Landmark with effects like Divergent Paths, Aftershock, Scorched Earth, or even the new Desert Naturalist, then you’ll lose your only chance to ascend Azir to his highest level.

While the height of wielding level three Azir sounds fun, there are other strategies to aim for if trying to restore the Buried Sun Disc proves to be too tedious or overkill of a win condition. If you ignore trying to activate the Sun Disc and aim to focus on the first two levels of Azir, you can tap into other regions like Demacia and Shadow Isles and find potential use him in either Lucian or Hecarim-styled decks.

Both champions rely on either units dying or having expendable Ephemeral units declare an attack, something that Azir provides safely. In addition, once he reaches level two, he can provide extra power boosts to either Lucian or Hecarim. Both units appreciate strength bonuses due to their Quick Attack and Overwhelm, respectively.

You can try out Azir and his unique Emperor Deck when LoR: Empires of the Ascended is released tomorrow, March 3.