Legends of Runeterra: Rise of the Underworld was officially released at the end of June in tandem with Patch 2.11.0.
As the third expansion within the Empires of the Ascended set, 43 cards were added to the game. While new cards are a good catalyst for a shift in the competitive scene, Patch 2.11.0 also altered 47 existing cards in preparation for the upcoming meta change.
With the fifth seasonal tournament happening two months from now, players are attempting to figure out the next strongest strategy that will take over the meta. Here are the 10 best Rise of the Underworld cards that will have an impact on the upcoming ranked meta.
10) Field Promotion
LoR is filled with many keywords of varying power levels and some have the ability to grant those keywords to units without them. The Scout mechanic, which is from Bilgewater and Demacia, has the power to give units the chance to deal massive damage by declaring multiple attacks.
This keyword is generally found on specific minions and the only way to give another unit Scout is through the rare circumstance of playing King Jarvan while his son is on the field.
Field Promotion can grant any unit of your choice Scout, allowing you to give your strong cards the chance to double their effectiveness. This can also lead to experimenting with power combos. One major weakness to consider, though, is that you must pre-commit the mana to play Field Promotion before your unit, which opens you up to removal from your opponent.
When Predict finally arrived in Piltover and Zaun, the region provided an interesting spin on it by having cards activate effects that tangibly impact your board when found in a prediction. Dropboarder is the best example of this since they can play themself for zero mana and without spending a card in your hand.
The amount of tempo that this can provide allows you to make your predictions potentially difficult for your opponents to deal with if an extra 1/3 unit spawns out of nowhere.
While a zero-mana 1/3 that doesn’t cost you a card sounds like a premium option, there’s still a major downside to consider. If you draw any copy of Dropboarder, he becomes a vanilla one-mana 1/3 that wastes an effective draw, so make sure to shuffle them away in the mulligan.
8) Redfin Hammersnout
While Lurker units can help you run away with a game if you find a good aggressive curve, one thing they struggle with is letting opponents set up favorable trades with their own cards. Redfin Hammersnout gives Lurk cards a chance to diminish that weakness thanks to the Vulnerable it can provide on enemy units.
Once the Hammersnout gets an enemy unit out of the way, you can use one of your high-power, low-health units to trade upward or use your stronger units to value trade and maintain a strong board.
7) Sacred Protector
“Boat” has been a popular term within LoR since Rising Tides due to its way of describing cards that fetch specific champions. In an unlikely turn of events after his release, Shen from the Foundations set received his own boat in the form of Sacred Protector.
While a way to consistently draw out one of the cards you’ve based your entire deck around alone isn’t enough to make a card appealing for inclusion, Sacred Protector adds a devastating effect that needs to be answered. If any of your units have a Barrier, it gains the devastating keyword Double Attack, which can set up potent lethal scenarios in combination with certain swap cards like Shen’s Stand United and Syncopation.
Shen has already found play in Demacia when combined with the nerfed Fiora and Jarvan. But in conjunction with the recent Jarvan buff, expect to see more Sacred Protector.
6) Astral Fox
Among the losers of Patch 2.11.0, Fearsome Aggro received a sizable nerf when Stalking Shadows went up to costing three mana from two. But Astral Fox could give the deck a chance to have more proactive four drops that provide more burn.
If you’re not trying to accrue more value through card draw, Astral Fox can effectively replace Spirit Leech for three burn damage as opposed to the two cards drawn that the Leech would’ve provided.
The Boy Who Shattered Time brings an interesting dynamic to the Predict mechanic by having him shuffle powerful cards into your deck that must be drawn to be effective. While it’s unlikely you’ll draw those cards after shuffling them, Predict allows you to improve your odds at dragging them out of your deck.
While Ekko provides nothing for you defensively, his aggressive statline and keyword allow you to turn up the heat on your opponent and convert your extra spell mana into card draw whenever he strikes. One debilitating downside is that Ekko’s two health leaves him open to most removal options. To circumvent this weakness, try leveling up Ekko before you play him by activating multiple Predict cards before his summon.
While most Ekko decks may be tied to the hip with Shurima to increase his Predict consistency, expect The Boy Who Shattered Time to turn the battle in your favor after he levels up.
4) Xer’Sai Hatchling
As a mechanic, Lurk leans into a more aggressive nature due to the attack combat stat boost it provides, in addition to needing attack triggers to activate. Xer’Sai Hatchling amplifies this due to its one-mana cost and Fearsome keyword to attack the opponent and evade weaker units. Once you’ve lurked enough throughout the game, Xer’Sai Hatchling becomes a formidable threat since a more sizable opposing unit needs to answer it, which leads to favorable interactions.
Due to its cheap cost, it can come down early and start ramping up your other Lurker units as soon as the first turn of the game.
While the one-health ping leaves it weak to most removal options like Go Hard, Vile Feast, and Thermogenic Beam, Xer’Sai Hatchling will still be preferred over the other one-mana Lurker Sharkling in a unit-heavy meta. Despite this, if a unit/combat heavy meta does take hold, or if Lurkers need more allies with the Lurk keyword to find success, expect Sharkling to share its spots with the Hatchling.
3) Boom Baboon
While Piltover and Zaun’s main focus in this set was on Ekko and giving Predict to the region, discard-style lists got a fun new tool in the form of Boom Baboon. This new monkey provides you with extra fodder whenever he’s summoned in the form of more Flame Chompers.
While Draven/Ezreal lists were hit by the Patch 2.11.0 balance update with Rummage’s and Tri-Beam Improbulator’s one-mana nerf, there’s still a chance that Boom Baboon can make its way into Discard Aggro lists as a new early unit to put the opponent on a clock.
The Void Burrower provides an interesting antithesis to most Lurk creatures that have terrible initial stats for their mana cost. While she does have absurdly high stats compared to other three-mana units, she has a debilitating Round End drawback that will dissuade you from playing her before she can level up.
Luckily for users of Rek’Sai, having her reach 10 power when she declares an attack isn’t the most arduous task and can sometimes be achieved as soon as turn three if you’re fortunate enough. A mix of temporary attack buffs and triggering enough Lurks means your opponent will have to count and plan against Rek’Sai’s arrival accordingly.
Once she does reach level two, Rek’Sai becomes a menace that will end your opponent soon if they lack removal. A seven-health unit with Overwhelm that constantly scales its attack each turn will punish any opponent who can’t deal with the queen of the Xer’Sai.
The Bloodharbor Ripper brings an exciting flair for the Lurk archetype due to his ability to summon himself at a responsive fast speed thanks to his Death From Below spell that he can transform himself into. Whenever you activate Lurk, your opponent will need to always worry about the chance that a fast speed striking Pyke can appear at any moment.
The fact that Pyke can be played for spell mana allows you to form some creative curves that can surprise your opponent if they don’t pay attention to your Lurk patterns and spare mana.
Once Pyke is on the verge of leveling up, you’ll need to plan all of your attack orders accordingly since his level two ability (reminiscent of his Death From Below ultimate from League) can set up some powerful execution chains that will wipe out your opponent’s board.
You can collect these cards and try them for yourself now because LoR: Rise of the Underworld is officially available on PC and mobile.