Legends of Runeterra’s latest expansion, Awakening, is themed around introducing the Darkin to the game. In addition, it added several new Champions, along with a brand-new card type: Equipment. It’s a logical inclusion, since the Darkin in lore are god-like beings imprisoned inside living weapons.
Many of the cards in the expansion are based around the new mechanic, but there are also other, powerful standalone cards as well. However, as with any card game expansion, the cards have a wide range in power level. Some missed the mark, while others are warping the meta. Here are some cards from Awakening that you should consider for your next deck.
10 Momentous Choice
If you haven’t equipped a weapon yet, Momentous Choice is extremely underwhelming. Adding a single stat point is nothing special, although it’s worth remembering that it can sometimes be just enough to swing a board state in your favor.
But once you do equip one of your units with a weapon, which you will almost certainly do in a deck running Momentous Choice, the effect becomes far more substantial. It may not be the most complicated card, but Momentous Choice will have a greater impact on your games than you might expect.
9 Vastayan Disciple
The Vastayan Disciple provides a ridiculous amount of value in one, small package. First of all, it has Elusive, which means your opponent’s early minions can’t block it. Then, when it inevitably strikes your opponent’s Nexus, the Disciple will return to your hand.
That might feel like a downside, but it simultaneously creates a Shimon Wind in your hand, a two-mana spell that re-summons the Disciple and draws you a card. It may be cheap, but that combination of abilities makes the Disciple terrifying. It does a truly absurd amount for just a single mana.
8 Wuju Style
It might not seem impressive on the surface, but Wuju Style is an extremely versatile card. The actual Wuju Style card can help you deal extra damage to help you make favorable trades or push for lethal, while the card it creates, Meditate, allows you to keep crucial units alive against small removal tools.
The entire package only costs three mana, making it easy to use in a pinch. Wuju Style usually isn’t going to win you games on its own, but it can be a crucial piece in making your deck flow smoothly.
As the Freljordian god of the forge, Orrn is a logical addition to a set revolving around Equipment. A powerful damage-dealer, thanks to automatically gaining an Equipment and his Forge ability, Ornn will likely already hit for at least seven damage on his first attack, and will only grow from there.
Even unleveled, he can represent a lethal threat if the Equipment he has grants him Overwhelm. And if he levels up, his Spirit of the Ram—an Ephemeral unit that copies Ornn’s stats but with innate Overwhelm—will almost guarantee your victory.
6 Combat Cook
Combat Cook is one of the new Weaponmaster units. When played, these units allow you to choose from a small selection of unique Equipments, then automatically equip them to themselves, a mechanic called Improvise. Along with giving your unit increased stats these, Equipments also grant powerful keywords like Overwhelm, Quick Attack, and Scout.
Even on its own, the Cook is a strong card, but it becomes especially powerful in decks running Concurrent Timelines, a spell that allows you to transform the first follower you play each turn into one of the same cost. At four mana, almost every card the Cook can turn into will be larger than its initial stats, often significantly. Even more impactfully, units with Improvise get to keep their weapons after they transform. The resulting combined stats are impossible to compete with on four mana.
5 Ionian Hookmaster
The Hookmaster is another card with the new Improvise mechanic, and like the Combat Cook it appears in Concurrent Timelines lists that can run it. However, as a Noxus card, the Hookmaster has also seen play in extremely aggressive decks.
Even without the Timelines transformation, the Improvised Equipment makes the Hookmaster much more powerful on curve than its 1/1 statline would indicate. Plus, if it dies, you will get the Equipment back in your hand. You can then give it to another unit, so the stats it created don’t go to waste.
With his healing abilities and the Challenger keyword, Kayn’s base form can win the game on his own against decks that try to dominate the board. And the fact that he has two leveled forms grants him increased flexibility, even if you’ll go for Red Kayn more often than not.
Where Kayn really shines, though, is in his consistency. His unique Origin, The Shadow Reaper, allows you to play any of the Cultist cards introduced in this expansion in your deck. And once you’ve played three of them in a game, you automatically draw Kayn. Regardless of Kayn’s power level, being guaranteed to draw him is an ability any champion in the game would love to have.
3 Darkin Loadstone
In its base form, the Darkin Loadstone will give its equipped unit and the unit it supports 1/1 in stats. That’s a strong enough card, especially when combined with Elusive units.
However, for eight mana, you can play it instead as Horazi, a truly terrifying 7/7 with Spellshield that buffs its supported unit to match its own stats and grants it the same keywords. It is an exceptionally irritating and un-interactive card to play against, which likely means it’s worth putting into your deck.
Norra is Legends of Runeterra’s first original Champion, and she doesn’t disappoint. She has the Elusive keyword, arguably the game’s most annoying mechanic. As a result, it is basically impossible for your opponent to contest her without committing some form of removal spell.
And once she strikes the opposing Nexus, her ability will trigger. The units she summons are random, but even small units can overwhelm your opponent if there are enough of them – and once she levels, those units become even more powerful. If your deck is looking to swarm the board or plans on playing boardwide buffs, Norra is a great choice.
As a 3/2 with Quick Attack, Jax is a solid early play, and can represent a lethal threat since he gains Overwhelm when he levels up. Still, as an individual unit, he isn’t game-breaking. Where he stars is in decks revolving around the new Equipment cards.
The most powerful aspect of Jax is not the champion himself, but rather his unique Origin: Grandmaster at Arms. It allows you to include any of the Weaponmaster cards in your deck, an exceptionally powerful group of cards that includes several earlier entries on this list. Under normal circumstances, they are locked into their own regions, but Jax allows you to cram all of them into your deck.
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