Hey all! As the dust settles on 2020, the first full year for Legends of Runeterra, the game has thrown up a variety of different metas from Heimerdinger Vi to Braum Anivia, and now we are seeing Go Hard's reign of terror. Right now, it seems, you've either got to counter it or play it so we've opted for a more honourable approach.
Building Braum Scargrounds
Braum is a champion that has fluctuated in and out of decks in Runeterra. It became very popular in the Season of Fortune in Braum Anivia, but was quickly nerfed and has since been outclassed by Trundle in Freljord control; now only seeing fringe play in Poro decks. It's not all doom and gloom for Braum however, as the release of The Scargrounds gave the champion another archetype to fit into - self-damage decks. With this deck spotlight, we're going to add the cards step by step to get a better understanding of the synergy this deck has, and it makes it easier if you want to replace cards you think will do better as we go.
The Core Cards
Usually, we will look to identify the core cards to find out what gameplan best suits them. In this case, The Scargrounds, Braum and Ember Maiden are the core cards, so we are looking for a midrange/control game plan, or Midtrol if you like (hoping this will catch on). From then on we can choose what region to pair with and then what champions to use. Noxus is far and away the obvious choice to pick. It gives us access to the Crimson family, self damage cards such as Imperial Demolitionist and Death Lotus, as well as high value cards that deal with damaged units such as Ravenous Flock, Scorched Earth and Noxian Guillotine. With The Grand Plaza doing the rounds, we'll go for 2 Scorched Earth's to counter this.
Picking Our Second Champ
From here, we'll want to choose what champion to use. Vladimir is the very obvious choice to pair with Braum as he deals damage to other units and can level up very fast as a result. However, we've chosen Swain over Vladimir because the core cards favour a Midtrol (has it caught on yet?) strategy over what Vladimir brings to the table.
With Vladimir, the aim is to build up a large board and almost combo-kill the opponent with lots of damage on the attack. Swain on the other hand, allows a more reactive deck build and offers a more defined win condition with The Leviathan. A high impact Death Lotus and an Ember Maiden surviving a couple of turns is often enough to level up Swain. Now, we can start to add some reactive tools to help keep our board alive and nullify the opponent's game plan.
Fixing the Curve
The deck is shaping up nicely, now just 7 card slots remain. These cards can be very flexible, but here I choose to tidy up the curve of the deck. Unscarred Reaver allows for an Imperial Demolitionist play on turn 2. Turns 6 and 7 are looking bleak without ramp cards. Adding Wolfrider is a possibility especially since Ember Maiden is already in, however, I decided to use Scarmother Vrynna, following up with a Basilisk Bloodseeker for a surprise blow out on turn 7. Combining these two cards presents us with a 19/7 and 7/4 overwhelm if The Scargrounds is on the board, pressuring the opponent to use removal before following up with a turn 8 The Leviathan to close out the game.
Now the deck is complete and it's ready to test on ranked!
With all the Go Hard flying round, The Scargrounds offers a unique counter. In many of the games we played against it, the opponent often had to use Go Hard on their own creatures, sacrificing tempo and allowing this deck to take control of the board. Additionally, the deck does not typically run many units with 3 power, meaning a timely Swain can strike the enemy nexus for maximum value.
Usually, you'll want to mulligan for The Scargrounds and Braum to get the most value. If facing aggro, Teemo or Zoe decks then mulligan for Ember Maiden and Death Lotus should prevent some early aggression. Try to get The Scargrounds out as early as possible. From then, develop your threats, using Troll Chant and Take Heart to keep them alive. Finish off the game with your powerhouse Overwhelm units.
Hopefully, this deck spotlight gave you a fresh way to play! Have you been having any other success with Braum or The Scargrounds? Have you tried the deck and had a good run? Let us know in the comments below!