Ezreal Draven decks, as a midrange, slow-burn archetype, have been popular in the meta since Ezreal’s level up condition was improved, and Tri-beam Improbulator was introduced. Here, we take a closer look at the deck and its match-ups in the meta.
The Game Plan
Ezreal Draven decks are built around a slower midrange strategy. The aim is to keep high tempo in the early game with House Spider, Arachnoid Sentry and Draven, while slowly damaging the opponent with Ballistic Bot’s Ignition, Ezreal, or open attacking with units on a clear board.
As you clear the opponent's board with spells, you also move towards playing a high impact Tri-beam Improbulator with the vast amount of 3-drops in this deck. Around turns 8-10, your opponent is usually down to roughly half their starting health, and you can play Captain Farron and a levelled up Ezreal, both of which will help close out the game.
This deck combines early game spells such as Ravenous Flock, Mystic Shot and Culling Strike with early tempo units in House Spider, Draven and Arachnoid Sentry to provide a high tempo game plan; playing your units whilst removing opponent’s threats to sneak in early damage.
Ballistic Bot, Draven and Stress Testing are your main sources of discard targets. Using Rummage and Sump Dredger this way can generate card advantage. There are 16, 3-cost cards in total which means Tri-beam Improbulator can reach anywhere from 4 to 7 damage. Given the wide range of available followers to summon with this card, there is not a definitive best time to use it. Generally speaking, 5 and above is good value for this card. Don’t hold onto it for too long unless you have 3-drops in hand that you are planning on playing soon.
Noxian Guillotine and Scorched Earth are answers to big threats such as Nasus or Frostguard Thralls; the latter also being useful against landmarks, particularly Tahm Soraka. Thermogenic Beam is always a good card in PnZ decks because of its versatility.
Ezreal will level up at around a similar time to when you can play Captain Farron, both of which provide similar ways to close out the game.
Arachnoid Sentry vs Thorn of the Rose is a close call in this list. The latter is more versatile but has a slightly worse statline, but either are a strong fit for this deck. Three Culling Strikes is a meta call with the abundance of Azir decks, but this could easily be changed to additional Scorched Earths depending on the frequency of landmark decks in the meta.
When facing aggressive decks, you will want to search for House Spider, Mystic Shot and Arachnoid Sentry. Culling Strike is ideal if facing against Irelia Azir to take out the deck’s champions, and Statikk Shock can ping the 1/1 Blades and Sand Soldiers.
Against other midrange or control decks, searching for a Tri-beam Improbulator is ideal. As you will inevitably draw into your 3-drops, you can increase Tri-beam Improbulator’s damage to provide great value for the cost of the spell. Ballistic Bot and Sump Dredger are also useful against slower decks.
Draven is a must-keep regardless of the deck you are facing, as he can be played early enough to deal with aggro, and can generate discard fodder for later Rummage or Sump Dredger targets. For Ezreal, it is normally better to throw him back, although he could be kept if you know your opponent has few ways of removing him, for example, when facing Lissandra decks.
This deck has particularly favourable match-ups against fast aggro decks, such as Irelia Azir, because of the cheap spells and units that can prevent early aggression. Culling Strikes and Scorched Earth provide a favourable match-up to Tahm Soraka lists. It generally has good match-ups with most of the decks you will find on ladder, which is particularly down to the high amounts of aggro present.
Ezreal Draven can struggle against beefy midrange decks like Ashe Sejuani or Shyvana Aurelion Sol, where the opponent's units are too big for the spells in this deck to deal with. However, both Ravenous Flock, Noxian Guillotine and Scorched Earth can be really useful at dealing with midrange lists, so more of these types of cards can be added depending on what decks you face. Braum decks with The Scargrounds will also be challenging to face, so look to keep Culling Strikes in your opening hand.
Your Nexus health is very important with this list, as there are no opportunities for healing (besides a lucky Tri-Beam), so always play cautiously against decks that can go over the top, such as aggro Burn or Thresh Nasus’ Atrocity.
Thanks for reading this in-depth analysis of Ezreal Draven. How have you fared with this deck? Are there any cards you think we missed?