Azir, the “Emperor of Shurima” has officially been unveiled and, needless to say, he’s all but guaranteed to leave a mark from the moment he joins Legends of Runeterra! First of all, one thing needs to be said: Riot has been on a tear lately! The Empires of the Ascended expansion is some of their finest work yet, and we can’t wait for it to ship to live servers!
The Shuriman emperor, in particular, is bound to turn the meta on its head, but the same can be said for the vast majority of other champions who’ll be joining the fray in just a couple of hours!
There’s quite a lot of ground to cover, so let’s begin!
Legends of Runeterra | Azir Joins the Fray!
We’ll break up today’s batch in two separate (albeit inherently connected) bite-sized chunks. The first one pertains to the core strategy behind Azir. The second one pertains to Azir himself along with his many followers and accompanying spells. The reason why we’re doing this in such a specific way is because Riot did the same — the first batch of cards is supposed to serve as an interlude into the most prominent Shuriman representative. It is the appetizer before the meal, if you will.
Funnily enough, the following slew of cards echoes much of what makes Hecarim so darn strong — the constant summoning of an Ephemeral unit that, while weak on paper, can definitely cause a lot of trouble if you manage to harness its potential using the right combination. That one unit is Sand Soldier.
Sand Soldier is a 1 mana Ephemeral unit with 1 | 1. If it happens to hit the enemy Nexus, it’ll deal one more damage on top.
Dunekeeper is a 1 mana unit with 2 | 1. Once brought onto the board, he’ll summon a Sand Soldier as well.
Sandcrafter is a 4 mana unit with 3 | 5 and an Attack passive that’ll summon an attacking Sand Soldier.
Inspiring Marshal is a 5 mana unit with 4 | 6. Once you summon another ally, it’ll gain +2 | 0 for the remainder of the round.
Sandstone Chimera is a 12 mana unit with 6 | 6. Its cost will decrease by 1 for each time an ally attacked during the game. A fairly solid unit if you happen to draw it later on in the game.
As Shurima awakens, bitter rivalries are reborn.
— Legends of Runeterra (@PlayRuneterra) February 18, 2021
The Shuriman Emperor
This is where things get even more interesting.
Azir is 3 mana champion with 1 | 5. Whenever an allied unit attacks, Azir will automatically summon a Sand Soldier. To level him up, you’ll need to summon at least 10 units which, in all fairness, shouldn’t be all that hard with a Shurima-based deck. Once leveled up, he’ll grow to 2 | 6, retain his previous passive, and get another one on top. Whenever you summon an ally, both that unit and Azir will get +1 | 0 for the remainder of the round. To reach Azir’s third and final level, you’ll need to restore the Sun Disc.
Once you get to that point, he’ll grow to 6 | 6, and your deck will be replaced by an entirely new one called “Emperor’s Deck.” (more on that below) Also, whenever an allied unit attacks, you’ll get an attacking Sandstone Charger as well.
All in all, Azir is looking mighty powerful, and we cannot wait to see him in action!
New Shurima Spells
Desert’s Wrath is a 4 mana Slow spell that’ll grant all allied Sand Soldiers everywhere +1 | 0, but also summon two Sand Soldiers immediately upon activation.
Arise! is a 3 mana Burst spell that’ll summon a Sand Soldier and create a Fleeting Arise! in hand.
Emperor’s Divide is a 7 mana Slow spell that’ll give all enemies Vulnerable for the rest of the round and summon a whopping six Sand Soldiers.
Rite of Negation is a 4 mana Fast spell that will either kill an ally or destroy one of your mana gems to stop all enemy Fast spells, Slow spells, and even Skills.
New Shurima Landmark
Emperor’s Dais is a 2 mana Landmark that, once an allied unit attacks, will automatically summon another Sand Soldier.
A Deck Befitting an Emperor
If you happen to restore the Sun Disc and, by proxy, reach Azir’s third and final level, you’ll be in for a treat. His upgraded “Emperor’s Deck” is pretty overwhelming, to say the least.
Crumbling Sands is a 4 mana Fast spell that can obliterate an enemy unit and allow you to draw a card.
Emperor’s Guard is a 2 mana unit with 5 | 4 and Fearsome. Once summoned, you’ll also draw a card.
Eternal Gladiator is a 7 mana unit with 10 | 7 and Barrier. Once summoned, you’ll draw a card. At the end of each round, the strongest enemy unit and Eternal Gladiator will strike each other.
General’s Palace is a 5 mana landmark that’ll make all enemy units Vulnerable. At the start of each round, you’ll get Rally.
Golden Herald is a 5 mana unit with 6 | 6. Once summoned (and at the start of each round), you’ll get two Sand Soldiers and they’ll be granted +2 | +2 as well.
Ascended’s Call is a 10 mana Slow spell that’ll summon both Renekton and Nasus and immediately level them up to level three. An overpowered (albeit pricey) spell that’s downright amazing.
Sandstorm is a 9 mana Slow spell that’ll obliterate three enemy units or landmarks.
Shimmering Mirage is a 3 mana Burst spell that’ll summon an exact Ephemeral copy of an ally. You’ll also get to draw a card as well.
Emperor’s Prosperity is a 2 mana Burst spell that will allow you to draw two cards.
We knew we were in for quite a ride from the moment Empires of the Ascended was announced, but no one could’ve foreseen just how amazing of an expansion it would turn out to be. As always, we’ll be back with more coverage in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned!