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Shadow Karma deck list guide - Open Beta - Legends of Runeterra (March 2020)

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About James Law

James can usually be found wearing dungarees.

Our Shadow Karma deck list guide features the best Legends of Runeterra deck list for the open beta (March 2020). Our Shadow Karma guide also contains Mulligan advice, card combos and strategy tips.

If you’re looking for a rundown of the best decks Legends of Runeterra has to offer, check out our Legends of Runeterra Best Decks page!

Shadow Karma is a deck that’ll really test your skill level. It’s a control deck with a bit more early-game than you might be used to, relying on a strong combination of Shadow Isles removal and Ionia’s sneaky bait plays.

Karma decks, by definition, desperately want to make it to turn 10, so you’ll want to pull out all the stops to make this happen. Vile Feast and Black Spear will be your primary tools for this, but don’t be afraid to sacrifice your units with the likes of Mark of the Isles. Don’t be greedy too - sometimes you’ll need to drop Karma and block with her in a dire situation.

Here’s the latest version of the Shadow Karma, and we’ll keep you posted as the metagame develops.

Shadow IslesIonia
2 x Hapless Aristocrat3 x Death Mark
3 x Mark of the Isles3 x Emerald Awakener
3 x Vile Feast3 x Shadow Assassin
3 x Darkwater Scourge2 x Deny
3 x Grasp of the Undying3 x Will of Ionia
3 x Withering Wail3 x Karma
2 x The Rekindler
2 x The Ruination
2 x The Harrowing

Select and copy the long ID string below, then click ‘Import Deck’ in Legends of Runeterra’s Collection to export this deck into your game.

Deck Import ID: CEBAKAIFAQLB2KBWAUAQEAQDFE2TSAQBAEBDCBABAUBQ6FBLAA

General strategy

Removal is key. You’ll find it really hard to come back into the game unless you use your spells wisely, so be careful and avoid exhausting your supply too soon.

Early game: Hapless Aristocrat and Vile Feast are here to protect you at the start of a game, giving you small minions to block enemy attacks until your actual powerful plays can start happening. Mark of the Isles can be used early to get rid of larger baddies, and if you’ve not played anything by turn 3, the Darkwater Scourge + Emerald Awakener combo is a strong one to get you back in the game. Don’t worry too much about saving stuff like that for lethal at the end of the game - against aggro you’ll need to pull out all the stops to even get that far.

Mid game: Once you hit the mid game, things get slightly easier. Withering Wail can get rid of entire boards of spiders, and Karma is a great value generator if you get the chance to drop her. You’ve only got 2 copies of Deny, so use them wisely, potentially when your opponent tries to buff their units out of range of your damage spells like Grasp of the Undying.

Will of Ionia can be cast in the middle of combat, so you can wait until the last second to take an enemy out of the. Avoid taking the maximum damage possible by forcing the recall after they’ve used a buff spell. Your general outlook for turns 5 to 9 is the same as before - stay alive. You’re unlikely to finish off the match at this point, but you’ve got a massive amount of value waiting in the wings. It’s worth trying to generate spells off of Karma though - she can always be revived by The Rekindler later on.

Late game: Once you’re Enlightened, you can really start choking your enemy out of the game. The Ruination absolutely wrecks entire boards - just be careful your opponent doesn’t have the mana to cast Deny. Emerald Awakener becomes a 3 mana 6/6 with Lifesteal, and Darkwater Scourge combined with Death Mark gives you another great deal of survivability. Try to heal up as best you can, and get a Karma on board too.

A great final gambit is The Harrowing. It’s a hugely powerful spell that’ll give you an entire board ready to attack. Just remember, use it when you have an attack token or it might be a waste - although it can be useful as a defensive tool if need be. Karma combined with spells like Mark of the Isles can give you a surprise lethal, thanks to the Champion’s ability to double-cast, as well as healing you with Withering Wail. In general, you’ll have far too much value for your opponent to deal with by the end of the game, and you should be able to run away with victory.

More essential Legends of Runeterra guides:

Shadow Karma Mulligan guide

These are the cards you’ll want to make the best possible start with Shadow Karma:

  • 1. Hapless Aristocrat gives you two blocks for the price of one - vital for staying alive early.
  • 2. Vile Feast can take out potentially snowballing enemy units, giving you a tidy bit of healing and a little unit too.
  • 3. We like holding onto Shadow Assassin - it’ll draw you a card and also let you block enemy units with Elusive.
  • 4. Holding onto the combo of Darkwater Scourge and Death Mark can be very powerful, as for 6 mana you’ll be able to summon a 5/5 with Lifesteal and kill an enemy unit at the same time.

Shadow Karma tips, combos and synergies

Here’s a quick overview of a few things you might want to watch out for when you’re playing this deck.

- The Harrowing resurrects both friendly and enemy units, so keep in mind which enemy units are the strongest ones who have died this game. If they’re not playing a lot of big units, you’ll likely summon Karma, Darkwater Scourge, and an upgraded Emerald Awakener.

- Karma stops generating spells once she levels up, so don’t rely on this for value generation when you’re Enlightened. That’s why it’s sometimes worth playing a copy earlier, just to get a couple extra spells in hand.

- The Ruination kills all units on both sides of the board, but be aware of Last Breath effects - they’ll still go off.

- Will of Ionia recalls an enemy unit back into their hand, removing all buffs it previously had, and forcing them to play it again. Be careful though - this does give them the chance to double up on bonus on-play effects.

- Withering Wail is a Fast spell, so it can be played after your opponent has committed an attack. Try using it when a load of small units have already readied themselves to hit your Nexus, and you can bait your opponent into overextending.

- Death Mark is pretty much only used for your Darkwater Scourge, but if you have spell mana left over you can also cast it on one of the summoned units from The Harrowing. These are the strongest units that have died this game too, so if your opponent has a Tryndamere in the graveyard, you could really capitalise.

- With these big ol’ spells in your deck, you have to be really careful of enemy Deny spells. Try to avoid using things like The Harrowing against Ionia until they go below 4 mana.

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