The Rising Tides expansion of Legends of Runeterra introduced 11 new champions to the game. While the new meta has mostly retained usage of the old champions as core winning conditions, as cards like Ezreal, Karma, Heimerdinger, and Elise are still meta-defining, there are a few new champions that stand out as (almost) must-crafts.
Vi is an early contender to be the best new Rising Tides champion in Legends of Runeterra by the power of how many different decks use her. We see her supporting the modernized versions of Corina Controls, is a core part of the new Vi/Heimerdinger Controls, and is now making her way into Bannerman Midranges and Demacia Aggros, as exhibited by in recent tournaments.
The power of Vi is manifold. She comes in with a Challenger effect so she can draw in to punch any unit she wants: the pesky Karma that will ruin you in late game, or the Jinx that will kill you next turn; or any other win condition you might have on the field. Her power grows with each card you play and she essentially can kill anything. She also comes in with 5 Health and Toughness, making her very hard to dispose of with damage. You either need a hard removal like Vengeance, or a massive Thermogenic Beam for 6+. A succession of damage spells, like Get Excited!, Grasp of the Undying, or Gotcha do little to nothing to her and at best it’s a bad value trade.
Leveling her up is difficult, but the best part is you don’t even need to. Like Draven, for example, she is extremely powerful in her default form.
Vi is value through and through and is likely to remain the best new champion for the foreseeable future.
Miss Fortune was a very early favorite for the best Rising Tides champion, when the MF Scouts Aggro deck was the first to climb to the coveted Master rank.
Like Vi, Miss Fortune is already powerful in her level up, as every attack deals at least 1 Nexus damage plus 1 more to any blocking units, and MF doesn’t even have to be in the battle to trigger this: she only needs to stand back and fire shots. This not only puts extra Nexus pressure, but makes combat math very awkward for the defender. 1-health blockers now die for free. The Nexus shot also triggers Plunder and is buffed up by any Kegs you might have on the board.
On top of that, if you run Scouts and/or Rally effects, MF levels up even faster and often you can level her up in two attack rounds. Then, she becomes even more deadly, as Bullet Time deals 3 to blockers and the Nexus, which is a ton.
Played in: Scouts Aggro
Swain is somewhat of a late bloomer in Rising Tides as players are still trying to find the best deck archetype to put him in. Right now, he’s a key part of several strong decks, but none have the popularity or consistency of Vi decks or archetypes based on Launch Set champions.
The power of Swain is his versatility and you can plug in multiple deck types because of how powerful his effects are. First, he can level up while still in your deck: you just need to do 12 non-combat damage, which is easy for Noxus decks in general. Once he levels up, every time you deal non-combat Nexus damage, you Stun the strongest backrow enemy; and every time you deal combat Nexus damage, you deal 3 to all enemies.
That’s A LOT, especially when you account for Swain’s signature follower: The Leviathan. When both are in play and Swain is leveled up (which he will be by round 8), you will stun the 3 strongest followers, open the flood doors for attack, deal Nexus damage, then deal 3 more to all enemies.
Miss Fortune is often paired with Quinn in the Scouts Aggro archetype, although admittedly she’s more of a supporting champion rather than the star of the deck. Quinn is valuable because of the Scout attack pressure she puts on, plus the fact she comes with a 2/1 Challenger body that can set up favorable trades, especially with MF on the board.
Quinn is on the list because you 100% need her if you want to play a Scouts Aggro deck, which — while losing popularity somewhat — remains one of the best Aggro decks in the current meta. Her level up is less impressive than other champions on this list because you can’t control who the new Valor challenges, but nevertheless there isn’t a Scouts deck without her.
Like Swain, Twisted Fate is trying to find his place in the Rising Tides meta, but although he’s not part of a (yet) established archetype, he’s still one of the most high-value control/combo tools in the expansion.
Twisted Fate’s power is in his Destiny Card versatility and massive combo potential. He combines well with Ezreal for OTK damage; Gangplank in Klepto Controls; Fizz in various Aggro decks; and Lee Sin in competitive spell-combo decks. Getting him leveled up is tricky, because of his weak stats and the fact he has to be in play while you draw the cards, but fortunately there are plenty of cheap card advantage spells in Rising Tides to make this doable.