How to Play Mono Shurima
If you were to ask me a week ago to name the top five biggest meme archetypes, Mono Shurima would most definitely make the list.
Yeah, that’s no longer true…Buried Sun Disc is a real card now!
It’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung here, and while we knew a big patch was coming, who would have predicted Mono Shurima to emerge?
If you’re like me and don’t have a clue what cards are in the Emperor’s Deck, now’s a good time to learn! Here’s the list I’ve been playing.
Deck Code: CEBAUBAHAEBQ2HBFEY3EQTDZAECQODQBAECAOOYCAQCAOPSZNWEQCAIFA4DQ
Mono Shurima is built solely around the Buried Sun Disc. Now that Azir can level up using landmarks, the Azir Xerath pairing makes a lot more sense. While Buried Sun Disc previously required a ton of time to pop off, we’re now seeing it tick down consistently by turn 6-7!
Xerath is the powerhouse of the deck. Once ascended to level three he blasts everything in his path. And if that’s not enough, the Emperor’s Deck is packed full of game-winning bombs!
Since the update, I’ve seen a variety of different builds. Some focus on the landmark package with Endless Devout and more copies of Desert Naturalist. Others maximize on Predict spells like Feral Prescience and Scrying Sands.
I took my list in a slightly different direction. While it’s too early to make any confirmations, I do like this approach as it opens up some different play patterns while streamlining the combo.
Mono Shurima is completely reliant on Buried Sun Disc, and now that it’s surged in popularity, there is A LOT of landmark removal in the meta. This is extremely dangerous if you’re unprepared, but thankfully Soothsayer is here to help.
Unless you know the opposing deck doesn’t play any landmark removal, hard mulligan for Soothsayer. The only other card worth keeping if you don’t have it is Ancient Preparations.
Now there is one important factor we can’t control. If you’re playing against Scorched Earth or Divergent Paths, you want to be going second. If you happen to be first, cross your fingers and hope they didn’t find it. There’s, unfortunately, nothing we can do in this situation but shrug it off as there are zero windows for us to play Soothsayer beforehand.
Against other landmark removal, things are a lot easier. Aftershock can’t come down until turn three and Desert Naturalist comes down on four. That gives an extra turn or two to find Soothsayer or at least a Rite of Negation.
- Ancient Preparations
- Soothsayer (Unless the matchup doesn’t play landmark removal)
Luxury Keeps: Only consider these if you’ve found a Soothsayer, or don’t need one.
- Azir: Only keep as your 4th card when your other three cards are good.
- Xerath: Only keep as your 4th card when your other three cards are good.
- Preservarium: Keep against non-aggressive matchups.
- Treasure Seeker: Keep against aggressive matchups.
- Aspiring Chronomancer: Keep against aggressive matchups.
- Rock Hopper: Keep against aggressive matchups.
- Desert Naturalist: Always keep against the mirror.
- Unraveled Earth: Priority keep, unless against hyper-aggressive burn decks (ie Spider Aggro).
Example Hand 1: Ancient Preparations – Soothsayer – Unraveled Earth – Preservarium
Example Hand 2: Ancient Preparations – Soothsayer – Treasure Seeker – Aspiring Chronomancer
Ancient Preparations is our ideal start to most games. The deck’s goal is to work towards both level-ups while using draw and Predicts to filter and find both champions.
Unless you’re still digging for a Soothsayer, don’t pass up the chance to grab a missing Azir or Xerath.
While Predicts are an extremely valuable way to filter, you don’t want too many of them. If you’ve got multiple in hand, aim to play once per turn.
Throughout the game, our primary goal is to plan our turns around enabling Xerath. It’s vital that we hit the four landmark threshold, and can require proper planning to ensure they countdown on time.
Unraveled Earth is very playable on turn three as it can force the opponent into an awkward position. It also helps ensure they pop, as later turns can sometimes be more difficult.
Proper board space management is crucial to the deck’s performance. Unraveled Earth is an important fuel for Xerath, but can’t be played if the board’s full of units.
Don’t forget, we only have five available spaces from the start. Here’s where Rite of Calling comes in.
Units like Soothsayer tend to stick around on board for a while. With all our Roiling Sands as deterrents, many other units tend to hang out longer because the opponent doesn’t want to develop into a poor trade. This makes Rite of Calling extremely easy to cast without destroying our mana gems.
If we’re not at risk of removal, any cheap unit is a feasible target. But Soothsayer is a premium choice thanks to the four-health. Drawing a champion and clearing up board space at zero cost is insane. I thought having three would be clunky but it’s continued to perform well every time.
Treasure Seeker plays a valuable supporting role. The deck indeed struggles with board space, making Waking Sands occasionally awkward to play. But most importantly, it enables the threat of a five-power Challenger alongside all our Roiling Sands. That alone makes the opponent have to reconsider their plays.
Ancient Hourglass is an important piece of protection for Azir and Xerath. However, it can also be used to set up a Xerath trigger in a pinch. If you’re in a situation where you can take advantage of it, feel free to use it on a unit proactively so that it pops and triggers Xerath immediately at the start of the next turn.
I’m sure you’ve been waiting to ask… “Thrumming Swarm? Really!?” Hear me out. There are going to be times where The Sun Disc is destroyed and there’s nothing you can do about it. While it’s a massive blow, the game isn’t completely hopeless. Azir and Xerath still level up just as easily, but we just lack that final game-winning push. Thrumming Swarm helps fill that role. As a 1-of, it will rarely get in the way of our plans, but can still be found with help from Predicts. Infinite 8|4 Overwhelms can certainly end games!
Feral Prescience/Scrying Sands
I could be totally off base here, as there’s a good chance maximizing on Predict is the way to go. However, I hate drawing these in multiples, then having to wait until the next turn, only to draw just one card. I think we’ve got enough already, especially with Rite of Calling.
It’s a great blocker for an empty board and provides two immediate triggers for Azir. However, board space is an issue, and the deck already does a reasonable job at having enough blockers.
Solid value unit, depending on RNG. Sometimes you get Ancient Preparations or Preservarium and it’s fantastic. Other times, it’s mediocre at best. Not a bad option, but there’s too much competition in the 2-drop slot already.
This is an excellent 1-of to the deck and I could certainly consider adding a second copy. A very good way to shutdown game-winning Elusive or Overwhelm attacks.
In a world of mirrors, I’d happily add a second copy. If you manage to pop their Sun Disc you win the game. Just don’t rely on it, because they just need to draw their Soothsayer. Rite of Negation can also stop it.
Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day
Life is a battle of priorities.
We all want to get a good sleep, but we also want to stay up and binge Netflix.
We all want to save money, but we also want to enjoy spending on ourselves and loved ones.
We all want to live a healthy lifestyle, but we also want to just hang out and eat what we want.
Unfortunately, we can’t have it all. So what’s most important to you?