The Final Explorer in the League of Explorers Expansion

Dec 12, 2015

The final explorer comes out this week, and she is entirely unlike the other three. Over the last month, each of the other explorers have proven themselves to be extremely valuable in the right contexts. Reno spawned an entire new set of decks, Brann became a staple in a whole archetype of deck types, Sir Finley has been making his debut into the aggressive scene. This week, however, brings a new adventurer with an ability entirely different from anything we’ve ever seen.

The final adventurer is Elise Starseeker. She is a four mana 3/5, and reads: “Battlecry: Shuffle the ‘Map to the Golden Monkey’ into your deck”. This obviously leads to the question, what is the Map to the Golden Monkey? Well, it’s a two mana card that reads: “Shuffle the Golden Monkey into your deck. Draw a card”. Real helpful, right? So what is the Golden Monkey? The Golden Monkey is the final step. It is a four mana 6/6 with Taunt that reads: “Battlecry: Replace your hand and deck with Legendary minions”.
Now, the real question that has been asked since this card was announced is: Do I want my deck replaced with legendary minions? There are two general responses. The first is that you decidedly do not want this, because a deck entirely consisting of legendary cards isn’t very good, you need spells and other minions to balance it out. On that same note, there are many lackluster legendary cards, such as Nat Pagle, Millhouse Manastorm, Hemet Nesingwary, among others. This side has a lot of merit to it, if we want an example look no further than Control Warrior. Near the end of the game, Control Warrior wants to be pumping out large threats and overwhelming its opponent with huge minions. However, even then it supplements those giant minions with removal such as Shield Slam and Execute, making sure that even while putting out threats, it is using spells to contest the board. Turning those essential spells into legendary minions has the potential to backfire very quickly, as the ability to contest the board disappears, giving your opponent all the decisions and plays for the rest of the game. Although, of course, they will likely have to deal with one large threat every turn.

The other camp says that while spells are definitely good, you won’t be drawing the Golden Monkey until very late game, and at that point you simply want to be putting out as many large threats as possible, so it can be very strong. While it’s true that you will no longer have board control in the form of spells, being able to pump out one or two large minions each turn does create a problem for your opponent, who has likely already used up much of their removal. In that sense the Golden Monkey could present a giant problem, assuming he is able to create some useful legendaries for you.

There’s another large problem with this new card, however, and that is which deck to put it in. There are two real options when considering a deck for the final explorer, Elise. The first is a deck designed around getting her and the Golden Monkey out. It could run Brann Bronzebeard to create two Maps in the deck, and lots of card draw to get to both the map and the Golden Monkey faster. The issue with this style of deck is that the Golden Monkey isn’t actually a win condition. Many decks are built around drawing a lot of cards in order to draw a win condition, but the Golden Monkey doesn’t guarantee that at all. In fact, there’s a fairly large chance that he will end up as one of your last cards since to get him out you have two find two random cards in your deck, and the further down he is the fewer legendaries he creates. He could even be the last card in your deck, making this strategy almost entirely unusable in some scenarios.

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The other deck type would be the one I mentioned before, a Control Warrior type deck. A deck built around being slow and gradually steamrolling its opponent. For decks such as Control Warrior, Handlock, even Control Priest, who simply control the board for a long time, Elise would not be sought after. She would simply be a card that allowed the last few cards in your deck to become legendary minions. If this were the case, even if the Golden Monkey were drawn, there is a large chance it would be held for quite a while. This deck seems like it could use the Golden Monkey quite decently, as you can keep track of your own threats and if you find yourself needing more, simply play it out. Since the Golden Monkey comes with a 6/6 body and taunt, it’s certainly worth mentioning that it can be a threat in and of itself.
It seems easy to write this card off as not particularly good, but all three of the other explorers have found themselves places in competitive decks. It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks how players manage to integrate Elise Starseeker. And it will definitely be awesome to watch the videos of people who play the Golden Monkey and get the exact legendary they needed!

Dec 10, 2015
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Stephen Draper
Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
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