Elnuk decks have always been half-meme, half-serious in Legends of Runeterra. Their concept is relatively simple: you play Troop of Elnuks, a rather weak 5-mana 3/3 follower, which then pulls all Elnuks from the top 10 cards of your deck.
The goal is to get as many Bull Elnuk’s, the 4-mana 4/5 follower, which is the only other Elnuk unit in the game. If you’re lucky, you get a huge board swing. If you’re not — you payed 5 mana for nothing, you’ve lost tempo, and you’re likely to die in the next turn or two. Great for streaming, not so great for reliably climbing ladder.
The Elnuk strategy was especially fragile in the pre-Patch 0.9.0 meta, where fast aggro decks ruled the field. Getting to round 5 with health to spare was already a difficult affair, so players did not want to risk an empty Elnuk pull with their 5 mana.
But things have changed after the patch. The meta has slowed down. Control decks have become more and more popular and suddenly, even a tempo loss at round 5 is not that risky, especially if the alternative is a massive board of free units that can straight up kill the control deck if he doesn’t have very specific AoE removal in hand.
So, even the high Master pro players and streamers turned to the Elnuk horde for help and have put them in the so-called “Freeze Ezreal” deck, one example list of which can be found below.
Here, the Elnuks are an alternative win condition to the established Ezreal combo list. They have replaced some of the spells that help level up Ezreal in original lists, like Flash Freeze, Avalanche, and Trueshot Barrage, trading spell control for board presence.
Several high profile streamers, including Hyped and Swim, have managed to climb high in Master with this or similar lists and this could be one of the new meta archetypes to watch out for on the ladder. Then again, if you don’t feel like playing Ezreal, there’s always the Mistwraiths, I/F Elusives, or traditional Warmother controls who are still top of the meta.