Darkness is a pre-made archetype in L.O.R which is doing pretty well in ladder and competitive. It is one of the stronger control decks in the game and having the region with the best removal (shadow isles) really pushes the deck forward. In this article we will talk about certain tips and techs. There are two lists running around on ladder at the time of this article. The standard Darkness deck and then there's a terrible aggro version that I won't be focused on for this particular article. However, if you're interested in hearing about that one. Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.
Group Shot or Go Hard?
The question is do you need drain or disruption? Obviously drain is better, but the drawback is having to get more Go Hards in the end breaking your ability of having strong draws in the future. That said, however, you can use Pack Your Bags. 1 of 3 deck lists use go hard while the others use group shot, which can vary from 2-1 copies. While Go Hards can go from 1-3. Now, Unspeakable Horror is a nice tech option. If you can look pass it being the same cost as vile feast. Keep in mind it can drain the enemy Nexus all while generating a Nightfall card. It has seen some minor competitive play, but as you can imagine, pokey stick outclasses it.
Rekindler or Mist Call?
Mist Call has been the preferred choice, so you can revive a Veigar without losing Darkness stacks all while gaining a Darkness back. Most lists run a 1 or 2 of Mist Call and 1 Rekindler max. A nice tech in a Mist Call spot could be Transposition. Why? Well, it counts as a Mist Call in a sense but with more steps. You get to potentially save a unit and at 1 it's a pretty good card. Imagine returning a big card like a Senna, Rekindler, or Ixtali Sentinel and then for 0 Mana dropping a Senna, Ixtali Sentinel, or Veigar. We'd highly recommend you give it a shot. And hey if you don't like it. Mist Call is always there for you.
Withering Wail or The Box?
Pings that heal or board wipes that seal (your opponent's chance of winning). Withering Wail is better against aggro. That being said, in this meta, The Box (Giggidy) is stronger. For my personal deck I have always used 1 Wail - 2 Boxes. (Depending on my matchups).
Wallop: This Is good tech to assist in stalling strong attackers. Especially since Attach now exits in the game. Wallop is a massive help against Attached units or Fated units.
Minimorph or Vengeance?
Minimorph is seeing little to no play. Vengeance has never been in a better place! Mostly because silencing is not as strong in a meta where buffs still persist because of Attach units like Yuumi or Papercraft Dragon. But also, it was more recently buffed from a 7 mana card to a 6 mana card.
Also, a 1 off Ruination is really good. Additionally, Piercing Darkness has seen a lot of play for dealing with big units and recovering a lot of health. Most units don't have more than 5 HP and draining for 5 can really be game changing against your opponent. In my experience, Piercing Darkness can vary from 1 to 2 copies.
Withering Mist: Basically, a replacement for withering wail, but slower, maximum one, great with Senna on field.
From 0 - 3, I don't have a lot of stats for it really. You can always drop Otterpuss on initiative and trade against small units. You can do this and still have enough mana for a Go Hard or Group Shot. By turn 2, 3 or even late game, you can go Acolyte + Prank and disrupt enemy hand while growing your little augmented unit; but the main viability of Otterpuss is for late disruption.
Honorable Mentions (Other Tech Choices Can Be):
Dess and Ada: Great A.O.C damage and can level little Veigar in one turn...the downside is that at 8 mana, the card is way slow.
Burgeoning & Buhru Sentinels: These units should be teched in if you want to go for a more early aggression type of Darkness deck without getting weird.
Friendship and/or Stress Testing: Stress Testing is cool for saving your Catalyzer to gain extra boosts to your darkness another turn or for helping save Veigar. Friendship can just come in clutch and get your M.V.P cards out of prickly situations.
Stalking Shadows: Pseudo draw card that can get you an extra unit ranging from a Catalyzer to a Rekindler. If you're teching this card in, its a 1 off at best.
We hope this information has been useful for you. Darkness isn't the easiest deck to pilot and there are so many various techs that can be made to help it fit your playstyle. However, as you tech and test just keep in mind the meta that you're in. This should help you make better choices. For example, in a meta where Tree and YiA are dominating the game, Dess and Ada might put in some work! Below you'll find a video of L.O.R World Champion Alanzq, one of the best Darkness players in the world, playing some games on the deck. Enjoy, and catch you next time Runeterra!