LoR Homebrews: Involuntary Artistry
Astrofeesh presents his favorite creation, Caitlyn Mill -- perhaps the only competitive deck capable of using mill as a primary win condition
Hey, I’m Astrofeesh! I don’t really use Twitter, but you can find me on Discord as Astrofeesh#7532, and in Runeterra.ar at:
… where I occasionally post fun decks I make.
I’ve been playing LoR regularly since Beta, but I’ve never climbed past Diamond since I don’t really have the patience to grind to Masters.
My favorite part of the game is building new decks, to the point where I rarely stick with one archetype for more than a few games. I also consider myself an expert small-tournament player, especially in ones with deck-building restrictions. Some I’ve played include ones hosted by the Legends Cast podcast, Runeterra Life, and TKG STAYWOKE, but I’ve only played in a few larger tournaments.
I took a break from ladder the past few seasons because I burnt myself out, but I started playing Ranked again recently with the challenge of only using my own off-meta brews to climb.
The best way I can think of describing this deck is a control deck in the same vein of Corina Control in beta: it tries to win in the late game, but it can also snowball the board and win that way with some lucky draws.
I originally made this deck back when Caitlyn first came out, as I wanted to find a way of making the full Flashbomb package work.
I had it in Freljord at first, but I quickly realized a lot of my games were coming very close to both players decking out. As a result, I switched to SI for the mill protection of Go Hard and added in a bit more draw, and Cait Mill was born.
After a few seasons of fine-tuning and Flashbomb buffs, I would make the (somewhat bold) claim that this is the only competitive deck in the game capable of using mill as a primary win condition, without using cards like Maokai or The Watcher that destroy the deck.
Your general gameplan relies on getting down Hexcore Foundry and using it to lock your opponent out of the board with a mixture of Flashbombs and Pack Your Bags.
Our gameplan is to plant Flashbombs with your engines, force your opponent to draw them, and use your spells to clear off anything that survives.
Then, you can either beat them down with your significant board advantage or, against control decks, wait for them to draw all their cards and lose thanks to Hexcore while you sit on your pile of Go Hards.
Pretty simple, right?
Tools for the Job
There are a few cards in this deck that are worth going over in more detail.
Hexcore Foundry is pretty self-explanatory: get it down as soon as you can do so without losing to pressure, and use your draw cards to find it if you don’t have it.
Aloof Travelers are another very important draw card, as they let you get rid of a win condition from your opponent’s hand while also progressing your gameplan. You should try to play them as soon as you can, but prioritize getting Justice Rider down in the early game. However, immediately play them if your opponent happens to get to ten cards in hand: Aloof will both overdraw a card (which will be obliterated) and discard one for twice as much value.
Justice Rider is easily your best engine, and the recent buff to it (adding an extra point of health) makes it stick around a lot easier. Keeping one on the board means all your draw cards turn into Flashbomb generators, and the combo with Hexcore is strong enough that your opponent won’t be able to keep anything weaker than Nautilus on the board for longer than a turn or two.
Caitlyn is another good Flashbomb engine, and she levels very quickly in this deck for some extra chip damage that might let you turn the corner in some matchups. However, don’t be afraid to block with her if you need to – the deck can win without her, and she also makes a good bait for removal so your opponents let your Justice Rider live.
Insider Knowledge is a very important card as well, as you usually want to save copies of it in hand to play in one of three situations:
As the extra bit of burst when you’re going for the mill win condition, to make your opponent lose at fast speed,
As a way of stacking damage on Caitlyn and clearing the opponent’s board later in the game, when you have the attack token and Cait on board, or
As an emergency button if you’re about to lose to an attack or you’ve somehow run out of cards.
In short, don’t play Insider Knowledge unless you’re trying to win the game that turn, or if you really need to.
Finally for Go Hard, there’s one important thing to remember: DON’T PLAY PACK YOUR BAGS UNLESS YOU’RE LOSING BOARD!
Keeping Pack your Bags in hand means your opponent will be afraid to commit too much to the board, and since Flashbombs heavily punish undercommiting, your opponent is locked into a lose-lose situation.
Eventually, they’ll be forced to either fully commit to the board – in which case you punish them with Pack – or you’ll be able to beat them down with your board advantage. Don’t be afraid to play your Go Hards proactively to get to Pack sooner, since the Drain 1 is rarely ever wasted thanks to Flashbomb damage.
It’s also fine to play Pack Your Bags to clear a smaller board if you’ve drawn multiple copies of it, since you’ll be able to get to the 2nd copy of it pretty fast in that case.
Just a Flex
There are a few flex spots that I’ll go over very briefly.
Hapless Aristocrat can be swapped for Practical Perfectionist if you want the extra value and don’t need as much anti-aggro,
You can swap 1 Aftershock for a 2nd Vengeance if you’re having trouble with big units, and Aftershock can also be switched out entirely for Undergrowth if you’re running into a lot of burn (though it’s a bit dangerous, since the toss can be an actual downside in this deck),
If you’re feeling spicy, you can try Coup de Grace over Vengeance as it is slightly better in a lot of cases, but it does make it much harder for the deck to deal with big champions.
For mulligans, you generally always want to keep Go Hard, Foundry and your Flashbomb producers. For faster matchups, you want your damage spells and Hapless Aristocrat while throwing Justice Rider, and for control matchups, you want to hard-mull for Foundry, Rider, and Aloof.
I’ve played this deck a lot in ranked to pretty good success as high as Plat, but I haven’t gotten a chance to test it with Aftershock yet outside of a few casual games (before the patch, I ran 3 Sump Fumes and 2 Vengeance instead). However, I do think it’s a very good change.
This deck is also a part of my tournament lineup, and it has always managed to outperform in Best-of-Three since you can ban other Go Hard decks and hard-to-disrupt combos.
Cait Mill is probably my favorite deck out of anything I’ve ever created.
It’s tricky to play, and it’s definitely not tier 1, but the payoff of locking down your opponent with Flashbombs or getting the “Your opponent is out of cards!” screen is definitely worth it.
We hope you've enjoyed this brief test-piloting session! If you have any feedback for future test-runs, please let us know…
… and if you take any of these decks for a spin, best of luck! =)