A Discussion on Cataclysm (A Love Letter to Fiora/Zed)

Cataclysm card art — Riot Games

In the past few weeks, one of the spiciest decks to hit the ladder started popping up in high Masters: Stand Alone Fiora/Zed. Some will remember this deck from beta as the deck that resulted in Stand Alone getting nerfed to four mana, others will remember it as a toxic deck that dominated the ladder for a week. But me? I’ll remember it as one of the most explosive and intoxicating decks to ever hit the meta.

Unfortunately, I’m not here to talk about the Fiora/Zed deck, there have been wonderful write ups from some of the recent adopters, Closing Thyme’s recent post on Reddit breaks the deck down succinctly and discusses play at the peak of NA ladder. Today, I’m here to talk to you about one of the strongest cards in the deck, and arguably, the single card that reignited this archetype.

As many of you know, Cataclysm is a three mana Demacia spell that reads, “An ally starts a free attack Challenging an enemy. This spell can be used to get free rallies when used on Scout units, couples amazingly with Quick Attack, and scales extremely well with allies with the attack action. Additionally, the card provides offensive players with a counter to stun by enabling attackers that would normally be stuck on the bench. It’s important to note that using this spell with the attack token will not consume your attack token — the attack as the card specifies is “free.”

Cataclysm also has a unique interaction with *Spell Shield — *although the shielded unit does not get pulled into combat, the ally still enters combat and begins a new attack (that does provide the defender the opportunity to assign blockers). So, if your opponent casts Bastion on the enemy unit you are casting Cataclysm on, your attacker still gets declared and you still get the attack.

Is this balanced? I can understand discussions regarding the strength of this card but given the power of other cards in the meta, I wouldn’t say Cataclysm is empowering Demacia to any spectacular heights. In fact, I believe it’s great! Let the attacks resolve! Let the stunned units attack! Breaking the game is what cards are supposed to do to, it’s why it’s a spell that we spend mana, an action, and a card on. I hope the interactions regarding this card are never changed and I hope Riot continues to make cards this versatile for the base regions. Overall, this is the level of interaction and power I believe Legend of Runeterra developers need to aim for when creating slow speed spells.

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