After a big patch, representing the meta is difficult and trying to force a snapshot would be misleading and could harm the diversity. We wanted to facilitate the feeling of “freshness” and to that end, we have come up with 14 new decks for you to play with, both literally and figuratively. This was a positive patch, with many more buffs than nerfs, giving some cards an opportunity to see more play than previously. In particular, Ezreal has received a lot of attention after his rework, so we provided 4 different lists for you to try him out in his new form!
We recruited two new content writers, Den and Zenaton. This gives us the ability to provide more comprehensive writing. In the past, our meta snapshot has always been about striving to accurately represent the meta and we are lucky to have so many players in our team hit Top 1 Masters. This really helped provide a robust and credible snapshot. However, with so many eminent opinions to take into account, production became tough for our modest writing team. Den and Zenaton’s arrival has already helped to remedy this; we hope you will enjoy the fruits of our newly-expanded writing team’s labour!
For the decks included here, though they can be construed as “fun” or “experimental,” we have tried to only include viable decks that have a positive winrate. Obviously, not every deck here will be Tier 1 material, but you can be assured that they were created and tested by top ladder players. Next week, we will return to reporting on the best decks on the ladder to assist you in your climb to Masters and beyond.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop by our Discord.
Editing: Crixuz, Den, Wusubi, Sebodunum, ShadowplayRed
Table of Contents
TF-Elise can be described as a slow Burn deck, since your primary goal is to sneak in chip damage behind the enemy lines turn by turn, until Pack Your Bags and a few Doombeasts can finish the game for good. Don’t be afraid if you’re unable to swing for the enemy Nexus each turn, since this isn’t a classic Burn deck. TF is the star of the show, proving his flexibility once again. Using Red Card alone, or comboing them with Kegs, helps you get some damage in. It also provides efficient board clear, now that many of the popular decks contain smaller units that you need to deal with.
Elise is a flexible generator of early game pressure. She creates 1/1 Spider tokens, which are ideal chump blockers later on, as well as expendable tools for your Fortune Croaker. This improves some of your matchups, for example it certainly isn’t optimal to be damaging healthy units against a Swain deck, nor to have a swarm of 1 HP units against Spoky Karma’s or Spooky Ezreal’s Withering Wail (or Statikk Shock).
You may think Ashe-Sejuani can get beefy units against you, but they will often be forced to swarm the board themselves. This is done in order to avoid falling behind by playing Avarosan Hearthguard while you play 3 units in response. Again, as you aren’t a classic Burn deck, you can block with your units in a more care-free manner, in order to optimize board wipes.
With EZ-Swain on the horizon, Gold Card can bail you out of taking considerable damage to the face. Finally, Blue Card is a convenient way to search for answers or lethal in Pack Your Bags and Doombeast. (Write-up by CastMin)
After the Ezreal buff in Patch 1.14, we’ve seen a plenty of EZ decks emerge. This EZ-Swain deck is one of them. It’s similar to Swain-TF in terms of playstyle - it’s a control deck that uses the best removal tools from PnZ and Noxus, synergizing with the level-up conditions of both Swain and Ezreal. You win by clearing your opponent’s board using spells like Mystic Shot, Thermogenic Beam, Ravenous Flock, Death’s Hand etc; those spells level your Swain fairly fast.
A leveled Swain with The Leviathan or with a leveled Ezreal on the board is your goal here. The deck also has multiple draw and shuffle engines like Rummage that can be used to discard Mushroom Clouds or to unbrick your hand. House Spider and Chempunk Pickpocket are great units to force out trades early or to put pressure on the board versus control decks.
A very powerful interaction between a leveled Swain and a leveled Ezreal is the Burst speed stuns into open attack. If you have both champions on the board, using Burst spells like Mushroom Clouds or Rummage to deal Burst damage to the Nexus with EZ will allow you to stun their Fearsome blockers and deliver the final blow.
This deck’s matchups are good on average. It’s favoured against Aggro decks like Jinx Discard and GP-MF, mostly due to the high amount of removal spells. It also does well against Midrange using Swain and The Leviathan by stunning their whole board and finishing the game with Swain, Ravenous Flock and Scorched Earth. However, it struggles against other control decks, mainly the SI ones, as Vengeance and The Ruination can easily deal with our threats. (Write-up by Kuvira)
With Make it Rain and Riptide Rex, leveling your Ezreal has never been easier. EZ not being the win condition he once was forces the deck in a new direction, using him as a value tool by helping the deck with not emptying its hand too fast. TF is an amazing champion, flexible and necessary against Aggro, while pressuring decks that lack removal with a fast level-up and his great draw and clear potential.
The deck needs to try and replenish its hand all the time, as Warning Shot, low mana minions and removal tend to drain it incredibly fast. The dip in the mana curve between turns 4 and 8 can be harsh, especially with a weaker Rex against high HP minions. Your line of play should be to slowly lose the board before returning with Rex and finishing the game with an Ezreal or your newly gained tempo advantage. (Write-up by Ultraman1996)
Go Hard or go home! Having a supplementary win condition in Go Hard combined with card draw allows you to stabilize even when you don’t find Ezreal. The Rekindler and The Harrowing aim at abusing Ezreal’s ability, because even if one EZ struggles to OTK someone, having 2 or more on board will force the opponent out of their comfort zone. Be careful when using Go Hard, as it could fill your deck with copies and make it harder to draw Ezreal.
Ezreal, on the other hand, profits from being played early, as him dying isn’t much of a problem when both The Rekindler and The Harrowing will bring him back to life. Having hard removal like Vengeance is a plus for EZ decks, as PnZ tends to struggle against high HP and Regeneration. The region often ends up having to use multiple cards and sometimes still failing to remove the threat, especially against Targon with their instant buffs. (Write-up by Ultraman1996)
Targon can use Ezreal to his full potential, protecting him with Pale Cascade and making him a threat thanks to having Mentor of the Stones. Coupled with Mystic Shots, you’ll have a strong early game against Aggro. Starshaping helps with stabilizing the mid game against Aggro and Midrange while also giving the deck a win condition against control decks, thanks to the amazing set of 7+ mana Celestial cards.
Since EZ is rarely going to be OTK material in this deck, your aim should be mainly to slowly erode your opponent’s Nexus with Vi’s level-up, Elusive damage and Ezreal’s level-up. Hush counters many decks by simply existing, and coupled with PnZ removals, will help ensure the board doesn’t get overtaken by the opponent. (Write-up by Ultraman1996)
What would this deck report be without a Funsmith deck?! Funsmith Burn is a flexible Burn deck that can play the role of control against Aggro decks, or just go straight for the face if it wants to. The deck has a high amount of draw and combo potential through Funsmith, as well as through leveling Twisted Fate. As a result, it can take games to turns 8-10 (or later against certain decks) and still win.
Your main goal throughout most of the game will be to remove the opponent’s units while damaging their Nexus directly with Parrrley, Make it Rain, Statikk Shock and TF’s Red Card. Removing the enemy blockers results in more Nexus damage while buying time for the player to use some of the many card draw tools to acquire even more Nexus-damaging cards.
In terms of mulligans, the cards to look for include Crackshot Corsair, Jagged Butcher, Parrrley and Dreadway Deckhand. MF is good if you attack on Turn 3 and Boomcrew Rookie is very helpful against decks that don’t run 2 mana 3/2s. As for Funsmith, keep her if MF is in your opening hand. (Deck by Sozage, write-up by Crixuz)
Vladimir has received a seemingly innocuous buff recently, with his level-up condition lowered to having 5 units survive damage and his text altered. His new text allows for his positioning to affect the damage he deals to allies, such that his ability only hits the units to the right of him during combat. This added flexibility greatly increases the range of decks in which Vlad can fit, as well as his overall power level. Vlad might still need some additional help to be truly competitive at the highest level, but he now has several Tier 2 decks he can find his home in.
While Vladimir can deal 18 damage with Funsmith or buff the Freljord Overwhelm units, he’s strongest as an alternative to GP in the old Pirate Burn deck. By replacing GP with Vladimir, the deck gains some Midrange potential and can compete more readily with other Aggro decks like Discard Aggro or Fearsome SI. The units which are synergistic with Vlad are also notably more resilient against Avalanche, so the deck performs better against Freljord-SI control decks which seem to be making a comeback despite the recent nerfs to Trundle and Wyrding Stones.
Vlad Burn functions similarly to the old Pirates deck, by playing units early and getting aggressive, attacking every turn to quickly deplete the enemy Nexus health. Then, we can finish the game with Vladimir, Decimate, or rally via Citrus Courier. The Vlad version puts more emphasis on unit survivability with cards like Transfusion. This can be beneficial when playing against removal-heavy decks like the new EZ-Swain.
Quick combos include Crimson Disciple with your damaging units and spells (such as Imperial Demolitionist, Transfusion, Fortune Croaker, Vladimir) and rallying with Citrus Courier to attack again with Miss Fortune, Crackshot Corsair, Vladimir and Zap Sprayfin. (Write-up by GlopNA)
With the rise of board-centric decks, Tahm-Soraka is poised to shine in the upcoming weeks. As a Midrange combo deck, it wants to curve out early with its self-damage units to set-up a powerful mid game with Star Shepherd and eventually achieve an alternative win condition through the Star Spring landmark. By clogging up the board early with units, you’re able to dictate the pace of the game.
Once you’re in control of tempo, you can focus on building towards one of your three win conditions: Star Spring, feeding Tahm Kench and general board presence. Having said that, it isn’t uncommon to win through the pure value derived from your combat tricks and Soraka herself drawing you all the cards you need.
When it comes to problematic units from the opponent, this is where the Kench should be unbenched. Between all the heals and combat tricks, in theory Tahm Kench will be able to take out one enemy unit per turn, which by itself could be more than enough to win the game. To help Tahm in the removal department, Shakedown pulls double duty in helping to remove enemy units and damaging your own units to reach the Star Spring win condition.
Another strength of the deck is the flexibility of card choices available to you. The plethora of powerful cards available in Targon (e.g. Bastion, Broadbacked Protector and more) allow you to tech the deck in various ways for differing matchups. (Deck by Swim, write-up by Zenaton)
How could we ever forget about Dragons? Especially with the buff to Shyvana, Dragons are arguably a lot more viable. Shyvana can now trade with Trundle on attack turns and survive, since her stats are 5/5 vs Trundle’s 4/5.
This Shyvana-ASol list that wants to dominate the board with beefy units. To do that, survivability has to be at the top of your mind. The deck is more conservative with the number of high-cost Dragons, opting to run units with a lower mana cost instead to aid withstanding Aggro decks. For example, the deck runs Dragonguard Lieutenant, Fleetfeather Tracker, and Solari Shieldbearer. Dragonguard Lieutenant and Solari Shieldbearer are very potent in the current meta, as they’re some of the very few Turn 2 plays right now that can counter Fearsome units.
To further ensure you stay alive, the list includes Radiant Guardian. Together with Single Combat and Concerted Strike, it’s very easy for this deck to control the board. A notable exclusion is the Egghead Researcher. This deck has learnt the lesson of what happens when you don’t include enough early game plays.
By excluding cards that effectively make you lose the early game (Egghead Researcher, Mobilize and Herald Of Dragons), Dragons can consistently transition to the mid and late game where they excel. (Deck by Annie_Desu, write-up by Crixuz)
Are you ready to be the next bait king? Because that’s the main purpose of the solo Maokai in this deck. But who needs champions anyway, as Undying decks never used them! Shakedown and Hired Gun usefully provide Vulnerable enemies, allowing you to throw your Undying into the meat grinder, which makes them return stronger and can force good trades. Chronicler of Ruin will create copies of The Undying, making them bigger and duplicating them at the same time, while Ethereal Remitter has a more direct effect, despite being quite random.
Be very careful of having more than two active copies of The Undying, however, as they cannot block. As such, you must ensure you accompany them with blockers such as Ethereal Remitter and whatever it produces. A good way of managing the balance between Undying and blockers is to kill Undying on defensive turns, replacing them with Ravenous Butcher or Blighted Caretaker. This way you’ll have enough blockers while strengthening your Undying for the next attacking turn.
Citrus Courier gives you a play that can be very devastating for your opponent. If your The Undying gets chump blocked, as long as one unit hits the enemy Nexus, Citrus Courier can be dropped to provide Rally (and heal all of your units and your Nexus by 3). This allows you to take advantage of your attack-focused Undying line-up, whilst taking your opponent by surprise. Oranges never tasted so good! (Write-up by Sebodunum and Ultraman1996)
Feel the Minah
Feel the Minah is a FTR Trundle-Tryndamere deck with the newly buffed Minah Swiftfoot. With this list, generally you want to ramp quickly using Wyrding Stones, Voices of the Old Ones and Catalyst of Aeons to play Feel the Rush. Very few decks in the (not-yet-developed) meta can deal with two 10/10 champions, so when you play FTR, it’s game over. The problem? You have to survive. The deck tries to stabilize with Troll Scavenger, Avalanche and Concussive Palm. Yes, Concussive Palm. Did we mention this deck swaps SI for Ionia?
There are a few advantages and disadvantages with regard to opting for Ionia instead of SI. Ionia is beneficial because you can play Deny and Minah Swiftfoot, cards that are very good against the mirror matchup. Minah’s ability to Recall three of your opponent’s units makes her very potent against any Midrange deck like Ashe-Sejuani, Shyvana-ASol and Leona-ASol. The main disadvantage is the lack of Grasp of the Undying, which is extremely good against Ezreal decks.
If you want an alternative to the old FTR deck, Feel the Minah is the list for you. (Deck by Random7HS, write-up by Crixuz)
This is an Overwhelm Tribal deck with spells to complement the Overwhelm playstyle. The list is simple and easy to pilot. All you have to do is survive the early game and then go aggressive in the mid game. You should aim to find Omen Hawk, Ruthless Raider and Ancient Yeti on the mulligan. Ruthless Raiders are your main weapon in the early game. Elixir of Iron is cheap and will keep your units alive against Aggro.
If you won the board in the early game, you should push, otherwise you should focus on building the board and wait for Whirling Death and Decisive Maneuver to push without trading your Overwhelm units. Stuns and removals allow your Overwhelm units to attack face with no risk. Don’t force the Plunder on Wolfrider, treat it like Iron Ballista and play it on Turn 4 if you have nothing else, even when you’re ahead.
Braum and Decisive Maneuver are your answers to high HP creatures. This isn’t a Braum deck, so don’t play for Braum, play to win with Overwhelm. Decisive Maneuver is your ace in the hole, so always make sure you set-up for it to be lethal and bear in mind that Decisive Maneuver’s +2 to allies still procs even if the target is removed or buffed with Spellshield.
The deck is in a great spot in the current unclarified meta. It’s very explosive and can OTK with Decisive Maneuver against Midrange and control decks like Warmother and Tahm-Soraka. It can survive both AoE and single target removals while also surviving the early game against Aggro. (Write-up by Earlmeister)
Just like Anivia, the only champion in the deck, this archetype usually finds a route back in the game, one way or another. This is a specialist-style deck in that it aims to set-up multiple Anivias on the board in order to take over the game. So, why are we talking about it today? The deck doesn’t run any KDA cards, and even if Black Spear got a damage boost and now feels like a really good removal tool, the card itself wouldn’t be a reason to get the archetype back on the map. While we don’t think this deck will ever be a contender for Tier 1, it’s very hard to argue with the fact that when it comes to denying the board to your opponent, it does an incredible job.
With the nerf to Trundle, the heavy Freljord control lists that were preventing the emergence of many Midrange decks have greatly reduced in popularity. With that, board-centric decks that focus on building chunky minions and pressuring the opponent in the mid game can make a comeback. This meta gives an excellent reason for control players to switch toward a more board-oriented deck; with this comes Anivia Reborn.
As the name indicates, the whole concept of this deck revolves around getting Anivia on the board safely, slowing down the pace of the game and then multiplying the frozen phoenix through The Rekindler and The Harrowing. This happens either through the damage from Anivia’s passive, or through board control and exhausting the opponent’s resources on removing Anivia and her eggs, only to see them return with The Harrowing.
Your late game is covered by the multiple Anivias, so the main focus of the deck is slowing down the early to mid game portion of the game, which is why the deck is filled with so many removals. Disrupting the enemy’s tempo allows for the set-up of a Turn 6 Anivia into a Turn 7 The Rekindler. From there, The Harrowing can have a big impact. (Write-up by Den)
This everlasting archetype found a way to reinvent itself and stay a contender for the best Aggro deck. Still based on a predominantly SI-based core, the deck now finds some help from the Targon region with three copies of Pale Cascade.
In addition to buffing your minions, either for damage or to get them out of the removal range, the card has a draw effect, which adds to the draw power of the deck alongside Glimpse Beyond and Stalking Shadows. With all these tools, it’s very hard for the opponent to exhaust this deck from a defensive position.
The Fearsome mechanic is still a powerful one in the current meta; the reliability of getting your Frenzied Skitterer with all the drawing power in the deck makes setting-up OTK boards against other board-centric decks (e.g. Tahm-Soraka) a very realistic option. Risen Mists is another card that helps a lot in setting-up the OTK and surprising your opponent, as it adds a minion (that buffs other Mistwraiths) but being at Burst speed, it doesn’t give the priority back to your opponent.
Against defensive strategies, you can rely on a steady damage output, as bigger boards will be punished by AoE removals. Shoot for open attacks and watch out for a good Atrocity in order to finish the game; Doombeast will assist you with this. The draw package will be extremely important in these matchups, as keeping a constant refill is key. Glimpse Beyond is useful here, as it not only draws two cards, but it can also deny the healing from draining spells like Grasp of the Undying.
While it isn’t a very flexible build because of the need for a heavy SI contingent, the region has a lot of tech cards that can be viable. Vile Feast or Withering Wail are good options against other Aggro decks to deal with the smaller threats and establish a good board presence early. The Harrowing is another finisher that can enter the build if you face a lot of very defensive decks and need some help refilling your board and finishing the game. The amount of draw in the deck should allow plenty of refills without the card, but it’s a fair swap with Atrocity in case the meta features a lot of healing.
The showcased list features Elise and Kalista, but Nocturne is also a possible inclusion, usually seen as a more aggressive option than Kalista. The reason why we went with Kalista is for the constant board pressure she provides and the help she gives in getting the Miswraith attack count up once she’s leveled. Nocturne is a more synergistic option, as he can act like Frenzied Skitterer and help our Fearsome units become unblockable, or help remove the key targets in other matchups.
If you go with Nocturne, Lunari Shadestalker might be a good Targon card in the list (careful about how many you put in for the Wraithcaller Allegiance, though). She helps with leveling Nocturne and, paired with her Elusive keyword, she fits the idea of chipping away damage from your opponent. (Write-up by Den)