This week is a pretty special one for Legends of Runeterra, as its very first Seasonal tournament will take place across the different regions. Since this tournament will shape the meta until the new cards come out, there wouldn’t be much point in doing our classic snapshot. Instead, this week we’re posting a “What to expect in Seasonal” article, where Den will cover the different decks that could be popular, dominant or surprising during the Swiss rounds this Sunday.
If you’re looking to get a head start on your tournament experience and see what our consultants think this tournament will look like, you’ve come to the right place. So let’s dive into the article and see if the ladder monsters like Go Hard and Ezreal-Draven are expected to be the decks to beat, or if the more quiet decks like Heimer-Vi, Tahm-Soraka or Scouts can have their say when the best players in the world battle it out.
The tournament will be a BO3 conquest format in which each player is required to bring 3 decks. A ban phase will happen before the start of the match, where you will get to remove one deck from your opponent’s arsenal. The first player to win with both remaining decks will win the series. Players can get a special cardback if they win 3 rounds, and will advance to the Top 32 bracket if they go undefeated during the 5 rounds played on Sunday.
All deck codes in this article are a generic example of the deck we’re talking about. They certainly don’t represent what we think players will bring or what the most popular list will be for the tournament.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop by our Discord. Best of luck to everyone!
Editing: Wusubi, Sebodunum
Table of Contents
The popular picks
Some decks are so good that you cannot fault anyone for picking them in their line-ups. These decks usually show great results on ladder and don’t seem to have immediate counters to them, which makes them comfortable picks for players who have mastered the archetype.
These decks will usually act as the foundation of line-ups for players. By virtue of their popularity, they will either bait the ban from the opponent, or they might more subtly affect the opponent’s deck-building prior to the tournament, as they could be looking to counter the obviously popular decks.
Already a Tier 1 deck in our last snapshot, the deck only got better during the past week with plenty of high profile players trying to find the best list. The fact that they managed to achieve very good winrates while doing so gives you an idea of just how powerful this list can be!
Despite this testing, we’re still not exactly sure which is the best version of this deck, particularly with regard to the second champion (Elise or Gangplank). Nevertheless, the deck has shown such a high winrate and reliability in its game plan that it feels impossible not to give Go Hard the top spot in our list of decks that will impact the tournament meta.
The archetype on the rise last week alongside Go Hard didn’t miss a beat, and players refining the list may have pushed the deck to the point where it can contend with Go Hard for the “must ban” deck of the tournament. Its flexibility, draw and highroll potential make it a very scary deck to play against when your tournament life is on the line, no matter what you’re playing against it.
Which list will be the most popular for the tournament, whether it’s a Tri-beam Improbulator list, or something closer to the original from J01, is still to be decided. No matter the list, though, it’s unlikely that Ezreal-Draven won’t be assuming the top winrate at the end of the tournament.
Feel The Rush
While the nerf to Trundle hit the deck hard on ladder, Feel The Rush is still a popular and solid pick in a tournament meta. As one of the game’s slower strategies, FTR shirks from playing like many other prevalent decks that aim to interact with the opponent a lot in the early to mid stages of the game. In fact, it almost entirely skips the early game, instead focusing on survival and healing in order to reach its comfort zone when it can develop gigantic threats.
As such, cards aiming to beat down on small or medium size minions aren’t very effective in slowing it down. Definitely a deck to look out for in the tournament, FTR will make sure that people are on their toes when its time for those twin 10/10 champions to hit the board.
This everlasting archetype is once again well-positioned in the meta, and is looking to be an overall decent third deck for several line-ups. Its versatility in the way it can be built and its overall matchups make it a solid pick in almost any line-up.
The main problem the deck runs into is the matchup against the other two top decks out there. While Nopeify! can help in the Go Hard matchup to gain a lot of tempo, the Ezreal-Draven matchup is a very complicated one, as your opponent can very easily and efficiently deal with your crucial barriers.
Against any other matchup though, the deck has some game and is versatile enough to be built either to play against aggressive archetypes or slower strategies. The Ionia region is also a very important ally to the deck, as Deny has always been a great card for tournaments and can scare a lot of combo or control decks aiming to use very costly cards to win games (e.g. Feel The Rush, The Ruination, The Harrowing).
Sometimes, decks are really good but essentially don’t exist on ladder because a bad matchup is very popular, or simply because there’s a deck so strong that most people will play it and other archetypes might not see play. Other times, it’s simply because it isn’t the best deck at what it does, but in a tournament environment where there are some region and champion restrictions, these decks suddenly become interesting options and can fulfill an important role in your line-up.
Ashe-Sejuani has been a contender for its whole life, never truly reaching a dominant position on ladder, since it lacks the versatility of the best decks. In tournaments though, where players are aiming to abuse some aspects of the game rather than cover a wide variety of possibilities, Frostbite definitely fits the bill.
This is a very decent counter to board-centric decks and has favorable match ups against Fiora-Shen and Feel The Rush. Ashe-Sejuani might have disappeared from ladder play, but be on the lookout for its tournament comeback this Sunday.
Much like Ashe-Sejuani, Tahm-Soraka doesn’t come to mind if you play solely on ladder, as you might not see it very often. The deck though, is considered one of the best counters to Go Hard, as it can build a board that even Pack Your Bags will struggle to remove. For this reason alone, it’s worth considering this deck for tournament play at the moment.
Maybe the first matchup-oriented deck in this article, Tahm-Soraka has a good enough power level to be a real contender across the field. It would definitely fit in a line-up aiming to abuse the expected popularity of Go Hard.
Celestial cards are flexible and can take over games when given the time to do so. For the same reason that Feel The Rush is a scary pick, ASol is a champion that never leaves the board. For players looking to bully late game strategies and those who believe the meta won’t be an aggressive one, Leona-ASol is a deck that makes a ton of sense to bring.
Through its combat tricks, it has the versatility to shift to a meta that relies on minion combat and mid game domination.
The Fearsome mechanic is a very effective one currently. Even if Aggro decks might not be dominant, this one has found a way to remain a relevant deck to consider in all forms of the game. Punishing decks with low attack blockers like Go Hard, Tahm-Soraka or just putting slow decks like Feel The Rush or Leona-ASol under immediate pressure, this archetype looks to be a strong contender for any players aiming to build an aggressive or tempo-oriented strategy.
While Scouts and Pirate Burn cannot be in the same line-up for the tournament (MF being a core card in both), all these three decks should strike some fear onto their opponent’s mind. However, very fast strategies aren’t looking strong lately, as Ezreal-Draven, Go Hard or even Feel The Rush pack enough removal to shut them down.
There is a saying that Aggro is at its best when it’s the least expected, and a line-up based on those decks would punish any player who believes the meta will be a greedy one and take away some of that precious removal.
Heimer-Vi is one of those all-around decks that has been around for so long that players know it perfectly and can be very comfortable playing it over long periods of time. It fits into a line-up with a broad match-up coverage without committing to a single strategy, the deck gives its pilot a plenty of options each game. Targon and PnZ are two flexible regions when it comes to draw and removal possibilities, so the deck can definitely be flexed to fit into various line-ups.
Even if Ezreal-Draven looks to be the top deck when it comes to flexibility, Heimer-Vi definitely comes in as a close second and should have a very good winrate when masters of the archetype bring it to the tournament.
Anivia came back in the meta after the Lee Sin patch, and it started performing well, ending up as a serious Tier 2 deck for several weeks. Its biggest challenge for this tournament, though, will be that it shares the same regions as Feel The Rush, another highly regarded tourney deck. Anivia would fit perfectly in a strategy trying to punish Discard Aggro and Scouts.
The top dog of the previous meta is now relegated to a contender role, but that doesn’t mean the deck should be ignored. This archetype is still a decent one when facing slower decks that let it set up the board and build up synergy for Lee Sin. Much like Fiora-Shen, the inclusion of Deny and Nopeify! gives the deck a reason to be played as a counter to some of the slower strategies.
The Aggro decks that once ousted Lee Sin from Tier 1 have fallen out of popularity as well, so the environment might be just right for the blind monk to come back and be a surprise top deck for the tournament.
The surprise picks
Sometimes the obvious picks aren’t the best ones. This category is for decks that look to be left out of the tournament either because of their power level or because they share a champion with another much more popular deck. But this doesn’t mean players cannot try some off-meta strategy to gain a much-needed edge in the competition.
Just like the Fearsome mechanic, Overwhelm is good at punishing decks that like to build their defenses around small minions and spells. While there might not be a clear third deck to go with this duo, these two decks have made a splash on the ladder lately and could represent the foundation of a damage-heavy lineup.
The main problem for this lineup is that Draven is the key champion in one of the very best decks of the meta, so players might not want to make that sacrifice and opt for Ezreal-Draven. For the same reason, Feel The Rush is impossible to play, as Tryndamere is essential to the Sejuani-Tryndamere deck.
An Aggro/combo deck that’s very difficult to play on ladder recently, as most decks are constructed around removal more than minion combat in the early game. Endure can still punish a lot of decks when they don’t consider it in their strategy and that surprise element could play a big role in the deck’s success this Sunday.
A very slow developing deck that struggles to reach Deep safely in the current environment, Deep can be the “counter to other counters.” Decks like Leona-ASol or Feel The Rush who would like to abuse the popular picks with their big minions are very likely to get punished by Deep, as they give it plenty of time so set up its strategy.
Once regarded as a rising deck on its way to Tier 1, Spooky Karma was stopped in its tracks and doesn’t see play anymore. The deck cannot keep up with most of the tempo decks and unfortunately gets destroyed by the popular Captain Farron. However, the tournament environment could give this value machine a stage to shine if the tournament meta becomes a battle of greed.
Fat minions, on curve, all game long. Unlike the Leona-ASol build, this is a dragon-heavy deck that focuses on mid game pressure and can transition to the late game madness if given the chance, as ASol will usually evolve as he hits the board. Suited to counter the slower decks that usually cannot keep up with the pressure, Shyvana-ASol runs into the problem of being a board-only deck.
With so much Ezreal-Draven running around, this slow Burn/control style can have some potential in this meta, especially in a ban format. You would be looking to ban either SI/Freljord or Ionia decks.