Welcome to TLG’s newest meta snapshot for Legends of Runeterra, a series in which we give you our insight on the most represented decks in the higher ranks of ladder.
Every Monday, we discuss the decks that are part of the week’s and rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. We also look at the evolution of said decks’ ratings across weeks and draw conclusions regarding the current state of the game, all of this so you can delve into your own ranked journey with a head start.
The meta has evolved quite a bit since last week, with some decks rising in the ranking and others taking a massive drop, or even disappearing like Braum-Anivia. People have been particularly prone to experimenting this week and some of the new concepts are getting popular, which is why we also have two bonus decks for you.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop by our Discord. We will catch you next week for a new analysis.
Editing: Wusubi, Sebodunum, Minuano
Consultants: DaddysHome, Dartill, ChristmasTime, Crixuz, IPingUListen, Taytwo38, RiceFT, NicMakesPlays, Plzdonhakme, RattlingBones, Ultraman_CCG, Zezetel
Table of Contents
Ashe-Sejuani (4.5 stars)
Frostbite Midrange fights for the board using its minions and freeze effects, the latter working nicely with Culling Strike and Reckoning. Since most of your units will reach 5 power due to their natural stat line or buffs from Omen Hawk and Avarosan Hearthguard, the board clear will do more harm in the opposing ranks than in yours.
You also have the opportunity to draw a million cards with Trifarian Assessor, who will help you refill your hand in no time. In the late game, a leveled-up Ashe combined with some Frostbite effects will prevent the survivors from blocking, often giving you the win.
The deck has benefited heavily from the nerfs to every other meta contender and now stands in a very commanding lead. It has everything a Midrange deck could ask for: tall units that apply a lot of pressure, resist most removal cards and serve as strong anti-unit tools, as well as a way to refill your hand in a pinch.
Before the patch, the Kato the Arm/Reckless Trifarian/Captain Farron version of this deck was played quite a lot. However, it would often lose in the mirror match against the more traditional variation of Frostbite Midrange. Now that the deck is both extremely strong and popular, the alternate build is disappearing, since it can’t afford to be unfavored against itself.
This deck has great matchups all across the board and is favored against Deep, which is the deck to beat at the moment. It is, however, unfavored against TF-Ezreal.
Even though the deck is still quite dominant in EU, the situation is different in NA, where the power level of Ashe-Sejuani is considerably lower. With another counter to the deck in Teemo-Zed, as well as a slightly different meta overall, the deck would be on the same power level as the two following ones, if not slightly behind.
TF-Ezreal (4.25 stars)
TF-Ezreal is a tempo/combo deck that seeks to deal massive chip damage in the early to mid game, mostly due to a wide board, and end the game with Riptide Rex and/or a leveled-up Ezreal. The addition of Zaunite Urchin provides the deck with excellent consistency, while cards like Twisted Fate and Black Market Merchant give the deck the versatility it needs to navigate trickier matchups.
In Patch 1.5, TF-Ezreal fell down to 3.5 stars as a result of the Pilfered Goods nerf (and the nerf to Black Market Merchant). To add insult to injury, the ever-rising popularity of Noxus Allegiance didn’t help it in these already trying times.
Fortunately, Patch 1.6 heralded a Midrange meta, giving TF-Ezreal enough breathing room to develop its win conditions. On top of this, the deck has long been known for being a great Midrange destroyer. It currently has very solid matchups and even recently benefited from the disappearance of Braum-Anivia. Still, facing Deep will be a challenge.
Overall, TF-Ezreal is probably the best deck on NA at the moment and the second-best on EU.
Deep (4.25 stars)
If you enjoy having explosive turns where you can jam tons of huge units, you should definitely play this deck! It aims to survive the early game with healing while working towards getting deep by tossing cards. Once you get there, you can stabilize the board with large Sea Monsters and put your opponent on the clock when Maokai levels-up. However, with great power comes great mana cost: Will of Ionia can prove to be a serious threat.
Rating change: +0.5 stars
Although the list is pretty much the same as it has always been, Sea Monsters have benefited from Patch 1.6. The nerfs to Will of Ionia and Shadow Assassin have reduced the number of Ionia decks on the ladder and with it the number of bad matchups that Deep has to face.
The deck has a decent matchup vs TF-Ezreal, but it has a hard time against Karma-Ezreal, Bannermen and Ashe-Sejuani. In order to win these Midrange matchups, a well-timed The Ruination will be key.
Right now, Deep is in the best place it’s ever been. In addition to the very classic Shadow Isles version of the deck, several new lists replacing the region with Freljord or P&Z are appearing on the ladder. However, these variants don’t quite live up to the showcased version.
Tempo Endure (4 stars)
Tempo Endure combines a great early game with a nearly unbeatable late game combo. Start off by swarming the board with your cheap units and apply pressure on your opponent with early powerful tempo plays revolving around Barkbeast, Cursed Keeper and a sacrifice enabler. During the mid game, keep up the pressure with Neverglade Collector and Kalista, who will both put in absolutely tremendous work.
If your opponent somehow manages to stabilize the board, jokes on them, as They Who Endure will finish the job for you.
Rating change: +0.25 stars
Much like all of the other decks that weren’t nerfed this patch, Tempo Endure benefits from the decrease in the number of bad matchups it has to deal with, especially the ones that used to pack Will of Ionia.
The non-Allegiance version of the deck returns this week, featuring a copy of Sejuani replacing Elise. This inclusion isn’t significant in terms of how the list plays out, but it can lead to interesting scenarios involving Neverglade Collector in the late game against other Midrange decks.
It’s worth mentioning that Tempo Endure fares better on NA than it does on EU, mostly because Ashe-Sejuani, one of its worst matchups, isn’t quite as prevalent there.
Swain-TF (4 stars) *NEW*
Swain's threat levels are off the charts, forcing removals and terrifying your opponents at the mere thought of him hitting their Nexus once. With a large number of early game removal cards and the extra damage granted by the kegs, Swain will always be leveled up; what’s more, you'll have access to him thanks to The Leviathan - a fitting name for such a great card!
This deck is an enigma. It disappears from the ladder, then reappears a week later. Turns out it’s quite popular this week. Despite not being the best deck in the game, it can hold its ground very well against most of the meta.
MF-Sejuani (3.75 stars)
Getting rid of Pilfered Goods was the right call, allowing this deck to capitalize on another way of winning: Vulnerability. This is a good overall Midrange list built on its ability to make excellent trades and to apply pressure with Miss Fortune.
Rating change: +0.25 stars
Riptide Rex is a good card. It’s actually the only reason you would play this deck over Ashe-Sejuani.
Bannermen (3.5 stars)
This deck embodies the concept of Midrange, dominating the early to mid-stages of the game and closing it out through sheer board presence. Cards with the Challenger keyword, alongside buffs, allow you to make favorable trades to win the early game. From there, the deck will snowball, quickly turning into an unstoppable force.
While Bannermen wasn’t directly hit by the patch, its bad matchups have gained a lot of traction because of it, causing the deck to stagnate around the same level as before. Karma-Ezreal and Deep are your primary targets as Bannermen, but you should avoid playing the deck if you’re facing a lot of Frostbite Midrange or TF-Ezreal.
We are back to Quinn this week, as it has better matchups against the current meta (with the exception of Ashe-Sejuani).
Karma-Ezreal (3.5 stars)
Karma-Ezreal is a combo/control deck that seeks to survive the early to mid game with removal, while fulfilling Ezreal’s level-up condition. It refills its hand with Rummage and Deep Meditation, which work particularly well when Karma has flipped. Support units like Eye of the Dragon generate chump blockers that can help you survive long enough to acquire all of the pieces you need to win.
Together on the board, leveled-up Karma and Ezreal can win the game at burst speed, not allowing the opponent to react.
Rating change: -0.5 stars
Draven-Ezreal has already disappeared, Swain-Ezreal is on the verge of extinction. In terms of classic control Ezreal decks, Karma-Ezreal is the last one standing, and it isn’t doing too well either. Although the meta is arguably slow enough for the deck to stabilize, it is also full of Bilgewater decks, which are notoriously effective against most types of Karma lists.
Moreover, Will of Ionia being weaker than before doesn’t help. This is because although the multiple stun effects the deck can offer do a good job at delaying enemy onslaughts, they won’t generate tempo and card advantage like Will used to.
Discard Aggro (3.25 stars)
Fast & Furious, this deck doesn’t have the time to play around. Throw away your whole hand and take advantage of the freebies on your Discard-oriented cards and hope for the best. With Draven as Dominic Toretto and Jinx as Leticia Ortiz, call your friends and start the race.
Brothers’ Bond and Vision will serve as the nitro in your engine: get some and you’ll power up your car(ds). With this deck, it’s hit or miss, so get ready for explosive wins and absolutely devastating defeats.
Discard is pretty much the only Aggro deck left in this meta and it’s not doing too well. You’ll need to rely on perfect hands to steal games before the opponent even gets a chance to react, so don’t expect too much consistency from the list.
Thresh-Lux (3.25 stars)
Control the board with your multiple Final Sparks and generate more value than your opponent. On Turn 5, the deck can perform a neat combo to sustain: play Blinding Assault with spell mana, attack and trade, then play Radiant Guardian and attack again. If you don’t have the combo, Thresh is a good 5-drop. Lux, The Rekindler and the multiple spells the deck has in store offer you a perfect way to close out games.
Rating change: -0.25 stars
This deck is pretty good against Aggro/Midrange decks, but it suffers a lot vs the Nab mechanic as well as against heavily control-oriented decks and combo decks such as Karma-Ezreal.
Swain-Yasuo (3 stars)
Yasuo’s stuns allow you to make it to the late game, but Katarina's late game viability is hindered by P&Z removal spells being used on her. Swain as a finisher is more reliable.
You can finish off opponents with The Leviathan + Swain combo, while during the mid game Yasuo’s ability also fulfills Swain’s level up condition along the way.
Rating change: -0.25 stars
This deck is catered to a Midrange meta and cuts Deny as there really isn’t much to be countered lately. It fares very well against most unit-based decks, especially those for which removing Yasuo is a problem.
Bonus deck: Teemo-Zed
Teemo might not have the Scout keyword, but being Elusive is enough to make him a dangerous threat to some of the top tier decks, including Ashe-Sejuani. Coupled with direct damage and Kinkou Wayfinder, make the most of the time gained by your Deny to fill their deck to the brim with Puffcaps! If you struggle to get the last hit on them, Get Excited! and Mystic Shot will help you sneak through the bulkiest of blockers.
At the moment, the deck only really exists on the NA server around the top of Masters. Somehow, it seems to be working, so we’re including it today as a bonus deck.
Bonus deck: Machinegun Ezreal
Yet another Ezreal variant, our flexibility champ brings his combo about everywhere he goes! This time, do your best to get your hands on him early and let him die! The Shadow Isles know a thing or two about making good use of dead bodies, so just wait until The Rekindler and The Harrowing fill your board with leveled-up copies of Ezreal. Chump Whump gives you access to those extra tasty mushrooms to finish off your opponent with a deadly OTK!
This is another weird deck that has been popular lately. Turns out you don’t need Karma to OTK someone alongside Ezreal when you have 3 or more copies of the latter out at the same time. The list makes a very unintuitive use of the champion, but hey, as long as it works...