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 the ladder.
Every Monday, we discuss the decks that are part of the week’s meta 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.
Nothing too new to report this week, we have made a few adjustments to some of the ratings and decklists, with a few additional comments here and there. The meta is mostly composed of the top 5 decks on the list, as well as personal creations. TF-Fizz made it out of the bonus decks category to become part of the meta, unlike Harrowing Ezreal, which met a tragic end. The world of bonus decks is a harsh one, one in which we have sent two new candidates this week.
This will be the last TLG meta snapshot for the Rising Tides expansion and we hope the information it contains will help you achieve your goals for the season. Next week, we will do something a little bit different and rate the cards from the new expansion instead.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop by our Discord. Best of luck with your final push!
EU Consultants: Crixuz, Zezetel, Ultraman_CCG, Taytwo38, Kuvira
NA Consultants: Daddys Home, RiceFT, IPingUListen, RattlingBones, GlopNA
Table of Contents
Ashe-Sejuani (EU: 4.25/NA: 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.
Rating change: -0.25 stars in EU/unchanged in NA
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 and it also struggles against the new cool kid in the meta: TF-Fizz
Bonus comment for NA: Teemo-Zed Elusives was also a hard matchup for Ashe-Sejuani, but it ended up disappearing quickly, which is one fewer bad matchup to worry about for the deck.
Swain-TF (EU: 4,25/NA: 4 stars)
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!
Rating change: +0.25 stars in EU/unchanged in NA
This deck is the exact opposite of TF-Ezreal. It doesn’t really have that many favorable matchups against “meta” decks, but it is extremely good at crushing the unrefined decks that populate the ladder currently. The fact that it doesn't really have terrible matchups in the meta either makes it a very consistent deck that will help you climb by rewarding you for playing well against different types of opponents.
Noxian Guillotine has found its way into the list, mostly to help the deck deal with high-health threats such as They Who Endure, or The Leviathan in the mirror match for example. We also cut the number of copies of Riptide Rex to 1 to improve the deck's early game stability (with already four 8-cost cards in the list), but you can go back to 2 if you face a lot of Ashe-Sejuani decks, as the card tends to obliterate them.
Tempo Endure (EU: 4,25/NA: 4,25 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 for both regions
By completely removing Elise from the list, Tempo Endure's matchups are looking a lot better overall, especially the one against Ashe-Sejuani. Instead of relying on producing too many small bodies, which could fill up your board space very quickly before because of Elise and Haunted Relic, the deck capitalizes a lot more on powerful tempo plays in the midgame with Sejuani. Her being a 6-cost unit fits the deck's curve perfectly, and Frostbite has proven to be a very valuable keyword all around this season.
TF-Ezreal (EU: 4/NA: 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.
Rating change: -0.25 stars in EU/unchanged in NA
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. However, bad matchups for the deck like Tempo Endure, Deep, or TF-Fizz have been sprouting recently. On top of this, it generally doesn’t do too well against the janky builds that many people are queuing with right now, which makes it a little risky to play at the moment.
Deep (EU: 4/NA: 4 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: -0.25 stars in EU, unchanged in NA
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.
Fizz-TF (EU: 3.75/NA: 3.75 stars)
Elusive and buffs usually make for some great synergy, and this specific twist on the genre offers an alternative to the nerfed Ionia package. With Fizz and his bunch of cute fishies, you'll have access to strong, hard-to-kill elusive minions, and a reliable source of card draw and buffs.
The main problem lies in the fact that this will probably be the sole reliable aspect of this deck, as starting hands and top decks will have a crazy impact on their outcome, especially given that the buffs from Starlit Seer will be your primary win condition and buffing as Omen Hawk can be ... frustrating at times, to put it lightly.
It turns out this former bonus deck is actually a very viable option to climb with. It also has the advantage of offering you a favorable matchup against most Bilgewater decks, as it naturally counters the cards played in these types of lists (Make it Rain, for example, gets entirely Denied by Fizz’s effect).
[NA Only] MF-Sejuani (EU: --/NA: 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: EU: --, NA: +0.25
Riptide Rex is a good card. It’s actually the only reason you would play this deck over Ashe-Sejuani. This list's play-rate seems to have severely diminished in EU but there are still remnants of MF-Sej in NA.
Bannermen (EU: 3.5/NA: 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.
Rating change: -0.25 stars in EU, unchanged in NA
Ashe-Sejuani and TF-Ezreal are pretty tough matchups for this deck, but there are lots of other decks you can run into right now, against which Bannermen’s consistency will prove key. It is interesting to note that more traditional versions of Bannermen often splashing Ionia in, with Garen, Fiora, or even Zed are also starting to resurface.
Karma-Ezreal (EU: 3.5/NA: 3.75 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: +0.25 stars in NA, unchanged in EU
With the meta being slow enough for Karma-Ezreal to operate, several anti-aggro cards like Eye of the dragon were cut from the list, making the deck more flexible than before.
[NA Only] Fiora-Shen (EU: --/NA: 3.5 stars)
If you’re a fan of combat tricks, this is probably the deck for you. Fiora-Shen uses the power of barriers both before and during combat to keep its board alive, buffing it in the process thanks to Shen and Greenglade Caretaker.
Although the deck can sometimes push for lethal with an impressive amount of stats on its board, it can also easily end games thanks to Fiora. With all of the protection tools at your disposal, you can use her to kill enemy units without taking damage in return, which lets her reach her goal of 4 kills unimpeded.
As a very straightforward Midrange deck, the list has to include Deny to avoid board wipes. As several top streamers are achieving results in a tournament setting with this deck, it is gaining popularity on the ladder as well. However, it doesn’t really perform any better than a classic Bannermen list.
Thresh-Lux (EU: 3.5/NA: 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.
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.
[NA only] Discard Aggro (EU: --/NA: 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.
Disappearance from the EU meta
Bonus comment for EU: Aggro is dead, long live Ashe-Sejuani.
Discard is pretty much the only Aggro deck left in the NA meta (aside from the bonus deck below) 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 this list.
[NA only] Bonus deck: Prankster Burn
The famous Barkbeast+Cursed Keeper+Blighted Caretaker opener from the "They Who Endure" deck is utilized to get an early advantage and some damage in with this deck. Instead of finishing with They Who Endure and Atrocity, however, cards like Phantom Prankster and Neverglade Collecter provide burn damage when your units die. Mystic shot is a flexible card that can get you that little extra bit of damage you need to close out the game.
Kalista can be a great win condition for this deck, and leveling her up to summon an Ephemeral Used Cask Salesman is a quick way to get in with some additional chip damage.
Bonus deck: Sejuani-Gangplank
This deck doesn't really have specific bad matchups, it is all about setting up your engine and getting it rolling. Gangplank and Sejuani both sharing the same level up condition, the deck revolves around dealing these ticks of damage reliably before they come out, then using your champions' powerful effects to end the game. As with most Bilgewater decks right now, Riptide Rex is an absolute MVP that will grant you many victories.