Welcome to TLG’s newest meta snapshot for Legends of Runeterra, a series in which we give you our insight on the best decks in the higher ranks of the ladder.
Every Sunday, 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.
This week, two big things happened: we received nerfs to Make it Rain and Lee Sin, and we were gifted 6 new KDA cards. Taken together, they have had a very good impact on the game so far. The meta feels fun again and actually does appear to be more diverse. There are plenty of Warmother decks running around, but at least they aren’t as oppressive as Lee Sin.
We have 6 bonus decks featured in this week’s snapshot, 2 of which feature the new KDA cards. A lot of testing still needs to be done for these new KDA decks, but they have the potential to be competitive. Don’t discount them just because we put them in the bonus section.
One last thing to note is that meta stalwarts like Swain-TF and GP-MF are exiting the stage. Together with the upcoming patch that promises to buff underplayed champions, things are looking great for Legends of Runeterra.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop by our Discord. Best of luck on your climb!
Editing: Crixuz, Wusubi, Ultraman, Sebodunum, ShadowplayRed
EU Consultants: CastMin, Kuvira, Den, Zezetel
NA Consultants: GlopNA, Saucekay, RattlingBones, IPingUListen, Kozmic, NicMakesPlays, RiceFT, Stan
Lee Sin (with the added pressure of Zed) is the star of this list, kicking his way through the opposition thanks to multiple spells that can protect him. Keep your Lee alive, wait until your opponent lowers their guard, then crush them with a Zenith Blade.
Nopeify! is the perfect addition, replacing Bastion. It serves the same purpose in keeping Lee and Zed out of harm’s way, so that nothing can interfere with their OTK attempts.
Rating change: -0.5 stars
Despite Lee Sin still being great at what he does and still lacking actual counters, his nerf to 5 mana has managed to lower his power level quite a bit. Having said that, Lee Sin is still the best Ionia deck right now (although that may change as people start optimizing decks with KDA cards such as Spooky Karma). The meta is filled with SI control decks looking to make greedy plays like Warmother’s Call and Feel The Rush. Unlike Lee Sin, SI control decks are a lot easier to counter.
In some regions like the EU and Asia, players seem to be tired of playing Lee Sin. This positively impacts meta because if Lee Sin becomes prevalent, then we’re back to the Lee Sin vs Aggro meta that everybody deplored. Our teammates at TLG joked about how EU is experiencing a dream right now with everybody playing Warmother and nobody playing Lee, not realizing that Lee is quite good. In NA, Lee Sin is being played a fair bit, thus one might want to reconsider playing Warmother, Trundle-Ledros and Feel the Rush in such a climate.
Yet, it’s important to qualify that Lee Sin lacking counters doesn’t mean your matchups are all favored. Rather, lacking counters simply means there are no matchups that are straight up unwinnable. His good matchups (Deep, Warmother, Teemo-Sejuani) remain unchanged despite the nerf, while his even and bad matchups (Aggro decks, Ashe-Sejuani) are slightly worse because having Lee Sin on 5 health instead of 4 matters against Aggro. Another one of Lee’s decent matchups, Swain-TF, has improved after the nerf to Make It Rain, since Swain-TF is in the gutters now.
Trundle-Ledros is a control deck that excels at withstanding the Aggro decks which are popular right now. AoE board wipes like Avalanche and Withering Wail, combined with healing, help this deck to survive against Aggro - but don’t keep your high-cost win conditions (e.g. Commander Ledros) in your opening hand.
Rating change: -0.25 stars
The current meta doesn’t feature Lee Sin anymore despite its high strength; players should be on the lookout for its comeback. Freljord & Shadow Isles builds have 3 archetypes that players can choose from, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Keep in mind that every archetype’s power level will fluctuate as the environment changes around them.
The Warmother is the grindiest one. It fits perfectly in a slow meta, as it’s designed to ramp and pressure the opponent on the long run. It usually beats the other 2 archetypes, as it’s the best adapted for longer games. Warmother is seen as the best out of the three currently, because Lee Sin and Aggro decks aren’t popular. However, a meta shift could impact its power drastically.
Feel The Rush is the newer build that came out with the KDA event, replacing Warmother in the deck. This change means that the deck becomes more explosive, but becomes proportionally easier to get punished, as the refill after Feel The Rush is a little more complicated than with Warmother’s Call. Atrocity is often included as another finisher, so as to try and not go into longer games against the Warmother deck itself.
Trundle-Ledros is the last deck of the triangle. It’s the best against Aggro decks, but it tends to struggle in the greedier meta in which we find ourselves currently. Designed to sustain pressure until going off with its combo, it has a rough time keeping up with the other two decks of this triangle.
It could shine if the meta starts being more aggressive, as we are seeing at the top of the ladder. Especially if Discard Aggro and GP-MF come back, some of our players have mentioned Trundle-Ledros as their pick to counter the meta.
Ramping is powerful, and who could make a better use of that than Warmother’s Call? This terrifying spell will overwhelm your opponent with huge monsters, but it comes at a big cost of 12 Mana. Use your AoEs at the right time to survive the early game and let Trundle stabilize your board until the call is made!
Additional notes: As mentioned in the Trundle-Ledros write-up, Warmother is the grindiest out of Freljord/Shadow Isles builds. It thrives in a slow meta, as it’s designed to ramp up and pressure the opponent on the long run. Its constant refill of the board makes it hard for other control decks to space their resources the same way. What’s more, having minions every turn lets the deck focus on disturbing the opponent’s development, resulting in a slow but steady resource advantage.
Warmother is seen as the best out of Freljord/Shadow Isles decks in the current meta, because Lee Sin and Aggro decks aren’t too popular. A meta shift could impact its power level drastically, though.
MF Scouts is finally back! This time without Bannermen and in keeping with its namesake, more Scouts. Island Navigator and Petty Officer allow you to always have a super wide board. Your Scout units and Relentless Pursuit make it a breeze to level-up your MF and Quinn. Once they’re flipped, the opposing board will cease to exist.
New deck: The call to swap Bannermen for Island Navigator is a genius stroke. The deck can now reliably level MF and Quinn much faster than before. An unexpected addition to the deck is Sharpsight, a card that’s so essential in keeping your MF alive, as well as being versatile enough to eke out that last 2 damage when the opponent taps out of mana. It’s compulsory to run a full set of Ranger’s Resolve to counter the AoE removal from SI.
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, stabilize the board with large Sea Monsters and put your opponent on the clock when Maokai levels-up.
The Slaughter Docks landmark performs better than expected, aiding your journey to going Deep and providing decent tempo if played when you are Deep. Would you like a Fresca?
Rating change: +0.75 stars
Deep received a very low rating last week, because it gets utterly destroyed by Lee Sin as it’s too slow and is countered by Deny. On paper, it should be good against Aggro thanks to Withering Wail and Grasp of the Undying, but in reality it cannot handle any aggression whatsoever. However, having fewer GP-MF and Lee Sin decks on the ladder right now is a major boon for Deep, and thus we increased its rating significantly.
The main reason why Deep is so favoured right now is because it eats Warmother and Ledros decks for breakfast. The threat of Devourer of the Depths means that the SI control deck cannot drop a Tryndamere or Ledros, since it simply gets obliterated for just 6 mana. Deep also has an easy way to counter Warmother and Feel The Rush by milling decks with Maokai. Many SI control decks are looking to ramp, and have very few ways to answer a Maokai at Turn 4.
GP-MF is an Aggro deck with the Nexus rush game plan. Jack, the Winner’s ability creates a free card, which allows you to deal two zero-cost damage in the following turn while also enabling Gangplank. The list quickly approaches critical mass in terms of Burn potential. Every card offers some form of reach, which can be scary to play against.
Rating change: -0.25 stars
Before the nerf to Make it Rain, GP-MF was the best Aggro deck to be playing. Fast forward to today, GP-MF feels much worse. Who knew that a nerf to one spell would have such an impact? The other reason why GP-MF isn’t the greatest pick in today’s meta is due to this week’s frequently-mentioned occurrence: SI control decks gaining traction.
There’s an alternative argument that some SI control decks try to be too greedy by omitting anti-Aggro tools (Withering Wail, Grasp of the Undying) in order to make space for more ramp cards and Atrocity. The position of GP-MF in the meta will thus be affected by the precise composition of SI control decks.
Tahm-Soraka is a Midrange combo deck with the Star Spring landmark as its primary win condition. You want to curve out with self-damage units like Crusty Codger, Boxtopus and Fortune Croaker, supported by healing cards (Star Spring, Guiding Touch) to protect your board and get the maximum value from it. Shakedown allows you to force favorable trades and to manage the damage you take, helping to accelerate your Star Spring healing.
Rating change: -0.25 stars
Last week, we described Tahm-Soraka as hard to play. This week, we’re shifting the goalpost a little by asking: “Is the deck really hard to pilot or is it just clunky or even overrated?” We sometimes fall into the trap of saying that a deck is hard to pilot rather than outright calling the deck “not that good.” We’re aware that some people have had success with the deck, but there are a couple of additional reasons why Tahm-Soraka’s rating has dipped this week.
Firstly, it has a clear weakness to The Ruination, which the meta is seeing a lot of right now because of all the SI control builds. Secondly, it has an obvious vulnerability to Fearsome units, which again, are seeing a rise in popularity with the Mono-SI decks. The vast majority of Tahm-Soraka’s units are below 3 power, so it struggles against Mono-SI’s early game pressure of Fearsome Mistwraiths and Spiders.
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. Vision serves as the nitro in your engine, get some and you’ll power up your cards. This deck is hit-or-miss, so get ready for quick wins and devastating defeats.
Rating change: -0.25 stars
Discard Aggro is a deck that has to high-roll. If you high-roll, it can defeat anything. However, the prevalence of Withering Wail in the meta prevents it from achieving a high rating. The counter play against SI control is to be less proactive, but Aggro decks can’t really do that.
With GP-MF, there’s wiggle room to counter Avalanche and Withering Wail, since some of the GP-MF followers have 3+ health. Discard Aggro is the textbook definition of a “Glass Cannon.” It’s the riskier version of GP-MF, with higher highs and lower lows.
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 many 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 Swain in the late game thanks to The Leviathan.
Rating change: -0.25 stars
How the mighty have fallen. Over time, Swain-TF has been hit in so many of its formerly competitive matchups. First, there was the Petty Officer nerf, undermining Swain-TF’s ability to stabilize in the early game. Then there was the introduction of Nopeify! which considerably swung the odds in favor of Lee Sin. Finally, the nerf to Make it Rain was the ultimate nail in the coffin.
It’s also worth noting that the nerf to Lee Sin becomes an indirect buff when playing against Swain-TF. Lee Sin having one more health makes it more difficult for Swain-TF to kill Lee Sin with Ravenous Flock.
Ashe-Sejuani is a Midrange, board-centric deck that excels in unit-to-unit combat thanks to its Frostbite ability. The main way Midrange decks win games is by playing cards that create 2-for-1 trade scenarios in their favor (e.g. Harsh Winds, Brittle Steel). You can also play efficiently-costed cards like Enraged Yeti, which naturally leads to a tempo advantage.
Additional notes: People started playing Ashe-Sejuani as a counter to Lee Sin. However, we must emphasise that Ashe-Sejuani doesn’t counter Lee Sin in any way. Freezing costs mana and cards. To beat Lee, freezing isn’t enough, as it only buys you time. You need to control the board against Zed-Lee, but you can’t do that if you’re spending 6 mana to stop Lee Sin from killing you.
Ashe-Sejuani is also extremely unfavored against Aggro decks, especially GP-MF, because it has no way to stop or recover the direct damage that kills you little by little. The deck also has to make a decision about whether it wants to tech against Lee Sin or Aggro. It can’t cater to the whole field and if you try to, it’s wishful thinking to assume you won’t draw badly most of the time. In a tournament setting where you can ban one deck and tech for another, Ashe-Sejuani becomes more powerful.
Stabilize the early game with Avalanche and Trundle while looking for windows to ramp. Ensure that you have 3 mana banked once you reach 9 creature mana to play Feel The Rush as early as possible. This archetype is fun to play because outside of Ionia, most decks don’t have a way to answer the twin 10/10 behemoths that are about to crush them.
Feel The Rush is the new build that came out with the KDA event, replacing Warmother in the deck. This change means that the deck becomes more explosive, but becomes proportionally easier to get punished, as the refill after Feel The Rush is a little more complicated than it is with Warmother’s Call. Atrocity is usually included as another finisher, so as to try and not go into longer games against the Warmother deck itself.
The deck functions similarly to a Warmother build, being able to either slow down the game with the SI cards or ramp with the Freljord ones. The big difference is the immediate impact offered by Feel The Rush. Once the 10/10 champions are summoned, the deck becomes a Midrange one, trying to finish the game through pure pressure on the opponent.
Mono-SI is a deck that focuses on keeping the opponent under constant pressure. The deck could be separated into two parts. The first is the early to mid game, where the goal is to build a solid board, get the Mistwraith attack count up and deal as much damage with them, your other Fearsome units and Relentless Pursuit. Doombeast, Frenzied Skitterer and Fading Memories are usually the best finishers in that portion of the game.
The second part of the deck is the mid to late game with Hecarim and The Harrowing, the latter usually acting as a final blow for the deck with its generation of a full board from one card. The Harrowing is the reason why we want to build the Mistwraith synergy in the earlier stages of the game.
The deck is good to play if you face a lot of defensive decks; you will usually have too many waves of minions for them to handle, meaning your Hecarim and/or The Harrowing should secure you the game. Against Aggro builds, the Spiders packages will be your best help to control the board, with their Fearsome status allowing them to bypass enemy chump blockers. Doombeast is useful for gaining extra health in the later stages of the game. (Deck from Den)
Spooky Karma is the spiciest combo deck that was introduced with the new KDA cards. It can be taxing to pick up, as you need to understand how Go Hard can switch forms halfway when Karma duplicates them - this can have serious implications on how you pilot the deck. Overall, Spooky Karma is a really fun deck that has the potential to be competitive.
Thanks to Targon’s support, Heimerdinger can thrive again, but in a more secondary role than his usual self. Say goodbye to the Heimerdinger high-roll winning games on Turn 5 and instead welcome having a great value tool on top of an overall solid base. Vi steals the spotlight, as the Spring Guardian will help her stay healthy while trading and dealing damage to the opponent.
Nightfall is an aggressive deck with many tools to kill its opponents. However, unlike your traditional “Aggro” deck, it generates sufficient value to sustain itself in the long run, allowing you to attain clutch wins in the late game. It’ll take some time to learn how to pilot this deck well, since it requires a lot of decision making and planning ahead.
Manage your resources wisely, get a little creative with Nightfall enablers (the incredibly powerful Stalking Shadows being one of them) and you will be rewarded by this sleeper-OP deck. (Deck from NicMakesPlays)
“Barriers, barriers everywhere...” - that’s what your opponent will be saying by the end of the game! A classic Demacian combo, with multiple challengers and the means of protecting them. This deck is a nightmare for unprepared opponents lacking the removals and pokes in order to break your multiple shields.
On the other hand, watch out for cheaper spells that are usually able to counter your barriers for a lesser mana cost; they could end up removing most of your threats.