Welcome to TLG’s latest meta snapshot for Legends of Runeterra, a series in which we give you our insight on the finest 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.
With another week removed from the big balance patch, we’re getting a better idea of how the meta is developing in the longer term. Surprise, surprise - Targon is rising to the top. Zoe and her companions of Lee Sin and ASol will serve you well if you’re looking to play the best decks at the moment. Thresh-Nasus continues to do well, though, so if you aren’t a fan of Lee Sin or Invokes, then this Slay deck may be a good option for you.
We have bid farewell to Braum-Vlad, Lulu-Shen and Azir Burn, but we have Zoe-Diana, Spiders and Shen-Jarvan incoming. These last two in particular offer quite different ways to dominate the opponent. The former is pedal-to-the-metal, whilst the latter is much more calm and collected in its development.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop by our Discord. Best of luck on your climb!
Editing: Wusubi, Sebodunum
Writers: Den, Ultraman, Othal, Kuvira
Lee Sin was expected to be the “S tier” deck after the nerfs to Aphelios and Twisted Fate. Yet, he doesn’t seem to be living up to these expectations. This is because the meta is geared towards punishing combo decks that don’t invest enough resources into defending the board and healing. That said, the deck is strong and it will likely end up in the Top 3 when the meta calms down.
Overall, it still looks better for the deck than last patch, as even though the environment is very fast, the Elusive mechanic that Fizz-TF was pushing is largely gone, and aggressive decks are much easier to contain thanks to Eye of the Dragon’s summons. This difference makes a huge impact and pushes the deck from being unplayable on ladder to being a risky but strong choice. Experienced players shouldn’t overlook the deck for tournament play or simply for climbing the ladder.
In order to be effective, though, I felt like a little tweak was necessary. As a result, we’re focusing on Lifesteal. You’ll also notice the list doesn’t run Mountain Goat and features Solari Priestess, a much slower card. A Turn 2 Mountain Goat isn’t good in the current meta with almost every 1-drop being a 2/1, making Sparklefly and Eye of the Dragon much stronger 2-drops to go with.
Solari Priestess helps us get various useful cards in the deck, either to remove board, to draw Lee Sin (Written in Stars) or to get some Lifesteal through The Golden Sister. While this is just a minor change in the list, Lee Sin doesn’t need to reinvent its core to be successful. He does, however, need to find a way to adapt to the flurry of Aggro decks that are prominent at the moment and prevent him from returning to dominance.
Whether or not the deck is flexible enough to accomplish that will be discovered in the coming weeks. (Write-up by den)
By being both easy to play and incredibly stable, Ezreal-Draven will always be able to compete in a similar way to the curved Aggro decks (e.g. Burn and Scouts). The biggest difference between them is that Ezreal-Draven adds a great flexibility to the straightforward gameplay. This means it offers both an easy recipe to follow for the less experienced players, as well as some outplay potential for the expert players.
With the disappearance of most landmark-based strategies, Scorched Earth comes and goes depending on what you’re facing. Noxian Guillotine is a better overall card, offering you more value and more fuel for leveling Ezreal. It can also serve as a discard target to cycle your cards with Rummage. The ability to cycle your deck until you find enough damage to win the game is the most important aspects of this archetype.
Initially, losing Fiora-Shen hurt Ezreal-Draven, as this amazing matchup was a staple in the meta for a long, long time. Yet, the proliferation of Demacia in varying forms (e.g. Zoe-ASol, Scouts, Lucian-Azir or anything Lulu-related) has served up a decent amount of more excellent matchups to replace the late Fiora-Shen. As a result, we see a somewhat resurgent Ezreal-Draven climbing back up the rankings.
In addition to the favored matchups on the menu, the deck’s stability in an undetermined meta has helped it come back into serious consideration. Although the deck will basically do the same thing most games, this will be more than enough to beat most unrefined builds, without the risk of missing your win con and losing to a bad deck. (Write-up by Ultraman)
With Fiora nerfed, Shen needed to find a new partner to keep the Demacia/Ionia archetype going. Thankfully, he found it with Jarvan IV. The secondary win condition that Fiora provided is gone, so the deck focuses on the Barrier synergy and controlling the trades and the overall pace of the game. It’s obviously a bit slower than its predecessor and for now, it doesn’t feel like it has enough potential to reach the power level of Fiora-Shen.
But let’s talk about what the deck can do, as there are some upsides to it. The biggest one is the fact that it can dominate the other Midrange decks from the early game up to Turn 6 or 7. While Fiora was a great champion, removing her from the deck has given Shen more room to shine. Barrier synergy is certainly a slower way to build our win condition, but it can also be seen as a more reliable way of doing so.
Shen has good survivability in the current meta, making him a reliable unit to capitalize on for a long period of time. He also has a ton of support in both regions, making the deck quite flexible. It can shift with ease between focusing on board development, Nexus protection or applying pressure through Rally.
The list featured here tries to build the board, control the trades with Challengers and Barriers and win the game through sheer tempo and denying the opponent the opportunity to develop their own game plan.
Jarvan IV acts as the late game threat, generating tons of value if leveled-up, which should happen in the early stages. Once on the board, J4 is an incredible pressure tool thanks to Cataclysm. This removes one unit per turn, supporting huge power swing turns when King Jarvan III turns up and gives Challenger and Scout to all allies if his son is on board. Unsurprisingly, the deck feels very different depending on whether J4 is leveled or not.
One interesting take that has been seen in the deck is the response to the question of how to protect our Nexus. The answers have tended to be going with either Radiant Guardian or Spirit’s Refuge, as both cards have a lot of merit.
For our purposes, we’ll go with Radiant Guardian. This is because her Tough status is good against the resurgent Ezreal-Draven; she can offer sustainable healing over multiple turns. Including this card means, however, that we have sacrifice units in order to activate her Lifesteal. To help with this, Fleetfeather Tracker has been included over the more obvious Greenglade Caretaker.
Although very much still a work in progress, Shen-Jarvan looks promising. Yet, it clearly cannot support any comparison with the past iterations of Fiora-Shen, as it lacks the ability Fiora used to provide to win games from another angle. This deck can only focus on board pressure, so it suffers in the way all solo win con decks do. (Write-up by den)