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.
Although we now rate Thresh-Nasus as the top dog, Zoe is still the centerpiece of Targon decks. We have Othal bringing you a spotlight on why this is the case. There has only been some slight movement up and down the tiers this week, but the archetypes themselves are constantly evolving, so we have updated 10 decks across the board.
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
In a very similar fashion to old Endure, which featured Thresh alongside a spider core, Thresh-Nasus relies on a swarm of cheap followers in order to threaten Thresh’s level-up. If Nasus may be easy to deal with coming onto the board at a 6 mana cost, he’s far more of a pain to deal with when pulled out of the deck onto the battlefield directly by a leveled Thresh’s lantern.
This method of summoning Nasus means you should have the mana to use the likes of Rite of Negation to nullify any attempts to remove the big dog. However, with such high defense against trades and an early swarm of sacrificial targets able to trade blows with most Aggro decks, your biggest weakness will naturally be Targon. Hush is painful, as it deals with unleveled Nasus at the unanswerable burst speed.
Although Nasus may be the flashy finisher, Thresh is the true mastermind behind the whole deck. This is because his body and ability to trade will frighten most aggressive decks, while also helping you take advantage of control decks desperately trying to deal with your pressure. Watch as your Lissandra-Trundle opponent has to play Avalanche, leveling your Thresh in the process. (Write-up by Ultraman)
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)
Lucian-Azir was the deck to beat at the start of the Shuriman expansion, but quickly left the stage, needing too much set-up to work effectively in such a strong meta. However, with Aphelios and TF out of the picture, a lot of decks will struggle answering everything this deck has in its arsenal.
Sooner or later, this means the deck will be able to set itself up and force the opponent into making some serious sacrifices in order to avoid taking tremendous damage too rapidly. The Sand Soldiers aren’t a problem at first, but they erode the opposing Nexus piece by piece, while leveling up Lucian and Azir.
The impact of your champions shouldn’t be underestimated, as they end up creating bigger, stronger threats and forcing even more sacrifices from the opponent in order to stay alive. Eventually, your opponent will run out of units or mana. This will be the time to Rally and combine cards like Cithria the Bold and Inspiring Marshal with your Sand Soldiers to chase the sun to victory. (Write-up by Ultraman)
After the fall of Aphelios, it looks like his acolyte has taken up the mantle: Zoe is now the Queen of Targon. But how can a simple 1/1 champion be so efficient that we see her in all of our top tier Targon decks? (Write-up by Othal)
First, there’s the matter of immediate value: except for a few odd cards like Parrrley and Thermogenic Beam, dealing with a 1/1 Elusive is going to cost more than 1 mana. This means that removing her will usually mean that your opponent is trading down in terms of resources. It also means that the vast majority of the time, she will stick on the board at least on Turn 1. If she has the Attack Token, that’s already enough for her to create even more value.
And that’s the second reason why Zoe is so scary: she gives you new cards each time she hits the Nexus. Supercool Starchart can seem slow as it costs 2 mana, but it grants you future value by allowing you to choose a card that helps you proceed with your game plan or slow down your opponent.
Even if Invoke involves RNG, the reduced pool should ensure you will always find something good: Crescent Strike and Equinox are some of the strongest cards in the game if used well. The Messenger can help you cycle your deck and get a chump block on board, while you can even get a Moonglow to protect Zoe from your opponent’s trades or removals. The Serpent is another tool with great potential - it triples as a removal, a fake open-pass and also a way to help level-up Zoe, all for 0 mana.
What if your opponent has some Elusives to block her? Worry not, for she’s also useful as a back row champion. Even if she’s forced to lay low and not create any direct value, her presence on the board threatens your opponent. Her level-up condition rewards you for playing the game and is incredibly strong when paired with the Celestial units, as most of them have at least one keyword they can share with your whole board.
As this effect stays on even if Zoe dies, it puts a timer on your opponent’s game plan: each unit you play after she’s leveled will have a better value than theirs, and they might even be protected by a Spellshield, or be able to Challenge the opposing units. This will turn Zoe into a removal-magnet, but all the resources your opponent will funnel into attempting to kill her will not be directed to your other units, like Lee Sin or Diana, and will allow you to predict their plays.
The unpredictability is a staple of Zoe’s game plan. Most decks have a predictable core; one of the greatest strengths a player can have is being able to read their opponent’s deck and hand. But with Invoke creating new cards on the fly, reads become harder and you will be able to pull out some nasty surprises.
For example, Moonsilver can reduce the cost of Atrocity, allowing you to finish the game at 5 mana. You can even use some of your Invoked cards at Burst speed to level-up Zoe when your opponent tries to remove her and thinks you don’t have enough resources to do so! But don’t forget that Zoe isn’t necessarily your win condition. While your opponent should try to remove her, focus on your own game plan and make sure you don’t invest too many resources into trying to save her when you can win the game without her.