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.
Shurima/Ionia continues to be the dominant region combination. However, a “new” challenger is rising to take them on. Den is overjoyed to talk about the return of Fiora-Shen to Tier 2. Thresh-Nasus is another comeback list, given its favored matchup into Azir-Irelia.
Viego has taken up a new residence in Ionia, but not very successfully. More excitingly, Lulu-Zed is emerging alongside some Elusives to spice things up again.
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
Rating: 4.5 stars
Zed and Sivir pair up to be a frightening, albeit a fragile duo. Enabled by the combat tricks in Ionia and Shurima, they’ll rarely face an opposition able to resist their attacks and simply kill the opponent through Twin Disciplines or Shaped Stone.
Use Sivir’s level-up to give your whole board multiple keywords, the most juicy of which include Elusive, Double Attack or even Overwhelm if your version plays The Absolver. Why not gain all of them at once, for style points.
Zed is useful as a solo threat - his level-up creates a Living Shadow with his stats and keywords. While his main role is to apply early pressure, he can provide an alternate win con in his flipped form in desperate situations.
Finally, Ruin Runner is obviously terrifying, especially when given Quick Attack through the support of Young Witch. And if the opponent tries to defend against this, you can use Flurry of Fists! (Write-up by Ultraman)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Similarly to Sivir-Zed, this deck aims to exploit its strong combat tricks in order to kill whatever the opponent tries to block with. Once Sivir is leveled-up, you’ll be able to give your board a variety of keywords accompanied by SpellShield. This shouldn’t leave many other options for your opponent than to simply concede.
What differs here is that Akshan brings his amazing flexibility to the table, at the cost of the deck being less synergistic overall. Completing his first landmark will give you more consistency in your card draw, and completing the second one can give you access to many free trades and a free Ruin Runner, or more card draw with a mana cost reduction.
This represents quite a common situation with Akshan, where he doesn’t really synergize with anything, but his sheer value and ability to stay alive by himself makes up for this. He’s also a quite good enabler of The Absolver, as his level-up is easy to achieve. (Write-up by Ultraman)
Rating: 3.75 stars
The Reputation mechanic is finally viable! Just ignore the fact that it’s already power-crept by the Ionia version. If you enjoy the “glass cannon” archetype consisting of fragile bodies dealing big damage, you’re in for a treat.
LeBlanc makes for a nice combination with the 5 attack Incisive Tactician, allowing you to get multiple rallies. When combined with Sivir’s Quick Attack and SpellShield bonus, you should cut through most blockers. Your biggest problem is the lack of good combat tricks, making it hard to keep your followers alive, and even harder to resist any type of control.
Most things will cost an arm and a leg in terms of mana, so you’ll have to be very conservative until your opponent either runs out of steam, or you finally reach a point where your SpellShields provide sufficient protection so that you can commence the all-out destruction of the opposing Nexus! (Write-up by Ultraman)
I don’t know how many snapshots I’ve written so far, but if one thing has never changed, it’s this deck. Patch after patch, new cards arriving, Draven and Jinx keep terrorizing the ladder. Whether you like it or not, they also keep being the most versatile Aggro deck out there, serving as a great power check to most decks that arrived in the latest meta.
While the decklist hasn’t changed in spite of new support for the archetype (e.g. Boom Baboon), the deck is a good example of the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
In practice, the deck is still very smooth at transitioning from one win condition to another. The first step is building the board, trying to apply early pressure. This can be done to build a big Crowd Favorite, deflecting the attention from an upcoming Jinx, or to push damage for a delayed race to the Nexus.
The second step is establishing how to win from the three possible ways the deck offers. The first win con is the continuation of early board presence, which can push a ton of damage thanks to Vision or Arena Battlecaster. Draven is usually the go-to option in that case, as the Spinning Axes giving us explosive reaction potential, as well as the ability to discard units or spells with ease.
Direct damage is another win con, where Crowd Favorite and Jinx are the centerpieces. Crowd Favorite gives us the chance of not attacking early on, ignoring the board and getting that big pay-off later on, which gets damage through with Overwhelm. Jinx is the powerhouse when looking to close the deal with damage, and the early board can serve as blockers to stall while we generate Super Mega Death Rockets.
The last win con is to try and outpace the opponent thanks to drawing cards continuously. This is a route that should be taken opportunistically. For example, if you see the opponent is using a lot of resources early on to answer you, it would be reasonable to go for a flipped Jinx or an Augmented Experimenter and aim to have more cards than your opponent.
Due to this great flexibility in the core build of the deck, Discard Aggro keeps on being a contender on the ladder, and should stay that way for weeks to come. (Write-up by den)
Seen as the go-to Freljord deck after the fall of TLC, Thralls haven’t lived up to the expectations. Although most of its mechanics are looking good in the current meta (e.g. Freeze being very useful against Lee Sin), something is just not clicking for the deck.
The main problem is the presence of Sivir and Azir-Irelia, as both artchetypes present too much of a threat for Thralls to handle. Another problem is the amount of small but pressing threats currently, which are forcing the deck to use AoEs when it would rather not have to.
Akshan is a great example of this, as he cannot be left alone on the board despite being a 2/2, as leaving him alone without an Avalanche or Blighted Ravine would allow him to quickly advance your opponent’s win condition.
For those reasons, Thralls seems to have a difficult time defending and should evolve into a turbo Thrall iteration if they want to keep up. This would be a risky approach, but a necessary one, as it would tell us if the deck has a chance at being relevant in the upcoming weeks. This take should at least help Thralls be too much to handle for the other slow decks, such as the PnZ builds.
Another thing Thralls might be looking for is when Viego’s build will be finalized. The deck was a soft counter to Thresh-Nasus in the previous meta, so it could look to prey on SI decks.
It may be that all the shiny new things we have received in the last month has made people lose interest in the deck, so once things settle down a bit, we might see Thralls in ascendance once more. (Write-up by den)