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.
Nami has swam to the top of proceedings alongside Targon and Zoe - even above the might of Sion Discard. Lulu-Poppy continues to make Yordle-filled waves, while The Bandle Tree has found a region pairing, opting to take on the power of Noxian removals along with small blockers. Zilean-Xerath flashed, but the spark seems to be dying away.
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
If you want to relive the glory days when My Chemical Romance and pirate metal were walking hand in hand on the ladder of Runeterra fear not: you can now feel the same sensations, just with 89% less edginess. Aphelios and Twisted Fate are gracious losers and leave their place to the more feminine team of Zoe-Nami. It’s currently the best deck in the meta, due to its favored matchup into Sion Discard and the sheer power of free stats provided by Nami.
This list has a simple game plan and a lot of options. While you’ll usually just try and survive the early game to build a board of Elusives you can boost with Nami, this deck provides answers for most matchups. Against Aggro decks, you can use Sparklefly to get some free healing every turn. Against Midrange decks, abuse Nami to get the biggest units possible. You’ll suffer against control decks though, so stick to the plan and get to winning!
Leveling Nami is the most important task, so you’ll need to manage your spell mana carefully: if your reserve is full, you won’t gain more spell mana and thus will be stuck. But if you use only spell mana and don’t play creatures on the board, you’ll open yourself to threats and direct attacks while also slowing your win con, which is making the enemy Nexus explode.
Zoe is here to help you get early pressure, some low-cost spells to empty your spell mana reserve, and also some much-needed flexibility from her pool of Celestial Cards. Getting her to level-up isn’t necessary, so don’t focus on keeping her alive when Nami has a bigger impact on your strategy - alhough having a board full of Lifesteal Elusives thanks to Sparklefly is a joy known only to a few chosen ones. (Write-up by Othal)
In the first few days of the expansion, I remember Nami receiving some love, but still flying under the radar. It took two weeks since Bandle City was released for the game to be taken over by the buffing mermaid, who now possesses a target on her back, as her pairing with Zoe is currently the deck to beat.
This is the more discrete version, where Nami takes her services to Bandle and joins forces with Fizz, an Elusive champion who greatly appreciates receiving stat buffs. While Zoe-Nami is considered the better deck by many, I see a lot of upsides to playing this variation. While it sacrifices Targon’s healing potential, the deck is more efficient at the core of its strategy, as Bandle City adds more draw and spell generation to the archetype.
Fizz-Nami aims to use the Elusive synergy to bypass the opponent’s blockers and directly hit their Nexus with buffed-up units. There are two main phases to this plan, the first one focusing on spells and storing mana, which advances Nami’s level-up and reduces the cost of Wiggly Burblefish. The second being the pay-off, using cheap spells we generated along the way to buff our units in order to deliver the killing blow. (Write-up by den)
Although it hasn’t reached Tier 1 yet, Lulu-Poppy is a duo that has been very stable in the meta since Bandle City has arrived. Currently, you might see iterations of the Ionia deck using Zed instead of Lulu with some heavy Elusive packages, which is a more aggressive and punishing take on the archetype.
When Sion Discard was at the peak of its popularity, Lulu-Poppy couldn’t really shine. The deck lacked some sustainability to fight against the other explosive early game decks, eventually running out of steam. However, now that Nami decks are on the rise to counter Sion, the environment might be perfect for Lulu-Poppy to reach their full potential.
We’re including two different variations of the deck, splashing Ionia and Bandle City as the supporting regions. Although both lists rely on the same base concepts (namely, developing the board with a numbers approach and punishing opponents who can’t keep up through Rallies), there are some differences in the way they apply pressure.
The Ionian version relies on a better survivability for the key pieces, with the addition of Twin Disciplines and Elusive keywords helping Lulu and Poppy stay alive. The deck feels great when we draw our champions and keep them healthy. A flipped Poppy, for example, will more often than not win the game for us. (Write-up by den)
The Bandle City side of things isn’t so keen on protecting its soldiers. Instead, the region relies on generating a ton of them to keep the opponent on their toes. By extension, the champions aren’t as protected as in the Ionia version. However, Bandle City makes up for this by having dangerous units. For example, an unanswered Bandle City Mayor can win you the game.
Overall, I would consider the Ionia list to be more well-rounded currently, but the Bandle deck has the upside of being better against removal-based decks, as it can create cards and delay the point where the pressure would let up.
Veigar is a fan favorite who most people truly want to see put in the work - but he struggles to live up to these expectations in this incredibly tough meta. Although he can swat aside unrefined decks that forget to pressure him, his abysmal lack of tempo makes him a perfect target for fast, bulky Midrange lists - which just so happens to be most of the top tier decks right now.
He also lacks reactive abilities. Darkness is useful as removal, but it’s proactive removal (until Senna comes online), which can be sidestepped by Recall spells like Lead and Follow or combat tricks (Sharpsight, Troll Chant, Shaped Stone). Your best set-up is, surprisingly, not having Veigar on board, but Senna.
Her base form speeds up damage and spells from Slow to Fast and her level-up reduces their cost by 1. As such, you can finally gain tempo on your opponent and answer their threats. Finally, the fact that she creates multiple versions of Darkness helps to level-up Veigar and keeps your hand full with the now-reactive removals!
A common tech choice is to kick Stilted Robemaker for Aloof Travelers. This gives you more hand disruption but less synergy. This might be a meta call, as some threats are too hard to answer once on the board (and much better when visibly discarded from the opponent’s hand). (Write-up by Ultraman)