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.
The World Championship has been and gone, with Alanzq coming out victorious. Whether you tuned in or not, it had a huge impact on the ladder environment. Alan’s Curious Shellfolk list has entered the fray, along with a new take on the Darkness deck popularized by the runner-up, Yamato.
Some new Burn decks have appeared too, such as Bandle Gangplank and Ziggs-Poppy, putting the trusty old Pirates in their place. GP-Sejuani is back, alongside Feel The Rush. The newcomers and returners are very welcome, as the apex of the meta is the now-familiar trio of Zoe-Nami, Sion Discard and Akshan-Sivir.
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)
As proven by their presence at Worlds, Akshan-Sivir haven’t breathed their last! Due to the nerfs and the evolution of the meta, they had to adapt their list, but the gameplay still revolves around the same principles of aggression and board control.
Shurima/Demacia is a potent pairing, with combat tricks and removals aplenty to deal with backrow units like Nami and Shelly. Board dominance should be easy to assert through the sheer number of challenges you can issue utilizing Fleetfeather Tracker, Merciless Hunter or Cataclysm.
The game plan is simple: to crush your enemies and to hear the lamentation of their women. Everything in your deck is a threat that your opponent won’t be able to value trade with thanks to your Challengers and combat tricks, and each piece of damage you deal goes towards leveling-up Sivir.
Use Golden Aegis wisely, and remember that Cataclysm procs an Attack and not a Strike, so damage from Overwhelm works! Akshan may look a bit out of place, but he’s an incredible value tool, providing you with a trigger for Shaped Stone while acting as a draw engine and a Quick-Attack threat.
The addition of Vekauran Bruiser provides some surprise effect, as well as another source of keywords for your leveled-up Sivir, and thus to your whole board. The Absolver can also help you set-up a rather deadly Open Attack by giving your whole board Overwhelm at Burst speed, and is a good stand-in for the infamous Ruin Runner. (Write-up by Othal)
After a strong comeback 2 weeks ago, when it appeared as one of the early counters to Nami, Pirates lost momentum to other Burn decks like Ziggs-Poppy or Bandle Gangplank. There are two problems with Pirates compared to these new challengers.
The first problem is the deck’s lack of flexibility - it’s really good at dealing damage, but doesn’t have any back up plan, e.g. the card generation that Bandle City provides. In a meta with Sion Discard, which can deal with the board, and the resurgence of Darkness and FTR after a strong showing at Worlds, Pirates really don’t have many upsides.
Other Burn decks have a much better board developement too, usually able to win the race against Pirates. For those reasons, GP has taken his services to more reliable decks, while MF is still looking for a competitive deck to join.
Pirates can still be serviceable at the lower ranks, as it punishes mistake-prone opponents, but at the higher levels, it’s losing sight of land rapidly. Moreover, this isn’t just a problem of matchups - it doesn’t compare favorably within its own archetype, either, as other Burn decks look to be performing better.
There could be a saving grace for the deck though - tournament play. The proliferation of Burn decks at the moment might help the building of a line-up based around the archetype, punishing decks that are weak to direct damage.
If Nami keeps on being an almost auto-include pick in most line-ups, this is something some players might consider if they enjoy this type of aggressive gameplay. (Write-up by den)