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 post-Worlds environment has led to a new predator entering the fray in the top tier: Ziggs-Poppy. We now have a bit of a rock-paper-scissors affair in Tier 1, with Ziggs-Poppy there as a counter to Zoe-Nami and Zoe-Nami there as a counter to Draven-Sion.
In the most recent EU Masters games, we could see a returning archetype - Thralls. They’ve adapted, hoping that a greater flexibility allows them greater longevity in the meta this time around. With one returner comes one that Ultraman advises you to relinquish - Caitlyn-Draven seems to have run its course.
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Editing: Wusubi, Sebodunum
Writers: Den, Ultraman, Othal
Draven-Sion is well-known as one of the meta staples since the start of this patch, heavily countering Demacia while retaining good matchups against most of the field. With Ziggs-Poppy’s rise in play rate, the deck has gained another excellent matchup. This has ensured that Sion’s brutal dominance won’t wane and that he’ll retain his top tier crown for the foreseeable future.
With a high win rate, great stability and a polished game plan with a nice learning curve, the list offers outplay possibilities with relatively little investment. This gives you the kind of flexibility that the other Tier 1 decks lack. Other versions of the deck can include Aloof Travelers, Arachnoid Sentry or Ravenous Flock. These inclusions slow down the deck in order to do better against Aggro or Control matchups.
As ever, though, they’ll only be effective if employed astutely alongside the deck’s main threats. This could mean putting more emphasis on leveling-up Draven, on putting pedal to the metal for an aggressive start, or relying on Sion to enter the fray as your main damage dealer!
Something that has helped the deck is that its main counters turned out to be less threatening than expected. For example, Bandle Gangplank has ended up being an almost even matchup and Darkness also goes toe-to-toe with the deck instead of trashing it as predicted. (Write-up by Ultraman)
Once the uncontested best deck in the game, Akshan-Sivir has never quite returned to domination after Draven-Sion and its nerfs made its overall win rate plummet. However, it hasn’t fallen too far - it’s still one of the best Midrange decks.
Sivir remains one of the toughest champions to remove, and Demacia provides supporting tools to maximize her effectiveness. She’s used as both a pressure and a removal in the deck, with her impactfulness making the player feel that drawing her is the only way to win a game.
Thanks to Akshan, Vekauran Vagabond and Preservarium, finding Sivir happens more often than not, enabling the whole deck to be much stronger overall. Firstly, her level-up still represents one of the biggest threats of the current meta, as support cards like Brightsteel Protector or The Absolver allow for the entire board to gain a shield and Overwhelm if given to Sivir.
Secondly, with Vekauran Bruiser replacing Ruin Runner, Sivir is the best target for the Lucky Finds he produces when he strikes. The other tools in the deck are geared towards controlling tempo. For example, the Challenger and Vulnerable keywords are great against board-centric decks, while the Rally possibility forces the defensive decks to be careful with how much freedom they give to the deck.
This mix of draw, tempo tools and Demacian removals makes Akshan-Sivir a solid contender. The deck might lack some power since its nerfs and can feel a bit weak when compared to Nami or Poppy decks. Yet, its flexibility is still second to none when it comes to reliably finding ways to develop in any matchup. (Write-up by den)
When you think a region is too strong, it can be tested by slapping some of its cards in a well-known archetype and seeing if it works out. This seems to be the philosophy that brought this deck to life, and it actually has had some success on the ladder!
Bandle City provides cheap spells to trigger both Fizz and Lee Sin’s level-ups, and you should be able to swarm the board in the early game with Otterpus and Elusive cards like Kelp Maidens or Fizz himself. Pranks will ensure you get more value from your cards than the opponent, while you should always have something to play to chip away some Nexus health.
Against Burn decks that are prominent on the ladder, Eye of the Dragon and Otterpus will help you stay healthy and provide chump blockers that can be boosted with Purpleberry Shake for more durability or more Lifesteal. While the regular Lee Sin build has a ombo finisher, here the Blind Monk is merely part of a bigger machine, and is used as Burn and removal.
When he hits the board, he should already be leveled-up (or close to it) and you can easily proc two spells per turn to have his Challenger and Barrier up. But the lack of Overwhelm in Bandle City and Ionia will have you deal less damage and prevent you from the flashy finisher that Lee Sin players are accustomed to.
At this point, there are two options for you: either you’ve already got the Nexus low enough for Lee Sin to finish the job without Overwhelm, or you’ll enter a grindy war of attrition, Dragon Kicking units each turn and dealing damage to the opposing Nexus. All the while, your Lee should prove a pain to remove.
While this deck is good for fun and games and has a lot of shenanigans to try, its surprise value is long gone, and it still remains weaker than the usual Lee Sin decks. As such, I would advise against playing it if your only goal is to climb. (Write-up by Othal)