The Runetrra Open World Qualifier wrapped up this weekend, with three players securing their spots in the World Championship tournament. Notably, Janna Nilah and Miss Fortune Quinn were the favorites due to their solid matchup tables.
When going into a highly competitive tournament, players tend to pick the best meta decks out there and create a lineup capable of dealing with the decks they expect to face off against. However, some prefer bringing their off-meta brews, either due to a sense of comfort in piloting them or to introduce an element of surprise.
Off-meta decks can surprise opponents and exploit their lack of practice against them, potentially leading to costly misplays. Misplaying in highly competitive games can be punished heavily and could end up being the reason for a loss.
Let's look at nine off-meta decks that showed up in the top 64 of the Runeterra Open!
END Kienxun from the APAC server brought this Aatrox Evelynn deck, leveraging Husks to strengthen their board. Buffing unit Power with Darkin Equipment, Domination, and Siren Song is vital to apply more pressure, ultimately increasing Xolaani the Bloodweaver's stats and transforming her into Xolaani, Aspect's Bane.
This deck is not a common sight on the ranked ladder, and it seems to target mid-range decks like Galio Udyr and Miss Fortune Quinn. In addition to Aatrox Evelynn, END Kienxun brought Shen Jarvan IV and Galio Udyr.
Teemo Kayle is gradually making its mark on the ladder, and CrimsonDAWG23 from the EMEA server recognized its potential and brought it to the top 64. Their lineup also included Galio Garen Jarvan IV and Janna Nilah.
This deck focuses on swarming the board and using Yordle Explorer, Paparo the Great, and Yordle Captain to increase unit stats and create more threatful attacks to destroy the Nexus. This strategy also accelerates Kayle's level-up, introducing another threat for the opponent to handle.
Once Kayle levels up, you can set up a potent Overwhelm attack to close out the game. Xolaani the Bloodweaver serves as an additional win condition, benefiting from the stat boosts your units receive, setting the stage for a Xolaani, Aspect's Bane attack.
Gnar Teemo NX
Scathus brought the aggressive Gnar Teemo Noxus deck to their top 64 run in the Americas. Although this deck has seen some play on the ladder, it hasn't found a solid footing in the current meta.
This aggressive deck aims to fill the board with units and start chipping away at the opponent's Nexus. Yordle Explorer and Paparo the Great enhance Yordles and apply additional pressure. Noxian Fervor is the only burn tool, typically saved until your opponent attempts to eliminate one of your units in the mid-game. You can squeeze additional Nexus damage with Reveler's Feast Power buff.
The list runs Treasured Trash as a last chance to find an RNG win condition.
Kei185 from the APAC server brought a Norra Caitlyn deck to day 2. This deck is capable of building a board with Mysterious Portal from Norra and Portalpalooza. Caitlyn adds mid-game pressure, forcing the opponent to find answers before she plants too many Flashbomb Trap.
The deck features numerous damage spells, such as Group Shot, Pie Toss, Mystic Shot, and Howling Gale, to keep the board in check and kill pesky units. Eclectic Collection plays a crucial role in executing a slow-burn strategy and planting additional Mysterious Portal and Chimes value.
Sunken Temple is essential for maintaining card draw and keeping the engine running while activating the Mysterious Portal you've set up.
Verminous356 brought the good old Gnar Jhin control deck to their EMEA top 64 run. This deck was once one of the top-tier choices in previous metas, though it has seen some nerfs to Lord Broadmane and Condense. In addition to Gnar Jhin, Verminous356 also brought Janna Nilah and Heimerdinger Norra.
The objective of this deck is to keep the opponent's board in check using various ping spells along with a Lord Broadmane. Jhin gradually chips away at the opponent's Nexus, and can push a lot of damage once leveled up. Riptide Rex can clear the opponent's board with Rocket Barrage, creating an opportunity for a devastating attack.
Condense creates a copy of Riptide Rex, allowing you to replay a 1 mana cost Riptide Rex and activate Rocket Barrage a second time.
Jayce Targon was the hidden gem that several players brought to their Open Day 2. RealPrismsword from the Americas brought this list alongside Janna Nilah and Seraphine Sett.
The Jayce Targon strategy revolves around leveling up Jayce and double-casting Cosmic Call. This sets the stage for low-cost Celestial cards, which can be exceptionally strong if you manage to Invoke a Living Legends.
Eventually, you'll set up big Celestial units like The Great Beyond or The Scourge, threatening to end the game with a powerful attack.
Kh0a from the APAC server brought a mid-range Akshan Udyr deck that aims to empower the champions and transform them into win conditions. Their lineup also featured Ekko Jinx and Janna Nilah.
The Stance Swap provides a stat boost to Akshan or Udyr, which also advances their level-up progress. A leveled Udyr gains substantial stats, and combined with the Overwhelm keyword of Wildclaw Stance, he'll start dealing lots of Nexus damage to win the game.
The strike spells like Grappling Hook and Desert Duel allow you to eliminate key units and further advance your champions' level-up journey.
Jirkau was the only player on the EMEA server to bring the Maokai mill deck, alongside Akshan Pantheon and Jayce Targon.
The Maokai mill deck's objective is to expedite Maokai's level-up process by tossing cards and eliminating your units. Once Maokai levels, he destroys the opponent's deck, leaving them with only four cards.
This means the opponent has only four turns to win the game before they lose due to running out of cards. However, Watery Grave accelerated your win condition, obliterating those 4 cards.
This Maokai Mill deck is a solid choice to beat popular decks like Janna Nilah and Seraphine Sett.
Andrew5550 from the Americas brought the classic Ashe Shadow Isles deck, paired with Shen Jarvan IV and Miss Fortune Quinn.
Ashe Shadow Isles employs a range of removal spells, including Quietus, Soul Harvest, and Eradication, to control the board and extend the game. The Freeze spells can also halt the opponent's aggression and win trades, all while advancing Ashe's level-up conditions.
The Rekindler, Mist's Call, and The Harrowing allow you to resurrect Ashe and maintain the Freeze win condition, which can become increasingly challenging for the opponent to counter.
The World Qualifier meta showcased a wide variety of decks, delivering many exciting moments. There is still one more Eternal Runeterra Open and a Last Chance Qualifier remaining to secure a spot in the World Championship tournament.