Best LoR Decks – Return of the Weaponmasters
As of Thursday, after one week since the LoR Variety Patch landed, these are the 6 most popular LoR decks according to Legna the Mastering Runeterra Meta Tier List:
Sources: MaRu's data (which samples Plat+ players) and Legna's data (which samples High Diamond & Masters players) – both sources in turn get their data directly from Riot (via Riot's API).
Overall LoR Ladder Trends
Demacia, paired with Piltover & Zaun or just by themselves, keep their steely grip on the LoR meta – yet we have a new contender, rising through the ranks: Jax Ornn, which made a bit of a splash last patch before petering out, is now back in full swing, and as we'll see in detail it's the most played specific deck right now.
Other growing trends, as you dig deeper into the LoR data:
In spite of Demacia's dominance, the scariest decks out there right now are Taliyah Ziggs and Annie Jhin,
Lurkers never go anywhere and remain popular even if metas that don't quite suit them, but this time around they are a very good choice,
Kai'Sa is thus far Evelynn's most popular partner, yet both Lucian and Viego remain very good choices,
LoR Meta FAQs
Where does this data come from?
Directly from Riot (via Riot's API) – Liver, our wonderful coder and unsung MaRu 🐐 (also in charge of designing the website) makes the data automagically appear in our meta tier list and meta stats page, and all-around LoR 🐐 Legna shares his data (from the same source, although following a different set of players) with us too.
What are the best decks in LoR?
Short answer: Depends on how you define "best", of course! =)
Much longer answer: Check the Technical Note at the end of the article, above all about the differences between "archetypes" and "decks" in Legends of Runeterra's data.
Practical answer: As of today, Jax Ornn, Garen Jarvan, Jayce Lux, Annie Jhin and Taliyah Ziggs
Which is the highest win rate deck in LoR?
Among all decks showcased today: Annie Jhin – bullet buff and blazing brat are punching above the 60% win rate mark, which in technical terms is known as "friggin' crazy." Which both Champs are, no doubt!
Taliyah Ziggs would be the second highest.
Among decks with more than 2,100 games played in the last three days: It's currently a tie between Garen Jarvan and Jax Ornn.
How do I beat…
How do I beat Elite decks? Your best bet is Heimer Jayce. Jax Ornn and Jayce Lux work very well too, and Taliyah Ziggs is another excellent option.
How do I beat Jayce Lux? Jax Ornn! It brutally demolishes the Big Spells duo. Taliyah Ziggs or Evelynn Kai'Sa are other good options.
How do I beat Jax Ornn? Heimer Jayce, Gangplank Sejuani, and above all Annie Jhin. You could also bring Ryze (which is, technically, the very best deck against Jax Ornn) but it's not a good deck overall.
Juggernauts – Best Legends of Runeterra Decks
Here we showcase LoR decks with more than 2100 games in the last three days, and good-to-great win rate – the best tried-and-true tools the LoR meta has to offer!
The Weapon Forge: Jax Ornn
Weaponmaster and Hammer God were not a thing in the early post-patch days – but since the weekend they've been gaining steam fast. They currently are the most played specific deck in LoR according to MaRu's LoR stats, and the third most popular (after both versions of Elites that we'll see right next) according to Legna's data.
These two Champs have spread across all servers, and Jax Ornn's best deck is also the most played in all three shards – while this early on in a patch cycle no deck can be said to be "solved", this sure looks like a well-refined powerhouse already:
The above build punches above the 56% win rate mark (usually known as "bonkers" in technical parlance) across 2,500+ games.
Forge God and Weaponmaster demolish Jayce Lux, reliably beat Elites, crush all Evelynn flavors into a bloody pulp, and steamroll Taliyah Ziggs – but they are not without their weak spots: Heimer Jayce is quite a bad matchup, and both Annie Jhinn and Ryze are spectacularly awful.
Lone Demacia: Garen Jarvan
Single-region Demacia, with its staple Vanguard Bannerman making big stuff bigger thanks to the Allegiance mechanic, seems the way to go for Elites (rather than pairing them with Kayle, as we'll see next).
Stats from MaRu and Legna show a near-perfect overlap for the best Garen Jarvan deck, with win rate above 55% across 2,500 games.
Demacia Elites tend to be slightly the underdog against Jayce Lux, Jax Ornn and Kayle Elites, and lose quite badly to Heimer Jayce and Taliyah Ziggs – on the other hand, they have a huge advantage against Ryze, Azirelia, Kayle Leona and Kalista Nocturne, with also a slight edge versus Annie Jhin, and mercilessly steamroll weaker decks that stand in their way.
Garen Kayle, ft. Jarvan
Thus far, data from both MaRu and Legna show Kayle Elites a bit below "Kayless" Elites in performance – only a bit according to Legna, and by quite the gap (a win-rate drop of more than 3%) by MaRu, suggesting in both cases that Elites are better alone than paired with Targon.
Still, Garen Kayle is quite a punchy deck, mind you – above all if you look at Legna's data (which tracks players in High Diamond and above), where Garen Kayle shows a 55% win rate.
When looking at matchups, the difference with Lone Demacia Elites is not trivial: Kayle's version does much worse against Jayce decks (both Lux and Heimer), loses badly against Lurkers (while the Kayless version is slightly favored), and does slightly worse against Jax Ornn. As a trade-off, the Kayle version beats Eve Kai'Sa (which the Kayless version loses to), has a bigger edge on Annie Jhin, and perhaps most important: when facing its Kayless sibling, Kayle's version wins more often than not.
Heavyweights – Strong LoR Meta Decks
These Legends of Runeterra decks have between 900 and 2100 games in the last three days – solid picks for climbing the LoR ladder!
After some ups and downs during this patch's early days, Evelynn and Kai'Sa have found their stride and are the most-played deck in our Heavyweight category.
In fact, there are two different builds with play rates over 1,000 games in the last three days – while fairly similar in their followers, they differ quite a bit in their Spell composition, and one uses Landmarks while the other prefers Equipment. The latter, seen below, looks thus far the best (win rate near 56% in 1,200+ games – near perfect overlap between MaRu & Legna), but here's the other version (52% win rate) in case you'd like to compare.
Kindred Nasus Senna
Not exactly a meta-breaker, according to current data, but here's a fresh take on an old classic: Senna has joined the Undying gang in a perfect 2:2:2 threesome, and they are bringing three copies of Castigate to the fray.
Kindred Nasus Senna shows a near-perfect overlap between MaRu's & Legna's data (in this case a solid 52% across 1,700 games), and has a very interesting matchup spread: demolishes all versions of Elites, has a tiny edge over Jayce decks, beats Lurkers and can go toe-to-toe with Jax Ornn, while losing quite badly to Eve decks, Ryze, and Annie Jhin.
The Six-Plus Pair: Jayce Lux
Now, time to talk about the six-mana elephant in the room!
While the most popular archetype by a landslide, Jayce Lux is also one of the most "scattered" (as in, has tons of different, high-play-rate builds) – case in point, there are no less than six different builds today with more than 1,000 games played in the last three days (as per MaRu's data). The interesting news, though, is that pilots seem to be converging to the best build, since the most popular Jayce Lux deck also shows the highest performance (56% win rate, yet again with perfect accordance between MaRu's & Legna's data):
As preached and practiced by the Aspect of Expensive Spells, the secret to Jayce Lux is no Forge of Tomorrow, and never leaving your lab without Formula.
Last week, Jayce Lux's selling point was its lack of strong predators: back then, only Taliyah Ziggs could reliably beat it. Things have changed now: Eve Kai'Sa has good odds against the Big Spells pair, Annie Jhin is also rough, and Jax Ornn is downright a nightmare for Jayce Lux. On the other hand, Jayce Lux still consistently beats Elites, Heimer Jayce, Ryze, Lurkers and Eve Lucian, and as witnessed by its stellar win rate it wipes the floor with weaker brews.
Lurkers, aka Pyke Rek'sai
The most aptly-named deck in LoR's history, Lurkers are always there, even when the meta is decidedly against them. The latter is not the case now, though: Pyke & crew are an excellent choice against the current field, with their best deck packing a 54% punch across 1,700+ games. Amazing odds against Ryze, Kayle Elites and Eve decks; not too happy to run into Jayce, Taliyah Ziggs and Kayless Elites.
Aaand they are back to 'Powerhouse' status – it's a marvel how these two can go from fringe, mediocre choice to ladder terror as the LoR meta shifts, without changing themselves.
Bullet buff and blazing brat are currently the highest-winrate deck when checking lists with more than 500 games in the last three days – specifically, the only deck above 60%, across a 1,500+ game sample.
They lose to Elites and Heimer Jayce, but prey upon Jayce Lux, Eve Kai'Sa and Jax Ornn – and with amazing odds against the latter two.
Time to adapt!
While last week's build is still doing well, Taliyah Ziggs' best deck today brings to the fray Rockbear Shepherd, Safety Inspector, and The Absolver...
… resulting in the second-highest win rate we'll see today: almost 60%, across 1100+ games, mostly fueled by good odds against Jayce Lux and great odds versus all Elites flavors, while also killing Heimer Jayce, Lurkers and Kindred Nasus Senna in the process.
Taliyah Ziggs is one of the decks for whom the rise of Eve decks and Jax Ornn is awful news, though, so we'll see how the landmark duo fares into the next week.
In this case, there's a stark disagreement between MaRu's and Legna's data: MaRu puts toying Demoness and toy Sentinel at 52%, while Legna shows 55%; sample sizes are also different (1,400 games for MaRu, around 900 games for Legna), hinting at a difference between the Plat+ and High Diamond+ metas.
According to MaRu, Eve Lucian beats other Eve decks, Ryze and Taliyah Ziggs, while being the underdog against Jayce decks, Elites, and Jax Ornn.
The Rogue and the Cultist are having quite a good time in this patch – nothing meta-breaking, but neither something to scoff at, punching at 53% in across 1300 games according to MaRu's data; they do drop to 51% in about 800 games in Legna's, though, hinting at more competitive metas being difficult for these two.
Turns out these are not a fluke! Continuing with their good performance last week, Gwen Quinn shows a 55% winrate across 1,000+ games in MaRu's data – like Akshan Varus, though, both play and win rates drop in Legna's.
Reversing the trend from the previous three decks, Fearsome performs better in Legna's data (56% win rate) than in MaRu's (52%), across a similarly sized sample (about 1,000 games in both cases), hinting that Kalista Nocturne may thrive at higher ranks.
Not Looking Good...
Ryze decks, and Mischievous Marai decks (chiefly with Seraphine and Twisted Fate) see a lot of play and little success, and we won't recommend them today.
Caitlyn Norra, ft. Banana Blaster, is an interesting case: subpar deck according to MaRu's data, but quite playable per Legna, so we'll leave it to pilots' discretion.
Punching Up – Runeterra Decks Doing Great
Runeterra decks with between 450 and 900 games in the last three days – we're sailing into small data samples, yet all decks here have quite a few games under their belts.
Aaand these two are back, too! The Domination buff, plus additions from previous expansions, have pushed the best Azir Irelia deck to a 56% win rate in about 750 games played in the last three days. Nukes Ryze and Heimer Jayce, dies horribly when facing Elites and Annie Jhin.
Gangplank Sejuani, aka Plunder
Another very old archetype that has remained relevant for several patches now, Plunder shows a great 55% win rate in about 600 games.
If you haven't played these two before, here's a deck that can go both aggressive (cosplaying as old-school Pirates) or more combo-oriented, by freeze-locking the board when Sejuani (level 2) is in play – and which is amazing against Jayce Lux, Eve Kai'Sa and Jax Ornn, so definitely a deck to keep an eye on!
Like Jayce Lux, Heimer Jayce is an archetype that has tons of different builds – although very much unlike Jayce Lux, many of those builds are mediocre or downright bad right now.
The best Heimer Jayce deck, though, is one of the scariest things out there, punching nearly at 59% across 550 games. Great against Elites, Ryze and Jax Ornn, Heimer Jayce is very weak to Taliyah Ziggs and quite afraid of Eve Kai'Sa.
Lucian and Kai'Sa may be the popular partners nowadays, but Eve's first good deck, many metas ago, was with Viego – and although these two had a bit of a rocky start this patch, they have found their place in the current field. They actually thoroughly beat the Kai'Sa version should they face each other, and have good odds against Elites and Taliyah Ziggs.
Your Mileage May Vary – Fringe LoR Decks
Legends of Runeterra decks with less than 450 games played in the last three days – very little data, so these may range from total flukes… to the next big thing.
Braum Fiora, ft. Warmother's Call
Yes, this is a thing! Giving Feel The Rush decks a run for their shards in the fight for the Deck With the Biggest Spells title, Braum Fiora has been doing very well with some of the most expensive cards in Legends of Runeterra.
The ideal deck for the "Go big or go home" among you!
Opulent Katarina Gwen
Not so long ago, and for very long, one of LoR's Juggernauts – Kat's nerf and the subsequent meta have been quite rough on these two ladies, but as of late, they've been doing very well on the meta's fringes.
A very old concept that, after literally years of disappointing results, finally managed to become competitive a few patches ago – it was later pushed to the sides, but as our fringest pick today, it has been showing a lot of promise again.
Jax Ornn and Evelynn decks have raised to contest Demacia's iron-fisted rule over the meta…
… while Ryze keeps seeing a lot of play because, well, some decks just see a lot of play; there are certain matters that fall beyond data's explanatory powers.
While it's a bit too early to tell yet, this is thus far looking like a very open meta – we'll see next week once the dust settles a bit more, but there is as of today nearly two dozen decks showcasing good to great performance, and a lot more bubbling upwards from the fringe.
Hope there's at least one deck whose play pattern you find enjoyable, and good luck out there!
If you have any questions or comments, or more data you may need, feel free to:
Poke me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HerkoKerghans,
Stop for a chat on the Mastering Runeterra Discord: https://discord.gg/8RQqZECTz2,
Or find more writings on substack: https://riwan.substack.com/
Technical Note – About overall archetypes and specific decks, and what we mean by "LoR best decks"
Most data sites (including our LoR Meta Tier List, and our meta stats page) and articles like Leer's Legends of Runeterra Meta Decks Report sort LoR meta decks by archetype ("Archetype" being the aggregate of all decks in LoR with a specific champion combination) – that's also how matchup tables are shown in pretty much all data sites.
In this article, we'll sort these decks by the best specific decklist for each archetype. And, whenever we talk about LoR decks in general, or best Legends of Runeterra decks in particular, we'll always be referring to specific lists (while reserving "archetype" to denominate the aggregate of all decks with a particular champion pair).
And, since in each archetype some decks fare better than others (and sometimes the difference is quite noticeable), we'll broadly group the best LoR decks in four arbitrary categories, by the number of games played in the data samples we check:
- Juggernauts: LoR decks with more than 2100 games – these are the best tried-and-true, top meta decks in Legends of Runeterra at the time of writing.
- Heavyweights: LoR decks with between 2100 and 900 games played – other excellent choices, with large enough samples to confidently say, "Yeah, this works."
- Punching Up: LoR decks with between 900 and 400 games played – we're entering the Land of Small Sample Sizes here, but as far as numbers go, these decks can put up one hell of a fight into the current LoR meta.
- YMMV: decks with less than 450 games in the last three days – fringe, risky stuff, but here's where you usually find the spice!
As a rule of thumb, LoR decks with a win rate (WR) above 52% catch our eye; above 53% are eye-widening, and anything with a WR over 55% is exceptional.
Sources: Legna's LoR data website, Mastering Runeterra Meta Tier List, and our LoR meta stats page.