Welcome, my friend!
Welcome to this wonderful First Friday, and the wildest Meta we have seen in a long time – last Wednesday's patch truly has been beautifully bountiful!
I am getting head of myself, I know; but I am sure you will excuse my excitement when you lay eyes on today's selection!
So, please, come, let me showcase our selection. To brews and blends furnished by formidable formulistas Balco and Seth we have added those that we've collected ourselves, along with prominent pilots' takes overhead at the Blue Bird Inn.
Would you like to…
- Kuvillux, aka Lux Illaoi,
- Twisted Fate Jarvan IV Illaoi, quite the mouthful and quite the shell,
- Garen Illaoi
- Yuumi Pantheon,
- Tri-beam, aka Ezreal Caitlyn,
- Tryndamere Trundle,
- Jhin Annie, the most popular blend by far,
- Zed bard, the second most popular blend,
- Miss Fortune Annie,
- Illaoi Bard,
- Garen Bard; not an Elite deck, but very much a Bannerman deck,
- Ezreal Annie,
- Today's Hidden Gem: Taric Poppy
A Glimpse into a Glorious Meta
This is perhaps as good as it gets, my friend: blends that were powerful three days ago are still powerful, their potency largely untouched by nerfs, yet when we look at the best performing brews…
… it is truly a beauty to behold so many new faces among the Top Dogs.
Even two ancient archetypes, Thralls and Deep, have been rejuvenated so successfully that now rightfully claim a stake at the peak.
Do notice that Jhin Annie is arguably the main factor in this meta, given its large play rate. There is much to discuss about the Virtuoso and the burning brat, but let us pace ourselves – for now, we shall say that the audience loves this new duo, and as such any blend favored into Jhinnie will tend to do well.
And no, Jhinnie is not as bad as it looks by average figures. As you would expect from the Virtuoso, there is much more nuance than what first greets the eye.
I know what you are thinking, my friend.
"Where da bloody **** did that come from!?"
Doubtlessly, countless pilots all across the ladder are wondering the same thing about this Squid Surprise because, let us be honest: who in their right mind, having heard of Illaoi last week, would have thought, "Of course! Let's team her up with Lux!"
Yet such is this brave new Meta, my friend: truly a thing of terrible beauty!
Let us dive into this most bountiful new marriage.
Kuvillux, aka Lux Illaoi
As far as I have been able to trace its lineage, this is a creation of maîtres brasseur Kuvi.
As mentioned yesterday, the huge majority of pilots favoring this medley use this exact formula, to wrecking results all over. As if the champion combination was not bewildering enough, you will also notice that this blend conspicuously lacks six-mana spells – yet cast doubts aside, my friend: almost three thousand games played thus far with at 57% WR speak volumes about this blend's potency.
Notably, it seems to prey on pretty much all other new blends…
… it falls prey to some of the strongest Old Dogs, though, so we shall see how this blend fares.
Strong Against: Annie Jhin, Bard blends, Lurkers, Viego Shurima, Twisted Fate Jarvan Illaoi, Taric Poppy.
Struggles Against: Thralls, Trundle Tryndamere, Yuumi Pantheon, Ezreal Caitlyn
Twisted Fate Jarvan IV Illaoi
Same region pairing, featuring Illaoi again, yet quite the different build – this is very much not a "let's swap one champ for another and call it brewing" type of blend.
Strong Against: Annie Jhin, Deep, Thralls, Zoe Bard
Struggles Against: Kuvillux, Lurkers, Ezreal Caitlyn
This region pairing keeps on giving, my friend!
Here is yet another Demacian Kraken marriage, which again does not content itself with swapping champs, but can be said to be an altogether different blend
Strong Against: Jhinnie, Zed Bard, Deep, Thralls.
Struggles Against: Kuvillux?
The Old Guard
Strongest three days ago, among the strongest still: these previous patch's Top Dogs need not learn new tricks to stay on top.
The feline Fae and her Fated friends have gone nowhere, in case you were wondering. Their potency is largely untouched, marred only by the fact they seem to be one of the few blends that have trouble with Jhinnie.
Strong Against: Pretty much everything right now…
Struggles Against: … except Jhinnie, and Tri-beam blends.
Miss Fortune Quinn, aka Scouts
Another steadfast, iron-willed medley that refuses to vacate the Meta's peak.
Its current success is explained largely by the murderous way in which it deals with the Virtuoso and the burning brat – yet Kuvillux and other old brews give Scouts pause.
Strong Against: Jhinnie, Bard blends, Twisted Fate Jarvan Illaoi
Struggles Against: Yuumi Pantheon, Kuvillux, Ezreal Caitlyn
Ezreal Caitlyn Noxus, aka Tri-beam
The Tri-beam champions find themselves in an interesting spot: they are favored, even if slightly, both against most new champions and the two Top Dogs from the last patch…
… yet the both rejuvenated medleys, Deep and Thralls, absolutely destroy Tri-beam's plans.
Strong Against: Jhinnie, Zed Bard, Scouts, Yuumi Pantheon,
Struggles Against: Deep and Thralls (horribly!), Zoe Bard, Garen Bard
Another Top Dog from last patch that finds itself in an interesting position.
Unlike other blends in this category – which murder most newcomers – this icy champion pair is even into Jhinnie and Zoe Bard.
It is fairly strong into Kuvillux, though, so I would not dare predict this blend's fate in the coming days, and will largely depend on how the meta shapes up.
Its current overall potency is, on the other hand, undeniable.
Strong Against: Thralls, Zoe Bard, Kuvillux
Struggles Against: Scouts
Lurkers, aka Pyke Rek'sai
Ah, what a beautiful labeling irony… shallowness being superior to depth!
Yet such is what current figures imply, Lurkers preying quite ruthlessly on Deep.
Pyke and friends also bully several of the weaker new blends, though, making Lurkers a very solid choice for the current ladder.
Strong Against: Jhinnie, Deep, Swain Annie, Zoe Bard
Struggles Against: Kuvillux, Scouts, Yuumi Pantheon
Old is the New New
Old Dogs are not often taught new tricks, but new cards can surely make wonders for ancient archetypes!
Deep, aka Maokai Nautilus
There is ongoing turbulent brewing, though, and some cards that seemed well positioned just yesterday (like Withering Wail) are absent in the best-performing list that we recommend below. Also notice the inclusion of one copy of Atrocity.
Strong Against: Jhinnie, Ezreal Caitlyn, Ezreal Annie
Struggles Against: Yuumi Pantheon, Lurkers, Garen Bard
Thralls, aka Lissandra Taliyah
As expected during the reveals last week, and as super skipper Shadawx suggested last Wednesday, Harbinger of Thralls has indeed propelled Thralls to the fore.
This icy medley's fate appears intimately intertwined with Jhinnie's: the Virtuoso and the blazing brat are Thrall's main weak spot, while being even or favored against most of the current field…
… although from the left field, Thralls may have even bigger problems with Taric Poppy.
Strong Against: Ezreal Caitlyn, Ezreal Annie, Scouts
Struggles Against: Jhinni, Yuuumi Pantheon, Taric Poppy (horribly!)
A Word about Generous Donors
Do notice that, as any popular blend, these do affect the meta by ways of donating LPs to the rest of the field – if you are considering a medley with which to stick in the coming weeks, then blends that do poorly against any of the above may actually be a good idea (as long as your weapon of choice has good odds against the truly strong brews), since one would expect such medleys to perform better once bad brews are weeded out and the meta is whittled into shape.
Let us Dig Further
Artists know well that first impressions are crucial – yet appearances are deceiving, and they satisfy only the crude and shallow: discerning eyes find true delight in layers of nuance.
These extremely popular blends could, at first glance, be said to be mediocre at best…
… but let us scratch under the surface, shall we? Maybe there is more than what is seen at first sight.
Here we are at last – the most popular champion pair: the Virtuoso and his odd choice of sidekick, the blazing brat.
Time to discriminate wheat from chaff, my friend: this very, very good medley's performance is being dragged into the mud by a quite popular but rather atrocious concoction running Ravenbloom Conservatory, and other weak variations that do not serve this archetype well.
Those are not the blends you want to be on – whereas the below formula, including such interesting options as The Stagehand, is the correct one: its WR is well above 55% over more than a thousand games.
Another case of a very strong blend being marred by awful mash-ups – there is an appalling concoction, which includes God-Willow Seedling, that smells like a ruse to hoodwink naive pilots into donating LPs.
Yes, it is that foul.
On the other hand, the below blend – already the most popular, thankfully – is booting butts most thoroughly, its WR North of 55% across 1200 games.
Miss Fortune Annie
Pirates, but with Annie – simple, yet effective.
There are several slight variations of this concept, all of them with somewhat mediocre results – except this spicy blend, making room for Eye of Nagakabouros and Brother's Bond by cutting Precious Pet. Sky-high WR over nearly three hundred games.
Recommendations become a bit murky in this case, so proceed with caution – unlike the other blends in this section, the differences between good and bad lists are not clear-cut, and sample sizes are small.
Still, the below-recommended formula fares fairly well, while other variations of this archetype struggle below 50%.
Other Promising Options
As noted yesterday, Bard has not pulled off the miracle of turning Elites into a competitive archetype – the Elites-heavy version of this archetype, which includes Battlesmith and Vanguard Redeemer, performs quite badly.
On the other hand, a fairly similar Bannerman list, but relying on Fleetfeather Tracker and Esmus, Breath of the World, will serve you well, my friend – that's the list you want to take to the ladder!
Strong Against: Jhinnie
Struggles Against: Deep, Kuvillux, Lurkers
Matchups are all over the place, though, so proceed with care.
Strong Against: Jhinnie, Zed Bard, Yuumi Pantheon
Struggles Against: Deep and Thralls (horribly!), Kuvillux.
Taric Poppy Demacia
For a connoisseur such as yourself, my friend – here is perhaps the most notable finding from today's already bountiful selection: 59% WR, nearly a thousand games with this exact formula, yet overall play-rate low enough to still be a well-kept secret…
… some of its matchups are atrocious, making this blend's fate highly dependent on how the Meta winds will blow, but as of right now, it's a hidden gem.
Strong Against: Jhinnie, Thralls, Deep, Zed Bard
Struggles Against: Kuvillux and Lurkers (horrible matchups!)
Very well, my friend…
… I truly hope you find our selection today to your liking and delight!
Any questions or comments, or more data you may need, feel free to:
Poke me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HerkoKerghans,
Ping me on Discord: https://discord.gg/VNN5NmGhXY,
Or find more writings on substack: https://riwan.substack.com/
And good luck in your climb!