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Weekend Warrior Weapons, First Friday Edition

The Seventeen Best-Performing Blends, for the Discerning Ladder Climber
Best LoR Ladder Decks

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…

… glimpse at this bountiful new Meta?

… check the marriage between Demacia and Krakens, unleashing the wildest brews seen in a long time?

  • Kuvillux, aka Lux Illaoi,
  • Twisted Fate Jarvan IV Illaoi, quite the mouthful and quite the shell,
  • Garen Illaoi

… the Old Guard, strongest decks from the previous patch still making waves?

  • Yuumi Pantheon,
  • Scouts
  • Tri-beam, aka Ezreal Caitlyn,
  • Tryndamere Trundle,
  • Lurkers,

… the rejuvenated ancient archetypes?

  • Deep,
  • Thralls

… decks that may hide great promise under a façade of mediocrity?

  • Jhin Annie, the most popular blend by far,
  • Zed bard, the second most popular blend,
  • Miss Fortune Annie,
  • Illaoi Bard,

… other promising options?

  • 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…

Tier List by Balco

… 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.


Demacian Kraken

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

Regions
Demacia
21 cards
Bilgewater
19 cards
Rarities
24 600
champion
6
epic
0
rare
16
common
18
Mana cost
0
0
5
1
11
2
10
3
6
4
8
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Illaoi
3
5
Lux
3
Followers
18
1
Watchful Idol
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Hired Gun
2
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
Durand Protege
2
3
The Sea's Voice
3
3
Vanguard Sergeant
2
Spells
16
1
Demacian Tellstones
2
2
Answered Prayer
2
2
Single Combat
1
3
Cataclysm
1
3
Shield of Durand
2
4
Tentacle Smash
3
5
Concerted Strike
2
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
3

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 

Regions
Demacia
17 cards
Bilgewater
23 cards
Rarities
25 100
champion
6
epic
1
rare
13
common
20
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
14
2
6
3
8
4
6
5
2
6
1
7+
Champions
6
4
Illaoi
3
4
Twisted Fate
1
6
Jarvan IV
2
Followers
16
1
Watchful Idol
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
The Sea's Voice
3
5
Buhru Lookout
3
8
Nagakabouros
1
Spells
18
2
Answered Prayer
3
2
Sharpsight
3
2
Single Combat
2
3
Cataclysm
3
4
Golden Aegis
1
4
Tentacle Smash
3
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
3

For a similar take, here's superb skipper and scribe MonteXristo's take on Illaoi and her glorified followers, or prominent pilot Darkodius opinion on the matter.


Garen Illaoi

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?

Regions
Demacia
23 cards
Bilgewater
17 cards
Rarities
24 000
champion
6
epic
0
rare
13
common
21
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
15
2
5
3
8
4
6
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Illaoi
3
5
Garen
3
Followers
15
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
1
Watchful Idol
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
The Sea's Voice
3
Spells
19
2
Answered Prayer
3
2
Sharpsight
3
2
Single Combat
3
3
Cataclysm
2
4
Golden Aegis
3
4
Tentacle Smash
2
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
3

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.

Yuumi Pantheon

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.

Regions
Demacia
18 cards
Mount Targon
22 cards
Rarities
23 400
champion
6
epic
0
rare
10
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
4
1
18
2
11
3
5
4
2
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Yuumi
3
4
Pantheon
3
Followers
14
1
Saga Seeker
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Mountain Goat
1
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
Wounded Whiteflame
3
4
Blinded Mystic
1
Spells
20
1
Chain Vest
1
2
Guiding Touch
2
2
Pale Cascade
3
2
Sharpsight
3
2
Single Combat
3
3
Cataclysm
2
3
Zenith Blade
3
4
Golden Aegis
1
5
Concerted Strike
2

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

Regions
Demacia
34 cards
Bilgewater
6 cards
Rarities
29 400
champion
6
epic
4
rare
18
common
12
Mana cost
0
0
5
1
15
2
7
3
6
4
3
5
4
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Miss Fortune
3
5
Quinn
3
Followers
22
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Durand Sculptor
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
Vanguard Sergeant
3
4
Island Navigator
3
6
Cithria the Bold
2
6
Genevieve Elmheart
2
Spells
12
1
Ranger's Resolve
2
2
Blinding Assault
3
2
Sharpsight
3
3
Cataclysm
1
4
Golden Aegis
3

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

Regions
Noxus
14 cards
Piltover & Zaun
26 cards
Rarities
29 300
champion
6
epic
5
rare
12
common
17
Mana cost
2
0
3
1
8
2
18
3
4
4
3
5
0
6
2
7+
Champions
6
3
Caitlyn
3
3
Ezreal
3
Followers
13
2
Ferros Financier
3
2
House Spider
2
3
Arachnoid Sentry
3
3
Station Archivist
3
8
Captain Farron
2
Spells
21
0
Thermogenic Beam
2
1
Ravenous Flock
3
2
Mystic Shot
3
3
Piltover Peacemaker
3
3
Scorched Earth
3
4
Statikk Shock
3
4
Whispered Words
1
5
Tri-beam Improbulator
3

Tryndamere Trundle

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

Regions
Freljord
30 cards
Shadow Isles
10 cards
Rarities
30 400
champion
6
epic
6
rare
12
common
16
Mana cost
0
0
2
1
6
2
1
3
5
4
8
5
3
6
15
7+
Champions
6
5
Trundle
3
8
Tryndamere
3
Landmarks
3
4
Blighted Ravine
3
Followers
8
2
Faces of the Old Ones
3
8
It That Stares
3
10
She Who Wanders
2
Spells
23
1
Three Sisters
2
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Flash Freeze
1
4
Avalanche
2
5
Catalyst of Aeons
3
5
Withering Wail
2
6
Vengeance
3
7
Atrocity
1
8
Voices of the Old Ones
2
9
The Ruination
1
12
Feel The Rush
3

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

Regions
Bilgewater
17 cards
Shurima
23 cards
Rarities
27 300
champion
6
epic
5
rare
2
common
27
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
12
2
6
3
3
4
6
5
2
6
2
7+
Champions
6
3
Rek'Sai
3
4
Pyke
3
Followers
28
1
Sharkling
3
1
Treasure Seeker
3
1
Xer'sai Hatchling
3
2
Aspiring Chronomancer
3
2
Redfin Hammersnout
3
2
Snapjaw Swarm
3
3
Xer'sai Caller
3
5
Xerxa'Reth, The Undertitan
3
6
Xer'sai Dunebreaker
2
8
Jaull-fish
2
Spells
6
2
Call the Pack
3
5
Blood in the Water
3

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

A plethora of lifegain tools – above all Undergrowth and Vile Feast – have dragged Deep from the bottom all the way to the top.

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

Regions
Shadow Isles
15 cards
Bilgewater
25 cards
Rarities
24 800
champion
4
epic
6
rare
13
common
17
Mana cost
0
0
5
1
8
2
11
3
5
4
2
5
4
6
5
7+
Champions
4
4
Maokai
1
7
Nautilus
3
Followers
18
1
Dreg Dredgers
3
2
Sea Scarab
3
3
Deadbloom Wanderer
3
3
Jaull Hunters
2
4
Megatusk
1
5
Abyssal Eye
2
6
Devourer of the Depths
3
7
Shipwreck Hoarder
1
Spells
18
1
Jettison
2
2
Bone Skewer
2
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Lure of the Depths
3
3
Undergrowth
3
4
Salvage
3
6
Vengeance
1
7
Atrocity
1

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!)

Regions
Freljord
22 cards
Shurima
18 cards
Rarities
30 600
champion
5
epic
9
rare
11
common
15
Mana cost
0
0
7
1
9
2
6
3
9
4
5
5
3
6
1
7+
Champions
5
3
Lissandra
3
5
Taliyah
2
Landmarks
6
1
Frozen Thrall
3
4
Blighted Ravine
3
Followers
11
2
Clockwork Curator
3
2
Harbinger of Thralls
3
3
Kindly Tavernkeeper
2
5
Draklorn Inquisitor
3
Spells
18
1
Imagined Possibilities
2
1
Three Sisters
2
2
Time in a Bottle
3
3
Ice Shard
1
4
Avalanche
1
4
Promising Future
3
4
Rite of Negation
2
6
Sands of Time
3
9
Buried in Ice
1

A Word about Generous Donors

Three blends that we shall not recommend, no grounds of currently showing no redeeming qualities, are Swain Annie, Jhin Yasuo, and Zoe Bard.

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.


Annie Jhin

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.

Regions
Runeterra
3 cards
Noxus
19 cards
Rarities
22 000
champion
6
epic
0
rare
3
common
31
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
15
2
7
3
3
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Annie
3
4
Jhin
3
Followers
28
1
Crackshot Corsair
3
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Legion Saboteur
3
2
Boomcrew Rookie
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Solari Sunhawk
3
2
The Stagehand
3
2
Tusk Speaker
3
3
Arachnoid Sentry
1
3
Doombeast
3
Spells
6
3
Noxian Fervor
3
5
Decimate
3

Zed Bard

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.

Regions
Ionia
31 cards
Runeterra
3 cards
Rarities
26 300
champion
6
epic
3
rare
8
common
23
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
9
2
12
3
10
4
0
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Zed
3
4
Bard
3
Followers
25
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
1
Inspiring Mentor
3
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
3
2
Navori Highwayman
3
3
Greenglade Elder
3
3
Shadow Assassin
3
3
The Maker
3
4
Fae Guide
1
6
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
3
Spells
9
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Concussive Palm
2
4
Deny
2
4
Will of Ionia
2

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.

Regions
Bilgewater
16 cards
Noxus
24 cards
Rarities
26 300
champion
6
epic
3
rare
8
common
23
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
10
2
8
3
5
4
5
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Annie
3
3
Miss Fortune
3
Followers
25
1
Crackshot Corsair
3
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Legion Saboteur
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Legion Grenadier
3
2
Marai Warden
3
3
Arachnoid Sentry
2
4
Island Navigator
2
4
Zap Sprayfin
3
Spells
9
2
Brothers' Bond
1
3
Noxian Fervor
3
5
Decimate
3
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
2

Illaoi Bard

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%.

Regions
Bilgewater
28 cards
Runeterra
3 cards
Rarities
27 600
champion
6
epic
4
rare
9
common
21
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
12
2
3
3
11
4
3
5
0
6
2
7+
Champions
6
4
Bard
3
4
Illaoi
3
Landmarks
3
2
Mystic Vortex
3
Followers
22
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
1
Pool Shark
3
1
Watchful Idol
3
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
3
2
Fortune Croaker
3
3
The Sea's Voice
3
4
Zap Sprayfin
2
8
Nagakabouros
2
Spells
9
2
Answered Prayer
3
4
Tentacle Smash
3
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
3

Other Promising Options

Garen Bard

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

Regions
Demacia
34 cards
Runeterra
3 cards
Rarities
27 100
champion
6
epic
3
rare
12
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
7
1
13
2
6
3
8
4
3
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Bard
3
5
Garen
3
Followers
26
1
Cithria of Cloudfield
3
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
2
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
Laurent Protege
3
3
Vanguard Sergeant
3
4
Vanguard Bannerman
3
6
Cithria the Bold
3
Spells
8
1
Demacian Tellstones
1
2
Sharpsight
3
2
Single Combat
2
4
Golden Aegis
2

Ezreal Annie

While blends with Ravenbloom Conservatory are dragging Jhinnie's overall performance through the mud, Tybaulk's favorite landmark may have found a home with Ezreal Annie.

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.

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
16 cards
Noxus
24 cards
Rarities
24 000
champion
6
epic
0
rare
13
common
21
Mana cost
1
0
15
1
12
2
9
3
3
4
0
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Annie
3
3
Ezreal
3
Landmarks
3
1
Ravenbloom Conservatory
3
Followers
9
2
Ferros Financier
3
2
Spell Slinger
3
3
Arachnoid Sentry
3
Spells
22
0
Thermogenic Beam
1
1
Blade's Edge
3
1
Piltovan Tellstones
3
1
Ravenous Flock
3
2
Disintegrate
3
2
Mystic Shot
3
3
Death's Hand
3
4
Statikk Shock
3

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!)

Regions
Demacia
25 cards
Mount Targon
15 cards
Rarities
26 300
champion
6
epic
3
rare
8
common
23
Mana cost
0
0
8
1
16
2
3
3
10
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Poppy
3
4
Taric
3
Followers
23
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
1
Solari Soldier
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
2
2
Durand Sculptor
3
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
Laurent Protege
3
5
Mountain Sojourners
3
Spells
11
1
Ranger's Resolve
2
2
Pale Cascade
3
2
Sharpsight
2
4
Golden Aegis
3
4
Relentless Pursuit
1

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!