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Weekend Warrior Weapons, Dec 17 — Eighteen Decks to Start the Season With… Again!

The recent hotfix sent the meta back to Day One -- here are some of the best-performing decks, both new and old, in this brave new ladder!
Best LoR Ladder Decks

Welcome! Welcome, my friend, please step inside… and yet again, like last week, I must beg you, please turn a blind eye to the mess our shop is in right now: the recently-deployed hotfix has descended upon us like a deranged deluge, dashing everything into disarray.

And what a wonderful, wondrous disarray, I may add! You thought last week was hectic? Just wait until you find yourself with a fresh new meta, two Fridays in a row!

So what shall I show you, my friend?

... the unleashed power of the Pantheon blends?

  • Lonesome Pantheon,
  • Taric Pantheon,
  • Riven Pantheon.

the elusive trickery of Ahri and Kennen?

  • Kennen Ahri Shurima,
  • Kennen Ahri Shadows, aka Go Hard.

some of the well-trodden blends that seem well-poised in this brave new Meta?

  • Bandle Tree, not caring for nerfs to its signature Champion,
  • Lee Sin Zoe,
  • Pirates,
  • The counters' counter, Darkness,
  • Teemo Swain, making its debut among the Meta Staples.

perhaps you'd like to pilot more experimental brews into uncharted waters?

  • Nami Twisted Fate, aka Drisoth's Orthogonal Goodstuff pile,
  • Teemo Caitlyin,
  • Thresh Viego,
  • Lonesome Ziggs, aka Yordle Burn, without his usual partner in arson,
  • Fizz Lulu, aka "who needs Rumble when you need Lulu for Yordle Discard?"
  • Taliyah Ziggs
  • Ahri Teemo
  • Draven Ezreal

Or, please, be my guest and stroll around our humble shop at leisure. We are proud to showcase the finest inventory from admired APIarists Legna & Balco, so feel free to check our wares as much as you please.

The Hotfixed Meta

Oh how the mighty have fallen. As notable numeromancer Legna shows…

Graph by Legna

Poppy piles have plunged into a profound precipice, along with Ezreal's short-lived partnership with Kennen.

But power abhors vacuum, and as soon as the top is empty, others Archetypes clash for preeminence.

Pantheon Blends

Kept at bay by the former powerhouses, Atreus has climbed to the top. Abundant blends exist, including the Lonesome version which currently stands out as the strongest.

In every case, we've chosen the top-performing build among the most popular versions of each blend -- but a word of caution is not out of place here, I believe: you should exercise a healthy degree of circumspection, my friend, when choosing or piloting any of our suggested blends. Data is a scarce commodity in these early ladder times! 

Lonesome Pantheon Demacia, 55%+

Standing tall and proud, and requesting assistance from no other Champion, this Lonesome blend currently stands at the top of the meta, and looks like the strongest of all Pantheon formulas.

Strong Against: Kennen Ahri Shadows, Lurkers, Dragons, Thralls, Teemo Swain, Pirates

Struggles Against: Zoe Lee Sin, Bandle Tree

Regions
Demacia
18 cards
Mount Targon
22 cards
Rarities
14 700
champion
3
epic
0
rare
10
common
27
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
18
2
9
3
5
4
2
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
3
4
Pantheon
3
Followers
12
1
Saga Seeker
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Mountain Goat
3
3
Wounded Whiteflame
3
Spells
25
1
Chain Vest
3
2
Guiding Touch
3
2
Pale Cascade
3
2
Sharpsight
3
2
Single Combat
3
3
Cataclysm
3
3
Zenith Blade
3
4
Bastion
1
4
Golden Aegis
1
5
Concerted Strike
2

Taric Pantheon Demacia, 52%

Quite similar to the Lonesome variant, but showing less stellar results. Do note that this variant does top the popularity ranking, which may drag it's performance down by being polluted with inferior builds, and/or being steered by less skilled pilots.

In particular, note it's weakness against Lurkers, which the Lonesome variant preys upon.

Strong Against: Thralls, Swain Teemo, Plunder

Struggles Against: Lee Sin Zoe, Bandle Tree, Lurkers.

Regions
Demacia
17 cards
Mount Targon
23 cards
Rarities
23 200
champion
6
epic
0
rare
9
common
25
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
17
2
7
3
11
4
2
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Pantheon
3
4
Taric
3
Followers
11
1
Saga Seeker
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Mountain Goat
2
3
Wounded Whiteflame
3
Spells
23
2
Confront
2
2
Guiding Touch
1
2
Pale Cascade
3
2
Sharpsight
3
2
Single Combat
3
3
Cataclysm
1
3
Zenith Blade
3
4
Bastion
2
4
Golden Aegis
3
5
Concerted Strike
2

Riven Pantheon, 52%

A blend that has shown mediocre results on average, but offers a slightly different matchup spread along with a very different playstyle.

Strong Against: Taric Pantheon, Plunder, Lurkers, Thralls

Struggles Against: Lee Sin Zoe, Bandle Tree, Teemo Swain

Regions
Mount Targon
25 cards
Noxus
15 cards
Rarities
24 200
champion
6
epic
0
rare
14
common
20
Mana cost
0
0
5
1
14
2
8
3
13
4
0
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Riven
3
4
Pantheon
3
Followers
18
1
Blade Squire
3
1
Saga Seeker
2
2
Mountain Goat
3
2
Runeweaver
3
3
Wounded Whiteflame
3
4
Blinded Mystic
2
4
Ruined Reckoner
2
Spells
16
2
Guiding Touch
3
2
Pale Cascade
3
2
Shield Vault
2
3
Hush
2
4
Bastion
2
4
Bloody Business
2
4
Whispered Words
2

Other Pantheon Blends

For the risk-takers and adventurers, other experimental blends exist, although with too little data about specific matchups:

  • Shyvana Pantheon, focusing greatly on the Dragon synergy, has shown great success in the Asian shard,
  • Preeminent pilot Szychu has found great success blending Zoe Pantheon with Freljordian tricks. 

Kennen Ahri blends

Apparently too busy being a Path of Champions Boss, Ezreal has abandoned the Constructed scene, freeing Kennen to partner with Ahri in their struggle as top performing archetype.

True to their tricky nature, Kennen & Ahri blends may superficially seem similar -- but do note how their matchups are keenly different.

As mentioned previously, exercise caution when choosing or piloting any of the suggested blends -- scarcity of data may lead to unexpected results, my friend!

Kennen Ahri Shurima, 55%+

Sticking with the recently nerfed Kinkou Wayfinder and God-Willow Seedling, and making great use of Fae Bladetwirler and Dancing Droplet, the Shurima version brings The Absolver to the fray for overwhelming superiority.

Do notice also the rock-paper-scissor-ish nature of the meta, this blend being strong against two Pantheon counters (Lee Sin Zoe and Bandle Tree), while itself being weak to its own Shadow variant

Strong Against: Taric Pantheon, Lee Sin Zoe, Bandle Tree, Lurkers, Dragons.

Struggles Against: Teemo Swain, Kennen Ahri Shadows.

Regions
Ionia
38 cards
Shurima
2 cards
Rarities
24 200
champion
6
epic
0
rare
14
common
20
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
16
2
5
3
7
4
0
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Kennen
3
2
Ahri
3
Landmarks
2
3
God-Willow Seedling
2
Followers
18
1
Dancing Droplet
3
1
The Mourned
3
2
Fae Bladetwirler
3
2
Navori Conspirator
3
3
Shadow Assassin
3
4
Kinkou Wayfinder
3
Spells
14
1
Recall
3
2
Nopeify!
2
2
The Absolver
2
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Deny
1
4
Homecoming
3

Kennen Ahri Shadows, aka Go Hard, 53%+

This shadowy blend focuses on Go Hard, and goes for a slightly costlier curve with Scattered Pod. The list may seem similar to the SH variant, but matchups are proving to be quite different. 

Strong Against: Lee Sin Zoe, Lurkers, Dragons, the Shurima variant.

Struggles Against:Teemo Swain, Darkness, Plunder, Bandle Tree

If you'd like a slightly different option, check this build (link) with  WhatAmI's take, cutting Eye of the Dragon to make room for Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed.

Regions
Ionia
37 cards
Shadow Isles
3 cards
Rarities
29 900
champion
6
epic
5
rare
15
common
14
Mana cost
0
0
11
1
10
2
5
3
11
4
0
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Kennen
3
2
Ahri
3
Landmarks
2
3
God-Willow Seedling
2
Followers
14
1
Dancing Droplet
3
2
Eye of the Dragon
2
3
Shadow Assassin
3
4
Kinkou Wayfinder
3
6
Scattered Pod
3
Spells
18
1
Go Hard
3
1
Recall
2
2
Retreat
2
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Concussive Palm
2
4
Deny
3
4
Homecoming
3

Meta Staples

If you're looking after the well-known blends, or if your budget is meager and you very wisely wish to preserve your wildcards for when the meta stabilizes and for now prefer to pilot what you already possess, these would be our recommendations.

Bandle Tree

Her Yordles piles may have been hammered hard, but Poppy still stands steadfast by The Bandle Tree: and ideal blend for those seeking a bit more variety in their weapon of choice, both in the amount of extra choices this deck provides, and two different win conditions.

Newcomers to this deck should notice that this blend contains followers from all ten regions: House Spider, although itself a Noxian card, will also summon a Spiderling from Shadow Isles.

Strong Against: Plunder, Lee Sin Zoe, Lurkers, Darkness, Dragons, Pantheon blends, Pirates

Struggles Against: Thralls, Teemo Swain, Discard Midrange, Kennen Ahri Shadows, Twisted Fate Nami

For a second option, check Genesys' take on Bandle Tree (link), including one copy of Teemo.

Regions
Noxus
6 cards
Bandlecity
34 cards
Rarities
23 800
champion
4
epic
6
rare
8
common
22
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
9
2
7
3
10
4
0
5
5
6
0
7+
Champions
4
1
Kennen
2
4
Poppy
2
Landmarks
3
4
The Bandle Tree
3
Followers
17
1
Proto Poro
2
2
Bomber Twins
2
2
Grumbleslug
2
2
House Spider
2
3
Arachnoid Sentry
1
3
Bandle City Mayor
3
3
Loping Telescope
3
4
Aloof Travelers
2
Spells
16
1
Group Shot
2
1
Ravenous Flock
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
4
Buster Shot
3
6
Hidden Pathways
3
6
Minimorph
2

Lee Sin Zoe

Having welcomed Wounded Whiteflame into their midst, the Trickster and the Blind find themselves in an interesting spot when it comes to matchups, being perhaps one of the components of a rock-paper-scissors dynamic.

Strong Against: Pantheon blends, Thralls, Plunder

Struggles Against: Bandle Tree, Darkness, Teemo Swain, Kennen Ahri blends

Widely labeled as a tough deck to pilot, by the way, and doubly so in unstable metas, so newcomers beware.

Regions
Mount Targon
20 cards
Ionia
20 cards
Rarities
27 300
champion
6
epic
3
rare
13
common
18
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
18
2
8
3
6
4
5
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Zoe
3
5
Lee Sin
3
Followers
6
2
Eye of the Dragon
3
3
Wounded Whiteflame
3
Spells
28
2
Gifts From Beyond
3
2
Guiding Touch
3
2
Pale Cascade
3
2
Sonic Wave
3
2
Twin Disciplines
3
3
Hush
2
3
Zenith Blade
3
4
Concussive Palm
3
4
Deny
3
5
Deep Meditation
2

Pirates

With Marai Warden a confirmed staple and as always preying on poorly-refined prescriptions, Pirates is the ideal Archetype for an early, quick 'n' bloody climb.

Strong Against: Taric Pantheon, Plunder, Lurkers, Dragons

Struggles Against: Thralls, Bandle Tree, Lee Sin Zoe, Darkness

Regions
Bilgewater
22 cards
Noxus
18 cards
Rarities
25 200
champion
6
epic
2
rare
8
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
12
2
6
3
2
4
8
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Miss Fortune
3
5
Gangplank
3
Followers
23
1
Crackshot Corsair
3
1
Jagged Butcher
3
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Legion Saboteur
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Legion Grenadier
3
2
Marai Warden
3
4
Zap Sprayfin
2
Spells
11
2
Make it Rain
3
3
Noxian Fervor
3
5
Decimate
3
5
Double Up
2

Darkness

Profiting from its very strong matchups into Lee Sin Zoe, Teemo Swain, and Kennen Ahri Shadows, Darkness seems to be positioning itself as the counters' counter

Strong Against: Lee Sin Zoe, Teemo Swain, Kennen Ahri Shadows, Pirates, Ping City

Struggles Against: Taric Pantheon, Bandle Tree, Thralls, Dragons,

Regions
Shadow Isles
16 cards
Bandlecity
27 cards
Rarities
24 200
champion
6
epic
0
rare
14
common
20
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
15
2
3
3
7
4
4
5
7
6
1
7+
Champions
6
4
Veigar
3
5
Senna
3
Followers
19
1
Otterpus
3
2
Conchologist
3
2
Darkbulb Acolyte
3
2
Twisted Catalyzer
3
4
Stilted Robemaker
3
6
Ixtali Sentinel
3
7
The Rekindler
1
Spells
15
2
Pokey Stick
3
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Mist's Call
1
3
Stress Defense
2
4
The Box
1
5
Withering Mist
1
6
Hidden Pathways
2
6
Minimorph
2

Teemo Swain

Ah, how it warms my heart to see an Archetype, after a long struggle, finally reach to popularity and power-level to deservedly be labeled a meta staple!

Don't be fooled by it's good-yet-not-great average performance, by the way: with so many reactive tools at their disposal, the furry Scout and the Grand General are still exploring for their ideal complement of spells -- a week from now, it would not surprise me in the least to find them much nearer the top.

Strong Against: Taric Pantheon, Bandle Tree, Lee Sin Zoe, Riven Pantheon, Kennan Ahri blends

Struggles Against: Plunder, Lurkers, Darkness, Dragons, Lonesome Pantheon

Regions
Noxus
19 cards
Bandlecity
21 cards
Rarities
27 300
champion
6
epic
3
rare
13
common
18
Mana cost
0
0
8
1
8
2
11
3
3
4
3
5
4
6
3
7+
Champions
6
1
Teemo
3
5
Swain
3
Followers
17
2
Conchologist
3
2
House Spider
2
3
Arachnoid Sentry
3
3
Loping Telescope
3
4
Lecturing Yordle
3
8
The Leviathan
3
Spells
17
1
Poison Dart
2
1
Ravenous Flock
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Death's Hand
3
3
Scorched Earth
2
6
Hidden Pathways
3
6
Minimorph
1

Into Uncharted Waters

If you're feeling adventurous -- and, let's be frank, what's a Friday without flirtation with what's fresh and exciting? -- here are the radically new, and some of the old that currently sail uncharted waters.

Nami Twisted Fate, aka Drisoth's Orthogonal Goodstuff pile,

Perhaps the hottest new tech at the top, Micah 'Burblefish' Lupa has turned a pile of card into a Nami Twisted Fate powerhouse.

Strong Against: Kennen Ahri Shadows

Struggles Against: Lee Sin Zoe

Here is their take on why such a pile actually works. The deck is undergoing tweaks and changes, with most recent lists leaning towards three copies of Curious Shellfolk.

Regions
Bilgewater
21 cards
Bandlecity
19 cards
Rarities
34 600
champion
6
epic
10
rare
11
common
13
Mana cost
0
0
8
1
8
2
6
3
4
4
3
5
10
6
1
7+
Champions
6
3
Nami
3
4
Twisted Fate
3
Followers
17
1
Otterpus
3
2
Conchologist
3
2
Marai Warden
2
4
Zap Sprayfin
1
5
Fleet Admiral Shelly
3
6
Curious Shellfolk
2
6
Wiggly Burblefish
3
Spells
17
1
Group Shot
2
1
Trinket Trade
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Double Trouble
3
6
Hidden Pathways
3
6
Monster Harpoon
2
7
Mind Meld
1

Teemo Caitlyn

Perhaps a fluke -- since these Champions never quite found its footing even though they are clearly printed (and voiced!) to work together -- this blend has nevertheless performed admirably as of late.

Strong Against: Bandle Tree

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
28 cards
Bandlecity
15 cards
Rarities
26 400
champion
6
epic
2
rare
14
common
18
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
9
2
17
3
6
4
0
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Teemo
3
3
Caitlyn
3
Landmarks
3
3
Hexcore Foundry
3
Followers
14
2
Conchologist
3
3
Puffcap Peddler
3
4
Chump Whump
3
4
Lecturing Yordle
3
6
Corina, Mastermind
2
Spells
17
1
Poison Dart
3
2
Mystic Shot
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Get Excited!
2
3
Insider Knowledge
3
3
Piltover Peacemaker
3

Thresh Viego

A perennial Tier Two deck, and arguably the quintessential Midrange deck (it actually makes a seven-mana card a core part of its gameplan! =), this shadowy pair has been packing quite the punch as of late.

Regions
Ionia
20 cards
Shadow Isles
20 cards
Rarities
27 100
champion
6
epic
3
rare
12
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
0
1
12
2
9
3
9
4
6
5
0
6
4
7+
Champions
6
5
Thresh
3
5
Viego
3
Landmarks
2
3
God-Willow Seedling
2
Followers
11
2
Greenglade Lookout
3
3
Camavoran Soldier
3
3
Darkwater Scourge
2
7
Invasive Hydravine
3
Spells
21
2
Glimpse Beyond
3
2
Syncopation
2
2
Twin Disciplines
2
2
Vile Feast
2
3
Death Mark
2
4
Concussive Palm
3
4
Deny
2
4
Homecoming
2
4
Spirit's Refuge
2
7
Atrocity
1

Lone Ziggs, aka Yordle Burn

Left alone to do all the work, Ziggs without Poppy seems still capable of packing quite the punch.

Regions
Noxus
18 cards
Bandlecity
22 cards
Rarities
18 000
champion
3
epic
3
rare
10
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
15
2
10
3
3
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
3
3
Ziggs
3
Followers
27
1
Inventive Chemist
3
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Legion Saboteur
3
2
Conchologist
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Legion Grenadier
3
2
Stone Stackers
3
3
Bandle City Mayor
3
4
Lecturing Yordle
3
Spells
10
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Lightning Rush
1
3
Noxian Fervor
3
5
Decimate
3

Fizz Lulu, aka Rumbless Yordle Discard

While Rumble doesn't seem to find a deck for him yet, two other Yordle champs have taken the torch of making Bandle Discard a thing.

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
17 cards
Bandlecity
23 cards
Rarities
26 500
champion
6
epic
3
rare
9
common
22
Mana cost
3
0
6
1
13
2
12
3
3
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Fizz
3
3
Lulu
3
Followers
21
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Bomber Twins
3
2
Boom Baboon
3
2
Flame Chompers!
3
3
Bandle City Mayor
3
3
Loping Telescope
3
4
Yordle Captain
3
Spells
13
0
Poro Cannon
3
2
Mystic Shot
2
2
Pokey Stick
2
3
Get Excited!
3
5
Yordles in Arms
3

Taliyah Ziggs

Longing for the brief spotlight they managed to enjoy a few weeks ago, Ziggs and Taliyah throw a bit of Landmark fun into an otherwise board-centric meta.

Regions
Bandlecity
9 cards
Shurima
34 cards
Rarities
24 300
champion
6
epic
1
rare
9
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
10
1
12
2
14
3
1
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Ziggs
3
5
Taliyah
3
Landmarks
9
1
Ancient Preparations
3
1
Hexplosive Minefield
3
2
Preservarium
3
Followers
15
1
Inventive Chemist
3
2
Rock Hopper
3
2
Ruinous Acolyte
3
3
Endless Devout
3
3
Waste Walker
3
Spells
10
1
Construct of Desolation
1
2
Ruthless Predator
1
2
The Absolver
2
3
Unleashed Energy
2
3
Unraveled Earth
3
4
Rite of Negation
1

Ahri Teemo

Lots of 1-game variants in a single server usually signal somebody's pet research project. Join the research effort, if you dare!

Regions
Ionia
36 cards
Bandlecity
4 cards
Rarities
24 400
champion
6
epic
0
rare
15
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
19
2
6
3
3
4
0
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Teemo
3
2
Ahri
3
Followers
21
1
Dancing Droplet
3
1
The Mourned
3
2
Greenglade Duo
3
2
Navori Conspirator
3
3
Shadow Assassin
3
3
Woodland Keeper
3
4
Kinkou Wayfinder
3
Spells
13
1
Recall
3
2
Nopeify!
3
2
Pokey Stick
1
2
Retreat
3
2
Twin Disciplines
3

Draven Ezreal: 

The tri-beam duo is back! Have other nerfs finally allowed this old favorite to resurface? Unique list from a single server -- likely a top player dusting off their favorite brew.

Regions
Noxus
17 cards
Piltover & Zaun
23 cards
Rarities
29 800
champion
6
epic
6
rare
9
common
19
Mana cost
2
0
6
1
8
2
16
3
2
4
3
5
0
6
3
7+
Champions
6
3
Draven
3
3
Ezreal
3
Followers
15
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Fallen Rider
3
3
Arachnoid Sentry
3
3
Sump Dredger
3
8
Lost Soul
3
Spells
19
0
Thermogenic Beam
2
1
Ravenous Flock
3
2
Mystic Shot
3
2
Rummage
2
3
Get Excited!
2
3
Scorched Earth
2
4
Statikk Shock
2
5
Tri-beam Improbulator
3

So, my friend!

I hope our vast inventory has enticed you to jump well-equipped into the LoR ladder. Should you require more metrics for your choice of weaponry, or would like conversing directly with yours truly, this link is where you can find me.

And if you'd like these recommendations mailed directly to your inbox, you can subscribe at this link.

Good luck in your climb!

Many thanks to Alita for superbly solid feedback & comment!