Welcome! Welcome, my friend, please step inside! Sternly command your workweek's worries to quietly wait for you until Monday -- Friday is here, and what a Friday it is!
We have managed to arrange our wares in some semblance of order, but I am happy to warn you: the Meta is still up in the air, up for grabs, open wide! As a renowned practitioner of both the Medical and Numerical Arts has factually stated, this is arguably the most diverse meta we have ever seen, so expect shifts and switches galore.
- Kennen Ahri Shurima, sitting at the top of the power rankings,
- Draven Sion, aka Discard Midrange, returning to the top,
- Lulu Ahri, stealing some of the Recall and Discard tricks from the above two,
- Teemo Ziggs, aka Yordle Burn,
- Scout and Grand General, aka Teemo Swain,
- Good Ol' Pirates,
- Lee Sin,
- Lonesome Pantheon, which raises at the top if you do too,
- The Orthogonal Pile otherwise known as Nami Twisted Fate,
- Shyvana Pantheon, arguably the new Dragons,
- Draven Rumble -- yes, it's now a thing!
- The Mistress of Spiders, Elise Noxus,
- Fizz Lulu, yet more Discard-loving Yordles,
- Sivir Akshan Demacia, still kicking in spite of its bad Ahri matchups,
- Scathus' Ekko Zilean,
- Fizz Ahri,
- Fizz Twisted Fate,
- GrandpaRoji's Malphite Taliyah,
- Timmy's Dream, aka Aurelion Sol Ramp (with Targon's Peak on top!)
- Elise Kalista Mistwraiths,
- Rumble Tristana,
- Ahri Katarina,
- Ahri Viego,
- The Spoon
The Permanency Of Change
Discerning pilots such as yourself always keeps an eye on the Meta… although an argument can be made that, currently, one eye may not be enough: so rapid are the changes that what was at the top mere days ago, fresh and hot, may now be a modicum of mediocrity.
Strongest Meta Staples
These are the best of the best, crème de la crème, cream of the crop, 53%-plus winrate decks with high enough playrates to inspire a high degree of confidence in the extrapolated results.
For each blend, we have selected the highest-performing variant from among the most popular. Should you be looking for well-tested potency and amply-proven efficiency, these are the formulas for you.
Kennen Ahri Shurima, 55%+
The current Queen and King of the meta, at pretty much any data sample worth considering. Topping both the playrate and winrate rankings, this is almost assuredly the strongest deck in Runeterra right now.
If you are considering putting the time into mastering the most efficient deck, then this is it, my friend.
Strong Against: Pantheon builds, Darkness, Lurkers, Lulu Ahri, Ekko Zilean, Lee Sin Zoe, Dragons, Bandle Tree.
Struggles Against: Twisted Fate Nami, Elise Noxus, Thralls, Teemo Ziggs
Variants splashing other regions do exist, like Shadow Isles (link) splashing Go Hard, and Demacia (link) adding Golden Aegis, with both variants also including Scattered Pod -- but these blends, while still strong, are on average weaker than our recommended Shurima variant.
If you want to learn in detail about it, here's Wamuu's detailed Ahri Kennen deck guide (link).
Draven Sion, aka Discard Midrange, 53%
The Revenant has returned once more, as it befits its nature, to wreak havoc at the top, probably profiting from its very favorable matchup against Elise Spiders, which seems on the rise as of late. Our recommended blend seems to have found the inclusion of three copies of Rummage a profitable addition.
Strong Against: Elise Noxus, Lurker, Bandle Tree, Pantheon Taric
Struggles Against: Lonesome Pantheon, Lee Sin Zoe
Lulu Ahri P&Z, 53%
Combining the best of two worlds, this blend puts both the Recall and the Discard packages to good use. The most successful variant currently adds Pix! to the mix, which seems to be doing wonders as of late.
This is our recommended Archetype if you want a fair fight when facing most foes: this build tends to have a "mild" matchup spread, without too lopsided matches either way except against the Kennen Ahri builds.
Strong Against: Elise Noxus, Lurkers, Pantheon Taric, Bandle Tree
Struggles Against: Kennen Ahri builds, Plunder, Pantheon Shyvana
Teemo Ziggs, aka Yordle Burn, 53%
After having tried it briefly, Ziggs has found the lone Champ life not to his liking, and has requested Teemo's aid in his quest to watch (and help) the world burn.
The inclusion of a single copy of Treasured Trash, and a bit of reloading power through Hidden Pathways has worked wonders for this blend.
Strong Against: Pantheon builds, Kennen Ahri builds, Elise, Thralls,
Struggles Against: Darkness
Other Strong Meta Staples
These are all well-tested and well-performing blends, should you either prefer a particular playstyle, lack the willingness to craft one of the strongest blends, or perhaps notice in your pocket meta an angle you may wish to punish and exploit.
Scout and Grand General, aka Teemo Swain, 52%
Another blend in which Teemo is willing to lend a hand, the Scout's puffcaps first aiding Swain to level-up, then allowing the Grand General to unleash his stunning wrath.
A blend that loves playing the Control role, and that (unlike Ahri Lulu above) can perhaps be called "polarizing" -- while its good matchups are great, its bad matchups tend to be horrible.
Strong Against: Pantheon builds, Darkness, Lee Sin Zoe, Bandle Tree
Struggles Against: Twisted Fate Nami, Plunder, Thralls, Dragons
Here's Jasensational's detailed deck guide (link) about how to shroom 'n' stun your foes in your way up.
Yo ho, yo ho, Pirates are again a Meta Staple!
If you dearly desire to dispense well-deserved discipline to naughty, tricky foxgirls, then removing Double Up and adding Iron Ballista may very well fulfill your dreams. One of the fastest blends in the ladder, if you are seeking to play lots of games quickly this may be the most efficient deck for you.
Strong Against: Plunder, Kennen Ahri builds, Pantheon Taric
Struggles Against: Lulu Ahri, Darkness
Lee Sin, 52%
The Trickster and the Blind tend to shine when the meta settles and they can refine their reactive toolset…
… that they can kick buttocks most firmly while we traverse these meta-open-wide times should be a dire warning on how powerful this pair has become with the inclusion of Wounded Whiteflame.
As it currently stands, builds including Will of Ionia and Nopeify! seem to fare better than those without. A high-skill blend with some very polarizing matchups -- pilots beware!
Strong Against: Pantheon builds, Elise Noxus, Plunder,
Struggles Against: Kennen Ahri builds (this is a horrible matchup), Darkness, Bandle Tree.
Lonesome Pantheon, 52%
The numbers have spoken, and this blend is far superior to the Taric variant (including being favored should both formulas cross paths). Personal tastes aside, if you favor efficiency there is simply no factual argument to be made to play the Taric over the Lonesome variant, at least in the current meta
Furthermore, this build's performance peaks at Masters (far surpassing its achievements at lower rungs of the ladder), where it sits among the strongest decks to be found.
Which, in turn, and in spite of its seemingly simplistic "let's-play-units-on-curve" nature, strongly suggests a hard blend to pilot correctly.
Strong Against: Twisted Fate Nami, Darkness, Ekko Zilean, Dragons, Draven Rumble
Struggles Against: Kennen Ahri builds, Elise Noxus, Lee Sin Zoe, Teemo Swain, Teemo Ziggs,
Darkness, aka Veigar Senna 53%
Darkness finds itself in an odd place, being weak to Pantheon blends and struggling a bit against Ahri builds, while overall enjoying good to great matchups against several other currently popular formulas.
Strong Against: Nami Twisted Fate, Plunder, Elise Noxus, Ekko Zilean, Lee Sin Zoe, Pirates
Struggles Against: Pantheon builds, Lurkers, Thralls, Dragons, Teemo Swain, Bandle Tree
Other Meta Staples you may want to consider
Performing less stellarly, depending on your personal preferences and accumulated resources then Thralls, Lurkers (which are always a thing) and Plunder (its fortunes diminished, but still very much playable) are the other Meta Staples we can currently vouch for.
We at present do not recommend taking Bandle Tree to the ladder -- quite unfavorable matchups into Ahri blends, Elise Noxus and Twisted Fate Nami, while also slightly unfavored versus Lonesome Pantheon, make Tree's current numbers quite disheartening.
But perhaps you would prefer a fond fusion between efficiency and sparseness? Win and climb, without bloating the numbers of blends that are already a tad too voguish?
Twisted Fate Nami, aka the Orthogonal Pile
Taking the ladder by storm last week, this OP blend has proven a tough nut to pilot, hence its diminished performance outside the Ladder's highest rungs.
Our recommended build is currently the most popular, but if you wish to dive deep into this Archetype, look no further: here's a recent guide (link) from Drisoth, the deck's creator, who also recommends playing this blend not as a Control deck (as many other Curious Shellfolk variants tend to), but rather as a Tempo deck. In other words, and excuse my crudeness: slam 'em threats down, make 'em foes have the answer until they don't.
Strong Against: Kennen Ahri builds, Bandle Tree
Struggles Against: Pantheon builds, Darkness, Plunder, Teemo Ziggs, Thralls
One of the most recent builds to reach the Ladder's apex (in the Americas server in this case), Shyvana Pantheon reinforces Wounded Whiteflame with more Dragon synergy to reach ruthless, resounding results.
Strong Against: Swain Teemo, Darkness
Struggles Against: Lonesome Pantheon, Lee Sin Zoe
Few things are more pleasing than to finally find what many customers dearly request: a solid Rumble formula, at last!
It is still not the best choice against some of the most popular Ladder blends, but its pack-a-punchy, fast-and-furious playstyle make for an efficient climber.
The most successful formulas seem to lean towards sticking to a low curve, and spreading threats through two copies of Reborn Grenadier, Noxian Fervor, Ambush and Whirling Death (those new to the game may profit from realizing that removing a blocker allows an Overwhelm attacker to fully connect with the Nexus).
Strong Against: Lurkers
Struggles Against: Kennen Ahri builds, Pantheon, Thralls, Elise Noxus
Elise Noxus, aka Spiders
Perhaps the oldest Archetype currently in play, its lineage having roots all the way back to Beta, this blend goes for a wide board and burn finish.
The Mistress' leggy friends saw a surge in play a few days ago due to their excellent matchups against Pantheon and Ahri Kennen, although both their playrate and winrate have declined a bit in the last few days, as the meta diversified.
Strong Against: Pantheon builds, Kennen Ahri builds, Lurkers, Bandle Tree, Dragons
Struggles Against: Lulu Ahri, Darkness, Lee Sin Zoe, Draven Sion,
Fizz Lulu Bandle P&Z
An odd mix, looking to grow a wide, tall board while profiting from Lulu's synergy with Flame Chompers! and P&Z burn. Interestingly, soundly defeats Lulu Ahri (which pairs a similar P&Z package).
Strong Against: Pantheon builds, Lurkers, Lulu Ahri, Elise Noxus
Struggles Against: Twisted Fate Nami, Kennen Ahri builds
Sivir Akshan Demacia
A well-known blend that never goes out of style. Suffers horribly in front of most Ahri variants, but can hold its own (or soundly defeat) most of the remaining field.
Strong Against: Twisted Fate Nami, Plunder, Lurkers, Darkness, Teemo Swain
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen builds, Ahri Lulu.
Risky and Experimental Blends
These are either very new, or so old that we have not seen them in a while -- and (except when noted) with so little data that all we can say about them in the current meta is "they seem to work"...
… but is that due to a fluke?
… or because an extremely gifted pilot attacked a very specific pocket meta?
… or perhaps they are the real thing, and we will marvel at their potency next Friday?
Jump into the uncharted end of the pool, my friend, if you dare…
… and in a few days you may be the one letting us know what works!
Legendary pilot and brewer Scathus (their feats so abundant that they would require a separate, lengthy article to cover) claims to have solved the E-Z equation, as you can read in their reddit article here (link).
In the creator's own words, "Ekko Zilean is a combo aggro deck that looks to close the game with a wide and powerful board on turn 6, buffed by Absolver, Voices of the Risen, and Chronobreak."
Without wishing to dispute Scathus' shared insights though, data strongly suggests that the key ingredient in their formula is "Be Scathus" (or be able to play at their god-tier level) -- pilots wishing to mimic their success with this list are well advised to keep such caveat in mind.
On the other hand, that is precisely what the fun in "experimental" is all about!
The well-known Recall package, minus Kinkou Wayfinder to allow for a few more non-Ionia cards (including Fizz), and with an even stronger bent towards Elusives.
Strong Against: Pantheon builds, Lee Sin Zoe, Dragons, Lurkers, Bandle Tree, Swain Teemo.
Struggles Against: Nami TF, Pirates, Ahri builds, Thralls
Fizz Twisted Fate
Once the absolute, ruthless King of the Meta, this Bilgewater pair seems to have made good friends with Curious Shellfolk.
Strong Against: Plunder, Ahri Kennen builds, Nami Twisted fate, Lurkers Bandle Tree
Struggles Against: Pantheon builds
What has been said about Ekko Zilean above can very much be repeated when talking about Malphite Taliyah -- just replace Scathus with GrandpaRoji.
Either mimic their god-tier piloting skills, or poke them for advice on Twitter.
Strong Against: Darkness, Lurkers, Thralls
Struggles Against: Bandle Tree, Plunder, Nami Twisted Fate (although data shows this to be a favorable matchup at Masters; see "Be GrandpaRoji" above),
Timmy's Dream, aka Ramp Aurelion Sol featuring Targon's Peak
This does not seem to be a fluke, based on the 100+ games played with a single list -- bear in mind such a feat happened a few days ago, when the meta was different.
At any rate: there's a Space Dragon, and there's Targon's Peak. If winning is not enough, and you wish foes to gape in awe, then this is the formula you want to experiment with.
Strong Against: Pantheon Taric, Teemo Ziggs, Plunder.
Struggles Against: Pantheon, Darkness
Elise Kalista Mistwraith
The Mistress of Many Legs now pairs with Kalista, while sticking to a couple of her Noxian tricks.
Probably profiting from unsuspecting foes assuming this is a twist of the Spider archetype (it is not, as a summary inspection of the cards will surely tell you), this formula has achieved an impressive winrate across a not-so-small sample.
Strong Against: Nami Twisted Fate, Plunder, Elise Noxus, Ahri Kennen builds.
Struggles Against: Ahri Lulu, Darkness, Pantheon
This falls into the "so experimental I cannot tell you much about it" category, I'm afraid -- then one bit to tell, though, is that (in its tiny sample) it seems to be kicking behinds most thoroughly.
The Champions' texts do both include the word "Recall". And the Shurima variants of Ahri Kennen, with The Absolver, do showcase how powerful Ahri can be in conjuction with Overwhelm, which this deck provides via Might
Katarina has never been playable, though.
This deck does have a chunk of games under its belt, with a positive winrate…
… meme or real thing? Do let us know!
Strong Against: Lurkers, Pantheon builds, Bandle Tree, Lee Sin, Ahri Kenne builds
Struggles Against: Nami Twisted Fate, Plunder
Talking about really old Archetypes: Maokai and Nautilus are making some waves, in particular teaching Lurkers who's the scariest thing under the sea.
(Spoiler: That would be Nami, most likely -- but if you have not been around Runeterra for too long, this old Archetype may feel quite refreshing for you).
Strong Against: Lurkers, Plunder, Thralls
Struggles Against: Bandle Tree, Pantheon, Nami Twisted Fate.