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Weekend Warrior Weapons, Final Friday Edition — Twenty-Nine High-Performance Brews, from Meta Staples to Off-Meta Blends, to Close the LoR Season With

And thus the Season ends: although Ahri Kennen still rules supreme, it reigns atop one of the most varied metas in recent memory, where both Meta Staples and single-author brews thrive.
Best LoR Ladder Decks

Welcome, my friend! Welcome!

Final day of the grindy workweek, and final Friday of the Season… Please, do step inside! Leave your worries at the door,  and let me show you what I have gathered for you this time.

Admirable APIarists Balco and Legna have as usual supplied us with their finest wares, from exotic rares to meta staples; and, like last week, Balco has allowed us to rummage through his most coveted single-shard stash, with some truly wondrous findings…

… so, do let me show you, my friend:

… the least-played best-deck in recent memory:

  • Their Eternal Majesties, Ahri Kennen Shurima,

… the strongest meta Staples:

  • Fizz Lulu, aka YiA, 
  • Pantheon Taric,
  • Miss Fortune Quinn, aka Scouts,
  • Elise Trundle, aka Iceborn Spiders

… the most shard-effective brew:

  • Champless Poros,

… our nicely packed Connoisseur's Corner, including two authored blends such as:

  • Luzeldon's Muscle Dragon, aka Riven Zed,
  • RickoRex's Akshan Sivir Noxus,
  • Ahri Lulu P&Z,
  • Elise Kindred Vi Sentinels,
  • Lucian Zed,
  • Frozen Bonds,
  • Heimerdinger Jayce Shadows,
  • Mom's Comfort Food for the Soul,

… our Wild Side's risky, scarcely-tested brews:

  • Ekko Sivir Vi, aka Zilean-less Predict,
  • Braurelion's Peak,
  • Spicy Scouts, ft Jarvan,
  • A blast from the past, Poppy Ziggs,
  • Darius go-wide Noxurimaggro,
  • Sivir Ziggs Noxurimaggro,
  • Akshan Lee Sin,
  • Burn, Teemo Burn!
  • Teemo Tristana Ionia,
  • Draven Viktor Ambush,
  • Viego Zed,
  • Iceborn Ashe Elise,
  • Kindred Ziggs, which really shouldn't work by apparently does,
  • Catalogue of Kindred Swain,
  • Katarina's Hairy Rose,
  • Crazy Red

Shards, Wildcards and Power Ratings: a Few Words about Next Week

Seasoned Ladderistas know these factors well, but in case you have arrived to Runeterra only recently, and above all if you are resource-starved, there are a few things you may want to keep in mind before proceeding further.

First and foremost: an Expansion with new cards is expected for next Wednesday, and it is not surprising for said Expansion to come along with a few nerfs to existing, over-performing archetypes.

If you are short on shards and Wildcards, you may want to refrain from crafting new decks until the Expansion arrives (and, I would say, even until a few days afterwards, just to avoid wasting your precious resources on "day one darlings", so to speak.)

In particular, any formula with Ahri in it is at some risk of being hit by the proverbial nerf hammer, and even if a deck is left untouched it's impossible to predict right now how the rest of the meta will shape up.

That being said…

… as a rule of thumb, the most powerful blends right now will likely still be strong in a week (as long as they dodge the above-mentioned nerf hammer), and will thrive in a Ladder chock-full of unrefined blends.

If your sights are set on climbing as high as possible next Season, making yourself acquainted with one of the currently most powerful decks may be a very sound strategy to profit from such Ladder turmoil and climb fast early on.

In case of doubt, our writers have compiled a list of their personal recommendations to scale the ladder (link). While there is no guarantee, I would say anything on that list save Ahri Kennen, and any of the Meta Staples I shall showcase below, should serve you well next week.


A League of its Own

Ahri Kennen Shurima (ridiculous winrate)

This is how the Season ends: the most powerful deck in the format increases its winrate this week, yet it sees its playrate decrease by half.

I confess, my friend, it puzzles me without pause, yet such is the tale that the metrics tell: compared with last week, only half of the Platinum-and-above pilots have chosen Their Recalling Majesties as their weapon of choice.

There is something in this archetype that seems to rub pilots wrong, in a way no other over-performing archetype -- say, Azirelia at its apex --  ever did.

There are two slightly different formulas for this blend, with the Shadow Assassin variant being what we could call standard (since it's by far the most popular), while the Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed blends seem even more successful.

Strong Against: Lurkers, Champless Poros, Pantheon Blends, Taliyah Ziggs, and the list goes on…

Struggles Against: Scouts, Elise Noxus Trundle Tryndamere, Pirates, Nightfall

Regions
Ionia
38 cards
Shurima
2 cards
Rarities
26 600
champion
6
epic
2
rare
15
common
17
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
15
2
2
3
9
4
0
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Kennen
3
2
Ahri
3
Landmarks
2
3
God-Willow Seedling
2
Followers
17
1
Dancing Droplet
3
1
The Mourned
3
2
Fae Bladetwirler
3
2
Navori Conspirator
3
4
Kinkou Wayfinder
3
6
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
2
Spells
15
1
Recall
3
2
Nopeify!
1
2
The Absolver
2
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Concussive Palm
1
4
Deny
2
4
Homecoming
3

Strongest Meta Staples

If you belong to the flummoxingly vast majority that would pilot the strongest meta staple as long as it is not Ahri Kennen, these are the tried-and-true blends that end the Season at the top of charts.

All of them have reached or surpassed a 54% winrate in the last few days in Platinum, Diamond and Masters.


Fizz Lulu, aka Yordles in Arms

A story of forgetfulness and remembrance, that our frequent customers are probably well acquainted with: after being unceremoniously tossed away during the post-patch hype -- probably due to Bandle City Mayor, formerly a linchpin of this blend, receiving a substantial nerf -- Fizz Lulu steadily returned to the top, showing no signs of decreased potency and, as showcased in a previous article (link), being one of our writer's weapon of choice.

Interestingly, this is perhaps the closest to a solved archetype from among all Meta Staples: just like last week, the only disagreement between the best performing formulas is whether or not to cut one Fizz for an extra Scrapheap

Strong Against: Lurkers, Elise Noxus, Pantheon blends, Champless Poros, Kindred Viego, Taliyah Ziggs, Draven Rumble

Struggles Against: Darkness, Trundle Shadows blends, Kindred Sentinels

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
18 cards
Bandlecity
22 cards
Rarities
23 200
champion
6
epic
0
rare
9
common
25
Mana cost
3
0
7
1
15
2
9
3
3
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Fizz
3
3
Lulu
3
Followers
18
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Bomber Twins
3
2
Boom Baboon
3
2
Flame Chompers!
3
3
Loping Telescope
3
4
Yordle Captain
3
Spells
16
0
Poro Cannon
3
1
Scrapheap
1
2
Mystic Shot
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Get Excited!
3
5
Yordles in Arms
3

Pantheon Taric Demacia

Another interesting story from this Season, showcasing how decks do not exist in a vacuum.

Before the balance patch, this blend was the worst performing from among the three most popular Pantheon variants -- namely Lonesome, Shyvana, and Taric -- with Lonesome being arguably the best.

Even if no cards from this Archetype were changed, it rose to the top briefly after the balance patch…

… then fell…

… then rose again, proving in the last few weeks that this is, in the current meta, the best Pantheon build.

Whereas, it bears noting, Lonesome Pantheon is nowhere to be found.

Strong Against: Scouts, Darkness, Champless Poros, Elise Trundle, Thralls, Akshan Sivir

Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen builds, Elise Noxus, Pantheon Shyvana, Fizz Lulu, Lee Sin Zoe, Lulu Zed Rally, Draven Jinx

Regions
Demacia
14 cards
Mount Targon
26 cards
Rarities
23 400
champion
6
epic
0
rare
10
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
2
1
16
2
8
3
12
4
2
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Pantheon
3
4
Taric
3
Followers
12
1
Saga Seeker
2
2
Brightsteel Protector
2
2
Mountain Goat
3
3
Laurent Protege
1
3
Wounded Whiteflame
3
4
Blinded Mystic
1
Spells
22
2
Guiding Touch
2
2
Pale Cascade
3
2
Sharpsight
3
2
Single Combat
3
3
Hush
1
3
Zenith Blade
3
4
Bastion
2
4
Golden Aegis
3
5
Concerted Strike
2

Miss Fortune Quinn, aka Scouts

Another deck our writers recommend for a speedy climb (link), and perhaps an even clearer example than Pantheon Taric about how context is truly king: Scouts was nonexistent before the balance patch, yet -- fittingly for its nickname -- it quickly and swiftly struck, as if out of nowhere, as soon as the meta became favorable.

As another amusing detail, a blend that some would label as "linear" is still determining its optimal build: although three copies of Cithria the Bold have become the go-to formula, making some room for Genevieve Elmheart and Riposte seems to enhance this archetype.

Strong Against: Ahri Kennen blends, Elise Noxus, Champless Poros, Pirates, Thralls

Struggles Against: Pantheon blends, Sentinel Control, Jayce Lux, Vladimir Braum

Regions
Demacia
29 cards
Bilgewater
11 cards
Rarities
29 200
champion
6
epic
4
rare
17
common
13
Mana cost
0
0
8
1
12
2
3
3
10
4
3
5
4
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Miss Fortune
3
5
Quinn
3
Followers
21
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
1
Jagged Butcher
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Marai Warden
3
4
Grizzled Ranger
3
4
Island Navigator
2
6
Cithria the Bold
1
6
Genevieve Elmheart
3
Spells
13
1
Ranger's Resolve
2
2
Blinding Assault
3
2
Sharpsight
3
4
Golden Aegis
3
4
Relentless Pursuit
1
4
Riposte
1

Elise Trundle

Although the balance patch's effect rippled throughout the Meta, and made it one of the most varied in recent memory, it arguably brought forth but a single new Top Tier deck, when both playrate and winrate are considered.

Freljord Shadows Control is by no means a new idea, but the buff to both Iceborn Legacy and Trundle did manage to bring forth a Champion pairing that, as they say, "was not a thing" before these changes.

Strong Against: Lurkers, Scouts, Pirates

Struggles Against: Kennen Ahri Shurima, Pantheon Taric -- slight underdog to Darkness and Fizz Lulu

Regions
Freljord
12 cards
Shadow Isles
28 cards
Rarities
26 100
champion
6
epic
3
rare
7
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
7
1
14
2
0
3
1
4
4
5
9
6
5
7+
Champions
6
2
Elise
3
5
Trundle
3
Followers
8
1
Hapless Aristocrat
3
2
Avarosan Sentry
3
9
Commander Ledros
2
Spells
26
1
Crawling Sensation
3
1
Three Sisters
1
2
Glimpse Beyond
3
2
Troll Chant
2
2
Vile Feast
3
4
The Box
1
5
Withering Wail
1
6
Brood Awakening
3
6
Iceborn Legacy
3
6
Vengeance
3
7
Atrocity
2
9
The Ruination
1

The Furry Kings of Shard-Effectiveness

Champless Poros

Now, this is perhaps the most well-known tale from across all competitive games.

Characters and context vary (sometimes wildly) but the story goes more or less like this:


When, the day after a patch, a sizable and vociferous gaggle of everything from random redditors to apex Seasonalistas...

… all chant in chorus: "Nerf-This-Nerf-This-Nerf-This!!"...

… mayyybe, just maybe, wait a handful of days .

Who knows?

There is perhaps a chance that the meta will disagree.


Ribbings aside, and although nowhere the furry boogeyporo that it was decried to be at first, this formula has indeed proved to be a solid performer.

And, although not a match against the above-listed blends when raw power is considered, there's arguably no better choice if conserving Shards and Champion Wildcards is your main concern: other than Augmented Experimenter, which is an Epic, all cards in this blend are Rares or Commons.

Strong Against: Elise Trundle, Darkness

Struggles Against: Fizz Lulu, Ahri Kennen Shurima, Scouts, Pantheon Blends

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
26 cards
Freljord
14 cards
Rarities
8 400
champion
0
epic
2
rare
11
common
27
Mana cost
3
0
14
1
12
2
6
3
0
4
0
5
5
6
0
7+
Champions
0
Followers
20
1
Daring Poro
3
1
Forge Chief
3
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Avarosan Sentry
3
2
Poro Herder
3
3
Station Archivist
3
6
Augmented Experimenter
2
Spells
20
0
Poro Cannon
3
1
Stress Testing
3
1
Three Sisters
2
2
Iterative Improvement
3
2
Time Trick
3
3
Poro Snax
3
6
Iceborn Legacy
3

Connoisseur's Corner

If not in the mood for mirror matches, here is our selection of top-performing, well-tested yet scarcely-seen blends that you can take to the ladder with confidence in their performance.


Riven Zed, aka Luzeldon's Muscle Dragon

Ah, here we are! From among the exotics that we have gathered this week, this is perhaps my favorite.

As they retell in their tale (link), Wamuu and Leer found this marvel of deck-building while rummaging Balco's Secret Single-Shard Stash.

They were immediately impressed by this build, its power evident as soon as they took it to the Master ladder…

… yet, since the data showed that this formula was mostly preferred by a pilot named ArbyTree -- a moniker which they were not familiar with -- they assumed at first glance that it was a new development.

It was only a bit later that they realized this was a very particular build, from a very particular maître brasseur: Muscle Dragon, from Luzeldon (link), about which its creator wrote an extensive deck guide.

And let me assure you, my friend: this brew is not just Muscle, but also Brains and Spirit, all rolled together like the finest tobacco you can dream of.

As Wamuu says, "This was the best performing deck out of the three we test-piloted. I climbed from 150 LP to 300 LP, and half of it was during the last day before the cutoff, when most players at Masters were try-harding. Muscle Dragon has so much raw power that some decks simply can’t deal with it."

"Out of all the decks we sampled," says Leer, "I think this has to be the most fun one. If you draw Zed and a pump spell, you are literally unstoppable. I have won a lot of games simply because my opponent didn’t expect me to have Might or play a Ruined Reckoner."

If you're looking for power and personality, my friend, I am glad to introduce you to your new favorite formula:

Regions
Noxus
19 cards
Ionia
21 cards
Rarities
26 900
champion
6
epic
3
rare
11
common
20
Mana cost
0
0
4
1
12
2
13
3
6
4
3
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Riven
3
3
Zed
3
Landmarks
2
3
God-Willow Seedling
2
Followers
19
1
Inspiring Mentor
3
2
House Spider
3
2
Runeweaver
3
3
Shadow Assassin
2
4
Ruined Reckoner
3
5
Kato The Arm
3
6
Horns of the Dragon
2
Spells
13
1
Blade's Edge
1
2
Nopeify!
1
2
Retreat
2
2
Twin Disciplines
3
3
Might
3
4
Concussive Palm
1
4
Deny
2

RickoRex's Akshan Sivir Noxus

This is another blend from Balco's Single-Shard stash that Leer and Wamuu took for a spin (link), although in this case the deck's creator was overwhelmingly evident, both from the data (he played 75%+ of this blend's games, according to our data) and from social media: RickoRex.

This blend also impressed our writers greatly.

"In my opinion," says Wamuu, "this is a very strong deck for Ranked because people usually don’t expect the huge amounts of damage you can pull with cards like Might and Whirling Death. It is very hard for opponents to keep up with our aggression while trying to develop their game plan, and it is way better into Pantheon archetypes than normal Akshan Sivir."

"While the Demacian version of Akshan Sivir focuses on controlling the board," says Leer, who is a bit of a specialist (link) of the Demacian variant"the Noxian one is quicker at leveling Sivir through spells, and leveling Akshan. Our aggressive game plan works quite well against midrange decks like Pantheon and control decks like Darkness, especially thanks to our Spellshield units. And it's quite an intricate deck. I love having some choice when to play your buffs and planning out your turns with Merciless Hunter and Ruined Reckoner!"

As a notable LoR scholar says, some pilots don't like being blocked…

… others like being blocked, and blockers not mattering.

If you belong to that latter group, this blend may suit you most finely.

Regions
Noxus
22 cards
Shurima
18 cards
Rarities
25 100
champion
6
epic
3
rare
2
common
29
Mana cost
0
0
13
1
3
2
13
3
5
4
4
5
0
6
2
7+
Champions
6
2
Akshan
3
4
Sivir
3
Followers
22
1
Blade Squire
1
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Treasure Seeker
3
3
Iron Ballista
1
3
Merciless Hunter
3
3
Reckless Trifarian
3
4
Ruined Reckoner
2
5
Kato The Arm
1
5
Ruin Runner
3
8
Captain Farron
2
Spells
12
1
Elixir of Wrath
3
1
Shaped Stone
3
3
Might
3
3
Whirling Death
3

Ahri Lulu P&Z

After having challenged Ahri Kennen's throne last week, Ahri Lulu falls down a few pegs, while still packing a ton of punch.

Be advised that the wisdom of the crowds expects the Ahri Kennen archetype to be nerfed -- since that could entail nerfs to Ahri in particular, Ahri Lulu may not be the ideal deck to craft right now.

Strong Against: Champless Poros, Elise Noxus, Kindred Viego, Draven Rumble

Struggles Against: Trundle Shadows builds, Anivia Shadows, slightly disfavored versus Ahri Kennen blends & Scouts

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
24 cards
Ionia
16 cards
Rarities
29 400
champion
6
epic
6
rare
7
common
21
Mana cost
3
0
3
1
16
2
9
3
3
4
0
5
3
6
3
7+
Champions
6
2
Ahri
3
3
Lulu
3
Followers
18
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Boom Baboon
3
2
Flame Chompers!
3
3
Sump Dredger
3
6
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
3
7
Windfarer Hatchling
3
Spells
16
0
Poro Cannon
3
2
Mystic Shot
3
2
Nopeify!
1
2
Twin Disciplines
3
3
Get Excited!
3
4
Suit Up!
3

Elise Kindred Vi Sentinels

The Season ends with at least one competitive Kindred blend -- even if not Top Tier -- with many different takes and variants. We've chosen this week's best performing formula, but this archetype seems to have a lot of room for tweaks, judging by the multitude of different builds to be found.

Strong Against: Elise Noxus, Draven Rumble, Ahri Kennen blends, Scouts, Champless Poros

Struggles Against: Pantheon blends, Darkness, Lurkers, Trundle Shadows blends

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
11 cards
Shadow Isles
29 cards
Rarities
27 400
champion
6
epic
4
rare
8
common
22
Mana cost
2
0
3
1
11
2
3
3
7
4
5
5
3
6
6
7+
Champions
6
2
Elise
1
4
Kindred
3
5
Vi
2
Followers
12
1
Burgeoning Sentinel
3
2
Minion
2
3
Buhru Sentinel
3
9
Commander Ledros
2
9
Corina Veraza
2
Spells
22
0
Thermogenic Beam
2
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
2
Mystic Shot
3
2
Vile Feast
3
4
Statikk Shock
2
4
The Box
2
5
Grasp of the Undying
1
5
Withering Wail
2
6
Vengeance
3
7
Atrocity
2

Lucian Zed

An interesting development this week -- our recommended blend is the most popular in each of the three shards, which usually indicates a fairly refined build.

Strong Against: Lurkers -- even versus Darkness

Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima, Scouts

Regions
Demacia
21 cards
Ionia
19 cards
Rarities
25 600
champion
6
epic
2
rare
10
common
22
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
16
2
9
3
4
4
0
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
2
Lucian
3
3
Zed
3
Followers
21
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
1
Inspiring Mentor
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Greenglade Duo
3
2
Navori Highwayman
1
3
Senna, Sentinel of Light
3
3
Shadow Assassin
3
6
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
2
Spells
13
1
Ghost
1
1
Ranger's Resolve
2
2
Sharpsight
3
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Golden Aegis
2
4
Relentless Pursuit
2

Frozen Bonds, aka Draven Darius Freljord

As you may remember, we showcased this blend last week, and it has not disappointed.

Our recommended formula is the most popular in both Americas and EUMA; pilots in the APAC shard tend to prefer cutting one Captain Farron and adding a single Apprehend.

Strong Against: Darkness -- even versus Ahri Kennen Shadows

Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima, Lukers, Scouts, Pantheon Taric

Regions
Freljord
12 cards
Noxus
28 cards
Rarities
25 400
champion
6
epic
2
rare
9
common
23
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
16
2
8
3
0
4
5
5
3
6
5
7+
Champions
6
3
Draven
3
6
Darius
3
Followers
23
1
Omen Hawk
3
2
House Spider
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Ruthless Raider
3
3
Iron Ballista
3
5
Fallen Reckoner
3
7
Ancient Yeti
3
8
Captain Farron
2
Spells
11
2
Apprehend
1
2
Brothers' Bond
3
2
Troll Chant
3
3
Whirling Death
2
5
Decisive Maneuver
2

Heimerdinger Jayce Shadows

Teacher and student have been paired with several regions during this Season -- Shadows seems, by and large, the most promising experiment.

Strong Against: Elise Noxus, Fizz Lulu -- slight edge versus Champless Poros and Scouts

Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen blends, Pantheon blends -- slight underdog to Darkness

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
27 cards
Shadow Isles
13 cards
Rarities
27 700
champion
6
epic
3
rare
15
common
16
Mana cost
6
0
3
1
9
2
6
3
3
4
6
5
6
6
1
7+
Champions
6
4
Jayce
3
5
Heimerdinger
3
Landmarks
3
3
The Forge Of Tomorrow
3
Followers
9
1
Adaptatron 3000
3
2
Ferros Financier
3
3
Hextech Handler
3
Spells
22
0
Production Surge
3
0
Thermogenic Beam
3
2
Glimpse Beyond
3
2
Vile Feast
3
5
Withering Wail
3
6
Shock Blast
3
6
Vengeance
3
7
Dawning Shadow
1

Mom's Comfort Food: Braum Vladimir Scargrounds

Judging by its winrate -- a meager 50% -- we would never recommend this blend.

Yet its spike in popularity this week (while some of the strongest staples' playrates, namely Ahri Kennen, nosedived harshly) speaks volumes about what some pilots prefer when the grind is done and it's time for fun.

Strong Against: Scouts

Struggles Against: Pantheon blends, Lurkers, Champless Poros

Regions
Freljord
24 cards
Noxus
16 cards
Rarities
31 600
champion
6
epic
8
rare
7
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
9
2
12
3
5
4
4
5
3
6
1
7+
Champions
6
4
Braum
3
5
Vladimir
3
Landmarks
3
3
The Scargrounds
3
Followers
16
1
Crimson Bloodletter
3
2
Ruthless Raider
3
3
Crimson Curator
3
4
Babbling Bjerg
2
5
Tarkaz the Tribeless
1
6
Scarmother Vrynna
3
7
Basilisk Bloodseeker
1
Spells
15
1
Elixir of Iron
1
1
Three Sisters
2
2
Death Lotus
3
2
Troll Chant
3
3
Ice Shard
3
3
Might
1
3
Noxian Guillotine
2

A Walk on the Wild Side

Either because you are done with the grind and are open to exploration and fun…

… or because you seek the thrill of reaching your coveted Rank under the wire, and with a risky brew…

… these are our recommended blends for those seeking the really rare. They all perform at or above the 53% winrate mark at the upper Ladder rungs, but with such small samples there is little that can be said with certainty.


Ekko Sivir Vi

A take on the Predict archetype, ditching Zilean for more aggressive Champions.

The exact same list is the most popular across all shards, which strongly suggests either a team effort, or a source/creator with a fairly large degree of influence.

EDIT: according to learned scholar Jielhar, this deck was brewed by infamous vid-slinger MegaMogwai

Strong Against: Pirates, Jayce Lux, Fizz Lulu -- even versus Scouts, Elise Noxus and Darkness

Struggles Against:Pantheon blends, Champless Poros, Lurkers 

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
15 cards
Shurima
25 cards
Rarities
26 200
champion
6
epic
2
rare
13
common
19
Mana cost
3
0
12
1
10
2
7
3
7
4
1
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Ekko
3
4
Sivir
2
5
Vi
1
Landmarks
5
1
Ancient Preparations
3
2
Preservarium
2
Followers
14
1
Dropboarder
3
1
Fallen Feline
3
2
Aspiring Chronomancer
3
3
Merciless Hunter
3
3
Station Archivist
2
Spells
15
0
Feral Prescience
3
1
Scrying Sands
3
2
The Absolver
2
2
Time Trick
3
3
Quicksand
2
4
Rite of Negation
2

Braurelion's Peak

Perhaps like Scargrounds, few things comfort the soul more than playing a huge, charming, zero-costed Space Dragon.

Strong Against: Darkness, Draven Rumble -- slight edge versus Ahri Kennen Shadows

Struggles Against: Champless Poros, Scouts, Pantheon Blends, Champless Poros, Lurkers, Fizz Lulu

Regions
Freljord
24 cards
Mount Targon
16 cards
Rarities
31 200
champion
5
epic
9
rare
14
common
12
Mana cost
0
0
0
1
3
2
7
3
9
4
7
5
2
6
12
7+
Champions
5
4
Braum
2
10
Aurelion Sol
3
Landmarks
6
4
Blighted Ravine
3
5
Targon's Peak
3
Followers
12
2
Faces of the Old Ones
3
3
Kindly Tavernkeeper
3
8
It That Stares
3
10
She Who Wanders
3
Spells
17
3
Divergent Paths
2
3
Hush
2
4
Avalanche
2
4
Ground Slam
2
5
Catalyst of Aeons
2
5
Starshaping
2
6
Sunburst
2
12
Feel The Rush
3

Spicy Scouts, ft. Jarvan

Although due to smallish sample sizes we still list this blend among our risky brews, week after week it seems like the real deal.

Strong Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima, standard Scouts

Struggles Against: Lurkers -- slightly disfavored versus Darkness

Regions
Bilgewater
11 cards
Demacia
29 cards
Rarities
27 000
champion
6
epic
2
rare
17
common
15
Mana cost
0
0
2
1
17
2
6
3
8
4
3
5
4
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Miss Fortune
2
5
Quinn
2
6
Jarvan IV
2
Followers
21
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
2
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Hired Gun
2
2
Marai Warden
3
3
Lounging Lizard
1
3
Vanguard Sergeant
3
4
Grizzled Ranger
2
4
Island Navigator
3
6
Cithria the Bold
1
6
Genevieve Elmheart
1
Spells
13
2
Blinding Assault
3
2
Purify
1
2
Sharpsight
3
2
Single Combat
2
4
Golden Aegis
3
5
Concerted Strike
1

Blast from the Past -- Poppy Ziggs

A single list from APAC -- somebody took notice of how Lulu Poppy, aka Lulu Drift, reintroduced Poppy, and is trying a similar strategy with a former powerhouse: Yordle Burn.

Regions
Demacia
19 cards
Bandlecity
24 cards
Rarities
25 700
champion
6
epic
3
rare
5
common
26
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
15
2
12
3
7
4
0
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Ziggs
3
4
Poppy
3
Followers
24
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
1
Inventive Chemist
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Stone Stackers
3
2
Yordle Smith
3
3
Bandle City Mayor
3
3
Laurent Protege
3
3
Loping Telescope
3
Spells
10
2
Pokey Stick
3
2
Sharpsight
3
4
Golden Aegis
2
4
Relentless Pursuit
2

Darius Noxurimaggro

The Noxus-Shurima pairing has quite a bit of aggressive potential. We've seen RickoRex Akshan Sivir Noxus among our Connoisseurs brews -- this is a very different take with the same region pairing, focusing on a go-wide swarm strategy and the classic Noxus Burn finish.

Regions
Noxus
25 cards
Shurima
15 cards
Rarities
12 200
champion
2
epic
0
rare
12
common
26
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
12
2
6
3
2
4
6
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
2
6
Darius
2
Followers
27
1
Baccai Reaper
3
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Legion Saboteur
3
1
Treasure Seeker
3
2
Arena Battlecaster
1
2
House Spider
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
3
Merciless Hunter
3
4
Crowd Favorite
2
5
Ruin Runner
3
Spells
11
2
Brothers' Bond
2
2
Ruinous Path
3
3
Noxian Fervor
3
5
Decimate
3

Sivir Ziggs Noxurimaggro

As noted above, this region pairing has no shortage of saber-rattling strategies!

Strong Against: Champless Poros, Pantheon blends, Lurkers, Ahri Kennen Shurima

Struggles Against: Scouts (horrible matchup), Darkness

Regions
Noxus
18 cards
Shurima
22 cards
Rarities
24 300
champion
6
epic
1
rare
9
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
9
2
9
3
4
4
6
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Ziggs
3
4
Sivir
3
Followers
24
1
Baccai Reaper
3
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Legion Saboteur
3
1
Treasure Seeker
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Legion Grenadier
3
3
Merciless Hunter
3
5
Ruin Runner
3
Spells
10
2
Ruinous Path
3
3
Noxian Fervor
3
4
Rite of Negation
1
5
Decimate
3

Akshan Lee Sin

This blend has a tough time against some of the strongest meta staples, yet for three weeks in a row it keeps producing -- albeit in small samples -- impressive results.

Strong Against: Pantheon Shyvana, Trundle Shadow Builds -- even versus Lurkers and Darkness

Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen blends, Fizz Lulu, Scouts, Champless Poros

Regions
Ionia
21 cards
Shurima
19 cards
Rarities
28 000
champion
6
epic
4
rare
11
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
22
2
3
3
7
4
5
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
2
Akshan
3
5
Lee Sin
3
Landmarks
3
2
Preservarium
3
Followers
6
2
Eye of the Dragon
3
3
Vekauran Vagabond
3
Spells
25
1
Shaped Stone
3
2
Ancient Hourglass
1
2
Nopeify!
1
2
Ruthless Predator
2
2
Sonic Wave
3
2
The Absolver
3
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Concussive Palm
3
4
Deny
1
4
Homecoming
2
4
Rite of Negation
1
5
Deep Meditation
2

Burn, Teemo Burn!

The classic Nox P&Z burn package, with the one and only Used Cask Salesman.

Strong Against: Champless Poros, Ahri Kennen Shurima, Pantheon Taric

Struggles Against: Elise Noxus (horrible matchup), Scouts (horrible), Darkness -- slight underdog to Lurkers

Regions
Noxus
18 cards
Piltover & Zaun
22 cards
Rarities
14 100
champion
3
epic
0
rare
7
common
30
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
15
2
12
3
4
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
3
1
Teemo
3
Followers
18
1
Legion Saboteur
3
2
Ballistic Bot
3
2
Boomcrew Rookie
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Legion Grenadier
3
3
Used Cask Salesman
3
Spells
19
2
Mystic Shot
3
3
Get Excited!
3
3
Noxian Fervor
3
3
Sigil of Malice
3
4
Aftershock
3
4
Statikk Shock
1
5
Decimate
3

Teemo Tristana Ionia

Go wide and go big, or go home!

The Bandle City swarm gameplan, plus Yordles in Arms , Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed and Windsinger to grow your swarm tall.

Regions
Ionia
11 cards
Bandlecity
29 cards
Rarities
30 000
champion
6
epic
6
rare
10
common
18
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
14
2
9
3
4
4
2
5
5
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Teemo
3
3
Tristana
3
Followers
20
2
Bandle Commando
3
2
Bomber Twins
3
2
Minion
1
3
Bandle City Mayor
3
3
Loping Telescope
3
4
Tenor of Terror
2
6
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
3
6
Windsinger
2
Spells
14
1
Group Shot
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
2
Syncopation
1
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Deny
2
5
Yordles in Arms
2

Draven Viktor Ambush

I was wondering when this archetype would return -- and here it is, one of the Connoisseur's staples from before the balance patch, probably until now overshadowed by Draven Rumble since they rely on the same region pairing and an Ambush finish.

Versions with Riven and/or Vi exist (as they did pre-patch), but don't seem to fare very well.

Strong Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima -- even versus Darkness

Struggles Against: Lurkers

Regions
Noxus
16 cards
Piltover & Zaun
24 cards
Rarities
25 600
champion
6
epic
2
rare
10
common
22
Mana cost
3
0
3
1
11
2
13
3
3
4
5
5
0
6
2
7+
Champions
6
3
Draven
3
4
Viktor
3
Followers
15
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Ballistic Bot
3
2
Boom Baboon
2
2
Fallen Rider
3
3
Station Archivist
2
8
Lost Soul
2
Spells
19
0
Poro Cannon
3
2
Mystic Shot
3
3
Ambush
2
3
Get Excited!
3
3
Might
3
5
Decimate
3
5
Survival Skills
2

Viego Zed

Brought to our attention by an attentive customer, this little-played archetype seems to be undergoing extensive testing, with other formulas including such cards as God-Willow Seedling and Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed.

Regions
Shadow Isles
24 cards
Ionia
16 cards
Rarities
26 100
champion
6
epic
3
rare
7
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
2
1
16
2
12
3
2
4
3
5
2
6
3
7+
Champions
6
3
Zed
3
5
Viego
3
Followers
16
1
Hapless Aristocrat
2
2
Fading Icon
2
2
Greenglade Lookout
3
3
Camavoran Soldier
3
3
Darkwater Scourge
3
7
Invasive Hydravine
3
Spells
18
2
Glimpse Beyond
3
2
Nopeify!
2
2
Twin Disciplines
3
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Death Mark
3
4
Deny
2
6
Vengeance
2

Iceborn Ashe Elise

A different take on Iceborn Spiders, using extensive use of Freeze effects.

Strong Against: Lurkers, Elise Noxus

Struggles Against: Darkness, Ahri Kennen Shurima, Scouts

Regions
Freljord
22 cards
Shadow Isles
18 cards
Rarities
27 500
champion
6
epic
3
rare
14
common
17
Mana cost
0
0
10
1
9
2
6
3
3
4
0
5
9
6
3
7+
Champions
6
2
Elise
3
4
Ashe
3
Followers
9
1
Hapless Aristocrat
3
2
Icevale Archer
3
3
Rimefang Wolf
3
Spells
25
1
Brittle Steel
2
1
Crawling Sensation
3
1
Three Sisters
2
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Flash Freeze
3
6
Brood Awakening
3
6
Harsh Winds
3
6
Iceborn Legacy
3
9
The Ruination
3

Kindred Ziggs

This champion pairing shouldn't work.

Apparently, it does.

Regions
Shadow Isles
19 cards
Bandlecity
21 cards
Rarities
32 600
champion
6
epic
8
rare
12
common
14
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
8
2
9
3
7
4
6
5
5
6
2
7+
Champions
6
3
Ziggs
3
4
Kindred
3
Followers
12
2
Conchologist
3
3
Bandle City Mayor
3
3
Loping Telescope
2
4
Aloof Travelers
2
4
Yordle Captain
2
Spells
22
1
Go Hard
3
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
2
Pokey Stick
2
2
Vile Feast
1
3
Passage Unearned
1
5
Crumble
1
5
Withering Mist
2
5
Withering Wail
2
5
Yordle Contraption
1
6
Minimorph
3
6
Vengeance
2
9
The Ruination
2

Catalogue of Kindred Swain

If rated by the amount of fan-favorite cards in its title, this would no doubt be Tier S. Another blend brought to our attention by an attentive customer.

Strong Against: Pirates, Elise Noxus, Scouts, Champless Poros

Struggles Against: Darkness & Lurkers (horrible matchup), ahir Kennen Shurima

Regions
Noxus
17 cards
Shadow Isles
23 cards
Rarities
31 900
champion
6
epic
9
rare
3
common
22
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
8
2
8
3
6
4
6
5
4
6
2
7+
Champions
6
4
Kindred
3
5
Swain
3
Landmarks
3
4
Catalogue of Regrets
3
Followers
11
2
House Spider
3
3
Arachnoid Sentry
2
3
Buhru Sentinel
3
6
Aurok Glinthorn
1
8
The Leviathan
2
Spells
20
1
Go Hard
3
1
Ravenous Flock
3
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Scorched Earth
3
5
Withering Wail
3
6
Vengeance
3

Hairy Rose Katarina 

A scheming Black Rose…

… a scarred Redhead, with a penchant for knives…

… and lots of very hairy Yetis.

Would you care to take a guess at how this is going to end? 

Regions
Freljord
25 cards
Noxus
15 cards
Rarities
30 000
champion
6
epic
6
rare
10
common
18
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
3
2
12
3
4
4
1
5
3
6
8
7+
Champions
6
3
Katarina
3
3
LeBlanc
3
Followers
14
1
Yeti Yearling
3
3
Avarosan Trapper
3
5
Trifarian Assessor
1
7
Ancient Yeti
3
8
Abominable Guardian
3
8
Incisive Tactician
1
Spells
20
1
Elixir of Iron
3
1
Three Sisters
3
2
Troll Chant
3
3
Tall Tales
3
4
Bloody Business
3
4
Whispered Words
1
6
Reckoning
3
7
Pack Mentality
1

Miss Jinx, aka Crazy Red

As any supplier of fine Ladder wares knows, a showcase ain't over until the crazy rocket-launching girl sings.

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
29 cards
Bilgewater
11 cards
Rarities
24 800
champion
6
epic
2
rare
6
common
26
Mana cost
0
0
8
1
18
2
9
3
3
4
0
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Miss Fortune
3
4
Jinx
3
Followers
20
1
Forge Chief
3
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Chirean Sumpworker
3
2
Flame Chompers!
3
2
Marai Warden
3
3
Sump Dredger
3
6
Augmented Experimenter
2
Spells
14
1
Parrrley
2
2
Iterative Improvement
3
2
Make it Rain
3
2
Mystic Shot
3
3
Get Excited!
3

And here we are, my friend…

… closing what arguably was one of the swingiest, most varied metas in quite some time.

I hope the blends we have gathered serve you well this week, and hopefully the next.

Should you require more metrics for your choice of weaponry, by all means do let me know in the reddit thread (link), or feel free to poke me on Twitter (@HerkoKerghans). And if you'd like more recommendations and writings, you can find them here (link).

And best of luck in your climb!