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Weekend Warrior Weapons, First Friday Edition — The Fifteen Most Potent Brews, New and Old, to Climb the Ladder With

A Curious Journey begins -- these are the fifteen strongest decks currently, with lots of room for refinements and tweaks.

Welcome, my friend! Welcome!

The best Friday in the Season is upon us… please, come, step inside, and push aside mundane problems and trivial matters!

Distinguished datamancers Balco and Legna have supplied us with their finest formulas, allowing us to display a delectable deluge of new blends to try -- so please, let me show you what we have!

A glimpse at this gnarly new Meta…

The strongest new archetypes…

  • Fizz Gnar YiA, mutating from Fizz Lulu,
  • Gnar Ziggs Noxus, mutating from the old ladder terror, Yordle Burn,
  • Swain Gnar,
  • Bandle Tree, rejuvenated by guess who,
  • Yuumi Pantheon Demacia,
  • Gnar Galio,
  • Braum Galio,

The old top dogs, refined tried-and-true blends from the last season, preying on unrefined newcomers…

  • Fizz Lulu,
  • Darkness,
  • The Skin Queens of Arcadia,
  • Lurkers,
  • Elise Noxus

Less tested brews, although some of them have been among the first to reach Masters:

  • Akshan Gnar,
  • Gnar Teemo,
  • Gnar Trundle Timelines.

A Glimpse at this Gnarly New Meta

Although affirmations about the nature of this Meta are of course premature…

… describing it as "gnarly" is not too off the mark, it would seem.

Still, "turbulent" and "in flux" are also appropriate. Do make sure to check the data often, my friend, since in these turbulent days, new decks can surge to the top from out of nowhere.


Strongest New Archetypes

As I shall not tire of saying today, every single current metric must be taken with large doses of salt: new formulas are unrefined, large batches of pilots are experimenting with really bad builds -- hence donating LPs and inflating the good builds' metrics -- and we are hopefully at least two or three weeks away from things calming down, when we may start talking about refined formulas.

Having said that, these archetypes all have a playrate above 1% at Platinum and higher rungs of the ladder, perform over the 51% winrate mark, and have at least 1,000 games under their belt (when all builds of said archetypes are accounted for) while including at least one recently-arrived Champion in their formulas.


Fizz Gnar YiA

Mutating from the well-known Fizz Lulu formula -- itself the second best performer, as we shall soon see -- the build with which faintHD arrived to Americas Master first also claws its way at the top of the winrate scale.

Strong Against: Gnar Ziggs, Gnar Swain, Lurkers, Bandle Tree, Elise Noxus

Struggles Against: Darkness, Fizz Lulu

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
17 cards
Bandlecity
23 cards
Rarities
23 600
champion
6
epic
0
rare
11
common
23
Mana cost
3
0
6
1
18
2
7
3
3
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Fizz
3
4
Gnar
3
Followers
18
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Ballistic Bot
3
2
Bomber Twins
3
2
Boom Baboon
3
2
Conchologist
3
3
Loping Telescope
3
Spells
16
0
Poro Cannon
3
2
Mystic Shot
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Get Excited!
2
3
Wallop
2
5
Yordles in Arms
3


Gnar Ziggs Noxus

Gnar has rekindled the old ladder terror, Poppy Ziggs / Yordle Burn. 

Most of the best-performing and most popular variants tend to have a low curve, topped at four mana by Teenydactyl and Gnar -- yet there is at least one blend with a heavier top-end though, adding Spotted Toad to the mix, and functioning formidably.

There is also lots of testing for the ideal number of House Spider and Bandle City Mayor, with different lists testing everything from zero to 3x.

Strong Against: Lurkers, Elise Noxus, Pantheon Yuumi, Braum Galio

Struggles Against: Darkness, Bandle Tree, Scouts, Fizz Gnar, Fizz Lulu

Regions
Noxus
15 cards
Bandlecity
25 cards
Rarities
25 900
champion
6
epic
3
rare
6
common
25
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
13
2
9
3
6
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Ziggs
3
4
Gnar
3
Followers
24
1
Inventive Chemist
3
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Legion Saboteur
3
2
Conchologist
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Stone Stackers
3
3
Bandle City Mayor
3
4
Teenydactyl
3
Spells
10
2
Flamespitter
1
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Noxian Fervor
3
5
Decimate
3

Swain Gnar

Should you find that Gnar Ziggs is a tad too aggressive, perhaps you would like to consider the same region pairing, but with the Grand General instead, and go for a slower, more controlled approach?

Some lists include cards as Inventive Chemist for a more aggressive early curve, but such approach performs worse overall.

Strong Against: Scouts, Galio Braum, Galio Gnar

Struggles Against: Darkness, Lurkers, Bandle Tree, Fizz Gnar

Regions
Noxus
19 cards
Bandlecity
21 cards
Rarities
26 900
champion
6
epic
3
rare
11
common
20
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
8
2
12
3
6
4
5
5
0
6
3
7+
Champions
6
4
Gnar
3
5
Swain
3
Followers
18
2
Conchologist
3
2
House Spider
2
3
Arachnoid Sentry
3
3
Loping Telescope
2
4
Teenydactyl
3
5
Spotted Toad
2
7
Minitee
1
8
The Leviathan
2
Spells
16
1
Poison Dart
3
1
Ravenous Flock
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Culling Strike
1
3
Death's Hand
3
3
Scorched Earth
2
3
Wallop
1

Bandle Tree, Poppy Kennen Gnar Noxus

Two droplets of Gnar sufficed to rejuvenate the Bandle Tree and restore its vitality -- the current best performing formula does not otherwise deviate from what we saw two metas ago, before it was pushed to obscurity during the Age of Recall we have just left.

Strong Against: Gnar Ziggs & Gnar Swain, Darkness, Pantheon Yuumi Demacia

Struggles Against: Scouts, Elise Noxus, Fizz Gnar

Regions
Noxus
8 cards
Bandlecity
32 cards
Rarities
29 600
champion
6
epic
6
rare
8
common
20
Mana cost
0
0
8
1
10
2
8
3
12
4
0
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Kennen
2
4
Gnar
2
4
Poppy
2
Landmarks
3
4
The Bandle Tree
3
Followers
17
1
Proto Poro
1
2
Bomber Twins
2
2
Grumbleslug
2
2
House Spider
3
3
Arachnoid Sentry
1
3
Bandle City Mayor
3
3
Loping Telescope
3
4
Aloof Travelers
2
Spells
14
1
Group Shot
2
1
Ravenous Flock
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Scorched Earth
1
4
Buster Shot
3
6
Minimorph
2

Yuumi Pantheon Demacia

Not unlike most Pantheon blends we have seen last season, it would appear Demacia is the region you want to pair Yuumi Pantheon with -- the Bandle City version performs poorly, and we currently advise against it.

While different builds remain broadly similar to previous Pantheon variants, there is no lack of experimentation -- the most popular and best performing formula, which we recommend, includes no new cards except Yuumi, but other very successful blends add such cards as Petricite Broadwing or Durand Protege.

I should perhaps also mention that previous Pantheon variants, and last week's top-ranker Pantheon Taric in particular, are hard to find currently. Whether that is due to lack of interest or poor performance remains to be seen.

Strong Against: Darkness, Scouts, Braum Galio

Struggles Against: Dies horribly to Elise Noxus, Gnar Ziggs and Bandle Tree -- struggles against Gnar Swain and Lurkers

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

Frozen Gnar Galio

An archetype with little experimentation -- most pilots seem content with the most popular list, which you will find below.

Data suggests that Murkwolf Shaman and Mammoth Shaman may not be ideal, though, and that including two copies of Wrath of the Freljord is quite beneficial -- a train of thought that seems shared by prominent pilot and admirable alliterator Cephalopod, who described this blend thus: "Freljord Formidable forms a fantastic fortress of fat fellows! Regen from the fox functionally forces favorable fumbles from foes, and four power fancy fearsome fervently finds fatalities."

Strong Against: Gnar Ziggs, Scouts

Struggles Against: Gnar Swain, Fizz Gnar, Bandle Tree

Regions
Freljord
17 cards
Demacia
23 cards
Rarities
23 400
champion
6
epic
0
rare
10
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
4
1
12
2
11
3
5
4
3
5
2
6
3
7+
Champions
6
4
Gnar
3
7
Galio
3
Followers
19
1
Petricite Hound
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
2
Vulpine Wanderer
3
3
Durand Protege
3
3
Kindly Tavernkeeper
3
4
Murkwolf Shaman
2
6
Mammoth Shaman
2
Spells
15
1
Elixir of Iron
1
2
Sharpsight
2
2
Single Combat
1
2
Troll Chant
3
3
Shield of Durand
3
3
Winds of War
2
5
Concerted Strike
3

Braum Galio

Unlike Gnar Galio, pilots are indeed willing to test a multitude of formulas with Galio Braum. As such, being polluted by bad variations, this archetype's average performance can be deceiving.

The good formulas, on the other hand -- like the one we recommend, which is also the most popular as of now -- perform well over the 55% winrate mark.

Strong Against: Lurkers, Scouts

Struggles Against: Gnar Ziggs, Gnar Swain, Elise Noxus, Bandle Tree, Fizz Lulu

Regions
Demacia
26 cards
Freljord
14 cards
Rarities
28 700
champion
6
epic
5
rare
9
common
20
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
15
2
8
3
4
4
5
5
0
6
5
7+
Champions
6
4
Braum
3
7
Galio
3
Followers
22
1
Petricite Hound
3
2
Durand Sculptor
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
2
Vulpine Wanderer
3
3
Durand Architect
3
3
Kindly Tavernkeeper
3
5
Mountain Drake
3
9
Gorlith the Unscalable
1
Spells
12
2
Single Combat
3
2
Troll Chant
3
3
Shield of Durand
2
4
Bloodsworn Pledge
1
5
Concerted Strike
2
9
Buried in Ice
1

Ye Ole Top Dogs

They say you cannot teach senior dogs novel tricks -- yet whichever old quirks these well-known faces did learn are serving them well.

All these blends have playrates above 1% at Platinum and upper rungs, so on top of time-tested, they seem well-positioned in this turbulent, gnarly meta.


Fizz Lulu

Sticking to old tricks seems to have served this old dog particularly well -- even though the most popular formula has added Yordle Portal to its mix, the best-performing blend, which we recommend, sticks to the tried and true we saw last week.

Strong Against: Gnar Ziggs, Lurkers, murders Elise Noxus

Struggles Against: Darkness, very bad matchup against Scouts

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
17 cards
Bandlecity
23 cards
Rarities
20 100
champion
5
epic
0
rare
8
common
27
Mana cost
3
0
6
1
15
2
10
3
3
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
5
1
Fizz
2
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
17
0
Poro Cannon
3
1
Scrapheap
1
2
Mystic Shot
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Get Excited!
2
3
Yordle Portal
2
5
Yordles in Arms
3

Veigar Senna, aka Darkness

The Dark Duo is doing great in this meta -- the resurgence of Bandle Tree, though, may put a damper on their growth.

Also, as befit formulas with a more controlled approach, most lists are experimenting with slight tweaks, as they seek to understand which threats to counter.

Strong Against: Gnar Ziggs, Gnar Swain, Elise Noxus, Fizz Lulu -- roughly even versus Lurkers

Struggles Against: Yuumi Pantheon, dies horribly to Scouts and Bandle Tree. Akshan Gnar also seems like a very bad matchup.

Regions
Shadow Isles
23 cards
Bandlecity
20 cards
Rarities
28 000
champion
6
epic
4
rare
11
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
15
2
2
3
7
4
5
5
7
6
1
7+
Champions
6
4
Veigar
3
5
Senna
3
Followers
15
2
Conchologist
3
2
Darkbulb Acolyte
3
2
Twisted Catalyzer
3
4
Stilted Robemaker
3
6
Ixtali Sentinel
3
Spells
19
1
Go Hard
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Mist's Call
2
4
The Box
1
5
Withering Wail
2
6
Hidden Pathways
1
6
Minimorph
1
6
Vengeance
2
9
The Ruination
1

The Skin Queens of Arcadia, Miss Fortune Quinn, also known as Scouts

Now, my friend, this is one interesting development.

The "standard" version from last Season seems to not be faring well.  

Yet old versions with some tweaks, like this one, are performing greatly…

… and yet others, like this one, which prominent pilot HDR BlackBoss steered to become the second Americas Master this season…

… or the one we recommend below, which seems the most promising among the most popular, put new cards to good use.

And, needless to say, the Seasons is over as far as bling goes: this is the S Tier blend, with the rest not even bothering to show up and compete.

Strong Against: Gnar Ziggs, Darkness, Elise Noxus, Fizz Lulu, Bandle Tree -- and edge versus Lurkers

Struggles Against: Swain Gnar --  seems to have a really bad time against Galio Braum and Galio Gnarr, and also versus Pantheon Yuumi

Regions
Demacia
37 cards
Rarities
28 800
champion
6
epic
4
rare
15
common
15
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
12
2
6
3
6
4
3
5
4
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Miss Fortune
3
5
Quinn
3
Followers
25
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
1
Penitent Squire
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Durand Sculptor
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
Vanguard Sergeant
3
4
Vanguard Bannerman
3
6
Cithria the Bold
3
6
Genevieve Elmheart
1
Spells
9
1
Ranger's Resolve
3
2
Sharpsight
3
4
Golden Aegis
3

Pyke Rek'sai, aka Lurkers

Then again, some old dogs will be old dogs.

Strong Against: Gnar Swain, Yuumi Pantheon -- roughly even versus Darkness and Bandle Tree

Struggles Against: Gnar Ziggs, Elise Noxus, Fizz Lulu, Scouts

Regions
Bilgewater
16 cards
Shurima
24 cards
Rarities
28 600
champion
6
epic
6
rare
3
common
25
Mana cost
0
0
10
1
12
2
6
3
3
4
3
5
3
6
3
7+
Champions
6
3
Rek'Sai
3
4
Pyke
3
Followers
30
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
3
8
Jaull-fish
3
Spells
4
1
Bloodbait
1
2
Call the Pack
3

Elise Noxus, aka Spiders

And some dogs will be ancient, old-as-sin dogs. After the nerf to Iceborn Legacy, this blend has regained its claim of being the Spiders blend.

Strong Against: Lukers, Yuumi Pantheon, Braum Galio

Struggles Against: Gnar Ziggs, dies horribly to Darkness, Fizz Lulu and Scouts

Regions
Shadow Isles
16 cards
Noxus
24 cards
Rarities
14 100
champion
3
epic
0
rare
7
common
30
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
15
2
10
3
0
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
3
2
Elise
3
Followers
28
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Legion Saboteur
3
1
Precious Pet
3
1
Stygian Onlooker
3
2
Arachnoid Horror
3
2
House Spider
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Legion Grenadier
3
3
Doombeast
3
3
Frenzied Skitterer
1
Spells
9
3
Noxian Fervor
3
3
Stalking Shadows
3
5
Decimate
3

Little-tested brews

These blends are not what we'd usually call "risky", since they all have well over 200 games under their belts…

… still, in such a turbulent meta, even larger samples are to be examined with care, above all since these early brews usually have extremely gifted pilots steering them, thus pushing their parameters upwards.


Akshan Gnar

A well-performing archetype that is growing in popularity -- our recommended list is the most played in all three shards currently, or with a minor tweak between Inventive Chemist and Yordle Squire.

Strong Against: Darkness, Fizz Lulu

Struggles Against: Elise Noxus, Gnar Fizz

Regions
Shurima
21 cards
Bandlecity
19 cards
Rarities
27 500
champion
6
epic
5
rare
3
common
26
Mana cost
0
0
11
1
11
2
7
3
5
4
6
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
2
Akshan
3
4
Gnar
3
Followers
22
1
Inventive Chemist
2
1
Treasure Seeker
3
1
Yordle Squire
3
2
Conchologist
3
3
Merciless Hunter
3
3
Vekauran Vagabond
2
5
Papercraft Dragon
3
5
Ruin Runner
3
Spells
12
1
Shaped Stone
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
2
The Absolver
2
3
Wallop
2
4
Rite of Negation
2

Gnar Teemo

The old Poppy Ziggs / Yordle Burn has given rise to one of the current Top Dogs, Gnar Ziggs -- and also this even more burn-oriented list with the Shroom Scout.

The exact same blend is the most popular in all three shards, making this a fairly well-tested build.

Strong Against: Elise Noxus

Struggles Against: Lurkers

Regions
Noxus
18 cards
Bandlecity
22 cards
Rarities
22 800
champion
6
epic
0
rare
7
common
27
Mana cost
0
0
11
1
15
2
4
3
6
4
3
5
0
6
1
7+
Champions
6
1
Teemo
3
4
Gnar
3
Followers
24
1
Inventive Chemist
3
1
Legion Rearguard
2
1
Legion Saboteur
3
2
Conchologist
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Legion Grenadier
3
2
Stone Stackers
3
3
Arachnoid Sentry
1
4
Teenydactyl
3
Spells
10
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Noxian Fervor
3
5
Decimate
3
10
Treasured Trash
1

Gnar Trundle Timelines

Yet another example of gnarly cross-pollination, with the exact same formula being the most popular across all shards…

… not surprising, since prominent pilot 4WL became the third Americas Master with it.

Strong Against: Darkness, Gnar Swain, Lurkers

Struggles Against: Gnar Ziggs, Bandle Tree

Regions
Freljord
19 cards
Piltover & Zaun
21 cards
Rarities
28 300
champion
6
epic
5
rare
7
common
22
Mana cost
2
0
8
1
15
2
1
3
7
4
3
5
0
6
4
7+
Champions
6
4
Gnar
3
5
Trundle
3
Followers
19
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Avarosan Sentry
3
2
Boom Baboon
3
2
Ferros Financier
3
2
Icevale Archer
2
4
Aloof Travelers
3
8
It That Stares
2
Spells
15
0
Thermogenic Beam
2
1
Concurrent Timelines
3
1
Three Sisters
2
2
Mystic Shot
2
2
Troll Chant
2
3
Get Excited!
1
4
Aftershock
1
9
Buried in Ice
2

If you REALLY want to Try These…

These blends are very much not something I can recommend, my friend.

I know well of your taste for new formulas, and your willingness to take risks -- yet, I must warn you, these Champion pairings have thus far found no success except in the hands of a handful of extremely gifted players.

Should you still wish to take your chances, here are the best (yet still poorly) performing formulas for:

Soraka Galio Starspring

Sejuani Gnar

Gangplank Gnar Bandle City

Yuumi Pantheon Bandle City


So, my friend…

.. welcome to the Season's first Friday!

Be it hasty climb, brainy brewing or frolicking fun, I hope I have managed to whet your appetite.

Any questions or comments, or more data you may need, feel free to poke me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/HerkoKerghans) and Discord (Herko Kerghans#6252), or you can find more recommendations and writings here (link).

Good luck in your brewing or climb! =)