Welcome, my friend! Welcome!
Please, step inside! Free yourself of cubicle squabbles and crabby clients for a few days…
… Friday's here! Now it's time for fair fights, with only fun and fame on the line!
So come, please, and let me show you our wares! Distinguished datamancers Balco (here is a link to Balco's report) and Legna (here is a link to Legna's) have furnished us with their finest formulas, so do tell me, then: would you like to take a glance at…
… what the top of the meta looks like right now?
- Miss Fortune Quinn, aka Scouts, currently (but for how long?) at our charts' apex,
- Ahri Kennen Shurima, never away from the top spots,
- Ahri Kennen Shadows, now overtaking the Shurima variant when win rate is concerned,
- Darkness, aptly punishing both aggressive strategies and other Control decks,
- Lurkers, which have found great success in this turbulent meta,
- Trundle Tryndamere, roaring "Control not dead!",
- Pantheon Shyvana, undergoing turbulent changes underneath its stoic countenance,
… our Connoisseur's Corner, for those looking to combine performance with uniqueness?
- Kindred Sentinels, yet another ever-evolving blend,
- Kindred Viego,
- Elise Trundle, non-ARAMic version,
- Spooky Anivia, answering "Nope, not at all," to Trundle Tryndamere's roar,
- Nightfall, not willing to wane,
- Fizz Lulu, slowly returning to the the outstanding performance rates it showed two weeks ago,
… our more experimental and risky brews, to throw caution to the wind and enjoy the thrills of experimentation?
- Taliyah Ziggs, the Control Hunters,
- Jinx Lulu,
- Kindred Jayce, another take on the Sentinels package,
- Kindred Elise,
- Good Cop, Bad Sentinel,
- Spooky Girls' Night Out,
- Ekko Zilean.
A Snapshot of a Swingy Meta
As one reputed Piltovian explorer is fond of saying: "Blink… and you'll miss me."
That would be as apt a description for the current Meta as one could hope for: not three days ago you would have seen Trundle Tryndamere at the top of Balco's tier list, yet as of right now…
… this is how the fight for the top looks like.
Do take the time to confirm it for yourself (link), should things have again changed by the time you do so.
Cream of the Crop
The best of the best, the strongest of the strong…
… at least momentarily! Morphing much is what our Meta relishes most.
If you feel like frolicking into the fray furnished with the finest formulas, these are the blends you should consider.
Miss Fortune Quinn, aka Scouts
Our Meta has done it again.
Rummaging through the Coffer of Ancient Archetypes, prominent pilots like Sirturmund have found success with an old blend that, without having received any recent buff, has proven its worth as ruthless apex predator.
Our suggested build has shown the best performance as of recently, but several different formulas are being tested with good to great results -- this stalwart archetype may still see refinement in the coming days.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen blends, Champless Poros, Elise Noxus
Struggles Against: Pantheon blends, Kindred Sentinels, Fizz Lulu, Nightfall
Ahri Kennen Shurima
While the Shadows version has overtaken it in win rate, Ahri Kennen Shurima is still arguably the most potent version when popularity is also factored.
This blend seems like a fairly solved formula, having changed little in the past few weeks. That being said, promises of permanence are mere guesses in this swingy Meta -- nobody knows what further developments we may yet see.
A Noxian blend also exists (link), at much lower play rates, and with seemingly similar strong and weak spots.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Lurkers, Kindred Viego, Pantheon blends, Thralls
Struggles Against: Elise Noxus, Trundle Tryndamere Shadows, Kindred Sentinels, Scouts, Ahri Kennen Shadows
Ahri Kennen Shadows
It has finally happened: the Shadow version has proven, at least in the past few days and judging by win rate, to be better suited to the current Meta.
It also remains superior should the Shadows and Shurima versions collide.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Ahri Kennen Shurima, Pantheon blends, Fizz Lulu
Struggles Against: Elise Noxus, Scouts, Xerath Zilean, Nightfall
Other Strong Meta Staples
These four archetypes all perform excellently, and only a few decimals below the cream-croppers.
Should personal playstyle, pocket Meta or scarcity of shards make any of these preferable, doubt it not: these are all superb choices in the current environment.
Veigar Senna, aka Darkness
There is no shortage of prominent pilots labeling Darkness as a very well positioned blend, and our data does not disagree.
The most popular formula also provides the best performance, which speaks of a well-refined build.
Strong Against: Elise Noxus, Kindred Viego, Kindred Sentinels, Pirates, Nightfall -- tiny edge against Ahri Kennen Shurima
Struggles Against: Lurkers, Pantheon blends, Xerath Zilean, Thralls, Taliyah Ziggs
Pyke Rek'sai, aka Lurkers
As if shouting: "Damn that removal, full speed ahead!" Lurk's best-performing formula has shed all spell-based interaction save Pyke in Death From Below form.
The bold bet seems to have paid off: pulling impressive results, Lurk has clawed its way amongst the most powerful decks in the format.
According to Balco's data (link), Lurkers is also the most coin-dependent of the meta decks. When going first, it is possibly the strongest deck in the format -- while going second, though, is undoubtedly the worst.
Strong Against: Darkness, Kindred Viego, Pantheon Shyvana, Kindred Sentinels
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen, Elise Noxus, Lonesome Pantheon, Pirates
Trundle Tryndamere Shadows
Like a phoenix rekindled from its long slumber, SI FR Control has returned with a buffed Vengeance.
Our recommended formula, using Faces of the Old Ones as additional ramp and reinforcing its top end with It That Stares, seems to be this powerful archetype's best current bet.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen, Elise Noxus, Kindred Sentinels, Pirates, Nightfall
Struggles Against: Champless Poros, Kindred Viego, Xerath Zilean, Deep, Thralls
After Taric's short-lived resurgence, Shyvana seems the best-performing Pantheon build -- both when considering average performance, and as the most likely to prevail should different versions fight each other.
There's a lot of experimentation going under the hood, with varied ratios of spells and followers being sampled. Data suggests that the inclusion of Brightsteel Protector is paramount.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Darkness, Elise Trundle, Kindred Sentinels, Scouts, other Pantheon blends
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen, Elise Noxus, Lurkers, Draven Rumble, Pirates, Akshan Sivir
Not Quite Recommended
Prominent pilots like TricksterSorry have found great success with Xerath Zilean (link), and the blend is indeed a strong counter to some powerful decks -- still, its overall performance does not allow me to recommend it currently. Do consider yourself warned, please, should you still make it your weapon of choice.
And if you cherish your LPs, my friend, I'm afraid that Ashe Leblanc and Sun Disc are not a thing.
The Connoisseur's Corner
Brandishing blends with bloated play rates may be efficient for climbing purposes…
… but should you factor originality as well as proficiency, our Corner's selection showcases blends that provide potency without overcrowding the most popular choices.
The first Kindred blend we can present today is yet another archetype undergoing extensive experimentation -- not even the optimal Champion split is yet determined.
The most popular variant is also the best performing, currently sitting at a 53% WR, which would suggest the refinement process may be close to reaching consensus.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen, Elise Noxus, Draven Rumble, Pirates, Nightfall
Struggles Against: Darkness, Trundle Tryndamere, Pantheon blends
Kindred Viego Ionia
Our second Kindred variant was the forerunner among its kind last week, but its performance was pummeled by Poro piles.
It has enjoyed a slight resurgence recently, though, being strong against some of the Control lists surging as of late.
Strong Against: Trundle Tryndamere, Trundle Elise, Kindred Sentinels, Pantheon blends
Struggles Against: Champless Poros, Ahri Kennen, Elise Noxus, Darkness, Lurkers, Pirates
Now this is an interesting development, where an archetype seems to be splitting itself in two, so to speak.
The most popular Elise Trundle versions, usually nicknamed ARAM, include The Howling Abyss and a bit of a late-Control gameplan via The Ruination -- such is what Wamuu recommends in his detailed deck guide (link).
More recent lists, though, focus on early board pressure and combat tricks, including cards like Troll Chant. As of late, these seem to be the most successful -- we shall see next week if the trend proves true.
Strong Against: Draven Rumble, Kindred Sentinels, Nightfall, Pirates
Struggles Against: Champless Poros, Kindred Viego, Pantheon blends,
A mere meme for far too long, Anivia has reclaimed her spot as a Control Champion not to be trifled with.
Strong Against: Elise Noxus, Draven Rumble, Kindred Sentinels, Nightfall
Struggles Against: Champless Poros, Xerath Zilean, Scouts
Diana Nocturne, aka Nightfall
Nightfall seemed about to shine brightly a few days ago, but with the return of Control its fortune has waned a bit.
Should you choose to follow the perilous path of the Moon, this detailed guide by MonteXristo (link) shares an abundance of insights and tricks.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Ahri Kennen, Elise Noxus, Scouts
Struggles Against: Darkness, Elise Trundle, Trundle Tryndamere, Pantheon blends
Fizz Lulu Bandle Zaun
Forgotten for a bit after the balance patch arrived, Fizz Lulu seems determined to regain its status as a serious contender to Top Meta Deck, which it enjoyed merely two weeks ago.
Here's Leer's detailed deck guide (link); it was written before the patch arrived, but as you'll see the list remains fairly similar.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Elise Noxus, Draven Rumble, Pantheon blends
Struggles Against: Trundle Tryndamere, Kindred Sentinels, Anivia Shadows
Perhaps due to it not being shiny, flashy and new, pilots tend to forget one obvious truth: Akshan Sivir boots behinds most firmly.
It is also a most rewarding blend to master should you wish to dabble in Tournaments or Gauntlets -- as Wamuu details in his Tournament Tech article, Akshan Sivir is a "comfort" deck that, having no extreme matchups, is always a consideration for Tournament lineups.
Strong Against: Darkness, Lurkers, Pantheon Shyvana, Kindred Sentinels
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen, Trundle Tryndamere, Draven Rumble, Scouts
A Walk on the Wild Side
But what if you sneer at snuffing the thrill out of life by always measuring and computing, never dancing with serendipity nor knowing the thrill of risk?
Fear not, my friend! If thrills and risk you seek, an abundance you shall find: these little-tested blends show promising win rates…
… but whether that's due to flukes, ungodly high skills or just dumb luck, it's for adventurous pilots such as yourself to find out!
After enjoying center stage for a bit some weeks ago, Taliyah Ziggs faded to obscurity…
… its seeming suitability as "Control Hunter" now bringing it out again to the limelight.
May make for a good Ladder option if Control remains a popular choice, and perhaps a Tournament consideration for punishing triple-Control lineups.
Strong Against: Darkness, Lurkers, Trundle Tryndamere, Anivia
Struggles Against: Champless Poros, Ahri Kennen, Elise Noxus
A fairly old formula, with a dash of new tricks in Arena Promoter and Yordle Captain.
And, of course, it features Jinx!
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen?
Struggles Against: Darkness and Lurkers?
A fairly popular blend in the Asian shard -- may be a result of a specific local meta, but its performance suggests it is a strong formula.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen, Elise Noxus
Struggles Against: Darkness, Trundle Tryndamere, Aniva
Karma Senna, aka Spooky Girls' Night Out
For those fairly new to Runeterra, "Spooky Karma" may sound unfamiliar…
… those that remember previous eras where Control was also a thing may have dreams (or nightmares) of battling until, literally, the very last card: it may not be obvious at first glance, but one of the ways Karma can win a game is by stalling until their foe's deck is dry (a fate that rarely happens to Karma herself -- when leveled-up, her own Champ spell becomes an anti-self-mill tool).
Curious Elise Kindred
A different take on Elise Kindred, pairing with Bandle City and Curious Shellfolk.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima, Elise Noxus, Kindred Sentinels
Struggles Against: Darkness, Kindred Viego
Another Kindred Sentinels variant -- too little data to say much about it, other than its interesting win rate across a small sample of games.
Strong Against: Kindred Viego?
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen and Trundle Tryndamere?
Scathus' latest creation has enjoyed a modicum of success recently. A hard deck to pilot correctly, but a thrill for those that cherish the "Choose between three options" minigame that Prediction provides.
Strong Against: Elise Noxus, Akshan Sivir, Nightfall, Taliyah Ziggs
Struggles Against: Darkness, Pantheon blends, Elise Kindred, Lurkers
So, my friend!
I hope we've whetted your appetite while aiding in your quest for your weapon of choice.
Should you require more data and metrics, by all means do let me know -- feel free to poke me on Twitter (@HerkoKerghans), or you can find more of my recommendations and writings here (link).
Good fortune, and fair fights!