Glad to see you, my friend! Welcome back!
And please, step inside, and let me share with you our latest blends and formulas: exotic and little-tested brews, powerful Meta staples, uncommon blends proclaiming prodigious promise…
So, do tell me, would you like to…
- Their Laddering Majesties, Ahri Kennen Shurima,
- Pantheon Taric, returning to the top of the charts,
- Ahri Kennen Shadows, stalking the Shurima variant wherever it goes,
- Miss Fortune Quinn, aka Scouts, relentless in their staying power,
- Pantheon Shyvana, refusing to be overshadowed by Taric,
- Fizz Lulu, which as predicted reached the upper echelons,
- Elise Trundle, aka Iceborn Spiders,
- Champless Poros, who haven't gone anywhere,
- Taliyah Ziggs, in its interesting position as Control Hunter,
- Fifty Shades of Ahri Kennen,
- Ahri Lulu P&Z,
- Jayce Lux, which finally seems to work,
- Caitlyn Senna, little seen outside Asia Pacific,
- Curious Elise Kindred,
- Pantheon Zoe,
- Lulu Zed, aka Rally Elusives,
- Lulu Poppy, aka Lulu Drift, another take on Rally Elusives,
- Kindred Vi,
- Hermerdinger Jayce Shadows,
- Hairs of the Frozen Rose,
- Fizz Tristana Rally,
- Feel the Minah FTR,
- Fortune's Twisted Fun,
- Akshan Lee Sin,
- Darius Sivir Reckoning,
- Darius Biceps Shurima,
- Frozen Renekton Sivir,
- Zed Sivir Flurry,
- Kindred Lux, aka Cithria Matron,
- Kindred Ziggs Go Hard,
- LH#1, Riven Rumble,
- Luzeldon's Muscle Dragon
Choose at leisure, my friend. Friday's here…
… time to take things at whatever pace Fun dictates!
A Glimpse at our Meta
Although our swingy Meta shows no shortage of surprises -- with nowadays Taric Pantheon surging to the top -- faces at the very top are fairly familiar…
… with Fizz Lulu being the other recent (and, in this case, not quite unexpected) arrival to the upper echelons.
Cream of the Crop: the Ridiculously Strong
The more things change, the more they seem to remain the same. Week after week, one deck rises to contest Ahri Kennen's throne, only to retreat the following days.
Will such be Pantheon Taric's fate?
We shall see; for the time being, though, it has at least succeeded in reaching winrates that, if you excuse my French, sont putain de stupide.
Ahri Kennen Shurima
There's little to say at this point: call them benign sovereigns, call them ruthless tyrants, these two rule the Ladder. Surprisingly, though, their popularity does not match their performance, with more pilots preferring Scouts of even Darkness.
Our suggested formula is the tried-and-true, most popular list for this blend -- there is some room for tweaks if you so desire, like including Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed as top end.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Lurkers, Kindred Viego, murders all Pantheon Builds, Taliyah Ziggs
Struggles Against: Scouts, Elise Noxus, Trundle Tryndamere FTR, Kindred Sentinels, Pirates, Caitlyn Kindred
Further Reading: Here's our guide by Wammu, written briefly before the balance patch.
Displacing the still very powerful Shyvana variant, Pantheon Taric is now both the best-performing Pantheon blend, and the current challenger to the Meta throne.
Looking at the numbers, Taric's edge over Shyvana seems to stem from two match-ups in particular:
- Lurkers, which is rough for Shyvana but even for Taric, and
- Draven Rumble above all, which goes from very unfavorable to Shyvana, to fairly favorable for Taric.
The permanence of Lurkers is our Ladder's one unshakable truth, but Draven Rumble seems to be on the decline -- we shall see next week how these trends affect the Meta.
Our recommended Taric Pantheon formula is the second most popular for this Champion pair, and currently the best performing. It is also the one with which prominent pilots GrandpaRoji and Scathus both reached a thirteen-games win streak recently.
Strong Against: Darkness, Champless Poros, Scouts, Trundle Shadow builds, Kindred Sentinels
Struggles Against:Ahri Kennen builds, Pantheon Shyvana, Fizz Lulu, Pirates, Elise Noxus
Further Reading: Here's Leer's guide (link), written a bit before the patch, and here's prominent pilot TricksterSorry more recent writings for runeterraccg.
Ahri Kennen Shadows
As proof of the pair's plenteous power, one of Ahri Kennen Shurima's strongest counters is the Shadows variant, which preeminent pilots like Kevor24 find superior overall.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima, Lurkers, Draven Rumble, Fizz Lulu, Taliyah Ziggs
Struggles Against: Scouts, Elise Noxus, Kindred Sentinels, Nightfall
Other Strong Meta Staples
All these blends below perform at what would be straight-up Tier One status, were it not for the putain de stupide winrates exhibited by the ruling elite.
If you seek an efficient climb, these strong, you can take these well-tested formulas to the Ladder without a second thought -- and whichever weapon you choose, be prepared to face them frequently.
Miss Fortune Quinn, aka Scouts
Scouts has amply proven not to be a fluke, with prominent pilots routinely reaching the ranks' summit.
Enjoying good matchups into both Ahri Kennen and its strongest counter (Elise Noxus), the only thing keeping Scouts from scaling to the top are Pantheon builds.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen builds, Elise Noxus, Champless Poros, Thralls, Pirates, slight edge against Darkness and FTR
Struggles Against: Pantheon builds, Kindred Sentinels, Jayce Lux
Further Reading: You'll find Sirturmund's guide for this exact build in the Competitive subreddit (link); Leer proposes a variation of this archetype, focused on Vanguard Bannerman, on his guide here (link).
Still very much a force to be reckoned with, and superior to the Taric blend in a duel.
Strong Against: Darkness, Champless Poros, Scouts, Elise Trundle, Kindred Sentinels, other Pantheon builds
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen, Lurkers, Elise Noxus, Draven Rumble, Fizz Lulu, Pirates
Further Reading: Here's TricksterSorry's recent guide at runeterraccg (link).
As I mentioned last week, and as predicted by Leer in his latest Meta report, Fizz Lulu is back in full force: this blend was among the strongest right before the balance patch, was pushed a bit to the side right afterwards, and has now bursted full-force at the top.
The formula is still being refined -- pilots are putting back Bandle City Mayor in their lists, as in our recommended blend. There also seems to be room for tweaks in the Spell column, with successful brews swapping Group Shot for Scrapheap, and even making room for Treasured Trash in some cases.
Strong Against: Lurkers, Champless Poros, Elise Noxus, Pantheon builds, Pirates, Draven Rumble
Struggles Against: Darkness, Trundle Shadow builds, Ahri Kennen Shadows, Ahri Lulu
Further Reading: Here's Leer's guide, from briefly before the patch.
Other Meta Decks to Consider
Should playstyle or shortage of shards dictate other choices, these would be our recommendations for those seeking tried-and-true, efficient solutions for climbing the Ladder. All blends below have a playrate of 1% or more in Platinum and above, and winrates above the 51% threshold in the last few days.
Elise Trundle, aka Iceborn Spiders
This archetype seems to have settled for the non-Landmark build, after initial experimentation with The Howling Abyss.
Strong Against: Lurkers, Draven Rumble, Kindred Sentinels, Fizz Lulu, Nightfall, Ahri Lulu
Struggles Against: Champless Poros, Pantheon builds, Thralls,
Should you be in the mood for a bit of adventure, there's a little-tested version replacing Trundle for Braum, and adding the Landmarks back (link).
While not longer the Ladder terror they were the first week post-patch, Iceborn Poros are still around, alive and kicking, and even morphing and transmuting into different builds.
Recent innovations, though, aim for a higher spell count, and seem to perform much better -- one such formula is our recommendation below.
Strong Against: Trundle Tryndamere FTR, Elise Trundle, Taliyah Ziggs,
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima, Elise Noxus, Scouts, Pantheon builds, Kindred Sentinels
A bit off the beaten path, Taliyah Ziggs has shown solid performance for over two weeks now -- an interesting build that preys on Control decks, while being weak to more straightforward forms of aggression.
Strong Against: Darkness, Trundle Tryndamere FTR, Anivia Freljord, Kindred Sentinels
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen builds, Champless Poros, Draven Rumble, Pirates
Among popular options with solid Ladder performance in the ladder, you may consider:
- Pyke Rek'sai, fairly solid against everything that is not Ahri Kennen, and quite good against Shyvana Pantheon,
- Darkness, still one of the most popular decks at Platinum and above, with a fairly even matchup spread in general but suffering from Pantheon blends considerably,
- Trundle Tryndamere's performance has suffered as of late, probably due to Scouts and Champless Poros, but still enjoys a favorable matchups into Ahri Kennen,
- Sivir Akshan, which dies horribly to Ahri Kennen and preys on Darkness, but is otherwise arguably the most "fair" deck currently -- most of its other matchups in the 45-55% range, making it a staple of "comfort" lineups in tournaments.
While still popular (and certainly playable), the fortunes of Draven Rumble, Kindred Sentinels and Kindred Viego seem much diminished -- if efficient climbing is your main goal, our recommendation would be to consider piloting something different.
If safety and efficiency are not the only variables you are concerned with, and you wish to add uniqueness into the mix, these blends shall serve you well. They all have playrates below 1% -- meaning your foes would have met a similar deck less than once every hundred games they play -- while large enough sample sizes to guarantee their positive performance is no fluke.
Fifty Shades of Ahri Kennen
The Ahri Kennen shell has proven capable of any manner of splashes without a dent to its performance, including Ladder forerunner ENiamor splashing Sunken Cost (link) on grounds of it being funny.
Should you wish to join the fun, the Noxus and mono-Ionia version are our other recommendations.
Ahri Lulu P&Z
Here returns yet another blend that was very well positioned pre-patch: eschewing the Recall package for the traditional P&Z Discard & Burn tools, Ahri Lulu can run over most other blends that go for early aggression.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Elise Noxus, Kindred Viego, Fizz Lulu, Draven Rumble
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen builds, Darkness, Trundle Shadows builds
Like the tides change, Pirates always return!
It should be noted that, sneers about its skull-void nature aside, Pirates are very strong against many of the strongest decks in the current field -- disastrous odds against Control decks is what prevents it from sailing into Top Tier waters.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Ahri Kennen, Lurkers, Elise Noxus, Kindred Viego, Pantheon Shyvana
Struggles Against: Darkness, Trundle Tryndamere, Scouts, Kindred Sentinels, Fizz Lulu, Ahri Kennen Shadows
Perhaps one of the most obvious Champion pairings when reading their cards' text, Jayce Lux had until now failed to find sustained success. Weak to our ruling Queen and King, the blend is fairly strong against other popular Meta staples.
Strong Against: Darkness, Scouts, Lurkers
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen, Kindred Viego, Trundle Tryndamere
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen
Struggles Against: Darkness
Curious Elise Kindred
A Curious Shellfolk blend that presents an interesting matchup spread, being strong against both Their Royal Majesties and Scouts.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen, Scouts, Elise Noxus
Struggles Against: Darkness, Pantheon Shyvana, Champless Poros, Lurkers
A Pantheon blend without the popularity of other more well-known formulas, but that has seen quite a bit of play -- and very good performance -- in all shards, especially in Asia-Pacific.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Darkness
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen
Lulu Zed, aka Rally Elusives
After Poppy's many nerfs, pilots are spending quite a bit of effort in returning Rally Elusives to their former glory.
The most successful endeavor thus far has replaced Poppy with Lulu, and added The Mourned (even without any Recall synergies) into its formula.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Lurkers, Pantheon Taric
Struggles Against: Scouts, Trundle Shadow builds
Lulu Poppy, aka Lulu Drift
Here's another take, pioneered by Darkodious, in this case dropping Zed for Lulu and sticking with followers that do not mind Poppy's nerf -- our suggested build is bA1anceLoR's formula, which he iterated through his Masters climb.
Strong Against: Extremely favored into Champless Poros; favored into Trundle Tryndamere, Kindred Viego
Struggles Against: Elise Noxus, Darkness, Lurkers, Scouts
Rare and Risky Brews
If you wish to throw caution to the winds, and jump into uncharted waters, then these are the blends you seek, my friend: all have proven capable of outstanding performance, but their very small sample size leaves us with no way to determine if such prowess is due to simple luck, extremely skilled pilots, or both.
But, as they saying goes: no risk, no fun!
A very old, fairly skill-testing archetype, which perhaps can be described as the aggro deck that preys on other aggro decks. As one recurring customer said: "Diana is a constant threat at the board, the opponent needs to really go out of their way to remove her, or she's going to cause a lot of damage. And Nocturne is the big daddy of the deck, who comes downstairs to smack Ahri Kennen when they get too loud."
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Ahri Kennen, Elise Noxus, Lurkers
Struggles Against: Darkness, Draven Rumble, Trundle Shadows builds
Further Reading: Here's MonteXristo's recent guide (link).
A take on Sentinels eschewing Elise for Vi, currently doing quite well in Europe.
Strong Against: Darkness
Struggles Against: Lurkers, Champless Poros
Heimerdinger Jayce Shadows
The Ionia variant of this blend is by far the most popular, yet as of late this Shadows formula has proved to pack quite the punch.
Strong Against: Scouts
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima
Again has the Rose grown hairs -- Yeti hairs, in particular.
And, I have to say, it does have a Yeti ring to it: this blend routinely shows up in the data with great results, then vanishes like a myth that nobody has faith in.
Probably a blend that is some ungodly skilled pilot's idea of "let's have a bit of fun", when they get tired of the grind.
Fizz Tristana Rally
Seemingly trying to rekindle the Yordle Rally flame, so brutally snuffed after December's hotfix, Fizz and Tristana mix Demacian relentlessness with Bandle City go-wide-and-big tools.
Feel the Minah FTR
A vintage blend by maître brasseur Scathus; very little data to affirm much about its qualities in the current Meta, other than to say it still kicks behinds.