Glad to see you again, my friend! Welcome back!
Please, step inside! Your timing is impeccable, as usual -- distinguished datamancers Balco and Legna have just sent us their finest formulas and their best blends: everything from little-tested brews to the strongest Meta staples for you to choose.
So, tell me, my friend! How would you wish to welcome this liberating Friday? Would you like to…
- Their Eternal Majesties, Ahri Kennen Shurima,
- Fizz Lulu, further climbing and now challenging the throne,
- Pantheon Taric, no longer a throne challenger, but indisputably strong,
- Ahri Kennen Shadows, the eternal stalkers,
- Draven Rumble, bringing back the party to the top,
- Elise Trundle, its inner schism now solved,
- Scouts, a bit crestfallen yet still among the strongest,
- Lux Kindred, looking very strong once you separate wheat from chaff,
- Ahri Lulu P&Z, perhaps the most underplayed of the meta decks,
- Lulu Drift, making Rally Elusives tick,
- Jayce Lux,
- Darius Jinx Burn,
- Akshan Kindred Go Hard,
- Fiora Pantheon,
- Standalone Fiora Zed, a very old idea which seems to have sparked rekindled interest,
- Curious Elise Kindred,
- Teemo Ziggs, fighting fire with lots of fire,
- Harrowing Ashe Elise,
- Ziggs Zilean, another take on Landmark Aggro,
- Ziggs Sivir, experimenting with Noxurimaggro,
- Dancing with Kegs,
- Caitlyn Kindred Go Hard,
- A somewhat similar approach, Caitlyn Senna, but leaning even more towards the Control end of the spectrum,
- Katarina Miss Fortune… there's somebody out there that can clearly make this work!
- Bandle River Swain
- ABranchofTurtwig's Heimer Viktor Shellfolk Give It All
- Bonus: Social Mediums
A Glimpse at the Current Meta
After weeks of violent swings, our Meta seems to be calming down. There are still some ascensions and stumbles at the top of the winrate charts…
… but the pattern has become familiar by now: Ahri Kennen's rule remains uncontested, while a new challenger -- Fizz Lulu this week -- displaces last week's runner-up.
Formulas for most meta staples feel finely refined by now, as extensive trial-and-error bears its optimized fruits…
… while, at the same time, when sifting through the low-playrate blends, one finds a blossoming of off-meta experimentation, as we shall soon see.
Cream of the Crop
A cut above the rest, these two blends have outperformed all others in the last few days -- and in the case of Ahri Kennen, in the last few weeks.
Ahri Kennen Shurima
I will spare you the wordiness, my friend: this is the best blend in the current meta, full stop. And odds of it losing its throne are vanishingly low.
Still, for whatever reason, its playrate remains fairly stable -- pilots seem remiss to jump into this triumphant bandwagon.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Lurkers, Kindred Viego, murders all Pantheon Builds, Zilean Xerath, Akshan Sivir
Struggles Against: Scouts, Elise Noxus, Trundle Tryndamere FTR, Kindred Sentinels, Pirates, Nightfall
Finally returning to the cusp -- where it was right before the balance patch -- Fizz Lulu also seems to have been fairly refined this last week: the most popular formula for this blend, which we recommend below, is also one of the top performers, as if the wisdom of the pilots' crowd had found this blend's optimal ratios.
Strong Against: Lurkers, Champless Poros, Elise Noxus, Pantheon builds, Pirates, Draven Rumble
Struggles Against: Darkness, Trundle Shadow builds, Ahri Kennen Shadows, Ahri Lulu, Kindred Sentinels
Other Strong Meta Staples
These next five blends all perform near or above the 54% winrate mark, for Platinum, Diamond and Masters. While a rung below the ruling monarchy, these are among the strongest weapons you can bring to your climb.
While not the throne-threatening powerhouse it was last week, Taric Pantheon has nevertheless proved it has what it takes to claim a spot near the summit.
Strong Against: Scouts, Darkness, Champless Poros, Trundle Shadow builds, Thralls, Kindred Sentinels
Struggles Against:Ahri Kennen builds, Pantheon Shyvana, Fizz Lulu, Pirates, Elise Noxus
Ahri Kennen Shadows
Suffering from a dip in its winrate -- perhaps explainable by an uptick in its playrate, usually correlated with an influx of inexperienced pilots -- Ahri Kennen Shadows stays in relentless pursuit of the Shurima variant.
Strong Against: Lurkers, Ahri Kennen Shurima, Draven Rumble, Fizz Lulu, Taliyah Ziggs, Akshan Sivir
Struggles Against: Scouts, Elise Noxus, Thralls, Kindred Sentinels, Pirates, Nightfall
The Party returns to the top!
Currently enjoying a mostly mild matchup spread in general -- with odds below 40% only when facing FTR and Fizz Lulu -- and in particular a fair fight against the Queen and King of the Meta, this crowd favorite has made an impressive comeback.
Formulas with a somewhat more reactive approach seem to fare better, in particular those making room for 2x Whirling Death and 1x Noxian Fervor. Newcomers to this archetype may profit from remembering that removing a blocker in front of an Overwhelm attacker allows said Overwhelm attacker to fully connect with the Nexus.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Elise Noxus, Pantheon Shyvana, slight edge against Lurkers
Struggles Against: Trundle Tryndamere FTR, Ahri Kennen Shadows (but even versus the Shurima version), Fizz Lulu, Kindred Sentinels, Ahri Lulu
Elise Trundle, aka Iceborn Spiders
The fork has been settled, and the non-Landmark version of this archetype proven superior -- as of now, the only minor discrepancies for this blend seem to be the exact Spell composition.
A variation of this archetyp, with one Kindred instead of one Trundle (link), has shown quite good results in the APAC shard.
Strong Against: Fizz Lulu, Draven Rumble, Taliyah Ziggs, Kindred Sentinels, Nightfall, Ahri Lulu -- an edge versus Lurkers and Ahri Kennen Shurima.
Struggles Against: Champless Poros, Pantheon Taric, Thralls, Kindred Viego
Further Reading: Here is a deck guide (link) which prominent pilot infinipatron posted in the Competitive subreddit after reaching Top 3 in the ladder -- you will also find maître brasseur Scathus' reasoning for why they consider the Landmark version inferior.
Interestingly, what could perhaps be considered one of the most linear archetypes seems to be fostering the most disagreement when it comes to which cards to include, be it among cheaper followers -- such as Penitent Squire, Pool Shark, or Fortune Croaker -- or its top end, where Cithria the Bold and Genevieve Elmheart are a consideration.
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, Vladimir Braum
Other Meta Blends You May Consider
All these well-tested formulas have winrates above 51% -- while not as proficient as the ones listed above, you can take any of these to the Ladder with utmost confidence.
- Lurkers (link), which are always "a thing",
- Shyvana Pantheon (link),
- Taliyah Ziggs (link), the "Control Hunters", which could also be described as "Landmark Aggro" -- the link includes a detailed guide by Wamuu,
- Sivir Akshan (link), the hidden gem and golden mean of matchups -- the link includes a detailed guide by Leer,
- Darkness (link), which arguably is currently being overplayed, but has proven a strong staple never far from the top.
The Connoisseur's Corner
Those with a keen eye such as yourself may have noticed a subtle pattern: as the tides of the Meta become milder, our Connoisseur's Corner tends to shrink -- the majority of pilots seem to flock either to the tried-and-true meta staples described above, or set sail to the uncharted waters of the Risky and Rare brews I shall show you later.
But for those seeking the golden mean between uniqueness and proficiency, the following three blends lie in the conjunction between fairly large sample sizes -- thus providing confidence in their performance and expected results -- while rare enough that you may play one hundred games and face them no more than once or twice, if you face them at all.
Do not be neither fooled nor discouraged when looking at this champion pair's average performance: their archetype is polluted by a hideous self-sacrifice blend that drags the pair's performance down. Here (link) is an example of said hideous blend; it is shown only as a warning, you do not want to take this botched attempt to the ladder.
The refined formulas, as the one suggested below, perform well over 52% at Platinum and above. Being one of the few current archetypes to make extensive use of healing, its play pattern is quite different from most.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Pantheon Shyvana, Jayce Lux
Struggles Against: Lurkers, Darkness, Ahri Kennen builds, Elise Trundle, Taliyah Ziggs
A pairing between Ahri and the well-known Discard tools which Lulu has proven to be a beast with.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Elise Noxus, Draven Rumble, Nightfall, Thralls -- slight edge versus Lurkers
Struggles Against: Trundle Shadows builds -- slightly disfavored versus Ahri Kennen Shurima, Darkness and Scouts
A new take on the ancient Rally Elusive archetype, again making use of Poppy to bolster their ranks.
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Kindred Viego, Thralls
Struggles Against: Elise Noxus, Scouts, Pantheon builds, Darkness
Walk on the Wild Side
As it often happens, still Metas run deep -- although winrates and playrates at the top seem somewhat stable, digging into the data reveals a wealth of testing and experimentation.
If you are after the thrill of risky science, my friend, read on!
A somewhat obvious champion pair, with an interesting matchup spread.
Strong Against: Scouts, Darkness, Kindred Sentinels
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima (this one is a horrible matchup), Pantheon Taric, Trundle Tryndamere, Draven Rumble
Darius Jinx Burn
A little-tested blend, played mostly in the Asia Pacific shard -- pure brute force and burn.
Akshan Kindred Go Hard
Light and Dark, side by side. The archetype is being experimented with in all shards, probably indicating a coordinated effort of some sort.
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima
Another blend undergoing testing in all shards.
Standalone Fiora Zed
An Asia Pacific exclusive, with a very old idea: pair a powerful three-mana Champion with Stand Alone. Little-tested list, with very good results.
Curious Elise Kindred
This archetype seems ripe to become part of our Corner selection -- it has proven its staying power through a couple of weeks, and has a very interesting matchup spread, being strong into some of the strongest decks.
Its nearly insurmountable odds against Darkness, though, make it a tough call for Ladder.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima, Scouts, Kindred Viego -- even versus Lurkers
Struggles Against: Darkness (a horrible matchup), Pantheon builds, Elise Trundle
Burn, baby burn! Lots of different formulas for this blend are being tested in all shards; there seems to be a lot of interest in this boomy pair as of late.
Strong Against: Lurkers
Struggles Against: Ahri Kennen, Champless Poros, Darkness (truly horrible matchup)
Harrowing Ashe Elise
Given the regions, and Elise being one of the Champs, one could not be faulted for assuming this could be a take on Iceborn Spiders.
It is not, though, as a summary inspection of the build will soon reveal.
Strong Against: Elise Noxus -- slight edge versus Scouts
Struggles Against: Slightly disfavored versus Ahri Kennen Shurima
A development from the Americas shard, Taliyah Ziggs' great performance seems to have sparked interest in the Landmark Aggro concept.
A take on Noxus Shurima aggro, another concept that seems to be getting a lot of interest as of late.
Strong Against: Lurkers
Struggles Against: Darkness, Scouts
Dancing with Kegs
Exclusive to the Asia Pacific shard, this is what happens when you ask Pirates for a dance.
Caitlyn Kindred Go Hard
The Kindred Sentinels shell, with a Control bent
Strong Against: Champless Poros, Ahri Kennen Shurima, Elise Noxus, Draven Rumble
Struggles Against: Darkness, Lukers, Ahri Kennen Shadows, Elise Trundle (horrible matchup)
A somewhat similar concept to Caitlyn Kindred above, but leaning even more heavily into Permission/Control by almost entirely eschewing early units.
Strong Against: Ahri Kennen Shurima, Elise Noxus, Scouts
Struggles Against: Darkness, Lurkers, Trundle Tryndamere (horrible matchup)
Katarina Miss Fortune
Almost all games for this archetype were played with a single list, with outstanding performance -- almost assuredly the refined brainchild of some extremely skilled pilot.
Bandle Riven Swain
No showcase can be called complete without the Reforger and the Grand General -- in this case, in the very same deck.
ABranchofTurtwig's Heimer Viktor Shellfolk Give It All
ABranchofTurtwig, one of the Competitor of tomorrow's MaRu $5k Invitational, shared this deck with which they climbed from Plat IV to Masters this season.
"I must warn readers, though," ABranchofTurtwig said, "it's bad against Ahri Kennen and Demacia lists -- but I did manage a solid 65.52 WR% after 145 games with it. Proceed with caution."
Finally, if you would like to trust fame more than data, I can point you to RickoRex's Overwhelm (link), Sqweeby's Garen Fizz (link), and Sirturmund's endorsement of Zilean Soraka. I currently possess no data that I can share with you about these, my friend, but if risky and rare you want, these should fit the bill too.
And so, my friend…
… I hope we have succeeded in finding at least one weapon you may want to call your own.
Good luck, and fair fights!