Welcome, my friend! Glad to see you again!
I hope your workweek worries have not chaperoned you to my parlor, yet if they have, do sternly command them to wait by the door.
Friday is here – time to break free from the fetters of soul-stiffening routine!
Just like our swingy meta has done, I am glad to tell you – Gnar no longer an ever-present ingredient in the most potent mixes – so allow me to showcase this week's collection of medleys and brews, furnished by famous formulistas Balco and Legna!
Would you like to…
… take a glimpse at this current, Golden meta?
… peruse the strongest of the strong?
- Tristana Teemo Gnar, the current Ruling Royalty,
- Taliyah Ziggs, arised from out of nowhere, like a sand-demon in the desert,
- Pantheon Yuumi, always attached to the top,
… check some of the other strong meta options?
- Sivir Akshan, not longer at the top but still a force to be reckoned with,
- Draven Rumble,
- Scouts, also losing a bit of ground while it adapts itself to the new environment?
… visit our Connoisseur's Corner, for little-played yet well-tested medleys?
- Fizz Lulu,
- Curious Gnar Lux,
- Sejuani Gnar Bandle,
- Sejuani Gnar Shurima,
- Sejuani Gnar P&Z,
- Lux Zoe Aphelios,
… take a walk on the Wild Side?
- Frozen City Fizz Yuumi,
- Braum Udyr Galio,
- Braum Jarvan,
- Gnar Heimer,
- Kindred Karma,
- Jinx Lulu,
- Riven Viktor.
A Glimpse at this Golden Meta…
As prominent pugilist Winnin' Jack is fond of saying: "They all gots big plans. Till you punch 'em in the face."
What a pitiful end for our antagonists' tactics, then, their teeth struck twice per turn:
Regardless of many a tipsy tirade overheard at the Blue Bird Inn or the Red Eddy Tavern, the scorn Bandle City often receives is perhaps misplaced.
If there's one common thread connecting most Top Dogs, is their access to Rally mechanics, or simply put: Golden Aegis.
On the other hand, though, there's a returning face at the peak. As befits our meta's cyclical tides, an archetype that had been forgotten now returns – almost unchanged – and stakes a claim to the throne.
Unlike last week, when the top was furiously contested by no less than six different blends, it seems clear who are this Meta's currently ruling royalty, with only one other archetype climbing past – and another scratching, like a kitten asking to be petted – the twin milestones of 54% winrate and 1% playrate at Platinum and above.
Teemo Tristana Gnar, aka Tristana Faes
Perhaps the only factual reason supporting the maudlin enmity towards Bandle City, this marriage of Yordles and Faes has proven to be a really tough nut to crack, and stands neck and shoulder above the competition.
It seems a fairly refined archetype, too, with the most popular formula – which we recommend below – accounting for the overwhelming majority of the games.
For those seeking the thrills of the risky and scarcely tested, though, this little-played Teemo-less medley performs even better than the stock Triple-Champ mix.
If you are in need of more guidance about this blend, stellar scribe and superb skipper Maybenextime has crafted a complete compendium about it.
Strong Against: Darkness, Gnar Swain, Taliyah Ziggs, Fizz Lulu, slight edge over Lurkers – even against Scouts, Pantheon Yuumi
Struggles Against: Fizz Riven, Gnar Sejuani, Draven Rumble
The Landmark Lovers return!
With an impressive 54% WR overall, during the last few days these land-loving pair has reached 1% playrate, and has jumped at the head of the Top Dogs pack.
The list has not changed much, if at all, from what we saw several weeks ago – yet another example that, sometimes, decks require neither new nor revamped cards, but rather the proper meta environment to thrive.
The above is not synonymous with lack of experimentation, though – many competing formulas are testing the exact mixture and proportion of spells, even when the followers' composition seems fairly solved.
Strong Against: Darkness, Lurkers, Gnarlines, Bandle Tree
Struggles Against: Scouts, Pantheon Yuumi, Tristana Faes – horrible matchup against Gnar Ziggs
The friendship between feline Fae and stern Spartan seems unshakable.
And not even a third wheel, with Taric as a one-off, can break it – while the addition of the Aspect of Targon does change the medley's matchup spread a bit, due to its poorer ladder performance and lower playrates we currently recommend the Taricless version.
(Which, by the way, also wins the mirror more often than not).
Prominent pilot and renowned Meta Reporter Leer has penned a complete compendium about this archetype and its strategies.
Strong Against: Darkness, Scouts, Gnarlines, Akshan Sivir– even into Lurkers and Tristana Faes
Struggles Against: Gnar Ziggs, Gnar Swain, Draven Rumble, Fizz Lulu
Other Strong Meta Staples
If Landmarks and Faes are not your cup of tea, here are other well-performing, tried-and-true meta staples, currently sitting at the 52%-53% WR range.
Sivir Akshan Demacia
As it is often the nature of things at the meta's zenith, Sivir Akshan – while still among the most powerful blends – could not sustain itself at the very peak, where it found itself last week.
A refinement process is underway, though – our recommended list, which has the best performance, is not the most popular – so we may see Palace Raider and Treasure Hunter give the crest another go.
Strong Against: Darkness, Bandle Tree, Draven Rumble – even into Tristana Faes, Scouts, Taliyah Ziggs and Lurkers
Struggles Against: Pantheon Yuumi, Gnar Sejuani, Fizz Lulu
The Party and the Mech Mechanic have recruited Captain Farron and one extra Lost Soul with quite a bit of success – as with Sivir Akshan, the most potent variants are not the most popular, which makes one think this Champion pair has not yet reached its full, refined potential.
Strong Against: Pantheon Yuumi, Lurkers, Tristana Faes
Struggles Against: Darkness, Scouts, Akshan Sivir
Miss Fortune, aka Scouts
Yet another medley that, having lost some ground in its struggle for the top, seems to be readjusting itself – last week we noted that blends with a higher spell count were not performing as well as those relying mostly on units, but currently a full roster of Blinding Assault, while keeping two copies of Penitent Squire, is packing the most punch.
Strong Against: Darkness, Bandle Tree, Gnar Ziggs, Draven Rumble, Taliyah Ziggs, Fizz Lulu – even into Lurkers and Tristana Faes
Struggles Against: Pantheon Yuumi (a horrible matchup)
If mirrors are not your cup of tea, yet you value well-tested formulas, here are our blends with both solid WR and several hundreds games played at Platinum and above – the best possible overlap between uniqueness and confidence.
With its WR going sky-high as its playrate dropped – not an unseen effect when a strong deck becomes a bit of an "old toy", and only experienced die-hard fans favor it – and with 1,400 games played in the last week, Fizz Lulu has proven superior to other Yordles in Arms builds (like Fizz Gnar), except perhaps the current Ruling Royals.
Strong Against: Lurkers, Pantheon Yuumi, Gnar Ziggs, Akshan Sivir
Struggles Against: Darkness, Scouts, Tristana Faes
Curious Gnar Lux
This blend's performance has dropped as it became more amply adopted, but still performs over the "silly WR" mark – our recommended blend is the most popular in both the Americas and EU shards.
Strong Against: Pantheon Yuumi, Scouts, Lurkers
Struggles Against: Darkness
Sejuani Gnar Bandle
This overwhelming champion pair is doing a lot of work with different region combinations (see the Shurima and P&Z versions below) – the Bandle version is the most popular, and our recommended formula performs at the 54% WR mark.
Superb skipper Sirturmund has written a luxuriously detailed manual on the archetype, with a slightly different variant.
Strong Against: Lurkers – even against Scouts.
Struggles Against: Darkness
Sejuani Gnar Shurima, ft Sivir
Here's another iteration of Sejuani Gnar, ditching Freljord's coldness for Shurima's arid, ruthless tools – and WR that goes from "silly" to "stupid".
Prominent pilot talpinator recently drove this archetype to Top #4 in the EU shard.
Strong Against: Darkness, Lurkers, Pantheon Yuumi
Struggles Against: Gnarlines
Sejuani Gnar P&Z
We would normally showcase this blend in our Wild Side section, given the smallish size of the available data sample, but for completeness sake we grouped it with the other two Sejuani Gnar medleys.
Definitely a champion partnership to be mindful of!
Strong Against: Darkness, Tristana Faes, Draven Rumble – even into Scouts
Struggles Against: Gnarlines, Pantheon Yuumi, Gnar Ziggs
Lux Zoe Aphelios
This archetype has, overall, a subpar 49% WR – yet the most popular list, with 300+ games played, has around 53%.
Most likely a case of a mixture of unrefined builds dragging the average down, and great piloting skills behind this particular formula, so tread with care.
Strong Against: Scouts, Pantheon Yuumi
Struggles Against: Darkness, Gnarlines, Lurkers
Time to throw caution and prudence to the winds, my friend?
Then this is our selection of little-seen, scarcely tested brews – all with winrates from quite decent to frankly silly, but with such small sample sizes that it is impossible to say how much of that success is due to plain luck, and what is thanks to Aspect-Tier piloting skills.
Frozen City Fizz Yuumi
Sublime skipper Sirturmund recently reached top fifteen with this blend, which was labeled as a hidden gem by renowned numeromancer Dr. LoR in his scholarly studies.
Strong Against: Darkness
Struggles Against: Scouts, Tristana Faes
Gnar may not be in half the decks any longer, but its unparalleled flexibility still gives birth to all sorts of mixtures.
Strong Against: Lurkers
Struggles Against: Gnarlines, Scouts, Darkness
Braum Udyr Galio
A blend attempting a marriage of the two worst-performing new Champions, a Gorlith the Unscalable top-end on top…
… and still performing over 54% across a good number of games!
Strong Against: Gnarlines, Scouts
Struggles Against: Pantheon Yuumi, Darkness, Lurkers
No chorus yells "Midrange!" better than Screeching Dragon and Jarvan IV, here paired with Braum and Troll Chant.
Strong Against: Scouts, Tristana Faes
Struggles Against: Darkness, Gnarlines, Pantheon Yuumi
A mostly-Americas blend, seen a bit in the APAC shard – another testament to Gnar's unmatched flexibility.
Strong Against: Gnarlines
Struggles Against: Darkness
Kindred Karma Go Hard
Only a handful of games played, sillily-high WR – Kindred and Karma pooling their respective synergies with Go Hard and Pack Your Bags.
An old archetype, still packing a punch – our recommended list is the most popular in the Americas and EU shard.
Legna Hypothesis requires an underplayed Riven list in every medley showcase. While our good friend bA1lance polishes his upcoming academic treatise: "On Fishing and Forging – Fathoming Fizz Riven's Formula", here is our favorite Ambush pair, being ignored as usual in spite of its solid performance.
And so, my friend…
… thus we conclude this Friday's showcase.
I hope you have enjoyed our less gnarly assortment this week, and that at least one blend whets your appetite enough to take it for a spin.
Any questions or comments, or more data you may need, feel free to poke me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/HerkoKerghans), or ping me in Discord (Herko Kerghans#6252). And you find more of my writings on Substack (https://riwan.substack.com/)
Bood luck in your climb!