Welcome back, my friend! Glad to see you have reached Friday's shores in one piece!
Come, come – let's leave the weekdays' stormy sea, and seek refuge from workplace worries and petty squabbles.
A Peek at the Top
We have had a few ups and downs, and a also the arrival of a few fresh faces…
… but, while still in tasty turmoil, top troupers remain broadly similar as last week.
And, notably, while most winrates have restrained themselves to strong-yet-manageable ranges, there still remain two decks past the Stupid WR range.
On the other hand, play rates are deliciously distributed, and no one deck seem overbearing for now.
Cream of the Crop
These are the best of the best – if performance is your top priority, and the Seasonal Gates are about to be jammed shut in front of your face, cast flair to the wind and pick any of these.
Fortune indeed favors the bold! Miss Fortune and her merry bunch of misfits have taken hold of the Meta Throne – if only by a tiny margin – and count themselves as one of the most popular blends to boot.
Notice how, when looking at other top medleys, Pirates do not seem so impressive… yet they rain bloody murder on most below-average mixes, and are a thorn in the side of a couple of the most popular.
Strong Against: Sun Disc, Pantheon Yuumi, Taliyah Ziggs
Struggles Against: Trundle Tryndamere, Sentinel Control, Scouts, Aphelios Fizz, Ezreal Heimer
The Fated blends have proven quite apt at contesting the top of the meta, and they are just a slight Meta shift away from the throne.
Several slightly different formulas enjoy a similar level of traction and performance – we shall recommend the most popular among them.
Strong Against: Sun Disc, Taliya Ziggs, Jayce Lux, Scouts
Struggles Against: Tri beam blends, Pirates, Azirelia, Darius Gnar
Bandle Fizz Aphelios
And here we have it, my friend: the newest arrival at the very top, adequately causing the ruckus and waves you'd expect from the aquatic trickster – an archetype that saw a lot of play last patch, and about which superb scholar and skipper MonteXristo wrote an extensive, detailed guide not long ago.
The archetype seems fairly refined, with the one of the best formulas – which we recommend below – being also the most popular by a strong margin.
Strong Against: Sun Disc, Pirates, Taliyah Ziggs, Jayce Lux, Draven Sion
Struggles Against: Pantheon Yuumi
Other Strong Meta Options:
Only a few percentage points below the Top Dogs, these are for all practical purposes as good an option as the three we have just perused.
Miss Fortune Quinn, aka Scouts
After a not extraordinarily early sprint during Patch Week, the Skin Queens of Arcadia have shown doubters the errors of their assumptions.
A fairly well refined blend at this point, although far from as popular as it used to be.
Strong Against: Trundle Tryndamere, Sun Disc, Pirates, Taliyah Ziggs
Struggles Against: Tri Beam, Pantheon Yuumi, Jayce Lux
The Shirtless King's performance these last few days is nothing short of dazzling – and a look at specific formulas strongly suggest he is only just warming up. Our recommended blend is both the most popular (by massive advantage), performs well above the "silly" benchmark, and other less-popular variations also perform excellently.
I would not bet against the Shirtless King being the Throne's challenge in the very near future.
Strong Against: Trundle Tryndamere
Struggles Against: Tri beam blends, Jayce Lux, Draven Sion, Aphelios Fizz
These are other strong Meta staples, if none of the above are to your liking – a skilled skipper should achieve resounding results with any of these.
Shadow Heimerdinger Jayce
The other new kid among the Top Dogs, student and professor have risen from a fairly popular off-meta deck last patch to an important factor in the current ladder.
Data suggests ample room for improvement – while the most popular list performs adequately, it's the second most popular (which we shall recommend below) the one with the best WR by far. Do be advised that sample size is on the smallish side of the scale.
Strong Against: Tri beam blends, Sentinel Control
Struggles Against: Trundle Tryndamere, Sun Disc, Taliyah Ziggs, Pantheon Yuumi, Draven Sion
Taliyah Ziggs, a solid counter to Sun Disc and Trundle Tryndamere but that suffers with Pirates.
Draven Sion or, if you are feeling a bit more adventurous, Draven Sion Vi, about which superb skipper and scholar Card Gamer recently penned a premium appraisal, considering it one of the strongest decks for both Tournaments and Ladder.
Trundle Tryndamere, still an excellent choice for those who prefer the Control approach to their confrontation – do note that the Viego Shurima matchup is horribly bad.
The Connoisseur's Corner
Not pleased with popular perspectives, and looking for something a bit more exotic while still well-tested?
These would be the blends I would recommend you in that case – at least a couple of hundred games under their belts, and sometimes over a thouthands, all played at Platinum and above. Yet you can confront foes for hours on end without suffering through a single mirror
Flying a bit below the radar now that other blends are more popular, this Overwhelming pair is a superb well-tested choice. It is also perhaps the most refined of all the options I have for you today: our recommended formula is the most popular by a landslide, with a fairly even split among all three shards.
Strong Against: Sun Disc, Trundle Tryndamere
Struggles Against: Tri beam blends, Pirates, Pantheon Yuumi
Another fairly well known archetype, seeing play above all in the AM and EMEA shards.
Strong Against: Tri beam blend, Sentinel Control, Virgo Shurima
Struggles Against: Sun Disc, Pirates, Trundle Tryndamere
Papercraft Fizz Riven
More of an APAC development in this case, although this Combo deck does see play in all shards. There are several formulas vying for the 'most popular' tag, which suggests plenty of experimentation.
Strong Against: Sun Disc
Struggles Against: Pirates, Pantheon Yuumi
Tryndamere Trundle Ionia
Usually nicknamed Feel the Minah, although in some variations Minah Swiftfoot has given room to She Who Wanders – the EMEA shard appears particularly fond of this variation, while the archetype as a whole is nearly absent in APAC.
Strong Against: Tri beam, the Shadow variant of Tryndamere Trundle
Struggles Against: Pirates
Curious Ezreal Viktor
In spite of some initial predictions, Ezreal has become an interesting sight but nowhere near a Ladder Terror – other than his by now staple collaboration with Caitlyn, none of his decks seem to have achieved great popularity, nor impressive performance.
And not for lack of experimentation, as we shall soon see.
This blend in particular pairs him with the Curious Shellfolk package for an abundance of Burst spells and damage-dealing.
Bandle Ezreal Heimer
The same region paring as above, but this time Ezreal teaming up with the hirsute scientist and a very flat curve.
Strong Against: Tri beam blends, Pirates, Draven Sion, Viego Shurima
Struggles Against: Trundle Tryndamere, Taliyah Ziggs, Pantheon Yuumi, Taliyah Ziggs
Fake Ezreal Burn
A somewhat cheeky trick, that somewhat proves that cheekeness is fairly evenly spread across all shards since this exact formula is among the most popular in all three.
Simply put, NoxZaun burn with a single copy of the desired champion (somewhat similar versions with Teemo exist) to nudge foes into the wrong mulligan strategy.
A Walk on the Wild Side
Time to cast caution to the wind, my friend!
All medleys in this section have indeed performed admirably at Platinum and above, but in such small samples – sometimes below 100 games – that assertions on their prowess are flimsy at best.
A somewhat odd couple, one embodying Nature's balance, the other making his body his Lab, but results have been –albeit in a smallish sample – promising thus far
Strong Against: Trundle Tryndamere, seemingly also Draven Sion and Aphelios Fizz.
Struggles Against: Pantheon Yuumi, Jayce Lux
Not exactly a new blend, since we saw something similar during the Age of Ahri Kennen. Solid WR (53%+) over more than a hundred games.
Strong Against: Sun Disc, Pantheon Yuumi
Struggles Against: Pirates (horribly!)
Shadow Anivia Tryndamere
A delicacy for those that delight in ramping and keeping the board spotlessly clean. Stupidly high winrate across smallish (60+) game sample
Kindred Matron Galio
I do not pretend to know what is going on here, my friend, other than this obviously being a Cithria Matron medley. But nearly a hundred games in the last three days, with close to a 60% WR, does earn this blend a "Wild, indeed!"
Strong Against: Jayce Lux
Struggles Against: Sun Disc, Pirates
Here is a rather spicy take on this archetype, leaning much harder into the self-Slay triggers than usual – an APAC delicacy.
Strong Against: Jayce Lux
Struggles Against: Tri beam blends, Trundle Tryndamere, Pirates
Piltover Avengers, aka Teemo Ezreal Vi Caitlyn Jayce
Those seeking for the really wild should look no further. It does seem to work, even, across 70+ games!
Bandle Zilean Akshan
A not unheard-of collaboration, these two Shurima Champions have been putting quite the work. A single list, which strongly implies a unique and highly-skilled skipper at the helm.
And so, my friend!
Here is to hoping that hopping into the Ladder with one of these sounds like an engaging, relaxing plan.
And, while my blends and medleys are indeed specified for the Ladder, should you need some Tournament or Gauntlet recommendations I can wholeheartedly endorse Sirturmund's and MonteXristo's expert writings on the matter.
Any questions, comments or feedback – or any exotic blend you're after! – feel free drop a comment, poke me on Twitter (@HerkoKerghans), or ping me on the Poetry Discord (https://discord.gg/VNN5NmGhXY – yes, indeed, my friend: a LoR Poetry Discord! =).
And you can find more of my writings on Substack (https://riwan.substack.com/)
Good luck on your journey!