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Countering the Runeterra Meta #2

Seasoned brewer 4LW shares builds and tips for five decks to counter the current meta: Elise Trundle, RickoRex's Bone Club Darius, Zed Gwen, good ol' Soraka TK, and RPG's Gwen Fizz.

Hey, peeps! Hope y’all had a great end of the year and I wish a fulfilling 2023 to all of us.

Today we’re back for the second Countering the Runeterra Meta (CtM, for short). If you missed CtM #1, where I explain what this series is about, check it here

This will probably be the last CtM before the next balance patch hits (Riot has not yet confirmed exactly when the next patch will land, but either next week, or the following, are the most likely), so let’s try to get ahead of the current LoR meta before it fades away. 


The Meta

Briefly, this is what the current meta is about, and it comes without substantial changes to the top three for most played decks:

LoR Meta Report: Legends of Runeterra Tier List, sorted by play rate

Just as in previous weeks, we see Aatrox Vayne, Red Gwen and Bandle Bar at the top. The novelty is Red Gwen above Seraphine Ezreal, a change most likely pushed by the highest winrate of the former on the ranked stage. 

Below the top three we see a variety of decks, where the most threatening – those with not only high play rate, but also high win rate – are Aatrox Kayn, Rumble Vayne, Discard Aggro and Trundle Tryndamere.

If you want a more detailed overview of the current structure of the meta before advancing to counter strategies, make sure to check Leer’s Monday Meta Report and Herko’s By the Numbers.


Meta Resistance

The current Masters ranked system (where you most often get +15 LP for wins and -25 LP for losses) feels a bit too punishing for wild experiments, especially if you have a good amount of points. After sinking a bunch of my own LP by testing a lot of combinations, these are the off meta decks I’m using to climb back (or that other people are having success with).

Trundle Elise

The first deck I’m highlighting this week is the same archetype I highlighted on CtM #1: TrundleTrundle EliseElise.

Regions
Freljord
20 cards
Shadow Isles
20 cards
Rarities
30 800
champion
6
epic
6
rare
14
common
14
Mana cost
0
0
4
1
15
2
3
3
0
4
9
5
2
6
7
7+
Champions
6
2
Elise
3
Elise
5
Trundle
3
Trundle
Followers
13
2
Avarosan Sentry
3
Avarosan Sentry
2
Icevale Archer
1
Icevale Archer
2
Redeemed Prodigy
3
Redeemed Prodigy
3
Doombeast
2
Doombeast
3
Kindly Tavernkeeper
1
Kindly Tavernkeeper
8
It That Stares
2
It That Stares
9
Commander Ledros
1
Commander Ledros
Spells
21
1
Quietus
3
Quietus
1
Three Sisters
1
Three Sisters
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Vile Feast
3
Vile Feast
5
Spirits Unleashed
3
Spirits Unleashed
5
Wild Mysticism
3
Wild Mysticism
6
Vengeance
2
Vengeance
7
Atrocity
1
Atrocity
8
Battle Fury
1
Battle Fury
9
Buried in Ice
2
Buried in Ice
Open deck in builder

The main modifications I made from the previous list are the inclusions of DoombeastDoombeast and Redeemed ProdigyRedeemed Prodigy, making the deck a bit more aggressive. 

Redeemed Prodigy

This Trundle Elise deck keeps performing for me – I have a good tournament record and over 70% WR on ladder, through the course of more than 60 games.

On CtM #1 I suggested it on the rationale that with Shadow Isles plus Freljord you get to play both QuietusQuietus and Buried in IceBuried in Ice, two strong cards to fight the meta. Since then, Trundle Tryndamere has rose in popularity and is now the most played Shadow Isles Freljord deck, also making use of both Quietus and Buried in Ice. Although FTR is currently more popular than Trundle Elise, they seem to have similar global winrates, or at least this is true whenever I check lormaster.com’s Meta Environment

The main advantage of Trundle Elise over Trundle Tryndamere within the current meta is, in my experience, a better matchup against Aatrox Vayne. This seems to be true when we check Legna’s matchup section:

Elise Trundle Matchups

I couldn’t find reliable stats for Trundle Elise against the rest of the field, but, from my experience, FTR should be stronger than the former at least against Bandle Bar and Discard Aggro.

I said on the previous CtM that the combination of Shadow Isles and Freljord isn’t something especially inventive. For example, Gwen Sejuani should be a solid pick for that combination as well, as shown by its great pilot FuriousPorobear. At the end of the day, picking one of them depends on personal preferences and on what decks you expect to face the most.


Zed Gwen

The second deck for on today's CtM is ZedZed GwenGwen.

Regions
Shadow Isles
25 cards
Ionia
15 cards
Rarities
30 600
champion
6
epic
6
rare
13
common
15
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
15
2
6
3
5
4
0
5
5
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Zed
3
Zed
4
Gwen
3
Gwen
Landmarks
3
3
Opulent Foyer
3
Opulent Foyer
Followers
12
1
Boisterous Host
3
Boisterous Host
2
Phantom Butler
3
Phantom Butler
2
Redeemed Prodigy
3
Redeemed Prodigy
6
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
3
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
Spells
19
1
Ghost
3
Ghost
1
Quietus
3
Quietus
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Syncopation
2
Syncopation
2
Twin Disciplines
2
Twin Disciplines
2
Vile Feast
3
Vile Feast
4
Concussive Palm
1
Concussive Palm
4
Deny
1
Deny
6
Vengeance
2
Vengeance
Open deck in builder

There are some SIShadow Isles + IOIonia decks around right now. Some include Zed, some include Gwen. But almost all of them have bad matchups against the most popular decks and heavily focus on Ephemerals, a Keyword and archetype with many problems. 

Ephemerals matchups

The list I’m showcasing is slightly different from those just mentioned. Without the Ephemeral or Blade Dance Package, here we get to run a few more control tools (VengeanceVengeance is a very good card to have against Rumble Vayne, for example). Our aggression comes mainly from evasion, by using GhostGhost and SyncopationSyncopation – very strong cards when combined with Hallowed buffs – and not from a swarm of units (which is what Ephemeral and Blade Dance decks usually go for).

Ghost Syncopation

Similar archetypes to the one I’m suggesting have been tried many times before, by me and others. The most successful usage of a similar deck that pops to my mind comes from a Seasonal Tournament run from the player weiseguy. The novelty here comes from GhostGhost (a good tech against Aatrox Vayne) and SyncopationSyncopation (useful tech against removal-heavy decks, like Bandle Bar). On top of that, we get to use Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed, a card that recently had its nerf reverted and that is, in my opinion currently underused for what it does.


Freljord Darius

Our third deck is from RickoRex, Runeterra's best-known self-confessed Overwhelm abuser. 

Regions
Freljord
17 cards
Noxus
23 cards
Rarities
15 100
champion
2
epic
3
rare
10
common
25
Mana cost
0
0
10
1
9
2
6
3
0
4
8
5
2
6
5
7+
Champions
2
6
Darius
2
Darius
Equipments
3
5
Bone Club
3
Bone Club
Followers
24
1
Crimson Pigeon
3
Crimson Pigeon
1
Legion Rearguard
3
Legion Rearguard
1
Legion Saboteur
3
Legion Saboteur
2
Ruthless Raider
3
Ruthless Raider
2
Tusk Speaker
3
Tusk Speaker
3
Iron Ballista
3
Iron Ballista
5
Fallen Reckoner
3
Fallen Reckoner
7
Ancient Yeti
3
Ancient Yeti
Spells
11
1
Elixir of Wrath
1
Elixir of Wrath
2
Troll Chant
3
Troll Chant
3
Whirling Death
3
Whirling Death
5
Decisive Maneuver
2
Decisive Maneuver
8
Battle Fury
2
Battle Fury
Open deck in builder

This is a very aggressive deck that relies on board spammig and Overwhelm, plus stat boosts. Current LoR stats show Freljord Darius doing well into Aatrox Vayne and Bandle Bar. Spamming units, with backup buffs, putting pressure on every attack is often too much for Bandle Bar, a deck without native heal and without good Equipment removal to destroy Bone ClubBone Club.

Bone Club

Something similar goes for the Aatrox Vayne matchup, but for that one Freljord Darius seems to depend a bit more on combat tricks like Troll ChantTroll Chant and Whirling DeathWhirling Death.

Although Freljord Darius can perform well into the two top dogs mentioned, it has an unfavored matchup against Red Gwen. This is also most likely true against the majority of Shadow Isles decks, a region that has access to QuietusQuietus, Vile FeastVile Feast and VengeanceVengeance. RickoRex himself is currently showing, on his lormaster.com profile, an approximate winrate of 64% after 77 games, evidencing that the deck does not come without weaknesses. Even so, it should be a good meta breaker for these last days before a balance cycle.


Soraka Tahm Kench

You read it right, I’m suggesting Soraka TK as a meta breaker!

Regions
Bilgewater
17 cards
Mount Targon
23 cards
Rarities
30 700
champion
6
epic
7
rare
8
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
8
1
18
2
3
3
11
4
0
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Soraka
3
Soraka
4
Tahm Kench
3
Tahm Kench
Landmarks
3
2
Star Spring
3
Star Spring
Equipments
2
2
The Darkin Lodestone
2
The Darkin Lodestone
Followers
14
1
Crusty Codger
3
Crusty Codger
1
Star Shepherd
2
Star Shepherd
2
Boxtopus
3
Boxtopus
2
Fortune Croaker
3
Fortune Croaker
2
Hired Gun
1
Hired Gun
4
Broadbacked Protector
2
Broadbacked Protector
Spells
15
1
Shakedown
3
Shakedown
2
Guiding Touch
3
Guiding Touch
2
Pale Cascade
3
Pale Cascade
4
Astral Protection
3
Astral Protection
4
The Expanse's Protection
2
The Expanse's Protection
4
The Unending Wave
1
The Unending Wave
Open deck in builder

I often try to force that deck to counter the meta (and maybe more than I should). I profited a lot from abusing that archetype back on some old metas, like on the Go HardGo Hard meta and on the AhriAhri KennenKennen meta. It is a reasonable option again, as it does fairly well against Aatrox Vayne and Bandle Bar.

Star Spring

It does well against Aatrox Vayne because on that matchup there is no Landmark destruction to disrupt Star SpringStar Spring, and because you can fight big stats with even bigger stats. Your main concern for that matchup is a discounted CondemnCondemn.

And it does well against Bandle Bar because most of the time the Bar player does not want to damage your units. The main concern for that matchup is not being able to set up your main pieces – namely SorakaSoraka, Tahm KenchTahm Kench and Star SpringStar Spring – before SeraphineSeraphine comes down leveled up.

The main predator of Soraka Tahm Kench decks is Quietus, which makes the Shadow Isles matchups very rough. For that reason, I believe it has a similar matchup table to Freljord Darius. 


Fizz Gwen, aka Gwizz

The last deck featured today comes from the Red Pup Games folks.

Regions
Bilgewater
16 cards
Shadow Isles
24 cards
Rarities
32 200
champion
6
epic
6
rare
21
common
7
Mana cost
2
0
11
1
10
2
6
3
9
4
2
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Fizz
3
Fizz
4
Gwen
3
Gwen
Landmarks
3
3
Opulent Foyer
3
Opulent Foyer
Followers
18
1
Boisterous Host
3
Boisterous Host
2
Phantom Butler
3
Phantom Butler
2
Redeemed Prodigy
3
Redeemed Prodigy
3
Buhru Leader
3
Buhru Leader
4
Island Navigator
3
Island Navigator
4
Zap Sprayfin
3
Zap Sprayfin
Spells
13
0
Fading Memories
2
Fading Memories
1
Quietus
2
Quietus
1
Shadow Isles Tellstones
3
Shadow Isles Tellstones
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Heavy Metal
2
Heavy Metal
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
2
Eye of Nagakabouros
Open deck in builder

Fizz Gwen is a clever mix of powerful mechanics right now. It uses Elusive evasion to kill Aatrox Vayne as fast as possible, a strategy that tends to work quite well now that we rarely see SharpsightSharpsight in Demacia decks. It also has access to the currently two best Equipment removals in the game, QuietusQuietus and Heavy MetalHeavy Metal, to make the Aatrox Vayne matchup even better.

Fizz Buhru Leader

Fizz is a powerful menace to Bandle Bar, Red Gwen, Lurk and Trundle Tryndamere – especially when combined with Buhru LeaderBuhru Leader, which is very hard to deal with and can carry these matchups with ease, attacking with Elusive evasion multiple times. And the interactions between Island NavigatorIsland Navigator, the Scout keyword, Hallowed, Opulent FoyerOpulent Foyer and Buhru Leader are the icing on the cake, making matchups against Lurk and FTR, for example, even better.

The biggest issue for Fizz Gwen among the meta decks seems to be Rumble Vayne decks, as they can often win the race to kill the opponent. Even so, Fizz Gwen is certainly a solid and fun pick to fight most of the current best LoR decks.


Wrapping up

Thanks for checking the second issue of Countering the Runeterra Meta! 

As usual, if you have any feedback or if you have a spicy that can maybe be featured here next time, don’t hesitate in contacting me through Twitter or through the 4LW #8126 Discord. 

CtM will be back whenever we have an initial shape of a meta for the next balance cycle, so stay tuned!



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