Greetings, my friend! Welcome to Awakening's First Friday, and the beginning of a new Meta cycle!
Please, step inside – and excuse the mess, I beg you, and our wares being in such disarray as we discern what goes where in these turbulent times. But fear not! As usual, our carefully curated selection includes the best Legend of Runeterra decks, collected from admirable APIarists Balco's and Legna's findings, along MaRu's own Meta Tier List, and insights gathered from prominent pilots at the Blue Bird Inn.
Best Legends of Runeterra Decks: Awakening of a New Meta
We shall start with a glimpse to Balco's chart, as usual – this being a First Friday, we will sort archetypes by their Meta Score, which factors both WR and popularity…
… which, as seen yesterday, amply shows that unlike the Worldwalker expansion (in which new Champs like Illaoi were punching at peak performance right from the start), Awakening Champions seems a bit… dozy, so to speak.
So let us start with these fresh, if sleepy, new faces, to later showcase a handful of Timelines variations (as we shall see, it is perhaps one of the concepts pilots seems most eager to experiment with), and lastly review the Old Dogs that, even without new tricks are domineering the Ladder right now.
Fresh Faces: New Legends of Runeterra Decks
These, my friend, is our selection of new decks – in all cases but one they include at least one new Champion in brand-new archetypes, with the last blend being a very well-known champion pair but with a novel second region.
As per our rigorous standards, all decks showcased here have win rates (WR) above 51%, with our sample being Platinum and above.
Vi Jax Timelines
As we shall see further down, there is a boon of experimentation around Concurrent Timelines. A plethora of new followers, via the Improvise mechanic, bring a bounty of on-play effects along with weak bodies – Concurrent Timelines preserves the former, while (usually) fixing the latter.
Vi Jax is, as of now, the best-performing brand-new archetype (this Timelines take has very little similarity to the classic Trundle version). We shall recommend its second most popular formula, which performs quite well – yet if you are in the mood for experimenting, here is another variation which goes heavier on units and that is faring even better.
Strong against: Ornn Jax
Struggles against: Trundle Timelines, Nasus Kindred, Viego Evelynn
This blend seems to be petering out, after a decent start yesterday – the second most popular formula is doing okay, but other variations seem sub-par as of now. Interestingly, it has quite good odds against the current Ladder rulers, namely Pirates – but the rest of this medley's matchups don't look too good.
Strong against: Pirates
Struggles against: Nasus Kindred (badly!), Trundle Timelines
Now, tread carefully, my friend. We have an interesting case here: among a veritable deluge of truly hideous formulas (I am talking bottom-barrel poro poop: WRs well below 40%), there's one specific variation punching above 55%. Sample size is fairly small, so pilots beware!
Teemo Norra Ionia
Attempts at pairing Norra with Piltover have been disastrous, and most other experiments have failed utterly, yet this unlikely Ionia medley is a formula worth recommending: its performance is fairly adequate (nearly 52%), so there may be room for growth here.
Another unlikely Norra pairing that manages to get past the 51% WR mark – like Teemo Norra above, do take it with copious amounts of salt, but the glimmer of promise is there.
Twisted Fate Nami Ionia
These faces are fairly well-known, of course… but do check the pairing region.
Nami TF Shadows has been a powerhouse among top pilots for quite some time, yet Awakening has brought an interesting twist: although said Shadow version still fares superbly well (as we shall see further down), this new Ionia variation actually outperforms the Shadow version by quite a large margin – probably due to its excellent odds against Pirates, and apparently being one of the very few popular blends with an edge on Kat Gwen.
Strong against: Pirates (very!) – seems to have an edge on Kat Gwen
Struggles against: Nasus Kindred?
Notably Absent: Master Yi
Let us spend a respectful moment in silence, my friend, contemplating the sad fate of unplayable Champions…
… very well; now, please allow me to show you the rest of our selection!
Time for Timelines
As commented when presenting Vi Jax, Timelines and Improvise seem like a match made in Heavens. Or, well, at least in made in the Lab – there are several different takes on Trundle Timelines right now, and some of them are performing extraordinarily well.
The King of Trolls has forged a solid friendship with Ornn, to the point that this new take of an old blend is the best-performing deck with a new Champion – several versions exist, with the most popular comfortably surpassing the 53% WR mark.
Be warned, though: it suffers greatly in front of the current Top Dogs, so unless refinements are found, this friendship may not hold for long.
Strong against: Akshan Kayn, Ornn Jax, Vi Jax
Struggles against: Pirates (badly), Katarina Gwen, Nasus Kindred
Classic Trundle Timelines, with a few new toys and tricks. Punching well above 55% and with a much better matchup spread when compared to Trundle Ornn, this is arguably the best Timelines medley – sample sizes are on the small side, though.
Strong against: Vi Jax, Trundle Ornn, Zoe Kayn – slight edge on Kat Gwen
Struggles against: Pirates – slight underdog to Kindred Nasus
The Troll King likes his new toys so much that he has tossed the second Champion aside!
Compared to Vi Trundle, these tweaks seemingly allow Lone Trundle to gain points against Kindred Nasus (the matchup becoming slightly favored in this case), while making the Kat Gwen confrontation a bit worse.
Old Gold: Current Best LoR Decks
If novelty is not exactly your top priority right now, and you would rather focus on raw power and top-shelf performance, then these early days any of the strong decks of yesterday are your best bet.
Pirates, aka Miss Fortune Twisted Fate
The best blend in Runeterra right now is the exact same blend as last week, card by card, and it's also the most popular formula among all archetypes, bar none. If you wish to add a touch of novelty, switch Legion Grenadier for Ionian Hookmaster – you will then have the second most popular formula from among all archetypes, and nearly the exact same WR.
Strong against: Kindred Nasus, all stripes of Timelines, Lone Kai'Sa, most new decks
Struggles against: Zoe Kayn, Nami TF blends, Thresh Nasus – slight underdog to Kat Gwen and, funnily enough, Lulu Norra (which is an otherwise hideous medley)
Katarina Gwen, ft Elise
After this Meta's dust settles, though, we may find this trio on top of the throne – unlike Pirates, who have a couple of Achilles' heels, these three ladies seem to have not a single bad matchup in sight… and such a refined list that they need no new toys.
Strong against: Most new decks
Struggles against: Vi Trundle (only slightly), and perhaps Nami TF Ionia
If we are to look at WR alone, then Gauntlet Boy and Manual-devouring Yordle are the current top-performing Meta deck – tiny samples make that assertion shaky at best this early on, and bad matchups against Pirates and Kat Gwen suggests Ezreal Kennen is mostly bullying weaker blends, but there's little doubt that this Champion pair has hit the Awakening ground running.
Strong against: Nasus Kindred, most new decks
Struggles against: Pirates (badly!), Kat Gwen
Hitting like a truck after the Hate Spike buff, Kindred Nasus is yet another Old Dog with no need for new tricks – the best two lists just differ in a single copy of Shadow Isles Tellstones in place of Rite of Negation. Same yellow flag as Ezreal Kennen applies, though: an early glimpse at Kindred Nasus' matchups speaks of a new-decks bully that recedes when confronting refined blends.
Strong against: Demolishes most new decks
Struggles against: Pirates (horribly!), Kat Gwen (slightly), Viego Evelynn, Ezreal Kennen
No, my friend, she is not dead. Not that it would make too much of a difference, mind you, now that she has access to Heedless Resurrection.
The Void Abominations seem gone, at least!
Like Kindred Nasus, Viego Evelynn jumped aboard the Hate Spike buff train and never got down – and, looking at its current matchups, may be riding that train for quite some time.
Strong against: Kindred Nasus, most new decks – slight edge against Pirates, roughly even against Kat Gwen
Struggles against: Vi Trundle?
Twisted Fate Nami Shadows
What many a top pilot considers one of the best decks both for ladder and tournaments has made room for the new Quietus spell, but otherwise remains fairly similar to what we saw by the end of Forces from Beyond – and is one of the few blends that can punch Pirates in the face.
Strong against: Pirate Aggro, Kindred Nasus
Struggles against: Kat Gwen
Another King shoving fellow Champions aside, so as to not having to share all his new toys – to the point that he is one of the very few main-decking an Equipment.
Strong against: Nasus Kindred?
Struggles against: Pirates
Very well, my friend!
Thus concludes our Awakening First Friday showcase – as the Armorer's Guild Oath demands, I must counsel caution when considering crafting any blend, new or old, this early in the Season: do bear in mind our Meta loves turning on a dime, and mighty medleys today may become munificent LP donors tomorrow…
… then again, no better time to fight fresh with fresh than now, so if wildcards abound, do go wild. And, by the way: if you are in need of weapons of choice for a Tournament or Gauntlet run, be sure to check Sirturmund's & Monte's recommended Tournament and Gauntlet decks.
Best of luck in these turbulent timelines!
Any questions or comments, or more data you may need, please feel free to:
Poke me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HerkoKerghans,
Ping me on Discord: https://discord.gg/VNN5NmGhXY,
Or find more writings on substack: https://riwan.substack.com/
And good luck out there!