LoR Best Decks – Fated to Return
As of early Sunday, these are the best LoR decks and Archetypes right now, according to Balco and Mastering Runeterra Meta Tier List:
Twisted Fate Swain, like last Friday, remains the most popular archetype by a wide margin, now with both win rate (WR) and play rate inside of what Riot considers acceptable (WR below 55%, and PR below 15%) – in other words, and at least by these numbers, TF Swain is not a 'broken' deck, powerful and popular as it may be.
Lee Sin Nami, as we'll see in detail, is the best deck right now when you consider its matchups, but has a strong competitor at the top of the WR charts: Raphterra's creation, Fiora Pantheon, has clawed to the peak.
Last but not least, an aside for those that like the data-crunching side of things: the combination of the excitement from the balance patch, plus the larger amount of Master players (in turn due to Riot's revamped Ladder system) has spiked the amount of games the data sites track – this is why, as detailed below, this is our most Juggernaut-esque report ever! =)
Technical note – About archetypes and decklists, and what we mean by "LoR best decks"
Balco's chart above, like most data sites (including MaRu's Meta Tier List) and many of our articles (like Leer's LoR Meta Decks Report last Monday) sorts LoR decks by archetype ("archetype" being the aggregate of decks with a specific champion combination) – that's also how matchup tables are shown in pretty much all data sites.
In this article, we'll sort decks by the best specific decklist for each archetype – since in each archetype some decks fare better than others (and sometimes the difference is quite noticeable), we'll broadly group the best LoR decks in four arbitrary categories, by amount of games played in the last three days in the data samples we check:
- Juggernauts: decks with more than 2100 games – these are the best tried-and-true decks for the climbing job.
- Heavyweights: between 2100 and 900 games played – other excellent choices, with large enough samples to confidently say, "Yeah, this works."
- Punching Up: between 900 and 300 games – we're entering the Land of Small Sample Sizes here, on top of the meta being up in the air, but as far as numbers go, these decks can put up one hell of a fight.
- YMMV: between 300 and 150 games – risky stuff, but here's where you usually find the spice!
For this article, in all cases we'll look at decklists in Platinum and above, and in the last three days, unless stated otherwise – and when talking about decks in general, or best LoR decks in particular, we'll always be referring to specific lists (while reserving "archetype" to denominate the aggregate of all decks with a particular champion pair). As a rule of thumb, decks with a winrate (WR) above 52% catch our eye, above 53% are eye-widening, and anything over 55% is exceptional.
On the other hand, do notice that when talking about matchup tables, it's always about archetypes – in other words, we'll recommend which are the best Legend of Runeterra decks (ie. specific decklist) you can choose to face the most popular archetypes (since you'll find all versions in the LoR ladder).
Last but not least: all stats and recommendations above are for choosing the best LoR deck for the Legends of Runeterra Ladder environment – if you are in need of weapons of choice for the Best-of-Three format, be sure to check Sirturmund's & Monte's recommended Tournament & Gauntlet Decks and Lineups (which they usually update every Thursday).
Sources: Balco, Legna, Mastering Runeterra Meta Tier List.
If you have any feedback on how these decks could be showcased differently, do let me know! =)
Juggernauts – Best LoR Meta Decks
Here we showcase decks with more than 2100 games and good-to-great WR – as noted above, given the huge amount of games played (due to a combination of post-patch excitement, and a spike of Master players thanks to the revamped Ladder system), today we're able to showcase five Juggernauts (and TF Swain actually counts for three), the largest amount ever in these reports.
Riot's changes to the Ranked format have, among other benefits, given us access to more data! =)
4LW's Karma Master Yi Go Hard
First, a caveat: this deck reaches only a 50.2% WR – not what we'd usually recommend to climb with, above all if you are entering "last-push mode," so to speak.
Yet, on the one hand, 4LW's latest creation is indeed the most played specific decklist (with 6,000+ games in the last three days), and on the other, yeah, when a Champ jumps from "utter garbage" to "actually playable," and it's paired with yet another Champ that has only recently enjoyed a bit of the spotlight, you have to make some concessions.
KarMasters Yi has a slight edge on TF Swain while not too disadvantaged against Nami Lee – its weak spots are actually Fiora Pantheon, Taric Poppy and Veigar Norra, which are awful matchups. So, all in all, a very playable deck: Master Yi is officially a real Champ now.
And it would appear it's also a fairly solid Tournament deck…
… as long as you are 4LW, at least! =)
Twisted Fate Swain
Daddy Swain is home, and pilots are flocking to swell the Grand General's crowd.
TF Swain's most popular deck, featuring Katarina, is the same as last Friday, and its performing quite well (punches at nearly 53% in more than 5K games), but we'll recommend the second most popular, which is seen below: it's gaining a lot of traction in all three shards, and overall smacks at 56%+ in nearly 4,000 games. The differences are minimal, though, mostly about trimming the one-ofs.
Matchups lean a bit on the "bully" side of things (as in: decks that prey on weak & unrefined brews, but that have trouble with the strongest decks in the format) – TF Swain crushes Leona decks (Asol, Galio) and the new Fearsome decks (Nocturne paired with Elise or Kalista), but loses to Nami Lee, Fiora Pantheon, Lee Sin Akshan, and is a slight underdog to KarMaster Yi.
Lee Sin Nami, ft. Twisted Fate
Consolidating last Friday's trend, Nami Lee is without a doubt the strongest deck in the format.
Its matchup table is a blue ocean…
… with only Taric Poppy making waves; and, again cementing last Friday's trends, Taric Poppy remains a solid Ladder option, but it's very unlikely it will gain too much traction (given how aggressive the current field is for it, as we'll see in more detail further below).
If you are looking for the best LoR deck for this patch cycle, then that's Nami Lee.
Raphterra's Fiora Pantheon
By last Friday, Fiora Pantheon had about 600 games played. Today, it's six times as much, and smashing at a sky-high 58%+ WR. Raph really rocked Runeterra with this one!
Fated Fiora fears blind monks a bit (both the Nami and Akshan variants), and is at a slight disadvantage against both Kat Gwen and Leona Asol. On the backswing, it slaps TF Swain, KarMaster Yi, Taric Poppy, and all Norra flavors.
The General's excursion to Piltover has lost a bit of steam, but only a bit – nearly 52% in around 3,000 games, giving Tri-beam fans a very playable deck.
Don't run into blind monks, though – both Nami Lee and Akshan Lee are truly awful confrontations.
Heavyweights – Strong LoR Meta Decks
These LoR decks have between 900 and 2100 games in the last three days – we're still in the early stages of the patch, and therefore "'we'll see" is the name of the game, but decks showcased here have both the performance and sample size to be confidently taken to ladder.
Another deck fulfilling its promises and sticking to last Friday's trends – and doing even better, in fact, improving its punch from 54% to 55%+ now, with nearly 1,800 games on record.
Like most other decks out there, Akshan Pantheon would rather not bump into blind monks, but it has an otherwise very solid matchup table: great odds against KarMaster Yi, Swain Caitlyn, Taric Poppy and Norra flavors, and with a slight edge against most other popular decks.
Leona Aurelion Sol, ft. Zoe
On the other hand, ain't nobody telling a Space Dragon what trends should be followed!
Although Friday's data fairly clearly showed that builds with Zoe were doing worse, the best Leona Asol list today (and the only one punching above 50%) has one copy of the Trickster in it.
This trio dies horribly to TF Swain, Nami Lee and Akshan Lee, with KarMaster Yi also being a fairly rough matchup – they are the Targon bosses, though, beating Taric Poppy and Fiora Pantheon, and can hold Swain off when he teams up with Caitlyn.
It ain't easy being Nami Lee's counter! As shown above, Taric Poppy is the only popular deck that can turn Lee Nami's lights out – but the rest of the field is proving quite tough for our hammer wielders
Their main problem is Fiora Pantheon: it utterly crushes Taric Poppy, and by how well Fate Fiora performs, it is a sure bet that she will see more play. Yet she's not Taric Poppy's only problem: TF Swain, Leona Asol, Akshan Pantheon and Swain Caitlyn are all uphill struggles.
Their second most popular list still manages a very solid 53% WR across 900+ games, though – if you want to have an edge on Nami Lee, then this would be one deck to look into.
RattlingBones' Swain Norra
Yes, you read that right: Norra, ficklest of Champs, has tired of the company of other Yordles. On his part, Grand General has found his partnership with Teemo not too profitable, but nevertheless still considers Bandle City a region of high strategic importance.
And numbers do back up these two teaming up: a crazy 57% WR in more than 1,000 games, making them today's "Zero to Hero" success story. They appear particularly good against TF Swain, KarMaster Yi and Leona Asol, with Nami Lee and Fated Fiora as their main headaches. A RattlingBones' creation, that World Champ Alanzq seems quite fond of.
Punching Up – Runeterra Decks Doing Great
Runeterra decks with between 300 and 900 games in the last three days – solid picks if you'd rather pilot something a bit less played.
These Decimate-less Noxian Corsairs have tripled their number of games while still hitting above 54% – yes, this is a real-deal deck… and it beats Nami Lee.
Lee Sin Akshan
The 'other' blind monk blend – it's very much an underdog to Nami Lee, but has an otherwise impressive matchup spread, beating TF Swain, Fated Fiora, Swain Caitlyn and Taric Poppy.
There's quite the disagreement among pilots about the optimal number of The Darkin Bloodletters, with equally successful lists running everything from none to three.
Not having lived up to their promise (early data suggested these two champs may have been a better version of Taric Poppy), Taric Fiora is still a deck, and manages a solid 52% WR in more than 500 games. There doesn't seem to be much reason to choose them over Taric Poppy, though.
Katarina Gwen, ft. Elise
Everybody's favorite tough ladies trio, these three rugged Champs have shrugged off the nerfs (namely the increased costs to Hate Spike and The Harrowing), and are actually thriving against the current field: Katarina Gwen is even into Nami Lee, only slightly unfavored versus TF Swain, and has an edge on KarMaster Yi, Fated Fiora and Asol Leona, while also crushing Swain Caitlyn, Lee Sin Akshan, and Heimer Norra.
And this is what, for data junkies, is arguably this year's jewel, and I'm not being ironic – Annie Jhin is perhaps the closest we've had to a constant, in the sense of a deck that doesn't change (mostly on grounds of it not having access to enough cards to do so); just check the current build with the one Yangzera wrote about for his Annie Jhin deck guide, from two expansions and three balance patches ago, and you'll note it's the exact same list, down to the last card.
Yet without a single card being changed, depending on the Meta this deck has gone from solid, to a Juggernaut, to an okay deck, to nearly unplayable… and, it would seem, now again a serious threat. In other words, Annie Jhin is as good a practical example of "Decks just don't exist in a vacuum" as LoR can get.
Data-junkie-ish comments aside: this is THE deck to beat Nami Lee with, if that's your goal (odds north of 60% for Annie Jhin) – rest of the matchups are somewhat jagged (a bit of a rough time against TF Swain, KarMaster Yi and Leona Asol; upper hand against Fiora Pantheon and Taric Poppy), with data samples being on the low end. But, overall, punching upwards of 56% across nearly 500 games.
Don't sleep on this one!
Currently the premier Shadow Norra version (Heimer Norra is still playable, but Veigar Norra performs better), slapping at 55%+ across around 350 games. Beats TF Swain; dies horribly to Namee and Fated Fiora.
Your Mileage May Vary – Fringe LoR Decks
Runeterra decks with less than 300 games played in the last few days – promising, but too little data to say for sure how they currently fare.
Frozen Gnar Bard, ft. Sejuani – from… guess who?
In LoR, you have Masters Brewers like 4LW, that you just don't know what they will come up with next – whenever you find their brews turning the meta upside down, you need to do some digging on social media to link the creation with the creator (and it's not always possible to do with high enough certainty).
And then you have Master Brewers like Ricko Rex, that are more along you glancing at the champs, facepalming, chuckling, then checking the build just in case (although you know Battle Fury is gonna be a three of), and…
… yeah: as somebody said on reddit, some folks just have a single quest in life. =)
Nothing like knowing the end is near to rekindle the spark with loved ones – a bittersweet truth of life and rotations.
Leona Jarvan IV
Sticking with Demacia while dropping Dragons for a battle-hardened Prince, Leona J4 punches at nearly 54% in around 130 games.
Trundle Master Yi
Fed up with Pinkies pissing on his Feel The Rush parade, the Troll King has caved in and joined the Deny believers. And Master Yi, of all people, is helping him climb this ramp.
Katarina Gwen has thus far shrugged off the nerfs to Hate Spike – in the fringes, Evelynn Viego seems to be following suit, with a punchy 55% WR in around 150 games.
Pantheon Yuumi, ft. Taric
Pantheon is enjoying quite the comeback – his brand-new Fated Fiora deck is doing great, his last patch's partnership with Akshan keeps paying dividends, and now a return to Yuumi, with whom they ruled the Meta some expansions ago, is doing very, very well. A quite 'scattered' archetype, so expect news from these three Champs!
Blind Monk and Grand General keep duking it out…
… Pantheon is enjoying quite the comeback, with three different decks to choose from, while Master Yi has become a playable, tourney-topping Champ…
… and, as noted, I wouldn't sleep on Annie Jhin, folks; decks that beat Nami Lee don't come around too often!
To close today's recommendations, the usual reminder: all stats and recommendations above are for choosing the best LoR deck for the Legends of Runeterra Ladder – if you are in need of weapons of choice for a Tournament or Gauntlet run, be sure to check Sirturmund's & Monte's recommended Best-of-Three decks and lineups.
Good luck out there!
Any questions or comments, or more data you may need, feel free to:
Poke me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HerkoKerghans,
Stop for a chat on the LoR Poetry Discord (we talk a fair bit about decks and data, too! =): https://discord.gg/VNN5NmGhXY,
Or find more writings on substack: https://riwan.substack.com/