LoR Best Decks – The Fate and the Tide
Fated Fiora and Lee Sin reign supreme, with Swain Norra making quite the waves and TF Swain still popular but losing steam…
… while Annie Jhin and Heimer Jayce, two rather old archetypes that have spent quite some time in the shadows, seem to have found the right timing to, like Fiora and Swain, return to the fore.
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).
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 LoR decks with more than 2100 games and good-to-great WR – if you need to climb and you don't care about anything else, these are the best decks in Legends of Runeterra.
Fated to return: Fiora Pantheon
Raphterra's creation keeps rocking Runeterra – nearly twelve thousand games in the last three days with the improved deck shown below, and smashing it with a 57% WR. Fiora may have taken her time away from the limelight, but boy oh boy is she back!
Fated Fiora finishes off TF Swain, Karma Yi, Taric Poppy and all Norra flavors without breaking a sweat – Akshan Lee, Nami Lee, and Akshan Pantheon are among the few decks that have an edge on the Warrior and the Duelist.
If you'd like insights, tips and tricks about this new powerhouse, Scissorsbox just released his Fiora Pantheon Deck Guide, showcasing this exact same build.
The General's New BFF: Swain Norra
While TF Swain, as we'll see further below, has lost quite a bit of steam, the RattlingBones-arranged marriage between the Grand General and Portalesque Yordle is the other big success story this patch – exact same deck list as two days ago, but going from 1,000 to 4,000+ games played in the last three days. Its WR has cooled off a tad in the process, dropping from 57% last Sunday to a still great, yet more reasonable 54%+.
Swain Norra handily handles TF Swain, which explains its overall success quite a bit; it also beats other somewhat weak blends, like KarMaster Yi and Leona Asol. It has serious problems against Nami Lee (although it is slightly favored against the Akshan version), and also loses to Fated Fiora.
Lee Sin Nami, ft. Twisted Fate
They won't win a popularity contest (either as a specific deck list, or overall as an archetype), but by matchup tables this is the best LoR deck, without a doubt. There are only two archetypes that have a chance at beating Namee, namely Taric Poppy and Annie Jhin – the rest of the field, including such powerhouses as Fated Fiora and Norra Swain, get crushed underfoot by the blind monk and the Tidecaller.
Overall performance is equally staggering, with their best deck (pretty much "solved" at this point, since it has remained constant for quite some time now) kicking above 57% in 4,100+ games.
You want some style points? Try this very fringe Tahm Kench version, then!
The Crowd Pleaser: Twisted Fate Swain, ft. Katarina
Although losing steam in both the WR and play rate departments, TF Swain remains the most popular deck at Platinum and above – although, by current trends, Fated Fiora will soon overtake it. Card slinger and Grand General are nevertheless a force to be reckoned with, and there are several slightly different versions doing quite well, which in turn suggests that pilots haven't yet found the optimal build. Today we again see, like last Friday (but unlike last Sunday) the Katarina version as the best-performing, with a 53% WR across 2500 games.
TF Swain's matchups are a bit concerning, in that it loses to Fated Fiora and Nami Lee (two of the most popular archetypes), is a serious underdog to Swain Norra, and is also kicked around by Akshan Lee – Leona Asol and Taric Poppy are among the few popular decks that TF Swain easily beat.
Notably Absent: Karma Master Yi
While undoubtedly a strong deck in top pilots' hands, KarMaster Yi's performance has dropped sharply, and sadly it's not a deck we can currently recommend.
Heavyweights – Strong LoR Meta Decks
These LoR decks have between 900 and 2100 games in the last three days – a large enough sample to confidently say "Yeah, this works."
One of the very few Nami Lee counters, Taric Poppy manages a solid 52% overall across 1400 games.
As noted last Sunday, Taric and Poppy's main headache is how aggressive the post-patch field has turned against them: Fated Fiora is a horrible matchup, TF Swain is bad too, and Leona Asol is abysmally awful. They do have a slight edge on Swain Norra, though, and with that deck on the rise, Taric Poppy may see its fortunes improve.
The 'other' blind monk blend keeps gaining traction – it's close to 55% now with its best deck, across nearly 1,400 games. As top pilot Drisoth mentions, it may be a Tier 0 deck were it not for Nami Lee: Akshan Lee is even or favored against pretty much everything else, including TF Swain and Fated Fiora, and with the exception of KarMaster Yi which, as we've seen, is not enjoying the best of times.
Akshan Pantheon has lost a bit of steam these last couple of days, dropping to 53%+ in around 1200 games (down from 55%+ and 1800 last Sunday). It has trouble with blind monks, but has an edge on TF Swain and Fated Fiora, and a very good edge against Norra Swain – quite an okay spot to be, in our current Meta!
I'll Sleep When They Are Dead – Annie Jhin
No, really: don't sleep on this one, folks – it has been steadily gaining traction, jumping from our YMMV category last Friday, to Punching Up on Sunday, to a Heavyweight with nearly a 1,000 games now, and an eye-widening 54%+ WR.
Bullet buff and blazing brat are back, definitely. TF Swain they cannot handle, and Norra Swain is a fairly rough matchup – but they are even versus Fated Fiora, they convincingly beat Akshan Lee, and they bloody murder Nami Lee. Don't send melee fighters to do a sniper's job: if you want to snipe the blind monk, Annie Jhin is the deck you want to look into.
Notably Absent: Swain Caitlyn, Leona Asol, and… Braum Tahm Kench!?
Tri-beam Swain remains playable, but it's hovering at 50% so we won't recommend it too ardently. Leona Asol, we'll recommend not playing – performance has dropped sharply, and it's below 45%. And, for the love of all things LoR, please stay away from that hideous Braum Tahm Kench brew that's running around – I mean, if you are really that desperate to donate your LPs, just queue and then surrender on the spot. No, really, it's that bad.
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.
Interesting turn of events: after being pushed a bit to the sides, Karma and Vik have cleaned up their bar, got rid of the drunken wannabes, and now are punching back up: 52%+ in the last three days, with nearly 700 games under their belts.
Again a bit in the downs of the Meta's rollercoaster, Katarina Gwen now punches at a moderate 52%, with TF Swain, Fated Fiora, Lee Nami and Swain Norra all slightly unfavored matchups
Well, guess who's back, too! And in full force, to boot, smashing at 56% in nearly 500 games.
After a really hard time in the first four Awakening weeks, Professor and Student seem to have regained their stride post-patch. They lose to Fated Fiora, but can go toe to toe with Nami Lee, and soundly beat Akshan Lee – they also have an edge on both TF Swain and Norra Swain, and crush Taric Poppy. All in all, a great matchup spread!
Another of the few decks with good odds against Nami Lee – gets murdered by TF Swain, though, and not ideal versus 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.
Elise Nocturne Noxus
The buffs were not enough to push Nocturne to the top – another Fiora or Swain they are not, quite clearly – yet this Mistwraith blend, after swapping Fading Memories for Unto Dusk, seems to be doing quite well: 56%+ right now, in over 250 games.
Veigar Norra Shadow Isles
Pushed to the sides after having the spotlight for a bit before the balance patch, Veigar Norra is another deck that shines in the fringes: 55%+ in a bit over 200 games.
Leona Jarvan IV
With Leona ASol getting its nose bloodied right now, it falls upon Jarvan IV to pick up Sun's banner – not too impressive a performance, though, just getting to 51%, but it's one of the few Leona decks that (still) works.
Leona Galio, ft. Jarvan
As an alternative, this other Leona Demacia is doing much better (almost 55%), although across a fairly small sample (around 130 games).
Gnar Bard Sejuani
If you want some fringe option that does work, though, look no further – with an overwhelming 58%+ WR across nearly 200 games, this triple Battle Fury blend screams "Face's the Place!"
Another former Top Dog looking to make a comeback?
For those new Legends of Runeterra, this Landmark duo may be an opportunity to try quite a different playstyle than what is common nowadays.
We seem to be entering the settling-down phase of our Meta – no radically new faces today, when compared with last Sunday, but it's becoming clear which decks were flukes, and which seem like the real deal.
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:
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