Best Legends of Runeterra Decks – The Bar at the End of the World
Current trends in the Legends of Runeterra ladder do not deviate from what we witnessed last Friday:
- Aatrox Quinn Vayne (and also the Quinn-less version) has cemented its position as current best LoR deck, widening the gap with the other powerful options,
- Aatrox Kayn remains both popular and potent, and it's in a state of flux right now as pilots try to found the best version,
- Ezreal Seraphine Viktor, Draven Jinx, and Katarina Gwen round up the best popular archetypes in LoR right now,
- And perhaps the most important bit of news: although not shown above (given that they are still fringe options), among the other promising archetypes we'll showcase today, there are both a Ryze deck, and Kayle deck that show quite a bit of promise!
Technical note – About overall archetypes and specific decks, and what we mean by "LoR best decks"
Most data sites (including MaRu's Meta Tier List) and articles like Leer's Monday Meta Report sort Legends of Runeterra meta decks by archetype ("Archetype" being the aggregate of all decks in LoR 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 these Legends of Runeterra decks by the best specific decklist for each archetype. And, whenever we talk about LoR decks in general, or best Legends of Runeterra 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 win rate (WR) above 52% catch our eye; above 53% are eye-widening, and anything with a WR over 55% is exceptional (and anything over 60% is most likely an outlier, and we'll usually use phrases such as "bonkers WR" in those cases, since exact numbers don't matter much at that point =).
Last but not least, all stats are from the LoR ladder; unless stated otherwise, the sample focuses on players at the Platinum rank and above, and looking at the last three days of data (in other words: when we mention that Aatrox Quinn Vayne has a WR of X% across Y games, it's specifically looking at players from Platinum, Diamond and Master ranks, and in the last three days).
The Top Dogs – Current Best Decks in Runeterra
Both by stats and by expert opinion, there are three decks that stand above all others. When looking specifically at their most-popular, best-performing list, those are (in descending play-rate order) Bandle Bar, Aatrox Quinn Vayne, and Katarina Gwen.
Bandle Bar: Ezreal Seraphine Viktor
Although Aatrox Quinn Vayne is the most popular archetype, Bandle Bar remains (like last Friday) the most popular decklist – the best Ezreal Seraphine Viktor deck has amassed nearly 2,500 games in the last three days, with a WR above 55%. And if you're focusing on Tournaments, Bandle Bar is one of Sirturmund's three decks to beat.
The Ezreal Seraphine Viktor deck shown above is the most popular in all three shards (APAC, AM and EMEA), but with an interesting twist: although it performs great in APAC and EMEA (punching in fact above 56%), it doesn't do too well in AM, where it surprisingly falls below 50% – while a slightly modified version without Darkbulb Acolyte is doing wonderful in that shard.
Bandle Bar loses to all Aatrox decks and seems to also be the underdog to the one Kayle deck that could: Kayle Zed. On the other hand, Bandle Bar beats most other strong, popular decks in the current meta: Draven Jinx, Katarina Gwen, Jinx Lulu, Plunder, and Lurkers.
Further reading: Setting the Bar – A Bandle City Ezreal Seraphine Deck Guide.
Aatrox Quinn Vayne
In the clear lead for the "Best LoR Deck" title, Aatrox Quinn Vayne has today (and like last Friday) three slightly different decklists, all performing excellently: WR over 57% in all cases, and between 1,000 and 1,500 games each (that is to say, if all AQV players focused on a specific decklist, it would be far more popular than Bandle Bar's). The current best, as of now, would be this one:
… punching above 58%, and the most popular of all three – but, interestingly, this particular build sees little to no play in APAC, and is only played in AM and EMEA (while APAC sees this other build as the most played). And there's also this Quinn-less version, very popular (and packing a huge punch) in APAC.
Aatrox Quinn Vayne's dominance is evident when looking at its matchup spread: AQV has a large edge on Bandle Bar, Aatrox Kayn and Jinx Lulu, bloody murders Kayle Zed, is the main reason Annie Jhin is being pushed out of the meta, and is favored against Draven Jinx. The only popular deck with solid odds against AQC is Rumble Vayne, while Kat Gwen, Aatrox Vayne and Lurkers have a slight edge (or are at least roughly even) – and, in tiny samples, Ashe LeBlanc may end up being a solid AQV counter in the ladder.
Further reading: Card Gamer's World Ending Birds with Weapons – An Aatrox Vayne Quinn Deck Guide.
Crimson Katarina Gwen
Katarina Gwen rounds up what, for Tournaments, Sirturmund considers one of the three best decks. On ladder, the best Kat Gwen deck (WR above 55%, 800+ games) seems solved thus far when looking at the Followers composition…
… with the only discrepancy between other well-performing lists being a single tweak in the Spells department, by cutting one Noxian Fervor to make room for 1x Mark of the Isles.
Kat Gwen is one of the few decks that can go toe-to-to with Aatrox Quinn Vayne (and in fact has a slight edge in that matchup), also being solid against Rumble Vayne – it loses to the majority of other strong options (Aatrox Kayn, Aatrox Vayne, Bandle Bar, Discard Aggro, and apparently Kayle Zed too), putting this Crimson brew in an interesting spot against the field.
Further reading: Hallowed Attacks and Harrowing Combos – A Katarina Gwen Deck Guide
Rest of the Forerunners – Other Strong LoR Decks
Right behind the three lead contenders, these seven decks (including a Ryze deck, and a Kayle deck!) are the other best choices to bring to the Legends of Runeterra ladder.
⭐Rising Star: Ryze Seraphine Viktor
Don't choke on the Copium just yet (we saw this champion blend become a blip in the radar last Wednesday, only to be gone by last Friday), but with some tweaks, here it is again: a competitive Ryze deck (well, at least one copy of the Rune Mage!), punching at 53% in more than 400 games, which are high enough numbers to suspect (hope?) it's not a fluke:
The deck has changed quite a bit from what surfaced on Wednesday, going for three copies of Assembly Bot and trimming the top-end in the Spells menu – it seems an underdog to most Top Dogs except Aatrox Kayn, though, so tread carefully.
Still, as noted above, this time around numbers are in the "this may actually work" category, which for a Ryze deck is the same as saying that huge breakthroughs were made!
One of the best decks pre-hotfix, Aatrox Kayn is still reeling from the hotfix blow, and trying to find its footing – and may be much better than what stats indicate: the archetype is in flux, with several bad builds pushing average performance down.
The best Aatrox Kayn deck currently strikes above 57% (whereas the archetype as a whole shows a solid, but much worse, 53%) in about 400 games, suggesting that once pilots find the optimal build, Aatrox Kayn may regain its spot at the top of the food chain.
Matchup data is hard to parse when a deck is polluted with bad builds (since it's impossible to discriminate the good from the bad builds in matchup data); broadly speaking, Aatrox Kayn seems well positioned overall, with weak spots into Aatrox Quinn Vayne and, interestingly, an awful matchup against Lurkers.
Crimson Draven Jinx
Crimson Pigeon and Reveler's Feast have become a staple in Draven Jinx's current best deck…
… punching above 55% in close to 400 games, but Discard Aggro is another archetype in flux, with different versions (like APAC's favorite, very close to the classic build but with a copy of Parts Made Whole, or the EMEA take that goes for Forge Chief among the one-drops) also doing great and showing similar numbers.
Draven Jinx preys upon either older archetypes (like Red Gwen, Lurkers or Jhinnie) or weak decks, gets murdered by Bandle Bar, and is slightly the underdog against Aatrox Quinn Vayne.
Further reading: Return of the Queen – A Refresher on Draven Jinx Discard Aggro
⭐Rising Star: Gangplank Sejuani, aka Plunder
A bit on the meta's fringe, Plunder has been getting traction – and, interestingly, what little matchup data we have right now suggests that its main edge is being a "fair" deck: Plunder's odds against the major Top Dogs (all Aatrox variants, Bandle Bar, Kat Gwen, and Discard Aggro) are all very close to 50/50, with both sides having a decent chance at winning in all cases.
The best Gangplank Sejuani deck, seen below, strikes above 56% in around 250 games.
Further reading: Plunder, Now with Tentacles – A Gangplank Sejuani LoR Deck Guide
⭐Rising Star: Zulti's Kayle Zed
Just like with the Ryze's Bar blend seen above, we're still a bit in the "let's see" phase with this one, but here you go: a Kayle deck with solid performance (WR about 52%+ in around 250 games):
And, cherry on top, the mastermind behind this blend, Zulti, has even published a how-to for their brew on reddit: here's the link to the thread.
Early matchup data shows Kayle Zed as quite bad against Aatrox decks, but slightly favored against Bandle Bar and Katarina Gwen.
Jinx Lulu keeps having a great time, even if by play rate it's been pushed to the fringes (which is often correlated: when only the die-hard pilots remain faithful to a brew, and the rest of the field is not interested in targeting it, brews tend to improve in performance).
As one of the best decks in the previous expansion, Jinx Lulu is great against older archetypes – but suffers when confronting the new kids, namely Aatrox decks, Bandle Bar, and even Ryze's Bar.
Further reading: Lulu and Rockets – A Jinx Lulu LoR Deck Guide
⭐Rising Star: Rumble Vayne
It's a great time for Mecha-Yordles with big friggin' Great Hammers!
Pushed to the fringes in the second half of the previous season (after dominating the first half, when they were arguably the best Vayne deck), Rumble Vayne is enjoying one hell of a comeback, currently punching at a ridiculous 60%+ WR in 200+ games.
It's perhaps the best Aatrox Quinn Vayne counter right now, which explains much of its success – on the other hand, Bandle Bar and Draven Jinx are in the "Ouch!" side of things for Rumble Vayne.
Further reading: Tumble on the Rumble – A Vayne Rumble LoR Deck Guide
Things have turned rough for Annie Jhin, being a serious underdog to nearly all of the decks showcased above – still, it's holding for dear life at the fringes of the meta, and remains a playable option.
If you want to bring Aatrox to the fray, but you find Demacia a tad too bland and boring, then Elise's got you covered with a Shadow Isles take on how to End the World. Elise Aatrox is pushing some scary numbers (60%+ WR in close to 200 games) with its turbo-Xolaani the Bloodweaver game plan.
For the old-school among you, or those freshly arrived to Runeterra and looking for something different, then Diana Nocturne, aka Nightfall, is performing excellently right now.
In the same old-school vibe that may also be quite spicy for new players that never met Pyke Rek'Sai at their heyday, Lurkers is putting up quite a solid performance – and can go toe-to-toe with Aatrox decks.
And to wrap up today's selection, the fringiest deck we'll recommend today pairs Gwen with Irelia, maximizing the Hallowed-Ephemeral synergy. Looking very promising across 120 games!
Aatrox Quinn Vayne (and the very similar Quinn-less variant) has become the deck to beat in the LoR ladder, while Bandle Bar is positioning itself as the deck that can beat everything in the Runeterra meta that is not an Aatrox deck.
While the World Ender expansion has thus far been quite atypical (on the one hand, the LoR Worlds competitors had already cracked some of the best decks before the season started; on the other, we had a hotfix this week throwing since into disarray), we should now enter a more settled-down phase in which brewers know which decks they need to target – with a bit of luck, next week we'll find out if Aatrox can be beaten, or if it will remain the best deck in Runeterra until the next balance patch arrives… and whether or not the Ryze and Kayle decks finally get a chance to shine.
Hope you enjoyed today's selection, and good luck out there!
If you have 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 Mastering Runeterra Discord: https://discord.gg/8RQqZECTz2,
Or find more writings on substack: https://riwan.substack.com/
And good luck with your climb! =)