Best Legends of Runeterra Decks
The top of the LoR meta remains fairly stable (including Hecarim Zed decks, still fairly popular in spite of a mediocre performance), with Aatrox Vayne Quinn, Bandle Bar, and Katarina Gwen forming a hard-to-break triad at the top (yet, interestingly, none of them have increased in play rate too much, and remain fairly stable in that department).
As we'll see in detail in today's article, a handful of last Friday's fringe decks (notably go-wide, aggressive options like Pirates and Elise Gwen) have gained quite some traction in the last few days, while a couple of older archetypes like Lurk and Jayce Lux have jumped to center stage in the last few days.
If you're read these reports before, and you have an idea of which sort of deck you're looking for (from meta staples to fringe options), you can click any of the categories below to jump directly to it:
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).
And, 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 the amount of games played in the data samples we check:
- Juggernauts: LoR decks with more than 2100 games – these are the best tried-and-true, top meta decks in Legends of Runeterra at the time of writing.
- Heavyweights: LoR decks with between 2100 and 900 games played – other excellent choices, with large enough samples to confidently say, "Yeah, this works."
- Punching Up: LoR decks with between 900 and 400 games played – we're entering the Land of Small Sample Sizes here, but as far as numbers go, these decks can put up one hell of a fight into the current LoR meta.
- YMMV: decks with less than 450 games in the last three days – fringe, risky stuff, but here's where you usually find the spice!
As a rule of thumb, LoR 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.
Last but not least, all stats are from the LoR ladder. If you're looking for Tournament lineups, you may want to check Sirturmund's latest LoR Tournament Decks article. And if Gauntlets are your jam, check Sirturmund’s & Monte’s LoR Gauntlet Decks: Rising Tides! article for a dozen decks and lineups you can use there.
Juggernauts – Best Legends of Runeterra Decks
Here we showcase LoR decks with more than 2100 games in the last three days, and good-to-great WR. Best of the best, tried-and-true tools for climbing the Runeterra ladder!
🧊Cooling off – Bandle Ezreal Seraphine, ft Viktor
Ezreal Seraphine remains, since post-hotfix, the most-played specific deck in Runeterra, but again (like last Friday) its most popular version keeps showing signs of wear and tear, dropping now to 51% WR (down from 54% last Friday, and 55% before that).
As noted, though, it's the most played LoR deck by quite the margin: 4,100 games in the last three days.
Bandle Bar has a very good matchup spread, having an edge on Katarina Gwen, Rumble Vayne, Lurkers, Hecarim Zed and Draven Jinx – but, crucially, loses pretty badly to Aatrox Vayne decks, which is of course far from ideal in this meta; Lulu Jinx, Plunder and Trundle Tryndamere (which is gaining traction in the the fringes) are also tough matchups for Ezreal Seraphine decks.
Further reading: Setting the Bar – A Bandle City Ezreal Seraphine Deck Guide.
With the top of the meta quite consolidated by now, and thus far not many signs that an up-and-comer may turn things around…
It's interesting to note that, although clearly having the best stats in the game, Aatrox Vayne Quinn's overall play rate is fairly stable (around 11% of the whole field when you include the Quinn-less variant, pretty much the same as last week) – for some combination of reasons, and unlike both Ziggs Acolytes and Aatrox Kayn before the hotfix (both of which had play rates nearing or past 15%), Aatrox Vayne decks don't attract a "broken" amount of players, at least for now.
The best Aatrox Vayne Quinn deck mirrors its performance from last Friday, punching at 58% in around 2,800 games – several minor variations exist (all showing good stats), but the most popular is also clearly the best performer.
Aatrox Vayne Quinn's only predator is Rumble Vayne, with Lurkers having a bit of an edge over the World Ender and Katarina Gwen being a roughly even matchup – on the backswing, the Darkin tide drowns Bandle Bar, Hecarim Zed, Jhinnie, and Jinx Lulu; is superior against Aatrox Kayn; demolishes some otherwise hot up-and-comers like Pirates… as noted before, yes, this is the best LoR deck and, by now, it seems it will remain so until the next patch lands.
Further reading: World Ending Birds with Weapons – An Aatrox Vayne Quinn Deck Guide.
Heavyweights – Strong LoR Meta Decks
These LoR decks have between 900 and 2100 games since the World Ender expansion landed – solid picks for climbing the Legends of Runeterra ladder!
⭐Rising Star: Rumble Vayne
The best Rumble Vayne deck keeps trailblazing upwards: improving its past Friday's performance, now surpasses Katarina Gwen in play rate (even if Crimson Gwen is a more popular archetype overall), striking at a great 56%+ WR across 1,900 games in the last three days.
Rumble Vayne is the best deck in Runeterra if your goal is to punch Darkins in the face: it pummels all Aatrox variants (including less popular versions like Aatrox Kindred) and is very solid against the rest of the field. Do notice that the Tumbling Yordle is not without strong counters, though: Bandle Bar, Jinx decks, Lurkers, Katarina Gwen and Hecarim Zed are all uphill struggles, and Jhinnie is a pretty awful matchup.
Further reading: Tumble on the Rumble – A Vayne Rumble LoR Deck Guide
Crimson Katarina Gwen
While fairly steady in play rate, the best Katarina Gwen deck again improved its WR by a couple of points, now hitting at nearly 59% (which is between "silly" and "stupid"), up from 57% last Friday and 55% earlier last week.
As Leer notes in his Monday Meta Reports, Crimson Gwen is in an interesting spot in that it's not particularly good against the two reigning Juggernauts (being roughly even against Aatrox Vayne Quinn, and slightly the underdog to Ezreal Seraphine), but it pays a sort of "Juggernaut Tax" in order to very successfully farm the rest of the field (overall, it has 18 disfavorable matchups, and a crazy 88 favorable fights).
In particular, Kat Gwen is very good against Hecarim Zed, Lurkers, Jhinnie, and Plunder – on the other hand, it would rather not mess with Draven Jinx, Pirates, or Jinx Lulu.
Further reading: Hallowed Attacks and Harrowing Combos – A Katarina Gwen Deck Guide
Pyke Rek'Sai, aka Lurkers
Lurkers' performance is far from spectacular (just an okay 51%+ WR) but they have exploded in popularity, with their best deck accruing 1,500+ games in the last three days.
As mentioned, Pyke and friends have one great selling point in the World Ender meta: they are, along with Rumble Vayne, one of the very few decks that can consistently beat Aatrox Quinn Vayne, while doing well enough against the rest of the field.
🧊Cooling Off: Hecarim Zed
As noted last Friday, Hecarim Zed's rampant ascendancy could be curtailed as the meta settles (since Hec Zed's main targets are weaker decks, itself crumbling when confronting strong ones), and this week that seems to be the case: the most popular Hec Zed deck falls below the 50% WR mark, with the second most popular (showcased below) reaching a modest 51%. Hec Zed can beat Aatrox Kayn, Rumble Vayne and Plunder, but most other strong decks (and Aatrox Quinn Vayne in particular) are bad matchups.
Further reading: Ephemeral Onslaught – A Zed Hecarim Deck Guide.
Other Playable Options
Fizz Yuumi gained a huge chunk of play rate (well over 1,500 games today, when it was a fringe option last Friday), but its WR has dropped considerably, floating now at around 50%. It's possible that it's mostly due to inexperienced pilots jumping on a new trend, though, and may be reversed as said pilots gain practice; we'll see in the next few days if it was a fluke, or turns out to be the real thing.
Ryze Seraphine Viktor still hangs in there as the most playable Ryze deck.
Punching Up – Runeterra Decks Doing Great
Runeterra decks with between 450 and 900 games in the last three days – we're sailing into small data samples, yet all decks here have quite a few games under their belts, and most of them are well-worn, tried-and-true archetypes.
🔥🔥Blazing Hot! Miss Fortune Twisted Fate, aka Pirates
Adding Imperial Demolitionist and Island Navigator ( while sticking to the tricks borrowed from Draven Jinx, namely Crimson Pigeon and Reveler's Feast), Miss Fortune's merry bunch of face-punchers is today's hottest trend, smacking foes with a silly 60%+ WR and accruing 800+ games in the last three days.
Pirates do lose to Aatrox Quinn Vayne, but they consistently beat Crimson Gwen, beat the crap out of Rumble Vayne, and demolish Hecarim Zed, Lurkers, and Plunder, while being roughly even against Bandle Bar. If face's the place, then this' the deck!
⭐Rising Star: Elise Gwen
Mixing several of Kat Gwen's and Draven Jinx's tricks, Elise Gwen goes for a go-wide plan that, by now, has little resemblance to the classic Spider package (which was, back when Gwen was released, the first iteration of Elise Gwen) and looks more like the Pirates build we've just seen above – and with nearly the same performance, punching above 59% in about 800 games.
🧊Cooling Off: Aatrox Kayn
Aatrox Kayn is still on a quest to find and refine its best build – our recommended variant from last Friday did not do too well in the last three days (dropping to around 51% WR), yet a version that switches Blooming Cultist for Shadowblade Fanatic manages to reverse that trend and reaches a whopping 57% WR in around 600 games.
Given the disparity between shards (this Aatrox Kayn version is only found in the Americas server) it may be a case of specific pocket metas. If you're mostly interested in tried-and-true decks this is probably not the best option to take to the LoR ladder – but if you're interested in archetypes that are yet unsolved, Aatrox Kayn looks like a brew still in search of its best build.
Aatrox Kindred, ft. Elise
The most successful Aatrox Kindred deck today adds Elise to the mix, sticking to its 52% WR in about 700 games (non-Elise versions are doing slightly worse, but still above 50%).
This build seems particularly strong against Aatrox Vayne decks, although quite weak to Kat Gwen and Rumble Vayne.
Also worth noting: there's another quite a different take going for the Aatrox Elise pairing, but focusing on leveling Xolaani the Bloodweaver (and with a single Aatrox copy) – as of right now it shows a similar WR (around 52%) but it's definitely not the same archetype, even if they share regions and champs.
⭐Rising Star: Jayce Lux
Putting the nerfed Champions' Strength to good use, a fringe archetype jumps to center-stage, striking at 53% in about 700 games in the last three days.
Its matchup spread against other Top Dogs does not look too encouraging (Jayce Lux loses to nearly all of them except Jinx decks, and those matchups are only slightly favored for Lux), so tread carefully if taking this deck to the LoR ladder – having said that, though, overall numbers do look promising.
Jinx Lulu has been performing great throughout this expansion (and today is not the exception) even though, for whatever reason, pilots are not too keen to pick it up: great 56% WR, but play rate shrinking to 700 games today.
Jinx Lulu does die horribly to Aatrox Vayne Quinn (to the point that it's one of the most lopsided matchups among strong decks), but more than makes up for it by being one of the few decks that consistently beats Bandle Bar, and also demolishing Kat Gwen, Rumble Vayne and Hecarim Zed.
Further reading: Lulu and Rockets – A Jinx Lulu LoR Deck Guide
⭐Rising Star: Gwen Irelia Zed
The best Gwen Irelia Zed deck fulfills its promises from last Friday and wedges itself among the meta decks, showing nearly 700 games today with a 52% WR.
After nearly going extinct early last week, Annie Jhin's WR has jumped from below 50% to around 53% in around 650 games (and, as usual, not bothering changing a single card – some brats just want to see the world burn, and don't care about anything else!).
Further reading: Annie goes to Stack School – A Jhin Annie Aggro Guide.
Gangplank Sejuani, aka Plunder
For lovers of old-school archetypes, Plunder keeps punching at a decent 52%+. Weak versus Aatrox and Kat Gwen, but strong versus Bandle Bar, Lurkers, and Jhinnie – all in all, a deck with solid fighting chances against the current field.
Your Mileage May Vary – Fringe LoR Decks
Legends of Runeterra decks with less than 450 games played in the last three days – very little data, so these may range from total flukes… to the next big thing.
🧊Cooling off: Crimson Draven Jinx, aka Discard Aggro
Draven Jinx pioneered the use of Reveler's Feast, and was also (along with Kat Gwen) the trendsetter for Crimson Pigeon – yet now that other decks like Pirates and Elise Gwen have jumped onto the Crimson go-wide bandwagon, Discard Aggro's performance has deflated a bit. Still a solid option, going toe-to-toe with Aatrox decks and demolishing both Kat Gwen and Rumble Vayne.
Further reading: Return of the Queen – A Refresher on Draven Jinx Discard Aggro
⭐Rising Star: Trundle Tryndamere, aka Feel the Rush
Arguably the staple control deck in the LoR ladder, successful Feel The Rush decks have as of late dropped Blighted Ravine, and in some cases even trimming their Avalanches.
Their main prey right now are Bandle Bar decks: She Who Wanders gets rid of both Ezreal and Seraphine unless they have a fairly big buff at hand, while It That Stares trashes the Bar.
Diana Nocturne, aka Nightfall
Nightfall has shrunk a bit (last Friday it was one of last week's hottest trends) yet remains a very strong option, punching at nearly 55% in 300+ games.
Braum Kayle Zoe
Introduced by 4LW in his Countering the Meta article last week, Braum Kayle Zoe shows sharp teeth today, biting at 52% in around 300 games, and the only competitive Kayle deck in the current data (Kayle Leona has, as of late, lost a lot of steam).
Garen Jarvan IV
Surprise! They are still around!
Finding an Elites deck putting decent numbers two weeks in a row is not something you see every day (or every patch, even!) – and while still a fringe option (about 270 games in the data today, similar to last Friday's 250), it has improved its WR by two points, now slugging at 57%.
Bandle Annie Swain, ft. Broadmane
Annie and Swain go the Ping City route, packing a ton of tiny pokes along with Puzzling Signposts.
The Aatrox Hunters: Ashe Kindred
For our fringiest option today, we'll showcase a deck that we've thus mentioned in previous articles when analyzing matchups, but that had until now failed to perform well enough to recommend: Ashe Kindred. The sample is tiny (around 130 games), and therefore very likely pushed by a handful (or even a single) highly skilled pilot, but Ashe Kindred's performance today is excellent (well over 58%), and has been since the hotfix the deck to ruin Aatrox's day.
A handful of last Friday's fringe decks (notably go-wide, aggressive options like Pirates and Elise Gwen) have gained quite some traction in the last few days, yet the rule of the Top Dogs, and Aatrox Vayne Quinn in particular, seems uncontested – yet, interestingly, not even AVQ has increased in play rate too much, and in fact the meta has diversified when scratching the surface and looking below. Still, it looks by now unlikely that the top of the meta will change too much before the next balance patch (which we expect at some point in January, although Riot has not yet confirmed when).
Last but not least, remember that all stats are from the LoR ladder. If Gauntlets are your jam, check Sirturmund’s & Monte’s LoR Gauntlet Decks: Rising Tides! article for a dozen decks and lineups you can use there.
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! =)