Best Legends of Runeterra Decks – The More Things Change…
As of early Friday, these are the six most popular LoR decks according to the Mastering Runeterra Meta Tier List:
Overall LoR Ladder Trends
In what is arguably the weirdest season in Legends of Runeterra's history (launching with the Worlds tournament, and with two very consequential hotfixes in four weeks), Aatrox Kayn has returned to the top of the LoR tier lists.
And, what's most interesting: Atrox Kayn did so after being pushed to near irrelevance by said hotfixes – and yet, with shifts in the meta plus internal tweaks Aatrox Kayn is once again at the top of the food chain.
In this new meta:
- Jinx Lulu is feeling the pressure (Aatrox remains one of its main predators) yet remains one of the best LoR decks.
- Katarina Gwen has changed quite radically (to the point that it has dropped one of its signature cards, The Harrowing) and is back with a vengeance,
- Plunder has risen as one of the most potent decks in Runeterra, and one that is not afraid of the World Ender,
- Pilots still play Sun Disc, despite its poor performance. Data science has no saying in these matters; as the saying goes, there's no accounting for taste.
LoR Tournaments and Gauntlets
If Tournaments and Gauntlets, rather than the LoR ladder, are more your things:
- The Last Chance Gauntlet, which qualifies you for Seasonals, will take place shortly – check in-game, in the "Gauntlet" tab, the specific time (since it depends on your shard),
- If you like high stakes, and have an Americas LoR account, check the $1,000 Mastering Runeterra January Open,
If you need weapons of choice for these matters, Sirturmund and Monte published their Recommended LoR Tournament and Gauntlet Decks article yesterday.
LoR Meta FAQs
Where does this data come from?
Directly from Riot (via Riot's API) – Liver, our wonderful coder and unsung MaRu 🐐 (also in charge of designing the website) makes the data automagically appear in our meta tier list and meta stats page.
What are the best decks in LoR?
Short answer: Depends on how you define "best", of course! =)
Practical answer: As of today, for the LoR ladder, most likely Aatrox Kayn, Gangplank Sejuani, Katarina Leona, and the (mutated) new version of Katarina Gwen.
Much longer answer: Check the Technical Note at the end of the article, above all the differences between "archetypes" and "decks" in Legends of Runeterra's data.
Which is the highest win rate deck in LoR?
Of all decks showcased today: Katarina Gwen (a crazy 60%+ win rate, with a fairly large play rate). Second highest: Elise Gwen (although it's a very fringe option).
Among decks with more than 2,100 games played in the last three days: Katarina Leona, aka Sunburn (nearly 58% win rate).
How do I beat…
How do I beat Aatrox Kayn? Bring Trundle Tryndamere. Gangplank Sejuani is a good option too (better deck overall, even if TryTrund is very good).
And how do I beat Trundle Tryndamere? Jinx Lulu, or other strong, aggressive decks (like Katarina Gwen, or Katarina Leona).
And how do I beat Jinx Lulu? Aatrox Kayn! That tends to be the nature of a well-balanced meta: it's circular. But if you want to break the circle, in this case you can fight rockets with rockets and bring Ekko Jinx.
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 win rate – the best tried-and-true tools the LoR meta has to offer!
⭐Rising Star – Aatrox Kayn
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Back in January, the World Ender expansion had to be hotfixed in a rush, as Ziggs Acolytes and Aatrox Kayn were running rampant. The January hotfix neutered Aatrox Kayn pretty harshly, yet paved the way for Aatrox Vayne to take over…
… which was ruthlessly hotfixed earlier this month, crowning Jinx Lulu as the new Queens of the meta, and pushing the World Ender to obscurity, to the point that ten days ago we omitted to showcase Aatrox Kayn since, well, there was nothing to show: it had become a fringe option with mediocre performance. And neither did the Darkin army make it to Leer's LoR Meta Report last Monday, for a similar lack of prowess.
Yet now, lo and behold!
Tweaks and refinements have propelled Aatrox Kayn forward and upward – Kayn Aatrox is currently the most popular archetype in Runeterra, and the best Aatrox Kayn deck is the most popular specific decklist: more than 4,300 games in the last three days, with win rate North of 55%:
The main changes are in the Equipments department, with additional tweaks to the Cultists brought along for the fight.
Looking at the LoR meta stats, the reason for Aatrox Kayn's resurgence becomes obvious: the Darkin army not only crushes Lulu Jinx (which, until last week, was Runeterra's apex predator), it also consistently beats other aggressive decks (Katarina Leona, Pirates, Ekko Jinx, or Hecarim Zed) while having good odds against some decks that rose to counter Lulu Jinx (like Norra Veigar).
Trundle Tryndamere looks like one of Aatrox Kayn's best counters, with Lurkers being another good option, and the rising Gangplank Sejuani also having a slight edge on the World Ender.
Further reading: Reject Regions Embrace Darkin – An Aatrox Kayn Deck Guide.
⭐Rising Star – Gangplank Sejuani, aka Plunder
Plunder jumped from a solid fringe option pre-hotfix, to quite a promising deck right after the nerfs, to a bonafide powerhouse right now: nearly 3,400 games in the last three days (when it was at around just 700 last week) and smacking above 56%.
The interesting thing about Gangplank Sejuani (and this has been true in previous LoR metas, not just this one) is that it's one of the fairest decks in Runeterra: when looking at matchups, the majority of confrontations will be in the 45/55 range, meaning both pilots will usually have a fair chance at winning when one of them pilots Plunder.
Current exceptions are Lurkers, Taliyah Ziggs, and Pirates (which Gangplank Sejuani squashes), Trundle Tryndamere (a slightly uphill struggle for Plunder) and Ekko Jinx (a horrible matchup). Most other current strong decks (including Aatrox Kayn, Jinx Lulu, Katarina Gwen, and Katarina Leona) are all in the "roughly even" range.
Further reading: Plunder, Now with Tentacles – A Gangplank Sejuani Deck Guide
Norra Veigar briefly had a great time right after the nerf (which pushed Aatrox decks to the fringe) and rose to become one of the hardest-punching decks in Runeterra and one of the best Jinx Lulu counters.
The best Norra Veigar deck remains a very popular and quite solid option, with its win rate close to 53% (down from the excellent 56%+ shown last week) while doubling its play rate to 2,800 games (up from around 1,400+), yet Aatrox's return is seriously bad news: it's one of the most lopsided matchups among top decks, with Aatrox Kayn beating Norra Veigar in two out of three matches – and, adding insult to injury, Aatrox Kayn is also an excellent Lulu Jinx counter, which used to be one of Norra's best selling points.
Trundle Tryndamere is another awful matchup, and Norra Veigar has the dubious distinction of being one of the very few top LoR decks that crumbles when facing Sun Disc (which, for ladder, is a bad choice, yet Azir's followers won't be discouraged by bad performance and will play the deck in droves nevertheless).
On the backswing, Veigar Norra crushes Jinx Lulu, turns Sunburn's lights off, and chews Lurkers, Hecarim Zed, and Pirates for breakfast – in other words, not a bad choice if you want to ruin an aggro player's day.
Trinathan's Katarina Leona
Trinathan's creating took the ladder by storm last week, and has proven beyond doubt that it's no fluke: Katarina Leona turns Targon into an aggro region, and works great: it exhibits the second-highest win rate from all decks we'll see today, it's the highest win rate deck among our current Juggernauts, and its best version may still remain unfound – as Trinathan himself describes in the guide linked below, some tech options (like Solari Priestess) may push his deck even further.
The return of Aatrox Kayn is not great news for Katarina Leona, but it's still a manageable match – Sunburn's weakest spots are Ekko Jinx, Norra decks (like with Veigar or Heimer), Aphelios Leona and Swain TF. On the other hand, Katarina Leona crushes its Katarina Gwen sibling, consistently beats Trundle Tryndamere, and does horrible things to Lurkers, Hecarim Zed, Pirates, and pretty much any deck that is not a well-refined top dog.
Further reading: Sunburn – A Katarina Leona Deck Guide.
Trundle Tryndamere, aka Feel the Rush
The Bash Brothers find themselves in an interesting spot.
They were a very good deck pre-hotfix (an excellent counter to Bandle Bar decks that was also able to go toe-to-toe with the World Ender), with the interesting twist that they had gone "Greed is Good" and dropped Blighted Ravine to fully focus on ramp.
After the hotfix, they again found themselves in a good field, but the rise of aggressive decks made less greedy, yes-Ravine options more enticing.
And now we find them staring at a crossroads, with both the Greedy Ramp, No Ravine option (seen below) and the Yes Ravine version (which would be this one) performing nearly exactly the same: both with about 2,500 games each, both punching slightly above 54%.
Also worth noting: despite their control tools, Trundle Tryndamere tends to do poorly against aggro (with bad matchups against Jinx Lulu, Kat Gwen, Kat Leona, Lurkers and Pirates) – the Bash Brothers actually shine against decks that would rather make the game last a bit longer, like Norra Veigar and Heimer Jayce; they are also very solid against Aatrox Kayn, Aatrox Vayne, and have an edge on Plunder.
Further reading: Fear Their Return: A Tryndamere Trundle Deck Guide.
Pyke Rek'Sai, aka Lurkers
In spite of the many changes the Runeterra meta has gone through in January (including quite the impactful hotfix), Lurkers have remained a staunch, solid option: always hovering a bit above the 51% WR mark, although decreasing in play rate to around 2,300 games in the last three days today (down from an impressive 4,000+ last week)
Their best deck remains immutable, dying horribly when facing Norra Veigar, Pirates, Jinx decks (like Jinx Lulu, Ekko Jinx, and Draven Jinx) and Plunder, but quite good against Trundle Tryndamere, and great against the new LoR ladder powerhouse, Aatrox Kayn.
Few are sadder than Jinx Lulu with Kayn Aatrox's return to center stage: Aatrox was what kept rockets and Chompers in check pre-hotfix, and the Darkin army has returned as ruthless as ever in this regard.
Rocketin' Chompers is still one of the best decks in Legends of Runeterra – win rate above 55% while being among the most popular LoR ladder choices – but as the current LoR meta settles it's clear that Jinx Lulu's counters abound: Aatrox Kayn and Norra Veigar are awful matchups, Ekko Jinx is also rough, and other less popular options like Swain TF and Heimer Jayce can also chew Chompers up.
On the other hand, though, there's no lack of good prey: Lulu Jinx demolishes Hecarim Zed, Lurkers, Katarina Gwen and Taliyah Ziggs, while consistently beating Trundle Tryndamere and having a slight edge on Katarina Leona.
Further reading: Lulu and Rockets – A Jinx Lulu LoR Deck Guide
Heavyweights – Strong LoR Meta Decks
These Legends of Runeterra decks have between 900 and 2100 games in the last three days – solid picks for climbing the LoR ladder!
Outshined a bit by Jinx Lulu in the best Jinx deck department, Ekko Jinx is a very different option for those that love lobbing rockets to face – the Predict package provides Ekko Jinx with a lot of agency and choices for how to execute its game plan.
Exhibiting about 1,500 games with a 55% win rate in the last three days (pretty much the same stats as seen last week), Ekko Jinx is yet another deck feeling uneasy about Aatrox Kayn's surge: it's Ekko Jinx's worst matchup among popular decks, even if the odds are not insurmountable (around 42%). Yet, other than the World Ender, Akshan Varus and Heimer Jayce, there are not too many awful matchups in Ekko Jinx's tables.
As for prey, the time-traveling rocketeers are a bit of an aggro hunter, beating Jinx Lulu, Lurkers, Kat Gwen, Kat Leona and Pirates; they also have great odds against Gangplank Sejuani.
⭐Rising Star – Aphelios Leona Shadows
A punchy yet very fringe deck last week, Aphelios Leona is the other strong Leona deck this week – words that were not among what we would have considered the most likely to appear in these articles just two weeks ago! =)
Yet here it is: the Shadow Isles pairing puts Aphelios Leona at a very interesting 53% win rate in about 1,200 games played, with excellent odds against the other Leona deck (namely Katarina Leona), Lurkers and Ephemerals, and a tiny edge against Lulu Jinx. Aatrox Kayn and Plunder are awful matchups, though, with Trundle Tryndamere and Sun Disc being quite rough too.
⭐Rising Star – Akshan Varus
The post-hotfix miracle was not a mirage! Akshan Varus indeed returned to the land of the living – not the scariest thing you'll find in the LoR ladder (a solid 52% win rate, but that's about it), yet very playable… and with excellent odds against the current top Juggernaut, Aatrox Kayn.
And if you're looking to jump into any of the upcoming Tournaments, Akshan Varus is a solid choice for a triple-Shurima lineup, as Sirturmund and Monte describe in their Recommended LoR Tournament and Gauntlet Decks article yesterday.
🧬Mutating – Opulent Katarina Gwen
Talk about adapting and overcoming!
Red Gwen has changed radically – Reckoners and Pigeons are gone; Opulent Foyer is back; and turning it up to 11, Shunpo is the new The Harrowing! Mark of the Isles is also a three-of mainstay, to protect everybody's favorite ravishing redhead. And the results are scary.
Katarina Gwen is the highest win rate deck in LoR right now when you consider large enough samples: over a thousand games, 61% win rate (which is crazy for when the meta is settled down).
Its weakest spots are Jinx Lulu, Ekko Jinx and Katarina Leona (all of which are very rough matchups) along with Taliyah Ziggs – Aatrox Kayn is roughly even, and Trundle Tryndamere, Norra Veigar, Lurkers, Hecarim Zed and Aphelios Leona are all favored for this mutated Katarina Gwen.
Now, if you're fond of roller-coasters, Hecarim Zed may be the deck for you: its win rate has been up and down like crazy in the last couple of months, although as of late it's been mostly up: we find Hecarim Zed's best deck at 54% (up from 53% last week) and 1,100 games under its Ephemeral belt.
Matchups are equally roller-coaster-y: you often either stomp your foe mercilessly, or you get run over (what in card games' lingo is usually known as "polarized").
Sun Disc, Trundle Tryndamere, Lurkers, and Taliyah Ziggs would fall under "you run over." Aatrox Kayn, Katarina Leona, Jinx Lulu (and to a lesser extent Plunder and Kat Gwen), under "you get squashed underfoot."
Further reading: Ephemeral Onslaught – A Zed Hecarim Deck Guide.
Miss Fortune Twisted Fate, aka Pirates
Miss Fortune and her merry bunch of misfits have lost some of their edge, yet are still a punchy, 54%+ deck: Trundle Tryndamere, Katarina Gwen, Sun Disc, Hecarim Zed, Lurkers and Taliyah Ziggs are all fair game to them.
Jinx decks, on the other hand, along with Plunder, Aatrox Kayn and Sunburn, do a brutal job of keeping Pirates in check.
Further reading: Pirates Ahoy! – A Miss Fortune Twisted Fate Deck Guides
⭐Rising Star – Taliyah Ziggs
A deck that Tournament pilots tend to rate pretty highly, either to bring (usually as part of a triple-Shurima lineup), target or ban, Taliyah Ziggs also returned to the LoR ladder with promising results: winrate around 52% in close to 1,000 games, and with lots of slightly different versions running around, suggesting that the best version has not been found yet.
It dies horribly versus three of the current Juggernauts (Plunder, Jinx Lulu, and above all Aatrox Kayn), but has game against Trundle Tryndamere, Lurkers and Katarina Gwen.
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.
Aatrox Vayne Quinn
Now completely overshadowed by Aatrox Kayn as the best Aatrox deck, Aatrox Vayne is still willing to put up a fight and is not to be taken lightly: a 54% win rate across nearly 900 games, even odds versus its Aatrox Kayn sibling, and very solid into Jinx decks.
Further reading: World Ending Birds with Weapons – An Aatrox Vayne Quinn Deck Guide.
Sejuani Gwen goes for a different approach with the Freljord - Shadow Isles region pairing, pushing a very solid 53% win rate in about 800 games. It does seem inferior to Trundle Tryndamere (if you're here for the region pairing), Katarina Gwen or Gangplank Sejuani (if you're here for any of the champs), but all in all is a very solid deck with its unique take of an Overwhelm-focused game plan.
Further reading: Cold Cuts – A Sejuani Gwen Deck Guide.
Draven Jinx, aka Discard Aggro
The Queen of Rockets did find better burn patterns in either Ekko or Lulu, but her original partnership stills pack a punch: the best Draven Jinx deck punches above the 54% win rate mark in close to 700 games and it has (unlike other Jinx decks) a slight edge over Aatrox Kayn.
Further reading: Return of the Queen – A Refresher on Draven Jinx Discard Aggro
If you've seen these two before, you've probably seen all there is to see: blazing brat and bullet buff keep doing their thing, now with a great 54% win rate, never bothering to change a single card yet always remaining relevant. Truly a testament to what that tenacious stubbornness can accomplish!
Further reading: Annie goes to Stack School – A Jhin Annie Deck Guide.
One of the many variants of Norra Shadow Isles running around (Norra Veigar, as we've seen, being by far the most popular), Heimer Norra is a bit of a fringe choice yet quite promising: win rate over 53 in more than 600 games. Tends to be very good against aggressive, go-wide decks, but has truly awful odds versus Trundle Tryndamere, Aatrox Kayn and Norra Veigar – other than champion preference, the meta stats don't currently show too many good reasons to play Heimer over Veigar.
Swain Twisted Fate
Slinger and Grand General have remained a solid post-hotfix choice, punching above 55% in around 500 games.
It's one of the best Lulu counters, and also very good against other aggressive decks like Katarina Leona, Katarina Gwen, and Lurkers – yet suffers in front of Kayn Aatrox, and the Trundle Tryndamere matchup is horrible.
Garen Jarvan IV
Part of me wants to keep this shush, so as not to jinx them, but if "Two strong Leona meta decks" have a rival in the Words I Didn't Think I Would Type contest, then "Here's a competitive Elites deck" would be it.
Yet, facts are facts! With a bit of luck, this hectic World Ender expansion may the one in which, at long last, Elites get a punch, non-fringe deck: just a modest 470 games played, at a very solid 53%+ win rate, but Garen and Jarvan have been pulling these numbers for weeks now. If you ever wanted to see Battlesmith shine on the LoR ladder, this would be your chance!
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.
Yet another deck brought to life by the hotfix (funny how toning down overtuned new champs kinda works wonders for diversifying the Legends of Runeterra meta, sometimes… =), Pantheon Varus is the only Fated deck with solid stats right now, scratching the 54% win-rate mark.
And seems quite good against the Aatrox Kayn powerhouse!
Bone Club Darius
RickoRex's creation was harshly affected by the hotfix, and this former Runeterra Juggernaut has been pushed to the fringes – yet it's doing amazingly well there, punching above 55%. If you follow the Path of Battle Fury, this is the deck for you!