Howdy, and welcome to our weekly selection of the best decks in the Legends of Runeterra meta!
As explained in the Technical Note at the end of this article, we'll first take a glance at a snapshot of our LoR Meta Decks Tier List, which sorts archetypes (that's to say, the aggregate of all decks with the exact same Champions) by popularity, and then we'll dive into the data to check how individual decks perform, to showcase the best LoR decks.
The recent Fate’s Voyage: Onward expansion has rocked the boat quite hard, so let's find out what are the best decks in Runeterra right now!
Best LoR Decks for the Standard Ladder
These are the 7 most popular Standard LoR archetypes according to the Mastering Runeterra Meta Tier List:
Overall LoR Ladder Trends – Standard
Well, it's official: LoR Devs deserve a hard-earned "Amazing job, guys!!"
As far as current numbers go, this is the best three-Champion expansion in all of Runeterra's history.
This is the first of such expansions in which:
- All three champions are very relevant while none seems in need of an urgent tweak,
- The Runeterra meta has been turned upside down, yet several of the old, strong archetypes are still very much relevant (in other words, you can stick to several of the well-worn Old Dogs if those are the decks you prefer; they haven't been outclassed and pushed to irrelevance),
- Last but not least, there's even room for new pairings with old champions, like this week's surprises: Gnar Jarvan, and Wild Annie Samira… with Zed!
Here's to hoping that no brewer breaks nothin' from here to the Runeterra Open because this is it, folks: Legends of Runeterra at its best.
Juggernauts – Best Legends of Runeterra Decks for the Standard Ladder
These are the current heavy-hitters of the Standard LoR meta: decks with at least 3000 games played in the last three days.
When looking at specific decklists, Galio Volibear remains the deck to beat when it comes to popularity: A record-smashing 11,600 games played in the last three days – more than double what the next contender shows – while remaining among the hardest-hitting brews out there, hitting at a 56% win rate, which is amazing for a deck with such a high play rate. As Yangzera notes in his Galio Volibear deck guide, the addition of great cards has really turned it into a Formidable package.
The best Galio Volibear deck is also heads and shoulders above all the other new champions when it comes to matches against themselves – if you were to organize a competition in which only decks with at least one new champs are allowed, Galio Volibear seems like the best bet to take the crown: it roflstomps Janna Nilah and Illaoi Volibear, has a solid edge versus Janna Samira, and beats all other brews featuring new champs. Galio Volibear is also favored against one of this week's hot trends: Gnar Jarvan.
On the other hand, though, several Old Dogs have a massive edge on the big bear and the stony statue: Heimer Jayce and Lurkers run circles around them, Teemo Elusives is close to auto-lose by CCG standards (nearly 80% odds for the pesky, puffcapfy scout), and other popular decks like Wild Annie Samira and Gwen Vayne also prey upon Galio Volibear.
Further reading: Galio Volibear Deck Guide
The best Janna Samira deck, with about 5200 games played in the last three days, remains the second most-popular specific deck in the current LoR meta. It has cooled off quite a bit from the 60%+ win rate it exhibited last week but still maintains an excellent 55% performance. As Leer notes, there is no lack of archetypes that play Janna, but Janna Samira is by far the most successful one.
Janna Samira's matchups are the opposite story to Galio Volibear's: in Janna Samira's case, other strong new decks (like good Volibear decks, and Jannah Nilah, and the novel partnership between Gnar and Jarvan) have the upper hand by quite a bit, but Janna Samira is the new kid in town capable of keeping the Old Dogs at bay: against Lurkers, Heimer Jayce, and Teemo Elusives, Janna Samira always has a small edge. It's also very good against the ascending Wild Annie Samira.
Further reading: Samira Janna Deck Guide
🔥Blazing Hot!! – Gnar Jarvan
And here it is, one of hottest rags-to-riches stories this week!
As soon as this expansion landed it was evident that Janna Samira and Galio Volibear were strong decks, but six days ago Gnar Jarvan was just a fringe oddity…
… well, behold: this is the deck with the highest win rate now (slighly above 60%) from among all decks we'll showcase today. And, with more than 4,500 games played in the last three days, it hardly seems like a fluke.
And what's more: it's probably not fully refined just yet. The best Gnar Jarvan deck, shown below, is not the same version we showcased last week (which is also doing wonderfully well). If there's one archetype right now that looks like it may break things, this would be it.
Gnar Jarvan's current predators are Galio Volibear, Teemo Elusives, and Annie Samira Zed, while it steamrolls Janna decks and has the upper hand against Heimer Jayce.
Pyke Rek'Sai, aka Lurkers
The tides are still great for Pyke's crew, with numbers close to what Gnar Jarvan shows: about 4100 games played and with the second-highest performance among Juggernauts, punching close to 58%.
If it was a bit baffling last patch to find Lurkers among the best decks, it's downright bewildering to see them doing even better, even with all these new, strong champions joining the Runeterra race.
But that is part of the underlying reason: Pyke Rek'Sai is Volibear's bane, with amazing odds against all of the big bear's brews. And, when looking into poor matchups, Pyke's crew is very, very solid: their only weak spot in sight is Teemo Elusives, and perhaps Illaoi Jarvan, which is again gaining traction.
We'll see how the winds blow and how the LoR meta shifts, but it this by far the best time to take Lurkers for a spin.
Further reading: Pyke Rek'Sai Deck Guide
🔥Blazing Hot!! – Wild Annie Samira, sometimes featuring Zed
This is the other big news in the "New Brews with Old Champs" front!
Annie Samira Ionia looks very much like a thing, mixing Wildfire with Rejuvenating Breeze, and this thing has a lot of variety.
The most popular, with 3600 games and a wonderful 57% winrate, would be the Zed-less version with just the burning brat and the desert rose:
But among the several different versions this archetype has, the one that makes room for Zed seems to be performing even better, although with only half the play rate right now:
In particular, Zed's version seems better against Lurkers and Gnar Jarvan, being able to push those matchups from roughly even (in the sans-Zed version) to slightly favored (when Zed joins the fray).
Further reading: Annie Samira Wildfire Deck Guide
Heavyweights – Strong LoR Decks for the Standard Ladder
These decks have between 1800 and 3000 games in the last three days – solid heavy-hitters for your LoR laddering needs!
The prehistoric Yordle is on a roll this week! Gnar Nidalee never quite managed to make a big splash during the Heart of the Huntress expansion, but these two Champions seem to have gotten their act together. Gaining a lot of traction in the play rate department, with 2700 games played they are now at the top of our Heavyweight category, and with a win rate to match: nearly 56%!
Their success seems to be fueled, in part, by generous LP donations from Aurelion Sol Volibear, a weak deck that Gnar Nidalee ruthlessly bullies. But they also have okay odds against Galio Volibear, and odds close to 50/50 when facing most of the other strong, popular decks.
Heimer Jayce Shadows
The third of the Old Dogs that still bites, although not as fiercely as Lurkers or Teemo Elusives, Heimerdinger Jayce shows up with a solid 53% winrate in a bit more than 2500 games played in the last three days.
Heimer Jayce has a bit of a hard time against Janna Samira, and also against this week's success stories: Gnar Jarvan, Wild Annie Samira, and Janna Nilah (more about this last brew in a bit!). They also remain one of the worst decks to face Teemo Elusives with.
On the other hand, Professor and Student are among the best options for punching Volibear in the nose, with particularly good odds against the Galio and Illaoi versions, which are the strongest.
By the last week of the previous patch, Teemo Elusive s was far and away the best LoR deck in Standard, and it was not even close – and it seems very eager to retake its crown. It's steamrolling other decks at a 57%+ winrate with about 2300 games played, and this is one deck that doesn't need to prove that it's the real-deal.
Even better, Teemo is the deck to bring if you want to puff on Galio Volibear's parade: Teemo's odds here (nearly 80%) are close to auto-win by CCG standards. It also readily beats Lurkers, demolishes Heimer Jayce, and has a solid edge against Gnar Jarvan
Teemo has two left-field problems, though: it's quite hopeless against the ascending Wild Annie Samira and Janna Nilah (about which we'll talk more in the following section) – if these newcomers keep gaining traction, they may put a dent in the puffy Scout's win rate.
As the other solid Volibear deck, Illaoi Volibear has deflated quite a bit this week, with winrate dropping to about 51% (down from a stellar 56% early last week).
It's very good against Janna decks, but has a disastrous matchups against Galio Volibear and Heimer Jayce, rough confrontations against Lurkers and Gnar Jarvan, and the majority of its other good target are weaker brews that are likely to either adapt or disappear.
Not Working Too Well: Janna Targon, Janna Seraphine, Aurelion Sol Volibear, and other Volibear decks
First caveat to mention here: Nilah Samira, which last week was part of this "Not Working Too Well" category, has found its footing and we'll find it at the top of the next section, kicking butts and taking names – in other words, any of these decks may just be a couple of tweaks away from working very well.
That being said, neither of these can get past a subpar 47-48% winrate, and therefore I wouldn't recommend them as your weapons of choice for the ladder.
Aurelion Sol Volibear is massively popular, but none of its versions are performing, and this has been true since the expansion landed. The same happens.
Something similar happens with Janna Targon, Janna Seraphine, and Janna Volibear: they have several different versions, but the best they can do as of now is get to about 47%.
Samira Volibear and Lissandra Volibear both look pretty awful right now – they would need a lot of successful tweaks to become playable.
Last but not least: In yet another accolade for this expansion, there's a lot of brewing going on. That also means there's still a lot of weak brews donating LPs to strong decks; we are still a long way for the LoR meta to settle down, and some of the current Top Dogs may see a dip in their performance one the easy prey leave the race, and only the tough competition remains.
Punching Up – Standard LoR Decks Doing Great
Standard LoR decks with between 900 and 1800 games in the last three days – we're sailing into small data samples here, so pilots beware!
⭐Rising Star: Nilah Janna
Here it is, folks: this week's crowning achievement.
With the best Janna Nilah deck punching at an amazing 59% in about 1700 games, this expansion has pulled off the admirable feat of all three of its champions having very good decks.
And what is more surprising is that, unlike Galio Volibear or Janna Samira, Janna Samira looked like a pretty bad brew six days ago – brewers did not relent, though, and Nilah Janna has found its footing by, as Sorry writes in his deck guide, leaning towards an aggressive playstyle while maintaining substantial draw power to level up Nilah.
Nilah Janna has a rough time when facing Galio Volibear or Gnar Jarvan, but has solid odds against Janna Samira, Heimer Jayce, Wild Annie Samira, and is not afraid of Lurkers – thus far, looks like a very solid choice and a real-deal deck!
Further reading: Nilah Janna Deck Guide
Illaoi Jarvan opens today's selection of old decks that were meta staples at some point and have decided to try their luck again… a trend that is actually very common after a patch throws the LoR meta into disarray – Runeterra has a really big toolbox to pull from, and you never know what old tool will make the trick this time.
Illaoi Jarvan has been doing quite well for itself, with a beefy 55% win rate in about 1400 games in the last three days. Seems very good against Janna decks, while weak versus the other Juggernauts.
Opulent Gwen Vayne
Talking about old staples making a comeback, we have Gwen Vayne doing very well by bringing back all the Hallowed entourage, and punching close to 56% in 1300+ games!
And the matchup spread seems quite enticing in this case, with even to good matchups across the board save against Gnar decks.
Grinning Rogue and God-Slayer are also having a ball in this meta.
One of the weirdest brews to surface this week, throwing Octo Adventurer and Skip, "King of the Reef" into the mix along with Kelp Maidens, Teemo and Yuumi.
Potentially a great candidate for "Most Hated Deck" this expansion if it manages to take off… and with a crazy 60% win rate in nearly a thousand games, it could very well do so!
Your Mileage May Vary
If none of the above floats your boat, here are a handful of more fringe options that are doing well on the Standard LoR ladder – sample sizes are small, though, so tread carefully!
Whenever old decks are testing the waters and checking if the tides are benevolent, you can be sure Illaoi Swain will be among them – and it seems thus far that the field is quite good for Priestess and Grand General. They do have a couple of very rough matchups (against Galio Volibear and Gnar Jarvan in particular) but seem otherwise pretty capable of performing well.
Perhaps there's a diamond to be found in the mud here?
As a whole, Bard Janna is doing pretty awful – but there are wildly different versions, and this one is doing pretty well.
(By the way; the most popular version, packing a couple of landmarks, looks like trash.)
Celesbians, aka Diana Leona
They had their brief time under the sun, these two, but then were pushed to obscurity – but they seem to have picked a couple of new tricks in the meantime, and in the fringes of the meta Diana Leona is doing moderately well.