LoR Best Decks – The Golden Age of Privateers?
Among the best best-performing archetypes, Seraphine Ezreal Noxus still is (by a landslide) the most popular – yet the Piltover pair's overall winrate (WR) has been kept in check, and among the Top Dogs it is the one with the softest bite.
Pirates and Privateers have shot at the top of the WR chart while, in an interesting comeback, Zed Vayne (which last Friday was losing a bit of steam) is once again among the strong contenders to the Meta throne.
Technical note – About overall archetypes and specific decklists, and what we mean by "LoR best decks"
Balco's chart above (like most data sites, including MaRu's Meta Tier List) and articles like Leer's Monday Meta Report sort 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 these Legends of Runeterra 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: LoR decks with more than 2100 games – these are the best tried-and-true meta decks in Legends of Runeterra.
- 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 300 games played – 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: decks with 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 decks 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 with a WR 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 – the Best-of-Three format (found in Tournaments and Gauntlets) is a very different kettle of fish!
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 – the best tried-and-true tools for the climbing job.
The Crowd Favorite: Seraphine Ezreal Noxus
Seraphine Ezreal remains the most popular archetype overall (by a landslide), and also the most played specific decklist (by similar margin) with quite a punchy 52% WR in more than 10,000 games.
Still, as mentioned last Friday, the Piltover pair's best list is probably this other one (striking at 54% across 2600 games), with a higher number of one-of spells to take advantage of Seraphine's "New spells matter" ability.
Not much news in the matchup department: SerEz's main source of nourishment is Rumble Vayne, with also good odds into Zed Vayne and Pantheon Varus – on the other hand Pantheon Vayne and Vayne Jax are great counters (and solid decks overall), and Seraphine Viktor Shadows also has an edge in a Sera versus Sera showdown.
Further reading: Card Gamer's extensive Seraphine and The Clash at Noxus – A Seraphine Ezreal LoR Deck Guide
A fairly solved archetype – its best list unchanged since last week – Rayne solidly remains the second most popular Juggernaut, with the best Rumble Vayne deck smashing at 54% in more than 5,000 games.
SerEz, Vayne Jax in specially Zed Vayne are very strong counters, but Rayne's quite happy with the many, many pilots choosing Hecarim Zed as of late, a matchup the Tumbling pair has an edge on. Rayne's other prey are Viktor Seraphine Shadows and Pantheon Vayne.
Further reading: Card Gamer's Tumble on the Rumble – A Vayne Rumble LoR Deck Guide
⭐Rising Star: Pantheon Varus
And they keep getting traction! As noted last Friday, and highlighted by Leer yesterday in his Monday Meta Report (after he piloted a Parus lineups to victory in Aegis last week), Pantheon Varus is today's success story among the Juggernauts, becoming the third most popular. It has also morphed, making room for three Ambitious Cultists by cutting down on Hush and one less copy of The Unending Wave
Parus may be about to plateau, though, with its WR now slowing down to 53%: Jhinnie (which is not going anywhere, as we'll soon see) is a horrible matchup, and Pantheon Varus is quite unhappy with Hecarim Zed becoming so popular: while not unwinnable, it's a rough confrontation for Warrior and Archer. And, interestingly, Zed Vayne has managed to turn the tables, now being quite an unfavorable matchup too.
Except for Zayne, though, Parus is still one of Vayne's banes, defeating all other Vayne archetypes; Seraphine Viktor Shadows is also a slightly favored matchup.
The Immutable Object: Annie Jhin
Not much to say about these two: since the last balance patch – which changed the landscape to perfectly suit their stunning and blazing skills – they've been having a blast. Blazing brat and bullet buff strike well over 55% in around 2,500 games, and in particular they murder Zed Hecarim and Pantheon Varus – only showstoppers here are either Serphine Viktor Shadows, or very aggressive decks such as Pirates or Privateers.
🆙In the Upswing: Zed Vayne
Up in the rollercoaster we go! After dropping to 53% last Friday, Zed Vayne is on the upswing and again punching above 56%. Its best deck keeps shrinking in playrate, though (around 2000 games played in the last three days, roughly half of what we saw last week), which to a degree explains its enhanced performance: as the labile leave and the steadfast stay, decks tend to see an uptick in performance.
And while the best list remains the same as last week, there may be room for improvements and refinements: the second most-popular Zayne list is doing nearly as well, but with a different spell composition, and ditching Fleetfeather Tracker for Ranger-Knight Defectors.
Zayne and Vayne are very happy with their Zed Hecarim cousins joining the ladder party, and are farming that matchup hard. Seraphine Ezreal is a bit of a struggle, Swain TF and Pirates are fairly bad news – but, other than those, Zayne is anywhere from roughly even to very favored into the other popular matchups.
Further reading: Leer's Return of Rally Elusives – A Vayne Zed LoR Deck Guide
Notably Absent: Hecarim Zed and Diana Aphelios
Not sure who convinced folks to play Diana Aphelios, but in two words: do not.
Hecarim Zed is a different matter: it's a wildly popular archetype now, and as such an important factor in the Meta – and the versions we find in the Juggernaut category are at around 50%, so definitely playable. The variant you want to be on, though, we'll find in the Punching Up category: for some odd reason, that specific Zed Hecarim deck (that punches above 54%) fails to get more traction, while worse lists are blooming in popularity.
Heavyweights – Strong LoR Meta Decks
These LoR decks have between 900 and 2100 games in the last three days – now that the Domination dust is settling, it's very likely all these are the real deal!
⭐Rising Star: Purrfect Aphelios Seraphine
With a modest 51% WR, Aphelios Seraphine has nevertheless gained a ton of traction, making it the most played Heavyweight today: nearly 2,000 games. It's also one of the, strictly speaking, better Seraphine versions, beating the Ezreal Noxus and the Viktor Shadows variants – it folds against Viktor Ionia, though.
🔥🔥Blazing Hot: Privateers, aka Miss Fortune Swain
All aboard the Leviathan powerhouse!
Proving to be both the best Fortune deck (it's slightly better than Pirates), and the best Swain deck (it's much better than TF Swain), Privateers are on an upwards rampage, crushing the ladder under a 58%+ WR (the highest we'll see today, in any category) in more than 1,700 games.
Their matchup spread is fantastic: Vax and Payne are a bit of a problem (but only slightly) – outside those two, Miss Daddy crushes everything else in its path, in particular roflstomping on Hecarim Zed, and having an edge on Viktor Seraphine blends (which are a pain to deal with for Miss Swain's cousins, namely TF Swain and run-of-the-mill Pirates).
Viktor Seraphine Shadow Isles
Viktor Seraphine Shadows has kept quite stable in all fronts, punching (like last week) at around 54% in about 2,000 games, and remaining one of the best Seraphine Ezreal counters and Jhinnie predators.
Further Reading: Yangzera's Quiet High Note – A Spooky Seraphine Viktor LoR Deck Guide, where he recommends a spicier version (including one copy of Minion and Glorious Evolution) that currently punches at 56% in about 500 games.
🆙In the Upswing: Pantheon Vayne
Perhaps motivated by Varus becoming the best Pantheon deck, Payne went back to the drawing board and, with a very different list from last week (trimming its follower count from 18 to 13, to make room for a lot more spells) and improved its WR from 53% last Friday to nearly 55% now, also growing from 1,200 to 1,500 games played in a three-day window.
Payne is a major Seraphine showstopper, wrecking all Seraphine decks (even the recent Aphelios Seraphine version), and in particular the super popular Ezreal Noxus version. On the other hand, Jhinnie and Parus are Payne's main predators, and Zed Hecarim's increased popularity is not good news.
Viktor Seraphine Ionia, ft. Karma
Karma has become a mainstay for Seraphine's Ionia tour – this archetype is in a lot of flux, though, with some very good lists (over 54%, as the one recommended below) and others doing quite awful (below 48%) as spells and followers are tweaked.
Strictly speaking, this is the best Seraphine version (beats all the other Seraphine decks if they bump into each other) – matchups are a bit murky past that point, with so many different lists having such disparity in performance.
Seraphine's Silencer: Vayne Jax
Jax and Vayne are a match made in Heaven… unless you ask Seraphine, who has strong reasons to believe they actually met in Hell: Vax butchers all Seraphine flavors, also slaughtering Rayne and Gwayne in the process
While its best list has remained unchanged since last week, Vax is another very "scattered" archetype (several different builds with similar play rate), in this case all builds are doing from good to great – for example, the second-best Vax deck performs nearly identically as our showcased version, but with quite a different follower and spell composition. A fair bet that the optimal Vax list has not been found yet!
Further reading: Wekhar's Improvise, Adapt, Overwhelm – A Jax Vayne LoR Deck Guide.
❄Cooling Off: Fiora Vayne Piltover & Zaun
Losing quite a bit of steam (its WR dropping to 53% from 57%, and with 25% less games played) Fiora Vayne still remains a solid Heavyweight, and with quite a good matchup spread – in particular overcoming the most popular Seraphine decks, and Zed paired with either Hecarim or Vayne.
Notably Absent: Fiora Pantheon, Nasus Kindred
The Fated Duelists have deflated quite a bit – still playable, but no longer among the best decks.
Don't play Nasus Kindred; not sure why pilots have been so eager to bring it to the ladder these last few days, but it's a horrible deck to pilot right now.
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.
The Juggernaut Hunter: Pirates, aka Miss Fortune Twisted Fate
Pirates still beat all the current Juggernauts (including the most recent, Panth Varus), and have an amazing performance – their main problem is that Privateers (aka Miss Fortune Swain) is better in pretty much every aspect (play rate, WR, and matchup spread), leaving Pirates in a bit of a weird position: undoubtedly a great deck for ladder right now, but if you like their playstyle, Miss Fortune Swain seems strictly better.
With WR dropping a bit (from 54% to 53%), Gwen Vayne remains low-key one fairly strong ladder option – it does have a handful of fairly bad matchups (Rayne, Zayne, Vax, Varus Pantheon, Pirates and Privateers), but is a solid Seraphine showstopper, has and edge on Pantheon Vayne, and can go toe-to-toe with Jhinnie.
Further reading: Scissorsbox's Midnight Tumble – A Gwen Vayne LoR Deck Guide
⭐Rising Star: Zed Hecarim
Zed Hecarim's popularity has skyrocketed – for some reason, though, the versions that have gained the most popularity are not the best-performers (as noted in the Juggernauts category, they hover at around 50%), while what seems like the best list (consistently punching above 54% for a week now) remains fairly unknown.
Should pilots jump to this one, Zed Hecarim may turn into a bona-fide powerhouse!
Cardslinger and Grand General remain one of the best decks against Zayne, Jhinnie and Vax, and maintain a great 53% WR in around 500 games – but, like Pirates, if you want to pilot a Swain Bilgewater deck, you should be on Miss Fortune Swain, which is better in nearly every way.
⭐Rising Star: Curious Viktor Seraphine
Probably yet another brainchild of Master Brewer TealRed (who was piloting nearly the exact same list), Curious Seraphine sits at 54% in nearly 500 games.
⭐Rising Star: Dark Leona Diana
Other Playable Options
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.
Spider Gwen enjoyed a bit of popularity back when Gwen was released, then faded into obscurity as Gwen found a home in Red Gwen – yet now shows up in the fringes of the Meta with an amazing performance, with around 250 games played.
One of the most loved-hated decks in LoR's history, which has remained a fringe option for several seasons this year, and right now sits at 53%. If you are new to Runeterra, this may be a fresh take to try, since its playstyle is a bit different than any other deck out there.
Quinn Vayne Piltover & Zaun
This new take on Scouts has failed to gain traction since last week, in spite of its amazing 56%+ performance. Don't sleep on this one, folks – a fringe deck sticking to its guns for two consecutive weeks is reason to suspect it may be the real deal.
Bandle Teemo Zoe
This is a concept that showed up, yet didn't succeed, in the early Awakening days ("Let's buff some cheap Elusives and go to town" is always a solid idea, and a meta-breaker in some Metas). Somebody seems to be trying it again, and with fairly good results!
Our fringest brew today, pairing this stunning pair with both Monastery of Hirana and Windswept Hillock. An okay 51% in around 100 games, which probably means this is not really a thing – but, well, seeing Jhin outside of Jhinnie is enough reason to put an eye on this one!