This is a previous issue of By the Numbers – for the latest, most up-to-date article, check this link!!
LoR Best Decks – The Tragedy of Toppling Tyrants
Last Friday, Illaoi Bard's overwhelming tide seemed unstoppable.
By last Sunday though, Kai'Sa and Shen (with a little help from Sivir and Bard, respectively) had managed to stop the Tentacle Tide a few points from 'broken' (ie, an archetype with both 55%+ WR, and 15% play rate), a trend also noted when looking at whole of last week.
As of early Tuesday…
… oh, how the tide has turned! According to Balco:
Lone Kai'Sa, all by herself, is now on a trend to become the next Meta Tyrant, judging by WR and PR…
… and if one were to assume that Sivir Kai'Sa is the same archetype (which is, in my opinion, a bit too much of a stretch, as we'll see when we check their matchups further below), then it's already past the 15% play rate mark – not to mention that Akshan Kai'Sa (not shown in the above graph) is still played more than other moderately successful archetypes like Annie TF, Kat TF or Thralls.
Technical note – about archetypes and decklists, and what we mean by "LoR best decks"
Balco's chart above, like most data sites (including MaRu's own) groups decks by archetype ("archetype" being the aggregate decklists of a specific champion combination) – that's also how matchup data is shown.
Below we'll provide the best decklists for these archetypes – since in each archetype some decklists fare better than others (and sometimes the difference is quite noticeable), we'll broadly group decklists in four arbitrary categories, by amount of games played in the last few days in the data samples we check:
- Juggernauts: decklists with more than 2100 games – best tried-and-true tools for the climbing job.
- Heavyweights: between 2100 and 900 games – other excellent choices with large enough samples to confidently say, "Yeah, this works".
- Punching Up: between 900 and 300 games – 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, it looks like these decklists can put up one hell of a fight.
- YMMV: 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 decklists in Platinum and above, usually in the last three days (unless stated otherwise).
Sources: Balco, Legna, MaRu's own data-mining.
If you have any feedback on how these decklists could be showcased differently, do let me know! =)
Juggernauts – Best Decks in LoR
Decklists with more than 2100 games: these are the best LoR decks, tried-and-true tools for the climbing job.
The Chimey Tentacle tide may have been stopped, and even turned…
… that's a very far cry from saying it's gone: like this past Sunday, of the three Juggernaut lists we'll see today, two belong to Illaoi Bard.
What's more: the second most popular decklist, shown below, seems clearly superior (well above 55% in more than 2,500 games) to the most played version (which sits at a respectably 53%), implying that as soon as those faithful to the Church of Chimes and Tentacles switch to the better list, the tide may return.
Kai'Sa mutations and Shen Bard are doing a great job of keeping the Tentacles at bay, though, both being very bad matchups for Illaoi Bard; Draven Sion is also a bit of a struggle… and also, interestingly, Lurkers, which is gaining a bit of traction as of late.
If you've read any of our past articles about Jhinnie, then you've read them all – a 'solved' list if there ever was one (more for lack of cards than lack of brewers' creativity, it should be noted), hanging at 51% in nearly 2300 games.
Its matchup table shows promise: Jhinnie has an edge over Lone Kai'Sa, is even against KaiSiv, and is very favored versus Shen Bard – among the strong decks, its main counters are Illaoi Bard and Heimer Jayce, so the meta seems to be shifting in favor of the brat and the bullet buff.
These decklists have between 900 and 2100 games in the last three days, making them solid choices with large enough samples to confidently say, "Yeah, this works".
In spite of what he says about himself, quite a few of Shen's matchups are anything but balanced – Shen Bard dies horribly to Lone Kai'Sa (currently the most played archetype), Jhinnie, Heimer Jayce and Nami TF, while roflstomping on Illaoi Bard and Draven Sion (the later being one of the latest hot trends) –shifts in the meta will likely affect Shen Bard's fate, perhaps violently.
The above being said, its jagged matchup spread lets our recommended list punch well above 54% in close to 2,000 games.
Lone Kai'Sa Demacia
After quite the ups and downs, top pilots' opinion now reflects on Plat+ data: Akshan Kai'Sa is the inferior mutation, with either Lone or Sivir being the best.
If we look only at decklists, Lone would currently be the better version: our recommended list hits 57% in 1,900 (while the best Sivir list, as we'll see in a bit, performs a bit worse on both counts). Also, nearly all the other less-played variations of Lone Kai'sa perform excellently now, implying that pilots are either quite skilled, on the good lists, or both.
Lone and Sivir seem different enough in their builds (notice for example the lack of Radiant Guardian in our recommended Lone list) and in their matchup spreads…
… to be considered, by the numbers, different decks.
Player enjoyment, though, is of course an entirely different matter, and by global play rate Kai'Sa may be a tad too frequent now.
Katarina Twisted Fate
The "Ravenbloom, but with no Annie" idea keeps paying off, punching above 52% in roughly 1,300 games.
Save Draven Sion (quite awful) and Azirelia (very good!), KaTF has a fairly smooth matchup table, with most confrontations with popular decks – and both Lone Kai'Sa and Illaoi Bard in particular – being roughly even.
Definitely a deck for pilots looking for fair fights in most matches, and from exchanges on reddit, also worth noting: this is very much NOT an aggro deck (it would fall in the Tempo/Control camps, depending how you define them).
It can go for aggressive openings, and of course it can end games via burning foes down (I mean, it has a huge shark-thing with friggin' cannons on top, not to mention its resident fire demon!), but tends to go for the reactive gameplan.
Draven Vi Sion
A deck that top pilots identified last week as a solid counter to the Top Tyrants, having game against Illaoi Bard, Kai'Sa mutations, Azirelia and Annie TF (the last two being very favored for the Revenant and the Axe Twirler).
Draven Sion would be a meta-breaker were it not for its truly miserable Shen Bard odds (among the lowest between any two Meta decks). All in all, the list below sits at 52% in 1K+ games.
Sivir Kai'Sa Demacia
The second Kai'Sa mutation (and the last we'll cover today; Akshan Kai'Sa remains playable, but is clearly inferior against the current field).
The main matchups were covered above (see Lone Kai'Sa) – the list below performs at 56% across 1K+ games, so an excellent choice overall, although if you want to play a Kai'Sa list, then Lone Kai'Sa is probably the best choice by current numbers.
An often-seen dynamic: the Jinx Bard list below lost quite a bit of popularity since last Sunday (dropping from nearly 1,200 games played, to around 900 games played in the last three days)...
… which made its WR go up by a whooping 2.5% (from 54% to 56.5%).
Wheat and chaff, as they say? =)
Save for its lousy Kai'Sa matchups (and Lone more than Sivir), Jinx Bard's odds are from even to very good against most popular decks.
Azirelia's case is… quite weird.
The field arguably changed in its favor during the last couple of days (Azirelia has an edge against Lone Kai'Sa and is even versus Sivir, while being a lousy underdog to Illaoi Bard – Kai'Sa's current ascension is surely good news for Azir & friends), yet its WR dropped like a stone and there's no list I can currently recommend.
Truly as violent as dunes under a desert storm, how this archetype's fate has shifted in the last two weeks!
Decklists with between 300 and 900 games played in the last three days – we're entering the Land of Small Sample Sizes here, but as far as numbers go, it looks like these decks can put up one hell of a fight.
Twisted Fate Nami Shadows
Big-brain deck (arguably control, masquerading as combo?).
Quite the yummy stats, at 52%+ in 600+ games.
Do not jump onto this without reading how to: here are Drisoth's (the deck creator) tips and insights and here's Jasensational's Deck Guide about it (notice they were written during Worldwalker, and that the current lists Goes Hard).
Brewin' Bard, making all archetypes playable! =)
Some top folks think it's quite hot (and non-cringe!) – seemingly good into Illaoi Bard, bad against Lone Kai'Sa, and horrible versus Shen Bard.
Yeah, I'll say it again: don't sleep on Ahri Bard. It's not like a have a choice, folks; you're just forcing my hand here! =)
Current (good) excuse for not playing Ahri Bard is it's very bad Lone Kai'Sa matchup (its abysmally bad odds against Jhinnie would be the other good, ever-present reason) – you're even into Sivir Kai'Sa, though, and wreck the other ar-chime-types, namely Illaoi Bard and Shen Bard.
55%+ WR overall, and if you need extra tips, here's Monte's Ahri Bard guide.
Sivir Ziggs Noxus
Ebbs and flows of the meta make Sivir Ziggs once again the premier Noxurimaggro variant, punching at 54% (whereas Kat Annie Ziggs currently struggles at 51%, and with a lower play rate).
Same list as Sunday, gaining a bit of steam on both the WR and PR department.
Heimerdinger Jayce Shadows
Regardless of how the rest of the field looks like, two things remain constant: there's a ton of different Heimer Jayce lists, and most of them do quite well.
Below, the most popular (300+ games) reaches 52%+.
Matchup data is always sketchy with such a flexible archetype, but as a rule of thumb:
Lone Kai'Sa, Illaoi Bard, Annie TF = Ouch!
Jhinnie, Shen Bard, Jinx Bard = Yayy!!
Your Mileage May Vary
Decklists with less than 300 games played in the last few days – promising, but too little data to say for sure.
This was the original Bard concept in the early Worldwalker days, back when most of us thought Bard was kinda 'meh'.
Later Ahri Bard proved that the "Let's Chime-up some Ionians" idea was not too far off – this Zed Bard iteration is putting scary numbers, and packing a huge amount of Recalls (notice the two copies of The Maker), which does sound reasonable with the amount of midrange answer-or-die units we see nowadays.
Vi Trundle Timelines
Few things are as satisfying as playing an Ice Pillar, choosing into which eight-drop it will transform (due to Concurrent Timelines), and then getting your mana back (since the Transformation doesn't prevent the Pillar's effect) so you get to play more stuff on top.
Said more stuff on top sometimes being a Buried in Ice, with an It That Stares chaser the round after.
Definitely worth a try! =)
Shen Lulu Demacia
Something along these lines is perhaps what Riot had in mind when they released Lulu (which was a no-show champ for quite a while; then she got tired, moved to Zaun, and became Boom Baboon's best friend).
Speaking of Lulu and Boom Baboom, a decklist I wouldn't recommend by data alone (it sits at around 50%), but that Card Gamer can probably teach you how to play correctly.
(Like, for example, realizing Sneezy Biggledust! and Yordles in Arms require a different approach)
Is this the tragedy of those that try to topple a tyrant?
Die a hero, or see yourself become what you seek to stop?
Kai'Sa is now on such a trend, as far as the numbers go – and as Leer mentioned yesterday, or from personal exchanges with top pilots such as Prodigy (who himself is pretty happy with the Meta overall), Kai'Sa's decks may be a tad too hard to interact with for the other player to have a meaningful chance of counter-playing.
We'll see! =)
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 Poetry Discord (we talk a fair bit about the LoR best decks and data, too! =): https://discord.gg/VNN5NmGhXY,
Or find more writings on substack: https://riwan.substack.com/
And good luck in your climb!