LoR Best Decks -- Tentacle Tide Turned?
This is an older issue of 'By the Numbers' -- for the most recent article, check this link!!
Last Friday, Illaoi Bard's overwhelming tide seemed unstoppable.
As of early Sunday, the Resistance has managed to slow it down, pushing it a couple of percentage points below from truly broken – according to Balco:
(For context: Riot's rules of thumb for problematic decks are a WR over 55% and a play rate over 15% – an archetype breaking past both thresholds is what we'd label "broken")
Whether or not Illaoi Bard crosses those thresholds depends on how the rest of the field shapes itself – thus far, as noted last Friday, pilots have indeed jumped onto strong decks that have good (KaiSiv) and very good (Shen Bard) odds against the Tentacled Menace.
Technical note – about archetypes and decklists, and what we mean by "best decks"
The above chart groups decks by archetype ("archetype" being the aggregate decklists of a specific champion combination).
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.
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.
We have three decklists today that fall in the Juggernaut category…
… and two of them are Illaoi Bard variations – that's how strong this archetype is.
We'll recommend below the second most popular decklist, which slaps at above 56% with more than 2200 games – but if you want to play really safe, you can't go wrong with the most popular version, which punches at 'only' 54% across a bewildering 10,000+ games.
In case you need tips to pilot this powerhouse, Leer has a freshly fished Illaoi Bard Deck Guide; he's not a fan of The List, so he prefers 1x [Cosmic Binding].
The Tentacled Menace is unfavored against Sivir Kai'Sa (although even against other Kai'Sa mutations), two hot new trends (Katarina TF and Draven Sion), and a severe underdog to the cool new kids in town, Shen Bard.
Blazing brat and bullet buff are not having the best of times right now – their list is pretty set in stone, so not many tweaks they have access to – but they are still packing a bit of a punch, at 51.5% WR in 2200+ games.
Their big problem is Illaoi Bard, which is a very bad matchup, with other uphill struggles include Heimer Jayce, Spider-Gwen and Jinx Bard.
On the other hand, Jhinnie is very strong into Shen Bard, so should the meta swing in that direction, Jhinnie's fortunes may rebound.
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."
His Sand Soldiers slapped aside by the Tentacle Army, Azir & friends still remain a very solid option, with our recommended decklist reaching 53% in around 2,000 games.
And, interestingly, while being underdog to Illaoi Bard, it's favored against all Kai'Sa mutations (one of Illaoi Bard's counters), and also Shen Bard (the strongest Illaoi Bard counter).
So here it is, the shiny new toy – must be all those Barriers, making it so shiny! =)
Silly jokes aside, this is perhaps this patch's most interesting story thus far: not only a viable Shen deck (finally!), but the one that is indeed preserving the balance.
Calling it "viable" right now is selling it a bit short (it punches at nearly 55%, across 2000 games), but as top pilots have pointed out, caution should be observed: Shen Bard's performance is indeed inflated by its great matchup against Illaoi Bard, while being disfavored against most other popular decks:
In other words, if you want to put time into a strong Illaoi Bard counter, you may want to look into Sivir Kai'Sa, which we will describe a bit further down.
Katarina Twisted Fate
A Ravenbloom Conservatory deck without Annie?
What's more: this is pretty much Annie TF without Annie – and boy oh boy does swapping the burning brat for the eye-scarred knife juggler seem to work (while, currently, Annie TF is having a rather hard time).
In particular, KaTF has game against Illaoi Bard, and very good odds against Heimer Jayce and Azirelia. It does have an uphill struggle against Kai'Sa and Shen Bard, though, so whether the Tentacle tide turns or pushes forward will impact how well KaTF does.
Don't sleep on this one, folks.
It's been doing great since the second half of Worldwalker, and has performed incrementally better this week: right now, 54% across 1200 games in the last three days.
Suffers from: Sivir Kai'Sa & Heimer Jayce
Stomps over: Azirelia, Shen Bard, Jhinnie, KatYa
Roughly even: Illaoi Bard, non-Sivir Kai'Sa
Akshan Kai'Sa Demacia
The first of three Kai'Sa Demacia mutations (the other two are described below) – by current numbers, and from top pilots' opinions, it would appear the other two versions are better, even though this list comfortably surpasses 53% in more than 1,200 games.
Sivir Kai'Sa Demacia
Arguably the second most powerful deck right now after Illaoi Bard (although comparing a 1K-game list and a 10K-game list is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, of course).
The list below reaches 56% in more than 1,000 games and, above all, has a superb matchup table: it's even or favored against pretty much all popular decks, having an edge against Illaoi Bard. The only uphill struggle seems to be Draven Sion, which is gaining steam but is still far from being overly popular.
If there's one deck I can recommend putting your time in and trying to learn inside-out, it would be this one.
Lone Kai'Sa Demacia
Some top pilots swear Lone Kai'Sa is the best Kai'Sa mutation – by performance, the second most popular list has legs to support that claim, with a 56% WR in nearly 1,000 games.
It seems a serious underdog to both Azirelia and Annie Jhin, though, and has no edge on Illaoi Bard – but, interestingly, is even against Draven Sion, which looks like a thorn in KaiSiv's side.
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.
Do notice how depopulated this section has become – as the Juggernauts and Heavyweights become more refined and the meta settles down, pilots tend to migrate either to said popular options, or look for more niche decks, as we'll see in the last section.
Heimerdinger Jayce Shadows
Professor and Student find themselves in a struggle to adapt – their most popular list, which we recommended last Tuesday, now sits at a paltry 48%...
… yet the second most popular punches above 55%, albeit across a smallish 330-game sample.
Katarina Ziggs Annie Shurima
Worldwalker's premier aggro deck still has legs: 52%+ in nearly 450 games (and keeps being superior to the other Noxurimaggro variant, Sivir Ziggs).
Slight underdog to Illaoi Bard, absolutely murders Azirelia.
Twisted Fate Nami Shadows
Big-brainiest deck ever?
During Worldwalker, there was hardly a doubt among top pilots that this was one of the best decks, but its ladder performance was always mediocre at best. Currently, the list below reaches 52% in 400 games, but that may be due to expert pilots being the only ones interested in it.
In case you want to give it a try, here are Drisoth's (the deck creator) tips and insights (notice they were written during Worldwalker, though), and here a Jasensational's Deck Guide about it.
Also, there's a somewhat similar take going for Gwen instead of TF; it's doing okay, but not as well as the classic Nami TF variant.
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.
Gee, doesn't this look like déjà vu…
… folks, don't sleep on Ahri Bard! =)
Friggingly-high 58% WR and, yes, it's a fairly small sample – 250ish games – but, c'mon, we do know this works!
Not convinced yet?
It frigging DEMOLISHES Illaoi Bard, for Chime's sake!!
Yes, dies to Jhinnie and Azirelia but, well, nothing in this life's perfect – don't sleep on Ahri Bard!
Name a More Iconic Duo
Annie Burn – because some things just fit! =)
Burns super-hot, by the way: well over 55%.
Another Worldwalker powerhouse that has been a bit forgotten. Does suffer in front of both Illaoi Bard and KaiSiv, but has game against Shen Bard and Annie TF.
Caitlyn & Friends
This is what some may call "a pile", but one with fairly solid credentials: reached the top of the APAC ladder, and with an impressive WR at that.
Here's a short write-up about it by Sarah, Jott and Yondy describing this Subpurrsible oddity.
The Revenant and his axe-hurling sidekick (or is it the other way around?) are gaining traction fast – they fold to Shen Bard, but as predicted by Seasonal Champ Prodigy a few days ago:
… it beats both Illaoi Bard and Annie TF (also wrecking KaiSiv and Jhinnie in the process).
Probably one of the hottest trends right now!
Yes, at this point it's becoming clear that "just add Bard" may be the most successful brewing formula but, well, we're here to share data and decks (and World Top 8 Aikado vouches for its non-cringiness!), so this is what the numbers say: a very solid 53% WR in nearly 200 games in the last three days, and this thing has been making waves since earlier than that.
Tryndamere Trundle Shadows
Control making a comeback?
Way too early to tell with these small sample sizes but, yep: in the fringes, TryTrund has been steadily gaining traction.
Vi Trundle Timelines
Once the Top Dog, Timelines didn't quite manage to make a splash during Worldwalker, even when it seemed about to, a couple of times.
Current numbers are very encouraging (over 55% WR) – highly recommended if you haven't played a Timelines deck before.
Overshadowed by the True Tentacle Menace, Illaoi Lux keeps doing okay in the fringes.
Proceed with caution, but here it is again: a successful, if fringe, Evelynn deck!
There are several versions doing quite poorly, but the list recommended below, which is the most popular, reaches a very solid 53% WR in nearly 200 games.
Has the Tentacle Tide been turned?
For now, it would appear so – with two solid decks as counter, as of today Illaoi Bard's WR has dipped a bit below 55% (one of the 'broken archetype' threshold), and it still has a bit to go before reading a 15% play rate (the other threshold).
It still is without a doubt a powerhouse, and by-the-numbers the best decklist you can jump onto if climbing quickly is what you want.
Still, by matchups tables one would say KaiSiv is actually the best deck in the format, and Bard Shen surely ruins Nagakabouros' day, so…
… 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!