Best Legends of Runeterra Decks – Welcome to Comeback Season
With the usual "a bit too early to tell" caveat, the recent patch's effect on the meta seems thus far wonderful: thanks to their buffs, old staples like Taliyah Ziggs or Annie decks join Draven Jinx in their return to Runeterra, while Vayne and Seraphine remain playable without being everywhere.
Meta tyrants like Kai'Sa or Bard sometimes take a week or two to show up, so we'll see where patch 3.19.0 lands – so far so good, though!
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 Legends of Runeterra meta 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, top 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 400 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 less than 400 – 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 Legends of Runeterra 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 Legends of Runeterra Meta Decks
Here we showcase LoR decks with more than 2100 games and good-to-great WR – this early in the patch, they look like the best tools for climbing the Legends of Runeterra ladder.
🔥Hot! – Bandle Teemo Zoe
Please say "Hi!" to our new Ladder overlords!
Pesky Tiny Elusives with Frikkin' Darkin Weapons is the name of the game when you look at the best LoR decks right now: the Teemo Zoe deck showcased last Friday is still doing great (packing a 56% punch in 1,700 games), but now there are two other variations that are doing even better.
Both the two best lists ditch Kelp Maidens and prefer Byrd, The Bellringer. The current second-best Teemo Zoe deck (punching at 57% in 2,100 games) goes for a cheaper spell approach, shaking things up with Purpleberry Shake – the best Teemo Zoe list, shown below, smashes foes at 58% across 4,100+ games, going for the full three copies of Battle Bonds, and one copy of We Stand Together
Our new Elusive overlords have thus far four weak spots: as noted last Friday, they are weak to Draven Jinx and Annie Jhin, and now there's enough data to see that Heimer Jayce, and in particular the recently re-emerged Twisted Fate Annie, are also brutal counters to Teemo Zoe. The pesky pair has also a bit of a struggle against Veigar Norra, and Miss Fortune Swain.
On the backswing, Teemo Zoe slaps most everything else quite harshly, with particularly good odds against Heimer Norra, Elise Norra, Pantheon Varus, Leona Diana and the returned Taliyah Ziggs.
Further Reading: These Elusive Champs impressed both Monte and Leer when they took it out for a spin – you can check their thoughts and tips about how to pilot Teemo Zoe in their latest Worlds Meta Voyage.
❄Cooling Off: Elise Norra
More than doubling the play rate we saw two days ago (2,600 games today, up from around 1,000 last Friday), Elise Norra's performance has lost quite a bit of steam, now sitting at a 51% WR (down from a stellar 56%).
Taliyah Ziggs and Ekko Jinx have shown up as very strong counters, on top of Elise Norra's awful odds against Teemo Zoe and Pantheon Varus.
Elise Norra does beat Annie Jhin and Heimer Norra consistently, and wrecks the ascending Annie Twisted Fate, but all in all its matchup spread does not look as enticing as two days ago.
Draven Jinx's most popular deck shoots up in play rate (2,100 games now, up from just about 800 two days ago), keeping a great 53% WR.
There are LOTS of slightly different lists, all doing great, meaning pilots have not yet found the optimal list – there's current consensus about Crowd Favorite (the six most popular Draven Jinx decks all run at least two copies, with four versions running the full complement); the majority of the differences are in the one-drop slot (versions switch between Reborn Grenadier, Legion Saboteur, Legion Rearguard, and the spicy Forge Chief), on whether or not to bring Fallen Rider to the fight, and about tweaks to the spell ratios (sometimes adding Survival Skills).
Draven Jinx's matchup spread looks very good: it has two fairly awful matchups (against Seraphine Viktor Shadows, and Ekko Jinx), with the rest of the field going from roughly even, to fairly favored – in particular, Teemo Zoe, Annie Jhin, Quinn Vayne, and Pantheon Varus have excellent odds for the rocket spewer and the axe spinner.
Our fourth and last Juggernaut today, Annie Jhin strikes above the 55% WR mark in close to 2,100 games.
It's becoming a bit of a polarizing deck in the current meta, with good matchups (Teemo Zoe, Rumble Vayne, Taliyah Bilgewater, Pantheon Varus, Zed Hecarim) being very good for Jhinnie, while bad matchups (Draven Jinx, Elise Norra, Quinn Vayne, Katarina Gwen) tend to be quite awful.
Further reading: for the other side of this matchup, check Yangzera's Annie goes to Stack School – A Jhin Annie Aggro Guide.
Heavyweights – Strong LoR Meta Decks
These LoR decks have between 900 and 2100 games played in the last three days – probably the real-deal!
Quinn Vayne, ft. Fiora
"Damn the nerfs – Full speed ahead!" shouted these Demacian dames, and plunged forward laughing at the Dev's attempts to slow them down. Not bothering to change a single card since last week, the best Quinn Vayne deck has roughly doubled its play rate from last Friday (close to 1,700 games today) and strikes at 55%.
Yeah, nerf that! =)
By current data, Celesbians emerges as a strong counter to our Demacian dames, with Taliyah Ziggs also presenting mounting opposition to Quinn Vayne. On the other hand Jhinnie, Katarina Gwen and Elise Norra all look like easy pickings.
⭐Rising Star: Annie Gwen, ft. Kat
Going from zero to hero in just two days (or, more precisely, from around 80 to 1,300+ games played in that time span), Ravenous Regrets has returned from complete obscurity – it enjoyed five minutes under the spotlight back in Worldwalker – and now packs a respectable 53% punch, also bringing back two fan-favorite landmarks: Ravenbloom Conservatory and Catalogue of Regrets.
Good odds against the most popular Jinx decks (both Draven and Ekko), and a solid showstopper to Teemo Zoe.
Further Reading: Nihilist's Ravenous Regrets — an Annie Gwen Runeterra Deck Guide.
Leona Diana, aka Celesbians
Another deck that hasn't changed a single card since before the patch, everybody's favorite twilight lovers have kept steady at nearly 55%, with around 1,200 games in the last three days – seems like a fairly solved archetype, with the second most popular version just tweaking Hush for Moonlight Affliction. Very good matchup spread, with only Teemo Zoe and Jinx Ekko as weak spots, while having good to great odds into Draven Jinx, Jhinnie, Kat Gwen, and Quinn Vayne.
⭐Rising Star: Taliyah Ziggs
Thus far, this balance patch appears one of the best aimed in quite a while. "Too early to tell" caveat asides, it's quite a joy to see so many old archetypes re-emerge as soon as the playing field is leveled a bit – Legends of Runeterra truly has a ton of viable archetypes, and many a times innovations in the meta happen by rummaging through the existing toolbox, above all when it has received a slight nudge.
Pretty much like Annie Gwen above, and a couple of other decks we'll showcase further down, this once-a-meta-staple went from nearly nothing to around 1,000 games played since last Friday, packing a solid 53% punch and putting the buffed Safety Inspector to good use.
Taliyah Ziggs dies horribly to Teemo Zoe, and would rather not bump into Jhinnie; smacks Norra decks, has a slight edge against Jinx decks, and consistently beats Quinn Vayne and Seraphine Viktor Shadows.
Further Reading: Leer's Taliyah Ziggs Deck Guide.
⭐Rising Star: Annie Twisted Fate, ft. Kat
Joining today's success stories, yet another once-a-meta-staple makes a smashing return: Annie Twisted Fate, along with Riptide Rex, have jumped back into the fray, also going from (almost) zero to hero (or, more precisely, around 1,000 games) in just two days, and in this case exhibiting an amazing 56% WR.
Matchup spread is excellent in this case: a single weak spot against Elise Norra, roughly even against Ekko Jinx and Pantheon Varus, favored versus Jhinnie, and great odds against Draven Jinx, Teemo Zoe, Quinn Vayne, Heimer Jayce and Rumble Vayne.
Very much a brew to keep an eye on!
Further Reading: Dr Chekhov's Annie TF Deck Guide.
Rumble Vayne has kept a steady 52% WR in the last two days, with a slight increase in the amount of games played (around 900 right now). As noted last Friday, has below-50% odds against the majority of the popular decks, so while it's still very playable, its future seems on the grim side.
Further reading: Card Gamer's Tumble on the Rumble – A Vayne Rumble LoR Deck Guide.
Notably Absent: Taliyah Bilgewater, Heimer Norra, Kindred Evelynn
Heimer Norra has lost quite a bit of steam, and currently sits at around the 50% WR mark.
Taliyah BW and Kindred Evelynn remain very popular, but both with WR around 45% – really not something you want to bring to the LoR Ladder.
Punching Up – Runeterra Decks Doing Great
Runeterra decks with between 400 and 900 games in the last three days – while some may be just a fluke, more often than not should end up being on the strong side of things.
🔼Trending Upwards: Pantheon Varus
In spite of its poor odds against the most popular decks (it loses, quite badly, to Draven Jinx, Teemo Zoe, and Jhinnie), Pantheon Varus is low-key another success story this weekend, steadily gaining traction both in amount of games played (around 800 right now) and WR: a great 55%+
It's quite puzzling when looking at its matchup spread, and I would suspect it's mostly preying upon unrefined brews (given that, except Kat Gwen and Jinx Ekko, Pantheon Varus doesn't seem to consistently beat any of the stronger decks, while usually being a serious underdog to them), but the best Pantheon Varus deck is performing excellently overall.
Further reading: Leer's They Can Stall Their Fate, but Cannot Deny It — A Varus Pantheon LoR Deck Guide.
Privateers, aka Miss Fortune Swain
In Privateers' case, on the other hand, it's quite clear why they have kept their smashingly good 56%+ WR: they beat every popular deck (and by quite a hefty margin) save Heimer brews, and Jinx Ekko.
They may not be the shiny new toy right now, but don't sleep on this one, folks!
Further reading: PakiInPyjamas' By Her Guns Shall Noxus Rise – A Miss Fortune Swain LoR Deck Guide
⭐Rising Star: Kindred Norra Go Hard
While Elise Norra is cooling off, and Heimer Norra is not looking too hot today, Kindred Norra is one of the Norra decks that is picking up the slack.
One of Kindred Norra's tricks is that it's not as bad as the Heimer or Elise versions against Teemo Zoe (the matchup is rough, but nowhere near auto-lose, like in Elise Norra's case) – it also seems (in a small sample) very good against the other Juggernauts, and it beats its Heimer and Elise siblings.
↪Back into the Fray: Viktor Seraphine Shadows
Viktor Seraphine Shadows was a tiny blip last Friday, gained traction fast yesterday, and today shows more than 700 games played and a whopping 55% WR – it's becoming clear that this balance patch was extremely accurate, and while Vayne and Seraphine have been toned down quite a bit, both champs are still very much playable and feature in a couple of strong decks.
Viktor Seraphine Shadows preys upon three of the current Juggernauts (Draven Jinx, Teemo Zoe, and Jhinnie) while not being too afraid of the fourth (Elise Norra); suffers in front of Kat Gwen, Quinn Vayne and Taliyah Ziggs, but murders Jinx Ekko and Heimer Norra; and, thus far, looks like a solid counter to other hot trends, like Annie TF and Veigar Norra.
Further Reading: Yangzera's Quiet High Note – A Spooky Seraphine Viktor LoR Deck Guide
Ekko Jinx Shurima
These time-tricking rocketeers keep showing they are the real-deal: tripling their play rate from two days ago (close to 700 games by today) and their WR shooting past 54%, the best Ekko Jinx deck looks like a very strong option for Jinx fans that don't quite click with Draven Jinx.
(By the way: data is pretty clear here, and you want to run Voice of the Risen.)
Ekko Jinx beats the Draven variant (by quite a good margin), with also great odds into Jhinnie and Kat Gwen; Teemo Zoe and Quinn Vayne are slightly disfavored, but not by much.
Aphelios Seraphine, ft. Zoe
Now that, as noted yesterday when looking at Seraphine's decks, Viktor Seraphine Shadows is clearly the superior Seraphine show, if she happens to be your favorite champ (or Back Alley Bar happens to be your favorite landmark), Viktor Seraphine is probably what you want to look at.
Having said that, Seraphelios brings its own flavor into the meta, and remains a solid deck, with the best Aphelios Seraphine deck reaching close to 52% in about 450 games.
Kat Gwen shows up with two builds performing almost identically the same: an Opulent Foyer version, no-Elise (nearly 55% in 450 games), and a spartan, yes-Elise version seen below (punching above 55% in a similar-sized sample). Take your pick! =)
🔥Hot! Veigar Norra
As noted yesterday when looking at the best Norra decks, Veigar Norra exhibits the best matchup spread from among them – in particular being very good against Teemo Zoe (a deck that butchers other Norra versions), and even better against Jhinnie and Jinx brews.
Today's numbers back up the possibility of Veigar Norra being the best Norra deck overall, going from 150 to nearly 450 games played, and WR shooting well past 56%.
Akshan Varus, ft. Sivir
Akshan Varus has deflated a bit (going from 54% to around 52% now); it can keep its own against Quinn Vayne and Kat Gwen, but has lousy odds (around 33%) against the current Juggernauts.
⭐Rising Star: Heimer Jayce Shadows
With The Darkin Harp and Quietus now a mainstay in their build (at least apparently – these two champs have a tendency of being among the most fluctuating decks in Runeterra), Professor and Student have kept their momentum and shoot all the way up to 400 games and an amazing 57%+ WR.
Notably Absent: Ezreal Annie, Zed Vayne, Udyr Ornn, Bandle Jinx Lulu, Ezreal Seraphine Noxus
All these champion pairings have seen quite a bit of play (around 400-600 games for their best decks), but with below-50% WR (and sometimes closer to 40%), making them unsuitable to recommend.
Your Mileage May Vary – Fringe LoR Decks
Runeterra decks with less than 400 games played in the last few days – promising, but with samples being smalls, flukes and duds are sure to abound. On the other hand, if you're looking for the next best thing, it tends to show up here first! =)
⭐Rising Star – Opulent Plaza: Quinn Gwen
A bit of a puzzling take, running three Golden Aegis despite its recent nerf – fairly good numbers, though, reaching almost 52% in about 350 games.
Still showing a solid 53% (just like last Friday, with the exact same decklist) Zed Hecarim is another solid, if fringe, choice.
Another very playable Vayne deck, Vayne Gwen whacks above 56% in nearly 300 games.
Further reading: Scissorsbox's Midnight Tumble – A Gwen Vayne LoR Deck Guide.