LoR Best Decks – Seraphine's Show
As of early Friday, these are the best LoR decks and archetypes, according to Balco and Mastering Runeterra Meta Tier List:
Seraphine Ezreal Noxus has been the big news this week. Although they were already gaining traction last Sunday, the Piltover pair wasn't included in the above chart – now it has become the most popular deck by far, and among the strongest.
Vayne remains one of the most flexible new champs we've seen in a long time, with several of her archetypes fighting at the top; and while Varus Akshan has lost quite a bit of steam, Varus Pantheon has risen to the fore.
Thus far, it looks like Domination was an aptly named expansion, with its three champs being from very viable to cream-of-the-crop – even though, as seen above, Jhinnie and Pirates have proven that some Old Dogs still pack a punch, it's clear to see that the majority of the best LoR decks have Domination champs in them.
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 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!
Sources: Balco, Legna, Mastering Runeterra Meta Tier List.
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.
With ten days into the Domination expansion, weaker decks are being culled out, which also pushes the "bully" decks (those that prey on unrefined concepts, while being weak themselves to the strongest decks) away from the top. While the Meta may still shift (and perhaps wildly) if new decks are discovered, and/or old concepts are rejuvenated and reintroduced, it is quite likely that decks in this section remain a major factor in our Meta until a balance patch shakes things up.
Star of the Show: Seraphine Ezreal Noxus
Oh boy, do some early impressions age rather poorly…
… thank the Writing Gods that tempering expressions like "thus far" exist! =)
While Vayne is Domination's most flexible champion, Seraphine, and in particular Seraphine Ezreal Noxus, has amply demonstrated she has what it takes to run the show. Currently the most popular archetype (by a landslide), SerEz also has the most-played single list: 16,000+ games (a number we've never seen before in these reports), punching at nearly 54%.
And it may not even be their best list: Seraphine and Ezreal actually have three different builds that make the Juggernaut cut both by playrate and performance, and their second most popular deck (with slight tweaks, like one less copy of Back Alley Bar, adding Thorn of the Rose, and a handful of one-ofs in their Spell list, as described by Card Gamer's Seraphine Ezreal Deck Guide) strikes above 56% in close to 4,000 games.
Strong as SerEz is, though, it does not lack counters: Pantheon Vayne and Vayne Jax are two big show-stoppers, Fiora Vayne and Gwen Vayne have a slight edge on it, and if you want to fight music with music then Seraphine Viktor Shadows is also a very strong counter.
On the backswing, SerEz most harshly slaps Rumble Vayne, Zed Vayne, all Varus variants and Swain TF.
All in all, without a doubt the main ladder factor right now, although (thus far!) not yet at "broken deck" status.
Further reading: Card Gamer's extensive Seraphine and The Clash at Noxus – A Seraphine Ezreal LoR Deck Guide
Rumble Vayne Noxus
Part of Seraphine and Ezreal's success is explained by how well they do against the second Juggernaut, namely Rumble Vayne. Regardless of the ascent of their main predator, and with the exact same list as last Sunday…
… Yordle and Hunter keep pushing great numbers, punching above 54% in more than 10,000 games.
Zed Vayne is awful news for Rayne, with Annie Jhin and Panteon Varus being tough but doable. On the other hand Gwayne, Payne, and Viktor Seraphine variants are very favorable matchups, Jax Vayne is slightly favorable, and a chunk of less popular matchups (Red Gwen, Lurkers, Vayne Kayne) are a cakewalk.
Although losing quite a bit of steam this week – its best deck dropping from a 56% WR in 9,000 games last Sunday, to 53% in around 4,200 – Zed Vayne remains a major Ladder factor.
It has big problems with SerEz, an awful matchup against Swain TF, and now Fiora Vayne P&Z has emerged as an extremely powerful counter, with Pirates also plundering Zayne's parade – still, against the rest of the field, Zayne has even to very favorable odds.
Further reading: Leer's Return of Rally Elusives – A Vayne Zed LoR Deck Guide
The Immutable Object: Annie Jhin
A poster child of "We ain't fixin' what ain't broken", Jhinnie's immutable build is determined to regain every last bit of their former glory: while less popular that last Sunday – around 4,000 games then, just around 2,700 now – blazing brat and bullet buff have kept their stunning 55% performance.
And for good reason: their matchup spread is excellent. They do have three very weak spots (Swain TF, Pirates, and Seraphine Viktor Shadows), but they are either roughly even (SerEz, Zayne, Vax) or very favored (Rayne, Payne, Gwayne) against most Top Dogs – and, in particular, they absolutely murder one of this week's rising stars: Pantheon Varus.
⭐Rising Star: Pantheon Varus
As noted last Sunday, Panth Varus is a deck to keep an eye on: it has risen from spicy fringe option to becoming our newest Juggernaut, and still has room for refinement given its many successful variations (it would seem that versions with less followers and more spells, for example, are the way to go).
Jhinnie, as said above, is one of the most lopsided matchups among Top Dogs (horrible 25% odds for Panth Varus; low enough to call it "auto-lose" in CCG lingo), and Ezreal Seraphine is a sore sight – but, on the backswing, Panth Varus is poised as one of Vayne's Banes: it's even or favored against all Vayne flavors (including more spicier takes like Fiora Vayne).
Definitely the deck for Varus fans, now that Akshan Varus has dipped in performance.
Notably Absent: Akshan Varus
While Varus has found a new partner in Pantheon, Akshan Varus has dropped below 50% and we won't recommend it today.
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!
Viktor Seraphine Shadow Isles
Still looking for its best build, Viktor Seraphine Shadows punches above 54% in nearly 2,000 games. An ideal blend for those fond of fighting fire with fire (or, well, music with music), as SeraVik is one of the best Seraphine Ezreal counters you can bring to the ladder – it's also among Jhinnie's main predators. Pantheon decks, on the other hand, and decks that can apply relentless pressure (such as Rayne or Jax Vayne) tend in turn to counter SeraVik.
Further reading: Yangzera's Quiet High Note – A Spooky Seraphine Viktor Deck Guide.
⭐Rising Star: Viktor Seraphine Ionia, ft. Karma
Although perhaps Seraphine Viktor's best build is not in Shadow Isles?
After a bit of struggle, the Ionia version is taking a page from Viktor Karma and putting up numbers to match: currently 1,600 games with their best deck, and smashing above 55%.
The matchup spread, though, is a bit of a red flag: although SeraVik Ionia is, strictly speaking, the best Seraphine deck (as in: it beats both the Shadow Isles version and Seraphine Ezreal Noxus, should they go toe-to-toe), it looks like the underdog against nearly all other popular archetypes – its only edges are against Pirates and Red Gwen.
The Juggernaut Hunter: Pirates, aka Miss Fortune Twisted Fate
They weren't just profiting from butchering unrefined decks (as Aggro archetypes tend to do in the turbulent early days of a new expansion) – Pirates have indeed found (again) a Meta in which they can thrive, and are slaughtering their way to a 55%+ WR in more than 1,300 games.
They still beat all the current Juggernauts (including the most recent, Panth Varus); their only nightmare is SeraVik (specially the Ionia version), with Payne and Vax also proving tough bones to chew.
Dropping from Juggernaut to Heavyweight, Payne has stuck to its last Sunday's build and still punches at a very solid 53% in around 1,200 games. While having massive headaches with Rayne and Jhinnie, Payne is one of the best all-around Seraphine counters, brutally crushing all her flavors.
The bad news for Payne is the other Pantheon brew, namely Pantheon Varus: Payne is the underdog by an abysmally low 36% odds.
⭐Rising Star: TealRed's Fiora Vayne
Last Sunday's fringe spice has turned into a powerhouse – the brainchild of Master Brewer TealRed (who, by the way, is currently on some Seraphine Maokai monstrosity) keeps running out of bubblegum, and now kicks butts at a 57%+ WR in 1,200+ games.
A very interesting matchup spread, too: strong into the Noxus and Ionia flavors of Seraphine while weak to the Shadows version; crushes the Zed and Jax flavors of Vayne, while weak to Rumble and Pantheon variants; murders Jhinnie, gets murdered by Swain TF, seems an underdog to Pantheon Varus.
If you are looking for a hot, roller-coaster-y deck, this is probably it!
Seraphine's Silencer: Vayne Jax
Well, nothing like Riot untying your hands and releasing all your cards (and probably your intended pairing Champ) to get things rolling: after struggling the whole of the Awakening expansion as a squatter struggling to to find a home (and, adding insult to injury, being the weaker version of the 'real' Timelines deck), Jax has met his soulmate in Vayne, and oh boy are they bashing skulls in the process.
One of the least solved archetypes right now (there are several very different builds, all doing from good to great), what currently looks like the best Jax Vayne list smashes foes with a 57% WR in around 1,200 games.
If you urgently need to kindly ask Seraphine to shut the hell up, this is probably the best option: Vax is a great all-around Seraphine crusher (soundly beats all her flavors) and very strong into Pirates – it looks like the underdog against other Vayne blends, though (although not by much), with an uphill struggle against Pantheon Varus.
Further reading: Wekhar's Improvise, Adapt, Overwhelm – A Jax Vayne LoR Deck Guide.
Another former Juggernaut, the Fated Duelists has found a cozy 53% spot in the current Meta – clearly not the powerhouse it was right before Domination landed (and is still haunted by its horrid Jhinnie matchup), but a very playable option.
Cardslinger and Grand General remain one of the best decks against both Zayne and Jhinnie – and now also against the ascending Jax Vayne, which they bloodily crush. Overall a fairly solid 52% deck, with around 1,000 games played; not a powerhouse by any means, yet a very solid workhorse.
⭐Rising Star: Privateers, aka Miss Fortune Swain
After making a bit of waves during the previous expansion, Miss Fortune Swain vanished as new Domination cards arrived – yet have now re-emerged in full force, and with 900 games on record have the highest WR among the Juggernauts and Heavyweights showcased today.
They appear underdogs to Swain TF, and have pain with Payne – but, outside of that, by current numbers they crush everything else.
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.
After a very strong opening, Gwen Vayne's best deck has deflated quite a bit in playrate – 2,300+ games last Sunday, to about a fourth of that number in the last three days – yet has kept its very good 54% WR, with the version without main-deck Equipment and just two Opulent Foyers being the best positioned. Quite a good option against Seraphine flavors, by the way.
Further reading: Scissorsbox's Midnight Tumble – A Gwen Vayne LoR Deck Guide
The Polar Express: Ashe LeBlanc
In what is probably an unintended pun from Riot's part, the Frostbite archetype is arguably the most polar-izing deck out there (in the sense that its good matchups tend to be very good, while its bad matchups tend to be very bad – a deck that more or less wins or loses its games right after the "match found" screen, so to speak).
For example: it has 80% odds ("auto-win" range, in CCG parlance) against Vax and Gwayne, while below-30% (nearly "auto-lose") versus Jhinnie and Seraphine flavors.
As long as you are okay with your games nearly never being fair, though, Ashe LeBlanc is THE deck to crush Vayne underfoot, as it defeats all her archetypes – also very good into Pantheon Varus, which as we've seen is a rising star.
Renekton Akshan, ft. Sejuani
Today's Triple Battle Fury Special is the Renekshan version, with a single copy of Sejuani, crushing at 56%+ in about 400 games (but you can't go wrong with the Sej Renekton version, if you prefer – only slightly lower WR and play rate).
Katarina Gwen, ft. Elise
Red Gwen has returned to roots, turning again into a trio and leaving Opulent Foyer for Gwen Vayne.
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.
Mirroring its stats from last Sunday – around 300 games played in the last three days, and punching above 54% – and with the exact same list, looks like we can remove the "May Contain Copium" warning label from this one.
Note that there are several spartan, foyer-less versions running around (some a lot more popular than these) but data seems clear: you want to be on three copies of Opulent Foyer.
Quinn Vayne (aka New Scouts?)
After letting everybody and their poro attack for free, Vayne has finally found the time to spend some time with Quinn – and they have splashed just a bit of Piltover & Zaun for a 55%+ deck.
The Nightmare Show: Nami Seraphine
Well, this better not be a thing, I guess, least millions of souls cry in terror as the ladder is suddenly desolated… yet, by current numbers (56%+ WR across 200+ games), it looks like it may very well be.
A quite old, usually fringe archetype that has found quite the success in the last few days – treat with care, as its performance is almost surely pushed upwards by a handful of extremely experienced, die-hard fans of this blend.
Another quite old champion pairing doing amazingly well in the Meta's fringe (55%+ in around 200 games) – and, now that everybody is attacking for free, packing five Rally spells is nothing your foes can cry foul about!