LoR Best Decks – How Science Answers Sermons
As of early Sunday, these are the best LoR decks right now, according to Balco and MaRu Meta Tier List:
On the surface, our Meta is settling down – the above snapshot is fairly similar to the data we saw in Weekend Warrior Weapons last Friday:
- Plunder and Pirates remain a testament to Illaoi's resilience: the Nagakabouros Priest may have been nerfed in body, but she very much remains at the top in spirit!
- Akshan Lee Sin gained a lot of steam (although, as we shall see, it's a very "scattered" archetype),
- The Rally Crew has split: Tappy stays among the Top Dogs, but Scouts have lost their foothold on the Meta,
- Something similar has happened with Ezreal Kennen, widely considered among top pilots to be one of the best LoR decks – yet this is the first time in weeks we'll need to dig quite a bit to find a good list for them,
- Norra Hemeir is still the most popular archetype, yet as a whole struggles at a middling 50% WR – good decks for them do exist, though, as we shall soon see.
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 LoR Meta Decks Report last Monday) sorts LoR decks by archetype ("archetype" being the aggregate of decks with a specific champion combination) – that's also how matchup data is shown.
In this article, we'll sort 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: decks with more than 2100 games – these are the best tried-and-true decks for the climbing job.
- Heavyweights: between 2100 and 900 games played – 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, these decks 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, 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 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 LoR decks (ie. specific decklist) you can choose to face the most popular archetypes (since you'll find all versions in the ladder).
Last but not least: all stats and recommendations above are for choosing the best LoR deck for the Legends of Runeterra Ranked Ladder environment – if you are in need of weapons of choice for the Best-of-Three format, be sure to check Sirturmund's & Monte's recommended Tournament & Gauntlet Decks and Lineups (which they usually update every Thursday).
Sources: Balco, Legna, MaRu's own 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
Decklists with more than 2100 games and good-to-great WR: these are the best LoR decks, tried-and-true tools for the climbing job.
Plunder, aka Sejuani Gangplank
The new King and Queen of the LoR Ladder – as Pirates were just a week ago, Plunder now is not only the best performing archetype overall, but also the most popular decklist: nearly 4,000 games in the last three days, punching at 55%+, and with the huge majority of pilots in all three shards (Americas, EMEA and APAC) choosing the exact same build. Which one could argue may be Plunder in body, but Illaoi in spirit, given that (just like for Pirates) Riptide Sermon is doing a lot of work here.
Plunder demolishes Pirates, by the way, which no doubt explains this deck's WR; it's also on top of Kindred Nasus, Timelines, Kat Gwen, Taric Poppy, Scouts, and has a slight edge on Ezreal Kennen – in other words, handily handles most of last week's Top Dogs.
Just like Pirates, though, Plunder has a hard time against Heimer Norra, and Eve Viego is a disastrous matchup.
Portals, aka Heimerdinger Norra Shadows
Heimer has spent some time in the Lab: some popular Heimer Norra decks perform below 50%, yet their most popular list, shown below, punches at nearly 52% across 3,000 games. Eclectic Collection and Minimorph (still present in some of the subpar lists) have been dropped to make room for cheaper spells.
Science soundly answers Sermons, it would seem, since the Portal Yordles beat both Pirates and Plunder; they also have solid odds against Nasus Kindred and Ezreal Kennen.
Timelines is their nightmare, though (one of the most lopsided matchups between any two popular decks), with Nami TF Ionia and Sej Gwen also being uphill struggles.
Pirates, aka Miss Fortune Twisted Fate
Ganplank's return may have been ill tidings for these two, yet they have adapted and are on the backswing: Pirates' best deck punches well above 56% (the highest WR among the three Juggernauts we'll see today).
The jury is back about the best-performing cards, by the way: keep your faith in Riptide Sermon and Eye of Nagakabouros, but also bring Shellshocker and Slippery Waverider.
Portals and Plunder: bad news.
Timelines, Nasus Kindred, Taric Poppy, Lee Sin Akshan and Ezreal Kennen: show them who's still boss.
Heavyweights – Strong LoR Meta Decks
These LoR decks 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."
Lulu Poppy Demacia
With the same list we saw last Friday, Lulu Poppy punches at a solid 52%+ in nearly 2,000 games. An archetype brought back to center stage by NicMakesPlays (and earning a last-minute inclusion in Sirturmund's personal pick for this weekend's Tournaments & Gauntlets), Lulu Poppy has shown it has what it takes.
Heimer Norra is an awful matchup, and so are Eve Viego and another of Poppy's best friends, namely Taric. On the other hand, these two Yordles can hold their own against most popular decks, having particularly good odds against TF Nami Ionia and Kat Gwen.
Twisted Fate Nami Ionia
Now, this one is very weird. This exact decklist was punching at 56%+ two days ago, yet it has dropped to 52%+ (which is still good, but quite the massive downgrade) – even though the new arrival, Plunder, is a good matchup for Nami TF, and it still retains its edge versus Heimer Norra, Pirates, Timelines and Eve Viego.
It's quite hard to puzzle, by the numbers, why such a sharp drop in WR (while not having an increase in play rate, two variables that often have an inverse correlation). Lulu Poppy is a fairly bad matchup, so these Yordles becoming popular may be a contributing factor?
Taric Poppy Demacia
Same deck as last Friday, similar solid results – hammering at 53%+ in 1,300+ games, Tappy is here to stay.
Pirates and Nasus Kindred are bad news, but Plunder is doable (if a bit of a struggle) – Heimer Norra, Kat Gwen, Ezreal Kennen and Lulu Poppy, on the other hand, are all favored.
Brutally smashing Portals, Trundle Vi keeps punching at 55%+. As we've often noted, though, save Portals and Eve Viego, most strong decks (Pirates, Plunder, Nami Ionia, EzKen, Lee Sin Akshan) have from good to great odds against Timelines.
Everybody Comes to Vik's
It's hard to remember a time in which Karma was a solid Meta pick, yet this "Everybody Comes to Vik's" pile keeps pulling it off, although now with more modest results: 51%+ over 900+ games.
For an alternative less-Bar-more-Burn version, check Yangzera's Karma Viktor Deck Guide, which Yang and Monte took to Top 3 of Runeterra Life's Duo Tourney last Friday.
Punching Up – Off-Meta LoR Decks Doing Great
LoR decks with between 300 and 900 games played in the last three days in Platinum and above – note that several popular archetypes can be found here, meaning that they tend to be quite "scattered" (ie, have lots of different lists, unlike the Juggernauts in which the majority of pilots choose the same deck).
Katarina Gwen, ft. Elise
Another perhaps weird trend – this tough trio now punches at a terrific 56%+ after more than a week of losing steam – but perhaps explained by the decreased popularity: around 550 games with this list (when the archetype used to be a Juggernaut not long ago), which in turn suggests that only die-hard experts have remained faithful…
… and with the chaff and wannabes gone, this trio is now swinging back hard.
A fairly even matchup spread, too (again usually signaling a deck that rewards skill), with only Eve Viego and Taric Poppy having poor odds for Katarina Gwen, and most other popular bouts being in the 47-53% range. For a detailed read, check Scissorsbox Katarina Gwen Deck Guide.
Lee Sin Nami, ft. Twisted Fate
A trend favored by such top pilots as MajiinBae (in his "Which Nami to Play?" article) and Sirturmund (who took it to Rank #3 on the Ladder), Lee Sin Nami's most popular list kicks at 55% in 400+ games.
Is this trend a contributing factor for why the "main" Nami Ionia list sees a dip in performance, in the sense that the best players are migrating to the Lee Sin version?
Data is quite scarce to tell – Pirates seems an awful matchup (Taric Poppy too, in a very small bunch of games), but Lee Sin appears to have an edge against Heimer Norra, Kat Gwen, Timelines, Nasus Kindred and, interestingly, Plunder.
Another archetype that enjoys a bit of a rebound, after a middling performance last week. Probably explained by good odds against Heimer Norra, although Pirates and Plunder are awful news.
Pink Thresh Viego
Another up-and-comer showing it has what it takes! Doubling its playrate in two days, pairing these two Shadowy champs with the Pink region proves to be a solid concept, punching at 53%+ in 400+ games.
Quite the great matchup spread, too: Heimer Norra, Nasus Kindred, Kat Gwen, Ezreal Kennen and Sej Gangplank all seem favored for Thresh Viego – Pirates is only slightly disfavored, and Taric Poppy is the only truly awful confrontation.
If you want to try something off the beaten path that seems very well positioned, this brew is very much worth looking into!
Twisted Fate Akshan
A recent up-and-comer from maître brasseur 4LW, which impressed our lineups maven Monte to the point of being one of his Tournaments & Gauntlets recommendations this week.
Your Mileage May Vary – Fringe LoR Decks
LoR 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.
Today we'll find quite a few archetypes that were popular or strong (or both!) just a few days ago, and also quite "scattered" (as in, archetypes that have a lot of different decklists with similar playrate, thus suggesting pilots have not yet found the optimal list for the current field) – goes to show, shifts in the meta can cut quite deep, even when the archetypes at the top may remain remain.
Second time this season that we get to aim the spotlight at two different Karma builds!
Lux Karma showed up some days ago, then kept low, and now has resurfaced – and with quite a solid performance: 53%+, and around 270 games (which, for a deck that we've seen punching quite well some days ago, means it does have legs).
Twisted Fate Nami Shadows
Shadow Isles is MajiinBae's favorite region to pair Nami with, according to his "Which Nami to Play?" article – although currently pushed a bit into obscurity by the much more popular Pink variants, Nami TF Shadows remains a very powerful, if fringe, ladder option.
And here we have what may be the weirdest Awakening archetype: pilots never quite warm up to these two champs, and their best build has dropped so much in popularity that it only has around 200 games – even though it remains one of the best performers, and has a very good matchup spread (now even adding Plunder to the archetypes it utterly demolishes!).
Pink Ezreal Kennen
Another puzzling trend – widely considered among top pilots one of the best LoR decks (Card Gamer, in his extensive Ezreal Kennen Deck Guide, rates it as THE best LoR deck right now, and it's always an archetype Monte and Sirturmund have in mind, either to bring, ban or target, in their Tournaments & Gauntlets recommendations), today we find Ezreal Kennen unceremoniously pushed to the fringes.
Veigar Norra Shadows
Now, this one is a novel take: a mixture of Darkness and Norra's Shadowy version – fresh off the oven, whopping 56% WR, small sample size.
If you want untested, promising spice, this would be one of today's picks!
In the, "Oh, how the mighty have been nerfed" category, Lone Kai'Sa remains quite fringe-playable.
Akshan Lee Sin
Another very "scattered" archetype (lots of different lists, each with only a handful of games) - Akshan Lee Sin kicks behinds most firmly, though, most of said lists doing very well. The most popular, seen below, smacks nearly at 54% in nearly 200 games, with other similar lists showing equally similar results.
A testament of what resilient, resourceful die-hard pilots can do with an archetype they love, Vi Jax refuses to go out into the night, and has two slightly different lists (both with around 100 games) clinging to the fringes.
Don't Follow Fizz
To close today's selection, the most fringe deck we'll see today (55% in 100 games), with a truly unique take: the list you see below is not bugged – it really has exactly zero followers, and goes all-in on Champs, landmarks and spells.
While Norra Heimer has proven beyond doubt that Norra is a real champion, it was not meant to be the ladder royalty that its early spike suggested – and, by current numbers, it's another Sermon-spiked brew, namely Gangplank Sejuani, the one poised to claim the Meta throne.
Still, as we've seen, a lot of popular and powerful archetypes are shifting under this pressure, with some of the better-performing archetypes being so scattered that their best lists end in our YMMV category. While at first glance the Meta seems to be settling down, most archetypes are still undergoing shifts and refinements, and pilots have not yet found the optimal list in most cases.
In other words: we'll see! =)
To close today's recommendations, the usual reminder: all stats and recommendations above are for choosing the best LoR deck for the Legends of Runeterra Ladder – if you are in need of weapons of choice for a Tournament or Gauntlet run, be sure to check Sirturmund's & Monte's recommended Best-of-Three decks and lineups.
Good luck out there!
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 LoR Poetry Discord (we talk a fair bit about decks and data, too! =): https://discord.gg/VNN5NmGhXY,
Or find more writings on substack: https://riwan.substack.com/