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By the Numbers – Current Fifteen Best Meta and Off-Meta Decks

Thralls, Monkeys, Tentacles… quite the motley crew, to keep mutated Abominations at bay!

LoR Best Decks – The More Things Change…

The more things change, the more they stay the same… Lissandra and Taliyah have fulfilled their promise from last Friday and, looking at archetypes, Thralls is once again at the top.

According to Balco:

LoR Best Decks -- Meta Tier List

Lone Kai'Sa's play rate remains only half a percentage point below what Riot considers a yellow flag (15%), Illaoi Bard remains a powerhouse, but far from its "Broken Blend" status…

… and the tide has brought us Deep and Nami TF, back among the top dogs!

On a bit of a less cheery note, pilots have been a bit less eager to play this week – by the sources we check, around 10% less games were played these last three days, compared to Tuesday last week.


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

LoR Best Decks

Decklists with more than 2100 games: these are the best LoR decks, tried-and-true tools for the climbing job.


Lone Kai'Sa

Kai'Sa has mutated to adapt to the Sharpsight bugfix last week, which for her counted as a nerf: Sharpsight is no longer found in her best-performing list, while Ranger's Resolve (rather than Chain Vest) and three copies of Cataclysm are part of the spell menu.

Also note that Void Abomination is absent, while a lot of units are two-of.

With these mutations, the list below is, by the numbers, the best tool to climb the ladder: it's the most played list (more than 3,300 games in the last three days) and punches at 55,7%.

Only thing seemingly able to stop this mutated Juggernaut in her tracks is Yasuo Katarina, and Azirelia has a slight edge – everything else is either (roughly) even or favored for Kai'Sa.

tl;dr: want to climb? Pilot this! Need tips? Here's Seasonal Champ Prodigy's Deck Guide about it!

Regions
Demacia
18 cards
Shurima
22 cards
Rarities
17 700
champion
3
epic
2
rare
14
common
21
Mana cost
3
0
7
1
12
2
9
3
5
4
4
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
3
5
Kai'Sa
3
Kai'Sa
Followers
20
1
Voidling
3
1
Xer'sai Hatchling
2
2
Belvethi Elder
2
2
Brightsteel Protector
2
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
Durand Protege
2
3
Greenfang Warden
2
4
Void Blaster
3
5
Radiant Guardian
1
Spells
17
0
Rite of Calling
3
1
Ranger's Resolve
2
2
Ancient Hourglass
2
2
Blinding Assault
3
3
Cataclysm
3
3
Quicksand
1
3
Supercharge
1
4
Rite of Negation
2

Illaoi Bard

The Church of Chimes and Tentacles is far from dead or gone – while they do have a decklist that falls strictly on the Juggernaut range (this one, punching at nearly 53% in 2,500 games), for clarity's sake we'll bend our rules slightly and recommend the second, which by play rate would be a Heavyweight (roughly 1,600 games played) but performs much better, at nearly 55%.

Except for Shen Bard, Illaoi Bard's matchup spread remains impressive – it's even against Lone Kai'Sa and Pandemonium (which has become quite trendy), and is the top dog in most other popular matchups.

tl;dr: Want to climb, but not with Kai'Sa? Then pilot this one instead!

Regions
Bilgewater
31 cards
Runeterra
3 cards
Rarities
26 100
champion
6
epic
3
rare
7
common
24
Mana cost
1
0
8
1
11
2
3
3
9
4
5
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Bard
3
Bard
4
Illaoi
3
Illaoi
Followers
18
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
1
Watchful Idol
3
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
3
2
Fortune Croaker
3
2
Hired Gun
3
3
The Sea's Voice
3
Spells
16
0
The List
1
1
Ye Been Warned
2
2
Answered Prayer
2
4
Tentacle Smash
3
5
Blood in the Water
2
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
3
6
Riptide Sermon
3

Monkeys Ahoy!

Pandemonium lists (there are several versions, since their real champions are indeed the monkeys) came to the fore last week – but, even though they managed impressive results on Tournaments, on Ladder they are not looking that hot.

Still, their best list, recommended below, manages an okay 51%+ WR in 2300 games, and as a new archetype, there's probably lots of room for tweaks.

They are quite favored into Jhinnie and Kat TF, and even against Illaoi Bard – Kai'Sa is a bad matchup, though, and Thralls absolutely demolished them.

Regions
Bandlecity
5 cards
Bilgewater
35 cards
Rarities
29 100
champion
5
epic
8
rare
9
common
18
Mana cost
3
0
7
1
18
2
0
3
9
4
1
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
5
1
Teemo
2
Teemo
4
Twisted Fate
3
Twisted Fate
Followers
13
1
Jagged Butcher
3
1
Pool Shark
1
2
Black Market Merchant
3
2
Jagged Taskmaster
3
4
Yordle Grifter
3
Spells
22
0
Warning Shot
3
1
Parrrley
1
2
Make it Rain
3
2
Monkey Business
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
2
Swindle
3
4
Powder Pandemonium
3
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
1
6
Riptide Sermon
2

Notably Absent – Jhinnie

Blazing brat and bullet buff are having a rough week – their list struggles at 50%, hence we cannot recommend it currently.


Heavyweights

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".


Shen Bard

Still squeezing points from their excellent odds against Illaoi Bard (and even though they suffer horribly in front of Lone Kai'Sa), Shen Bard's best list performs at 53% in 1,600 games. 

Regions
Runeterra
3 cards
Ionia
31 cards
Rarities
25 400
champion
6
epic
2
rare
9
common
23
Mana cost
0
0
11
1
10
2
3
3
14
4
0
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Bard
3
Bard
4
Shen
3
Shen
Followers
17
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
1
Greenglade Caretaker
3
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
3
2
Kinkou Student
3
3
Shadow Assassin
3
6
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
2
Spells
17
1
Ghost
2
1
Ionian Tellstones
3
2
Ki Guardian
3
2
Nopeify!
1
4
Deny
2
4
Moral Support
3
4
Spirit's Refuge
3

Notably Absent: Other Decklists!

Between Kai'Sa, Illaoi and Pandemonium, they seem to have squeezed the Heavyweight category dry: most pilots have migrated to the Juggernauts, are losing LPs with weak brews, or are looking for other options in less-popular decklists, as we'll see in the categories below.


Punching Up

LoR Best Decks -- Thralls, currently the best archetype

Decklists with between 300 and 900 games played in the last three days – 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 list).


Irelia Azir

Azir's followers' faith probably shook a bit last week, since Azirelia's odds against Pandemonium are quite bad.

Still, they are slightly favored against Lone Kai'Sa, and very favored against Thralls, allowing their most popular list easily reach 54% in around 800 games. 

Regions
Shurima
16 cards
Ionia
24 cards
Rarities
26 500
champion
6
epic
3
rare
9
common
22
Mana cost
1
0
12
1
12
2
9
3
4
4
2
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Azir
3
Azir
3
Irelia
3
Irelia
Landmarks
3
2
Emperor's Dais
3
Followers
21
1
Dunekeeper
2
1
Shadow Apprentice
3
1
Sparring Student
3
1
Treasure Seeker
2
2
Greenglade Duo
3
2
Ribbon Dancer
3
3
Domination
3
5
Blossoming Blade
2
Spells
10
0
Rite of Calling
1
1
Shaped Stone
2
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Defiant Dance
3
4
Homecoming
1

Thralls

Thralls is an interesting case, as one very "scattered" archetype: lots of very similar lists, all doing from good to great, which speaks of an archetype with lots of room for improvement once pilots settled on the optimal build.

We'll recommend for now the second most popular, punching at 53%+ in 500+ games.

It should be noted that Thrall's matchups are all over the place: they demolish Pandemonium and Kat/Annie TF decks (the former is probably why they are doing so well now), while losing badly to Kai'Sa, Illaoi Bard, Azirelia and Jhinnie.

Regions
Freljord
20 cards
Shurima
20 cards
Rarities
28 800
champion
6
epic
4
rare
15
common
15
Mana cost
0
0
8
1
11
2
6
3
7
4
5
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Lissandra
3
Lissandra
5
Taliyah
3
Taliyah
Landmarks
8
1
Frozen Thrall
3
2
Preservarium
2
4
Blighted Ravine
3
Followers
9
2
Clockwork Curator
3
2
Harbinger of Thralls
3
3
Kindly Tavernkeeper
1
5
Draklorn Inquisitor
2
Spells
17
1
Imagined Possibilities
2
1
Three Sisters
3
2
Time in a Bottle
3
3
Quicksand
2
4
Avalanche
2
4
Rite of Negation
2
6
Sands of Time
3

Sivir Kai'Sa (DE)

The chic choice for those that want to climb with Kai'Sa, but don't quite like going all-in in the Lone version – a lot less popular, Sivir Kai'Sa performs excellently, with our recommended list punching above 55% in 400+ games, and with a handful of other lists pulling similar numbers.

The Sivir variant is a slight underdog against the Lone variant – it also suffers with Jhinnie, while being favored into Illaoi Bard, Pandemonium, and slightly favored versus both Thralls and Azirelia.

Regions
Demacia
19 cards
Shurima
21 cards
Rarities
26 600
champion
6
epic
2
rare
15
common
17
Mana cost
0
0
7
1
11
2
4
3
8
4
8
5
0
6
2
7+
Champions
6
4
Sivir
3
Sivir
5
Kai'Sa
3
Kai'Sa
Followers
21
1
Baccai Reaper
2
1
Voidling
3
2
Belvethi Elder
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
Greenfang Warden
1
4
Silverwing Diver
2
4
Void Blaster
3
5
Radiant Guardian
2
8
Void Abomination
2
Spells
13
1
Chain Vest
1
1
Ranger's Resolve
1
2
Ancient Hourglass
1
2
Blinding Assault
3
2
The Absolver
1
3
Cataclysm
3
5
Concerted Strike
3

Zed Bard

A bit less punchy than last Friday, Zed Bard still brings the numbers (nearly 53% in around 350 games) and, as noted back then, is even or favored into three of the most popular archetypes: Lone Kai'Sa, Illaoi Bard, and Pandemonium.

Regions
Ionia
31 cards
Runeterra
3 cards
Rarities
25 900
champion
6
epic
3
rare
6
common
25
Mana cost
0
0
5
1
11
2
11
3
10
4
0
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Zed
3
Zed
4
Bard
3
Bard
Followers
22
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
1
Inspiring Mentor
2
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
3
2
Navori Highwayman
3
3
Greenglade Elder
3
3
Shadow Assassin
3
3
The Maker
2
6
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
3
Spells
12
2
Nopeify!
2
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Deny
2
4
Homecoming
2
4
Will of Ionia
3

Nami Twisted Fate

In the fringes, the big-brained champion pair keeps doing quite well, punching above 54%.

Not an easy deck to steer, so pilots beware!

Regions
Bilgewater
25 cards
Shadow Isles
15 cards
Rarities
35 000
champion
6
epic
10
rare
13
common
11
Mana cost
2
0
3
1
9
2
6
3
8
4
5
5
5
6
2
7+
Champions
6
3
Nami
3
Nami
4
Twisted Fate
3
Twisted Fate
Followers
10
2
Coral Creatures
2
4
Zap Sprayfin
2
5
Fleet Admiral Shelly
3
6
Wiggly Burblefish
3
Spells
24
0
Fading Memories
2
1
Shadow Isles Tellstones
3
2
Answered Prayer
1
2
Glimpse Beyond
3
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Double Trouble
3
4
Tentacle Smash
3
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
2
6
Vengeance
2
9
The Harrowing
1
9
The Ruination
1

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.


Charming Chimes

Ahri Bard remains a thing (as it has been since early Worldwalker days!) – if you want the Bard deck that beats other Bard decks, by the way, this would be it.

Regions
Ionia
31 cards
Runeterra
3 cards
Rarities
25 200
champion
6
epic
2
rare
8
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
13
1
15
2
2
3
8
4
0
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
2
Ahri
3
Ahri
4
Bard
3
Bard
Followers
19
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
1
Dancing Droplet
3
1
The Mourned
2
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
3
2
Navori Conspirator
3
2
Navori Highwayman
1
3
Shadow Assassin
2
6
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
2
Spells
15
1
Ionian Tellstones
2
1
Recall
3
2
Nopeify!
2
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Deny
2
4
Homecoming
3

Draven Sion (PZ)

Another very "scattered" archetype (lots of different lists, and all of them doing pretty well) – dies horribly to Shen Bard and Thralls, but has game against pretty much everything else.

Regions
Noxus
19 cards
Piltover & Zaun
21 cards
Rarities
26 500
champion
6
epic
3
rare
9
common
22
Mana cost
3
0
6
1
11
2
8
3
0
4
6
5
0
6
6
7+
Champions
6
3
Draven
2
Draven
5
Vi
1
Vi
7
Sion
3
Sion
Followers
18
1
Reborn Grenadier
3
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Boom Baboon
3
2
Fallen Rider
3
3
Sump Dredger
3
8
Lost Soul
3
Spells
16
0
Poro Cannon
3
2
Mystic Shot
3
2
Rummage
1
2
Salvaged Scrap
1
3
Get Excited!
3
5
Decimate
3
5
Survival Skills
2

Classic Spiders

Interesting times indeed… this is actually the best-performing decklist in the YMMV category! Sometimes that's simply due to small sample sizes (hence more variance), but the numbers are impressive: well over 55% WR!

Regions
Noxus
22 cards
Shadow Isles
18 cards
Rarities
14 500
champion
3
epic
0
rare
9
common
28
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
13
2
12
3
0
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
3
2
Elise
3
Elise
Followers
27
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Legion Saboteur
3
1
Precious Pet
3
1
Stygian Onlooker
3
2
Arachnoid Horror
3
2
House Spider
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
3
Doombeast
3
3
Frenzied Skitterer
3
Spells
10
2
Brothers' Bond
1
3
Noxian Fervor
3
3
Stalking Shadows
3
5
Decimate
3

Katarina Ziggs Annie Shurima

Noxurimaggro, always at the fringe, always doing very well there (above 55%, actually!) – if you want to go "Punch face first, ask burning questions later," then this is the decklist you want.

Regions
Noxus
23 cards
Shurima
17 cards
Rarities
23 200
champion
6
epic
0
rare
9
common
25
Mana cost
0
0
14
1
9
2
11
3
0
4
6
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Annie
2
Annie
3
Katarina
2
Katarina
3
Ziggs
2
Ziggs
Followers
24
1
Baccai Reaper
3
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Legion Saboteur
3
1
Treasure Seeker
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Legion Grenadier
3
3
Merciless Hunter
3
5
Ruin Runner
3
Spells
10
2
Ruinous Path
3
3
Might
2
3
Noxian Fervor
2
5
Decimate
3

Nautilus Maokai

We have to go this… well, this deep to find the first Deep list – yet another very "scattered" archetype, so each decklist's play rate is tiny. Below, the most popular, nearing 54% WR.

Regions
Shadow Isles
17 cards
Bilgewater
23 cards
Rarities
27 100
champion
5
epic
6
rare
10
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
8
2
10
3
6
4
3
5
6
6
4
7+
Champions
5
4
Maokai
2
Maokai
7
Nautilus
3
Nautilus
Followers
20
1
Dreg Dredgers
3
2
Sea Scarab
3
3
Deadbloom Wanderer
3
3
Jaull Hunters
2
4
Megatusk
2
5
Abyssal Eye
3
6
Devourer of the Depths
3
7
Shipwreck Hoarder
1
Spells
15
2
Bone Skewer
2
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Lure of the Depths
2
3
Undergrowth
3
4
Salvage
2
6
Vengeance
3

Curious Zilean Akshan

If you are relatively new to LoR, this is probably a novelty for you: a Curious Shellfolk list. And doing quite well, by the way, although with a very small sample (barely above 100 games), so pilots beware.

Regions
Bandlecity
17 cards
Shurima
23 cards
Rarities
30 700
champion
6
epic
5
rare
19
common
10
Mana cost
3
0
6
1
19
2
3
3
5
4
0
5
4
6
0
7+
Champions
6
2
Akshan
3
Akshan
2
Zilean
3
Zilean
Followers
9
2
Conchologist
3
4
Desert Naturalist
3
6
Curious Shellfolk
3
Spells
25
0
Feral Prescience
3
1
Scrying Sands
3
1
Trinket Trade
3
2
Ancient Hourglass
3
2
Drop the Bomb
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
2
Quicken
1
3
Quicksand
3
4
Rite of Negation
2
6
Minimorph
1

Closing Words

As noted in the opening, pilots played around 10% less games this week, compared to last Tuesday – and, as seen by the lack of recommendable Heavyweights, a lot of pilots migrated to either the most powerful decklists, or are searching options in the fringe.

Still, nobody expected Powder Monkeys last week, so the Meta may have a couple of surprises still…

… and, at any rate, there's a balance patch next week, on Wed 17.

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!


LoR Best Decks -- Forces from Beyond Expansion