Welcome back to another batch of gauntlet lineup recommendations by Sirturmund and MonteXristo for April 15th! This week the meta has settled down and we’ve re-entered the vast Shuriman desert, Sun Disk has taken over as the best deck by winrate, Taliyah Ziggs has cemented itself as a powerhouse, and Ekko Zilean is FINALLY being respected as a decent deck. As always, we’ve done our best to provide a wide array of lineups so every playstyle can be catered to. We hope you enjoy the read and please be sure to let us know how the lineups worked out for you!
The Endless Sands
This is the flavor of the week lineup. Shurima has once again taken over the meta-game. We talked previously about how Mono Shurima has begun to warp the meta around it - this lineup is the outcome of that. It also includes a personal pet deck of mine and one that many people are finally starting to recognize as good after Majiin’s fight night run, Ekko Zilean!
I think the original idea with this lineup was to actually beat the Mono Shurima mirror, however, that’s a bit misguided. Ekko Zilean doesn’t actually win that matchup unless you’re lucky enough to set up a full board with Voice of the Risen before turn 6. The timings of the two decks just don’t line up, Ekko wants you dead on turn seven but Sun Disk has popped on turn six.
As such I would recommend banning the Sun Disk mirror away and then outplaying your opponent in the remaining matchups. Other good bans for this lineup can be Pantheon (though it is winnable for both Taliyah and Ekko, particularly if you add more copies of Quicksand), or Tri-Beam decks - particularly if you’re not very experienced in the matchup.
Other decks you could swap in vary. If you wanted to stay on theme I think Irelia Azir can work or if you wanted to tweak the lineup to leave Sun Disk up, then you can replace Ekko with a burn deck like Riven Viktor.
Desert Be Gone
Zoe Aphelios Noxus
You might’ve noticed this isn’t your typical Darkness list, that’s because my Aegis esports (previously Runeterra Academy) team World Wide Wombats curated this lineup (and this list) with one goal in mind – beat the triple Shurima players! We tested the Darkness list into Taliyah Ziggs pretty extensively last night and Yangzera was able to stabilize under 10 hp and win out in most of our matches. Once again I am putting a disclaimer that this lineup theory is not backed by stats.
We’re still going to be banning Mono Shurima with this lineup, no amount of teching can salvage the matchup for our Darkness deck, but you’re not forced into it every single time as our other two decks do have a decent chance. That said, I really can’t envision a lineup where you’d want to ban something else. If there is no Mono Shurima in your opponent’s lineup you’ll want to protect your Pantheon from heavy burn decks like Riven Viktor.
We opted to go for this specific lineup because of the lineup construction requirements set upon us by the Aegis tournament - champions can only be repeated twice throughout a team’s lineup (three players per team). If you weren’t limited by format, some alternate decks you could run include Taliyah Ziggs, or Scouts.
Rally Never Died
This is a rally lineup, sort of. Irelia Azir is back and while not quite the force it used to be - it still slots nicely into this ‘Control Buster’ lineup. If you’re expecting a lot of Feel The Rush or just have a read on a weird no-aggro meta. This can be a very solid lineup.
As far as bans go, you’ll want to take out the most aggressive list your opponent has. This might be Yordles in Arms or it might be a burn deck like Riven Viktor. Pantheon and Azir Irelia are both quite weak to super aggressive strategies and as such, we need to protect them. If your opponent was crazy enough to bring Spiders then you’ll have to ban that - you have no shot of beating it with the current Irelia Azir builds.
Alternative decks? You could try the Demacia Fae list from last season over Irelia Azir, it’s still putting up decent ladder stats. You could also try out Jayce Lux, though I’ve not seen Davebo on it recently so you may want to check his AR page before committing.
Speed Running Your Matches
These past few months an aggro oriented line up has always made sense as a counter to Pantheon Yuumi decks. This week is not any different. Except our main target will not be Pantheon, but instead all the Sun Disc and Taliyah Ziggs decks running around.
MF Gangplank TF
This week Shurima is the most popular tourist site in Runeterra. This lineup is meant to ruin their day. All three of these decks have 60% win rate or higher versus both Mono Shurima and Taliyah Ziggs, making it the best counter to the most popular lineup you will run into.
In addition, we still have the old benefit that aggro has always given us: great into Pantheon and Azir Irelia. So with this line up you are not only beating the triple Shurima line ups, but you are also favorable into line ups trying to counter control by playing either Demacia or Azir Irelia.
The main weakness here is obvious: control. The idea is that with Shurima decks being so popular, you will either not be running into too many full triple control line ups, OR they will lose earlier than you in the gauntlet/tournament runs. This lineup will have an almost impossible time beating a triple control lineup, so be mindful of this when choosing this lineup. Out of the main control decks, my ban priority would be on Feel The Rush. Blighted Ravine becomes a huge issue for us to deal with as it stops our board development.
If we dodge the triple control boogeyman, other ban considerations include Ekko Zilean, Lulu Fizz and Aphelios Viktor. These decks can either rush us down faster than we can beat them and/or have enough removal through their P&Z tools to keep us in check.
If you are looking for an alternate deck to play, another option is the classic Elise Spider aggro. It can fit right in for any three of these decks while still keeping a similar matchup spread.
Rebel Against Our Yordle Overlords
If you are a fan of the data or have been visiting Reddit recently, then you have seen how Fizz Lulu Yordles in Arms continues to be one of the, if not the best, performing decks. This lineup comes straight from the best minds in Piltover & Zaun to overthrow these darn Yordles’ dominance.
Lee Sin Viktor
Aphelios Vi Zoe
This lineup is very similar to my pick from last week (Sirturmund’s Pick) with a substitution that makes all the difference: Ekko Zilean instead of Darkness. This makes our matchup spread so much better than it was last week, and I am ashamed to say I didn’t have this deck in our radar until Gouda won EMEA’s Fight Night last Friday with Ekko Zilean.
The idea here is the same as before. This line up has an amazing win rate against Lulu Fizz Yordle In Arms across the board. So this will be our main target. On top of just those pesky Yordles, we have a decent time versus almost all aggro decks, including Pirate Aggro which I expect to grow in popularity as data continues to show the deck’s strength.
The beauty of this line up is that while we don’t have a lot of what you might call favourable targets, we also don’t lose to a lot of lineups. Most of our matchup tables are very even across the board. However, every lineup has their own fear. In the case of our lineup it comes in the form of Demacia rally decks, whether its Sivir, Pantheon or Scouts variants. So any of those decks should be our main priority target.
It is hard to find a replacement deck for this lineup without completely changing the tables around. If you are not a fan of Ekko Zilean, something more control based like Zilean Xerath can still do the trick versus Fizz Lulu. Similarly, if you are not a fan of Aphelios Vi, you can try Lux Aphelios or Aphelios Zoe Noxus. You shouldn’t change Viktor Lee as it is the best deck EVER 🙂 No bias or anything like that from me.
Shurima Is Not Real, It Can’t Hurt Me
Sometimes Bo3 matches can feel like a roulette, entirely dependent on which opponent you end up against and what they are bringing. I am starting to feel this more and more with the current meta. We have an Aggro beats Shurima, Shurima beats Control, and Control beats Aggro triangle going on. We showcased Rock and Scissors already, and this Control line up is our Paper.
Feel The Rush
Thresh Aurelion Sol
Not a lot needs to be said about this lineup. Your goal is simple, make aggro players miserable. In tournaments this weekend, Feel The Rush and Darkness specifically made most of the top cuts, showing how strong these decks still currently are. Ever since then though Taliyah Ziggs has grown bigger and bigger, making it more risky to bring this lineup around.
Our targets are any aggro deck that relies on a heavy board presence or has units with 1 health. Things like Pirate Aggro, Spider Aggro, and Lulu Fizz will get beat handedly by this line up. A well timed Withering Wail can not only reduce their board presence, but heal you on top of it.
We also do well versus the other less traditional aggro decks that instead rely on combo pieces. Things like Riven Viktor are susceptible to our Vengeance once they commit the combo pieces on their big unit.
The decks that we want to avoid come from two regions specifically, Shurima and Demacia. Shurima decks like Mono Shurima or Ziggs Taliyah are very good against our control lineup, so I recommend banning those on site when possible. For Demacia, we are afraid of their rallies. Scouts, Pantheon Yuumi, and Sivir Akshan all can rush us down faster than we can stabilize. I would still recommend banning the Shurima decks first if you have to choose between the two, since versus Demacia you still have board clear tools and hard removal for their top end.
About the Authors
MonteXristo has been playing the game since closed beta and has consistently made it to masters every season he’s been active. His accomplishments include having peaked in the top 20, taking first place in the “Streamer Sideboard Showdown” and LPP Riot Grand Prix. When he’s not writing for Mastering Runeterra he keeps his card-slinging skills sharp by playing in the Runeterra Academy tournament, with his team The Wobbly Wombats!
Sirturmund is a long-time player of the game, having played LoR since beta. He has found competitive success in the past year with a couple of seasonal top cuts finishes, rank 1 ladder placements, and first spot in a Qualifier of Mastering Runeterra's Championship. Best known for being one of the very few to still bring Star Springs to tournaments, you can find Sirturmund lurking around all the social media sites absorbing anything he can about the game!