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By The Numbers – Current Strongest Meta and Off-Meta Decks

These are the best current options according to the data, along with some guesstimates for the upcoming balance patch.

If you're looking for a deck to climb with, before the balance patch arrives next Wednesday…

… we'll cover in this article the best options based on the data from Balco (last three days) and Legna (last seven days), Platinum and above.

We'll divide our recommendations into:

  • "Safe to Craft": decks that, apparently, will receive no nerfs and will remain as-is post patch. Do notice that overall shifts in the meta may still push a deck into obscurity. For example, Yuumi Pantheon or Scouts were among the strongest decks before Worldwalker arrived, yet were pushed a bit to the side when Workwalker launched (without having received any actual nerfs) – it just so happened that, as the meta shifted and new cards were released, the meta overall became more aggressive to those decks.
  • "Enjoy them while they last": incoming nerfs to these decks! Take them to the ladder and enjoy their high performance while it lasts! =)

Our recommendations take into account:

  • The win rate (WR) of the Archetype as a whole,
  • The WR of the particular build,
  • The amount of games played with this particular decklist.

Meta Snapshot

As of Sunday, this is how the top of the Meta looks like:


The "Safe to Craft" Meta Decks (looks like they won't be nerfed!)

According to the official tweet above, these decks will remain untouched.

Their fate will depend on what happens to their predators & prey, and what new decks may surface – but if you want to get some reps with decks that are strong now, and will go largely unchanged by the patch, these are what I would recommend.


Ahri Bard

Let's keep it short and sweet: if you want to print LPs, this is the train you want to hop on.

Best performance among all Meta decks (well above 55% over more than 2,000 games in the last few days with this specific decklist alone), and nary a nerf coming its way…

… while some of its predators will get a hammer to the head: Ahri Bard struggles against Jarvan Poppy Bard (which will be nerfed: Petricite Broadwing) and Ezreal Annie (which will be nerfed too: Ferros Financier and Disintegrate).

Unless the meta shifts aggressively against it, this will be one of next patch's powerhouses.

Regions
Ionia
31 cards
Runeterra
3 cards
Rarities
23 400
champion
6
epic
0
rare
10
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
14
1
15
2
3
3
8
4
0
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
2
Ahri
3
4
Bard
3
Followers
18
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
1
Dancing Droplet
3
1
The Mourned
3
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
3
2
Navori Conspirator
3
3
Shadow Assassin
3
Spells
16
1
Ionian Tellstones
2
1
Recall
3
2
Nopeify!
3
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Deny
2
4
Homecoming
3

Katarina Ziggs Annie

Technically speaking, this deck will get nerfed – while they don't main-deck Disintegrate, it's Annie's spell.

On the other hand though, you only run two copies of her, and the deck's all-out nature and lack of defensive tools means Annie does not often survive – and on the third hand, KZA is very happy with Jarvan Poppy Bard getting a slap on the wrist.

Since the list below performs greatly, this may be another brew you may want to get well acquainted with – above all since, in the first few days after a patch, the ladder is usually in huge turmoil and aggro decks tend to do very well.

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
3
Katarina
2
3
Ziggs
2
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

Twisted Fate Nami Shadows

Now, proceed with care: this archetype is as wiggly, elusive and big-brained as it gets – there are several decklists with wildly different performance (and even versions running Piltover instead of Shadow Isles), so pilots beware.

Having said that, the recommended list below gets well above 55% in 700+ games in the last few days. And, like the other two brews above, not only it (apparently) gets no nerfs, its main predators – namely Thralls and Jarvan Poppy Bard – will get the hammer to the head.

Check Jasensational's guide for further insights!

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
7
4
6
5
5
6
2
7+
Champions
6
3
Nami
3
4
Twisted Fate
3
Followers
11
2
Coral Creatures
3
4
Zap Sprayfin
2
5
Fleet Admiral Shelly
3
6
Wiggly Burblefish
3
Spells
23
0
Fading Memories
2
1
Shadow Isles Tellstones
3
2
Glimpse Beyond
3
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Double Trouble
3
4
Tentacle Smash
2
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
3
6
Vengeance
2
9
The Harrowing
1
9
The Ruination
1

"Enjoy them while they last" Meta Decks (seems like they'll get hit by the nerfing hammer!)

Predictions are hard (and especially about the future).

We don't know yet what the exact nerfs and buffs will be, and it's usually impossible to predict how exactly the meta will be shaken (ie a deck may receive nerfs, but its counter-decks receive bigger nerfs); we only know that decks in this category include cards that will be nerfed. Beyond that, it's all guesses -- fun as they are, they are certainly not facts!


Thralls, aka Lissandra Taliyah

All things come to end – and, judging by the patch notes, with Sands of Time and Promising Future getting the hammer, Thralls' time may be up.

If you're in the mood for playing an archetype that may return to the fringes soon, this is probably it.

Regions
Freljord
17 cards
Shurima
23 cards
Rarities
29 900
champion
6
epic
5
rare
15
common
14
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
12
2
5
3
8
4
3
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Lissandra
3
5
Taliyah
3
Landmarks
9
1
Frozen Thrall
3
2
Preservarium
3
4
Blighted Ravine
3
Followers
8
2
Clockwork Curator
3
2
Harbinger of Thralls
3
3
Kindly Tavernkeeper
2
Spells
17
1
Imagined Possibilities
3
1
Three Sisters
3
2
Time in a Bottle
3
4
Promising Future
3
4
Rite of Negation
2
6
Sands of Time
3

Jarvan Poppy Bard

Petricite Broadwing brews (also known as Demacian decks) are getting clobbered in the head – JPB's main current problem, though, are two Financier decks (Ezreal Caitlyn and Heimer Jayce), so things may even out for this archetype.

The decklist recommended below is undoubtedly the strongest in the ladder when you factor both WR and playrate – if you want a safe climb until the patch arrives (and probably during the few days afterwards, in the ensuing turbulence and chaos), this is probably a very good choice.

Regions
Runeterra
3 cards
Demacia
34 cards
Rarities
25 600
champion
6
epic
2
rare
10
common
22
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
10
2
3
3
15
4
2
5
1
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Bard
3
4
Poppy
2
6
Jarvan IV
1
Followers
26
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
1
Penitent Squire
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
2
2
Durand Sculptor
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
Laurent Protege
2
3
Vanguard Sergeant
1
4
Silverwing Vanguard
1
4
Swiftwing Flight
2
4
Vanguard Bannerman
3
Spells
8
2
Sharpsight
2
4
Golden Aegis
3
4
Relentless Pursuit
1
5
Concerted Strike
2

Vi Zoe Aphelios

With only two Ferros Financiers in its payroll, Vi Zoe Aphelios may not suffer too harshly with the nerfs.

And if there's one archetype that VZA fears (horribly!), that would be Thralls – which is getting two nerfs this coming patch.

Will VZA become the next patch's powerhouse, if its main predator gets removed? We'll see – for the time being, it remains one of the best Ladder decks (if quite hard to pilot) and also one of the best Tournament/Bo3 choices.

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
24 cards
Mount Targon
16 cards
Rarities
22 600
champion
6
epic
0
rare
6
common
28
Mana cost
3
0
8
1
15
2
9
3
0
4
1
5
1
6
3
7+
Champions
6
1
Zoe
2
3
Aphelios
3
5
Vi
1
Followers
22
1
Lunari Duskbringer
3
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Boom Baboon
3
2
Ferros Financier
2
2
Flame Chompers!
3
2
Mountain Goat
2
3
Sump Dredger
3
7
The Winding Light
3
Spells
12
0
Poro Cannon
3
2
Mystic Shot
3
2
Pale Cascade
2
3
Get Excited!
3
6
Celestial Trifecta
1

Heimer Jayce Shadows

An interesting journey, these two Champs have had!

From a powerful yet fringe option during the previous patch, to one of the Top Dogs in this one…

… yet, as arguably the Ferros Financier archetype (other decks include everybody's People Problem Solver just for the value he provides – Jayce has an explicit synergy with him), the one would guess its performance will suffer a good bit…

… although Reggie's nerf may be offset by the fact that (similarly to Vi Zoe Aphelios) the hairy Professor and his Student suffer horribly against Thralls.

Until the patch arrives, though, this is the premier choice if you want to go the spell-heavy route.

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
32 cards
Shadow Isles
8 cards
Rarities
26 200
champion
6
epic
2
rare
13
common
19
Mana cost
5
0
4
1
8
2
9
3
4
4
3
5
7
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Jayce
3
5
Heimerdinger
3
Followers
13
1
Adaptatron 3000
2
1
Forge Chief
2
2
Ferros Financier
3
3
Hextech Handler
3
3
Station Archivist
3
Spells
21
0
Production Surge
3
0
Thermogenic Beam
2
2
Mystic Shot
2
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Flash of Brilliance
3
4
Aftershock
1
6
Piercing Darkness
2
6
Shock Blast
2
6
Vengeance
3

Illaoi Demacia

Another Broadwing deck with a fairly interesting tale to tell this patch – from early powerhouse, to obscurity, to resurgence as of late, with our recommended list performing well over 55%.

And this tale may get even more chapters in the coming days: while the nerf to Petricite Broadwing will surely be felt…

… few hate Disintegrate as much as the Nagakabouros priestess and her Tentacles, and she also suffers badly against Legion Deserter – with these archetypes nerfed, perhaps Demacian Krakens will again be one of the main factors in the Ladder?

Regions
Demacia
22 cards
Bilgewater
18 cards
Rarities
24 400
champion
6
epic
0
rare
15
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
5
1
9
2
6
3
9
4
10
5
1
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Illaoi
3
5
Garen
2
6
Jarvan IV
1
Followers
17
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
2
1
Watchful Idol
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
The Sea's Voice
3
5
Buhru Lookout
3
Spells
17
2
Sharpsight
3
3
Cataclysm
3
4
Golden Aegis
3
4
Tentacle Smash
3
5
Concerted Strike
2
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
3

Galio Bard

One of the best options right now – 56% WR in nearly 1,000 games – and, like Illaoi, may actually come out ahead in this patch: Thralls and Viego Noxus ruin Gard's day most thoroughly, which may offset the Broadwing nerf.

Regions
Demacia
32 cards
Runeterra
3 cards
Rarities
26 500
champion
6
epic
3
rare
9
common
22
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
14
2
6
3
9
4
2
5
0
6
3
7+
Champions
6
4
Bard
3
7
Galio
3
Followers
25
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
2
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Durand Sculptor
3
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
2
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
Vanguard Redeemer
2
3
Vanguard Sergeant
2
4
Silverwing Vanguard
2
4
Swiftwing Flight
3
Spells
9
1
Ranger's Resolve
1
2
Sharpsight
3
3
Shield of Durand
2
4
Golden Aegis
1
5
Concerted Strike
2

Pantheon Yuumi

At quick glance, Pantheon Yuumi's fate would seem similar to other Demacia decks: they are getting nerfed, but so are their predators – namely Viego Noxus, Disintegrate decks, and Ferros Financier decks.

Pantheon's position is a bit more tenuous, though: on top of Petricite Broadwing, Zenith Blade will get nerfs, too.

They remain an extremely strong option right now, though – enjoy them while it lasts! =)

Regions
Mount Targon
24 cards
Demacia
16 cards
Rarities
23 200
champion
6
epic
0
rare
9
common
25
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
16
2
12
3
7
4
2
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Yuumi
3
4
Pantheon
3
Followers
14
1
Saga Seeker
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
3
Wounded Whiteflame
3
4
Blinded Mystic
2
Spells
20
2
Gifts From Beyond
1
2
Guiding Touch
2
2
Pale Cascade
2
2
Sharpsight
2
2
Single Combat
3
3
Cataclysm
3
3
Zenith Blade
3
4
Bastion
2
5
Concerted Strike
2

Ezreal Caitlyn

Like Vi Zoe Apelios, this version of EzCait runs only two copies of Ferros Financier, and is extremely happy about the nerfs to Thralls – and, with Heimer Jayce being another of its nemesis, the Financier nerf may actually be good news.

Tri-beam Tempo brews have proved quite resilient overall, though, across several patches, and this time it's no different: after some time away from the spotlight, the decklist below surpasses the 54% WR mark in nearly 1,000 games.

Regions
Noxus
13 cards
Piltover & Zaun
27 cards
Rarities
29 100
champion
6
epic
5
rare
11
common
18
Mana cost
2
0
3
1
7
2
18
3
5
4
3
5
0
6
2
7+
Champions
6
3
Caitlyn
3
3
Ezreal
3
Followers
14
2
Ferros Financier
2
2
House Spider
2
3
Arachnoid Sentry
3
3
Station Archivist
3
4
Aloof Travelers
2
8
Captain Farron
2
Spells
20
0
Thermogenic Beam
2
1
Ravenous Flock
3
2
Mystic Shot
3
3
Piltover Peacemaker
3
3
Scorched Earth
3
4
Statikk Shock
3
5
Tri-beam Improbulator
3

Annie Jhin

Has the time come for the Virtuoso to take center stage?

Annie Jhin is getting nerfed only through Annie's spell – they don't main-deck any copies of Disintegrate – and its main counter, namely Jarvan Poppy Bard, is getting hammered too.

And, through many ups and downs, the archetype has grasped a very solid foothold on the current Meta, with the below list punching at 53% across more than 2,300 games.

Regions
Runeterra
3 cards
Noxus
19 cards
Rarities
22 000
champion
6
epic
0
rare
3
common
31
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
15
2
7
3
3
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Annie
3
4
Jhin
3
Followers
28
1
Crackshot Corsair
3
1
Legion Rearguard
3
1
Legion Saboteur
3
2
Boomcrew Rookie
3
2
Imperial Demolitionist
3
2
Solari Sunhawk
3
2
The Stagehand
3
2
Tusk Speaker
3
3
Arachnoid Sentry
1
3
Doombeast
3
Spells
6
3
Noxian Fervor
3
5
Decimate
3

Off-Meta options

If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, these are the best-performing archetypes with playrates below 1%.


Draven Sion

The Discard Pair is doing great as of late – and, as all aggressive decks, should do well during the post-patch chaos and turmoil.

Regions
Noxus
21 cards
Piltover & Zaun
19 cards
Rarities
26 100
champion
6
epic
3
rare
7
common
24
Mana cost
2
0
5
1
11
2
12
3
0
4
4
5
0
6
6
7+
Champions
6
3
Draven
3
7
Sion
3
Followers
17
1
Reborn Grenadier
2
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Boom Baboon
3
2
Fallen Rider
3
3
Sump Dredger
3
8
Lost Soul
3
Spells
17
0
Poro Cannon
2
2
Mystic Shot
3
2
Rummage
2
3
Get Excited!
3
3
Noxian Fervor
3
5
Decimate
3
5
Survival Skills
1

Zed Bard

Pushed to fringe-Meta status after being one of the most popular decks in the early days of the patch, Zed Bard is doing amazingly well across 300 games.

Probably piloted by die-hard fans that have spent weeks steering it (meaning its performance may not be easy to replicate by the untrained), the decklist below is among the best performers when you look at off-meta decks.

Regions
Ionia
31 cards
Runeterra
3 cards
Rarities
26 300
champion
6
epic
3
rare
8
common
23
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
9
2
12
3
10
4
0
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Zed
3
4
Bard
3
Followers
25
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
1
Inspiring Mentor
3
2
Esmus, Breath of the World
3
2
Navori Highwayman
3
3
Greenglade Elder
3
3
Shadow Assassin
3
3
The Maker
3
4
Fae Guide
1
6
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
3
Spells
9
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Concussive Palm
2
4
Deny
2
4
Will of Ionia
2

Ramp Aurelion Sol

Yes, I will do that: I will give you hope.

The list below punches well over 55% in more than a hundred games.

And this other version performs nearly as well (in WR & play rate).

Yes, small sample.

But you get to play ASol! =)

Regions
Freljord
25 cards
Mount Targon
15 cards
Rarities
36 300
champion
6
epic
11
rare
14
common
9
Mana cost
0
0
8
1
4
2
0
3
6
4
8
5
0
6
14
7+
Champions
6
1
Zoe
3
10
Aurelion Sol
3
Landmarks
6
4
Blighted Ravine
3
5
Targon's Peak
3
Followers
12
1
Spacey Sketcher
3
2
Faces of the Old Ones
3
8
It That Stares
3
10
She Who Wanders
3
Spells
16
1
Three Sisters
2
2
Guiding Touch
1
4
Avalanche
3
5
Catalyst of Aeons
3
5
Starshaping
2
9
Buried in Ice
2
12
Feel The Rush
3

Closing Words

As shown by Legna's data in bA1ance's Mastery Curves article, it takes about 20-30 games to get the hang of a new deck that you've never played before – so, all in all, right now may not be the best time to pick (let along craft, if you're short on shards) a deck that will get nerfed soon.

On the other hand, though, as Monte recommends in his How to Climb guide, well-refined decks tend to do great during the first post-patch days, as a lot of other pilots are testing and learning new brews.

Any questions, comments or feedback – or any specific bit of data you are after – feel free drop a comment, poke me on Twitter (@HerkoKerghans), or ping me on Discord.

And you can find more writings on substack: https://riwan.substack.com/

Have fun, and good luck in your climb!