If you're looking for a deck to climb with, before the balance patch arrives next Wednesday…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
"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
If you're in the mood for playing an archetype that may return to the fringes soon, this is probably it.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
They remain an extremely strong option right now, though – enjoy them while it lasts! =)
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.
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.
If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, these are the best-performing archetypes with playrates below 1%.
The Discard Pair is doing great as of late – and, as all aggressive decks, should do well during the post-patch chaos and turmoil.
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.
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! =)
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.
And you can find more writings on substack: https://riwan.substack.com/
Have fun, and good luck in your climb!