Hello everyone and welcome back to another Lineup Recommendations article by Sirturmund & MonteXristo! Demacia is still on top this week with Pantheon Yuumi and Tristana Teemo Gnar being the two decks I, Monte, expect to see the most.
The tournament landscape this weekend should still be primarily Demacia-focused as a result!
We’ve taken this into account when curating this week’s lineups, but we also wanted to ensure there were options for everyone so keep reading to find a lineup that’s right for you!
WhatAmI? A Winner’s Lineup!
This is a bit more of a non-standard lineup, but it’s one XxWhatAmIxX has played to incredible success across many weeks and many tournaments.
Lee Sin Zoe
This has been XxWhatAmIxX's go-to lineup for this season and it’s no wonder why. Once you take Pantheon out of the equation, the field is quite good for removal-heavy decks with big end-game finishers. The smaller Demacia decks are fairly weak to The Ruination, and a skilled Lee player can also navigate the matchups well enough to take the win.
As mentioned, with this lineup your main ban strategy is to remove Pantheon.
If your opponent doesn’t happen to have any Pantheon, you’ll want to take out decks that should counter you – things like The Bandle Tree, which can set up and achieve their win-condition faster than you.
Remember that you’re banning Pantheon with this lineup so your Darkness deck, should you decide to bring it, has to be teched towards the swarm matchups. This means adding more healing and removal cards like Withering Wail or maybe even adding back a copy or two of The Box. You’ll need to make some cuts to find the room for these new cards, and one place you may want to start is with Vengeance or Minimorph. In a lineup that is looking to ban out Pantheon and play into swarm decks, big kill spells lose a lot of value – I would play no more (but probably fewer) than four copies of these cards in whatever ratio you like.
Huh… This looks familiar
I may have used a Lulu quote as the name of this lineup, but Lulu’s nowhere to be found in this week’s triple rally feature… just the same three decks as last week.
And there’s good reason for this: they’re still the three best rally decks in the meta.
Finally, Pantheon Yuumi can completely turn games around in the span of a single turn phase. Between Golden Aegis and Cataclysm, they can flip Yuumi so quickly, they’re also sometimes capable of ending the game in a single attack swing.
These three decks just boast such a high power level, and they come together to form this lineup so naturally, that I’d be foolish not to include this lineup on this list for you all.
When it comes to the ban strategy you’ll once again want to take out Pantheon, as a rule of thumb ‘Bigger Demacia’ beats ‘Small Demacia’.
If your opponent is for some reason on a Demacia lineup that doesn’t include Pantheon, apply this rule to determine your ban. Other excellent bans for this lineup can be burn decks like Gnar Ziggs or Draven Rumble. According to the stats, traditional Yordles in Arms with Lulu Fizz can also pose a problem for our decks – not a bad spot to spend a ban either.
For alternate decks, you can play any other Demacia deck you enjoy in any one of these slots. Jayce Lux and Sivir Akshan can both be great choices to beef you up a bit against smaller Demacia. Be aware that these decks may change your ban strategy so be sure to take a peek at the matchup table to give yourself a better idea of your new lineup’s plan!
Pantheon Shmantheon/The Sqweeby Special
This lineup is one that my good friend Sqweeby and I kind of came up with together.
Sqweeby wanted to do things a little differently and this lineup started out going somewhere else – you might remember the Faetality deck from last week.
After playing Demacia Tristana to top 6 on the AM ladder, Sqweeby realized Faetality might not be the sauce we were looking for – the traditional deck is already just good enough. So he reworked his lineup into the one you see above.
At this point, you all probably know that I’m a huge believer in Gnarlines, so you might be wondering how I feel about Jaycelines, right? I won’t lie to you all, I think it’s a strictly worse version of the deck but it does the job. During his tournament run, Sqweeby showed the power of Jayce to the broadcast several times by securing wins through Shock Blast and even Acceleration Gate. The Jaycelines list Sqweeby originally played was a bit different from the one I curated and posted above but I think the changes will help you out a bit.
Now, I want to be very clear that the stats DO NOT support mine and Sqweeby’s belief that Timelines is favored into Pantheon. I believe this because I’ve been able to find great success in the matchup by leveraging nine mana and Buried in Ice, particularly in multiples, to halt their Yuumi progression. You can read more about the strategy for this matchup in my Premium Gnarlines Guide, or shoot me a DM (MonteXristo#1551) if you have any questions!
Because our claims are not backed by the stats, you may want to swap that deck out for something else, like Fizz Lulu Yordles in Arms , which has historically done very well into Pantheon – this change would require you to rework your Bandle Tree deck slightly to stay within the Riot Lock rules.
Now onto our ban strategy, well… it’s a bit of a weird one. We’re looking to ban any Deny deck first. We have a decent shot into some traditional control decks because of The Bandle Tree and Timelines, but things like Lee Sin make us sad.
Outside of that, you can ban whatever matchup you’re least comfortable playing against.
Check out Sqweeby’s Lineup Breakdown to hear his thoughts on the lineup, individual decks, and strategy.
The Noxus Reinforcements
The idea behind this lineup is to beat the slow Demacia midrange lists, specifically Pantheon decks.
We have two decks in Ezreal Caitlyn and Gnar Swain that rely on damaging your opponent’s units, and then finishing them off with Ravenous Flock, Scorched Earth or even Noxian Guillotine. Both of these decklists are built around doing small damage to the opponent units, through effects like Flashbomb Traps or Spotted Toad, to set up for these spells,
The third deck, Ashe LeBlanc, takes a different approach to slow down midrange decks, in the form of freezes and big beefy units. Set up for lethal with a leveled up Ashe before the opponent can remove her.
We also struggle a bit versus the Bandle swarm decks, as we do not have enough removal to deal with the sheer number of units they can potentially summon. So if the opponent is not playing control, I would ban the YiA decks instead.
Alternatives to the decks listed above include Kindred Shadow Isles Sentinel control, which I have recommended in previous weeks as a great counter to Pantheon decks.
For The Control Lovers
What if we just went all-in on AoE removal, to try and combat the swarmy decks such as Yordles in Arms and Scouts?
Feel The Rush
This is what this lineup is meant to do. All versions of these decks run AoE removal such as Withering Wail and The Box to combat opponents relying on filling up the board. Do remember not to be too greedy when it comes to The Box though, as the opponent could just pass if you pass back when they develop.
The best lineup we can go against is any lineup with an aggro deck in it, such as Spider Aggro or Pirates. Both of those decks, and most burn aggro style decks, will lose to all three of our decks 60% of the time. Giving us great odds throughout the whole match-up.
Our next target will be BC swarm decks. Now this is a bit riskier, as the Demacia versions play things like Ranger's Resolve to protect their units from Withering Wail, but I still think it is a worthy hill to climb with spells like The Box and The Ruination in our arsenal.
In terms of ban targets, Scouts would be my first go-to ban. The deck will be able to rush us down much faster than we can stabilize. Usually, rally-based lineups, including Sivir Akshan, are bad news for us so I would lean towards banning those (with exception of YiA, as discussed above).
Following rally decks, I would lean towards banning Bandle Tree decks as we don’t have a way to deal with their landmarks or slow them down enough.
If you are looking for some control alternatives for this lineup, I would recommend sticking with Shadow Isles-based decks to get access to the AoE spells from them such as The Box and Withering Wail. Anivia might be worth considering if you are not a fan of Feel The Rush, or Kindred Viego if you are not a fan of Kindred Sentinels.
Sirturmund’s Pick: Yordle Breaker
Different variants of Yordles in Arms are all the rage these days. The decks are very strong and have been part of multiple tournament-winning lineups this past week. As such, I felt it was correct to try and find a lineup that could defeat the different Yordle In Arms variants and settled on this one here.
The synergy between these decks, and why they tend to do well vs YiA decks, is the Overwhelm keyword.
YiA decks tend to have units with low health, such as Hungry Owlcat or Loping Telescope, making them horrible blockers against our Overwhelm attackers. If the opponent is not careful, we can easily finish the game by turning 5 or 6, before they set up a big YiA plus rally play.
The strategy is simple: target YiA. So leave those YiA decks open whenever you see them.
Aside from that though, our lineup also does OKAY versus Darkness. Both Fizz Riven and Darius Gnar have positive win rates vs Darkness, with Draven Rumble being the only odd deck out. However, Draven Rumble is one of the few aggro burn decks that can steal wins versus Darkness, due to the Spellshield from Rumble and other tools the deck possesses.
So, target priority #1: Yordle In Arms – priority #2: Darkness.
In terms of ban priority, Scouts is our main weakness. Scouts are able to race us down faster than we can beat them. Additionally, due to Durand Sculptor, they can actually get units with hefty amounts of health (5 health Vanguard Sergeant), giving them plenty of great blockers versus our units.
After Scouts, our next ban priority should be Pantheon decks. Both Fizz Riven and Darius Gnar struggle versus the deck, leaving us in a very bad spot.
If any of these decks don’t resonate with you, a fourth deck that has a great win rate versus Yordle In Arms is Nasus Thresh. Just note that you will lose match up points vs Darkness, as they have plenty of removal to deal with either of your champions before they level.
If you are not a fan of Darius Gnar, other versions of Gnar Overwhelm you can try are Akshan Gnar or Sejuani Gnar (P&Z version). Both also sport great win rates vs Yordle In Arms, although again they make your match up table against the rest of the field a bit worse.
About the authors
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!
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!