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Our Writers Recommend: Five Staple Decks (plus Ahri Kennen) for a Last Push Climb

One week to go until the Season ends -- if you need a trusty deck for a final effort, here are our writers' recommendations for a steady Ladder climb.

One week to go until the Season ends.

If you're still struggling to reach the Rank you want (be it Gold, Diamond or Master), and you feel like you're running out of time, here are our writers' recommendations for the strongest, most reliable decks you can use in your climb.

Nothing fancy, or off-meta, or weird in this list -- just stuff that works.


The Data & Tier Lists recommend: Ahri Kennen Shurima

If getting to your desired Rank is all you care about, then according to the data Ahri Kennen Shurima is the strongest deck in the format.

And, again according to the data from players at Platinum and above, the list below, with Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed instead of Shadow Assassin, is the best one.

Regions
Ionia
38 cards
Shurima
2 cards
Rarities
26 600
champion
6
epic
2
rare
15
common
17
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
15
2
2
3
9
4
0
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Kennen
3
2
Ahri
3
Landmarks
2
3
God-Willow Seedling
2
Followers
17
1
Dancing Droplet
3
1
The Mourned
3
2
Fae Bladetwirler
3
2
Navori Conspirator
3
4
Kinkou Wayfinder
3
6
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed
2
Spells
15
1
Recall
3
2
Nopeify!
1
2
The Absolver
2
2
Twin Disciplines
3
4
Concussive Palm
1
4
Deny
2
4
Homecoming
3

This deck's playrate is surprisingly low, though, for a deck with such a high WR. It's clear that, for whatever reason, Ahri Kennen doesn't click with a lot of pilots. If that's your case, don't force yourself to like what you don't like -- if there's one thing LoR has, it's lots of good decks.

Also, one resource-oriented caveat: if you are short on wildcards & shards, then this deck is probably not a safe craft -- with a winrate so high for so long, it's quite possible that it will be nerfed next week.


Jasensational Recommends: Lurk

With Darkness being the most played deck right now, Lurk is my personal recommendation to climb fast.

Regions
Bilgewater
16 cards
Shurima
24 cards
Rarities
28 600
champion
6
epic
6
rare
3
common
25
Mana cost
0
0
10
1
12
2
6
3
3
4
3
5
3
6
3
7+
Champions
6
3
Rek'Sai
3
4
Pyke
3
Followers
30
1
Sharkling
3
1
Treasure Seeker
3
1
Xer'sai Hatchling
3
2
Aspiring Chronomancer
3
2
Redfin Hammersnout
3
2
Snapjaw Swarm
3
3
Xer'sai Caller
3
5
Xerxa'Reth, The Undertitan
3
6
Xer'sai Dunebreaker
3
8
Jaull-fish
3
Spells
4
1
Bloodbait
1
2
Call the Pack
3

Lurk is a fast paced, board-based midrange deck that scales with each attack that you trigger Lurk. As your units scale into the late game, other control decks struggle to keep up with enough removal to deal with all your cheap threats. Even into other aggro decks we can play aggressively for board, and play more efficient units to trade up.

Another great things about Lurk is that when it highrolls, you can beat almost any deck (link).

Level Rek'Sai on turn five? Deal 10 damage easy peezy.

Lurk three Death From Belows? Ensure that your opponent can never win on board.

There is no other dopamine rush like climbing Masters while hitting every champion lurk without needing to predict at all. However, if you start to miss a few lurks, or don’t have the attack token on turn one, your game plan sometimes falls apart. Either way, you almost always know if you are winning or not by turns six to eight.

If you’re looking to pick up the deck, you’re mainly looking for early units that you can play and go wide with -- if you have the attack token and don’t have a one-drop, you are hard mulling for a one-drop.

Other than that, we want our Predict units to smoothen our curve and find our champions.

Don’t keep champions and don’t keep expensive units.

Best of luck with your climbs!   


Sirturmund Recommends: Scouts

Scouts gives us two things we are looking for at the end of the season: fast games and great matchup spread.

Regions
Demacia
28 cards
Bilgewater
12 cards
Rarities
27 600
champion
6
epic
2
rare
20
common
12
Mana cost
0
0
8
1
12
2
6
3
9
4
3
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Miss Fortune
3
5
Quinn
3
Followers
22
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
1
Jagged Butcher
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Marai Warden
3
3
Vanguard Sergeant
3
4
Grizzled Ranger
2
4
Island Navigator
3
6
Genevieve Elmheart
2
Spells
12
1
Ranger's Resolve
2
2
Blinding Assault
3
2
Sharpsight
3
4
Golden Aegis
3
4
Riposte
1

This version of Scouts plays really aggro and low to the curve, trying to go wide with Marai Warden, Island Navigator and Quinn, and then finish the game with Miss Fortune leveled-up or buffing your whole board with For Demacia!.

This, in combination with the usual Rally from Demacia, creates potential to win games by turn 6 or 7 depending on how your hand goes. 

Another benefit to climbing with Scouts is how great their match up table is against the rest of the popular decks on the field.

Scouts does very well in Ahri Kennen and Darkness, two of the most popular decks at the moment -- they tend to struggle against your Miss Fortune and Rally, or generally you going really aggro.

Scouts also tends to do well vs other aggro decks, like Spiders and Pirates. The reason is that you can match them going wide and you can use Brightsteel Protector on their attack turn to stall or make their attack worse. You can snipe out key units with your challengers plus Miss Fortune, or have excellent blockers with Quinn and Vanguard Sergeant.

The only major struggle you might face is Pantheon decks, so if you see a lot of those in your current elo, don’t be afraid to switch to something else until the Ahri Kennen and slower decks start showing up again. 

A few tips:

Remember to keep Miss Fortune in your mulligan, or keep a nice curve of 1-2-3 drops if you see it at the start.

Keep your Rally cards versus slow control decks, and keep Ranger's Resolve against Shadow Isle decks that play Withering Wail.

Aside from that, just play your units out and take advantage of those Scout attacks!

If you have no experience with this deck, I recommend checking out this written guide (link to reddit) and video (link to YouTube) I made on the deck. The lists are very similar with just three card changed, but the general game plan is still the same. 🙂


Leer Recommends: Fizz Lulu, aka YiA

I’m going with Fizz Lulu because it has a high power level while also having a steep learning curve and fast games.

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
18 cards
Bandlecity
22 cards
Rarities
20 300
champion
5
epic
0
rare
9
common
26
Mana cost
3
0
7
1
15
2
9
3
3
4
3
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
5
1
Fizz
2
3
Lulu
3
Followers
18
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
2
Bomber Twins
3
2
Boom Baboon
3
2
Flame Chompers!
3
3
Loping Telescope
3
4
Yordle Captain
3
Spells
17
0
Poro Cannon
3
1
Scrapheap
2
2
Mystic Shot
3
2
Pokey Stick
3
3
Get Excited!
3
5
Yordles in Arms
3

When I first found the deck, I climbed from Diamond III to Masters 300 LP and got featured in Balco’s Meta Report for having one of the highest winrates with a deck in Masters over 30+ games.

Your main win-conditions are Lulu + Flame Chompers!, and Yordles in Arms . Once you learn how to play with those two mechanics, this archetype gets straightforward and does a lot of winning.

If you want a more detailed explanation and help with some popular matchups, I have a guide for the deck here (link)!

The deck tends to do well into everything that isn’t control, but thanks to some value generators like Yordle Captain and Scrapheap, even those matchups are winnable.

If you face a lot more aggro than control, cut one Scrapheap and one Pokey Stick for a third copy of Fizz and one Group Shot.


MonteXristo Recommends: Darkness

This list of decks is lacking a proper control deck, so I thought I’d toss one in for our readers who aren’t interested in smORCing.

I personally believe Darkness is one of, if not the, strongest control decks currently in the meta-game. I also anticipate it will only get better after the expansion and as such I am more than happy to recommend it to anyone looking to better their understanding of the game.

Regions
Shadow Isles
20 cards
Bandlecity
23 cards
Rarities
25 100
champion
6
epic
1
rare
13
common
20
Mana cost
0
0
2
1
15
2
2
3
7
4
4
5
8
6
2
7+
Champions
6
4
Veigar
3
5
Senna
3
Followers
16
2
Conchologist
3
2
Darkbulb Acolyte
3
2
Twisted Catalyzer
3
4
Stilted Robemaker
3
6
Ixtali Sentinel
3
7
The Rekindler
1
Spells
18
1
Group Shot
2
2
Pokey Stick
3
2
Vile Feast
3
3
Mist's Call
1
3
Stress Defense
1
4
The Box
1
5
Withering Wail
1
6
Minimorph
2
6
Vengeance
3
9
The Ruination
1

Darkness is a control deck that often plays for a combo finisher, but can also have some very aggressive midrange draws. It rewards players who can adapt their gameplan to any given situation. While this deck isn’t as straightforward or as quick to climb as some others in our list, I believe it is the best deck to practice if you want to progress as a player, as it will help you focus on fundamentals like passing, mana management, resource management and clock (turns left to end the game).

Your basic mulligan guide for this deck is: find Twisted Catalyzer, keep Veigar and in some matchups you’ll want to keep Senna as well.

Otherwise, look to keep up in the early game by playing your own units, such as Conchologist and Twisted Catalyzer, or removing the opponent’s units with ping spells, such as Group Shot, Pokey Stick, and Vile Feast

If it’s safe to do so, drop your Veigar on turn four and then stall out the game until you can kill them by sending Darkness to the face!

If you want to learn more about this deck, Mastering Runeterra’s very own MajiinBae did a video(link to Youtube) on it about a month ago


Wamuu Recommends: Elise Trundle, aka Iceborn Spiders

My deck of choice for climbing ladder is Elise Trundle Iceborn Spiders.

Regions
Freljord
11 cards
Shadow Isles
29 cards
Rarities
26 800
champion
6
epic
4
rare
5
common
25
Mana cost
0
0
5
1
14
2
0
3
3
4
5
5
9
6
4
7+
Champions
6
2
Elise
3
5
Trundle
3
Landmarks
2
4
Catalogue of Regrets
2
Followers
7
1
Hapless Aristocrat
2
2
Avarosan Sentry
3
9
Commander Ledros
2
Spells
25
1
Crawling Sensation
3
2
Glimpse Beyond
3
2
Troll Chant
2
2
Vile Feast
3
4
Despair
1
5
Withering Wail
2
6
Brood Awakening
3
6
Iceborn Legacy
3
6
Vengeance
3
7
Atrocity
2

I personally have a 65% win rate with it on ladder over thirty games so it performs quite well. I also chose this deck for my Seasonal’s lineup and it performed very well.

It felt like every game I played with it I could’ve won, this is very important for ladder because you face a wide variety of different decks. Being able to beat most of them or at least having a chance can be huge in the long run.

This deck is very special because it has a couple of different win conditions. You can either go for a swarm game plan by summoning multiple Spiderlings and buffing them with Iceborn Legacy or you can go for an Atrocity finisher with either Trundle or Commander Ledros.

This deck does well into Ahri Kennen, which is the most powerful deck on ladder currently.  It also counters aggro decks and honestly, it doesn’t have a glaring weakness from my experience. I wrote a guide on the deck and even though it is a bit outdated, the principles of the deck are still the same, you can find the guide here (link)


In Closing

Lady Luck is a harsh mistress.

Any deck you choose will be prone to bad beats and running cold -- such is the way of variance and RNG, and switching decks every loss is not gonna change it.

(And, let's be honest: if we really hated randomness that much, we'd be playing Checkers, or Go, or Chess.)

On the other hand, if you stick to any of these tried-and-true meta staples, you'll achieve what's most important for a steady Ladder climb: learn your deck.

So: consistency, focus, and consider making short breaks every two consecutive losses.

Take it easy.

You've got this.