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Sirturmund & Monte's Recommended LoR Gauntlet & Tournament Decks
I Hate Timelines
Despite my recent tweets I do think Timelines is still a deck that you can expect to encounter quite frequently in any tournament you play. As such, I’ve put together three decks that should beat it consistently to form this lineup.
Gwen Nox (Credits to Moe)
I’ve built this lineup with one goal in mind, beating Trundle Timelines. Pirates and Gwen Nox are two of the best LoR decks in the current meta-game and should hold up into a lot more than just Timelines, so they form an excellent core. I chose to round it out with Kai’Sa because I believe it to still be a reasonable deck, though it does suffer into Ionia, which is arguably the strongest region at the moment.
Our ban strategy will be to protect Kai’Sa, as we can expect any Ionian opponent to leave it up as prey. You’ll likely want to remove Kennen Ezreal above all else, despite the fact that Pirates should do well into it – our other two decks will not. If EzKen doesn’t show up in your opponent’s lineup then you may wish to ban out Scouts.
This has to be the strongest lineup in the current meta-game. If I was an Ionia player, this is definitely what I’d be running.
It’s so strong, in fact, that I’m considering becoming an Ionia player.
Nami Io (Credits to Drisoth)
Ez Kennen (Credits to Puyshpii)
This lineup should beat the majority of the meta. Timelines poses no threat, Kindred Nasus will roll over and show you its belly, and Gwen Nox is a very reasonable matchup for Ez and Nami. Having access to Deny and Homecoming allows our decks to easily deal with all of this meta's major threats. We also have insane draw and stabilization tools - Vastayan Disciple and Eye of the Dragon. This all works together to create the perfect storm.
Our ban will be spent at Pirates – while Nami might have a good matchup into Miss Fortune's merry bunch, our other two decks do not and may struggle to stabilize before dying to the excess burn. Other good bans include the opposing Nami Ionia and Lurk… yep, you read that right, Lurk can be problematic.
A Fool’s Errand
This lineup is aptly named, its goal is to go after Kennen Ezreal and I don’t know if that makes the best plan, but here it goes.
Lurk (Credits to Maxgotthetracks)
I came up with this lineup by looking at the worst matchups for Kennen Ezreal and throwing them together. I want to stress that this lineup was *not* constructed with other synergies in mind and as such may struggle into a lot of the field, or maybe not. There’s not a ton of data out there on Lurk yet, and I’m always hesitant to recommend it due to its RNGistic nature. Still, if you’re a fool like me and you want to beat Kennen Ezreal, this is where I’d start.
As far as bans go we’ll want to protect either Lurk or Poppy Taric, as these two decks are on a lower overall power level than Pirates. Ironically, one of our best bans IS Pirates and because of that, Nasus Thresh is another excellent ban. Outside of that you’ll have to rely on your instincts and deck knowledge when deciding – take out whatever you really don’t want to play into.
Pirates continue to be the most popular deck in ranked while sporting a great winrate. There is no doubt we will encounter many Pirate aggro matchups in the metagame this weekend. This lineup should put a stop to them and send them right back to a Bilgewater cell.
Nami Twisted Fate SI
These three archetypes all should do well versus Pirate aggro in general, but we even teched them further to make that matchup even better. Scouts play Riptide Sermon, allowing us to deal with their Miss Fortune. Nami TF main-decks Go Hard to stabilize early. Viego Evelynn runs Withering Wail and Neverglade Collector to keep our health in a good spot. All of these extra tools, on top of the units these decks usually put out, should make the games against Pirates more favorable for us.
The beauty with this lineup is that it’s not just Pirates that we beat. We also do decently well against two other very popular decks in the meta, Ezreal Kennen and Gwen Katarina Noxus. Scouts does well versus both of those decks (on top of Pirates), meaning I expect most folks to ban our Scouts deck if they’re running at least two of the three mentioned decks so far. Twisted Fate Nami SI does well versus Ezreal Kennen – it does falter heavily versus Red Gwen, but our more heal-oriented techs may allow us to steal wins versus them. For Viego Evelynn things are flipped: it beats Red Gwen but does slightly worse (around 47%) versus Ezreal Kennen. Ideally a well-placed Withering Wail with Hate Spike backup could get us far ahead enough to steal that match up.
So we know what we can beat, but what popular decks do we struggle versus?
Trundle Timelines, Lurk and Kai’Sa are our main three ban targets. Their units get big too quickly, being able to outstat our units and grow bigger than most of our removal. In general, we look to ban decks that can go bigger than our Scouts deck, as it might be the most abusable of our three decks.
For alternate deck ideas, I could only find one deck deep in the stats that seems to share similar tables to the three above: Champless Freljord Shadow Isles. Not Warmother Calls, or ARAM, but pure old-style Champless control with Commander Ledros and She Who Wanders as our top end. Does very well into Pirate Aggro and Kennen Ezreal due to the multitude of AoE they pack, such as Blighted Ravine, Avalanche and Withering Wail. Try at your own risk.
Digging Even Deeper
You saw Monte’s A Fool’s Errand recommendation above, now here is another even more foolish lineup that should consistently beat Ezreal Kennen and Akshan Lee Sin, that I found by digging very very deep in the stats.
Katarina Twisted Fate
I know, I know, you probably expected a Deep deck with all my mentions of digging deep. Sorry to disappoint you! Hopefully triple Bilgewater is still enough to satisfy your Deep thirst.
These three decks excel versus Ezreal Kennen and Akshan Lee Sin lineups, without outright folding to Pirate Aggro, thus making them an interesting option to consider. They can apply a lot of pressure to the Ionia decks by going wide and having cheap forms of removal in Make it Rain. The only reason we can’t go fully into that Make It Rain approach is because we cannot use both Pirate Aggro and Twisted Fate Katarina, so instead we swap Pirates with Scouts to still pack a punch versus those two Ionia decks.
As always, though, there is a big risk in going for a highly specialized target lineup: it leaves you open to more decks than if you tried to go for a synergistic lineup. In our case, we want to ban Gwen Elise Noxus almost every time. After that, Timelines, Viego Evelynn and Nami Twisted Fate Ionia should be our focus. You heard that right, Nami TF IO. Because, somehow, even though Gangplank Sejuani and Katarina Twisted Fate can beat Ezreal Kennen, they cannot beat Nami TF.
When looking for an alternate deck for this lineup, I would focus on something that can still have access to Make it Rain and even Parrrley to threaten the Kennens you'll find. Perhaps something like Ping City playing Gnar + X could work – just remember that if X is Gangplank, then you cannot play Sejuani Gangplank. Another option is something like Monkeys, although Deny makes the matchup versus Ionia a bit worse for Monkeys than for other Bilgewater decks.
Target Me, I Dare You
To finish off this week, why don’t we just play the best three decks? It is a meta where I think the best decks don’t share many weaknesses, so it makes sense to just play them together.
Gwen Katarina Elise
Let’s not overthink it – the best decks are the best decks for a reason. They win against almost everything that is unrefined, and can very often steal wins versus even their best counters. When you pack as much punch as this lineup does, it is hard to not win most matches.
To be specific: we do very well into the following decks: Timelines, Nasus Kindred, Akshan Lee Sin, Akshan Kayn, Viego Shurima and Kai’Sa, with all three of our decks beating them. That’s a very wide spread of different types of decks – even if you go against a triple-Ionia lineup, for example, you have at least one deck you can hard-target.
And, on top of that, we go more or less even against the following decks: Gwen Katarina Elise, Ezreal Kennen, Lurk, Darkness and Norra Nami Shellfolk.
As you can see, we are either favored, or at worst only one of our decks is unfavored against most of the field. That’s the beauty of just playing the very best.
There are very few decks that scare us, so it’s good to keep them in mind. First is Scouts – this should be your number one ban as they beat all three of our decks. After Scouts, my next priority would be banning Viego Evelynn and Twisted Fate Nami decks (SI or IO) as they beat two of our decks. Lastly, it’s Pirates if your opponent is not playing any of the three decks above. Pirates really only beats Ezreal Kennen, but then you have two 50% matchups versus Gwen and our own Pirate, so why even flip the coin if you don’t have to?
Overall this week, and probably until the next balance patch, we should expect almost every lineup to either play Ionia or Pirates, or plan to beat them. The meta is currently revolving around Ezreal Kennen and Pirates so if you’re not well practiced on these decks and how to beat them, I recommend getting as many reps on them as possible.
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! He also hosts the weekly Mastering Runeterra Squadcast on his stream every Wednesday at 10:30pm EST.