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Welcome, my friend! Welcome back!
I hope your weekday worries have left you some respite – let me show our wares, while we celebrate us reaching Friday at last!
A Glimpse to the Current Best LoR Ladder Decks
We shall soon run out of accolades and praise for this Meta, my friend, because it has happened again:
… while Ahri, with her playful ways, has broken past the 55% mark, the meta not only remains as widely open as ever, it also shows a wonderful tendency of renewing some of the faces we see at the top.
Cream of the Crop
These are the best of the best, my friend! If you care mostly about solid performance, look no further.
Which just so happens to be our new Queen and King of the meta, with examples like prominent pilot Kannan taking it to the top of the charts, and further cementing the notion that it was Bard, after all, the most flexible of the four new champions.
And this trend will likely not stop now: the most popular list, recommended below, is also the best-performer (and well above 56%), meaning the majority of pilots are already aware of the best list – the only real danger for Ahri Bard is Annie Jhin, with an excellent matchup spread otherwise.
Strong Against: Thralls, Viego Noxus, Heimer Jayce, Sun Disc, Yuumi Pantheon, Akshan Infinite – slight edge against TF Nami Shadows
Struggles Against: Annie Jhin (horribly), Zoe Vi Aphelios, Jarvan Poppy Bard
The Warrior and the Feline Fae claw their way back to the top!
After being pushed aside most of this patch, this pair seems to have regained a bit of their former glory.
They walk on somewhat unstable terrain, though, having a rather polarized matchup spread (good matchups are grand, but bad matchups tend to be terrible) – any shift in the meta may propel this archetype higher, or again push it to the side.
Like Ahri Bard, this is a very refined blend, with the most popular list also being among the best performers.
Strong Against: Thralls, Jarvan Poppy Bard, TF Nami Shadows
Struggles Against: Viego Noxus, Annie blends, Ezreal Caitlyn, Ahri Bard
Jarvan Poppy Bard
Taking the ladder by storm last week, this trio has shown to be no fluke – it's the most popular blend at Platinum and above, and its performance surely justify being such a common choice of weapon.
Interestingly, though, the most popular blend is not the best (even if quite powerful) – the second most popular, with nearly 4,200 games played, is far superior.
Strong Against: Annie Jhin, Annie Bard, Zoe Vi Aphelios, murders Akshan Infinite – a slight edge on Thralls
Struggles Against: Heimer Jayce, Ezreal Caitlyn, Yuumi Pantheon – slight underdog to Sun Disc and TF Nami Shadows
Another Bard Demacia blend – which actually emerged before Jarvan Poppy Bard – and with nearly the same punch overall, although with a different matchup table.
A very refined archetype, with most pilots bringing the best blend – recommended below – to the fray.
Strong Against: Annie Jhin, TF Nami Shadows, murders Elise Annie
Struggles Against: Sun Disc (horribly), Ahri Bard – slight underdog to Jarvan Poppy Bard, Thralls and Viego Noxus
Lissandra Taliyah closes our Cream of the Crop selection – surpassed by Jarvan Poppy Bard in popularity, this is still the second most seen archetype at Platinum and above. It also remains one of the main factors in Tournament play, with seasoned pilots looking to either bring, ban or target this medley.
We'll recommend the second most popular formula for this archetype – although not nearly as well-tested as other blends in this section, it still has more than 600 games played in the last few days and performs well above the 55% WR mark.
Strong Against: TF Nami Shadows, Ezreal Annie, Heimer Jayce, Ezreal Caitlyn
Struggles Against: Jarvan Poppy Bard, Viego Noxus, Sun Disc, Annie Jhin (quite badly), Ahri Bard
Other Strong Meta Options
These are all very popular choices, with performances in the 53-54% range in Platinum and above – the difference with the Cream of the Crop, while not negligible, is well inside the range that a skilled pilot would overcome, so any medley in this section is still an excellent choice if you wish to pilot one of the strongest decks in the current field.
Krakens have resurfaced in Demacia – by far the most popular and potent brew in the early days of the patch, they fell a bit into obscurity last week, but now return to their smashing ways.
Our recommended formula, which is the most popular, punches at 55%. Notice that it is favored into the two currently most popular blends, namely Thralls and Jarvan Poppy Bard
Strong Against: Jarvan Poppy Bard, TF Nami Shadows, Sun Disc – murders Thralls and Elise Annie
Struggles Against: Viego Noxus (rather badly), Ezreal blends (especially Tri-beam blends)
I would recommend you keep an eye on this archetype, my friend, if it happens to be your cup of tea. It is perhaps one of the blends with the mildest matchup spreads – nearly all confrontations have similar odds for both you and your foe, thus giving the better pilot a chance to shine.
It is also performing excellently overall, with our recommended formula surpassing the 55% WR mark across nearly 500 games.
Strong Against: Annie Jhin, Akshan Infinite
Struggles Against: Thralls
Dislodged from the top of the charts, Professor and Student are still a force to be reckoned with – and, while as usual held back by their horrible Thralls matchup, this pair absolutely wrecks Jarvan Poppy Bard.
A somewhat polarizing blend, with good matchups being great, and bad matchups proving quite the uphill struggle.
Strong Against: Jarvan Poppy Bard, Viego Noxus, Ezreal Annie, Annie Jhin, Ezreal Caitlyn
Struggles Against: Thralls (horribly!), Sun Disc, Ahri Bard.
If resources or personal play patterns prevent you from playing any of the above, but you still want to stick to tried-and-true, then you may consider:
Fizz Riven, if Combo decks are your cup of tea,
Zed Bard, which seems to have regained a bit of its footing,
Ezreal Caitlyn, aka Tri-beam, currently putting pressure on some of the most popular archetypes,
Here you shall find well-tested brews that nevertheless do not reach the popularity thresholds to be called Meta Decks – the perfect marriage between exclusivity and potency!
This week, a good number of pilots seem to be rediscovering good, solid blends that were for some reason discarded in recent weeks.
This was the hottest new trend the first day of the patch – yet it was soon overshadowed by other Illaoi Demacia blends, with different combinations of Jarvan, Twisted Fate and Garen.
It seems to be (like other Illaoi Demacia medleys) on an upwards trend again – the archetype overall reaches the 55% WR mark, and the most common blend, found on all three shards, performs even better.
Strong Against: Thralls, Annie Jhin
Struggles Against: Viego Noxus
Bard Ezreal keeps pulling great results, as noted last Tuesday – it performs well over 55%, and our recommended blend is the most popular in all three shards (although APAC seems to favor this archetype the most, by a good margin).
We shall not say much about this archetype, lest we sound like a broken record, but the numbers indicate without a doubt that it is one of the best off-meta decks.
It sees very little play in the APAC shard, by the way, so if you play this blend on the Eastern ladder your odds to stumble on a mirror are extremely low – the vast majority of this medley's pilots are currently found in the Americas server.
Sivir Akshan Demacia
A classic of every patch cycle, once the "shiny new toys" effect wears off: Sivir Akshan returns to the fray, and with some scarily high performance.
Scouts, aka Miss Fortune Quinn
This seems indeed to be the week in which pilots go back to old flames!
Scouts has been performing admirably, and the most common formula can be found in all three shards – EMEA, though, seems to prefer this blend more than the other two servers.
A Word on Infinite Akshan
This week's hot button seems to be "infinite" combos – a debate for which I believe we should thank the Aspects for, since it seems to be nowhere near as vitriolic and entrenched a clash as deck trackers.
From the point of view of the data, the several variations of Akshan P&Z all currently perform horribly. As far as performance is concerned, there seems to be no reason to bring this archetype to the ladder.
These are little-played, and therefore little-tested brews – while they all perform excellently, small sample sizes make these a somewhat dicey choice.
Yet, what is life without a little risk and adventure, my friend?
And, furthermore, there is one factor these blends can guarantee: odds of finding yourself in a mirror match are slim to none!
Twisted Fate Annie
A blend that pilots tested quite extensively early on, without much success – yet, in the last couple of weeks, it is steadily gaining traction on the fringes, and with numbers to back it up.
In fact, were its playrate just a bit higher, it would be one of our strongest Connoisseur's Corner recommendations.
Relying only rarely on Reputation mechanics, this blend has been punching up quite nicely across more than a hundred games.
No yetis to be found though, sadly!
Curious Ezreal Viktor
Very well, my friend…
I hope you have found a blend to your liking among our current selection!
Any questions or comments, or more data you may need, please feel free to:
Poke me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HerkoKerghans,
Ping me on Discord: https://discord.gg/VNN5NmGhXY,
Or find more writings on substack: https://riwan.substack.com/
And good luck in your climb!