There are many Best-of-Three events this week – the $500 GGtoor & Mastering Runeterra Cup takes place on Sunday 3rd, and this is the last weekend in which you can get a Prime Glory in Gauntlets (the Last Chance Gauntlet itself, that qualifies for next Seasonal, will take place next week).
Here are our recommendations in this turbulent post-patch Tournament meta!
Nerfs to Dodge, Tourneys to Win!
This is probably the baseline lineup for this patch, and one you can expect to see a lot of. Targon PnZ, Nami Twisted Fate SI, and Ahri Bard all managed to dodge nerfs in the patch notes (technically speaking, TP&Z got a slap on the wrist with the nerf to Ferros Financier, but if you look at the stats, the deck clearly didn't notice) which puts them firmly at the top of the meta-game.
There’s no easier lineup to build than the best three decks, and with little time for experimentation, I would put money on a lot of people playing this.
This is a lineup comprising what are arguably the three best decks in the format so you can expect to see a lot of it over the next week. It’s not really looking to target anything specifically, but it is looking to draw relatively even matchup tables across the board that will allow for player skill to shine through.
When you inevitably encounter a mirror, you’ll want to ban Ahri Bard as it has statistically good matchups into both Nami and Aphelios (as of the time of writing) – unless your confidence in one of your decks is drastically lower than the other two, in which case you may wish to adjust your ban.
Other good bans are Bard Poppy (but not Galio); unless they’re playing Stony Suppressor, Scouts is probably a bad time for our lineup (there are no stats for this, but that's my gut feeling), and you may struggle into something like Azir Irelia so put that on your ban radar.
This lineup is constructed around the theory of, “three good decks make a good lineup so long as they’re not conflicting strategies.” So, you can swap out any of these decks for another that you would consider to be good. Just check our meta-stats tab to ensure your new third deck doesn’t have a matchup table that is completely misaligned from the other two.
This is how I would build an aggro lineup on the current patch. I wouldn't highly recommend aggro right now, as I don’t think it beats very much, but you may be able to snipe a smaller tournament meta-game with a lineup such as this.
The major draw to a lineup like this is that it should beat Ahri Bard.
Blades and Pyrotechnics
The reason why you may look to be playing an aggro lineup in today’s meta is if you expected to see a lot of Ahri Bard, Irelia Azir, or SunDisc. Those three decks are the only ones around that are particularly weak to aggro at the moment. You should avoid triple-aggro lineups like this one if you expect even a moderate amount of Noxus Control (like Twisted Fate Annie or Tri-Beam).
Your ban strategy will be taking out anything that will give you trouble – Noxus Control of all forms, SI Control if it happens to make an appearance, and Bard Demacia may prove problematic as well.
For deck substitutions, you can go ahead and play whatever your preferred aggro deck is right now – these are the only three that I believe are currently playable, but if you feel differently I would love to be proven wrong!
So… I have a Theory
And that theory is this lineup should beat the Type A lineup of Ahri Bard, Spooky Fish, and Aphelios PnZ.
This theory is not grounded in stats, nor has there been a tournament to test and verify whether or not it’s true, but I wanted to put it out there anyway.
What few stats there are this soon after a patch, show that both Azirelia and Scouts have a good matchup into Ahri Bard and Spooky Fish.
While this bodes well for my theory, what doesn’t quite fit are the Bard Galio stats… they’re losing!
However, I know something the ladder lists don’t! Stony Suppressor is a really good card, and the disruption it provides makes the game incredibly difficult for the Nami/Ahri player.
I think the addition of Stony Suppressor should adjust the matchups enough that the current Bard Galio tables are not an accurate representation.
Your ban strategy with this is going to be removing Targon PnZ. Aphelios is problematic – Calibrum and Gravitum give him a very efficient way to deal with the board, they have challengers to go after Miss Fortune, and they can just kill Azirelia first. If you don’t encounter your target every single time, and let’s be honest, you won’t, you’ll have to anticipate what your opponent is going to ban and act accordingly.
If you believe your opponent will look to bully Irelia Azir, then you should ban to protect it – aggro decks like Jhin Annie, Nightfall, etc. Decks with efficient champ/landmark removal like Heimer Jayce can also be problematic.
If you think they’ll go after your Demacia decks, you’ll want to ban bigger Demacia, Sun Disc, and Viego Shurima. Anything that can go over your decks will be problematic, and should be taken off the table.
If you want to swap something out, make sure that what you add is a deck that you believe beats Ahri Bard and Nami TF.
Exploring The Ravine
Twisted Fate Annie has been the most popular deck in ladder over the past week, and I predict Aphelios Zoe Vi to be one of the most popular tournament decks this weekend.
You know what beats both of those decks?
Good old Blighted Ravine.
Feel The Rush
You might call us crazy for even suggesting a lineup with Targon's Peak in it, but may I remind you that someone actually won a seasonal with Targon’s Peak about a year ago in the Asia shard, and multiple people have won community tournaments with it since then. The deck can feel like a meme, but in certain metas I believe that it can actually shine.
This is one of those metas. Two of the most popular decks, Aphelios P&Z and Twisted Fate Annie do not like running into AoE damage or big units – and this lineup does precisely those things.
As the name of the lineup implies, our key card in those matchups is Blighted Ravine, allowing us to clear their board multiple times. Then we finish up with a big Feel The Rush or Thralls, both of which these decks struggle to deal with.
Other decks that this lineup is good into?
- Twisted Fate Nami SI (Targon's Peak being even, rest of our decks favored)
- Heimer Jayce SI (Feel The Rush being even, rest of our decks favored)
- Thresh Nasus (All three favored)
- Most other Noxus midrange decks (Ez Cait, Elise Annie)
It looks good in theory, right?
Well, everything that looks good also comes with a downside, and for these three decks it comes in the form of decks that can attack more than once a turn. Decks like Azir Irelia, Scouts, and in general other Demacia rally decks are very big issues versus us, and should be banned on sight if possible – Azirelia in particular is really bad news for us.
Hecarim decks are also not great for us as our AoE does nothing versus Ephemerals.
For alternate decks, it is hard to find any other Freljord Blighted Ravine decks aside from the three listed that are relevant in the current meta. However, feel free to experiment with archetypes like Swain Sejuani or other forms of Freljord Noxus playing Blighted Ravine and Avalanche.
The Midrange Corner
This lineup is for the midrange fans. No longer needing to worry about Thralls praying on it, this lineup should be well positioned to do at least evenly versus most of the meta.
Twisted Fate Annie
Aphelios Zoe Vi
In a world where Control is nowhere to be found and Thralls suffered a few nerfs, Noxus midrange is a bit better against the overall metagame.
The idea with this lineup is to target three very popular decks in the meta – namely Azir Irelia, Ahri Bard and Annie Jhin – since these more aggressive archetypes will not fare well versus any of our three decks.
Ideally, all three of our decks also have enough removal tools to beat any other random aggro or elusive deck you might encounter.
Our trouble comes when we run into our old friend, Thralls. Hopefully people will shy away from it after its nerfs, but as seen in the suggested lineup before this one, it could still pop up here and there.
Additionally, variations of Control such as Feel The Rush and Heimer Jayce Shadows will perform well into our Noxus midrange decks, so be mindful of that.
Against other midrange-based lineups we should be mostly even across the board. As a rule of thumb, if your opponent relies on a board-heavy deck (like Demacia or Elusives) then we should perform well into them.
For alternate decks, Annie Elise could be a good choice if you don’t trust the power of Riptide Rex.
Control has gone through a rough stretch ever since Darkness got nerfed a few months ago. Every now and then we get flashes of a triple control lineup coming back to the field, and this week this is the closest we can get to full control in the meta.
Nami Twisted Fate SI
Heimerdinger Jayce SI
Feel The Rush
Triple Shadow Isles makes a comeback, and it’s no different than it has been before. The decks will win us most matchups versus aggro decks right off the bat since we get access to Vile Feast and other forms of removal and heals.
Following that, this lineup shines with its excellent matchup table versus Aphelios Zoe and mostly good matchup versus Twisted Fate Annie, with Heimer Jayce being the only downside there.
The lineup will also do well against non-conventional decks that you might run across, such as Ashe LeBlanc and Hecarim decks.
Our boogeymen will be archetypes such as Azir Irelia and Demacia rally decks such as Poppy Bard – these will put too much pressure onto our slower style of playing.
For alternate options, we might dabble into other Shadow Isle control options such as Darkness, or even Anivia for the brave souls out there. However, both options are considerably weaker than what’s shown here.
Maybe Spooky Karma could make a comeback in a lineup such as this with the most recent buffs to Karma and copied spells counting as played again?
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!