Ashes & Embers
Noxus has proven to be one of the most versatile regions in the game and that strength is shown with this lineup. We include what I believe to be the most powerful deck in the game, Viego Legion Deserter, and combine it with Noxus control to make our opponent’s life miserable.
Viego Legion Deserter
Twisted Fate Annie
The idea here is that not only is Noxus good, but Disintegrate is very, very good.
So good in fact that it even makes the cut in a deck like Viego Legion Deserter, which at first doesn’t seem like the type of deck that would use it. If you’re not familiar with how this deck works, I recommend checking out Sirturmund’s video or MajiinBae’s video to learn more.
The first deck might already be familiar to you, but the addition of Ravenbloom Conservatory and Disintegrate add a different twist to the deck and allows your removal to become even more impactful. And the second is a new Noxus control deck that is trying to combo out with Tybaulk into Riptide Rex, making each of his hits stronger.
All three of these decks have quite a few things in common. They are all very very good against Demacia decks, including Pantheon and any Illaoi Demacia variant – Disintegrate and the other removal at our disposal means that big units are not as big of a threat to us.
They also have a good matchup spread versus aggro decks: the amount of removal we possess makes it really difficult for aggro to push you out before you stabilize. We even tend to do well into Thralls, with our only weakness there being Ezreal Caitlyn.
Our weakness is in the control matchups. Feel The Rush, Heimer Jayce, and other Shadow Isle control decks can abuse our over-reliance on value while also being able to easily remove our big threats. I would ban any control deck you encounter, although luckily for us they aren’t as popular these days.
An alternative deck here is some sort of Freljord Noxus variant playing Swain or, as we suggested last week, Targon Noxus. Both I think are considerably weaker than any of the other Noxus decks presented here, though.
You know what brings pleasure to my eyes?
Seeing a big beefy unit get recalled, or denying the opponent’s win condition. This lineup is meant to do just that.
It has been a while since I felt like a triple Ionia lineup had some merit, but I think this one here has potential. The idea is that by having access to both Deny and Will of Ionia, we can effectively deal with control decks and with decks trying to go really tall.
Ionia Faes is a deck that started seeing some play last patch. Since we are not playing Afaelios this time around, we can swap the usual Teemo for Fizz to give us the potential of a Papercraft Dragon combo from Fae Sprout. This deck’s power with Rainbowfish makes it a menace against most meta decks.
Viktor Karma is another really good Ionia deck, which combines the Piltover & Zaun package to provide consistent removal and blockers as either of your champions reach their eventual I Win The Game point.
… and then we have Illaoi Ionia. If you have not seen this deck yet, I recommend giving GrandpaRoji a follow as he was the first that innovated this idea. The game plan is to combine the Illaoi package with Ionia to both protect the Nagakabouros Priestess, and create some cheesy win states with Elusive and Syncopation.
We have enough healing tools to also beat aggro, with Faes playing Tasty Faefolk and our other two decks playing Spirit's Refuge. And then we have our handy tool Will of Ionia, which when played at the right time can completely flip the match around against decks things like Thralls or Viego Legion Deserter decks.
So where do we suffer?
Demacia. Scouts and other similar Demacia midrange decks will completely dominate against our lineup, so I recommend banning those if you see them. Other aggressive decks that rely on bigger units, such as Overwhelm decks, also become a big issue as they can put too much pressure on us.
As for alternate decks, think to yourself how many Ionia decks are out there that are more control-ish rather than pure elusive aggro. Maybe something like Viego Kindred Ionia is a consideration, but to be honest that is the weakest Viego deck out of the three out there currently.
Bye Bye Thralls
This one is meant for those folks that have a burning hatred against Thralls. Enjoy farming them!
Viego Legion Deserter
Without a doubt, Thralls is one of the most powerful decks in the current meta. This lineup is meant to not only beat Thralls, but also have a good matchup versus other popular decks such as Pantheon Yuumi.
We start out with an aggro deck in Annie Jhin, this deck should blow out both Thralls and Pantheon due to the multiple stuns and burns you play – they are too slow to stop you before you get their nexus to 0.
Viego Legion Deserter plays at a much slower speed than aggro burn, but the idea is that your two main units can get bigger than any of their units. And when things get dicey, a well-placed Vengeance or Disintegrate can stop both decks in their tracks.
Lastly, Azir Irelia is not only one of the best counters in general against Thralls, but also sports a great match up versus Pantheon Yuumi, with you being able to recall their big units when necessary.
Those are our two main targets: Thralls and Pantheon Yuumi. We do well into other decks that are trying to go tall with a single unit, just a Illaoi Demacia, so keep that in mind.
Now for the bad news…
… we are playing decks that are vulnerable from different angles, meaning you have more potential to get hard-countered.
For example, if you run into a triple aggro lineup, you will have a bad time as your Azir Irelia will get targeted. If you run into a triple control lineup, your Annie Jhin deck then becomes targeted by their heals and removal. In other words, it is hard to say how to properly manage the ban phase.
If the opponent is not on a full aggro or a full control lineup, just ban whichever of the two is present.
Bandle and Landmarks - Everything Your Opponent Hates
The current metagame is wide open, but also still developing. As a result, the best strat in this meta is to just play three good decks.
It’s really hard to correctly determine exact matchup percentages at the start of a meta but we can generally identify that Disintegrate decks are good into big-units decks. We’re going to solve this problem by bringing one of our own, Annie Gnar, while also including the current staple big-unit archetype – Thralls.
As my co-author Sirturmund has said, Thralls is one of the best decks right now, so we’re going to make good use of it. By playing it alongside one of the other best decks in the meta, Afaelios, we put our opponent in a very awkward spot with their ban priority. Our lineup is what I would consider to be some of the best right now and should give you good game into most of the field.
You may have some trouble into Pantheon but you should be able to get your decks through Illaoi with the right draws and some matchup knowledge. The ban strategy is to target Pantheon – if your foe didn't bring it, then you’ll want to look at removing something like Ekko Zilean as their gameplan can put you in a tight spot.
Yet another lineup featuring Afaelios – this is such a strong deck I think it’s a mistake not to bring it right now.
These decks can either swarm really fast – Afaelios & Jayce – or build a big unit – Viego. Build a massive board of threats or one massive threat and force your opponent to have the answer, and Viego Noxus can play a bit slower for an Atrocity one-turn-kill if required.
This lineup can be weak to decks with big units like Illaoi, in the case your opponent is playing both Illaoi and Pantheon you may see a ban on Viego. If you find yourself in this situation you’ll likely be forced into the Pantheon ban while trying to get through their remaining two decks. Afaelios can struggle into Illaoi as well but it’s not doomed, you can play through Fizz and find the win.
This is a good lineup if you want to be good into a wide field. You can swap out pretty much any deck for another strong meta deck right now like Thralls, Annie Ez, you can even play Viego Shurima if you’d like.
Now… I’ll summon a BIGGER Man
I decided to pair it with the other two decks in the meta that make big units, Thralls, and Viego Noxus.
We’ll also want to consider banning something like Lurk, but we should outspeed Ravenbloom Conservatory decks if we play for our combo turns. If you encounter a triple Ravenbloom lineup you can ban the list with the most Disintegrate enablers.
Illaoi Ionia has a problem with Lurk, but the Ionia version does a bit better into the Disintegrate stuff because of Syncopation. You should have no trouble with Thralls, either, as your decks all have good ways of dealing with them.
If you get forced into a Thralls mirror, pro tip: you want to try and get out as many thralls at once as possible.
If you want to be better into Thralls and avoid the mirror you can consider swapping it out for Lurk. Some other options for this lineup include the Demacia version of Illaoi, and you could even consider a Bard deck of your liking though I personally haven’t found one I’m attached to just yet.
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 Aegis tournament, with his team The Wobbly Wombats!