Recalls with a side of SPOOK!
An evolution of Monte’s personal lineup from last week, this lineup looks to bully Thralls and Viego. It also gives you a fighting chance into some of the Demacia decks running around.
With Azirelia and Ahri Bard as your core, you should have no trouble playing into any lineup centered around big units.
Homecomings and Ionian Tellstones should let you continually bounce any major threat, unit or landmark. Spooky Fish also gives you access to landmark removal through Shadow Isles Tellstones, and you can beat out any frostbites from Thralls simply by having Nami on the board.
This lineup is going to suffer into aggro – if you see anyone on Jhin Annie or other decks of that nature, you’ll want to remove them from the equation.
Bard Poppy can also be somewhat troublesome for our decks, as their critical mass of Challengers makes it very difficult for us to keep on the board – you can consider banning it out as well.
If you’re looking for a different deck to play in this lineup, you could try Aphelios Viktor or Akshan Infinite. Both of these decks have similar matchup tables to the rest of the lineup, and may even be a better fit than Spooky Fish.
Let’s Bully Thralls
This lineup seeks to do one thing, and one thing only – beat Thralls.
If you go to any stats site and you look for Thrall's worst matchups, these three decks are what you’ll find.
Blades and Pyrotechnics
I decided to put this lineup out there because I think lineups centered around Thralls will continue to be prevalent. Annie Kat Ziggs & Akshan Infinite are both still relatively new to the metagame, and I thought it’d be cool to showcase them in a lineup together that highlights their strengths.
Outside of beating Thralls, this lineup should be good into most opponents that aren’t Demacia.
We will struggle with most forms of Demacia, and as such it’s a good place to spend our ban. Be it Pantheon, Illaoi, or Bard Poppy, all three are going to give us hell.
It’ll come down to your own familiarity to decide which ban is best – Akshan has a slightly better time into Pantheon, while Annie Kat Ziggs beats it, so you may consider leaving Panth and ban out a worse matchup like Poppy Bard.
Alternate decks? Anything you like that beats Thralls. You could swap out Fizz Riven for something with a better Pantheon matchup, and you might be okay to soft-target it as well. You could swing this lineup more aggressively or more combo-y and either direction will work for you!
No Funny Noises!
Bard makes a funny noise, we don’t like Bard in this house…
I kid of course, but I don’t kid about how good this lineup should be at beating Poppy Bard. This is another stats-driven lineup – I went to Legna's https://www.llorr-stats.com/ and looked at Poppy Bard’s worst matchups to come up with it…
… which is why we’re playing Bard Galio as our own Bard deck.
The idea is that we’re able to either go bigger than Bard Poppy, or that we can deal with their major threats relatively easily with hard removal. You could swap to Viego Noxus rather than Shurima, if the deck suits you better, but the Shuriman list has the statistically better matchup.
Outside of Poppy, this lineup should have no trouble into any aggro decks, and it should have game into a lot of the other midrange lineups out there as well. Nami piles may be a bit tricky, but with Sharpsight and hard removal you should be able to come out ahead in those matchups as well.
The problem lies with Disc, Thralls, and Fizz Riven. While some of our decks actually have okay matchups into some of them (Viego Shurima into Thralls, for example) all three of these decks can prove to be a major hurdle for our lineup. You should aim to ban them if you see them, and if they’re all together… just game on them!
Deck swaps for this lineup include Poppy Bard over Bard Galio, Viego can take a stroll from the desert into the Noxian barracks, or you could play Pantheon in this lineup but – if you do that you may want to look at the matchup tables and try to jig it so all three decks then have a favorable Thralls matchup.
No Time To Think
I spoke about it a bit last week, but I believe Aphelios Zoe Vi is the best tournament/Bo3 deck in the current meta. While last week I went a bit more obscure on ways to beat it, this week we go with a more basic lineup of decks that are powerful in their own right.
Jarvan Poppy Bard
What I love about this lineup is that we are not giving the opponent any time to think or breathe. All three of these decks put the opponent on a clock, where any wrong move can cause them to die in a single turn due to multiple Thralls or well-timed rallies.
The idea is that all three of our decks do well against slower-type decks.
And we do very well against our main target, Aphelios Zoe Vi – while that deck does possess a plethora of early units, they usually do not have enough pressure to stop your Demacia decks before they take their advantage.
Other slower control decks, like Elise Annie and the growingly popular Twisted Fate Nami Shadow Isles lists are also weak to all of our decks, allowing us to take advantage of anyone bringing even a single control deck.
While Thralls is not exactly favored into aggro decks, our two Demacia decks surely are, which allows us to sometimes steal match wins versus aggro or burn opponents when we manage to draw our heals with Thralls.
Our biggest weakness comes from go-tall Demacia decks – like Pantheon Yuumi, Illaoi Demacia, or Bard Galio – which tend to have a few really big units and therefore present a major challenge to our lineup, since it makes attacking into them really awkward. They also usually have removal, in the form of Concerted Strike or Single Combat, to remove our key pieces like Miss Fortune or Poppy. I would prioritize my ban on those go-tall decks.
The second ban priority would go against Viego decks, both the Noxus and the Shurima versions. It is the same problem as Demacia, where eventually their Viego and Encroaching Mist get so big that we are never able to safely attack into them.
If you are looking for alternate decks, you can go one of two routes.
One option is to commit to triple Demacia Rally – in which case I might suggest Pantheon Yuumi or even Sivir Akshan Demacia – but both of these will lose you points versus Aphelios Vi Zoe.
The other option is to go to Freljord, and run decks like Feel The Rush, Anivia SI or Timelines, as they all have good match ups versus Aphelios Vi Zoe.
Outskilling Your Opponent
When coming into this week’s recommendations, there were two things I had in mind: Give you all a good Aphelios Zoe Vi lineup, and give you all a good Noxus midrange control lineup.
Maybenexttime took it a step further and combined the two, so this lineup will be a highlight on his choice for the Semifinals of Aegis Esports’ league.
Aphelios Zoe Vi
One thing all three of these decks have in common is their great access to removal. From the P&Z tools, to Noxus tools, and even Shadow Isles, opponents are going to have a hard time keeping their key units alive.
By combining these three decks, you get a weird mix of a matchup table where you end up being even versus many of the common lineups in the meta. This gives you room to outplay and outskill your opponent, and not outright lose the match at the matchmaking stage.
So what are some of the decks that we should be favored into?
First, all forms of aggro or burn decks should struggle versus our lineup. We have enough cheap units and removal to stop their early aggression and stabilize.
Second, these decks do really well in stopping Pantheon Yuumi or other similar Demacia midrange decks that rely on a few units going tall, rather than a wide board presence.
Similarly, we are slightly favored into Viego decks for the same reason: we can stop their few big units.
As always though, there are always some archetypes you really don’t want to see. Thralls is the first one that comes to mind, as it will do very well into all three of our decks – do not get baited by your access to Scorched Earth as that is usually not enough against a good opponent to beat them.
Next would be Sun Disc, for similar reasons. While Aphelios Vi does well versus them, our two other Noxus decks do not.
Lastly, control decks like Feel The Rush and Anivia could be problematic against our Noxus midrange decks as well. So keep an eye out for those.
As the title of this lineup implies, there are a lot of other matchups that come down to skill and your ban phase decision. This lineup is one that more than anything will require you to know and play your decks very well, so I would only recommend replicating Maybenexttime’s lineup if you have played these decks before. I think that, in the right hands, this lineup could be very powerful.
The Shurima Shuffle
Shurima lineups were all the rage last season… what happened to them?
Well, I think they are being a bit underutilized, and that Quicksand is still a very powerful tool. So, today, I bring you what I think might be the best current triple Shurima lineup.
It is all about the mid- to late-game value with this lineup. All three of these decks play at similar speeds, peaking at around round seven and eight. The idea is that we have enough tools from Shurima to fight off the opponent’s aggression and get to our win condition before them.
And all of our decks do surprisingly well into Thralls, allowing us to hard-target the most popular deck in the meta.
From there on, the match up tables will vary. Two of our decks do well into Noxus midrange piles for example, giving us a potential edge over them during the ban phase. All our decks do well against some cheesy Elusive or Overwhelm strategies, and do well versus slower control decks. And we especially punish decks that rely on attacking with keywords like Elusive or Quick Attack (for example Ekko Zilean) as they eventually have to attack us even through Quicksand.
Our boogeymen are the Demacia decks, like Pantheon Yuumi and Poppy Bard Jarvan. They have both removal (through Concerted Strike) and the pressure (through Golden Aegis) to run us down before we can stabilize.
We also do not do very well into decks that can entirely ignore our Quicksand, such as Riven Fizz or Aphelios Fizz – units with Attach sure are tricky to play around.
Triple aggro lineups are also problematic, especially against Sun Disc and Malphite Taliyah, so be mindful of those as well.
In terms of alternate decks, we could in theory play Thralls ourselves, but then that leaves us in the mercy of the mirror if we run into other Thralls players. The other option is going back to Ziggs Taliyah instead of Malphite Taliyah, although I do not believe the deck is as powerful as it once was.
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!