‘sup everyone. After last week’s chaotic meta filled with LP-donating decks, this Monday features an unstoppable Kraken. After her fight with abominations of the void, will Kai'Sa be up to the challenge of combating the church of Nagakabouros, or will the Chimed-up Tentacles smash her into smithereens?
LoR Meta Decks
Sorting Balco’s Meta Tier List by playrate (PR), we find the following:
Since last Monday’s indication of Illaoi Bard’s (Chimey Tentacles’) strength, the deck went from 0 to 100 in popularity real quick. Chimey Tentacles is now the most popular deck with an 8.4% PR!
Kaisa Demacia takes a close second place with an 8.1% PR.
Azir Irelia stays strong in third place with a 6% PR. Despite its PR growth, it fell down two ranks, which goes to show how more refined the meta is compared to last week (or at least it’s more clumped =).
Annie Twisted Fate (Twisted Annie) is seeing a regrowth as well, now sitting at a 5.5% PR again.
Another Kai'Sa deck made its way into the top cut, namely Akshan Kai'Sa. Last week, this Kai'Sa version was the most popular but now, it is only the second most played one.
Below we find yet another Kai'Sa deck, also with Demacia as the second region – Kai'Sa Sivir. It shares a 4.2% PR with Yasuo Katarina.
A couple of seasons ago, Ziggs Bandle City Noxus was always at the bottom of the PR chart, being the only aggro deck among the most popular archetypes. In this meta, Jhin Annie (Jhinnie) takes the role of carrying the aggro torch into the top cut.
Finally, Jayce Heimerdinger (Shadow Tech) and Gwen Annie (Gwennie) are two control decks that sit at a 2% PR!
Turning to winrates (WR), we get this result:
Chimey Tentacles tops this chart as well! This hasn’t happened in a long while – a deck that is the most popular one as well as the most busted one!
Sivir Kai'Sa remains to be the best Kai'Sa archetype, securing #2 with a 54.8% WR.
Another Illaoi archetype has made it into this Monday’s report – Lux Illaoi (Illux), sporting a 53.7% WR. After being featured last week as an Honorable Mention, it now passed the 1% PR mark to show up in Balco’s Meta Tier List!
Last season, Twisted Annie was consistently one of the most played decks, but couldn’t quite deliver on the WR front. This time around, they reach a solid 53.5% WR!
Right below, we find another Worldwalker fossil – Lissandra Taliyah (Thralls). Now almost forgotten by players (1.6% PR), it proves to be a powerful deck nonetheless with a 53% WR.
Shadow Tech was a staple of the last meta and is quickly becoming one for this meta as well, with a 52.9% WR.
Despite the stark similarities between Kai'Sa Sivir and Kai'Sa DE, they sport different WR’s. Kai'Sa DE shows that it doesn’t need the help of a treasure hunter to succeed, reaching seventh place with a 52.8% WR.
Bard also heaves a second archetype into the top ten most winning decks this week, namely with Jinx Bard (Scrappy Chimes) and a 52.6% WR.
Jhinnie also carries the torch of SMOrc into the WR chart, with a 52.2% WR.
Akshan Kai'Sa proves to be the weakest of the three Kai'Sa Demacia decks, though still reaching a 52% WR!
Let’s address the Kraken in the room: Bard Illaoi. How can a deck win so much while having a target on its back due to its high PR?
As we can see, the deck just doesn’t know how to lose. It is favored against four out of the six most played decks, (Note that we consider Kai'Sa DE and Kai'Sa Sivir as one archetype. Like we discussed last Monday, the Sivir version is straight up better in every matchup) especially against matchups you would expect it to lose, e.g. Azir Irelia with their Recalls, and Katarina Yasuo with their Stuns. But The Sand Blades of Azirelia quickly level Illaoi, and Katarina Yasuo lacks its own win conditions against the removal of Illaoi Bard to close out the game.
And against Akshan Kai'Sa, Bard Illaoi is only slightly unfavored. The only archetype that can scratch Chimey Tentacles is Kai'Sa Sivir. This is due to Kai'Sa consistently leveling on rounds five or six, followed by Spellshield on Kai'Sa, which Chimey Tentacles can't deal with.
If you want to learn more about the deck, you can check out the brand new Illaoi Bard guide by yours truly! =)
Last week, we discussed the several Kai'Sa Demacia versions and which one was best. Since we just found out that Bard Illaoi can’t be targeted, adjusting to Kai'Sa archetypes is the next best thing to do.
And this is exactly why we see Katarina Yasuo be so popular. Last week, most WRs were inflated due to LP donors like Kai'Sa Evelynn running around, and Yasuo Katarina had a positive WR. This week, it looks different.
As we can see, Yasuo Katarina has barely any good matchups. Against Bard Illaoi it lacks its own win conditions, against Azir Irelia it lacks the blockers and is too slow, and Jhinnie overruns the deck.
Only against Akshan Kai'Sa it has a realistic chance to repeatedly stun Kai'Sa and push its own win conditions. But as soon as we turn to the Sivir variant of Kai'Sa, which is slightly more focused on a midrange game plan, compared to the slightly stronger early game of Akshan, we once again see Yasuo Katarina struggle.
If this matchup table doesn’t scare you, and you want to try this fun Yasuo deck on your own, consider checking out the Yasuo Katarina deck guide by Jasensational. He is one of LoR's most iconic Yasuo players. and even reached the top 16 with this very archetype in the first Seasonal tournament!
I’m passionate about midrange and combo decks and tend to skip discussing aggro decks (unless it’s in the Honorable Mentions section =). Let’s rectify this imbalance and talk about Jhinnie:
As we can see, two of the most popular decks of the meta are polarized for Jhinnie. It smashes Azirelia real hard, but in turn, gets smashed real hard by Chimey Tentacles. Azir Irelia lacks the high-health early-game units to deal with Jhinnie’s stuns and board swarm, while Illaoi Bard runs cheap units like Byrd, The Bellringer and Hired Gun, as well as removal like Tentacle Smash to deal with Jhinnie’s aggression.
Looking further, Jhinnie’s matchup table looks quite promising – the archetype is favored against Akshan Kai'Sa and Katarina Yasuo, while still being even against Kai'Sa Sivir and Twisted Annie.
This means that aggro, or Jhinnie in particular, is quite the gem in the current meta. The only reason it is not overtaking the game is because of Bard Illaoi… or is it because of Bard Illaoi in the first place, allowing Jhinnie to find so many good matchups that adapt to the Chimey Tentacles?
Bard Shen is a novel archetype that finally makes Shen work. With Kinkou Student it doubles up every Barrier effect and rapidly levels Shen and buffs Greenglade Caretaker.
In my own games, Shen Bard (Shard?) performed extremely well against Chimey Tentacles, and even beat insane openings from my foe like 2x Watchful Idol into Tentacle Smash and Illaoi. And even against most of the field, it felt pretty good.
The only horrible matchups are Kai'Sa decks. With no removal whatsoever, Shen Bard is a sitting duck that waits for an enemy Kai'Sa to come down and farm us. Especially Icathian Rain makes Barrier effects useless on defense and leaves us with no way of defending against Kai'Sa.
In my testings, I reached a 60% WR over 20 games, and the more telling data of runeterra.ar shows a 56% WR over 2k games in the past two days!
On the other hand, Ahri Bard (Charming Chimes?) is no new archetype at all. It also preys on Bard Illaoi thanks to its numerous Recall effects, while looking to push damage through Chimed-up Elusive units.
The deck currently rocks a 56% WR over 660 games over the past two days, and it's heavily favored into Illaoi Bard. If you’re interested in learning the deck, check out Riot Grand Prix winner MonteXristo’s Ahri Bard guide.
Didn’t see that one coming, huh? After the nerfs to Brightsteel Protector and Pantheon’s ability to gain Scout, as well as the detrimental Zenith Blade nerf, this deck was immediately dropped by the meta.
In this new season though, I think it has a place, and here is why: Illaoi Bard can go reasonably wide to defend against aggro, but to push its advantage and go on the offense, it needs a big Tentacle. Hence, what is its main weakness? A unit bigger than the Tentacle or Illaoi.
Similar, Kai'Sa Sivir/Mono Kai'Sa has close to no bad matchups, thanks to its reliable level-up of Kai'Sa on round five or six. With Icathian Rain, it can shoot down small units. But what does it struggle against? A chunky Fated warrior or Fated dragon that can block Kai'Sa.
This was my reasoning behind coming back to Fated (and, let’s be honest, my never-ending love for Pantheon =). While the deck doesn’t show up in the data at all, my own testing confirms that it works well against Bard Illaoi and Kai'Sa decks. As for a more stable and reliable sample size, we will have to hope that the deck gains traction again. For now, it remains a theoretical powerhouse that you might want to join me in using to punish the most popular meta decks! =)
I personally find Kai'Sa to be extremely frustrating to play against – there is very little interaction with her and a feeling of inevitability. Nonetheless, stats imply that she is powerful but not overpowered.
Overall, the meta has an incredible amount of well-balanced decks in a healthy range of a 52-53% WR, with Kai'Sa Sivir and Bard Illaoi being the exception. Especially Bard Illaoi appears to be broken, popping off in PR in WR at the same time. Only time will tell if this trend continues and if nerfs to Chimey Tentacles and Kai'Sa are necessary.
Thank you for reading this week's meta report and making it this far. If you’re still here and read this, leave a “Hi” in the Reddit thread comments, and I will “Hi” you back! =)
The data has been due to the amazing website by Balco while the matchup tables have been from Legna’s brilliant homepage. They are doing an insane job at collecting all this data and presenting it to us in an approachable manner. They deserve all the praise in the world!
The talented Hazy has been converting Balco's data into these stunning graphs for the Monday Meta Report, I can't express my gratitude enough to him!
Thanks also to Herko Khergans, he has been doing lots of editing and proofreading that deserves appreciation!!
You can reach me on Twitter (@Leer97) or on Discord (Leer#2026)!
Thanks for reading and see ya next week!