‘sup everyone. This week, we see some hot new LoR meta decks that tend towards the more aggressive side.
LoR Meta Decks
Sorting Balco’s Meta Tier List by playrate (PR), we see the following:
Jhinnie has climbed to be the third most-played deck this week. Who would’ve thought that after the release of Jhin, where the deck was unreasonably over-popular with an abysmal WR, turns out to be a solid deck with a strong PR a couple of months later?
On the other side of the coin, Twisted Fate Annie (Twisted Annie) has declined in PR and is now in fifth place, for a very unique reason that we will cover in the WR section! =)
Finally, we, unfortunately, will likely see Katarina Yasuo for the last time in this report, as they have halved their PR and put up an unholy WR that’s better not spelled out.
Turning to winrates (WR), we get this result:
Despite their decline in PR and WR, Sivir Kai’Sa is still the superior Kai'Sa deck, and the most winning archetype this week. That being said, their Mono Kai’Sa sibling is rapidly closing the performance gap. Are they looking to consume yet another one of their own brethren?
Chimey Tentacles reaches only third place this week and has lost 2.3% of its WR compared to last week.
Lissandra Taliyah (Thralls) is still going strong and keeps on powering up, this week to a 53.5% WR!
Shard has not only entered the PR chart, but the WR chart as well. It earned its spot last week in the Honorable Mentions for a reason, and proves it this week by its performance!
Powder Pandemonium and Draven Sion can keep up with Shard’s pace, and make it onto the WR chart as well with a 52.4% and a 52.1% WR, respectively.
Katarina TF is the reason Twisted Annie lost some PR, and both archetypes turn out to differ not that much in the WR department, as they both vary by 0.1% around the 51.8% mean WR.
Finally, Heimerding Jayce (Shadow Tech) is still a deck, though not as powerful as in the last months, descending to a 51.6% WR!
Let’s start with some general observations: Since last week, we have seen fewer decks with high WRs, and also this Monday is no exception, as the top ten WR archetypes contain decks with a 51% WR. Usually, this doesn’t happen.
This is due to the high PR of some of the high WR decks like Kai’Sa variants and Illaoi Bard. Think about it this way: Just like the total PR of all decks has to be 100%, the average WR of all decks has to be 50%. So, for every 1% PR above 50% WR, there has to be 1% PR with less than 50% WR. If these PR points are filled with many different decks, or just a few with high PR ones doesn’t matter for this equilibrium.
What happened to Chimey Tentacles is a textbook example. Due to its strength, Illaoi Bard has eventually become an immensely popular deck, even the most popular last week. It is very unusual for an archetype to have a PR above 9%, even if we see two of them this Monday.
What happens when a deck has such a high PR? The entire meta adapts to it. We saw this last time when Twisted Annie had immense popularity for an extended time, and before that, it was the (even more extreme) case with Mono Shurima.
Thus, even though Bard Illaoi is currently the strongest deck in the game in a vacuum, ladder is not the universe and thus there’s no vacuum! =)
Shard is the perfect example of this. The sole reason this archetype exists is because of Illaoi Bard’s popularity.
As we can see, Shard has a pretty mediocre matchup table. But what matters is that they beat Bard Illaoi consistently with a 65% WR. Thus, despite its horrendous matchups against Mono Kai’Sa (the matchup against Kai’Sa Sivir is quite a bit better, around 45-50%, thanks to Barrier being able to block Sivir’s Quick Attack), the deck still finds success on ladder.
As we can see, Shard also struggles against an early flood of units from decks like Jhinnie, since Shard doesn’t run many units to block and is susceptible to Stuns.
That being said, we see a fascinating difference in Shard’s matchup table – it loses hard against Jhinnie, but beats Powder Pandemonium. This implies that Powder Pandemonium is not a simple aggro deck but quite distinct from the simple “flood board, SMOrc” game plan.
When we look at the matchup table, it becomes apparent that our clue of Power Pandemonium not being a classic aggro archetype is true!
Actually, it turns out that Jhinnie and Powder Pandemonium have complementary matchup tables, as if they were on opposite sides of a spectrum. Let’s call Powder Monkey… combo aggro! =)
Personally, I don’t have experience with Powder Pandemonium yet, but their more mid-game focused, “burn” game plan seems to hit the spot against Twisted Annie and (in comparison to Jhinnie) Chimey Tentacles.
Also, nabbing cards seems to be quite amazing against aggro, and a lot of decks happen to be susceptible against their own cards. This means that Powder Pandemonium is able to win a lot of games by beating the foe with their own weapons! =)
Moving to another combo aggro deck – Draven Sion. (Or Midrange Discard? Something between more traditional aggro and Pandemonium combo? *sigh* Categorizing archetypes is hard.)
Our midrange combo discard aggro archetype is no new discovery at all, but promising nonetheless. Last Monday, we explained why Jhinnie-type aggro is good in the meta, and Draven Sion is an extension of this observation.
Thanks to their early tempo and heavy-gun finisher in Sion, midrange decks like Kai’Sa Demacia and Bard Illaoi struggle against it. With its higher efficiency, it also beats the more front-loaded Jhinnie.
Surprisingly, it also beats the control-ish Twisted Annie due to Sion's power, and Twisted Annie’s lack of healing.
Its only popular bad matchups are Powder Pandemonium and Shard. Especially Shard is a nuisance to Draven Sion since they are able to efficiently block their Fearsome attackers with Kinkou Student and other Barrier units. Unlike Jhinnie, Draven Sion lacks the board-flooding and multiple stuns to overpower Shard.
Lastly, observe that Powder Pandemonium, as well as Draven Sion, have an amazing matchup versus Azir Irelia. The combo deck struggles against the aggression of Draven Sion and Powder Pandemonium and explains why Azir Irelia is on the sudden downtrend.
We saw that Draven Sion beats Annie TF somewhat consistently, but what about the novel Katarina TF variant?
As we can see, both Noxus TF versions have a lot of similar matchups. Like their slightly unfavorable odds against Mono Kai’Sa one, or the horrendous odds versus Powder Pandemonium.
On the other hand, we can see some slight (5 to 10 percentage points difference) differences when looking closer.
Bard Illaoi for example is slightly unfavored for Annie, but slightly favored for Katarina. An explanation for this is that Katarina allows for a Rally turn with Tybaulk on board that can force a block by a Tentacle that dies in the process, or simply push lethal damage thanks to its Overwhelm keyword.
On yet another hand (yep, we have three hands ‘round here! =), Katarina appears weaker to some less popular, and thus less impactful, matchups. Jhinnie loves that we run a tempo-negative card instead of the one-cost Annie, and Shard appreciates the additional time it gets to set up its wall of Barriers.
Finally, what about our initial question? Katarina also lowers the odds against Draven Sion, since the TF Noxus decks will seldomly have the time to play Tybaulk and survive another turn to play Katarina. Thus, Annie is the better choice to help with tempo against Draven Sion!
By now, Lux Illaoi is a well-known concept. It has put up numbers in the last weeks, and is continuing to do so. With more aggressive decks running around, might this Illaoi archetype be the best one, thanks to their early units and removal spells of Demacia?
Lux Illaoi sports a 58.5% WR in 250 games over the past two days in Masters!
Thought that Bard Shen is the hotness? You think like a Nokia smartphone – you’re out of date.
Lulu Shen has the benefit of having a real second region – Demacia. With a stronger early game, this archetype appears to be another promising candidate for
slaying Jahad succeeding in the current ladder environment.
On paper, it delivers a 54.9% WR in 200 games over the past two days in Masters!
Back in the day, Gnar Trundle Timelines was the meta-dominant deck. With the nerf of Gnar and shifts in the meta, it fell out of touch.
Caitlyn Trundle Timelines has been a potent residuum of this archetype ever since. Personally, I knew of this deck for a long time, but never felt like it was strong enough to be featured here. Two things changed my mind:
The deck has been sporting a 54.6% WR in 230 games over the past two days in Masters.
And freshlobster has made a comeback to streaming, playing this very archetype. This means that if you wanna learn Caitlyn Trundle, you’ll be able to observe one of the best players in the game piloting the deck and giving insight into his thought processes! =)
Despite the narrow meta induced by Bard Illaoi and Kai’Sa Demacia, we see lots of new archetypes pop up this week. As we found out, it is more so because of these two meta giants that we see the meta adapt to it with new decks.
Will we see Chimey Tentacles and Mono Kai’Sa lose popularity due to this new turn of events? Or will they persevere, and coexists with the new additions to the ladder? Only time can answer these questions! ⏳ ((And time will tell, unlike a certain fortune teller who is locked up in my basement.))
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!