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Monday Meta Report – Jan 3rd

While the meta is still the most diverse we've seen in a very long time, pilots have already detected the best performers. Leer dives deep into the data to find out which other decks are being held back by the current Top Dogs, and how things may change with the balance patch we expect on Wednesday.
Meta Monday

Click on the bolded decks' names for their deck codes.

The Data

Data from Balco

Going by Balco’s Meta Tier List, we can see that Kennen Ahri Allegiance finally made a breakthrough as the most played deck in the meta with an 8% playrate. Darkness trails closely behind with a 7.5% one.

After those two decks, there is quite a gap followed by a bunch of decks with a 4% playrate: Pantheon, Lurk, Spider Aggro and TF Nami. Plunder is the only deck with a 3% playrate.

Data from Balco

Going by winrate, Kennen Ahri is the clear favorite, winning 55.5% of its games. Note that there are a lot of different versions of Ahri Kennen, the The Absolver variant having the highest winrate.

They are followed by two Lulu decks: Fizz Lulu and Ahri Lulu. If you want to learn more about Fizz Lulu, check out my in-depth guide here!

Pantheon and Draven Rumble sit at a comfortable 53% winrate, while Discard Midrange, Taric Pantheon, and Sivir Akshan win 52% of their games.

The Reasons

Since most decks featured here also appeared in last week’s meta report, I don’t want to repeat myself for recurring readers (and it’s boring for me to write). If you are interested in a short explanation of the decks here and their strengths and weaknesses, please read up on the last two meta reports here!

Ahri Kennen has been one of the most dominant decks since the emergency hotfix patch. While its winrate was always this high, the playrate slowly crept up and is now at the top of the charts. The deck has barely any bad matchups: only Spider Aggro is a hard counter (38% winrate), while Nami TF and Draven Rumble are still winnable (45% wr).

Darkness is in most parts a response to aggro decks like Spider Aggro that emerged due to Ahri Kennen’s dominance over the meta.

As we can see in its streaky matchup table, its overall winrate (51.8%) doesn’t really justify its high playrate.

Pantheon has been a deck just like Kennen Ahri that has emerged since the emergency hotfix patch, and has never gone away. The sole reason Pantheon is not the most played and winning deck in the meta is due to its terrible matchup into Ahri Kennen (34% WR).

Lurk has seen a rise in play- and winrate thanks to Darkness being so popular at the moment. 

Its matchup table quickly reveals that it’s otherwise a bad deck with no real strong points.

Spider Aggro sees a below 50% winrate due to Darkness’ and TF Nami’s popularity and we will have to see if it can stay in the meta.

Ahri Lulu has been on the rise since last week and has finally made it into the top 3 most winning decks of the week. While their matchup table looks fairly balanced, they don’t really have any hard counters with a below 40% winrate but have a lot of heavily favored ones well above 60%.

Fizz Lulu on the other hand has quite a bit more favored matchups, though it also loses more to Ahri Kennen. I think it’s fair to say that Fizz Lulu is the better deck, especially in a tournament environment where you can ban Ahri/Kennen and free up Ahri to bring Ahri Kennen yourself for example.

I think Fizz Lulu is especially strong because it has two independent game plans from each other - to play Lulu alongside Flame Chompers!, or to generate a wide and then cast Yordles in Arms to close out the game. Ahri Lulu lacks that second tool and is a little more dependent on Lulu and Flame Chompers.

Rumble had an extremely rough entrance into the meta and hasn’t found success until last week. This week though, an aggressive Draven Rumble list made the 53% winrate cut. Let’s look at its matchup table:

We can see immediately that Draven Rumble has a favorable matchup into the three most played decks: Ahri Kennen, Darkness, and Pantheon. The deck only really falters to Lulu decks and Nami TF, though only Ahri Lulu appears to be a hard counter to this deck.

If you want, you could say that Draven Rumble is a more sophisticated version of aggro decks like Spider Aggro or Teemo Poppy. Or a more aggressive version of Draven Sion. Since we have already determined that Ahri Kennen - and a lot of other decks as well - struggles with early aggression, Draven Rumble seems to hit the perfect spot in the current meta!

The same goes for Discard Midrange (aka Sion decks) by the way, though these variants seem to be a little slower, costing the deck some overall winrate.

Looking Back

In this section, we look at last week’s meta report and compare it to today’s findings.

As we can see once again, Nami TF has been doing well enough to stay in the meta, but (luckily) didn’t pop off as a broken deck. I think it is safe to say that in the current meta, Nami TF is a meta staple that is neither broken nor underwhelming.

We’ve seen Spider Aggro completely collapse over the past couple of days, showing that the deck isn’t really strong enough, despite its favorable matchup into Ahri Kennen and Pantheon.

Remember how I said there is no one suffocating deck in the meta? Well, about that… Ahri Kennen is clearly over-tuned, topping the charts of play- and winrate. I hope the deck gets addressed in the upcoming patch!

Ekko Zilean still hasn’t found any real success, sitting at a 48.7% winrate overall. The deck is struggling and just doesn’t seem to be powerful enough, especially with its best matchup Spider Aggro (65% wr) on a downswing.

Like we featured last week, Akshan Sivir is a solid pick in the current meta, sitting at a 52% winrate over the past 7 days. The deck does well into mostly anything but Ahri decks, especially Darkness, Nami/TF, and Elise, and thus also benefit from the increase in popularity of Darkness.

Moving forward

Since there will be a balance patch in the coming days, I want to use this section to discuss what decks might need to see change.

As it currently stands, Ahri Kennen is a clear over-performer with too high a winrate considering it’s also the most played deck. The deck needs a nerf, otherwise it will be the new Poppy Zed.

On the other hand, nerfing Ahri Kennen means removing the greatest counter to Pantheon. Pantheon has been doing extremely well so far and is only stopped by Ahri Kennen to take the meta in its grasp.

Although Darkness is currently the second most played deck by quite a bit, I don’t think the deck needs a change. The winrate of 51.8% is nothing to worry about.

We will have to see what happens to Ahri Lulu and Fizz Lulu because they as well would benefit majorly from a nerf to Ahri Kennen.

I think it’s quite fascinating to see how one deck can hold back a multitude of decks from dominating the meta, quite similar to how Poppy did in the last seasons. 

Of course, these are merely my ideas and we might see other decks popping off if only Ahri Kennen was to be changed.

TF Nami is the last deck I want to mention - it has several unique or “orthogonal” win conditions that make it difficult to play against. If indeed decks like Pantheon would get hit, we could see this deck become a problem quite quickly.

Conclusion

While the meta has been incredibly diverse and enriching, we are starting to see some decks being a little too strong. With the upcoming balance patch, we will hopefully see these decks addressed and the meta change once again. 

What decks would you like to see changed and how? What cards would you like to see buffed?

If you’ve made it this far, tell me your favorite sweet in the r/LegendsOfRuneterra Reddit thread comments. Just one word without context 🙂

Thanks go to Balco and Legna for providing the community with valuable statistics, these reports wouldn’t be possible without you!

My continuous gratitude also goes to Herko Keghans, MonteXristo, and Hydroflare, they have been doing a lot of editing and proofreading that deserves appreciation!

As always, thank you for reading and until next week!