‘sup. It’s patch week and we saw a bazillion cards getting buffed. Let’s see what impact those changes had! =)
Sorting Balco’s Meta Tier List by playrate (PR), we see the following:
Annie Twisted Fate (nickname recommendation?) got exactly one buff and one nerf. But that seemed to be everything they needed to become the #1 played archetype this week, with a 6.8% PR.
Similarly, Azir Irelia also received one buff (Inspiring Marshal doesn’t count), which catapulted the dead archetype to the #2 most played deck in the meta, with a 6% PR.
Ahri Bard has been creeping up for a few weeks now, and after last Monday’s break-through into the top cut, they see yet another increase in PR, this time to 4.5%.
Annie Jhin (Jhinnie), like many aggro decks, is benefitting from the early chaos and sees a rise in popularity to a 4.3% PR.
TF Nami Shadow Isles (Dead Fish) remains unchanged by the new patch meta, still sitting at a 3.4% PR.
Furthermore, Heimerdinger Jayce (Shadow Tech) slightly improves its popularity to a 3.2% PR.
Turning to winrates (WR), we get this result:
You guy’s effort of nicknaming Fizz Riven wasn’t in vain, as Swordfish is back in business with a whopping 55.9% WR!
Winding Moon also makes the 55% WR jump!
On the other hand, Bard Poppy Jarvan IV (Bannerman Medley) was close to reaching a 55% WR last week, but now “only” sports a 54.6%.
Despite their popularity, Annie TF, Jhinnie, and Ahri Bard all hover around a 54% WR.
After a decline last week, Shadow Tech has regained some of its former glory, sporting a 53.5% WR.
Lux Jayce finally made the 1% PR cut to show up in the data, and immediately finds itself in the WR graph with a 53.4% WR.
Elise Annie and Dead Fish are the only decks with a 52% WR.
Before the patch, Swordfish was struggling with Demacia decks creeping on the ladder with their Sharpsight and many blockers/few big Overwhelm units.
With the nerfs to Demacia’s early game, and Fated’s Zenith Blade, Fizz Riven find themselves with barely any bad matchups in the current meta. It also helps that Quicksand was nerfed.
Their only weak spots are Ashe LeBlanc due to their Frostbites, and Azir Irelia’s aggro potential.
Despite the heavy Demacia nerfs in this patch, Bannerman Medley is still going strong. Let’s take a look at their matchup table:
As we can see, they have many close matchups near a 50% WR, while being heavily favored against Azir Irelia and Annie Jhin, thanks to their sturdy early-game units.
Annie TF is a slightly bad matchup, but winnable nonetheless. What this table doesn't show is its horrendous odds against Shadow Tech and Ashe LeBlanc (both near a 30% WR).
While Bannerman Medley definitely lost some strength due to the nerfs, it didn’t rely that much on early Petricite Broadwing or Brightsteel Protector plays. Their strength comes from Vanguard Bannerman and Poppy buffing a wide board, which they still can do.
And, as a sort of compensation, Poppy can even buff Brightsteel Protector now, which further negates the nerf.
Annie TF received an adjustment to Disintegrate but got a buff to Riptide Rex in return. While the archetype wasn't so hot a week ago, it is kickin’ balls today.
Do I think that Riptide Rex spitting one more Cannon Barrage is the reason for this?
Not by a long shot.
But Lissandra Taliyah (Thralls) was one of its worst matchups with a below 30% WR. Since the deck got completely obliterated, Thralls is no longer one of the most played decks and thus made room for Annie TF.
Also, the nerfs to Demacia mean that those matchups are slightly favored for Annie TF now, see Bannerman Medley for example!
As we can see, the deck is also exceptional at demolishing Azirelia, the second most played deck this week!
Finally, let’s touch on some less-successful archetypes.
Azir Irelia has seen a tremendous buff – Irelia now has Attune. This means that we can play round turn two Emperor's Dais into round three Irelia and follow up with her created Flawless Duet. Or round two Greenglade Duo into round three Irelia + Flawless Duet.
Nonetheless, Azirelia isn’t what it was in ancient times when it absolutely dominated the ladder. Obviously, people would love that to be the truth, but the deck barely holds on with a 51.5% WR.
This is mainly due to their heavily polarized matchup table – they either smash the brains out of the opponent’s head, or get dunked on.
If you don’t care about ladder optimization and want to jam some Azirelia games, you can check out an in-depth Premium guide by the 2x Fight Night winner, yours truly, here (link)! =)
Oh, and regarding Hecarim Zed, I think a look at the matchup table is enough:
Illaoi Ionia is somewhat of a regular in this section, and this week poses no exception. Five letters are enough for this archetype to wreak havoc – they have been sporting a 55.5% WR since the patch hit, over roughly 450 games.
You might be more accustomed to the Demacian Illaoi version. The difference with this version is that it’s a lot cheesier with Ghost and Buhru Leader to sneak some Tentacle damage in!
Annie Katarina Ziggs
Like so many times, Annie Katarina Ziggs is still alive ‘n kickin’, just not in the visible part of the data. Aggro is the tried and true weapon in new metas, to feast on bad archetypes.
And, especially with the amount of Azirelia running around, this archetype has good chances. Just avoid flooding your board with one-drops against TF Annie and instead focus on a strong Ruin Runner round! =)
The deck rocks a 58% WR this patch over a 2.4k sample size. One of the reasons this deck doesn't show up in the data is that it’s split up between Katarina and non-Katarina versions. Data shows that she doesn't change the WR, but the one without Katarina only has a 1k games sample size!
Gnarlines but without Gnar
Trundle Gnar Timelines was a meta giant back when Gnar was released. Meta shifts and Gnar's nerf eventually pushed this archetype out of the meta.
Now, Caitlyn has taken Gnar's place and fights alongside the resident troll.
Caitlyn Trundle Timelines sports a 54% WR this patch over a 1.9k sample size. If you don’t mind a slightly different list with Gnar over Caitlyn, where the core principles of the deck still hold true today, MonteXristo wrote a Premium deck guide here (link)! =)
As we can see, the meta has shifted quite a bit with the new patch. It’s more about ladder titans (aka Demacia decks and Thralls! =) going away than about novel archetypes blossoming, but it’s a breath of fresh air nonetheless!
Especially considering that the meta before the patch has been extremely well-balanced, not seeing new archetypes shooting up into unseen territory is a healthy sign.
As always though, the beginning of a new patch is chaotic, with LP donors (like Azirlia to some extent) all around. It will be intriguing to see what the coming weeks have in store for us, and what the go-to decks will be at the upcoming Seasonal tournament!
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, 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!