‘sup everyone. The new balance patch brought huge changes with them, though one particular deck made it out unscathed. That being said, we have a new and exciting meta again, let’s dig right in! =)
LoR Meta Decks
Sorting Balco’s Meta Tier List by playrate (PR), we see the following:
Swain Twisted Fate is back and stronger than ever. Swain and The Leviathan saw huge benefits in this patch, and they seem to have done the trick.
As mentioned in the intro, Nami didn’t see any nerfs whatsoever, and Nami Lee is the second most popular archetype in the game!
Leona’s Daybreak package got big buffs as well, and Aurelion Sol Leona is the most popular archetype that breaks the light of the day!
Nocturne and Vilemaw were also improved, now being able to team up with Elise for a Fearsome Nightfall deck. While this deck also breaks the light of the day in the PR department, its foes don’t seem to fear the night too much, unfortunately.
Taric Poppy (Tappy) is the second old face in the top five most played decks this week, showing how much the meta got shaken up by the patch! If you haven’t already, check out my brand new Taric Poppy deck guide! =)
Furthermore, Spooky Karma is back, now paired with Master Yi.
Talking about comebacks, Tri-beam Improbulator has become more improbable to mess up your games again if you face Caitlyn Swain!
To complete the comeback hat-trick, Pantheon has made a return with Pantheon Fiora (Yay! No, that’s not the nickname of the deck but my joy at seeing Pantheon back. How about “Panthora” as a nickname?!)
Turning to winrates (WR), we get this result:
Finally, Nami Lee has taken a blow to its WR! Now it’s only 58%, rather than 58.2%. =)
Now, Nami Lee has a serious competitor though – Panthora. The deck came out of nowhere after the buff to Fiora and Iula, and is now wreaking havoc on ladder!
When I was a kid, I wanted to become an astronaut and travel the galaxy. At 11 years, grown-ups told me I should stop dreaming and give up. “Dreams aren’t real.” – Your dad
But how can they say that, when not only a Pantheon archetype but also Akshan Lee is among the best LoR decks?! What a coincidence that I recently wrote a deck guide about Akshan Lee. You should check it out, it’s fun!
Moving on, Swain TF is performing concerningly well for a deck with a 14% PR, currently sitting at a 55.2% WR.
Nami TF might’ve gotten replaced by its improved invention, but it is still a very real deck with a very real WR that makes it worth playing.
Katarina Gwen is an older concept that was on the downtrend the last few weeks but has found new success in this young meta.
Akshan Pantheon is an archetype that showed up in the early weeks of the Awakening expansion, but only now sees enough play to make it appear here (only decks with a 1% PR get shown in Balco’s data). It performs well in this Swain-dominated meta, and has fought long enough to deserve a spot at the table!
Can Veigar pair up with Norra and really call his spells “Darkness”? Didn’t Senna and Veigar have a binding contract for that word, or filed a patent? Even if not, at least morally speaking it would be reprehensible to say that Norra Veigar plays Darknesses. If I were Veigar, I would have a lot of explaining to do!
Let’s begin with Pantheon Fiora.
Does this deck have Fiora in this name?
Does it include three copies of Fiora in most lists?
Is it a Fiora deck?
With Pantheon Fiora, you are looking to curve out as much as possible and work towards leveling Pantheon. Fiora is a solid four-drop with good stats who benefits from Improvising and Spellshield being put on her. But apart from those, the deck plays more like a tempo Demacia than a Fiora archetype, or even the old Fated brew that grew 10|10 Overwhelm dragons.
Think of it more like a Taric Poppy 2.0. It thrives in filling the board with meaningful units that synergize with each other and can remove enemy backline threats like Norra and Nami, for then to snap the foe’s back with a leveled Pantheon (in his new corrupted armor of course) or Camphor, the Doubt.
As we can see, the deck has almost no bad matchups. It out-tempoes Swain TF, out-values Mistwraith Allegiance (aka Nocturne Elise), and out-grows Poppy Taric’s units.
While every archetype has to pay the Nami Lee tax, Panthora only struggles slightly against Asol Leona, which isn’t a real deck. Considering this fact, there is not much to say against Panthora staying where it is right now, or even going for Nami Lee’s spot!
One weakness Panthora has, though, is Akshan Lee. If the Panthora players can’t out-tempo the Akshan Lee player and cast a Golden Aegis at the right moment before Lee Sin goes for his final kick, there is nothing in Pantheon’s toolbox from stopping the blind monk.
Overall, Akshan Lee has been a solid deck in the Awakening season, but nothing more than that.
(At least that’s what statistics tells you. But don’t be fooled by the cold-blooded, lifeless data. Akshan Lee is much more than a LoR deck. It can be your smile in the rain. Your light in the dark. Your leg in the opponent’s face. *musical starts playing*)
Well, let’s not get carried away here. The point is that Akshan Lee is much better after the balance patch. But why? It didn’t see a single buff to any of its cards, and what's worse, Rite of Calling got nerfed, which some blends ran in order to locate the champions this deck relies on so much.
The answer, ladies and gentleman, is Swain:
Akshan Lee is consistently beating the by far most played deck on ladder right now. For that, it struggles considerably against Nami Lee. Oh, how the tides have turned, with two Lee decks turning on each other. If you would’ve asked me a season ago what champ I love that is dead and probably won’t see play without a buff, I would’ve said Lee. And now we have two Lee decks in the top three WR decks of the meta! =)
That being said, we can see that Akshan Lee absolutely slaughters Asol Leona. What’s concerning about this is not Asol getting murdered, but Akshan Lee basing its high winrate on this matchup.
Also, since the early days of the patch, Swain has sought the help of Bandle City and Minimorph, making Akshan Lee much less threatening. This Lee deck will definitely have to stand its ground for longer to prove that it’s strong enough to stay this high up!
For this week, I have something new to share with you!
Up until now, it was easy to determine which the best meta decks were, based on data, because you could simply look at data. But for Tournament and Gauntlet lineups? That’s something much more difficult to do. There is not much data on one particular matchup, and no clear framework on how to build a “mathematically optimal” lineup.
Flixus Petronus has taken up the challenge of basing lineup creation on data, and data alone. While most people build their lineup around shared weaknesses, he has taken the approach of finding three decks that share as few weaknesses as possible, to make it impossible to run into a counter lineup. I’ll let him explain in his own words:
“Oversimplified, my lineup creation tool takes decks with a sufficient WR and calculates the combination with the least shared bad matchups. The current "meta" of the lineup-making process focuses on common strengths and weaknesses and not on avoiding shared weaknesses.”
“However, the method used here is on the one hand mathematically safer, because it guarantees you an at least even matchup table in almost every case (and with deck knowledge and right teching even matchups can become slightly favored), and on the other hand is also way easier to calculate for me. 🙂 Our focus is not trying to hit certain matchups; the goal of the lineup presented by the tool is guaranteed consistency.”
“Additionally, I am aware that one wants to avoid first-timing a deck in their gauntlet/seasonal lineup. That's why beneath each deck (except the first deck of each lineup because that’s our core) you can see 3 alternatives. This is also really nice if the tool recommends a lineup that violates Riot Lock Rules; you can easily swap them out. The alternatives are ordered by strength, so please choose the first option over the third to see better results.”
Without further ado, here are his results:
This week, the tool got an easy choice to make on two decks, because Fiora Pantheon and Nami Lee have no weaknesses at all. And if you don't have weaknesses, you can’t share them, right?! =)
Here’s a matchup table (this time from Balco’s website) showing the lineup’s matchups against the most popular meta decks. The past has shown that ladder PR translates into tournament PR, so looking at the odds against popular meta decks is a good indication.
As we can see, MF Swain struggles against TF Swain, but neither does Panthora or Nami Lee. Panthora is slightly unfavored versus Lee Nami? Lee Nami and MF Swain are not. Lee Nami has problems with Tappy? Not Panthora and MF Swain!
A goal well achieved I’d say! =)
Flixus’ tool is not yet streamlined, so flaws happen (like the potential ineligibility of a lineup for Riot Lock rules), but his take is a novel and data-based one that I think deserves acknowledgment. To our luck, he’s also a down-to-earth guy that is open to discussion and improvement of his tool, so you can reach out to him on Discord (FlixusPetronus #5296).
What a great week to play LoR! We see an unworn meta with heaps of novel decks and even a new lineup tool. Personally, I have enjoyed (and played) LoR more than ever since the Awakening season, I hope you feel the same!
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 fantastic 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!