NOTE: This article is from a previous patch -- for the latest decklists, check this link!
As of early Thursday (EST), this is how the top of the ladder looks like according to Legna:
So, while the balance patch certainly shaked things up a bit, it doesn't seem (thus far) to have had too much of an impact in the Meta – most of the decks at the top were already strong pre-patch.
Some of the buffed champs do have viable (or even moderately strong) decks though, as we'll see below.
These are the strongest decklists for Champions that received a buff. Do notice that, when checking their archetypes, all of these save Azirelia perform below 50% – yet, in the cases below, there are specific decklists that do quite well.
Hecarim Kalista Ionia
Hecarim is the champ that pilots are experimenting the most with right now…
… with rather discouraging results: pairing him with Azir, with Zed, and with Lucian has (thus far) produced decks that perform well below 50%.
His saving grace is Kalista – there are several awful decklists in this archetype, too, but the one we recommend is the most popular (seeing play in APAC and EMEA) and reaches 52%.
Like Hecarim Kalist, LeBlanc is hiding her true power behind a lot of bad decklists that drag this archetype down – the list provided below though, that sees play in all shards, comfortably reaches 53% in nearly 150 games; and there are other couple of less-played lists that are doing even better.
The most popular list – topping its curve with one copy of Inspiring Marshal – is doing awful.
On the other hand, the list provided below, playing Dunekeeper and Shadow Apprentice, punches above 54% in nearly 500 games.
By the way: Azirelia is the most popular archetype right now – seems a reasonable bet that it will get a lot of traction in the coming days, once pilots migrate to the best decklists.
About Shen & Tri-beam
Shen does not seem to have found a home (yet) – his pairing with Jarvan IV is almost there, but all popular lists perform slightly below 50%.
Tri-beam (which arguably received both a nerf in Ezreal, and a buff in Aftershock) saw its WR decrease from quite good to 50%, so we won't currently recommend a list.
Current Top Dogs
As of right now (early Thursday), these are the best decks when WR (above 54% in all cases) and play rate are factored .
Vi Zoe Aphelios
The nerf to Ferros Financier seems to have been the slightest slap on the wrist – the latest Chompers menace performs well above 55%.
Our recommended list is the most popular in all three shards.
Annie Twisted Fate
The AM shard seems to be particularly fond of this archetype (which sees very little play in APAC). TF Annie was doing quite well pre-patch, and now seems to have found a Meta it really thrives in.
One of the most popular archetypes last patch, currently the third most played, and like Annie TF it seems to have not noticed the nerf to Disintegrate.
Arguably one of the most refined archetypes, too, with the same list being the most popular (by a wide margin) in all three shards.
While this is the only deck among the Top Dogs that received no nerfs, Ahri Bard seems to have lost a tiny bit of steam post-patch.
Only a tiny bit, though, and is the second most popular deck currently.
Our recommended list is the most popular (by a huge margin) in the AM and EMEA shards, topping its curve with Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed.
If you prefer something lower to the ground (which was what performed best pre-patch), check APAC's most popular version instead.
Heimer Jayce Shadows
It would seem that nobody got the memo that Ferros Financier got nerfed – Professor and Student have actually improved their performance post-patch, and once again we find them among the Meta's forerunners.
Our recommended list is the most popular in EMEA (the shard in which this archetype sees the most play) and APAC; Heimer Jayce doesn't seem to gain much favor in the AM shard, though.
Jarvan Bard Poppy
If Regis didn't get the "You're Nerfed" memo, Petricite Broadwing doesn't even know what a memo is.
Jarvan Bard Poppy certainly lost quite a bit of ground in play rate (from most popular, to around fifth place), but its performance seems untouched.
Other Strong Options
These are other very good options currently.
The usual "too early to tell" caveat applies, but all of these are refined archetypes that were already strong last patch – we'll see how the meta shapes up in the next few days (once LP donors leave the stage, and pilots focus on what works), but seems like a safe bet that all these decks will remain a factor.
Nami Twisted Fate Shadows
Arguably the big-brain-est deck out there, Nami TF has remained at the top of the charts post-patch, seeing play across all shards.
Annie loves this Meta, showing up in yet a third archetype among the strongest.
It seems like a fairly refined archetype, too: it's widely more popular in EMEA than in the other two shards, but our recommended list is the most played in all three servers.
On Lurkers, Deep and Fizz Riven
All three of these archetypes are doing great (and Fizz Riven in particular has, overally, the second highest WR among Meta decks, only a couple of decimal points behind Vi Zoe Aphelios).
There are a LOT of different decklists for each archetype, though, all of them with very low playrates, so it's hard to recommend a by-the-numbers best option – tread very carefully, but these would be our choices for:
Thus far, the patch seems to have changed things little – none of the buffed champs are making too much of a splash, many of the top decks didn't get the memo about their cards being nerfed, and the Top Dogs are pretty much the same as pre-patch (even if some ups and downs have been seen).
Perhaps the biggest news right now is the resurface of both Lurkers (which was doing quite well pre-patch, but with lower play rate) and Deep (which, after a bit of time under the spotlight, receded to obscurity).
We'll see tomorrow in Weekend Warrior Weapons how things look like, with an extra day of data!
Any questions or comments, or more data you may need, feel free to:
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And good luck in your climb!