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Tournament Tech – Recommended Tournament Decks & Lineups

Sirturmund shares three post-hotfix Tournament lineups, plus breaks down Dudu de Nunu's winning lineup from Runescola Open #254.

Riot has just thrown a big monkey wrench into the LoR meta, by hotfixing the decks that, until Tuesday, were dominating the ladder.

Both the ladder and the Tournament metas are still in turmoil as pilots try to brew and find the best LoR decks, yet some early trends are emerging – in this article, I'll share three Tournament lineups that I think should work very well in the current field, and I'll showcase and break down a fourth: the lineup with which Dudu de Nunu just won a recent tournament.

If you are looking for something to bring next Saturday to MaRu's $1K tournament, these would be my weapons of choice!

Mastering Runeterra Championship Tournament

The Meta Kings & Queens

In every meta, we have two or three decks that warp the field around them. As noted, Riot nerfed those in the recent hotfix, leaving room for some other decks to take over. There's very little post-hotfix data right now, but the three decks selected below are what I consider the best of the best currently, and in the hands of a capable player they can go anywhere. They are THE decks to beat. 

Vayne Aatrox Quinn

Regions
Demacia
28 cards
Runeterra
12 cards
Rarities
34 800
champion
6
epic
10
rare
12
common
12
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
18
2
4
3
2
4
1
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Vayne
3
Vayne
5
Quinn
1
Quinn
6
Aatrox
2
Aatrox
Equipments
10
2
The Darkin Harp
3
The Darkin Harp
1
The Darkin Bloodletters
3
The Darkin Bloodletters
2
The Darkin Aegis
3
The Darkin Aegis
2
The Darkin Spear
1
The Darkin Spear
Followers
11
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
Fleetfeather Tracker
1
Steadfast Elkin
3
Steadfast Elkin
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
Petricite Broadwing
4
Ranger-Knight Defector
2
Ranger-Knight Defector
Spells
13
1
Catch!
3
Catch!
2
Blinding Assault
3
Blinding Assault
2
Fish Fight
3
Fish Fight
2
Sharpsight
2
Sharpsight
3
Cataclysm
1
Cataclysm
6
Condemn
1
Condemn
Open deck in builder

Katarina Gwen

Regions
Noxus
17 cards
Shadow Isles
23 cards
Rarities
28 800
champion
6
epic
4
rare
15
common
15
Mana cost
0
0
10
1
13
2
5
3
5
4
3
5
2
6
2
7+
Champions
6
3
Katarina
3
Katarina
4
Gwen
3
Gwen
Followers
22
1
Blade Squire
2
Blade Squire
1
Boisterous Host
3
Boisterous Host
2
Phantom Butler
3
Phantom Butler
2
Redeemed Prodigy
3
Redeemed Prodigy
2
Rune Squire
2
Rune Squire
3
Arachnoid Sentry
2
Arachnoid Sentry
4
Ruined Reckoner
2
Ruined Reckoner
5
Fallen Reckoner
3
Fallen Reckoner
6
Eternal Dancers
2
Eternal Dancers
Spells
12
1
Mark of the Isles
1
Mark of the Isles
1
Quietus
1
Quietus
1
Ravenous Flock
3
Ravenous Flock
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Vile Feast
3
Vile Feast
10
The Harrowing
2
The Harrowing
Open deck in builder

Seraphine Ezreal Bandle City

Regions
Bandlecity
18 cards
Piltover & Zaun
22 cards
Rarities
28 400
champion
6
epic
4
rare
13
common
17
Mana cost
1
0
6
1
17
2
6
3
3
4
2
5
4
6
1
7+
Champions
6
2
Seraphine
3
Seraphine
3
Ezreal
2
Ezreal
4
Viktor
1
Viktor
Landmarks
3
6
Back Alley Bar
3
Back Alley Bar
Followers
8
1
Otterpus
1
Otterpus
1
Yordle Squire
1
Yordle Squire
2
Conchologist
3
Conchologist
2
Darkbulb Acolyte
1
Darkbulb Acolyte
2
Gust Monk
1
Gust Monk
5
Fanclub President
1
Fanclub President
Spells
23
0
Thermogenic Beam
1
Thermogenic Beam
1
Bandle Tellstones
1
Bandle Tellstones
1
Group Shot
1
Group Shot
1
Piltovan Tellstones
1
Piltovan Tellstones
1
Trinket Trade
1
Trinket Trade
2
Drop the Bomb
1
Drop the Bomb
2
High Note
1
High Note
2
Mystic Shot
1
Mystic Shot
2
Pokey Stick
3
Pokey Stick
2
Quicken
1
Quicken
2
Rummage
1
Rummage
2
Time Trick
1
Time Trick
3
Caustic Riff
1
Caustic Riff
3
Get Excited!
1
Get Excited!
3
Sump Fumes
1
Sump Fumes
3
Wallop
1
Wallop
4
Puzzling Signposts
2
Puzzling Signposts
5
Drum Solo
1
Drum Solo
6
Hexbliterator
1
Hexbliterator
7
Sputtering Songspinner
1
Sputtering Songspinner
Open deck in builder

With the nerf to Blooming CultistBlooming Cultist and The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold, AatroxAatrox has found a better partner than KaynKayn. The combination of Aatrox and VayneVayne DEDemacia gives access to more strike spells, and leads to perhaps the best mid-range deck in the current game. Follow that up with classic Red GwenGwen (or should it be Green KatarinaKatarina at this point?) and the best SeraphineSeraphine & Bar deck around, and you end up with a very potent mid-range lineup.

These three decks are strong, and even more so together because they can literally do it all. From aggression to more nuanced control tools, these decks tend to feast on archetypes slower than themselves. The first strategy with our lineup is therefore to counter any brave soul who dares to bring control in this meta.

Following that up, we actually do very well against aggro decks. All our decks are even or positive into decks such as Annie Jhin or Ziggs Acolytes.

Finally, we are looking to target other Seraphine Bandle Decks, since both Katarina Gwen and Vayne Aatrox handedly beat them.

As for our banning strategy: with the good spread of positive matchups that we have, what are the things we struggle against? Aatrox decks, to start with – we should ban Aatrox Kayn, Aatrox Akshan or other Aatrox Vayne decks as they can beat our Seraphine. And Draven Jinx is another popular deck to watch out for: it's the one aggro deck we struggle against. Finally, keep an eye out for the rare Rumble Vayne decks.

For alternate deck considerations, we can always split the Aatrox Vayne pair. We could go for something like Aatrox Kayn and Vayne Rumble, replacing Seraphine – this should make us stronger into other Seraphine decks without having to rely on winning the mirror. You can also experiment with the new Seraphine Viktor Ryze variants instead of Bandle City. As long as you keep the core of one Aatrox deck plus Red Gwen, you should be set with this best-of-the-best lineup. 


Two Red Steps Ahead

For many players, there is only one way to play the game: BURN BURN BURN!!

These decks are meant to do just that. Triple aggro has been seeing some success in tournaments and I think it's well-positioned to beat the lineups trying to counter the three-best-decks lineups. 

Annie Jhin

Regions
Runeterra
27 cards
Noxus
13 cards
Rarities
23 100
champion
6
epic
1
rare
3
common
30
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
14
2
7
3
3
4
0
5
4
6
0
7+
Champions
6
1
Annie
3
Annie
4
Jhin
3
Jhin
Followers
27
1
Crackshot Corsair
3
Crackshot Corsair
1
Legion Rearguard
3
Legion Rearguard
1
Legion Saboteur
3
Legion Saboteur
2
Boomcrew Rookie
3
Boomcrew Rookie
2
Imperial Demolitionist
2
Imperial Demolitionist
2
Solari Sunhawk
3
Solari Sunhawk
2
The Stagehand
3
The Stagehand
2
Tusk Speaker
3
Tusk Speaker
3
Doombeast
3
Doombeast
6
Augmented Experimenter
1
Augmented Experimenter
Spells
7
3
Noxian Fervor
2
Noxian Fervor
3
Reveler's Feast
2
Reveler's Feast
6
Decimate
3
Decimate
Open deck in builder

Draven Jinx

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
21 cards
Noxus
19 cards
Rarities
28 700
champion
6
epic
5
rare
9
common
20
Mana cost
3
0
10
1
11
2
11
3
3
4
0
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Draven
3
Draven
4
Jinx
3
Jinx
Followers
19
1
Crimson Pigeon
3
Crimson Pigeon
1
Reborn Grenadier
2
Reborn Grenadier
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
Zaunite Urchin
2
Arena Battlecaster
3
Arena Battlecaster
2
Flame Chompers!
3
Flame Chompers!
2
House Spider
3
House Spider
6
Augmented Experimenter
2
Augmented Experimenter
Spells
15
0
Poro Cannon
3
Poro Cannon
1
Jury-Rig
2
Jury-Rig
2
Rummage
2
Rummage
3
Get Excited!
3
Get Excited!
3
Reveler's Feast
2
Reveler's Feast
3
Vision
3
Vision
Open deck in builder

Pirate Aggro

Regions
Noxus
20 cards
Bilgewater
20 cards
Rarities
26 100
champion
6
epic
3
rare
7
common
24
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
11
2
6
3
6
4
3
5
2
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Miss Fortune
3
Miss Fortune
4
Twisted Fate
3
Twisted Fate
Followers
24
1
Jagged Butcher
3
Jagged Butcher
1
Legion Rearguard
3
Legion Rearguard
1
Legion Saboteur
3
Legion Saboteur
1
Precious Pet
3
Precious Pet
2
Arena Battlecaster
2
Arena Battlecaster
2
House Spider
2
House Spider
2
Legion Grenadier
2
Legion Grenadier
2
Marai Warden
3
Marai Warden
4
Zap Sprayfin
3
Zap Sprayfin
Spells
10
2
Make it Rain
2
Make it Rain
3
Noxian Fervor
3
Noxian Fervor
5
Eye of Nagakabouros
3
Eye of Nagakabouros
6
Decimate
2
Decimate
Open deck in builder

This lineup is meant to be a 5-head strategy. Most players will be looking to beat the Aatrox, Red Gwen and Seraphine decks, and to do that, more often than not people will have one or two decks in their lineup that are meant as a counter pick (for example, AragOrnn’s Ziggs Taliyah in the World Championship). And these are the decks that this triple aggro lineup is looking to feast on – Annie Jhin and Draven Jinx are by far the two best aggro decks in the current game, but some recent stats show Pirate Aggro also picking up steam. Still, as it is always the case with triple aggro, you can shift things around to include decks you feel more comfortable playing.

So… which are our tasty targets?

The main counters we are looking to prey upon are Sun Disc, Ziggs Taliyah, Hecarim Zed, and Akshan Varus. All four of these decks have decent popularity, and get crushed by our triple-aggro lineup.

Other less prominent decks that we would love to face include any Ryze deck, Jinx Champions’ Strength, Teemo Zoe and Katarina Yasuo. All these decks have something in common: they are sort of mid-range style decks that need some time to set up or that do not like to trade their units, allowing our early attackers to put on a lot of pressure.

The decks I am looking to ban include two of the most popular decks you might see this weekend: Aatrox and Seraphine. Both decks have plenty of tools to stabilize and choke out our units, stopping our traditional high-pressure game plan. Other ban considerations include Lulu Jinx, Gangplank Sejuani, and Twisted Fate Annie – all decks that have a good combination of blockers and removal to slow us down. 

If you are looking for alternate decks, aggro certainly has them. The first that comes to mind that can slot in for any of these decks is Gwen Elise Spider Aggro. Other more fringe options include Teemo Zoe, Ziggs Acolytes or Kayle Zoe Noxus, although do verify with some matchup tables to make sure that these options don’t change your matchup spread too much. 


Balanced Variant

We saw one take on the best-decks lineup, now here is a slight variation of it. As mentioned in that first lineup, we can split AatroxAatrox and VayneVayne so that the opponent can only ban one but not both, then come out with two very strong decks with each of the champion pairs. And, in the process, removing the Seraphine weakness. 

Kayn Aatrox

Regions
Runeterra
40 cards
Rarities
35 300
champion
6
epic
11
rare
9
common
14
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
11
2
3
3
8
4
3
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
5
Kayn
3
Kayn
6
Aatrox
3
Aatrox
Equipments
11
2
The Darkin Harp
3
The Darkin Harp
2
The Darkin Aegis
3
The Darkin Aegis
1
The Darkin Bloodletters
3
The Darkin Bloodletters
2
The Darkin Spear
2
The Darkin Spear
Followers
15
1
Buhru Cultist
3
Buhru Cultist
1
Forsaken Baccai
3
Forsaken Baccai
2
Keeper of the Box
3
Keeper of the Box
3
Blooming Cultist
3
Blooming Cultist
4
Ranger-Knight Defector
3
Ranger-Knight Defector
Spells
8
1
Momentous Choice
3
Momentous Choice
4
Furious Wielder
3
Furious Wielder
4
The Unforgiving Cold
2
The Unforgiving Cold
Open deck in builder

Rumble Vayne

Regions
Demacia
11 cards
Noxus
29 cards
Rarities
26 500
champion
6
epic
3
rare
9
common
22
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
19
2
8
3
8
4
1
5
1
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Vayne
3
Vayne
4
Rumble
3
Rumble
Equipments
3
2
Great Hammers
3
Great Hammers
Followers
18
1
Blade Squire
3
Blade Squire
2
Fallen Rider
3
Fallen Rider
2
Ionian Hookmaster
3
Ionian Hookmaster
2
Rune Squire
3
Rune Squire
2
Runeweaver
3
Runeweaver
4
Ruined Reckoner
3
Ruined Reckoner
Spells
13
2
Legionary Charge
3
Legionary Charge
2
Single Combat
1
Single Combat
3
Cataclysm
3
Cataclysm
3
Whirling Death
2
Whirling Death
4
Riposte
2
Riposte
5
Golden Aegis
1
Golden Aegis
6
Condemn
1
Condemn
Open deck in builder

Katarina Gwen

Regions
Noxus
17 cards
Shadow Isles
23 cards
Rarities
28 800
champion
6
epic
4
rare
15
common
15
Mana cost
0
0
10
1
13
2
5
3
5
4
3
5
2
6
2
7+
Champions
6
3
Katarina
3
Katarina
4
Gwen
3
Gwen
Followers
22
1
Blade Squire
2
Blade Squire
1
Boisterous Host
3
Boisterous Host
2
Phantom Butler
3
Phantom Butler
2
Redeemed Prodigy
3
Redeemed Prodigy
2
Rune Squire
2
Rune Squire
3
Arachnoid Sentry
2
Arachnoid Sentry
4
Ruined Reckoner
2
Ruined Reckoner
5
Fallen Reckoner
3
Fallen Reckoner
6
Eternal Dancers
2
Eternal Dancers
Spells
12
1
Mark of the Isles
1
Mark of the Isles
1
Quietus
1
Quietus
1
Ravenous Flock
3
Ravenous Flock
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Glimpse Beyond
2
Vile Feast
3
Vile Feast
10
The Harrowing
2
The Harrowing
Open deck in builder

Kayn Aatrox might have received a significant nerf from the hotfix, but it is still a very powerful deck that opponents will need to be wary of. Rumble Vayne has risen from the ashes and made a comeback in full force into a meta where The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold is not as prominent as it once was. And Katarina Gwen is the last touch – that fabled third deck that every LoR lineup requires to achieve perfection. Combine the three of them and you get a very powerful, yet different, best-decks lineup.

The beauty of our lineup is that it is even against almost everything else, giving us a lot of agency. For example, this is probably one of the few lineups out there that actually does not mind leaving Aatrox open. The matchups aren’t exactly favored against the big Darkin, but they aren’t unfavorable either, giving us the option to ban something scarier. Do feel confident that you can beat any lineup with yours, because it is absolutely true. Even our worst matchups beat at most two of our decks, but never all three.

However, just because we are even against most things, doesn’t mean we still don’t have a few decks that we would be absolutely happy (or sad) to see!

In the happy corner we have most Shurima landmark-based decks such: Ziggs Acolytes, Sun Disc and Ziggs Taliyah are great for us to bump into (and run over). Other Vayne variants, such as Vayne Illaoi or Quinn Vayne without Aatrox, are all very favored for us. Some fringe options you might see gain popularity like Lurk, Master Yi Ryze, and Seraphine Viktor Ryze are also easily dispatched. 

From the opposite corner, we would like to avoid the two aggro top dogs, namely Annie Jhin and Draven Jinx, since both Red Gwen and Rumble have trouble dealing with them. Elusive-based Champions’ Strength decks such as Mono Jinx are also great ban targets due to our lack of Deny. And, finally, Twisted Fate Annie Conservatory has too many chump blockers and access to Ravenous Flock, which makes our life miserable.

For alternate decks, I highly recommend keeping one Aatrox and one Vayne deck, even if you end up trying different flavors of each. To replace Katarina Gwen, though, you would have to dig deeply – matching Red Gwen's aggression would require you to tap into the more aggro side such as Draven Jinx, Jhin Annie or even Kayle Zoe Noxus.  


Winning Lineup Highlight

To finish off, I wanted to highlight a tournament-winning lineup from this week. Sometimes players bring some interesting stuff to smaller weekly or daily tournaments, and this lineup by Dudu de Nunu caught my attention. They used it to win Runescola Open #254 on Wednesday night. Don’t be surprised to see some people follow suit. 

Zed Hecarim

Regions
Ionia
22 cards
Shadow Isles
18 cards
Rarities
30 800
champion
6
epic
6
rare
14
common
14
Mana cost
0
0
9
1
15
2
6
3
2
4
5
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Zed
3
Zed
6
Hecarim
3
Hecarim
Landmarks
3
2
The Black Flame
3
The Black Flame
Equipments
3
2
The Darkin Fan
3
The Darkin Fan
Followers
18
1
Boisterous Host
3
Boisterous Host
1
Shadow Apprentice
3
Shadow Apprentice
2
Redeemed Prodigy
3
Redeemed Prodigy
2
Shark Chariot
3
Shark Chariot
2
Soul Shepherd
3
Soul Shepherd
3
Moonlit Glenkeeper
3
Moonlit Glenkeeper
Spells
10
1
Momentous Choice
3
Momentous Choice
4
Deny
2
Deny
5
Defiant Dance
2
Defiant Dance
5
Dragon Ambush
3
Dragon Ambush
Open deck in builder

Lulu Jinx

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
22 cards
Bandlecity
18 cards
Rarities
24 200
champion
6
epic
2
rare
3
common
29
Mana cost
3
0
14
1
12
2
6
3
5
4
0
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Lulu
3
Lulu
4
Jinx
3
Jinx
Followers
18
1
Byrd, The Bellringer
3
Byrd, The Bellringer
1
Yordle Squire
3
Yordle Squire
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
Zaunite Urchin
2
Boom Baboon
3
Boom Baboon
2
Flame Chompers!
3
Flame Chompers!
2
Squeaker
3
Squeaker
Spells
16
0
Poro Cannon
3
Poro Cannon
1
Jury-Rig
3
Jury-Rig
1
Purpleberry Shake
2
Purpleberry Shake
2
Pokey Stick
2
Pokey Stick
2
Rummage
1
Rummage
3
Get Excited!
3
Get Excited!
4
Sneezy Biggledust!
2
Sneezy Biggledust!
Open deck in builder

Vayne Rumble

Regions
Noxus
30 cards
Demacia
10 cards
Rarities
26 500
champion
6
epic
3
rare
9
common
22
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
19
2
9
3
9
4
0
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Vayne
3
Vayne
4
Rumble
3
Rumble
Equipments
3
2
Great Hammers
3
Great Hammers
Followers
16
1
Blade Squire
3
Blade Squire
2
Fallen Rider
3
Fallen Rider
2
Ionian Hookmaster
3
Ionian Hookmaster
2
Rune Squire
3
Rune Squire
2
Runeweaver
2
Runeweaver
4
Ruined Reckoner
2
Ruined Reckoner
Spells
15
2
Fish Fight
2
Fish Fight
2
Legionary Charge
3
Legionary Charge
3
Cataclysm
3
Cataclysm
3
Whirling Death
3
Whirling Death
4
Riposte
2
Riposte
4
Whispered Words
2
Whispered Words
Open deck in builder

First of all, let's talk about that Hecarim Zed list. Oh my, what a spicy list that is! The Black FlameThe Black FlameThe Darkin FanThe Darkin Fan and even Defiant DanceDefiant Dance. Wow. Dudu is a well-known player so I am trusting that this list is good and I cannot wait to try it myself.

Onto the lineup itself, from what I am seeing, one of the biggest strengths of this lineup is the good matchup versus Katarina Gwen, which will likely be one of the most common decks you will come across, second only to Aatrox. This gives us a huge edge in being able to beat that deck twice and win the matchup through there. 

It also seems to do even against Ezreal Seraphine, and doesn’t do as bad against Aatrox Kayn, with Jinx Lulu being the only suspect deck into that matchup. We would still probably look to ban Aatrox Vayne and aggro decks such as Draven Jinx and Annie Jhin, but then make it up by beating the trio of Shurima landmark-based decks (Sun Disc, Ziggs Taliyah, Acolytes). 

Other less common options like Hecarim Zed, Lurk and Akshan Varus also do not do too hot versus this lineup, allowing us to take advantage of those players trying to get too creative. 

And while it looks like we suffer a bit into some control decks like Feel The Rush, the likelihood of us seeing too many control decks is very low. Overall, this lineup offers a very balanced matchup spread where only full-aggro lineups are our concern.

How often will those show up?

Who knows, this meta is still quickly evolving – keep that in mind, and good luck!


About the author

Sirturmund is a long-time player of the game, having played LoR since beta. He has found competitive success in the past year with a couple of seasonal top cuts finishes, rank 1 ladder placements, and first spot in a Qualifier of Mastering Runeterra's Championship. Best known for being one of the very few to still bring Star Springs to tournaments, you can find Sirturmund lurking around all the social media sites absorbing anything he can about the game, and in his YouTube channel where he uploads videos every day.


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