OOOOHHH KILL 'EM
This is the staple burn lineup of the start of the season. This lineup is going to be powerful because it has a cohesive strategy, kill your opponent as fast as possible. We’re still pretty early into the new meta-game and as such it’s hard to get a read on what will be played, it’s easier (and probably better for you) to just focus on playing a lineup that works together.
Ban priority: remove SI Freljord from the equation.
If there’s no FTR or Anivia to ban, you’ll want to take out any decks running Deny as that card will interrupt your game plans.
If you wish to play a different deck in this lineup, you can consider a different Gnar deck like Gnarlines (Gnar Trundle) or AkGnar (Akshan Gnar). You could also consider a second burn deck in the form of Draven Rumble.
Rally Go BRRRR
This is what I believe to be the best lineup focused around Rally.
The Tristana deck is another new deck of this expansion and a favorite of mine, and as a go-wide swarm deck, it meshes really well with the other decks in this lineup. It also has Spellshield units like Hungry Owlcat which will give any control deck trouble.
As you may already know, Rally decks tend to bully control. Control players are forced to ‘tap out’ of mana by playing expensive removal, opening the door for you to re-establish board presence and Rally for back-to-back attacks.
Ban priority: you want to ban any burn deck first. While Scouts should do just fine into most aggro decks, you have to expect it will get banned and your other two decks are very weak to Decimate. Tristana may be able to hold up a little better than Pantheon but she can still struggle against a burn heavy draw.
Your secondary ban targets are the bigger Demacia decks, by this I literally mean any Demacia deck that has bigger units than yours.
You can choose to play any other Rally deck in any slot here!
Galaxy Brains Only
Special thanks to Henneky for letting me steal his lineup for this article!
Nami Twisted Fate is a deck from last meta that is currently severely underplayed. The deck saw no changes, remaining unnerfed in the patch -- it is still very strong, and Elusive units are no longer as prevalent as they were last season.
This means the deck will have a much easier time actually finding an opportunity to squeeze through damage setting them up for your burn.
Ban priority: this lineup wants to ban the Decimate decks.
You could also consider banning Darkness -- despite The Bandle Tree having a favorable matchup, I have it on good authority that both Nami Twisted Fate and Akshan Gnar can struggle in that matchup. This lineup does pretty well into SI Freljord stuff, so you’ll want to leave that up anyway.
I Really, REALLY Hate Scouts.
Scouts has one of the best match-up tables in the current meta, making the deck a great candidate for a lot of best-of-three lineups this weekend. As such, I wanted to recommend a lineup that specifically targets them, meant for those that really hate losing to Miss Fortune. This is still a triple Demacia lineup, but we trade some of the Rally support for more strikes and removal for opponent key units.
As mentioned, the idea is simple: See scouts, beat scouts.
All three of these decks have almost 70% win-rate against Scouts on the ladder, making them almost sure victories in a Bo3 setting.
If you do not see Scouts in your opponent’s lineup, the match becomes quite a bit harder as some of the match-up spreads for these decks don’t exactly fully line up. All three decks do well against Gnar Gangplank, Fizz Riven, or any Udyr Scargrounds variant you might see.
Aside from that, here are some of the good match up candidates for each deck:
- Pantheon Yuumi will do well against Darkness, any Galio deck, and Anivia.
- Gnar Galio will do well against Gnar Ziggs, Akshan Gnar, Spider Aggro, and Taliyah Ziggs.
- Lux Jayce does well against Swain Gnar, Sejauni Gnar, Fizz Lulu, and Braum Galio
The rest of the matchups not mentioned are mostly even, which is why this lineup can be good.
However, there are some big no-nos decks that I think are worth banning outright because of multiple unfavorable matchups. Usually, those are very fast and swarmy decks like Spider Aggro or Yordle In Arms variants, as they have great matchups against Pantheon decks.
Lastly, Pantheon Yuumi does well against our two non-Pantheon decks, meaning it is worth a ban if nothing better to ban.
If there is a deck here that you do not like playing, the one alternative that fits right in is Akshan Sivir Demacia. The deck also sports a great winrate against Scouts and shares a lot of the similar strengths and weaknesses as the rest of your decks.
Combo Style Decks Are My Thing
Two of these decks have something in common: they are trying to win the game through big combo pieces together with Overwhelm.
The third deck, Darkness… well, let's just pretend it is also a combo deck. 🙂
Lee Sin Zoe
The idea of putting these three decks together is that they all do well against the Yordles in Arms piles, whether it is Fizz Gnar or Lulu Fizz. If you see either of those two decks in your opponent’s lineup, you want to target them.
All three decks also sport great win rates against Spider Aggro and Gnar Ziggs, allowing you to abuse players who are bringing triple aggro lineups as they always include one of these two decks.
Two of our decks, Akshan Gnar and Lee Sin Zoe, also sport decent win rates against Galio decks, allowing you to still defend yourself against Formidable units.
Ban priority: Scouts is your main worry, always ban it first. All three of our decks are about a 40% win rate against Scouts, which while not unwinnable, do put us in a tough spot right off the bat.
The second priority should be The Bandle Tree decks, and some might even argue it should be our first priority. The only reason I have it second is because Akshan Gnar is slightly favored against it, but it is likely the opponent bans it. So, play it by ear by determining what your opponent’s best ban is, and if that is Akshan Gnar, then ban Bandle Tree over Scouts.
Lastly, Pantheon Yummi decks also present a bit of a challenge against us so just be mindful of them too.
If any of these decks don’t really speak to you, an alternative for this lineup is Anivia control. Anivia control allows you to still have great matchups against Yordle In Arms decks as well as against Spider aggro or Gnar Ziggs.
This lineup is inspired by Lazyguga, who finished 2nd place in the most recent Americas seasonal using a triple bandle tree lineup. We have a new patch and new champions since then, but I still feel this lineup is very lowkey and is still super strong.
Bandle Tree Noxus
Bandle Tree Freljord
Bandle Tree Bilgewater
The idea here is to mostly target slower decks, mainly Darkness and Lee Sin Zoe.
Both of those decks have almost no way to deal with Bandle Tree once it is on the field, allowing you to put them on a timer. The access to Minimorph means that both decks also get shut down when they try to go for their combo with Lee or Veigar. So in terms of what to leave open, try for the slower control or combo oriented decks. A lot of other matchups will be even just due to the sheer swarm power and low cost removal you are given from Bandle City.
Ban priority: it's simple: prioritize any deck with landmark removal.
If the opponent has no deck with hard landmark removal, other priorities for ban include Scouts and Yordle In Arms decks. Both of these decks can go toe to toe with your swarmy board, making it difficult to survive long enough to win through The Bandle Tree.
If you don’t like the Bandle Tree style of decks, then this lineup is not for you. The regions here, like Freljord and Bilgewater, were chosen due to their access to units like Marai Warden or Lonely Poro, which could potentially give you another region. It is hard to recommend another region as efficient as those two, not counting the typical Noxus Bandle Tree variant. We have also spread out our power over all three decks, not putting all our best pieces in the Noxus variant (Poppy, Gnar) so that the opponent has a much harder time deciding which version to ban.
Bonus Track -- Wednesday's $100 Daily Tournament Winner
As bonus track: This is the lineup with which ThePhlebotomisTV won yesterday's MaRu $100 Daily Tournament -- beating no other than last Seasonal's champ saltysimon in the semifinals -- which we'll show here without commentary.
Gnar Trundle Timelines
About the authors
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 (link) to tournaments, you can find Sirturmund lurking around all the social media sites absorbing anything he can about the game!
MonteXristo has been playing the game since closed beta and has consistently made it to masters every season he’s been active. His accomplishments include having peaked in the top 20, taking first place in the “Streamer Sideboard Showdown” and LPP Riot Grand Prix. When he’s not writing for Mastering Runeterra he keeps his card-slinging skills sharp by playing in the Runeterra Academy tournament, with his team The Wobbly Wombats!