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What a Wonderful Worlds – Championship Decks Performance, and Their Impact on Ladder

Leer breaks down the Worlds meta, and how Championship decks are affecting the LoR ladder meta.

In the past two days, we got to experience the pinnacle of competitive play in Legends of Runeterra. With the unique system, in which competitors had access to the new expansion one week before release, the World Championship is the very first insight we’re getting into the LoR tournament meta. 

But what are the core strategies players came up with, and how do they compare with the LoR ladder meta?

Let's break things down by noting that, in the Worlds cosmos, there are three main strategies that competitors went for.


Bring Champions' Strength

The first Worlds strategy is to bring Champions' StrengthChampions archetypes.

Champions' StrengthChampions is the undisputed strongest new card of the World Ender expansion. You can kill your opponent as early as round five, with two mere Daring PoroDaring Poros on board. 

Because of this early OTK combo, and the lackluster ability of past meta decks like Katarina Gwen or Teemo Zoe to deal with it, many people decided to bring decks revolving around Champions' StrengthChampions.

Regions
Demacia
9 cards
Bandlecity
31 cards
Rarities
30 400
champion
6
epic
6
rare
12
common
16
Mana cost
0
0
7
1
17
2
5
3
3
4
5
5
0
6
3
7+
Champions
6
1
Fizz
1
Fizz
2
Norra
3
Norra
5
Heimerdinger
2
Heimerdinger
Followers
19
1
Otterpus
3
Otterpus
2
Bandle Commando
3
Bandle Commando
2
Grandfather Fae
3
Grandfather Fae
2
Junk Construct
3
Junk Construct
3
Bandle City Mayor
3
Bandle City Mayor
3
Vanguard Sergeant
2
Vanguard Sergeant
4
Aloof Travelers
2
Aloof Travelers
Spells
15
1
Bandle Tellstones
1
Bandle Tellstones
1
Ranger's Resolve
2
Ranger's Resolve
2
Pokey Stick
3
Pokey Stick
2
Sharpsight
2
Sharpsight
4
Puzzling Signposts
1
Puzzling Signposts
5
Portalpalooza
3
Portalpalooza
8
Champions' Strength
3
Champions' Strength
Open deck in builder

On the upside, you can get hands that play themselves and beat any possible order of draws from your opponent… 

… on the downside, though, decks that go all-in on winning through Champions' StrengthChampions can feel underwhelming when missing to draw their signature card. Such was the case for fan-favorite Worlds player WhatAmI, who brought a triple Champions' StrengthChampions lineup, but didn’t find a single copy of the card in most of his games.

This stands in stark contrast to the ladder meta. Here, only one Champions' StrengthChampions brew, Teddy’s Mono Jinx DEDemacia, made it into the top 10 most played decks – although notice that, by performance, it's an early candidate to becoming one of the best LoR decks.

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
32 cards
Demacia
8 cards
Rarities
21 100
champion
3
epic
6
rare
9
common
22
Mana cost
3
0
17
1
13
2
1
3
3
4
0
5
0
6
3
7+
Champions
3
4
Jinx
3
Jinx
Followers
19
1
Acorn, the Hextechnician
3
Acorn, the Hextechnician
1
Forge Chief
3
Forge Chief
1
Zaunite Urchin
3
Zaunite Urchin
2
Boom Baboon
3
Boom Baboon
2
Eager Apprentice
1
Eager Apprentice
2
Flame Chompers!
3
Flame Chompers!
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
Petricite Broadwing
Spells
18
0
Poro Cannon
3
Poro Cannon
1
Jury-Rig
3
Jury-Rig
1
Ranger's Resolve
2
Ranger's Resolve
1
Stress Testing
3
Stress Testing
2
Rummage
3
Rummage
3
Get Excited!
1
Get Excited!
8
Champions' Strength
3
Champions' Strength
Open deck in builder

Also notice that, in the LoR ladder, several other combinations of either Piltover Demacia (like Caitlyn Jayce Lucian Teemo) or Bandle City Demacia (like Norra Teemo) that run Champions' StrengthChampions are performing really well, also looking like among the strongest decks in the ladder format, even if not too popular. 


Counter Champions' Strength

The second strategy is to counter Champions' StrengthChampions decks. Since Champions' StrengthChampions is such an obvious powerhouse, and it is easy to find multiple BCBandle City swarm decks capable of running it, it was likewise easy to imagine that players would bring a triple Champions' StrengthChampions lineup. Or at least, one or two decks running it and thus becoming targetable.

An example of an anti-Champions' StrengthChampions lineup is the one brought by Da Tank Buster. This competitor, who built and tested his lineup with players like Drisoth and FloppyMudkip, combined the ping spells of Plunder, stuns of Leona Zoe, and denies like Rite of NegationRite of Negation with Akshan Aatrox, into a lineup that is favored against most Champions' StrengthChampions decks.

Unfortunately, Tank Buster got hit with a Champions' StrengthChampions combo in round five in his set against Teddy, showing that even his counter decks don’t guarantee a win against this card.

My favorite deck in his lineup is Zoe Leona. It got banned in most of Tank Buster’s games because it beats Champions' StrengthChampions blends, all the while running the card itself.

Regions
Demacia
10 cards
Mount Targon
30 cards
Rarities
29 800
champion
6
epic
6
rare
9
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
18
2
3
3
0
4
9
5
1
6
3
7+
Champions
6
1
Zoe
3
Zoe
5
Leona
3
Leona
Followers
20
1
Solari Soldier
3
Solari Soldier
2
Laurent Duelist
2
Laurent Duelist
2
Solari Shieldbearer
3
Solari Shieldbearer
2
Solari Sunhawk
3
Solari Sunhawk
2
Twilit Protector
3
Twilit Protector
3
Sun Guardian
3
Sun Guardian
5
Rahvun, Daylight's Spear
3
Rahvun, Daylight's Spear
Spells
14
2
Pale Cascade
3
Pale Cascade
2
Sharpsight
1
Sharpsight
2
Single Combat
3
Single Combat
5
Concerted Strike
1
Concerted Strike
5
Sunburst
2
Sunburst
6
Celestial Trifecta
1
Celestial Trifecta
8
Champions' Strength
3
Champions' Strength
Open deck in builder

A similar list could be seen in ABG Aurora’s lineup. The APAC player, who placed second and first in two consecutive Seasonals, brought the deck that helped him qualify for Worlds in the first place – Leona Aurelion Sol DEDemacia.

Regions
Demacia
7 cards
Mount Targon
33 cards
Rarities
25 500
champion
5
epic
4
rare
13
common
18
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
11
2
6
3
5
4
10
5
0
6
5
7+
Champions
5
5
Leona
3
Leona
10
Aurelion Sol
2
Aurelion Sol
Followers
21
1
Solari Soldier
3
Solari Soldier
2
Solari Shieldbearer
1
Solari Shieldbearer
2
Solari Sunhawk
3
Solari Sunhawk
3
Solari Priestess
3
Solari Priestess
3
Sun Guardian
3
Sun Guardian
4
Solari Sunforger
3
Solari Sunforger
5
Rahvun, Daylight's Spear
3
Rahvun, Daylight's Spear
7
Eclipse Dragon
2
Eclipse Dragon
Spells
14
2
Guiding Touch
1
Guiding Touch
2
Pale Cascade
3
Pale Cascade
2
Single Combat
3
Single Combat
4
Riposte
2
Riposte
5
Concerted Strike
1
Concerted Strike
5
Sunburst
3
Sunburst
8
Champions' Strength
1
Champions' Strength
Open deck in builder

This brew has Leona's stun tools for dealing with Champions' StrengthChampions, while also being able to out-value most control decks due to playing Aurelion SolAurelion Sol as early as round eight with the help of Eclipse DragonEclipse Dragon.

Currently, none of these decks are running around the LoR ladder in noticeable numbers – thus far, even if Teddy's Jinx Demacia looks like one of the best LoR decks, and although several other combinations of either Piltover Demacia (like Caitlyn Jayce Lucian Teemo) or Bandle City Demacia (like Norra Teemo) that run Champions' StrengthChampions are performing really well on the Runeterra ladder, the overall presence of these decks are nowhere near the popularity they have at Worlds, and therefore archetypes that target Champions' StrengthChampions remain thus far a Worlds phenomenon.


Ignore Champions' Strength

The third, and overall most popular strategy, was to ignore Champions' StrengthChampions.

With stakes being as high as a Worlds title, and Champions' StrengthChampions being a prominent powerhouse, it is not hard to anticipate that people will target it. 

On the other hand, you might not want to target Champions' StrengthChampions decks either, because you expect players to be scared of bringing it and getting targeted. 

Thus, to be on the safe side, ignoring Champions' StrengthChampions completely is a valid strategy. And as it turns out, this strategy was also the most successful in the group phase of Worlds.

Players like BaJAtak, FNP Chenia, and AragOrnn, who advanced to the second stage, decided to bring tried-and-true tournament decks like Gwen Katarina – decks that either existed before the expansion, or added AatroxAatrox (the only new champion brought to Worlds) to their lists.

Regions
Shadow Isles
25 cards
Noxus
15 cards
Rarities
28 800
champion
6
epic
4
rare
15
common
15
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
11
2
5
3
5
4
3
5
2
6
2
7+
Champions
6
3
Katarina
3
Katarina
4
Gwen
3
Gwen
Followers
21
1
Boisterous Host
3
Boisterous Host
1
Legion Rearguard
3
Legion Rearguard
2
Phantom Butler
3
Phantom Butler
2
Redeemed Prodigy
3
Redeemed Prodigy
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
13
1
Mark of the Isles
2
Mark of the Isles
1
Quietus
2
Quietus
1
Ravenous Flock
2
Ravenous Flock
2
Glimpse Beyond
3
Glimpse Beyond
2
Vile Feast
2
Vile Feast
10
The Harrowing
2
The Harrowing
Open deck in builder

There were also players like Bowisse, who expected to see more of Katarina Gwen as he stated in a post-game interview. Despite this slight “misread” of the meta, players that didn’t pay too much mind to Champions' StrengthChampions got rewarded in the end through their deck mastery and consistent plays.


The Aatrox Factor

AatroxAatrox blends are quite common at Worlds, and have stormed the LoR ladder, in no shortage of different archetypes – we have Aatrox Kayn, Aatrox Vayne, and Aatrox Quinn Vayne in the top ten most-played ladder decks.

Regions
Runeterra
40 cards
Rarities
36 700
champion
6
epic
13
rare
5
common
16
Mana cost
0
0
12
1
10
2
3
3
7
4
5
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
5
Kayn
3
Kayn
6
Aatrox
3
Aatrox
Equipments
11
2
The Darkin Aegis
3
The Darkin Aegis
2
The Darkin Harp
3
The Darkin Harp
1
The Darkin Bloodletters
3
The Darkin Bloodletters
2
The Darkin Spear
2
The Darkin Spear
Followers
14
1
Buhru Cultist
3
Buhru Cultist
1
Forsaken Baccai
3
Forsaken Baccai
2
Keeper of the Box
2
Keeper of the Box
3
Blooming Cultist
3
Blooming Cultist
4
Ambitious Cultist
3
Ambitious Cultist
Spells
9
1
Momentous Choice
3
Momentous Choice
4
Furious Wielder
2
Furious Wielder
4
The Unforgiving Cold
2
The Unforgiving Cold
5
Heedless Resurrection
2
Heedless Resurrection
Open deck in builder

These Aatrox decks are straight-up strong modifications of two existing powerhouses, namely Kayn Vayne and Vayne Quinn – and, by current data from our meta tier list, they are working wonderfully well on the LoR ladder!


Worlds Rogue Decks

While there were quite a few new brews that performed well, we also got to see some unique decks that were only represented once.

Regions
Shurima
34 cards
Ionia
6 cards
Rarities
31 100
champion
6
epic
5
rare
21
common
8
Mana cost
0
0
3
1
10
2
15
3
4
4
8
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Ziggs
3
Ziggs
5
Taliyah
3
Taliyah
Landmarks
9
1
Ancient Preparations
3
Ancient Preparations
2
Preservarium
3
Preservarium
2
The Black Flame
3
The Black Flame
Followers
13
2
Rock Hopper
3
Rock Hopper
3
Endless Devout
3
Endless Devout
3
Rockbear Shepherd
3
Rockbear Shepherd
4
Desert Naturalist
2
Desert Naturalist
5
Herald of the Magus
2
Herald of the Magus
Spells
12
2
The Absolver
1
The Absolver
3
Quicksand
1
Quicksand
3
Rite of the Arcane
3
Rite of the Arcane
3
Unraveled Earth
2
Unraveled Earth
4
Rite of Negation
2
Rite of Negation
5
Unworthy Soul
3
Unworthy Soul
Open deck in builder

AragOrnn’s Taliyah Ziggs IOIonia has to be one of my favorite decks of the tournament. AragOrnn was the only player to identify the strength of The Black FlameThe Black Flame, and bold enough to trust his intuition. 

While it remains a riddle why you would run Rite of NegationRite of Negation if you have access to DenyDeny, Taliyah Ziggs worked out perfectly for AragOrnn and went 3-0 in his games. With his proficient piloting, AragOrnn surprised many watchers, like me, who expected him to dip in groups due to his unusual tech choice.


KickerA posted the following Tweet, two hours before he had to submit his lineup:

Despite his lateness in preparing decks for Worlds, he brought a forgotten deck not many expected to see, going 2-1 with Mono Shurima. KickerA piloted this old archetype with surprising proficiency despite his lack of preparation, proving that he is a truly great player that deserved to be on the World's stage

Regions
Shurima
40 cards
Rarities
28 500
champion
6
epic
3
rare
19
common
12
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
8
2
18
3
8
4
0
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Azir
3
Azir
4
Xerath
3
Xerath
Landmarks
7
1
Ancient Preparations
3
Ancient Preparations
1
Buried Sun Disc
1
Buried Sun Disc
2
Preservarium
3
Preservarium
Followers
14
2
Rock Hopper
3
Rock Hopper
2
Soothsayer
2
Soothsayer
3
Endless Devout
3
Endless Devout
3
Rockbear Shepherd
3
Rockbear Shepherd
4
Desert Naturalist
3
Desert Naturalist
Spells
13
1
Rite of Calling
2
Rite of Calling
3
Ancient Hourglass
2
Ancient Hourglass
3
Quicksand
2
Quicksand
3
Rite of the Arcane
2
Rite of the Arcane
3
Unraveled Earth
3
Unraveled Earth
4
Rite of Negation
2
Rite of Negation
Open deck in builder

Besides AragOrnn, KickerA was the only other player that brought Taliyah Ziggs, although he chose the more standard BCBandle City blend. Not many managed to realize the power of Rockbear ShepherdRockbear Shepherd and its high-tempo potential.


We’ve already let you in on the Rockbear ShepherdRockbear Shepherd secret and showcased it in two different decks. But trust me, the third one I’m showing you is the most exciting one yet!

Regions
Shurima
28 cards
Mount Targon
12 cards
Rarities
28 400
champion
6
epic
4
rare
13
common
17
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
9
2
11
3
4
4
5
5
2
6
3
7+
Champions
6
5
Taliyah
3
Taliyah
7
Malphite
3
Malphite
Landmarks
7
1
Ancient Preparations
3
Ancient Preparations
2
Preservarium
2
Preservarium
4
Salt Spire
2
Salt Spire
Followers
15
1
Chip
3
Chip
2
Blue Sentinel
2
Blue Sentinel
2
Rock Hopper
3
Rock Hopper
3
Endless Devout
3
Endless Devout
3
Rockbear Shepherd
2
Rockbear Shepherd
6
Stonebreaker
2
Stonebreaker
Spells
12
2
The Absolver
2
The Absolver
3
Quicksand
2
Quicksand
3
Rite of the Arcane
2
Rite of the Arcane
3
Unraveled Earth
2
Unraveled Earth
4
Rite of Negation
2
Rite of Negation
5
Sunburst
2
Sunburst
Open deck in builder

Taliyah Malphite is GrandpaRoji's signature deck. He brought it to every grassroots tournament possible, won a couple of them, and decided to showcase it on the biggest stage possible.

There might be no duo more iconic than GrandpaRoji and Taliyah Malphite. And, with Rockbear ShepherdRockbear Shepherd, the deck got just the power play it needed to be competitive on the Worlds playing grounds – it's not too popular on the LoR ladder, but it's thus far showing very solid results!

Despite this fact, Taliyah Malphite only reaped mediocre results for Roji. In the end, he barely missed making playoffs, losing in a winning position against a Blooming CultistBlooming Cultist dealing 15 damage in two rounds.


Wrapping Up

We got to enjoy nail-biter after nail-biter in the past two days, watching the world's best players live their dream. I hope this article helped you get a better understanding of the World Championship meta, and connect it to how things are looking on the LoR ladder right now.

I’m looking forward to today’s final Worlds games and expect every set to be a banger. Where will you be? =)


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