Hi! Wamuu here!
With the Seasonal Tournament coming up this weekend I wanted to share a personal guide on how to come up with your own LoR Tournament Lineup for players that are going to participate for their first time. This guide can also help some experienced players if you’re having trouble coming up with a cohesive lineup or don’t know where to start.
As most of you guys know I write weekly lineups articles covering the top performing decks of our Weekly Wednesday Night Runeterra Tournament. From analyzing every week’s top performing lineups, I noticed some similarities between them and came up with some guidelines or tips that most of the successful lineups follow.
This will be a guide covering those tips and it will have some examples of step-by-step line-up crafting for most playstyles at the end of it. I will also be using the Mastering Runeterra MU Table for most of the guide so be sure to check it out as you read the article.
I’m making this guide thinking of the Riot format but it might be helpful for other formats as well.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR LINEUP
Most of the lineups I have seen performing the best at the Weekly Wednesday Night Tournament follow these three main rules:
They run decks the player is very comfortable with.
They target at least one deck
They don’t have terrible lineups against other lineups.
The first rule is a very basic concept but people tend to put this aside to play the top meta decks. I’ve made the mistake before of playing the top meta decks in my lineups even if they didn’t fit my preferred playstyle or if I wasn’t comfortable with it and ended up misplaying or getting frustrated because I wasn’t having fun. Playing the top decks might work for ladder sometimes but competitive play is a completely different world. In a best of three scenarios being on comfortable decks helps a lot because you’re going to have to play against many different decks with different playstyles. So, you need to know your deck inside and out to correctly pilot them in all these different situations to avoid misplays.
The second rule requires us to choose two decks that target one or multiple decks. The reason is that our opponent can only ban one of the two and we can just leave the deck we are targeting open and force a potentially bad matchup for our opponent. Another reason why we mostly use two decks for this is so that we don’t put all of our eggs in one basket. Chances are if you choose three decks that counter a specific deck those three decks will probably share weaknesses. So, if you get matched against someone targeting one of your decks he can probably counter your entire lineup. If you can however get a third deck that also targets the same deck as your first two decks but doesn’t leave you open to a lot of weaknesses then go for it. As a side note, you always want to target a deck that you think people will bring, there is no use making a lineup targeting a deck that no one will bring.
When choosing these two decks they should have different weaknesses if possible or only one common weakness. This way we can ban the weakness and be fine against most decks. You can also choose decks that get countered by decks you don’t think people will bring to tournaments. For example, if your deck is weak to Teemo Caitlyn chances are people probably won’t run it in their lineup because it is not as popular and has some very bad matchups against popular decks.
If you follow the first two rules you’re halfway through the third rule. Now since your two decks only share one or two weaknesses you need a third deck that either only shares one weakness or no weakness at all. Now, the easy way to find this deck and the one I recommend is choosing a good all-around deck that has 50/50 matchups across most of the table. Some decks that match this description in the current meta are Gangplank Sejuani, Rally Elusives, and Sivir Akshan. You can also try other decks as a third deck but be sure it doesn’t share too many of the same weaknesses as the other two.
Now, one last note before jumping into the examples. I recommend that you can make your lineup as unique as possible while also following these rules. The reason is that if you play less popular decks chances are people won’t target them. If you make a lineup that does not get targeted you’re on a great spot because you will probably have 50/50 lineup matchups in the worst-case scenario.
In this section, I will be covering three examples for the basic playstyles: aggro, midrange, control/combo. You might have some other type of playstyle but I feel these three cover most of what people like to play.
Let’s say we are a player that enjoys aggro decks and wants to get into a tournament. First, we have identified the playstyle we like which is aggro and now we need to find our decks. In the current matchup table, there are around four aggro decks which are: Pyke Rek’Sai, Poppy Ziggs (BC NX), Draven Sion (PZ), and Twisted Fate Gangplank (BC). Now, out of those four decks, we need to choose two which share the least weaknesses. Looking at the matchup table I have decided to choose Pyke Rek’Sai and Twisted Fate Gangplank because the four of these are the ones with fewer weaknesses.
We can see here in the table that outside of Gangplank Sejuani both decks don’t really share a terrible matchup and both decks target Glorious Shellfolk. We have now more or less executed the first two rules. We just need a third deck that doesn’t share weaknesses with these two and we should be good to go. As I’ve stated before, the easy way to do this is choosing a deck with the most 50/50 matchups across the table. The decks that currently fulfill this requirement are Rally Elusives, Gangplank Sejuani, and Sivir Akshan. Looking at the matchup table, the deck that shares the least weaknesses while also targeting Glorious Shellfolk would be Rally Elusives. We choose this as our third deck, our matchups should look something like this now:
We can observe from the table that outside of Gangplank Sejuani and Twisted Fate Gangplank (which can’t be run in the same lineup) our lineup does not get completely countered by a single deck in the matchup table. This lineup follows all three of the rules and makes this, what I consider, a good lineup.
There are a lot of midrange decks in the current meta so we have a lot of variety for midrange lineups. I’m going to choose Gangplank Sejuani and Sivir Akshan as an example because they don’t share many weaknesses and both target Glorious Shellfolk, Heimerdinger Jayce and Thresh Viego. The matchup table should look something like this:
We can see in the table that outside of Lissandra Taliyah we don’t really have terrible matchups against any one deck and we can just ban Lissandra Taliyah if need be. Since we are already using two of the three decks currently with the most even matchups across the table there is only one option left which is Rally Elusives. Let’s see if this deck fits our lineup:
We can now see in the table that Rally Elusives fits our lineup. Worst case scenario for our lineup are 50/50 chances against some decks like Tryndamere Trundle (SI) or Draven Sion if we manage to ban the bad matchup. This lineup in particular can be both good or bad in the current meta, it can be good because it is just a very strong lineup overall but it can also be bad because it uses two of the most popular decks on the ladder right now. This means a lot of people might try to target those decks giving you a hard time, it is a double-edged sword but worth running.
Even though control and combo are different types of playstyles, I've paired them together in this section because most combo decks nowadays have some control in them, for example, Lee Sin Zoe or Lissandra Taliyah.
Now, let’s start choosing our decks. I love to play Bandletree so I will choose this deck as my build around. I will pair it with Lissandra Taliyah as my second deck because they both target Senna Veigar (BC) and don’t share many weaknesses, landmark removal is not common. The matchup table should look something like this:
We can see here that outside of Rally Elusives our two decks don’t share a weakness. Now we just need to choose our third deck, in this case, an easy choice would be Gangplank Sejuani as it is the deck with the least weaknesses currently and it fits perfectly with our two decks:
Finally, we are only truly weak to Rally Elusives but we just need to ban it. The other decks will at best have a 50/50 matchup against our lineup which makes this a very strong lineup.
Crafting a lineup can be very complicated because you need to think of an enormous amount of possibilities when planning to play a long tournament such as a Seasonal. It can have many other considerations that I did not include in this guide. I am not an expert at lineup crafting but I think this is a good place to start for players that are newer to tournaments.
Also, statistics are not set in stone. These can vary from time to time and they don’t necessarily hold true to all versions of the same deck. For example, if I run a more aggressive version of Draven Sion it might be better into Rally Elusives and can even be favored.
Finally, thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoyed the guide as much as I enjoyed writing it!
About the author: Wamuu
Top 200 Master LoR player. I have a lot of passion for this game and love sharing my thoughts and game knowledge through deck guides and articles for competitive play.
If you would like coaching from me, you can dm me in Discord at: Wamuu#7531