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Monday Meta Report – September 18th

Are you looking for the best Legends of Runeterra decks? Leer takes a deep dive into the data to show you what lor meta decks you should play and prepare to face!

'sup everyone, Leer here. We're back to Standard and oh boy did we get an expansion. Every new champ is seeing play and even their support packages get jacked into decks.

This new meta couldn't be more exciting, so without further ado, let's jump right in! =)

Legends of Runeterra Decks

Sorting MaRu’s LoR Meta Tier List and meta stats by playrate (PR), we see the following:

VolibearVolibear is the most popular champ in the game. With four of his archetypes seeing lots of play, and Volibear Galio at the top of the chart, there is little doubt that the release of the tundra god is a success!

JannaJanna is a close second though. She gave birth to three popular brews, namely Samira Janna, Volibear Jannah, and Janna Nilah.

The last new champion is the least successful and seems to need more power. Pilots tried Nilah Samira during the first days of the patch, but this archetype has already vanished from sight.

What’s better than a deck with a new champion? A deck with two new champions!

Jannah Volibear is the third-most-popular brew of the meta, although finding mediocre success.

Just like the prior blend, Volibear Asol is seeing a lot of play but struggles to keep up with the current power level of other decks.

Nilah Janna is another archetype that falls under the category of “Plays new champs but isn’t working out”.

Pyke Rek’Sai (Urgh) is a tale as old as time and we will probably never see this archetype vanish unless it gets nerfed.

Heimerdinger Jayce (Shadow Tech) is another old buddy who dominated the last Standard season.

Volibear Illaoi is a champion combination that works surprisingly well. Sky SplitterSky Splitter is a great tool to keep IllaoiIllaoi alive and Sigil of the StormSigil of the Storm can both facilitate the great Kraken and the great bear.

Janna Bard is your average ladder abomination that people should, but don’t want to let go of.

Teemo IOIonia on the other hand is an Elusive blend that took the Standard meta into its grasp while players were distracted by the Eternal format.

Turning to winrates (WR), we get this result:

Here, Teemo Elusives continues its victory march of the last season. There was little standing in its way before, and the new champions don’t seem to be up for that challenge either.

Similar things can be said about Urgh, an RNG deck I hate with every fiber of my body. =)

Volibear Galio is an update to Fiora Galio. VolibearVolibear presents the deck with a more absolute end game as Volibear (level 2)Volibear (level 2) gives the entire board Overwhelm. Sky SplitterSky Splitter is a nifty addition to the Formidable deck, while Sigil of the StormSigil of the Storm can also ramp GalioGalio and AnaakcaAnaakca.

Many are of the opinion that the Heart of the Huntress expansion was a failure with no relevant champions, but Nidalee Gnar disagrees! It continues to put up a fight and is the fourth-most-winning archetype in the game.

At first, Samira Janna might sound like a new iteration of Samira Seraphine, aka the Plaza GuardianPlaza Guardian deck. Surprisingly though, it is a completely novel archetype playing most of JannaJanna’s new support cards. If you want to learn more about the deck, you will have to wait for my guide on the deck though, which will arrive tomorrow! =) Edit: Here it is!

Shadow Tech is still at its place, dodging nerfs left and right. Even better, the stonks of Soul HarvestSoul Harvest are skyrocketing as an efficient removal to JannaJanna and Balen the BenevolentBalen the Benevolent, making the deck stronger than ever!

Samira Annie is a brew that… really shouldn’t exist. It throws together a bunch of cheap units and draw cards, to pressure early and burn later with WildfireWildfire. Personally, I’d have never thought a NXNoxus IOIonia Aggro deck could exist. LoR always has a surprise for you in store, huh?! =)

Check out Sorry’s brand new Annie Samira deck guide if you want to get a jump start! 

As previously mentioned, Illaoi Volibear is a champion combination that works out surprisingly well.

Maokai Nautilus (Deep) is an evergreen archetype that also benefits from the stellar meta position of Soul HarvestSoul Harvest. And no, you shouldn’t play Watery GraveWatery Grave in it!

Finally, Caitlyn Teemo BCBandle City remains a somewhat relevant meta brew. It found a new toy in Bursting BackpackBursting Backpack, although stats are undecided if the card is good or not.

Factors Shaping the LoR Meta

When looking at the big picture of the winrate graph, we see only a handful of decks with a convincing winrate. There’s an especially sharp drop from Illaoi Volibear’s winrate (54.9%) to the next deck, Deep (51.6%).

This doesn’t mean that there are only eight strong decks in the meta. No, there are dozens of them. But they are all seeing only a low playrate below one percent, meaning they don’t show up in this report. 

So, while it might seem that the meta is fairly restricting, it is just an illusion! In the coming weeks, many more archetypes will pop up, as high-winrate decks start to pass the one percent playrate hurdle. 


Volibear Galio is the most successful blend of our brutal bear. It connects to the success of Fiora Galio and even improves the archetype.

When it comes to matchups, Galio Volibear is especially well-versed at farming bad brews. Janna Volibear, Janna Nilah, and Asol Volibear are all popular decks that are struggling to stay in the meta, and Galio Volibear might be the reason for that.

Galio Volibear also beats the powerful Janna Samira. Flooding them with high-health units, Mageseeker JuniorMageseeker Junior making their spell-heavy life difficult, and Petricite ChargerPetricite Charger being immune to their removal all factor into this matchup being favorable.

On the other hand, Galio Volibear has a handful of nasty matchups. Urgh can drop a one-mana 10|1 Fearsome in the late game, and we can only stare in awe as it demolishes our Nexus.

Shadow Tech runs cheap removal like QuietusQuietus and Soul HarvestSoul Harvest for our dear units. Since these spells don’t damage a unit but kill them, they even work on Petricite ChargerPetricite Charger. And Shadow Tech’s spells are already expensive, rendering Mageseeker JuniorMageseeker Junior useless.

Annie Samira is a fast Aggro deck that chimes in damage early and has enough chump blockers to delay the game and burn us with WildfireWildfire, especially since Volibear (level 2)Volibear (level 2) can only awaken as early as round 9 (play him on 8, he levels at the end of round 8).

Finally, Teemo Elusives is an almost unwinnable matchup. In Standard, SharpsightSharpsight doesn’t exist, so Blocking BadgerbearBlocking Badgerbear is our only tool to stop Elusive damage. As Teemo IOIonia relies on a wide board though, Blocking BadgerbearBlocking Badgerbear can only mitigate little Nexus damage, and they burn us down before we can go for a game-ending swing. If you want to win this matchup, you will need to counter-pressure as much as possible before they find lethal burn.

Overall, Volibear Galio is in a difficult spot. Its best matchups have horrendous winrates and will soon vanish. This leaves the archetype with a handful of bad matchups, which are all decks that sit at a commanding spot in the meta.

Unless you want to play a lineup that targets Samira Janna, I’d recommend abandoning this deck for now.


Speaking of the devil – Samira Janna is the best JannaJanna deck. It’s actually the only JannaJanna blend in the 10 best LoR decks. Considering that it can maintain its high winrate while being extremely popular is a testament to its strength.

When it comes to matchups, Janna Samira easily sweeps the inadequate Janna Volibear and Asol Volibear. It surprisingly beats Shadow Tech despite Janna’s weakness against Soul HarvestSoul Harvest. This is mostly due to Howling GaleHowling Gale efficiently removing both HeimerdingerHeimerdinger and JayceJayce, and Janna Samira’s relentless draws to outvalue their foes.

Urgh is also a manageable matchup due to SamiraSamira and our dozen early-game units, as well as removal. Explorer's Blunder is also an excellent tool to stop Overwhelm damage from happening in the late game.

Moving to the other side of the coin, we already know why Galio Volibear beats Samira Janna. Quite surprisingly, we mostly lose to niche decks that struggle to stay in the meta, namely Janna Nilah and Caitlyn Teemo.

Most of our units have low health, so they are susceptible to Flashbombs. Also, around a third of our deck is card draw, so we are helping Teemo Caitlyn kill us with Puffcaps a lot.

Illaoi Volibear is another stats-check matchups, similar to Galio Volibear. Howling GaleHowling Gale doesn’t remove IllaoiIllaoi, and Sky SplitterSky Splitter is an annoying answer to our small removal spells. Needless to say, we can’t deal with VolibearVolibear once he hits the board. 

Against other Volibear archetypes, we can out-tempo them before the game-ending omnivore hits the board. But Illaoi Volibear has enough early pressure to keep us in check (and even beat us without VolibearVolibear).

Overall, Samira Janna is in a very good spot. A lot of its bad matchups are on the downtrend, while a fair amount of its good matchups will stay prevalent in the meta.


Teemo Elusives is an old archetype that silently took over the meta while everyone’s eyes were diverted to Eternal. Returning to Standard, many are shocked to see Urgh and Teemo IOIonia overtaking the meta.

Teemo IOIonia is an Elusive Aggro deck that packs as many Elusives as possible. After the nerf to Purifying FlamesPurifying Flames, the Elusive archetype took a turn to IOIonia for extra Elusive units and Kinkou's Call as a board-wide buffing spell.

When we glance over the matchups, we can make out a pattern. Teemo Elusives beats board-based decks convincingly, while it struggles against removal-focused archetypes.

This makes a lot of sense, as board-based brews like Galio Volibear have few answers to Elusive units and can’t end the game before they get burned.

On the other hand, Teemo’s Elusives are fragile and prone to removal. A Mystic ShotMystic Shot on round two prevents 6+ damage from an Elusive unit like Greenglade DuoGreenglade Duo in the long run.

Teemo Elusives also struggles against Aggro like Annie Samira, as it does the same as Teemo but more efficiently. Annie Samira doesn’t have to pay for Elusive on their units and thus creates a stronger board more quickly.

It’s difficult to predict where the wind will blow for this deck. Some of its best matchups, like Asol Voli and Janna Voli, will vanish soon, while its bad matchups, like Janna Samira and Annie Samira, will likely stay. 

Nonetheless, Teemo IOIonia was dominant before it got to farm the VolibearVolibear blends, which is an indication that it will stay meta-relevant anyway. It’s hard to predict this archetype’s fate, you should observe it closely in the coming weeks!

Honorable Mentions

I wanted to feature a NilahNilah deck but… there weren’t any. The best one has a 48% winrate which just doesn’t cut it. 

Javan IV Gnar

Regions
Demacia
20 cards
Freljord
20 cards
Rarities
29 700
champion
6
epic
5
rare
14
common
15
eternal
standard
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
9
2
7
3
5
4
6
5
3
6
4
7+
Champions
6
4
Gnar
3
Gnar
6
Jarvan IV
3
Jarvan IV
Equipments
1
2
The Darkin Spear
1
The Darkin Spear
Followers
24
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
2
Fleetfeather Tracker
1
Lonely Poro
2
Lonely Poro
1
Omen Hawk
2
Omen Hawk
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
Petricite Broadwing
3
Blocking Badgerbear
2
Blocking Badgerbear
3
Faithful Wolfdog
2
Faithful Wolfdog
3
Innovative Blacksmith
3
Innovative Blacksmith
4
Ranger-Knight Defector
2
Ranger-Knight Defector
5
Glacial Saurian
3
Glacial Saurian
9
Warden of the Tribes
3
Warden of the Tribes
Spells
9
2
Form Up!
2
Form Up!
2
Single Combat
3
Single Combat
5
Harsh Winds
3
Harsh Winds
9
Champions' Strength
1
Champions' Strength

Elise Gnar was a meta demon in Eternal. Taking a few pages out of its book, Gnar Jarvan IV tries to repeats its success. 

Gnar Jarvan IV plays very similar to old Champions' StrengthChampions decks – play well-statted units and keep a wide board until CS. Just that after the CS nerf, we play Warden of the TribesWarden of the Tribes now. 

We’re doing busted DEDemacia things, sprinkled with a few freezes and Warden payoff.

Gnar Jarvan IV sports a 61% winrate over 6k games in the past three days. If you’re still longing for a good NeekoNeeko deck, you might try this successful version of the deck:

Regions
Freljord
18 cards
Runeterra
22 cards
Rarities
33 300
champion
6
epic
9
rare
10
common
15
eternal
standard
Mana cost
0
0
7
1
13
2
4
3
4
4
5
5
2
6
5
7+
Champions
6
2
Neeko
3
Neeko
4
Gnar
3
Gnar
Followers
24
1
Omen Hawk
2
Omen Hawk
1
Precious Pet
2
Precious Pet
2
Deck Hunter
3
Deck Hunter
2
Frostcoat Cub
2
Frostcoat Cub
2
Junk Construct
2
Junk Construct
3
Anura & Froop
2
Anura & Froop
3
Innovative Blacksmith
2
Innovative Blacksmith
4
Grave Companion
1
Grave Companion
5
Glacial Saurian
3
Glacial Saurian
6
Crested Lionhawk
2
Crested Lionhawk
9
Warden of the Tribes
3
Warden of the Tribes
Spells
10
1
Three Sisters
3
Three Sisters
2
Sky Splitter
3
Sky Splitter
5
Wild Mysticism
2
Wild Mysticism
9
Buried in Ice
2
Buried in Ice

Gwen Vayne

Regions
Shadow Isles
27 cards
Demacia
13 cards
Rarities
30 100
champion
6
epic
5
rare
16
common
13
eternal
standard
Mana cost
0
0
6
1
12
2
10
3
6
4
0
5
3
6
3
7+
Champions
6
3
Vayne
3
Vayne
4
Gwen
3
Gwen
Landmarks
2
3
Opulent Foyer
2
Opulent Foyer
Followers
15
1
Boisterous Host
3
Boisterous Host
2
Phantom Butler
3
Phantom Butler
4
Combat Cook
3
Combat Cook
6
Eternal Dancers
3
Eternal Dancers
7
The Rekindler
3
The Rekindler
Spells
17
1
Quietus
3
Quietus
2
Form Up!
3
Form Up!
2
Glimpse Beyond
1
Glimpse Beyond
2
Hate Spike
2
Hate Spike
2
Single Combat
1
Single Combat
2
Soul Harvest
2
Soul Harvest
3
Cataclysm
3
Cataclysm
3
Mist's Call
2
Mist's Call

It has been a long time since GwenGwen saw play, especially after the nerf to Opulent FoyerOpulent Foyer. VayneVayne is also lacking a home, after Aatrox Vayne’s most important removal, Fish FightFish Fight, got gutted.

Thus, both meta-rejects have formed an alliance to make an impressive comeback. 

The synergy is pretty simple – Gwen package makes units big, TumbleTumble makes them even bigger, double dipping into Hallowed stacks.

On ladder, Gwen Vayne achieves a 56% winrate over 3.8k games. If this wanky list above is the best-performing one, you can only imagine how good the deck will be in its final form! =)

Jayce Heimerdinger Targon (Moonlight Tech?)

Regions
Piltover & Zaun
34 cards
Mount Targon
6 cards
Rarities
26 700
champion
6
epic
3
rare
10
common
21
eternal
standard
Mana cost
2
0
10
1
6
2
5
3
3
4
5
5
9
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Jayce
3
Jayce
5
Heimerdinger
3
Heimerdinger
Followers
9
1
Adaptatron 3000
3
Adaptatron 3000
1
Forge Chief
3
Forge Chief
3
Hextech Handler
3
Hextech Handler
Spells
25
0
Production Surge
2
Production Surge
1
Epic Scraptraption
3
Epic Scraptraption
1
Targonian Tellstones
1
Targonian Tellstones
2
Cosmic Call
3
Cosmic Call
2
Mystic Shot
3
Mystic Shot
3
Aftershock
2
Aftershock
5
Starshaping
2
Starshaping
6
Assembly Line
2
Assembly Line
6
Formula
3
Formula
6
Hexbliterator
2
Hexbliterator
6
Shock Blast
2
Shock Blast

Jayce Heimer SIShadow Isles is one of the staples of the meta. In Eternal, Cosmic CallCosmic Call was a meta-defining card that gave rise to many archetypes. So… why not combine both?!

Jayce Heimer MTTargon does the same busted combos in the early game (Epic ScraptraptionEpic Scraptraption on round three, followed by Hextech HandlerHextech Handler, etc.). But this time, our payoff is Cosmic CallCosmic Call! The dream is to double-cast it with Jayce (level 2)Jayce (level 2), quartering the cost of all Celestial cards. It also makes our odds of hitting Living LegendsLiving Legends extremely high, which gives us a great refund.

Heimer Jayce MTTargon seems like a wet dream of a Celestial fetishist that seems too good to be true. Data implies this dream might become a reality, though: On ladder, the deck holds a 56% winrate over 1.2k games.

If you miss Cosmic CallCosmic Call and want to find out how far you can take this card, try Heimer Jayce MTTargon!

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this week's meta-report and making it this far. If you’re still here and read this, leave a “Hi” in the Reddit thread comments, and I will “Hi” you back! =)

The data has been due to MaRu’s Meta Tier List while the matchup tables have been from Legna’s brilliant homepage. They are doing an insane job at collecting all this data and presenting it to us in an approachable manner. They deserve all the praise in the world!

The talented Hazy has been converting the metadata into these stunning graphs for the Monday Legends of Runeterra Meta Report, I can't express my gratitude enough to him!

Thanks to Herko Kerghans for his ever-lasting influence on this series and my writing as a whole.

You can reach me on Twitter (@Leer97) or Discord (Leer#2026).

Thanks for reading this Monday's LoR Meta Report and see ya next time!