Monday Meta Report
‘sup everyone, welcome back to the Monday Meta Report! We got a brand new meta on our hands with exciting balance changes and a novel competitive system.
Legends of Runeterra Decks
Sorting MaRu’s LoR Meta Tier List and meta stats by playrate (PR), we see the following:
Jax Ornn is including the most buffed cards in a deck, how could you not test it on ladder?
Illaoi Twisted Fate Ionia (Pink Illaoi) is another archetype receiving massive buffs. While a niche meta pick that was once upon a time overshadowed by Illaoi Demacia and Illaoi Bard, Pink Illaoi is now the predominant Illaoi brew.
Katarina Gwen (Red Gwen) was the most played and winning deck last season. Today, it is still a driving force of the meta despite the nerfs to Katarina and Quietus.
Ryze Ionia (Pink Ryze) is the most popular Ryze blend. Since Shard of Reverence got buffed, players are giving Ryze another shot in this experimental stage of the ladder.
Anivia Shadow Isles got a shiny new tool with Soul Cleave. Unfortunately, the winrate numbers indicate that it is not enough to heave Anivia Shadow Isles out of its misery.
Miss Fortune Twisted Fate (Pirates) is the aggro deck showing up in the first stage of any new meta and this season is no exception.
Viego Norra is an unintuitive pairing that also stems from the addition of Soul Cleave, as well as the buff to Hate Spike. As 2022 Worlds runner-up Yamato explained in a Tweet, Camavoran Soldier + Soul Cleave is enough on its own to flip Viego if he is on the board.
Sejuani Gangplank (Plunder) didn’t get touched at all and remains an all-rounder with few weaknesses.
Swain Norra didn’t get touched either and is still a solid control brew.
Pyke Rek’Sai (Urgh) exists, unfortunately.
Turning to winrates (WR), we get this result:
Gnar Tristana Noxus (submit nicknames!) is a novel aggro deck that was discovered thanks to the (minor) Tristana buff. Apart from Tristana getting Impact, you can find no changed cards in the archetype. This makes it all the more impressive that this deck is only surfacing now with such an overwhelming winrate.
Pirates farms experimental decks at the beginning of a season as per usual. The same can be said about Annie Jhin (Jhinnie).
Heimerdinger Jayce (Shadow Tech) sees a resurgence, despite its lack of buffed cards.
Norra Swain was on the rise at the end of last season, and with no nerfs to its name continues to stay at the top of the meta.
Pink Illaoi is for the first time in its life both popular and successful on ladder at the same time.
I never thought I’d ever get to say the following words: Ryze Ionia is a strong meta deck. For the first time, a Ryze deck is able to hold an above 50% winrate on ladder!
Viego Norra is not only a cool theoretical concept but also a practical one, counting amongst the top 10 best meta decks in LoR.
Trundle Tryndamere Feel The Rush (FTR) played a key role last season, being split into anti-aggro and more greedy ramp versions. This time around, FTR finds itself as a meta deck, but with a little less success as the 9th most-winning archetype.
Finally, Red Gwen was becoming a problem last season. With the balance patch, the Katarina blend seems to be fixed though.
Factors Shaping the LoR Meta
Jax Ornn includes the highest amount of buffed cards – from Jax and Ornn themselves to followers like Weaponsmith's Apprentice, and the ability to include Fish Fight in Jax blends.
It is only natural to test out an archetype with so many buffs and it proves to have a point. With a 52.55% winrate, Jax Ornn is far from bad, but also not one of the best ladder picks.
Gnar Tristana Noxus is a curious creation. Without a doubt, the buff to Tristana did not matter for the power level of this brew. On the other hand, it might have given players a nudge to test Tristana blends to find this jewel…
…Either that or the meta has shifted from a Darkin-dominated dystopia into a Yordle-friendly lullaby. =)
Looking at the matchup table quickly unravels the workings behind the clockwork – Tristana Gnar is favored into everything but Norra blends. And against Norra blends like Norra Swain and Norra Viego it’s 48%.
Gnar Tristana has the ability to rapidly flood the board with created and buffed cards thanks to Bandle City Mayor and Grandfather Fae. The strength of this archetype doesn’t stem from on-curve aggro like Pirates but rather from setting up six-wide attacks and quickly refilling the board after trades happen.
Add to this Reveler's Feast and you have an intimidating board presence with little counterplay. Worlds contenders brewed Bandle City go-wide strategies for Champions' Strength but forgot about Reveler's Feast.
If this wasn’t enough, Tristana will buff your small fries into commendable attackers. Since Tristana’s power tends to explode in the mid-game, Might makes sure that her attack connects with the enemy Nexus.
What’s more, Decimate gives us the final points of burn if we should run out of Yordles and Faes to throw at our opponent. Tristana’s leveled-up from also gives our units Impact to burn down the opposition.
As you can see, Noxus adds several layers to the go-wide strategy of Bandle City, making it an archetype with vanishing weaknesses.
might be is definitely the biggest upset of the new meta. Rzye decks were a meme before, and their matchup tables were tainted in dark red.
With the buff to Shard of Reverence and the shift of meta towards archetypes with a weakness to Ionia, it is Pink Ryze’s time to shine.
A quick glance at the matchup table reveals the polarity of Pink Ryze. It demolishes Jax Ornn beyond recognition thanks to its stuns and other disruption tools. It also beats Plunder and Norra Swain convincingly.
On the other hand, Ryze Ionia stands no chance against the aggressive strategies of Red Gwen and Pirates. Pink Ryze only runs six to eight copies of units and is thus susceptible to board-based beatdown approaches.
One other fascinating fact about Pink Ryze is that it fares just as well against meta decks as it does against off-meta brews. At first thought, this might not be unusual but numbers tell a different story.
Legna, whose website was dearly missed last month, likes to collect the so-called “meta winrate” (indicated by “WRmeta”) in addition to the normal winrate. The meta winrate indicated the winrate of a deck against all decks with a playrate above 1%, meaning it only counts winrates against meta decks.
Usually, the overall winrate of a deck should be above the meta winrate. The reason is that meta decks are the absolute best in the game, giving other archetypes a tougher time than off-meta brews.
This is what it usually looks like:
Jax Ornn has an overall winrate of 51.8% (it’s not 55.2% like above because Legna collects data slightly differently early in the season) but against the meta decks only a WRmeta of 48% because it struggles against top decks like Rzye Ionia and Pirates.
Even subpar brews like Anivia Shadow Isles have a higher winrate against weaker off-meta decks than against meta ones because they are easier to beat.
For Ryze Ionia, though, it looks like this:
The numbers are almost the same! This means that Ryze is just as good/bad at beating meta decks as it is beating off-meta brews.
Does this mean that Ryze is a bad deck? Nope, not at all. Think about it. Would you rather want to bring Jax Ornn, a deck with a higher overall winrate to a Daily Rumble, or Ryze?
In a Bo3 format like Daily Rumbles, you will expect to see more meta decks than on ladder. Jax Ornn might be successful on ladder, but against the top dogs, Pink Ryze would be the better pick. This tells us that Pink Ryze is a solid ladder deck but an even better tournament deck that “counters” the meta.
((Fun fact: Tristana Gnar Noxus has both a 58% overall winrate and meta winrate. It runs over both meta and non-meta decks.))
A Little Extra
Some off-meta brews show promising results but don’t have the reliable game sample size to be featured in the main data. Let’s look at three of those underdogs.
Teemo Tristana Shadow Isles
You couldn’t believe your eyes when you saw Tristana as the best LoR meta deck? Well, I got one more Yordle queen blend for you!
This time, the board-dominant Yordles make a field trip to the Shadow Isles to study their removal tools. Instead of rushing the opponent down with Noxus spells, Teemo Tristana aims to control the board with a powerful board presence and removal spells like Vengeance. And for a finisher, the high power of Tristana makes a perfect target for Atrocity!
When it comes to numbers, Teemo Tristana Shadow Isles holds a mind-boggling 60% WR over 750 games in the past two days. No matter the preferred playstyle, Tristana and Yordles got you covered!
Gnar Norra Noxus
Gnar Norra is Bandle City Noxus reimagined. We have already featured the aggressive side of those two regions but counterintuitively, they can also be channeled into control. We already have proof for this with Norra Swain but Gnar Norra showcases this side of Noxus and Bandle City once again.
On ladder, Norra Gnar achieves a 58.5% WR over 1.6k games in the past three days.
Take out Swain and The Leviathan, put in Gnar and Lord Broadmane, and get a new Tier 1 deck!
Kalista Nocturne Noxus
When the Fearsome package was buffed and Nocturne changed, players tried and tried but couldn’t make it work. Several months later and we have found our answer.
Kalista Nocturne forgoes weak baits like The Twisted Treeline but instead pivots to the Mistwraith Allegiance combo. Because, who would have guessed, wraiths guided in mist are fearsome.
The spooky critters sport a 57.7% WR over 1.5k games in the past two days. Please don’t play this on ladder, I’m scared of spiders.
Thank you for reading this week's meta-report and making it this far. I'm curious how many people read this till the end - If you’re still here, comment your favorite plant under the Reddit thread without context, and I will reply to you! =)
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!
You can reach me on Twitter (@Leer97) or on Discord (Leer#2026).
Thanks for reading this Monday's LoR Meta Report and see ya next week!