Legends of Runeterra had its first major open beta patch two weeks ago, and after the initial deckbuilding commotion, the meta has somewhat settled down for now. But what decks did come out on top? Did Runeterra become the Piltover & Zaun domain as many predicted, or do we still see the same old archetypes topping it all?
Below is a list of some of the best LoR decks, updated as of Mar. 2.
Tier A: I/F Elusive burn
Xixo has done it again. The CCG veteran reinvented his favorite archetype, the Ionia/Freljord Elusives, and hit #1 Master with it just days after Patch 0.9.0 landed.
What’s different in this new list? First, it’s way more Ionia-heavy, reducing hand-buff mechanics in favor of having more Elusive units. The deck has a strong curve and can burn down Nexuses incredibly fast — especially with some good Kinkou Wayfinder pulls — but it has plans for the mid-game as well, with Jeweled Protector and Windfarer Hatchling offering nice board and hand buffs.
Together with the next deck on our list, the I/F Elusives is the best deck in the current meta.
Tier A: S/D Rally Mistwraiths
Navi00T‘s Mistwraiths archetype eventually became the best deck in the previous meta, with both its S/I and mono-colored variations hitting #1 Master. With the nerf to Deny, however, the deck lost some of its potency, so it wasn’t entirely clear on day 1 of Patch 0.9.0 whether Mistwraiths will be a top deck once again.
Fortunately for the fans of the archetype, it is, albeit in a slightly different form. The most common and dominant list features a splash of Demacia, mostly for Relentless Pursuit. The card enables a second attack from your Mistwraiths board, which often the opponents will have no answer for. The attack can even come on their turn, and catch them off-guard, winning the game on the spot.
Tier A: Fiora barrier midrange
SuperJJ is mostly known in Runeterra for popularzing the Draven/Jinx discard aggro, but he’s far from a one-trick pony. In the new patch. SuperJJ mostly climbed with an updated list of an old archetype — the Fiora/Shen barrier.
The archetype has never been entirely figured out, but SuperJJ’s list was solid enough to hit #1 Master EU. While it mostly wins by getting Fiora to four kills, that’s certainly not the only win condition. The deck is heavy on followers and runs late-game bombs like Brightsteel Formation, so even if Fiora doesn’t win the game, your immortal armies will.
Tier A: Ezreal Elnuks combo
Popular streamer and deckbuilder Swim has been experimenting with various decks since day 1 of Runeterra, and his variation of the Freeze Ezreal combo archetype quickly became top tier in the Patch 0.9.0 meta. The key ingredient was a simple one: Elnuks.
Despite their volatile effects, Elnuks gave the deck a much needed board development. A good pull would provide free blockers that shut down aggro decks, or force controls to have massive AoE clear like Ruination. On top of that, the deck runs all the stalling and board clear mechanics that made it good originally and it’s now one of the best control decks in the meta.
Tier A: Heimerdinger/Karma control
We wrap up the Tier A decks with this satisfying list by Alanzq. Heimerdinger and Karma are control champions that just go together extremely well. Karma generates free spells, which Heimerdinger uses to generate free turrets. The combo provides the player with so much resources, that all they need to do is find the most optimal play — the difficult, but satisfying part of the deck.
This is a list that all control players who hate doing combat math will like. There’s cheap removal, counter spelling, and bounces all around. Once Heimerdinger sticks, you can watch the free turrets take over the board and very soon, your opponents will run out of answers.
Tier B: Harrowing Karma control
This deck is almost Tier A, but its greedy nature and inconsistency against Elusive decks takes it down a notch. That doesn’t mean it can’t pull off some dirty plays, however.
Conceptualized by FiVE, the Harrowing Karma wins by casting its namesake: The Harrowing. Oftentimes, this is enough to outright win the game, and the problem is surviving until the late game. To do that, the deck has a few nasty tricks, including the Darkwater Scourge plus Death Mark combo on Round 3, which kills an enemy unit and develops a 5/5 Lifesteal body for you. There are several other Lifesteal units that help you stabilize against aggros, until The Harrowing can hit the board.
This deck either wins big or loses big, so have that in mind while you build it.
Tier B: S/N Spider aggro
Once the joint king of the meta together with Mistwraiths, the S/N Spider aggro has fallen down a bit to Tier B, but it’s still a great deck to climb the ladder with. It’s a bit difficult now, because of the many control decks that run board clears and lifesteal, and because it doesn’t have a good late game plan, but in many games, you won’t even need a late game plan.
The list is mostly unchanged from the original version. The one shown here runs double Decimate on top of the usual attack buff spells to directly attack those last Nexus points, if the opponent manages to stabilize and put together a wall of blockers.
Tier B: Warmother control
Warmother controls have been in Runeterra since the very beginning, and they will likely never go completely out of fashion, until a better finisher comes along, at least. Shadow Isles and Freljord are natural control allies, as the first has the best removals, and the second has the best late-game champions.
Team Liquid’s Alanzq was the first one who piloted the Warmother control to Rank #1 Master after Patch 0.9.0 hit. The list is slightly updated from the original ones, cutting She Who Wanders for Commander Ledros and cutting out all card draw in favor of more board clears.
It’s a risky list that can die to aggro very quickly if it doesn’t find the removal it needs, but with so much sustain, it often isn’t a problem at all.