Hello everyone and welcome to our Top 32 Player Power Rankings for the A Curious Journey Seasonal tournament! Blevins hasn’t asked for the reigns back yet so I, Boulevard, will be taking over once again. Keep in mind that any list like this is going to be subjective (I could just rank them all by their previous Seasonal tops but how boring would that be, am I right?) so if I invoke a strong opinion in you that you need to get out, feel free to yell at Blevins on Twitter for putting me in charge.
32 - Findla Mor
Findla Mor finds themself not only in the top cut of their first Seasonal here with A Curious Journey, but their first top cut in any tournament, in any game, ever. Funnily enough, this actually puts them at a lifetime 50% top rate as they’ve only played in one event previously, a charity tournament hosted by MaxGotTheTracks earlier this year. While he’s lacking in competitive experience compared to the rest of the top 32, Findla was able to identify the power of comfort picks and spent the whole patch practicing the same 3 decks, which he says paid off big in the open rounds as he finished with an 8-1 record.
31 - Montary
For most of patch 3.6 Feel The Rush has sat atop the Master tier ladder as the most played deck, meaning it takes a quite a bit of gall to bring Tri-Beam Control to the Open Rounds as that matchup is one of the most one-sided that has existed in Legends of Runeterra and it doesn’t go the way of Tri-Beam. Montary rounded out their lineup with Darkness and Sun Disc, ignoring the more popular control option in Viego for decks they felt more comfortable on. Not running any of the main meta contenders may be a slight edge in the top 32, but we also saw Darkness be the weak point of a few lineups in the swiss rounds. Only time will tell how far this newcomer can take their strategy.
30 - MDM Mistics
“Thinking of a lineup is too hard, I’m just gonna play triple aggro” is a sentiment many Legends of Runeterra players have felt in the past, and one I personally constantly advise against. While Mistics’ lineup of Spiders, Scouts, and Gnar/Darius wasn’t exactly triple aggro, it’s about as close as we’ve come to expect when talking Seasonal top cuts. Very little is known about Mistics, so they’re a bit of a wildcard not only in terms of swapping their lineup, but also in terms of staying on the aggressive strategies - one that could pay off big if other players go too deep on countering Afaelios.
29 - KraftyOne
Players can treat the top 32 survey however they want and a few of the newer faces used it as a platform to spill their hot takes. KraftyOne’s take? Viego isn’t a tier 1 deck, no matter how many people tell him it is (he hopes he’s not jinxing himself with that). With over a quarter of the top 32 playing Viego and a chance for more to switch over, Krafty will likely have a few chances to put his money where his mouth is and earn more money the more right he is. Luckily his self-proclaimed singular weakness, Pirates, is all but absent from the top 32, giving him plenty of time to focus on fighting off the Ruination.
28 - Eom
Speaking of players who freely handed out their hot takes, next we have Eom who listed “Decimate” as the most overrated card in the game. Unlike Krafty, this hot take has a very low chance of backfiring as I can count the number of Decimates in the top 32 on one of Tyrone Rugen’s hands (see Blevins, I can make deep cuts too). Continuing on with things that they don’t love, Eom listed their favorite archetype as “whatever kills Curious Shellfolk reliably”. Watch out Aikado, you’ve got a target on your back.
27 - Rollz
It’s always nice to see a player who knows what they’re about, and Rollz describes themselves as a midrange player through and through; a title backed by their triple Demacia midrange lineup. You’re mistaken if you think this gives you much insight into Rollz as a player however. Mid-range Demacia players tend to be perceived as careful, calculating machines who play things close to the chest and stay risk-free as long as possible, but Rollz has run with bulls before (literally), so I’d say taking risks is kind of his thing.
26 - WaitImPlaying
There are some interesting reasonings behind why players bring the decks they do, but one that always resonates with me is “I refuse to lose to X deck”. Regardless of what your record is, or if you top or not, as long as you don’t lose to that deck, your event was a success. In the case of WaitImPlaying they came in intending not to lose to Scouts, and it must have worked a few times given the popularity of the deck. If he can continue this trend in the top 32 he may just be able to go the distance, as Scouts is a longstanding favorite of many of the game’s top talents, especially at Seasonal time.
25 - ChronoMirage
Have you ever looked at a J01 deck and thought to yourself “boy, that sure is a lot of random 1 ofs”? ChronoMirage probably hasn’t. To him, it looked like the exact right amount, given his Viktor/Vi/Karma/Lee Sin deck that contains 23 unique cards. It’s good company to keep in deckbuilding, and while he’s resisted the urge to put in Purrsuit of Perfection in the Open Rounds, I’m curious to see if he’ll be able to resist for top cut as well. I mean, TealRed’s done it in the top cut before, how bad could it be?
24 - Nocturex
The total opposite of KraftyOne, Nocturex is a Viego fiend. He makes it a goal for himself of being the highest win rate Viego player on ladder every season, and has accomplished it at least for a little while every season since the release of the champion. As the seemingly biggest Viego fan in the top 32, it is worth noting that he’s the one who went off-script and included a 1 of Nasus in his list. His favorite deck being very well positioned, combined with his background in Yugioh, makes Nocturex one of the favorites amongst the more fresh faces to the top 32.
23 - Yrebellion
Yrebellion is the first player on this list whose name I recognized before the top 32 from playing in grassroots tournaments. This is still his first Seasonal top, and he came prepared. When asked why he brought the decks he did he gave a brief (but deep) description of his targeting strategy, as well as a small paragraph about what he liked about each deck individually. It seems the preparation is certainly there, but he’s had 3 tries to get his Open Rounds prep right - let’s see how he handles his first top cut.
22 - RealPrismSword
During the Q&A section of the player survey, Prism drove a knife through my heart by citing Lee Sin as one of his favorite decks to play, and mentioned that this was the first Seasonal he didn’t bring it as well as the first one he topped. Instead, his Targon deck of choice this time was Invoke, a nearly forgotten archetype that hasn’t seen the top 32 since Guardians of the Ancients nearly one year ago. Prism has given the deck an update, going for a Viktor and Glorious Evolution splash as opposed to the traditional Atrocity. On top of this, he promises even more surprises in the round of 32.
21 - DrChekhov42
Chekhov boasts multiple top cuts across a variety of grassroots events, usually doing it with rather unique decks. One that specifically comes to mind is that Chekhov was the first person I saw playing Bandle City Teemo/Swain, a now-forgotten archetype that paid for the sins of Bandle Pirates. Chekhov’s unorthodox style peaked through in the swiss rounds, where he was one of two Plunder players to make their way into the top 32. While many players were whispering about Plunder in the days leading up to the Seasonal, Chekhov was the one who actually pulled the trigger, and he was rewarded for it.
20 - SnipeCrossGG
The anti-meta grassroots terror, SnipeCross, has made it to the big leagues. His love for targeted lineups has made the Open Rounds a challenge for him in the past, so this time he switched it up - identify a broken deck (Afaelios) and ctrl c + ctrl v two times to make a lineup, leaving him with Afaelios, Gnar Ionia Fae, and Sivir/Akshan Fae. Now that he’s made it to the top 32 and can more reliably play his traditional counterpick style, SnipeCross can put his comfort zone to the test on the ultimate stage.
19 - Rogio
Few things surprised me as much in my research into the players as finding out that this is Rogio’s first Seasonal top 32. A longtime grassroots titan, his most recent claim to fame comes from finishing in the top 4 of a Mastering Runeterra tournament of over 100 competitors the weekend before the Open Rounds, as well as his team’s continued success in the Aegis Esports team league where they lead their group with an 8-2 record. All the grinding has paid off, as Rogio was one of two 9-0 competitors moving into the top 32 using Scouts, Afaelios, and Viego through the open rounds. He’s played some specific counters in other events this patch, including Azir/Irelia at the previously mentioned Mastering Runeterra event, so whether he stands by his 9-0 lineup or pivots is a toss-up.
18 - Scathus
Before it was Sentinel Control it was the Scathus Pile, and it was one of many Scathus Piles that have made their way to a tournament near you. With Afaelios being the talk of the top 32, Scathus kicks off the rankings not of a team but of a group of players I’ve grouped together who have shown proficiency at one of Afaelios’ biggest counters - Zilean/Ekko. Scathus was very heavy-handed in the optimization of the Zilean/Ekko decks that took Twitter by storm at the start of the Curious Journey season, but is just reaching the top 32 for the first time. So while he’s ranked the lowest of the Zilean/Ekko players, don’t let that fool you one bit.
17 - Spidz
This is actually my first time hearing of Spidz, who immediately stood out to me in the top 32 as “the only Zilean/Ekko player I don’t recognize a mile away.” Upon doing the bare minimum digging, I discovered she’s on the current #1 team in the Aegis Esports league with other OCE all-stars ENiamor, FakeHero, and Morpice121, where she currently holds an individual 6-2 record; the highest on the team second only to Morpice. She also boasts a 2nd place medal from the OCE Invitational earlier this year, which all in all gave me enough evidence to make Spidz my ‘dark horse’ for the event, a title I think I’m only allowed to bestow because it is still her first Seasonal top 32.
16 - Beastllama
Continuing down the line of Team Zilean/Ekko we have Beastllama, a 3-time Fight Night: Legends champion who is making their return to the top 32. Aside from Zilean/Ekko, Beastllama’s lineup stands out to me for other reasons - one being that they chose to bring Draven/Sion, a deck that had a very poor showing in the Americas but was one of the 3 most played decks in EMEA and could have a major uptick going into top cut. The other is that their fun fact, which was more of a tip, was that the list was the most based tech in Ziggs/Taliyah; but when I checked their list they had 3x Chip instead. The only thing this leads me to be sure of is that I’m not 100% sure what to expect from Beastllama.
15 - Infinipatrons
Not only is Infinipatrons one of the names most synonymous with Zilean/Ekko in the Legends of Runeterra competitive scene, but he’s actually on a streak of back-to-back top 32s with the deck. We had the pleasure of interviewing him after his successful qualification during the Open Rounds, where he mentioned that he thought the top 32 meta was going to be defined by the question “to what degree are people going to be able to escape Afaelios?” It was an important, but perhaps not vital piece, of the success of the Zilean/Ekko players that the deck is one of the few with a good matchup into the moon boy boogeyman. But Infinipatrons seemed to have a good read on the Open Rounds meta, and I don’t have much reason to believe that’ll change in the more narrow field, however it ends up shaking out.
14 - Morpice121
While I’ve subjectively placed Morpice at the head of Team Zilean/Ekko (again, not a real team), I do want to mention a stark contrast between him and the other members. No, not that he’s the #1 player on the #1 team in the Aegis Esports league. No, not that he went 9-0 in swiss. It’s that when asked about his thoughts on the most overrated card in the game, he replied with Feral Prescience, and went so far as to @ every Zilean/Ekko player. True to his word, he brought 0 copies of the card and even managed to talk his actual teammate Spidz down to 1 copy. Will everyone get on the same page for the top 32, or is it too soon to know if this is a stroke of genius or madness?
13 - SantaTCG
Despite losing to Infinipatrons during the last round, Santa had the ladder rank to still make it into the top 32 with a 7-2 record where he’ll be one of the more seasoned veterans in the field as this is his 3rd top cut. In the past, Santa’s lineups haven’t raised too many eyebrows, usually being at least 2 of the ‘best’ decks and a 3rd, perhaps more off-kilter but not unheard of choice. His methodology seems to be at work again this season as he brought Pantheon, Viego, and rounded things out as 1 of the 2 Plunder players. Coming out of the Open Rounds, I’ve been hearing more and more whispers about Plunder, and Santa’s comfortability with the deck that’s led him to 2 top cuts already might be just enough of an edge to make a deep run.
12 - Zorig Dungu
Maybe it’s just because these things are alphabetized more often than I notice, but Zorig Dungu seems to always juuust slip into the top 32 - in fact this is his 4th time doing so and I KNOW he barely slipped in this time as he was our 32nd seed player. The self-appointed ‘meta slave’ took a break from his meta ways during his Between Worlds Seasonal top, but appears to be back on track this time around as he’s queued up a pretty standard lineup of Ziggs/Taliyah, Pantheon, and Sivir/Akshan. Nothing fancy, just some of the best decks in the game backed by a player who has probably put hundreds of hours onto each one.
11 - HDR Ez2Win
A Curious Journey has been shaping up to be one of the most surprise-filled Seasonals to date - one of the biggest being that only a single member of the decorated Team Hydra is present in the top 32. I actually had to constantly check myself when writing the top 10 Players To Watch to ensure I wasn’t just writing out a roster for Hydra who still took 3/10 spots. Admittedly, Ez wasn’t one of them, but he’s now got a chance to stand out from his stacked roster and prove that he’s one of the best on a team of legends by claiming the team's first Seasonal win after Lazy couldn’t close against NNT at Magic Misadventures. And yes, I’ve asked before; his name used to mean “ez to win” but now means “Ezreal to win”. You’re welcome.
10 - Aikado
Last year I wrote about Aikado’s zero to hero hot streak, going from a complete unknown to the runner up at the Empires of the Ascended Seasonal to a Worlds top 8 player in just a few short months. And now, Aikado has risen to new heights by being one of the most popular content creators in the game with his constantly growing Twitch channel. If you want to know how card games can change your life or how you can really blow up in a game, Aikado is the blueprint. If you think rounding out the top 10 might be a little low on the power rankings for him, I have 2 main reasons: one is that Aikado’s rise to popularity has been matched by a bit of a drought, as his Seasonal top that kicked everything off remains his only one until now. Two is that we’ve talked breakfast prior to a few events and I think he’s still never eaten a banana, so he obviously can’t start now, so there’s a chance his brain won’t be as energized as some of the other competitors if he makes a deep run.
9 - FNX Wasrusso
There just seems to be something about Wasrusso and Bandle City that click, given that they’re coming into their 3rd top cut of the Bandlewood cycle alone, enjoying their offseason as it were by skipping the Between Worlds event. For this event in particular they got some of the best testing available, taking first place at Fight Night: Brazil less than 48 hours before the Open Rounds. The reason that event in particular was so special is that the top 4 was rounded out by two of their fellow top 32 competitors, Trivo and HDR Ez2Win. Sometimes all you need before the open rounds is a boost of confidence in your lineup, and with Wasrusso running back the same decks it seems that’s exactly what happened.
8 - Ptash
As a returning alumni from the Magic Misadventure top 32 who spent a large chunk of this season at rank 1 on the ladder, I don’t have a good argument not to put Ptash in the top 8. To further separate themselves from the crowd, Ptash brought a lineup repeating one region 3 times, and it wasn’t Demacia or Shurima. Piltover & Zaun was the unexpected weapon of choice for this ladder warrior, who strode into the top 32 with Sion, Rubin Pile, and Yordles in Arms. To make this even more odd, a single Vi in his Sion list was the only champion from Piltover & Zaun that he saw fit to include, making this the lowest champion to region ratio I think I’ve ever seen in a successful lineup. Instead, his focus seemed to be on 9x Get Excited and 9x Boom Baboon, so if you were wondering what kind of player Ptash was, I think that about sums it up.
7 - Trivo
4 ½ of the players on my Top 10 Players To Watch list made it into the top 32 (4 ½ because Lazyguga got 33rd) and Trivo is first up, moving from 9 down to 7. To remind you of what I wrote in that article, Trivo kicked off the A Curious Journey Seasonal with multiple finals appearances at Fight Night: Brazil before falling just short at 3rd place one fateful week. He decided to spend his time away by *checks notes* entering and winning Fight Night: AM. He went on to get 2nd place at the next iteration before the event went on a brief hiatus, and Trivo is spending that downtime before his next event by *checks notes* going back to Fight Night: Brazil in the meantime, whereas mentioned earlier he finished in 4th place. This is good because I’ve never seen someone juggle two Fight Nights at the same time, and while I’m sure Trivo could do it, he’s got a slightly more important event to focus on this weekend.
6 - Xeloo
I like to think I keep pretty clean records. That when I go and check my spreadsheets the information present is accurate. It’s not often that I have to double, triple, and quadruple-check something because what I think I know just doesn’t seem to be aligning with what my records are telling me. With that said, and honestly I’m still not 100% this is factual, but this is Xeloo’s first Seasonal top 32. You may recognize him from the top 16 of the 2021 World Championship where he was the only Americas representative to qualify off of ranked points. Now Xeloo’s always had a pension for aggressively leaning decks, so I’m rather unsurprised to see him teeter that line once again and bring decks like Sion alongside Pirates. With only 1 Spiders and 1 Pirates in top cut, Xeloo could get left out of a lot of players' equations as they focus on Afaelios and come in for a surprise win.
5 - Prodigy
In the weeks leading up to the Seasonal, Mastering Runeterra was putting on nightly tournaments that I feverishly clung to as my brief glimpse into the meta. In those tournaments, we saw many a deck shine for an event or two, and then fall into obscurity. Prodigy did a lot of heavy lifting making sure that Shurima Viego would not be one of those statistics, constantly updating the deck and finding himself in the top 4 with it. As the only triple Shurima player in the top 32, Prodigy has a few directions he can take his prep for this event; he can stay on his tried and true, switch to a more meta lineup focused around Afaelios, or he can run with whatever meta counter his Omega Gaming teammate and fellow competitor SnipeCrossGG puts in his hands.
4 - Kevor24
“Boulevard, Kevor was lower than Prodigy on your Players To Watch list, why is he passing him now that they both topped?” Let’s make 1 thing clear; Boulevard’s a pretty big Kevor fan. In an attempt to fight my bias toward him I tried to draw parallels to the Magic Misadventure season where Kevor finished rank 1 as the AK X authority and failed to top, and I used that as an excuse to temper myself. Now that he’s in the top cut, I’m unleashed and justified at putting our rank 1 player just a little bit higher. Here’s my opinion on Kevor; if this were a 1 deck tournament, he would win. If players come trying to counter Afaelios, he’s the one who’s going to remind them how strong the deck is and why sometimes you just need to ban the best deck. But it’s not a 1 deck format, and we saw Kevor start off a few series on the backfoot after losing the Scouts mirror. He’s had a week to clean things up a little, and with his mental not bogged down by systemic bugs, I’m expecting an impressive showing from him.
3 - AK TomasZamo
In my Top 10 Players To Watch I slotted in last Seasonal’s runner-up, HDR Lazyguga, and cited them as the 4th most topping player behind the big 3 with 4 tops. Well there’s a new #4 in town, as TomasZamo is waltzing into their 5th Seasonal top 32. But wait, there’s more! If for streaking purposes, you’ll forgive an absence at the Between Worlds Seasonal as many players took the off-season as a well deserved break, then this is also his 5th Seasonal in a row. Guardians of the Ancients, Rise of the Underworlds, Beyond the Bandlewood, Magic Misadventure, and now A Curious Journey; every Seasonal tied to an expansion in the last year has had one TomasZamo in the top 32. The bigger problem for Tomas has been succeeding once he gets there, as he only boasts 1 top 8 finish. But, again, this has been a Seasonal for surprises, and I think Tomas making it just a little deeper is a surprise I’d like to see.
2 - NNT Maitri
I’m doubling down and running back my #2 from my Players To Watch list as #2 in the power rankings. On that list I spoke to Maitri’s affinity for control, especially Kindred/Viego Ionia, but cited their success with Yordles in Arms as a reason not to pigeonhole them into any one archetype. Well I guess they took that to heart and came into this event with Kindred/Viego, Yordles in Arms, and Aphelios/Lux. This does give them one of the most unique lineups in the top 32 as they were the only player repping 2 of their decks as well as 1 of 2 Yordles in Arms players, the other being Ptash which I would argue is good company to keep. As much as I’d love to call my shot and say that I think Maitri is going to go all the way, I’ve mentioned time and time again that this is a Seasonal for surprises and winds of change. Which is why…
1 - XxWhatAmIxX
It feels strange to constantly talk up surprises and then put WhatAmI as #1, but it is what it is. With BlackBoss and MajiinBae absent from this top 32, WhatAmI pulls ahead with 7/9 Seasonal Top 32s, the most of any player in the Americas. He was absent from my Players To Watch because Blevins already banned him from such lists by inducting him into the Seasonal hall of fame, but this is his 4th appearance as the #1 on the power rankings. Now, it’s no secret that WhatAmI is the only one of the big 3 without a Seasonal Championship, a matter that feels more like a “when” than an “if”, and I’ve got a good feeling about this Seasonal. On the Magic Misadventure broadcast, I pointed out how long it had been since WhatAmI had won a tournament of any kind, something he responded to by winning more than a few events over the course of this season. With that, his confidence seems to be in high spirits, and given that he’s fresh off of his first Seasonal top 4, this feels like as good a season as any for him to continue to break through to new heights and pick up the win.
And that is it for our Top 32 Power Rankings! Be sure to check out the live broadcast this weekend over at Twitch.tv/LegendsOfRuneterra and see how it all plays out!