Giant Slayer


Competitive Week in Review 1/18-1/24

Before we get into the actual wrap-up for week 3 of the Magical Misadventures Seasonal meta, it seems topical to let you know of a major development in the grassroots Runeterra scene. GiantSlayer LoR, the people who run this website whose tournaments I consistently leave out of these articles as they run in a 2 deck no-ban format, are changing their tournament format to align with the standard Seasonal format. Aside from these tournaments now being pertinent to these wrap-up articles, the AM Fight Night will now be running on Mondays. Be sure to give a follow to their Twitter account to stay up to date on all the exciting news they have coming, and to be right at the source of all of my articles. However, they didn’t make the change for this week and as such will be excluded from this wrap-up for the last time. 

We only had 1 major event happen this weekend which was the last of the 6 Mastering Runeterra Qualifiers for their $5000 Championship next weekend. While a lonely single-elimination tournament is not a perfect representation of the evolution of the meta from week 2 to week 3, we’ll pull from it what we can. Luckily, there’s a lot of meat on these bones.

Mastering Runeterra Qualifier #6

1st Prodigy - Iceborn Poros / Zilean/Xerath / Kindred/Viego

2nd Camilari - Iceborn Spiders / Pantheon/Shyvana / AK Absolver

Top 4 Italianex - Zilean/Xerath / Taliyah/Malphite / Jayce/Lux

Top 4 YostWithTheMost - Pantheon/Shyvana / Sivir/Akshan / AK Relentless Pursuit

Top 8 Sqweeby - Yordles in Arms / Sivir/Akshan / Pantheon/Taric

Top 8 Jtamonda - Lurk / Darkness / Kindred/Viego

Top 8 Ashirogi - Spiders / Pirates / AK Mono

Top 8 maybenextime - Pantheon/Taric / Lee Sin / AK Relentless Pursuit

Due to only having one event and it being single elimination, there are certain things I’m willing to write off as a result. The lower than normal presence of AK X is one of them, as is the total absence of AK Go Hard. This could be indicative of an overall shift of the AK X builds as Go Hard was favored into aggro (which seems to be falling off more and more each week) and the mirror, but other AK X players are typically banning your AK Go Hard unless they also brought it. Absolver and Relentless Pursuit have been performing better in the control-dominated field, with Relentless Pursuit taking the top spot for the first time. That, again, is something I’m willing to write off as a ripple effect from the success of Drisoth at last weekend's OLS with the deck as maybenextime copied Drisoth’s lineup with a 1 card difference for this event. 

Something I’m less willing but not totally disinclined to write off is the continual nose dive of aggro. Week 1 Spiders and Pirates and Draven/Rumble were able to go toe to toe with the best of ‘em. Week 2, Scouts showed back up and awkwardly fumbled through their contact list to see who was available to come back with them. Week 3…Spiders and Pirates gave you an awkward smile as you passed them by. There seems to be a crisis of identity within the archetype, unable to decide if Scouts or Spiders is the way to counteract this meta but unanimously agreeing that it’s one or the other and never pairing the two together. Remember, it’s more complicated than figuring out the best aggro lineup in a vacuum, it’s about what suits the meta. As we continue to see control dominate with a mixture of midrange decks, landmark-based strategies like Zilean/Xerath and even Taliyah/Malphite are slipping their way into the meta. If we continue down this road we might even see a spike in more traditional landmark strategies like Thralls and Bandle Tree, creating a window for aggro to come back in and dominate. Whether that’s the direction we’re headed is one question, and if the answer is yes there’s still the matter of how deep in that pain we’ll be during the week of the Seasonal. It’s a very difficult call for aggro enthusiasts to make, and after a good run from Rise of the Underworlds through Between Worlds, it might just be aggro’s time to sit on the sidelines again.

With Pantheon and Sivir/Akshan holding what can only be described as an impressive amount of stagnation, there’s not much to say that I haven’t already said about this format. Instead, I want to talk about Prodigy’s winning lineup. Now Kindred/Viego is a deck I’ve had my eyes on since the end of week 1, noticing that it wasn’t doing particularly well into the top end of the meta at the time. It lost to Spiders, Anivia, and AK X, but seemed to hold its own quite well against nearly everything else. The beauty of a spread like that is that it’s not often that you see even 2 of those decks paired together in the same lineup, and as such players are starting to pick up on the deck. Since there was only 1 event I’m unwilling to say that Viego has pushed out the Sentinel-based Piltover & Zaun Kindred decks, but I am a much bigger fan personally of the Ionia package. With the meta continuing to lean more control-oriented, the Sentinel package is likely to scale downward. Viego and Ionia, on the other hand, offer a variety of heavy hitters with some of the cheapest protection in the game. Obviously, you have the Deny and Nopeify counterspell duo that makes AK X such a pain, but Syncopation is a trump card unique to Viego decks. While we had 2 in the top 8, the builds looked fairly different with the winner Prodigy on a Death Mark/Darkwater Scourge package and Jtamonda on a more aggressive package of Ravenous Butcher/Spirit Leech. There’s some refining to be done for sure, but we do still have time before the Seasonal.

Then of course we have to talk about Iceborn Legacy. With Feel the Rush and Anivia nowhere to be seen, it’s Iceborn Spiders that are taking the helm of the traditional control region pairing of Shadow Isle and Freljord. As expected the builds took some time to figure out, but it seems like we’re really settling into an old-school TLC (that’s Trundle/Ledros Control) shell as the standard. On top of that, much to the surprise of nearly everyone, Iceborn Poro’s have won their 2nd Mastering Runeterra Qualifier in this format. Last week I talked about the small presence of Azir/Irelia that popped up for its ability to punish slower decks, but with neither of those players winning their event it seems we’re back to Iceborn Poros. Since Iceborn Poros have no tops to speak of outside of their 2 wins, nailing them down is a little difficult. Even looking at matchup data can be misleading, as most sites draw from the entire patch and the deck was very popular the first 2 days. Here are the things I can say about the deck with a degree of certainty - it beats control, and it beats the landmark decks looking to beat control. It doesn’t beat AK X or Pantheon, but if players are going the Drisoth route and rounding out that lineup with Lee Sin, then you do have an out for the deck to pick up a W. 

So as we wind down our week 3 wrap-up, we’re starting to get some faces that are more familiar than others. With only 1 event it’s hard to draw any definitive conclusions for players who are competing in the Mastering Runeterra Championship next weekend, but for those of us on the sidelines, we’ll get some great data for the Seasonal out of it. We’re at the beginning of winding down our constant state of flux (barring any Nami based disasters throwing things out of whack again) and should have a rather clear picture of the meta for the Seasonal. As always though, things can change on a whim. I’m sure there are more than a few players who thought Scouts would last longer than a week, and for all we know they may be back in full force at the Championship. Again, be sure to follow GiantSlayer and myself  on Twitter to stay in the loop on the evolutions as they happen, and good luck to those competing in the Mastering Runeterra Championship this weekend.

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