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LoR Competitive Week in Review for 1/10-1/17

Since the release of patch 3.0 the meta hasn’t been able to sit still for very long, and this week is no exception. Below you can find the top cut from our two major open events this week, but I’ll once again be refraining from listing a breakdown as there were a lot of 1 ofs (19 decks in total between the 2 events).

Online League Series #37

1st Drisoth - Lee Sin / Pantheon/Taric / AK Relentless Pursuit

2nd Kwoth - Darkness / Anivia / Sivir/Akshan

Top 4 Aikado - Elusive Rally / Scouts / AK Go Hard

Top 4  4LW - Sentinel Control / Zoe/Lux / Darkness

Top 8 OTK Camilari - Pantheon/Shyvana / Iceborn Spiders / AK Absolver

Top 8 TheBlackBoss - Lee Sin / Azir/Irelia / AK Mono

Top 8 SnipeCrossGG - Corina Control / Darkness / Feel the Rush

Top 8 Defenswar - Bandle Tree / Lee Sin / Viego

Mastering Runeterra Qualifier #5

1st SamanthHoney - Sivir/Akshan / Pantheon/Shyvana / AK Absolver

2nd 4LW - Sentinel Control / Zoe/Lux / Darkness

Top 4 B1tter - Bandle Tree / Scouts / Sivir/Akshan

Top 4 Sley - Zoe/Diana / Feel the Rush / Darkness

Top 8 BranchOfTurtwigs - Anivia / Bandle Tree / AK Go Hard

Top 8 Luna - Scouts / Pantheon/Shyvana / AK Go Hard

Top 8 C0balt - Feel the Minah / Thralls / AK Go Hard

Top 8 ZorigDungu - Scouts / Elusive Rally / Azir/Irelia

Last week control and aggro were locked in a tight-knit race for the top spot in the meta, with aggro failing to make a finals appearance. I was excited to see how the Pirate/Spider/Rumble players would adapt and resurface this week, and the answer was apparently to throw all 3 decks out and start from scratch. Decimate was traded out for Demacia, and Scouts took the top ‘aggro’ spot this weekend. While it didn’t come with as dedicated a lineup as Spiders, players found multiple ways to round out their lineups to combat the myriad of control decks that were being played this weekend. Elusive Rally and Azir/Irelia also rose from their graves to combat the slower decks, but neither was able to find the success that Scouts did. That said, like Spiders before it, Scouts was unable to make it to the finals of either event. Whether Scouts persists into the next week or if aggro players find a new deck to experiment with remains to be seen, but it is unlikely that Spiders will be making a return for the rest of the format.

Speaking of making finals appearances, Pantheon has been quietly running the scene for a while. Of the 6 events we’ve looked at in 2022, Pantheon has made it to the finals of 5 of them and picked up 2 wins this weekend. One of the advantages of Pantheon is that there are multiple versions of it that look vastly different, and all of them have shown up in this patch. Last week it was Sorry’s Mono-Pantheon stealing the show, and now both Taric/Pantheon and Shyvana/Pantheon are picking up wins. He’s also shown up in multiple different lineups, with none of the Pantheon finalists from this patch overlapping any decks from their lineups (if we count the different AK X variants from this weekend as different decks). It’s hard to ignore the success of the deck at this point, but with Pantheon players unable to reach a consensus on the ‘correct’ build it’s near impossible to counter the deck successfully. AK X, on the other hand, continues to have a target on its back as the different versions play similarly enough that they have a variety of overlapping weaknesses players are looking to exploit. Despite this, AK X has shot up to be the most popular deck by a wide margin again, being played by half of the top cut this weekend. 

While Darkness and a variety of different control decks are still the dominating force of the meta, players are finding creative ways to fight through it. 4LW had a huge performance this weekend with a top 4 and 2nd place finish at each respective event and did it with the same lineup each time. The standout deck for sure was his Zoe/Lux deck, utilizing invoke cards to play the long game while having some of the most efficient anti-aggro and midrange tools with cards like Radiant Guardian and Concerted Strike. With Zoe/Diana having the success that it did in the opening week, it remains to be seen if 4LW’s deck is the last in the line of the Zoe decks we’ll see… Or if there’s another iteration ready to break onto the scene. With Lee Sin finally returning from vacation this week, the Zoe spot in a lineup is looking more contested than expected.

Despite some changes in specifics, the overall shape of the meta remains the same as the previous week. Control is still one of the strongest archetypes, AK X is the strongest deck despite players trying to counter it, aggro is present but dwindling, and there’s a lot of different decks filling in the blanks. Things are sure to be a little more streamlined as we approach the Seasonal, but the general shape of things is likely to remain more or less intact. All in all the top end of the meta seems rather set in stone but the lower end still has a lot of room for movement, for example, the change from Spiders to Scouts as the aggro deck of choice. 

It’s worth noting that we’re still very early in the meta (something that I find myself forgetting given the high rollover presence of AK X and the patch happening after the start of the 2022's tournament scene) so the flux is to be expected. Players are still trying to find new ways to counter AK X but the deck has remained resilient through everything thrown at it thus far, and there’s only so much time left before the Magical Misadventures Seasonal. If a reliable and widespread counter can be found before the main event then the meta can be completely flipped on its head in a way we’ve never seen before, but it’s uncertain if such a thing can be done. Be sure to check in again next week to stay up to date on how that arms race is going, if we can finally settle on what the best ‘X’ in AK X is, and to see if Azir/Irelia is still topping events because I know that one snuck up on some of you.

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