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LoR Competitive Week in Review for 12/27-1/2

While it may be 2022 here on Earth, in Runeterra we’re still in 2021 until we get our balance patch tomorrow. With 2 large open events taking place over New Years' weekend, there’s a lot of good data to look at and a lot of good reasons to look at it. Maybe you stepped away from Runeterra for the holidays and need to know what you missed out on, or maybe you just need a frame of reference for what the balance patch is doing to the tournament meta so you can hit the ground running on your Seasonal testing. Maybe you have a mysterious third reason; you just like reading my words. If that’s the case, thank you - I like writing them for you.

But on to the real reason you’re here: decklists!

Shmunkzeezs’ Jungle Cup Charity Tournament (hosted by Maxgotthetracks)

1st - Shadawx - Sivir/Akshan / Yordles in Arms / Shyvana/Pantheon

2nd - Mtucks - TF/Nami / Rumble/Draven / AK Go Hard

Top 4 - FloppyMudkip - TF/Nami / Plunder / AK Go Hard

Top 4 - Kannan - TF/Nami / Pirates / Spiders

Top 8 - SleepyPanda - Sivir/Akshan / Shyvana/Pantheon / Ahri/Lulu

Top 8 - MilkWorldGlobal - Thralls / Darkness / AK Golden Aegis

Top 8 - sCBASSs - Pirates / Spiders / Yordles in Arms

Top 8 - Void - Thralls / Sivir/Akshan / Shyvana/Pantheon

Mastering Runeterra Qualifier #3

1st - Daneblast - Draven/Rumble / Shyvana/Pantheon / AK Might

2nd - SaltySimon - Spiders / Lulu/Jinx / AK Absolver

Top 4 - Aikado - Lux Shellfolk / TF/Fizz Shellfolk / AK Go Hard

Top 4 - Maybenextime - TF/Nami / Feel the Rush / AK Go Hard

Top 8 - Fanatio - Thralls / Darkness / AK Go Hard

Top 8 - Tupacapristo - Sivir/Akshan / Sion / Braum/Swain

Top 8 - Broken Ball - Lulu/Jinx / TF/Nami / AK Golden Aegis

Top 8 - WashedUP - Draven/Rumble / Thralls / AK Absolver

While I’m not going to do a breakdown of every archetype that made it to the top of both tournaments, I do want to talk about the major players. To the surprise of absolutely no one I’ve talked to in the last 2 weeks, AK *insert splash card* (AK being Ahri/Kennen) was the most dominant deck of the weekend. Not only did it take 11 of the 16 spots we’re looking at this weekend, but it was 7/8 of the Mastering Runeterra qualifier. Of course, there is a level of nuance being ignored by the raw numbers, as while these decks all have a relatively similar collection of 35+ cards, the different splashes do make a colossal difference. Go Hard was the most popular choice by far, but it was only Might that managed to go all the way and pick up a tournament win. While Absolver is the more popular choice by far for players looking for Overwhelm access, nerfs to the level-up condition of either champion could continue to push players toward the more consistent Noxian option.

Speaking of things that won a tournament this weekend, Shyvana/Pantheon was the only deck to appear in both winners’ lineups. Demacia/Targon Shyvana decks have come and gone over the last year, and while they’ve never been #1, they’ve settled into the top 5 rather comfortably in a few different metas. This time seems to be no different. The deck still plays similarly enough to older iterations that you probably know whether or not this deck is for you. The power level is certainly higher thanks to overlapping synergies like Wounded Whiteflame, but for the most part, you know whether or not you like these pseudo-Dragon decks at this point. As an added bonus, the deck seems like a pretty safe bet to dodge any kind of nerfs before the Seasonal, as Lee Sin has fallen off pretty spectacularly as of late, meaning Wounded Whiteflame numbers are looking pretty healthy. That’s neither here nor there though, and I’m sure Lee will make his usual appearance in time for the main event.

TF/Nami and Sivir/Akshan round out the remainder of the sort of “popular enough to be worth mentioning” category, but neither seems worth expanding on given the context of the looming balance patch. Not that I think Sivir/Akshan is getting nerfed per se, but at this point I think I’ve written more about that deck than any other deck in Runeterra. Instead, I want to talk about Draven/Rumble, a deck that picked up a gold and silver medal over the weekend but only took 3/16 spots. Draven/Rumble, for those of you who were waiting for the patch to come out from under your rock, is essentially what Decimate Draven/Sion wanted to be. I’ve casted a lot of Decimate Sion, and all too often I’ve seen players unable to play the game because they drew 2 burn spells and a Sion. This typically leaves them in a position where they can’t level Sion or burn down their opponent's nexus, and ultimately, things got very awkward very fast. Rumble seems to fill out the curve much better, and also continues to shine a spotlight on Might within the meta. It’s definitely my choice for “probably safe from the patch and definitely worth learning for the Seasonal”, which is the first award of its kind that I’ve handed out. Congratulations Rumble. 

 

I could go on, but with the balance patch fast approaching this feels like the natural stopping point. AK X seems to be the best tournament deck for the time being but is pretty expected to be nerfed in some way. Rumble and Pantheon have finally found their places in the meta and should remain relatively untouched, viable competitive options as we approach the Magical Misadventures Seasonal. By the time you’re reading this these changes have already been revealed to the public, but at the time of writing poor Boulevard is still in the dark. I’m hopefully not too far off base in regards to the groundwork laid by this weekend, but we’ll continue to build upon as the new patch drops. We have our major players ready and waiting to hopefully see some new decks emerge as well. Be sure to check back next week for the wrap-up of our first few events within the Seasonal format, and start prepping however you need to for that penultimate event.

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