Giant Slayer


LoR Competitive Week in Review for 1/25 - 1/31

We’re rounding out the first month of 2022 Runeterra with an absolutely packed week - Giant Slayer Fight Night has standardized their format with the rest of the Runeterra scene, Mastering Runeterra held their culmination $5000 championship, and the Online League Series ran their usual pre-Seasonal last-minute testing open tournament. With 5 events to look at, I’ve done my best to consolidate the data in a digestible manner with some of the major highlights below it. 

Mastering Runeterra Championship

1st - Finni  - Spiders - Pirates - AK Go Hard

2nd - FNX Blacksparrow -  Darkness - Pantheon / Taric - AK Go Hard

Top 4 - Gravetrayal - Ziggs / Taliyah - Pantheon / Taric  - AK Absolver

Top 4 - Jtamonda - Darkness - Viego / Kindred - Lurk

Top 8 - DaTankBuster -Jayce / Lux - Sivir / Akshan - AK Absolver

Top 8 - Broken Ball - Yordles in Arms - Pantheon / Taric - Zilean / Xerath

Top 8 - Maybenextime - Feel the Minah - Lee Sin - AK Go Hard

Top 8 - Owi - Yordles in Arms - Lurk - AK Absolver

Online League Series #38

1st - SnipecrossGG - Iceborn Poros - Yordles in Arms - Iceborn Spiders

2nd - Kevor - Lee Sin - Pantheon / Shyvana - AK Go Hard

Top 4 - Mtucks - Lee Sin - Pantheon / Taric - AK Relentless Pursuit

Top 4 - Arax - Spiders - Pirates - Draven/Rumble

Top 8 - Al3x - Feel The Rush - Nightfall - Scouts

Top 8 - Tomatemistico - Iceborn Poros - Pantheon / Shyvana - Yordles in Arms

Top 8 - SonikHolik - Lee Sin - Pantheon / Shyvana - AK Relentless Pursuit

Top 8 - FNX Didico - Thralls - Pantheon / Shyvana - Iceborn Spiders

Giant Slayer Fight Night

BR 1st - Dudu de Nunu - Yordles in Arms - Pantheon / Taric - AK Mono

BR 2nd - Italianex - Jayce/Lux - Taliyah / Malphite - Zilean / Xerath

EMEA 1st - TomasOW - Spiders - Draven / Rumble - AK Absolver

EMEA 2nd - Pespscola - Darkness - Lee Sin - AK Go Hard

AM 1st - 4LW - Star Spring - Bandle Tree - AK Go Hard

AM 2nd Place - MajiinBae - Feel the Minah - Lee Sin - AK Go Hard

With 24 different archetypes represented among our players, only 4 of the decks were brought 5 or more times - AK X, Pantheon, Lee Sin, and Yordles in Arms. AK X continues to pull ahead as the best deck in the game by no slim margin, appearing in 14 of the 22 lineups. Half of those were the Go Hard variant with Absolver, Relentless Pursuit, and Mono Ionia rounding out the other half. I would expect a similar breakdown among the AK X variants at the Seasonal, although there’s not really any meaningful analysis to draw from it. Pantheon continues to play second fiddle as he has all format. While the debate of Shyvana vs Taric is one that climaxed more recently than the X in AK X, again there’s no real meaningful conclusion to draw. With a 5/4 split on Taric/Shyvana in the 9 Pantheon lists, you can expect to see an equal number of both this weekend. 

Then we get to Lee Sin who has once again hit his Seasonal power spike and perhaps pulled his biggest turnaround yet. With 3 players topping this weekend with AK X / Pantheon / Lee Sin, Lee has gone from completely absent in the first half of the format to the third deck in the most played lineup. While ‘most played lineup’ is certainly an eye-catching phrase, especially for those looking to counter it, it’s mostly meaningless. For starters, all 3 AK X / Pantheon / Lee Sin players were in the same event (OLS). This alone calls the stability of the lineup as the X/Y/Z of the meta into question. That said, put on your tinfoil hat and take my hand as I show a different perspective. 

It’s been quite some time since we had a true X/Y/Z lineup (I’d say the last real one was Empires of the Ascended with TLC/Nasus/Dragons), but we’ve had quite a few formats with a pretty clear X and Y. On paper, this format is ruled by Pantheon and AK X searching for their Z. While it’s clear that Lee is not the definitive Z deck…what if that’s because he’s the Y? You see, while there were 9 Pantheon and only 6 Lee this weekend, AK / Lee / Z and AK / Pantheon / Z were actually tied in popularity at 6/6. While there are a number of unsubstantiated claims and predictions I could throw out based on this, the defensible one I have is; if your plan is to counter Pantheon, whose spot in the X/Y/Z  is being called into question, whose secondary champion is not set in stone, and whose bad matchup charts swing based on said secondary champion, you might want to take a good hard look at plan B.

Rounding out our most popular decks, we have Yordles in Arms. For those who have been paying close attention to this format this probably feels like a surprise, but not a completely unexpected one. Yordles in Arms has been one of the more lowkey decks of the format, topping consistently but never rallying any hype behind it like Scouts or Lurk did. Perhaps the low profile played a part in its double win this weekend, taking both the OLS and BR Fight Night. Overall the deck is a solid performer, and one of the better options for players looking for something on the aggressive side of midrange as classics like Scouts and Sivir/Akshan just haven’t been doing the job. 

Finally, I want to talk about arguably the 2 most important wins this weekend, EMEA Fight Night and the Mastering Runeterra Championship. Week 1 Spiders, Pirates, and Draven/Rumble all came out of the gate swinging, putting up numbers like real decks, and going toe to toe with AK X even if they didn’t manage to make it to the finals. Then, they disappeared almost all at once as Scouts tagged in for a weekend before getting tired and going back into hibernation. Last week we didn’t really have enough events to draw meaningful conclusions, but Spiders did poke their head back in to check on the format - something the deck typically doesn’t do. Usually, once Spiders have been run out of the meta it doesn’t come crawling back, but this week it showed up in force, picking up two wins and bringing the meta full circle. Even Iceborn Poros came back this week. So what now, do we just run back the week 2 meta? As nice as that sounds for players looking for a level of familiarity in these stormy seas, there’s a major problem with that even if I wanted to play along. Seasonal Lee Sin is upon us, and he’s ignoring all rules of time travel and causing major waves in his pursuit of his 4th consecutive Seasonal where he’s a top 3 deck. 

In a more practical sense, Finni has succeeded in striking fear into the heart of the Runeterra scene. The Mastering Runeterra Championship was one of the most prestigious grassroots events of all time, and therefore one of the most public. There’s no denying the existence of the aggro boogeyman this Seasonal.

So if you’re playing this weekend, I wish you the best of luck in preparing for this increasingly diverse field. If I had to give some last-minute advice it would be to simply echo that comfort is king and with Pantheon and AK X having multiple versions to keep in mind that there is no objectively ‘correct’ version. Any reason is good enough to play your favorite version of the deck. If you’re not playing, you can catch all of the action this Saturday at at 1pm PST. If you miss that, you can follow me on Twitter to get notified when the recap article goes live in case the swiss VOD seems too daunting for you. If you miss THAT…it doesn’t like, go away. You can just read it later. But that’s for next week, this week I leave you with wishes of good luck for all those competing.

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