Giant Slayer


LoR Competitive Week in Review for 5/2 - 5/9

The Curious Journey Seasonal is this weekend, so I can only assume you’ve come here looking for a last-minute glimpse into the meta to get a clear picture of what you’re going to be facing in the Open Rounds. In that case, I have some awful news for you.

Mastering Runeterra x GGToor $500 Cup

1st TomasZamo2000 - Draven/Sion / Jayce/Heimer SI / Rubin Pile

2nd Kasai - Yordles in Arms P&Z / Scouts / Ziggs/Gnar

Top 4 Rogio - Afaelios / Azir/Irelia / Pirates

Top 4 GrandpaRoji - Taliyah/Malphite / Pantheon/Yuumi / Sun Disc

Top 8 SatlySimon - Afaelios / Zilean/Ekko / Ziggs/Taliyah

Top 8 1kurone - Draven/Sion / Akshan/Udyr / Pantheon/Yuumi

Top 8 Kalma y Paz - Ziggs/Taliyah / Purrsuit Rubin Pile / Jayce/Heimer FR

Top 8 Void - Sentinel Control / Feel The Rush / Darkness

Online League Series #43

1st Broken Ball - Zilean/Ekko / Taliyah/Ziggs / Gnar/Darius

2nd HDR Roxas - Spiders / Pirates / Azir/Irelia/Zed

Top 4 RitoRuinedMyLife - Afaelios / Viktor/Karma / Jayce/Heimer SI

Top 4 Danadin - Viktor/Lee / Katarina/Sivir / Viego/Kindred SH

Top 8 Cephalopod - Pantheon/Yuumi / Ziggs/Taliyah / Afaelios

Top 8 Gatichico - Afaelios / Ziggs/Taliyah / Pantheon/Yuumi

Top 8 HDR BlackBoss - Scouts / Ziggs/Taliyah / Draven/Sion/Vi

Top 8 Squallywag - Feel The Rush / Darkness / Apehlios/Zoe/Karma

If you sat there and counted every deck in the breakdown before getting to this sentence I do apologize, but the math is that at each event there were 18 of a possible 24 unique decks scattered throughout the top 8 (technically 19 at the Mastering Runeterra event as Jayce/Heimer Shadow Isles and Jayce/Heimer Freljord are 2 very different decks). Fortunately in the sea of unique decks the Online League Series gave us a glimpse of our potential X/Y/Z lineup for the weekend (this referring to the expected most popular lineup of a given event/meta) by only having 3 non-1-ofs. When we dogpile into the 5 2-ofs that stood out from the crowd in the Mastering Runeterra event, we once again find our X/Y/Z lineup standing out from the crowd. Ziggs/Taliyah, Aphelios, and Pantheon/Yuumi/(Taric). 

And this isn’t too surprising given the ever-changing landscape of the meta - proactivity is the king of an unstable meta, and always has been. While this usually translates to better Aggro performances, a lot of the fluff in the meta has done a better than average job at keeping Aggro down. On top of that, all 3 of the decks mentioned above do have a better than average shot at just straight up killing you on turn 6 - which is about the time that traditional Aggro decks like Pirates are looking to end the game. That's the strength of these 3 decks - they all scale well into the mid game and have enough tricks up their sleeve to navigate the late game, while also having the potential to high roll you into an early grave. “Alright Boulevard,” you ask. “What’s the secret? What beats the Curious Journey X/Y/Z?”

Again, I have some unfortunate news.

All 3 of these decks have a similar, non-exploitable weakness - they can just brick. Have you ever played Afaelios and not drawn one of your 3 mana units? Bricked on too many champions in Ziggs/Taliyah? Or, a Seasonal staple, 3 Zenith Blade in your opening hand. Admittedly it’s hard to argue a higher than average brick rate with the publicly available data, but let’s all get on the same page for a second and at least pretend that it’s true regarding these 3 decks. It makes it a scary prospect to play a lineup like this in a Seasonal yourself, knowing that without a high ladder finish for 7-2 seeding there’s a chance you miss out on top cut because your decks didn’t function too many games in a row. Yes, that’s a risk with any lineup of course, but it’s one we as players look to mitigate as often as possible. If you look at these decks and see high brick potential, you’re in an awkward spot in terms of finding your lineup. You can’t play the X/Y/Z because you don’t believe in its consistency over 9 rounds, but you also can’t count on your opponents bricking with it. You know it’s likely going to be the most popular lineup in top cut, but you feel more likely to go 0-3 with unplayable hands, only to tune into the stream and watch players on the same deck working flawlessly. It’s a sentiment I’m familiar with, and personally I tend to lean toward playing the lineup anyway unless something is really calling to me. After all, comfort is king.

What separates the sea of top cut filler from our big 3 is really the early kill potential - Sion checks similar boxes in terms of decent early game into strong mid-late with good resource management throughout, but it’s usually not ending the game until turn 8 even with a good hand. Sun Disc is a deck that tends to be thought of as a game over on ascension, which again is not happening until turn 8 even with a perfect hand unless you’ve included some additional countdown (which hasn’t really caught on). As such, Sion and Sun Disc are still alive and kicking as a turn 8 kill is good enough for most people, but what if we wanted to get more broad? After all, with 18/24 unique decks in our 2 Top 8s, I can’t sit here and justify every deck's place.

Control, on average, is performing very well and creating the most new decks. The many options Control players currently have are largely to blame for the diversity in the meta, with Feel the Rush, Kindred/Viego, Shurima Viego, Jayce/Heimer SI, Sentinel Control, Tri-Beam Control, Darkness, Thresh/Asol, Aphelios/Lux, and Jayce/Lux all finding tournament success since the release of the Seasonal patch 2 weeks ago. That’s 10 different control decks. This concludes my section on control.

Finally, let’s talk Aggro. While Pirates has had a large resurgence since cutting some copies of Gangplank for Twisted Fate, it’s the only Aggro deck that seems to be thriving. Spiders just isn’t coming close to putting up the same numbers as Pirates in win rate, and finding a third deck has been a point of contention for Aggro enthusiasts for quite some time. With the Seasonal approaching, Scouts have once again come out of retirement to wreak havoc as of late, but you can’t play 2 Miss Fortune decks. Now, this isn’t too surprising - to reiterate something I wrote probably close to a year ago at this point, triple Aggro is historically pretty awful in the swiss rounds. It averages putting 0-1 players into the top 32 across the last 8 events. Since the release of Bandle City, only 1 out of 96 players has made it through swiss with something arguable as triple Aggro. At Magic Misadventures Eolant topped with Scouts, Spiders, and Nightfall. What’s much more consistent is 2 Aggro + an aggressive Midrange deck, like Sivir/Akshan or Sion. I’m not really trying to sway you one way or another on or off this strategy, I simply want you to remember that triple Aggro is not a good fallback option if you don’t want to think about your lineup.

And speaking of, good luck to those of you who will be entering this weekend who have to think about lineups! The meta is still in a very open state, and I’m expecting at least 3, but probably more, decks I’ve never laid eyes on before to make it into the top cut. As always you can find the action on May 14 1pm PDT on  for the Open Rounds, and be on the lookout for a wrap-up article of the swiss rounds in case you missed it or just want to relive it. 

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