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LoR Competitive Week in Review for 6/21 - 6/27

The Monday after a Seasonal is always a bit of a weird day; the events of the weekend are still fresh in everyone’s mind, but the celebrations have started to wind down. We’re all excited for the new set, but have to wait a few more days still before we can play with it. Even those of us foaming at the mouth for patch notes still have a day to go. So on this beautiful day of in-betweens, I hope you’ll join me in reflecting on the Guardians of the Ancient meta.

While Duckling’s win in the America’s Seasonal will certainly go down in the history books as one of the most surprising lineups to win an event of this caliber, it’s important to keep an eye on the meta on a global scale as we get closer and closer to our first international event. And so, I present to you your 4 Seasonal champions and their lineups;

AM - Duckling: Cirthria Matron / Frostbite Foundry / TF/Fizz

EU - TomasOW: Dragons / Nasus / Azir/Irelia

SEA - DC Kienxun: Draven/Ezreal / Overwhelm / Azir/Irelia

Asia - UCG SDARO: Draven/Ezreal / Lee Sin / Azir/Irelia

Tomas picked up his win with arguably the most standard lineup. Draven/Ezreal was something we saw taking the place of Azir/Irelia pretty often, but there’s always flexibility when it comes to these things. It is surprising however that he was the only player to win with either Dragons or Nasus, as they were some of the more popular cornerstones of the tournament meta. But as we had mentioned last week, the tournament meta is a much more diverse and forgiving place than the ladder meta, so personalization within lineups gets to shine a bit more. Kienxun’s lineup from SEA was a great example of this, as they picked up the win with a different choice of meta staples in Overwhelm and Draven/Ezreal. Taking a look at SDARO’s lineup however, we get a blast from the past with a mono Lee Sin deck. Lee Sin has definitely been on the ropes since the release of Guardians of the Ancient, with Merciless Hunter almost single-handedly destroying the playrate of Zoe. 

The fact does remain, however, that Azir/Irelia was in 3 of the 4 winning lineups. And while it’s easy to reduce these wins down to a single deck that has had a controversial stay in the game until this point, it’s disingenuous. There will always be a best deck in the game, and this is the first time in a long time that Runeterras BDIF (best deck in format) was an aggro deck. Freshlobster’s 2nd place finish in Europe with Azir/Irelia / Darius Shurima Aggro / Pirates is the deepest run a triple aggro lineup has ever made in a Seasonal. And as I mentioned last week, that’s a good thing! It’s important to have a diversity in the kind of strategy you can bring to a tournament and do well, and I’m hoping we can even have triple aggro win a Seasonal before the end of the year.  And of course when we talk about diversity of strategy, we have to take a minute to appreciate Duckling’s lineup. Cithria Matron was a personal favorite of mine when the deck came out, but it sort of quietly slipped into the background of the meta as the refinement process of the deck dragged on a lot longer than most decks do. It had a decent tournament performance in its debut weekend some months back (taking 3 top 8 spots in a large community tournament) but was never able to squeak out more than 1 top 8 spot after that. Eventually the deck seemed to be split into 2 builds; 1 primarily Shadow Isle and 1 primarily Demacia. Ducklings win with the Shadow Isle build seems to have settled the debate that was almost lost to the vast Shuriman desert, and for that I have to personally thank him for scratching that itch in the back of my brain.

Now if you’ll indulge me in a special interest of mine, I’d like to take a second to speculate just a little about the balance patch we’ll be getting tomorrow. I’ve seen some community sentiment scattered across the web about hoping some long standing tournament favorites get the Fiora treatment of being sidelined for a while, as some of our meta pillars have been around for quite some time. Frostbite Midrange (2nd place AM), Draven/Ezreal, Dragons, and even Overwhelm have existed in some competitive capacity since about the release of Targon, with Frostbite and Overwhelm tracing their roots back even further. While normally a new set drops and older decks get power crept, these 4 decks seem to keep coming back meta after meta. While none of them seem to be at the power level that needs nerfs, players are a little tired of seeing the same thing. A recent study put out by one of Runeterra’s top analysts, Boulevard, shows that on the Americas shard Draven/Ezreal is the best performing Seasonal swiss deck of all time putting 30 players into the top cut of the last 4 seasonals, or almost 25%. Is this deck the gold standard, or has it overstayed its welcome? Feel free to tweet at me and let me know what you think.

And so we come to the close of another history making weekend for Legends of Runeterra. First of all I’d like to give a big congratulations not only to all of the newly Worlds qualified players, but also to Team Turkey (Granrodeo, Ucan Protein, Fight4Revenge) for winning the Chronicles of Shurima EU Masters tournament on Sunday. Secondly, I’d like to congratulate everyone who gave it their all this season. Even if you fell just shy of the top 4, of the top 32, of getting the ladder rank that you wanted, you still have another season to try again and try and get into the World Championship. So now we say goodbye to the Guardians of the Ancient and look steadily in the eye of the upcoming Rise of the Underworlds season, for the Shumria desert is vast, but we’re entering the last leg of our journey. 

Tagged: esports
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