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LoR Competitive Week in Review for 7/12 - 7/18

The Ruination has arrived! Viego and Akshan have made it into Legends of Runeterra and their debut has taken the tournament scene by storm. We’ve still got a balance patch in between us and the Rise of the Underworlds Seasonal, but after the massive patch that was 2.11, players are widely expecting very little to change. This means what we’re seeing now is paving the way for the Seasonal meta in a very real sense. 

For those of you who were living under a rock last week, on Wednesday the Ruination Champion Expansion was added to the game, bringing with it the two new champions: Viego and Akshan, as well as over 20 other new cards spanning across every region. The main focuses were Shurima and Shadow Isles which were already arguably two of the strongest regions in the game, but even some of the regions who only got a single card still made a splash like Scattered Pod and Rimefang Denmother. So now that you’re caught up on what's so different from last week, let's hop into what happened.

Friday kicked off with Giant Slayer TV’s Fight Night EU where we saw one of the most aggressive tournaments to date. Over half the field brought aggro and decks that bordered it, and the event was ultimately taken home by SaltySimon and his lineup of Lurk and Discard Aggro. While Simon didn’t use any of the brand new cards, Lurk is still a new archetype that's being figured out. Two weeks ago the Lurk decks we saw were hyper aggressive, usually capping out at 4 mana with Pyke. Fans of the deck were scrambling to figure out a number of questions like: What non-Lurk cards could be included? How much Predict was necessary? What combat tricks were worth it? How much draw power was needed? We saw a similar Lurk deck make the top cut of the Online League Series so if you want to take this weekend as your baseline, a more midrange approach with minimal non-Lurk is where the success is being found right now. Xerxa’Reth the Undertitan, Xer’Sai Dunebreaker, and Jaull-Fish were all played in multiple by both players and around 32 Lurkers seemed to be the magic number.

Later that same afternoon we moved over to AM Fight Night where things were much more scattered than EU, with 13 unique decks of a possible 16. Despite getting new cards just 48 hours prior, Teneryx took us all the way back to the open beta in January of 2020 by winning the event with modern takes on two absolute classics; Frostbite Midrange and Kinkou Elusives. While Frostbite Midrange has changed a lot over the years as cards have been buffed and added to the game, Teneryx’s Elusive deck looked very similar to the ones of old. Sure he may have moved from the Freljord to Piltover & Zaun as the supporting region, but Kinkou Wayfinding a Teemo is an absolute classic.

Then on Saturday the Online League Series #29 kicked off with over 100 players, and the new cards were put on full display in a spectacular way. I won’t bury the lead, so the top 8 for that event were:

Sivir/Ionia: 4 (2 Zed / 2 Akshan) 

Viego/Shurima: 4 (2 Nasus / 2 Solo) 

Frostbite Midrange: 3 

Lee Sin: 3 (2 Zoe / 1 Akshan) 

Draven/Ezreal: 2 

Pirates: 1 

Lurk: 1 

Azir/Irelia: 1 

Discard: 1 

Reputation: 1 

Foundry: 1 

Shen/J4: 1 

TF/Swain: 1

Viego managed to put up impressive numbers during this event and seems to be replacing Nasus as the top dog of Shurima/Shadow Isle, even if the dog was still included in half the lists. The shell seemed to be the most obvious home for Viego as the self sacrifice package synergizes with him well and he can grow big enough to be an appealing Atrocity target. But we’ve just scratched the surface in his experimentation phase. Akshan on the other hand, made it into 2 different decks, slotting in as a replacement for Zed in the Sivir/Ionia deck and also ushering in a return of Lee Sin outside of Targon. He was even used in the winning lineup, as Kochua took home the victory with Zoe/Lee Sin / Sivir/Akshan / Discard Aggro over FloppyMudkip with Reputation / Frostbite Foundry / Azir/Irelia. I’ve spoken at length about the format being defined by what you do with your Sivir. While Sivir/Ionia seems to be the best decks for her be it with either Zed or Akshan, there are plenty of other good Shurmia/Ionia decks. FloppyMudkip’s lineup is a great example of making the ban strategy awkward for your opponent by playing a strong Shurima/Ionia list, in this case Azir/Irelia, and still having Sivir in the lineup. Rounding it out with Frostbite Foundry made for a great anti-Lee Sin lineup, though he did still fall to it in the finals.

Despite not winning any tournaments in his debut, taking half of the top cut in a 100+ person event can certainly be called a successful debut for Viego. Akshan may have snuck into an already existing archetype to get the win, but he did get the win, so overall we’re counting last week as a win for the Sentinels. Sivir is still dominating and seems to have mostly settled on the Ionia combination, but as FloppyMudkip showed, there’s still a debate around whether or not that's the most effective home for her when building out a lineup. A lot is set to change next week as players have more time with the new cards but it will also be the last weekend before the patch 2.13 Seasonal balance changes, so don’t get too comfortable with everything just yet. Once we get that patch we’re full steam ahead into the Seasonal, so be sure to keep checking back in for the latest updates on the tournament scene!

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