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LoR Competitive Week in Review for 7/26 - 8/1

Patch 2.13 dropped with no balance changes last week which means surprise surprise, we’ve been in the Seasonal meta the entire time! Despite this, things are still changing pretty drastically from week to week as players continue to explore the meta and experiment with ways to counter the ever shifting landscape. Last week Nab and Shen/Jarvan rose up as top contenders to the Shurima/Ionia menace, and we’ve got another whopping 5 tournaments to look at to figure out how things changed for this week.

Last week left us with the Sentinels and Ruination tied at 1:1, and this week starts off for a point for the Ruination as WinByCoinflip took home GiantSlayer’s Fight Night EU with GP/TF / Spooky Karma. Control in general has been slowly dripping its way back into the format, with runner-up Darksoul2710 bringing a little as well in their lineup of Anivia / Lee Sin. The Shadow Isles has been the most popular region in Legends of Runeterra more times than any other, and it looks like it may finally be tired of sitting on the sidelines while Ionia and Shurima defined the Rise of the Underworlds meta. First Sivir rose to dominance, then came Shen/Jarvan and Nab to counter it, and this week it looks like Shadow Isles control is making a comeback to counter the counter. Ah, the circle of life.

As usual, Fight Night AM didn’t seem to get the script for the weekend and went off on it’s own. The Shadow Isle was completely absent from the finals as Briguy’s Ez/Karma / Nab lineup took the eventual win over StolenConch’s Lurk / Lulu/Jinx despite a bracket reset. Lulu/Jinx is an archetype that hasn’t seen much success outside of Fight Night, but is almost the hallmark deck of that event for this format (it even picked up an EU win a few weeks ago). The article’s just begun and I don’t want to put you to sleep with my speech on the fascinating nuance about the meta differences between a 2 and 3 deck format, so I’m going to create a diversion by awarding no points to either side of the event for this tournament. None of the Fight Night casters seem to have publicly declared Sentinel or Ruination, and Karma being team Ruination is negated by Pyke being a Sentinel, so this week’s Fight Night AM ironically gets to play Switzerland.

Moving into the wee hours of Saturday morning for us AM folk, Runeterra Royal hosted by RoyalBlue kicked off a small 32-man event which was filled out by many of the best players in Europe. It’ll come as a surprise to few that Guardians of the Ancient Seasonal champion TomasOW has continued one of the hottest streaks of the year by picking up the win with Spider Aggro / Noxus/Shurima Aggro / Discard, defeating TheCatasus who brought Ez/Karma / Lee Sin / Go Hard. Tomas’ lineup is a great example of the nuance of archetypes within archetypes, which  is to say the different kinds of aggro there are. Discard is something players tend to think of as a little more combo oriented, while Spiders and Nox/Shurima fall into a classification we tend to just call “12 1 drop aggro” for obvious reasons. While the name itself is pretty self explanatory, the decks are also hallmarked by low spell lineups consisting of Noxian Fervor/Decimate plus only 1 or 2 other spells. While Tomas’ Spider deck fits this classification to a T, his Nox/Shurima packed in 17 1 cost followers. While the new meta counter seems to be leaning toward control, apparently turning the dial all the way up in the other direction is a viable course of action too. While I’d like to say making half your deck 1 drops is one of the most evil things I can think of, the point is going to the Ruination because of Draven and Karma’s uncontested Finals presence.

On Sunday the top cut of the Legends of Runeterra Global Academy played out from last week, alongside the 30th Online League Series. I’ve combined both Top 8’s into the chart below as both were relatively large open events, which gives us a total of 24 unique decks of a possible 48 (20/24 from LoRGA and 13/24 from the OLS).

Anivia: 5

Nab: 4

Sivir/Akshan/Zed: 4

Ez/Draven: 3

Shen/Jarvan: 3

Karma/Ezreal: 3

TF/Swain: 3

Discard Aggro: 3

Lee Sin: 2

Thralls: 2

Keg Control: 2

Azir/Irelia: 2

Viego/Nasus: 1

TF/Sivir: 1

Akshan/Taric: 1

Lurk: 1

Star Spring: 1

Go Hard: 1

Invoke: 1

Veigo/Ionia: 1

Spider Aggro: 1

Nox/Shurima Aggro: 1

Spooky Karma: 1

Frostbite Midrange: 1

You may be staring in confusion at some of the more out there 1 off decks from this weekend and wondering how they really performed beyond the Top 8, so let me tell you straight up that LoRGA was won by TF/Sivir / Shen/J4 / Taric/Akshan piloted by Dr_chekhov. Runner up HackaKat was no slacker in the originality department, bringing in Lurk / Azir/Irelia / Star Spring. While it may not have been as flashy and new, Lurk and Star Spring are not decks that consistently perform well in 3 deck formats. As for Dr_checkhov’s lineup, I’m going to let you bask in its glory. Go ahead, click on it. It’s blue because it’s a link. Stare at it for hours until it’s your new favorite thing. Take it to ladder, try it out. Scrim with it. Enjoy it.

At the OLS however, newcomer Gravetrayal was rocking a control player’s dream lineup of  Spooky Karma / Anivia / Ez/Draven and used it to defeat the midrange king himself, MaykaS on TF/Swain / Shen/J4 / Frostbite Midrange. For an event called the Ruination, tournament players have really been dropping the ball as none of the Spooky Karma or Anivia we saw win this weekend actually played any copies of the card. While the card does undeniable work against the things that beat Sivir, it does still run into the problem of, well, Deny. In the past, decks like Karma/Ezreal and Lee Sin didn’t make great use of large tempo swings gained by Denying big spells as they played more reactively, but new age Ionia like Shen/Jarvan and Sivir can really punish you for the mana differential. Overall, the deck spread from the 2 events actually did a really good job of summing up the weekend - Anivia just managed to squeak out on top for the weekend, and Sivir was just as prevalent as many of its counters. A metaphorical wrench has been thrown into the works, and I’m excited to see what the implications are for next week as we head into our last tournaments before the Seasonal. I also wanted to give a special shoutout to XxWhatAmIxX, who helped boost the numbers of Anivia / Nab / Keg Control by topping both tournaments with the same lineup.

And so as this week comes to a close, it’s a win for the Ruination at 3:1. The LoRGA win for Taric/Akshan should have been a beacon of hope for both the Sentinels and deck builders everywhere, but I am not a deck builder. I’m a caster, and there’s nothing more evil to a caster than Spooky Karma, which picked up wins in 2 separate tournaments this weekend. With the meta making some drastic shifts every week, it’s important to stay as up to date as possible as you don’t want to walk into the Seasonal with the previous weeks’ lineup if that's what everyone has come to beat. Hopefully this dissuades people from flocking to Spooky Karma, but in that regard I am at the mercy of all of you. Be sure to check back next week for the last meta wrap up going into the last Worlds Qualifier!

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