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LoR Competitive Week in Review for 9/20 - 9/26

With a lot of players and spectators still recovering from the marathon that was the World Championship, this weekend was a little light on the competition. Of course, there’s still a Seasonal tournament coming up in just 2 weeks, so we can’t relax too much. This week we’ll be taking a look at the AM Fight Night as well as the 5th iteration of the Mastering Runeterra Open. EU Masters also kicked off this week, but given the nature of the format, I’ll refrain from covering it until the playoffs.


Kicking things off with the Americas was Fight Night (EU was canceled due to EU Masters), where we saw Realkey set the tone for the weekend with a win on Ziggs/Poppy and Plunder. Plunder is a Realkey classic in this format, but it seems the triple Bandle Tree player has found a new Bandle City/Noxus deck to occupy himself with, Ziggs/Poppy. He took the win over Mtucks on Lee Sin/Zoe and Draven/Sion. Lee Sin is a deck that many players have counted out since the release of Aloof Travelers and Minimorph, so it does get a bit of a boost in Fight Night where you know there can be only one if any, Minimorph decks. Even barring that, Lee feels like a strong contender in the meta right now because the more you disregard an archetype that was pushed out of the meta because of a few counter cards, the more likely you are to lose to it. With the Seasonal in just a few weeks it seems the deck is approaching its usual power spike that it seems to get at large events, as it was the 2nd most successful deck at putting players into the Top 32 during the 2021 season. The number 1 deck in this regard, Draven/Ezreal, seems totally absent this week.

Onto the Mastering Runeterra Open #5, a single-elimination event for the Americas server!

 

1st Deach - Ziggs/Poppy / Plunder / Sivir Demacia
2nd Boomer from NA - Ziggs/Poppy / Draven/Sion / Bandle Pirates
3rd Paimera - Ziggs/Poppy / Draven/Sion / Bandle Pirates

4th TanyaWannabe - Ziggs/Poppy / Draven/Sion / Bandle Pirates

At a glance, you may notice that not only were all top 4 players playing Ziggs/Poppy, but that 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place all played the same 3 decks. For the last few months, it’s been difficult to nail down “THE lineup”. While I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying what the standard lineup is for any given event, the lineup usually doesn’t persist for more than one tournament. Even in the instances where there is a clear frontrunner for THE lineup of an event, it usually doesn’t have a good enough conversion rate into the top cut to raise any eyebrows. Take the World Championship Qualifiers for example. After a few rounds of play in AM and EU, it became apparent to those of us broadcasting it that THE lineup of that event was Zoe/Nami, Draven/Caitlyn, and Sivir Demacia. However, only 3 of 11 players qualifying from AM and EU were using that lineup. At the main event, only one player stayed true to it. 

And so for the Mastering Runeterra Open, it appears THE lineup of the event was Ziggs/Poppy, Draven/Sion, and Bandle Pirates. Ziggs/Poppy is the newest addition in a long line of Bandle City Mayor/Poppy Piles that have been taking Runeterra by storm. It’s very uncommon to see a new deck perform so well in its opening tournament weekend, though there is some debate as to how ‘new’ a Poppy/Mayor deck can really be. The success of pairing it with Bandle Pirates and Draven/Sion is certainly something that’s going to raise some eyebrows, especially as it appears that all 3 players arrived at THE lineup independently. That said, for all its worth, it did not win the event.

Instead, Deach took the win by pairing his Poppy Pile with Sivir Demacia and Plunder. A trend that seems to be popping up since the release of Beyond the Bandlewood is the ability of players to adapt on the fly. In the opening tournament weekend, we saw the OLS won by a player bringing a lineup to counter Draven/Sion. Now we’re seeing a clear frontrunner for THE lineup, and Deach is able to beat it twice to take home the crown. I’m sure that the community is not quite done finding a new deck of the week every week (though I would appreciate it if they slowed down, it’s hard for me to keep up with) so this might not have any implications for the next tournament. But whatever hot new tech comes out of the woodwork this week may find itself being targeted by the weekend. That said, there’s no way of knowing when there will be a hiccup in the seemingly infinite stream of new decks that will give the meta a chance to settle, and with 2 weeks left until the Seasonal that leaves 2 chances.

 

While 5 Ziggs/Poppy decks dominated the weekend, there was almost no deviation between all the lists. Realkey traded out a Pokey Stick for a single copy of Hidden Pathways, and outside of that small change, everyone was in agreement on the 40 cards. It feels like the deck is straightforward and solved out of the gate, so now it's a question of what comes next to shut it down. This week's tournament performers look like they’re playing in a totally different meta than the World Championship and long-time competitors are going to need to stay on top of trends like these if they want to gain an edge at the Beyond the Bandlewood Seasonal. With the first Seasonal of the 2022 season drawing ever closer, be on the lookout for more of these articles to keep you in the know and follow me on Twitter for day-to-day updates if you just can’t wait a whole week for the next wrap up. 

 

Tagged: esports
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