Hello everyone, and welcome back to our Top 32 players power rankings for the Guardians of the Ancient Seasonal. I’m Blevins, and I’m going to be ranking all of the qualified players. As always, if you have feedback about the order of the list or if there’s something I missed, feel free to tweet at me or GiantSlayerLoR on Twitter.
I would imagine the Lmag has been very busy this past year. Of course, they have been playing LoR, but also he is an epidemiologist in his day to day life. I wasn’t exactly sure what an epidemiologist did, but after a quick internet search I realized that they generally are dealing with the cause of and prevention of epidemics. I wonder if there’s been anything of note happening in that field recently… All jokes aside, epidemiologists are doing a very important job considering the global climate. Despite that, Lmag has been able to keep up with the meta and the game to the point where he was able to make it to the top cut. Lmag does come from the Star Wars Destiny competitive scene, which I’ve written about as being a good indicator of success in LoR. Hopefully for Lmag, his performance in the Seasonal will be as good as his contributions to the world as an epidemiologist.
Drak is the first Brazilian player on our list. Brazil made up nearly a third of the Top 32. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the competitive LoR scene for basically any amount of time. The BR community is one of the strongest and most dedicated communities in the world for Legends of Runeterra. Unfortunately for Drak, I don’t have a ton of info on him. What I do have is the card that he sees as the most underrated in the game: Kindred. Kindred is a card that we saw get played in Nasus decks when they were first released. Since the development of Thresh in those lists, we’ve seen very little Kindred in the competitive scene. The fact that Drak sees Kindred as underrated is very interesting as it’s not really a card that players have delved deeply into. Kindred certainly has a powerful effect, so if someone like Drak was going to really try to play them, we could see a very interesting and powerful deck come from it. We’ll have to wait and see what they end up bringing to the event on Saturday!
Zavix is one of the many players who has prior competitive card game experiences from other games. In the case of Zavix, the games are WoW TCG and Netrunner. While I’m not as familiar with the play patterns of Netrunner, I do know that WoW TCG was a precursor to what new age digital CCGs are today. It’s certainly not a one to one comparison, but the way that the resource system worked in that game was a step in the right direction to what we have in a game like Legends of Runeterra. WoW TCG is however unlike its spiritual digital successor Hearthstone, in that it had a ton of interaction between players. This is a key point to be made because Zavix describes himself as a trickster that values the ability to outplay his opponents. This will certainly be the highest level of competition in LoR that Zavix will have the opportunity to outplay his opponents, but it will also be the hardest task to do.
We ask all of the contenders to describe themselves as a player. What TomasZamo gave as his description was “I describe myself as a proactive and aggressive player, but using control decks”. This is a very interesting take, and not one that we traditionally see. Generally we see a player leaning hard into control or aggro, but when you play both, you certainly gain a bit of perspective that the players too hard focused may not have. Flexibility is certainly something that can be rewarded in Legends of Runeterra, as being able to flex into a lineup because it’s the best for the tournament and not just a comfort pick is certainly great. It’s also worth noting that having the perspective of both the aggro and the control deck in mind will help you play with and against both. If you know what makes both decks tick and what makes them squirm, you’ll be able to play into those lines of play as you see fit. TomasZamo is someone that we haven’t seen a ton of yet on the Seasonal stage, but his outlook on the game certainly leaves him in a great spot to do well.
In contrast to Tomas, we have Thelrious. Thelrious describes himself as a control player. I just wrote about how being flexible can be a benefit in LoR, but also being a master of one strategy can definitely be a benefit as well. As I’ll mention later in the power rankings, a player managed to 9-0 the Swiss portion with a triple aggro lineup. While I think that was likely a meta/ preference call for this event, there’s no reason to believe that a triple control or even just heavy control lineup couldn’t work as well. In a contained event like the Seasonal Top 32, the meta of the event is relatively small in scope. When a meta is small and relatively known, control decks tend to shine. Generally, the power of answers is not the issue with control decks. It’s knowing that you have the correct answers to threats being presented. In a smaller pool of players, you’re going to have a much higher chance of getting those answers right. The Seasonal playoffs is potentially the best possible place for a control player like Thelirious to shine.
27. Sir Pickle
Every once in a while we get some very interesting non-card game related answers to some of the player survey questions. We may have found that answer here from Sir Pickle. Before I get into that, I do want to mention that Sir Pickle does come from the MTG world, having played competitively for 6 years. He won a few tournaments in that time, so it comes as no surprise that Sir Pickle was able to ford the river that is the Seasonal Swiss rounds. Alright, back to the wacky answer. Sir Pickle once served T-Pain tacos! I have absolutely no additional context to the story behind this, but do I really need any? Sure I’d love to have the full story, and perhaps we’ll be able to get an interview at some point during the broadcast, but really the fact that it happened at all is amazing. Hopefully for Sir Pickle, he’ll be able to say “All I do is win”, and if he does he might ask me “Can I Buy U A Drank ?”.... I’ll see myself out.
Octopuses is another player who gave an interesting answer to the “how do you describe yourself as a player” question. He described himself simply as a deckbuilder. That may seem relatively unassuming considering a large part of LoR is deck building, but in many cases it may not be. Many players will take established decks or archetypes and either play them very well or refine them a bit to a point where they as a player are happy with the deck. Being a deck builder seems to be a bit of a rarity in the competitive scene. As I mentioned earlier, having a read on the meta can be a big advantage. However, the inverse may be true as well; not having a good read on the meta may be a big disadvantage. A player like Octopuses may be able to brew up a spicy lineup and take the event with a surprise. We’ll have to wait and see what he decides to bring, but he’ll definitely be one of the first players whose decklists I check on Saturday.
25. Aiden Thorne
Aiden Thorne may just be the newest competitive player to make our Top 32. Aiden has a history of playing card games competitively having played MTG for many years and even written competitive articles on Kaijudo (a personal favorite of mine by the way). That’s all well and good, but the more interesting fact to me is that Aiden started playing LoR competitively in May… of 2021. He started playing competitively
We’ve definitely seen players pick up the game in a relatively short amount of time and do well. Majiinbae’s first Top 32 was after a short amount of time. But for someone to start playing competitively just a month before the tournament and then make the top cut of a Seasonal is just bonkers. This weekend will certainly be a test of whether this was a lucky streak or a star in the making. Either way, it should be a fun watch.
Dior is a bit of a wildcard in our Top 32, but that’s by design. When asked what type of player he is, Dior responded with “RNG”. This could very well be a meme answer or perhaps just not wanting to give too much away before the event, but it also could be calculated. Which is ironic given that RNG is all about randomness, but being able to control the uncontrollable is a skill unto itself. I’m getting a bit philosophical, so I’ll reign it in. If Dior is going to lean into RNG with their deck building, it of course is a double edged sword. Big risks, but potentially big rewards. Over a long period of time, taking big risks might not pan out, but in a short 5 round tournament, perhaps taking big risks is exactly what Dior needs to get an advantage. I know if I were a top player going into the Playoffs this weekend, I would want to have as many known factors as possible. Dealing with wildcards is definitely a scary prospect.
Ez2Win is the first player on the list who I would consider a tournament regular. As I mentioned previously, Brazil is one of the strongest communities in the competitive LoR scene. Ez2Win is a player that you will regularly watch on the weekly BR tournaments, which are some of the hardest out there. Not only are those tournaments some of the hardest overall events to do well in, but they also breed some of the most consistent players. Playing in top-level open tournaments every week keeps your skills and your read on the tournament meta as sharp as possible. As mentioned earlier, having a good call on the meta can absolutely be key to taking down an event like the Seasonal Playoffs. Despite being a top consistent player, I will say that this tournament will likely not be… Easy to win.
LGamesBr is, to my knowledge, the first math teacher that we’ve had in our Top 32. It should go without saying why being versed in mathematics is a benefit when playing a card game like Legends of Runeterra. Well even if it wasn’t overwhelmingly obvious for some reason, the proof is in the pudding considering that Lgames has made it to the Top 32. Lgames did not specifically mention any previous competitive experience in his survey, but he’s certainly been in the mix for many of the Seasonals. Because we follow players’ twitch streams, we’ve always had an eye on how Lgames was doing in the Swiss portion. This of course is the first time that he’s made it to the Top 32, but honestly it’s been a long time coming. He mentioned that he doesn’t play with a lot of risk, so he may be taking a different approach than some of the other players. You need to spike some luck to do well in these events, but also consistency is key. We’ll have to wait until Saturday to see which philosophy prevails.
I’ve talked and/or will talk about many different competitive backgrounds for the players. Most of them are from other CCGs. We’ve seen some musicians, and plenty of sports as well. I believe that Dragonguy is our first competitive bowler to make it to the Seasonal Top 32. I’m not sure that I can draw too many parallels between competitive LoR and competitive bowling, but I also can’t think of any negatives that could come of it. Dragonguy notably brought Targon’s Peak to Swiss. It’s a deck that has surprisingly put up decent results in previous Seasonals as well. I’ve never once been able to make the deck work and personally think the deck is trash, but I can’t really argue with the results. I suppose if anyone is used to navigating a 7-10 split of a deck, it’s Dragonguy.
There is usually one player out of every Top 32 that takes the player survey… less than seriously. That’s perfectly fine, and in fact, makes my job of reading all of them that much more enjoyable. What I can say about Conch is that many may remember his runs in the Mastering Runterra community tournaments. Clearly, those events helped as we now see Conch in the Top 32. One part of the survey that I hope wasn’t a joke is that StolenConch said that he was a competitive dodgeball player. I’m not sure what that actually entails, but in my mind it is exactly like the movie Dodgeball from the early 2000’s. I know I shouldn’t be biased being on the coverage team and all, but I truly am rooting for StolenConch to win the whole event to raise enough money to save his local Runeterra gym back home.
Sirturmund was a player that we got to see a couple of times on camera during Swiss. Obviously he ended up doing well enough to make it to the Top 32, so the pressure of being covered was not too much. Sirturmund listed themselves as something that I don’t think most high level card game players would: risk prone. Most players would even go as far as to say that they are risk averse. Despite that, Sirturmund simply says “if they have it, they have it”. While it can be debated whether that strategy is sound from a strictly game theory perspective, what’s undeniable is that mindset can certainly be helpful to have going into high stress environments like the Playoffs. It’s also worth noting that Sirturmund was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, so he’ll get a chance to represent DR, a part of the Americas region that we rarely see represented in competitive play.
NoTapper is one of the few players surveyed who listed out their old tournament top cuts from the old weekly events. This is, of course, something that I personally appreciate as Casanova and myself casted a lot of those events in the early days. While I don’t specifically remember NoTapper’s tournament runs (yes I know, boomer brain), it definitely shows commitment to have played in those events. I know from experience that those events can be very long, and for little more than glory and a couple bucks at the end of the day. Only the most dedicated of LoR tournament players played in them. In terms of what decks NoTapper likes to play, he says “Anti-Meta”. At this point going into the Top 32, I’m not exactly sure what Anti-Meta means right now. But if NoTapper wants to do well this weekend, he’ll have to figure it out.
Mankantor is another player that comes from a different game. He played on the Hearthstone Collegiate Circuit, which is generally a very competitive tournament. Unlike some of the other players in our Top 32, Mankato proudly pronounces himself a netdecker and control player. As I talked about in a different writeup, control can certainly be a great choice for tournaments like the Seasonal Playoffs. If you have a great read on the meta, you can pack the correct answers. Conversely, if you’re simply netdecking, you may not necessarily be making the correct reads on the meta. The meta of this specific tournament is unique. No one has ever played in the format of the Seasonal Playoffs at the same stakes. Yes, you could use the Swiss rounds as your basis, but there is a massive difference between a 2000+ person tournament and a 32 person tournament. Hopefully for Mankator’s sake, he uses net decking sparingly and still makes some of his own meta calls for the control decks he wants to play.
Duckling is a well known streamer in the LoR community. He is generally known for playing off kilter decks. At one of his first Fight Nights, he brought an early iteration of Cithria Matron, or as I like to call it, the Twelve Days of Cithria. I don’t know that he was the originator of the strategy, but he certainly was one of the first players that I saw play it. Duckling did mention that he didn’t really have competitive experience, which just shows how great of a player he is from streaming and ladder play. He’s always in a decent spot on the ladder, and of course performed well in the Swiss portion. Whether that natural talent and wacky deck building will pay off, we will soon see. I know that there are a lot of fans of Duckling out there that are going to be rooting for him, and I will too… if he plays something spicy.
We tend to see many of the top cut players from the Seasonal coming from other games. In Briguy’s case, he came from Duelyst. Briguy doesn’t just come from that game. He was actually the Player of the Year at one point and played in the World Championships. We’ve definitely seen players that have impressive competitive pedigrees, and Briguy is no exception. There is certainly a proven track record of those pedigrees paying off, and of course Briguy has gotten this far at the very least. We will have to see if the Duelyst banner can be waived atop the throne of the Guardians of the Ancient Seasonal, but with the track record that Briguy has, we very well just may see that happen.
Jacowaco is one of the few players that managed to finish the Swiss rounds 9-0. I caught a bit of his stream after the Swiss rounds had finished and listened to some of his thoughts on the decks that he brought. The most interesting card by far that he teched into his Ashe Noxus was Rimefang Wolf. He said that he put the card in the deck because there were basically no meta lists running it, and it actually ended up being very impactful. Cards like Rimefang Wolf are great examples of narrow yet powerful cards that could make a splash in a tournament format like the Playoffs. When your opponents are so high level that they’ll be playing around many of the possible cards that could be in your hand, you get to start playing the bluff game. You could attack your Nasus into my Rimefang Wolf, but what if I have a Harsh Winds or Flash Freeze? Causing those types of decisions to be made by your opponent can definitely result in incremental or even large advantages. This is especially true when it’s a card that certainly isn’t being used a ton and therefore is not practiced against. I’m very excited to see what tech Jacowaco ends up bringing on Saturday
I’ve talked about the playstyles of a lot of the players so far, and Sucessor is another who has an interesting angle. That being, he likes to apply a lot of pressure on his opponents. Notably this is not for the sake of being aggressive, but instead in the name of midrange. Applying a lot of pressure forces his opponents into situations that are favorable for him, and therefore allows him to control the tempo of the game. Knowing not only when and how to apply pressure, but also why you’re applying pressure, allows him to manipulate the micro decisions on any given turn and control the overall macro flow of the game. It seems like a small thing, but it really is the type of understanding and study of the game that differentiates players like Sucessor from others who may not make it to the Seasonal Playoffs.
4LW has been in the competitive LoR scene for a long time. Casanova and I remember casting 4LW in many of the top cuts of early weekly tournaments in LoR. I particularly remember the old raid decks that utilized Sejuani and Bilgewater in an aggressive deck that really took the tournament meta by storm. It rose to be a relatively strong deck for a good amount of time and really only fell out of prominence with the nerf of Fury of the North. 4LW has been a deck innovator and top player for just about as long as LoR has been around, so it’s no surprise that we’re seeing him in the Top 32. I doubt that we’ll see the old Sej Bilge deck of 2020, but I would bet that we will see a top performance out of 4LW.
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but Yangzera is a player that should really start sounding familiar if you’re paying attention to the competitive scene. So not to get into the same song and dance about how the Brazil community is one of the strongest in LoR, I will instead focus on the card that Yang listed as the most underrated. That card is none other than Subpurrsible. Since Erigby won the previous Seasonal with the deck we lovingly call “Rubin’s Pile”, Subpurrsible has certainly been on a lot of player’s radars.The fact that Yang still thinks the card is underrated is definitely something that I want to keep an eye out for. Will we see a crazy Subpurrsible deck this weekend? I certainly hope so, and if we do, we’ll know it will be piloted by one of the best players in the world.
10. Big Ogre
Big Ogre was a player that was really not only my radar at all before this season. That of course was a mistake considering that he made the Top 32, but also because he was sitting in the Top 10 on ladder for most of the season. A funny thing happened during the broadcast production of the Seasonal Swiss rounds. Myself and Cr0cai (the GOAT btw) were looking at Twitch for players to spectate for the event. I then came across a player whose title included “Top 10 ladder player”. This is relatively common for players to do on Twitch, but what was weird to me was that I didn’t recognize the name. I had recently been looking at the ladder, and the fact that someone would claim to be Top 10 and no longer be even in the Top 50 was certainly something that we laughed about. But it turns out that Big Ogre just has a different Twitch name than his in-game name. When I realized the mistake I had made, I of course looked like a fool to everyone on the production call.. Long story short, we had a good laugh and Big Ogre lived up to not just their Twitch title but his actual rank as well.
9. FLY PowerOfEvil aka Cephalopod
Cephalopod is known mostly for two things. One is that he’s one of the best all-around LoR tournament players in the world. Two is that despite having won multiple grassroot tournaments the week prior, Ceph failed to sign up for the first Seasonal in time. It’s a meme that has lived with him every Seasonal, and frankly every event that he’s been in. Hitting Top 32 may be enough to end the curse meme and start to build a case for another thing to be known for. All jokes aside, Cephalopod has legitimately been one of the most successful and consistent tournament players in the LoR scene. Ceph has kept track of his career tournament stats, and taking a look at them is actually staggering. He has a nearly 70% set winrate, has made top cut over 50% of the time, and has gotten first in more than 1 out of 10 events. Those numbers are actually insane to the point where it’s actually surprising that it’s taken this long for him to make the Top 32. This will certainly be one of the hardest events he’s played in, but if we’re just going off of historical data, Ceph’s got at least a 10% chance to take this Seasonal down.
Damian kicks off our stacked top 8 players on the Power Rankings list. Many may remember Damian from the top cut of the last Seasonal. Damian not only made another top cut but is one of the youngest players in the there, the only younger being FilthyGamerWeeb. Damian talked about a very interesting card as their most underrated: Sump Dredger. What would seemingly be an unassuming card, Damian sees as something more. Damian even acknowledges this in saying that “it seems that it is not that strong, but in reality it is one of the best (cards in Ez / Draven)”. It truly takes someone who has played a lot of the deck to see Sump Dredger as one of the best cards in the deck. I certainly would put at least 4-5 other cards above it, but clearly Damian has an understanding of the deck that many others don’t. Luckily for him, Ezreal Draven is certainly in a great position in the meta for this event, and I imagine we’ll be seeing more of Damian playing it this weekend.
While Stan has not won a Seasonal yet, he does have many other accolades. He notably is one of the most successful players in our GiantSlayer Fight Night events. These events are invite- only for the top players in the region. You get on any given week by being a top player or by making the finals of the previous Fight Night. Stan went on a streak where he was in 4 Fight Nights in a row. That may not seem like the most impressive feat, but when you consider that you need to get 1st or 2nd in an event that is basically a stacked top cut of any given event, the magnitude starts to really set in. Stan is great and has stood the test of time. In such a stacked region as Brazil, shining through as one of the best players is no easy feat.
6. Don MoeZera
You just have to love Moe. He’s not only a top player, but also one of the many great content creators in the community. Moe is not only known for his competitive prowess, but also for his educational and coaching content. He has made my Top Players to Watch list a few times now, but hasn’t been able to make the Top 32 until now. Moe had a rocky start to his first Seasonal before it even started. He hovered around top 8 on the ladder most of the season, but on the eve of the cutoff he had a bit of a losing streak and fell out of qualification. Moe ended up having to qualify through the Last Chance Gauntlet at that Seasonal. He’s come quite a ways since that first Seasonal, though. Moe ended up going 9-0 through the Swiss portion, sporting the controversial triple aggro lineup. There was a level of confidence that Moe played with during his rounds that we got to see a bit of on the broadcast. He had very fast and decisive plays that showed a level of understanding that you don’t just stumble upon. Moe may like to joke around on his stream and social media, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he isn’t one of the best competitors in the world right now.
Henneky is another player who made it on my Top Players to Watch list for the Swiss last week. Henneky is also continuing a tradition of having Top 32’d three out of four Seasonals. Not only that, but Henneky went on to top 4 the previous two Seasonals that he played in. I was asked a question over the weekend, and players like Henneky may have answered it. The question was “If you were already qualified for Worlds, why would you be trying super hard for this Seasonal?”. Clearly we see many players who are already qualified for Worlds Qualifiers try very hard for this event, and Henneky is no exception. Unfortunately for him, he’s no longer the only player with multiple Worlds qualifications racked up, so he’s really going to have to push to the next level to one up himself on that record.
What more is there to be said about WhatAmI? At this point it’s becoming an old hat to write about him in these events. Of course I will indulge more, as I just can’t help myself. Though there are actually quite a few other players in this top cut who have made 3 out of 4 Seasonal Playoffs, the fact that WhatAmI also has done that should not be underestimated. As I’ve mentioned in previous writeups, WhatAmI is all about the process. It’s not just about winning; He wants to play a beautiful game. And folks, let me tell you, we will be seeing a beautiful game played this weekend in all of the matches that WhatAmI plays. Well, beautiful if you think that Starshaping is a beautiful card...
TheBlackBoss is someone who I’ve written about and casted many times. They are widely considered one of, if not the best players in Brazil. In fact, he was one of the first people that was mentioned to me on Twitter when I didn’t include them on my Top 10 players to watch this Swiss. As is tradition, he immediately makes me look like a fool and makes the Playoffs. All joking aside, it’s absolutely on me for not including him. He is definitely one of the most accomplished BR tournament and ladder players. Not only that, but he is regularly called out as the best player in Brazil by the Brazilian community. With so many top players in Brazilian LoR, being considered the best by anyone in that community is certainly an achievement. Brazil has not yet taken an Americas Seasonal, but with BlackBoss in the top cut, this certainly could be the chance for Brazil to take it down.
FilthyGamerWeeb was my number 1 player to watch coming into the Swiss Rounds. Of course in true “make Blevins look silly” fashion, FGW did not stream their swiss run. That did not stop him from making his second Top 32 run. FGW hadn’t made a top cut since the very first Americas Seasonal, but over the past few months, FGW has been dominating the ladder and our Fight Night events. There are a select few players that I would consider not just good at a specific deck, but a master. FGW has certainly earned that title for his signature Twisted Fate Fizz deck, and it has once again led him to the Top 32. There’s one player ahead of him on my power rankings, but honestly, we may very well be seeing a new champion crowned this weekend.
This is going to seem like a cop-out choice for my number 1. “Oh, you just picked the former Seasonal Champion''. But the fact that Majiin has won a Seasonal is only part of the equation. Majiin has made the Top 32 three out of four times, with one being a win. Those numbers alone are nearly unprecedented. What also bodes well for Majiin is the testing group and community that he has behind him. The Mastering Runeterra Podcast community that he and Jason Fleurant run is all about prepping for tournaments and getting better at the game. So it should come as no surprise that both hosts are at the top of the tournament scene right now (Jason lost his win-and-in for the past two Seasonals). I’ve spoken in the past about the importance and benefits of having a strong testing team and/or community, and the proof is in the pudding. No one else has won a Seasonal and made it back in the following Top 32 in the Americas until now. Majiin is the first person in the Americas to potentially be a two time Seasonal Champion, and that cannot go unrecognized.
It’s great to have been covering the Seasonals since the beginning, because now we really start to see these players’ stories develop. With three previous Seasonals, we are now starting to really start seeing trends of amazing players. The beauty of Runeterra is the duality of its competitive tournaments. Anyone can show up to any given tournament, play well, and then potentially win the entire tournament. Being great on one single day can pay off. At the same time, we are also seeing consistency pay off. Players like Majiin, Henneky, WhatAmI, and others are putting in the work consistently at every Seasonal as well as the grassroots tournaments, and that consistency is also paying off. With Runeterra, we get to reward consistency without completely shunning the chance of a great finish if you aren’t competing in every single event. As the events and community progress and evolve over time, I’m confident that we’ll see even more familiar faces top-cutting these events. But I’m just as confident that we’ll see new stars born in them as well.