Seasonal Tournament Meta Preview: A Curious Journey
This one has been a long time coming and now it is right around the corner.
My name is Jordan “WhatAmI” Abronson, and whether you’re an old hat or a new face, hyped up to be getting in through the gauntlet, or fighting for that bye, you’re going to want to know the pillars of the meta as you draft your lineup.
Let’s check them out.
Deck Code: CECQGBIJAMCQMAIBAAEQGAYJDMRVYAIDAAHACBAAAICQEAYJCMZQCAIADIAQKCQ5AEBAAAIBAUEQIAIBAMETU
This deck has been nerfed a solid couple of times and is still kicking around at the top of the power rankings. There’s just a certain impressive simplicity to the idea of “Make big unit and swing,” that many archetypes are not set up to be able to effectively play into.
Not to say this is an easy deck to pilot by any means. Proficient Pantheon players will find themselves thinking far into the future as early as turn two or three. Tracking when you are going to get the necessary triggers for your champions’ level-ups and when to risk losing your key units is a huge skill test.
The reason this one gets the nod in the first position over so many others is that even in bad matchups some hands are simply too powerful to stop. I’ve seen this deck out value control and out race aggro, and I expect to see an awful lot of them come seasonal time.
2. Feel The Rush
Deck Code: CECACBABBYBACAIDBQBAGAIGCYBQCBIBDUUAGAIEAEFAGAIFB4MSCBABAEARIJZSAA
Another deck that gets its chops from simply doing something too powerful to be argued with, Feel the Rush is a major contender. The game plan is extremely straightforward. Destroy whatever early and midgame plans your opponents have, and then drop one of a passel of game-ending bombs.
I’m still advocating for a slightly more old-school version of this deck, with the only anti-mirror technology being the second Ledros. This is because I like to preserve the consistency of the anti-aggro gameplan that makes up the base level of this archetype’s matchup table.
I’ve always been of the opinion that if you want to play the greedier form of this deck and slam in more ramp than control tools, you should just be playing the Ionia version. It’s a bit less consistent, and a bit weaker to aggro, but can do some downright unreasonable things in control mirrors.
This is the one you’ll see more often though as it is more traditional and more straightforward. Most decks that are planning to play fair will have significant problems matching up to either the answers or the questions that Shadow Isles/Freljord control can put on the board.
Deck Code: CEBQMBAHDQSSMSKZNUBAKCSJUMAQCBIHBMBQCBIKDMBQIBYNHNGACBIHA4BQCBAHRIAQCBIHCEAQKCQG
Note that I did say most. This right here is our format’s powerful control buster. Let me tell you that trying to use things like Vengeance and Ruination to play into Ancient Hourglass, Rite of Negation, and Endless Devout is an immense exercise in frustration.
We’re a midrange deck at its best. There are strong efficient beaters, coupled with a sprinkle each of interaction, protection, and card draw. Most decks that try to go over the top will end up falling to our powerful protected threats before they can get their gameplans running.
That said this pillar has a significant weakness to direct aggression. With only six units that can possibly exist on the board on turns one and two, it can be unfortunately easy to get swarmed under before we are ready to adequately defend ourselves.
The total lack of healing doesn’t really help our case in that particular direction either, though Rite of Negation can occasionally pick of a pesky Decimate. That said unless we are being out-raced there are very few decks that can stand up to us toe to toe.
Deck Code: CEBQGAQGCYTDYBIBAMBAYDZFFABAEAYDAQBQCBIGAEAQCAZOAIBAMGR6AIAQEBRAAEBQMBQ
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When people get too focused on overall power and preparing midrange against midrange or control against control, it’s time for aggro to make a comeback. Decimate has been a powerful card since day one in Runeterra and little has changed.
The less healing you see in the format, the more early swarm units backed by a few hard clonks to the top of the head at the top end gain power. I’m a fan of keeping this deck as low to the ground as possible. If we want Vengeance to be a dead card against us, let’s keep that true.
To that end we’re only on a very few top-end cards, primarily relying on our smaller lads to get the job done. This is a deck where every point of damage matters, so you’ve got to play precisely from turn one. The shorter the game, the more magnified even a small mistake can be into a potential loss.
Deck Code: CEBQMBIKCQQDDJQBW4A5SAIBAIDC4AQDBER5SAICAQCQUEZISEA3CAIBAMETGAQCAUFNCAOSAEAQGCKV
This last one is definitely the dark horse of the lot. However, I’ve been seeing it put up some impressive results lately so I feel like it deserves its time in the spotlight here as we gaze at the oncoming train of seasonals.
Very much what you would call an orthogonal win condition deck, Afaelios looks to come at you from multiple hard to answer angles and hope that your defenses buckle along the way. Aphelios on his own can obviously destroy games, but where do we go from there?
Well, the fae package still swarms impressively. Gleaming Lantern is a great way to go unreasonably wide. If your opponent can’t match your board state they may find themselves simply run over by angry faeries.
Beyond that Fizz is actually a really rough threat if you manage to beef him up a bit. The Attach keyword was made for Spellshielded units, and Fizz often has more protection than that. A double-strike Fizz is not something that most opponents will survive.
That said we don’t deal all that well with anyone who presents threats we need to answer. Our swarm can help us win aggro matchups, but Pantheon and other large single unit decks can be quite rough. I’m excited to see how this deck fares under the lights come seasonals.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask WhatAmI during his streams (Tuesday-Thursday around 3PM PST and weekends for tournaments).