The Big Winners of the Aphelios Patch Meta-Shift
Hey fam, Jordan “WhatAmI” Abronson here with a breakdown for you on the tectonic shift created by LoR’s Patch 2.1.0.
We had a whole pocket full of buffs and nerfs alongside a mini-moon-release and that has given our once quiescent metagame a serious shaking.
Let’s look at how it’s all starting to come out.
Deck Code: CECAGAIABENC2AQDAADA4BABAIQCKKZRAEBAAAICAEAQEEYEAEAAWFJTGQAA
Seriously, can I have a real talk moment with y’all?
This deck has been around since beta in one permutation or another and we still haven’t gotten it a cool name?
I guess I’d complain more if I could come up with one but they all just seem lame.
Challenger Barrier? Tempo Challenger? $@^& your aggro deck?
Somehow none of them quite roll off the tongue.
At any rate post-patch, two of the biggest dogs around are Anivia and Twizz (Go Fish).
Fiora Shen (☹) has quite reasonable matchups into both of those, and an all-around solid plan against anything random showing up to get in its way.
On top of that with the Farron nerf our biggest counter in Draven/Ezreal has really fallen out of the public eye.
I don’t think it really got that much worse, people just kind of forgot about it.
What that means is that Fiora/Shen is quite well-positioned for either tournaments or ladder play right now.
Deck Code: CEBAIAIBAMKBQMQDAECQGFBRAMBACAIMDUDACBIBB4JR2KBWAEBQKEQBAEAQCAI
This one at least has an excuse. The name is what it does.
Play Anivia, then play more Anivia, wait for a few turns and make LOTS of Anivia. It has an Anivia flavored birthday cake and wears Anivia-print underwear.
We’re practically rushing the stage and asking Anivia to marry us while she’s in the middle of her set.
This deck has kind of always been floating around the fringes of tier-two waiting for its chance to strike.
It had one big moment a while back with the Braum buff, before kind of fading into obscurity again when he lost his aggro-punishing power.
Then Gluttony came along and seriously super-charged this deck.
I mean, you’re still not going to win till turn fourteen or so, but with five ways to suicide Anivia profitably instead of just three you are way more consistent in applying pressure around turn seven-ten, and that is a huge deal for this deck.
With a slightly favorable matchup into Twizz and pretty impressive matchups across the board against almost everything not packing Ionia, Anivia is sitting pretty near the top of the heap right now.
We’ll have to watch the next few weeks to see if she can keep her throne going into the seasonal.
Deck Code: CECQMAIEBAMRWJBUHIBQCAIBBMVACAYBAIAQEBAKAEBQIFACAEAQCHQBAECDCAA
With luscious locks, unreal amounts of card draw, and enough freeze spells that you can’t shake a stick at them, EzFreezy is here to party.
Versions of this deck have been around for a long time, at one point even sporting a full Elnuk package, but with the new shift, this deck looks poised to mount a comeback.
Playing this deck competitively is always a tough call because it is set up to have serious problems against more aggressive opponents.
That said, if your opponent can just chill for a bit, then they are going to have some serious problems winning the game through your barrage of freezes and mushrooms.
What this all boils down to is that anytime a control heavy metagame rolls around with lots of Ionia and Frej/SI decks clogging up the game till turn ten or later, this deck is going to be in a good spot.
With everyone interested in trying out the new version of Anivia, as well as all the ridiculous amounts of Targon Control variants floating around sporting Moon Man Aphelious front and center, EzFreezy is in a great spot to steal victory from unsuspecting opponents not ready to apply sufficient pressure.
4. Burble Temple
Deck Code: CEBQQAYJEMZUSVTC3EA5WAO5AEBAGBQHCEBAEBQ2FMAQEAYJKTLQCAA
Speaking of unreasonable amounts of Targon, what happens when you combine the late-game staying power of Invoke control with the unreasonable tempo of Wiggly Burblefish?
The answer is this monstrosity of a deck, looking to tempo out its opponents with pure power and close games with huge board swings, a leveled Twisted Fate, or a giant Celestial threat off of Starshaping.
This deck is very new so I don’t have a comprehensive matchup spread for you but it is posting some pretty crazy results.
Your Twisted Fate levels Up insanely quickly, and can even be protected a bit on his way there.
Your Aphelios creates two spell mana three-four Challenger units, and you’ve got a serious amount of card draw to keep everything running at full clip.
This is the new Twizz on the block, just trying to power its opponents down with board after board after board of Elusives, massive Challenger creatures, or both, while constantly threatening a game-winning level Up of Twisted Fate.
While it’s only been around for about a week and isn’t totally refined yet, keep an eye on some version of this list to post some potentially serious results in the weeks to come.
Or just bring it to ladder and bury your opponents in an avalanche of cephalopodic doom.
5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Tahm Raka)
Deck Code: CEBAIAYGAQDQQDYIAMERGIZNGM2DOPCVAIAQGBQJAEBQSHIA
So this might seem like a little bit of an odd pick for a deck that got better after the shift given that it has six cards in it that got nerfed.
Those three Hush’s and three Pale Cascade’s are definitely not happy about the most recent set of patch notes.
Let’s try to look below surface level here though.
In the same vein as Fiora, one of this deck’s most hated matchups was Draven/Ezreal.
You simply could not keep up a Soraka on the board against their onslaught of removal, and you couldn’t deal with their value engines without one.
But where has the menace gone? We took away one of the Decimates from their eight drop and suddenly they just vanished, *Poof*.
What that means is that the only other decks really capable of dealing with the Star Spring-based win condition are the big Targon invoke decks, all of which have been slimming down with the advent of Aphelios.
On top of that Ashe/Sej with their Reckonings and Fearsome decks trying to kill us aren’t really anywhere to be found either.
What this sounds like to me is all of the counters to an oft-forgotten powerhouse of a deck are on the decline, which makes it a beautiful time for the healers to shine.
You’ve still got to watch out for the occasional Ruination to rain on your parade but even then you’ve often had enough time to get the value that you can just make a new board.
I would not be surprised to see this deck make some serious waves in the coming weeks or even at the seasonal.
6. Slow Burn
Deck Code: CECACAQDBECACBABEQTDIAQDAQCRCAYBAMKC4MYDAMAQIGY7HIAQCAZXAEBQGDIA
Alright, I know this one is a bit of a hot take seeing as how I’ve been saying it’s on the decline for the whole article, but hold tight because we are going to go into some serious metagaming here.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Farron nerf really wasn’t that big.
While the third Decimate was occasionally important against large control decks or slower midrange mirrors, most of the time you have the board control and two will be enough to get it done.
More important than that, your good matchups that are looking to be on the rise aren’t the ones where that third Decimate mattered.
It mattered more than anything in your bad matchups and in the mirrors.
Well, the mirror is always going to be 50/50 ignoring a few tech cards, and all making bad matchups worse does is increase the polarization of the deck, not its power.
If we start to see a rise in things like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Fiora/Shen, Fiora/Shen, and EzFreezy, as I suspect we should, then old reliable here might get a new lease on life.
Do your best to watch as the meta continues to shift, and if you see your chance then taking Slow Burn to town in the right spot might lead to some very cool moments.
Don’t forget about this deck just because it’s one Decimate short of where it used to be, it is definitely not to be underestimated.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask WhatAmI during his streams (around 10AM PST basically every day).