Legends of Runeterra Tournament Meta Analysis
With Legends of Runeterra still in Open Beta, the LoR competitive scene has been growing from the grassroots of the community.
We’re excited to share the decks of the top 8’s from NA and EU of Duels of Runeterra 3, a 140 player tournament organized by Monokuma Esports.
Since we didn’t have access to the game footage from top 8, we’ll be focusing more on the deckbuilding choices that the players brought rather than the decisions they made in-game.
Let’s dive in!
The folks at Monokuma Esports have been getting ongoing feedback from competitive players to experiment and fine-tune with different formats.
For this particular tournament, they opted for a double-elimination 2 deck Conquest (which got an 80% vote prior to the tournament).
Basically the way this works is that a player brings two decks and must win once with both decks in order to win their series.
The two decks cannot overlap with regions. For example, if a player brings Kinkou Elusives (Ionia + Freljord) for their first deck, they wouldn’t be able to play Control Ezreal (Piltover/Zaun + Freljord).
The decks were submitted ahead of time but were unknown to the players, so they went into each matchup blind.
For those of you that want to explore the decklists on your own, here’s a list according to the final standings.
Top 8 EU
5th (tied) Freshlobster
5th (tied) Gvuardya
7th (tied) Presto0785
7th (tied) AthenaGracias
Top 8 NA
5th (tied) Naidai
5th (tied) JadeShoe
7th (tied) Gummi
7th (tied) Cr0cAI
We saw all six regions represented in multiple decks, with Ionia and Shadow Isles leading the way with the other regions not too far behind. Noxus sticks out as the least chosen having representation in only 5 of the 32 decks.
When comparing NA vs EU, region representation was very similar outside of Freljord which 7 EU players took in comparison to 4 NA players, and Piltover/Zaun which 6 NA players chose in comparison to 4 EU players.
In terms of region combinations, Shadow Isles + Demacia was the most popular combination of the tournament at 6 decks.
This isn’t surprising as Demacia didn’t have many other potential pairings outside of DE + IO. Choosing SI + DE allowed players to opt for other strong options like IO + FR Kinkou Elusives or PZ + FR Ezreal Control.
It’s also worth noting that none of the 32 decks went with a mono region (not too surprising though since there hasn’t really been a strong mono deck that’s lasted long in the meta yet).
Combined (EU + NA)
- IO = 14
- SI = 13
- FR = 11
- DE = 11
- PZ =10
- NX =5
- SI + DE = 6
- PZ + FR, DE + IO = 5
- SI + IO, IO + FR = 4
- NX + PZ = 3
- PZ + IO, SI + PZ, FR + NX, SI + NX, FR + SI = 1
- FR, IO = 7
- SI = 6
- DE = 5
- PZ = 4
- NX = 3
- IO + DE, PZ + FR = 3
- SI + DE, IO + FR, IO + SI = 2
- FR + NX, PZ + NX, SI + NX, FR + SI = 1
- IO, SI = 7
- DE, PZ = 6
- FR = 4
- NX = 2
- SI + DE = 4
- SI + IO, NX + PZ, PZ + FR, DE + IO, IO + FR =2
- PZ + IO, SI + PZ = 1
14 champions found a place in at least one of the final 32 decks.
The 10 champs that didn’t make the cut in either top 8 were: Lucian, Garen, Lux, Braum, Yasuo, Katarina, Vladimir, Darius, Teemo, and Kalista.
Elise and Hecarim were by far the most popular appearing together in 10 decks while Zed (7 decks) and Ezreal (6 decks) were the next tier of choice.
All other champs (Fiora, Karma, Tryndamere, Ashe, Heimerdinger, Jinx, Shen, Thresh, Anivia, and Draven) were only in 1 to 4 decks.
Combined (EU + NA)
- Elise = 10
- Hecarim = 10
- Zed = 7
- Ezreal = 6
- Karma = 4
- Fiora = 3
- Tryndamere = 2
- Ashe, Heimerdinger, Jinx, Shen, Thresh, Anivia, Draven = 1
- No champ deck = 1
- Ezreal/Zed = 4
- Hecarim/Elise = 3
- Tryndamere, Karma = 2
- Ashe, Draven, Anivia, Fiora, Shen, Thresh = 1
- Elise, Hecarim = 7
- Zed = 3
- Ezreal, Fiora, Karma = 2
- Heimderinger, Jinx, no champs = 1
Commentary and Analysis
Decks were similar to the ranked ladder
Although we didn’t see all the decks that have become staples in the meta, we did see a ton of familiar faces.
Most notable, were of course, Fearsome Rally and Kinkou Elusives. Both of these midrange decks have been dominating basically since after Patch 0.9.0 so it isn’t too surprising that they’d be staples in the tournament meta.
Players valued versatility
Out of the 32 decks, 19 of them were midrange. In comparison, there were 5 combo/control (Frostbite Ezreal) decks, 4 control decks, and 4 aggro decks.
In a conquest format where you need to secure a win with each of your decks, many players opted to choose decks that could cover many matchups rather than opt to build decks designed to counter particular matchups.
Players didn’t want to risk playing aggro
Despite 2 of the top 3 EU players (Nawatix and Saltyrice) and the 1st place player of NA, Execreation having aggro decks in their lineup, most players avoided playing aggro.
According to Prohibit, our in-house expert, and top-10 Master in NA,
“Aggro decks are always popular on ladder. You get fast games, they’re relatively easy to pilot, you can get nut draws, makes climbing faster even if you win less games than your grindy control deck.
However, in a tournament with this format, it can be scarier to run an aggro deck as a bad matchup or a bad draw usually loses you the game.
In comparison, midrange and control can benefit from mana banking during early turns.
In this conquest format, you can always have two chances for consistency if you put your aggro deck first in the line up.
However, True aggro decks don’t make up much of the meta in our data set so it makes sense that not many people would’ve brought aggro as their comfort picks.
Midrange is by far the most popular deck type in our data from the ranked ladder.”
Where was Heimerdinger and Lux?
Ezreal along with his Elnuk friends were the most popular choice for players that wanted to play a control style until comboing in the late game. Control Karma also saw some play with variants to Spooky Karma.
Other staple champions used for control on the ladder include Heimderdinger and Lux – why didn’t we see Lux at all and Heimerdinger only once?
Due to the format, these champions were just a bit too hard to fit in if you wanted to play some of the top choices.
Choosing Lux, who is often paired with Ionia, removes the possibilities of running Kinkou Elusives or Fearsome Rally.
Heimerdinger is in a similar boat, needing Ionia in most cases, and we did see Shalan pairing a Heimerdinger + Karma control deck with Fearsome Rally.
However, most control + combo players opted for Ezreal, who may be easier to pilot for players who don’t want to plan ahead to get the right spells they need for certain Heimer turrets.
Interesting tech choices
The 1st place finishers for each top 8 had some notable tech choices. For example, EU’s Ace’s variant of Rally Fearsome had Darkwater Scourges, a card you usually don’t see without Death Mark.
Execration, the 1st place finisher from NA, opted for one-ofs such as The Box, Atrocity, Rhasa the Sunderer, and Commander Ledros for their midrange Shadow Isles + Ionia deck.
The tournament meta was very similar to what we see on ladder in terms of the archetypes we saw, especially for the more popular midrange decks.
The format encouraged bringing lineups that did well against a general matchup spread rather than trying to counter particular archetypes.
Instead, we saw some interesting tech card choices within the deck archetypes so players could have flexibility.
Although we did see a good spread of regions represented, there were a good amount of champions that weren’t included.
We’re really looking forward to seeing the LoR competitive scene grow! Be sure to follow @MonokumaEsports and support other tournament organizers.
If you want to see us cover more competitive play, let us know!