Top Dogs of the Post-Bandlewood Balance Patch Meta (And Their Counters)

Top Dogs of the Post-Bandlewood Balance Patch Meta (And Their Counters)

The Top Decks of the Patch 2.18.0 Meta and Their Counters

Every time I kick up my stream I get asked some variation of, “Hey Mr. Strimmer, What’s the best deck to climb ladder with right now?”.

I’m Jordan “WhatAmI” Abronson, and I may not have a full tier list for you, but I’ve got a solid set of decks that you can bring to ladder.

For each one, we’ll talk through its basic game plan, its strengths, weaknesses, and then some specific other deck concepts to bring if you want to counter it.

So kick back with me and let’s see who the winners of the last set of patch notes are turning out to be.


Dragons (LoR Deck)


[See Dragons deck details]

This was a lot of people’s day one deck when they saw the buffs and I do not blame them. We’ve seen it calm down a bit as the meta adapts but this one is still a contender.

It might not be exactly fancy, but whether it is turn three Shyvanna, turn seven Aurelion Sol, or just the aggro crushing combination of Solari Sunforger and Single Combat, the raw power cannot be denied.

Solari Sunforger (LoR Card)single combat jpg

We do have some consistency issues. There are plenty of times where we can brick our in the first four to five turns and just have to sit and watch while our opponent kills us.

If you’re looking to counter the lizardy menace then the two best directions to turn both have an aggressive lean to take advantage of those early game stumbles.

First on the list is good old spider aggro. The numbers simply do not lie. Spiders take down almost 70% of games against the slow-moving power of the dragon menace.

The second of course is…


Lurk (LoR Deck)


[See Lurk deck details]

While Lurk has always had a few staunch advocates, it’s been a while since it was a significant portion of the metagame. Now in showing up to prey on the slower unit-based midrange and control decks it is claiming center stage.

This deck is often denigrated as a “Slam your units forward and hope you hit,” deck, but that is far from the truth.

The play patterns involved are pretty impressively complex, and whether you are the control deck or the aggro deck changes repeatedly based on matchup and game state.

Also, no one seems to be able to agree on the right build of this deck. Bloodbait, Rite of Negation, Bone Skewer, and even occasionally Preservarium have made appearances.

This is my favorite, as I love early Rek’Sai levels, but I am by no means an expert.

Bloodbait (LoR Card)Preservarium (LoR reveal)

I’ve talked a bit with some of my local Lurk experts, and they are sufficiently confident in certain matchups I originally felt were favored that I hesitate to give too many direct counters.

However, there’s one that I’m sure of and the Lurkers out there seem to grudgingly agree on.



Sion (LoR Deck)


[See Sion deck details]

Sometimes you just can’t keep a good man down or in this case a bad one dead. Sion and his pals got a veritable cornucopia of nerfs, but they are still ready to come out swinging.

Tiny unit aggro decks fold and falter as the board trades down and your late-game units clean everything up.

Sion level 1 (lor card) Sion level 2 (lor card)

Even some midrange or control decks can have issues dealing with the unending value, stream of fearsome attackers, and game endingly powerful suite of burn spells.

What the nerfs have accomplished thankfully is that this deck has real counters now.

Solid hardcore control decks packing quick ways to end the game such as Darkness or Bandle Tree feel very solid into the overwhelming menace.

But above them all, if you want to drop the hammer down on this archetype there is simply one place to turn…

Lee Sin

Lee Sin (LoR Deck)


[See Lee Sin deck details]

This deck or some variation on it has been around since almost as far back as most Runeterra players can remember.

It has a simple powerful game plan of building a wall, preventing interaction with the said wall, and then kicking its opponents straight into orbit.

When that doesn’t work Zoe level can take games down just fine, and the newly buffed Solari Priestess jumps in to add to the pile of win conditions.

This may occasionally be the most frustrating deck to play against as either aggro or control.

Zoe level 1 (LoR Card) Zoe level 2 (LoR Card)

Your swarms of little minions get stopped dead by Dragonlings. Sion gets Stunned, or even Comet-ed.

Every time you try to kill Lee or even Zoe there’s a Twin Discipline or Deny standing in the way laughing. So what’re we to do against this menace? Is this the new tier zero?

Twin Disciplines (LoR Card)

I’m not ready to call it that quite yet. Proponents of Lurk as shown above have had some modest success in pressuring down the blind monk before he gets rolling, or Jaul Fishing his later game attempts.

Dragons can give him a run for his money, and the next one on the list does pretty well as well. Presenting…

Radiant Sivir

Radiant Sivir (LoR Deck)


[See Radiant Sivir deck details]

Some variation of Sivir has been able to hold a place near the top of the metagame ever since the set of buffs that put her on our radar in the first place.

This one, in particular, takes advantage of recent tech Radiant Guardian and the buff to Vanguard Sergeant to deal with early aggression.

Radiant Guardian (LoR card)

After that, the suite of buffs, removal, and dangerous combo turns to make this one of the hardest to play but most rewarding decks currently available. It brings the hammer down on combo decks and makes control’s life extremely difficult.

As the old villains come out to play though, their old counters will rise along with them.

This next deck is one that was originally created because of the prevalence of Sivir decks, and still specializes quite nicely in shutting down their nonsense…


Plunder (LoR Deck)


[See Plunder deck details]

This is another one that combines early and midgame pressure with a devastating late-game engine to put the hurt on many other midrange decks.

Whatever you think you are trying to accomplish, a leveled Sejuani backed up by a Warning Shot is very likely to make you think again.

sejuani level twowarning shot jpg

Gangplank also allows some pretty unreasonable high roll potential, sometimes swinging in leveled on five, while combo-ing with Dreadway later to destroy stalled boards. Add a bit of interaction and the ability to steal your opponent’s best tools and you’ve got yourself a solid deck.

Gangplank level 1 (LoR Card) Gangplank level 2 (LoR Card)

This one can have issues with some of the scarier ones near the top of this article. Dragons can simply playthings that are too large too fast for you to reliably answer, and unless you have exactly leveled Sejuani on time Lee Sin can be pretty hard to answer.


Round and round and round we go, when we’ll stop, no one knows. The metagame is always moving and turning.

I haven’t even been able to touch on some new powerful innovations such as Glorious Evolution Shellfolk or Bandle City Teemo/Sejuani in the time I have here.

That said these six feel like they are very solid places to start if you are looking to climb ladder, or build a lineup for a tournament.

Best of luck to everyone and as always I will see you out there on the ladder.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask WhatAmI during his streams (around 10AM PST basically every day).

WhatAmI streams at around 10AM PST every day