Discovering the LoR Tournament Meta (Patch 1.6) by SchitJustWorks

Discovering the LoR Tournament Meta (Patch 1.6) by SchitJustWorks

This guest post is by one of the awesome content creators from our Mobalytics Partners Program, Sh!tJustWorks! He’s deeply involved in LoR’s competitive scene as a caster for some of the biggest tournaments. Outside of tourneys, he also creates incredible content on Youtube and streams on Twitch. Enjoy, and be sure to give him a follow!

Patch 1.6 Tournament Roundup – Discovering the Meta

What’s up everyone! If you don’t already know who I am, then I’m actually a bit concerned because you’re missing out. What have you been doing with your life? =P

My name is Justin, but I go by Sh!tJustWorks in the LoR and gaming community.

You’ll typically find me casting various Legends of Runeterra tournaments including Duels of Runeterra, Jam Fest, BR Fest, BR Legends, and the PCS Trophy Qualifier events.

arena battlecaster

I also have a Youtube channel where you can find not only the casting footage from these events but also different deck videos and other content revolving around video games.

In other words, I think it goes without saying: SMASH THAT SUB BUTTON!! *cough* OKAY *cough*, anyways…I am super excited to be able to bring you additional written content here on Mobalytics!

I’ve been doing my best to put out as much information as possible regarding the evolving competitive scene in LoR, and this seemed like an awesome opportunity to provide a more in-depth look at the tournament metagame right out of the gate.

So strap yourselves in, I’ll be summarizing a TON of my findings over this past weekend across multiple LoR tournaments!

Tournament Rundown

To start, I want to quickly summarize where I grabbed my information from. As much as I wish I could cover EVERY tournament in EVERY region for Runeterra, I only have so many hours of sleep I can skip. So, in lieu of scouring Reddit and making way too much work for myself, I’m going to be going off of four specific tournaments:

I had the pleasure of casting three of these tournaments alongside both Boulevard and SparklingIceT, with Fight Night being cast by the amazing Casanova and the one and only Blevins.

twisted fate level 2 splash

I decided to use Fight Night as the 4th tournament due to the caliber of players invited. I felt this would give us a good representation of top tier players and how they are maneuvering through these perilous post-Patch 1.6 times!

One thing I do want to note in regards to the numbers I gathered: these tournaments vary in formats. As an example, DoR 13 was a best-of-five no ban format, which cut to Top 16 (bring 3 decks). Fight Night, on the other hand, only had players bring 2 decks with them to the tournament, with no bans.

The goal of some of the numbers you will see below is to determine where the meta may be headed and what decks are proving to be the most popular right out of the patch 1.6 gate.

Also, I did group certain archetypes together. As an example, I was initially going to separate some of the Ezreal archetypes but decided to include them all in one category which I think gives a better idea of how the meta is shaping up. Bannerman is another perfect example of a deck that has various iterations.

At the end of the day, both of these decks have a core strategy that they don’t necessarily stray too far from regardless of what champions/regions they play. If it’s got Bannerman, it’s Bannerman. If it’s got Ezreal, well guess what? Yup.

For each tournament, I’ll be providing a quick deck distribution rundown as well as some insight on the finals matches (and decklists). Stay tuned for the end of the article as I’ll be mushing all of these tournaments together to provide an overview of the most played decks as well as a deck with Aurok Glinthorn in it!?

For more information on any of these tournaments, please click the tournament titles above which will direct you to their associated event pages!

BR Legends #2

Going in chronological order, BR Legends was the first major tournament (to my knowledge) that occurred after patch 1.6 went live!

BR Legends The Brazilian teams participating in the tournament were:

lor team logos

The logos for the participating BR Legends teams.

Team IQ: 4LW, BlackBoss, Leozera, Sudrakon
Team Tetado Urso: Hexen, Hokage, Mateus, Raygeki
Team CdR: Navarro, Corno, Italianex, Akihiko
Team Sultans: Defenswar, Realkey, SharkGui, Trivo

The tournament consisted of two groups (two teams in each group) completing a round-robin with each other (4 rounds), and then a cut to Top 8. Each competitor used 3 decks, banning one in each match. Each match was best of 3.

Deck Distribution

For the very first tournament, we saw what I think a lot of people expected after compiling their initial thoughts after patch 1.6.

Various iterations of Ezreal decks (Draven, Swain, Karma, Vi, TF, Gangplank) reared their ugly head, comprising 23% of the total decks played (48 total decks) in all 16 players’ decks.

Mid-range Frostbite, another consistent and reliable archetype towards the end of patch 1.5, also saw a 23% play rate. Deep (12.5%) and Bannerman (10.4%) rounded out the top 4 decks. Beyond that, 9 entirely different deck archetypes were played outside of those 4 decks.

Midrange Frostbite details

Also, something I’d like to make note of across all of these tournaments is the % of decks that occupy the top 4 most played decks vs. the % of decks outside of that.

For BR Legends, we had 68.75% of the decks being the more commonly played, vs. 31.25% of the decks being more creative and/or just less represented in general. Another note: this tournament is where we see our first taste of Spooky Karma as one player did opt to run the deck.

BR Legends #2 Finals

To start of the finals, Sudrakon banned 4LW’s Draven/Ezreal deck, and 4LW banned out Sudrakon’s Pirate Aggro deck.

Game 1 consisted of 4LW taking his Tempo Sej/Gangplank up against Sudrakon’s Zed Bannerman, with 4LW winning.

Game 2 saw 4LW’s Deep Sea Monsters lose to the Zed Bannerman, which is typically a matchup in which an aggressive Bannerman deck does have the advantage.

Game 3 saw the Deep deck actually squeeze out a victory vs. Sudrakon’s Freeze Ezreal deck, meaning 4LW took home the BR Legends victory! Both players were from Team IQ, however, so I’m pretty sure they were both happy regardless of the outcome. 😉

My Thoughts: Unfortunately, we did not get to see the Pirate Aggro deck play in the finals with it being banned out.

From watching the earlier rounds in the tournament, Pirate Aggro did perform relatively well, which we see is true with Sudrakon piloting it very well during the round-robin rounds and Top 8 going 4-0 and 2-0 respectively.

We do see both players opting to bring a version of Ezreal which is, notably, NOT Karma Ezreal which I feel everyone was worried would claim the meta once again after patch 1.6. There were actually 4 Karma Ezreal decks played in the entire tournament, with players opting into alternate iterations of the deck on 7 different occasions.

Deep Sea Monsters did ‘seem’ to perform well in this tournament, and many of the players did bring the deck thinking it would perform well.

However, after seeing the finals games with Deep, I’m not convinced that this deck is at all good after the patch 1.6 changes.

There were two players that opted to bring Corina Control and Spooky Karma to BR Legends, both decks that I think are better now (namely Spooky Karma).

Endure Sacrifice decks were also present and seem to be popular again even after the They Who Endure nerf. Oh, and yes, sacrifice! NOT spiders! There aren’t even any Brood Awakening in the deck anymore! How long must we continue to call it this!? X_X

Fight Night: Reckoning

Next up, we had Fight Night: Reckoning! This tournament was one heck of an event, and had some of the best and brightest Legends of Runeterra players facing off against one another in a 2 deck, no ban, double elimination bracket.

reckoning tournament

This invite-only event featured the following players: rattlingbones, 4LW, Glop, BBG, NicMakesPlays, Sudrakon, ChristmasTime, Nolagold, STAN, freshlobster, Cephalopod, Winding God, hyped, Gvuardya, Presto, and HotSoup!

Deck Distribution

The first thing that sticks out is that Fight Night, similar to BR Legends, also had approximately a 31% rate of decks being played that were outside of the more commonly chosen archetype’s.

There were 9 of these ‘other decks’ in total. Ezreal and Mid-Range Frostbite maintained the one and two spots with 28% and 19% respectively.

Tempo Sejuani/GP and Bannerman rounded out this top 4 with a 13% and 9% rate, respectively.

Tempo Sej GP

The only major difference from BR Legends for the top 4 chosen decks seems to be Tempo Sejuani vs. the Deep Sea Monster decks from Brazil.

Fight Night Reckoning Finals

The Fight Night finals were absolutely LIT! Largely in part, due to the one and only Nolagold being an absolute BOSS bringing his Casino deck into the finals!

[Watch match VOD]

Unfortunately, we did have to wait to see this deck in action as Game 1 brought us Nolagold’s Zombie Ashe vs. BBG’s Swain/Ezreal deck, which seems to be one of the more popular ways, since patch 1.6, to play Ezreal.

BBG was able to pick up this win but then had his now very well-known Lux/Thresh deck taken down by that same Zombie Ashe deck in Game 2.

Game 3 finally brought us the action we had all been waiting for putting the Casino deck up against the Lux/Thresh deck.

nolagod slotbot

Nolagold eventually took to victory over BBG by “hitting the jackpot on the Slotbot’s”, as Casanova put it, and crowned himself the winner of the first-ever Fight Night: Reckoning!

My Thoughts: In a word? ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Okay, that was two, but this outcome deserved it just as Nolagold deserved to win! To do it with such an awesome line-up in Casino and Zombie Ashe gives me a lot of hope for the current metagame. It’s a bit too early to call, but right now all signs are pointing North!

With that said, it was very refreshing to see zero representation of Karma/Ezreal in this tournament, with everyone that did choose Ezreal opting for either Draven, Swain, or Twisted Fate.

I was surprised to see only one person bring Pirate Aggro to this tournament, as it does seem like it should do well in the current format. In general, most people are straying away from burn and if they are playing an aggressive deck, it’s one of the many iterations of Bannerman/Scouts.

Also, after seeing the results of this tournament and two people having brought Endure decks, it seems safe to say that the archetype, while still viable, is substantially weaker than the Endure decks of old even with Will of Ionia at 5-mana.

PCS Trophy Qualifier #5

For those of you who may not already know about the PCS Trophy: what are you waiting for!? Click the link back at the beginning of this article and sign up already!!

PCS Conqueror's Cup Qualifier #5

The PCS Trophy is a sort of ‘league-based’ event that has a tournament each weekend for eight weeks.

1st and 2nd place of each tournament automatically qualify for the Grand Championship at the end of August, and points are awarded to all other places for additional chances to qualify.

These tournaments are always best of 3 matches with a single ban. Here were the Top 8 Brackets for this tournament:

pcs trophy bracket

Deck Distribution

This particular PCS event mirrored that of the other tournaments with both Ezreal and Mid-Range Frostbite as the top chosen decks, both at 16.5%. Bannerman, this time around, was also tied with Ezreal and MRF.

The difference in this tournament was the incredible resurgence of Corina Control being the fourth most played deck. However, Corina did not manage to make it into either player’s line-up for the finals.

Beyond the top 4 decks, this tournament had a slightly higher rate of players opting to take the path less traveled at 38%.

Unfortunately, and if you’ve played against the deck before you’ll know why I say, unfortunately, we see Spoopy Karma pop-up again in this tournament with one lone player bringing the deck.

Spoopy Karma

What Boulevard and I didn’t know, is that much more was in store once DoR #13 rolled around…

PCS Conqueror’s Cup Qualifier #5 Finals

For the finals, we saw Wargros take on Kreah – both newcomers to the Top 8 bracket in the PCS Qualifying events! Wargros had his Karma/Ez deck banned out, and Kreah had Endure Sacrifice banned.

Game 1 put Wargros’ Warmother’s Control deck against Kreah’s Scouts/Bannerman deck, with Kreah taking home the victory with the ability to be aggressive super early on in the match.

In Game 2, we saw Kreah now opt to utilize the Teemo Elusives deck that we have seen become popular over the last week. Unfortunately, Wargros’ MF/Lucian Bannerman deck did what it does best: aggro and rally.

This led us into game 3 where we actually saw the Teemo Elusive deck overtake the Warmother’s control deck! Yes, you heard me right – Teemo took home a victory in game 3 of finals. 😉

My Thoughts: After casting the entirety of the Top 8 for PCS, I think it’s safe to say that Corina is still not the best option in regards to the current control decks available in this meta.

With that said, there are a LOT of control decks available right now, which ends up being verified in DoR #13. We also don’t see any Deep Sea Monster decks represented here at PCS.

By the end of this tournament many of my thoughts on Deep were, I think, confirmed as far as its place in the metagame. I think that right now it is, at best, a B-Tier deck and is really only brought to the tournament scene for specific matchups you might be trying to counter.

Through these first 3 tournaments, I’m happy to see that there are so many experimental decks that are actually doing quite well.

Usually, after a patch update, it is common to see a wide selection of decks while people test out the landscape and try to figure out what works. Usually, when that happens, it’s quite obvious that many of the experimental strategies just won’t cut it.

Through Fight Night, BR Legends, and PCS, however, these ‘outliers’ seem to be giving the usual suspects (MRF, Ezreal, and Bannerman) a run for their money!

Duels of Runeterra #13 (NA)

There is only one way you haven’t heard of Duels of Runeterra by now and it’s if you live under a rock! One of the premier events in NA, EU, and more recently SEA, Duels of Runeterra is a bring 3-deck, one ban, best-of-three format during 8-9 Swiss rounds depending on the number of entrants.

duels of runeterra logo

After that, it’s a cut to Top 16 with players now playing best-of-five matches with no bans, single elimination.

I’ve had the pleasure of casting DoR since its early days of being named the ‘Monokuma’ event, and even though the name is different now, the 13th chapter of this tournament did not disappoint!

In fact, we ended up having a player in the finals who took home 1st place back at the 2nd ever tournament!

Here’s a rundown of the Top 16 players:

DoR bracket

Deck Distribution

Once again, Ezreal (23%) and Mid-Range Frostbite (17%) topped the list of decks being played, with Bannerman also tying MRF at 17%.

bannerman list

Once again, we have a different archetype appearing as the 4th deck in Lux/Thresh (10%).

In looking at the Lux/Thresh decklist, I think this is going to be a deck that is here to stay.

We did also see some Lux Control decks (namely paired with Karma) at other events, so it was no surprise to see a deck like this pop-up here. BBG also played this deck at the Fight Night: Reckoning tournament and was able to take it to the finals.

Again, I’d just like to note: 33% of decks were all over the place! We even saw some creative discard aggro variants pop-up with the new buffs to cards like Sump Dredger and Zaunite Urchin.

Most importantly, there was still that one guy (or gal) that brought Spooky Karma. Why is there always that one guy (or gal)!? WHY!? Unbeknownst to us, as we’ll see in just a second, bringing this deck did happen to work out well for THAT GUY!

Duels of Runeterra #13 NA Finals

For the finals of DoR #13 we had two familiar faces in Cephalopod and Agigas face off!

[Watch match VOD]

As I mentioned earlier, Agigas actually took home the 2nd ever Duels of Runeterra EU (with, at the time, the Monokuma name). Cephalopod on the other hand, has done incredibly well in almost every tournament he enters and is a regular top competitor.

With no bans, we got right into Game 1 putting the Spooky Karma deck of Agigas up against Cephalopod’s TF/Ezreal deck! Unfortunately for us casters, Cephalopod was able to take away this game from the Spooky Karma deck meaning we got to see another game of Spooky Karma! Yay! =)

Cephalopod’s Lux/Thresh deck (dubbed ‘BBG netdeck’) was not as lucky, however, and after turn #4765849 we saw the Spooky Karma deck take the victory!

With Agigas now switching decks, he opted to go with his Scouts/Bannerman. On turn 8, he was able to take the game from Cephalopod with an incredible amount of aggression from his scout units on board.

Cephalopod also seemed to be playing the wrong game, as he may have won if this was poker.

DoR vod screenshot

Game 4 was the absolute epitome of the current state of the format putting both players Mid-Range Frostbite decks (Agigas / Cephalopod) up against one another.

When the dust settled, Agigas was able to take away the mirror match from Cephalopod. Congratulations Agigas on being the only player alongside freshlobster to win an NA and EU Duels of Runeterra championship!

My Thoughts: After casting two rounds of Swiss as well as the Top 16 for this tournament, I can safely say that Lux/Thresh is like a deck that will stick around for a while. Another unfortunate turn of events is Spooky Karma.

It’s yet to be seen if this deck has the ability to stick around as the premier control deck in this format, but it is certainly making a name for itself.

Additionally, Karma/Ez was yet again a severely underrepresented archetype with only two players opting into that deck in the Top 16, with Ezreal/TF being the more popular iteration in this tournament.

As much as everyone loves to hate Karma, I just don’t think Karma/Ez is the Ezreal deck to beat anymore. There are just too many ways to play Ezreal!

Final Thoughts

I do quickly want to shout-out two decks that I think were the most creative and fun decks to make top cut in any of these tournaments!

First, we have (of course) Nolagold’s casino deck! Very cool to see such a fun deck win a tournament against some of the game’s top competitors, but we already knew that!

Secondly, we have what I’m calling for the time being ‘Birds and Spiders’, piloted by 4LW in DoR #13. As a note, he named it ‘Pain is Nothing’:

pain is nothing

Yes, that’s three Aurok Glinthorn you see there. Oh, and yes Brood Awakening is still apparently a card.

Overall, across all 4 tournaments here’s a rundown of the top decks played. Anything with over a 5% rate is on this list; everything else is lumped into the ‘All Other Deck Archetypes’ section:

  1. Ezreal (23%): It turns out that the most popular version of Ezreal is now the TF Riptide Burst version! Karma Ezreal was the 2nd most represented version, with the Noxus iterations (Draven or Swain) both in 3rd.
  2. Mid-Range Frostbite (19%): This was a no brainer, however, I do think this is a result of people wanting to bring a ‘safe’ option to any of these tournaments. This deck was gaining popularity towards the end of patch 1.5 and has stayed steady since then. I do think this deck will remain a sturdy option up until the new set drops, however I do expect its playrate to fall slowly.
  3. Midrange Bannerman (13%): This category includes aggro, mid-range, scouts; basically anything that is running the Vanguard Bannerman card! The two most popular ways to play the deck nowadays is a tie between Lucian/MF and Lucian/Zed. MF/Quinn was very right behind them in third, however, so I’m not sure there’s really any ONE way to play Bannerman. Then again, I’m pretty sure that’s how good ‘ol Mid-Range Bannerman has always been!
  4. Burn Aggro (7%): This spot for burn aggro is deceiving. I actually had to combine multiple decks to make up this category as there are no longer multiple (or even one) popular ways to play burn. It seems as though burn has died since the recent nerfs to things like Disciple, etc. However, I do expect Pirate Aggro to slowly become a highly played deck on ladder and eventually tournaments. This category also included the Teemo Elusive deck that won the PCS tournament. We now live in a world, where the only elusive decks run include Teemo. Oh no….
  5. Tempo Sejuani (7%): Interestingly enough, the more popular version now seems to be Gangplank/Sejuani as opposed to MF/Sejuani. Both archetypes, however, still seems quite viable and Gangplank overall as a champion seems to be getting stronger with each new patch that is released.
  6. Endure Swarm/Sacrifice (6%): It’s NOT EDURE SPIDERS! Now that that’s out of my system….I’m a bit surprised how little we saw this deck as I thought it would see a bigger resurgence at DoR than it did. It is nice to see Endure still succeed after a nerf, however, so I’m happy with this result!
  7. Lux Variants (5%): I fully expect to see this deck played more often as a go-to control archetype. Only time will tell which version will come out on top (Thresh, Karma, etc.).
  8. Deep Sea Monsters (5%): Bad. This archetype is just bad. Seriously. It does have some good match-ups, but I just don’t think it’s nearly as viable as when it was first released. I expect now that people have experimented with Deep after the patch, that this will continue to see a decline in play.
  9. All Other Deck Archetypes (14%): This included Casino, Keg Control, various Anivia Controls, Yasuo Control, Corina, and Discard Aggro.

So, where do I think this meta is headed? For starters: in a very good direction! With a new set scheduled for less than a month from now, I think we’ll be seeing a whole lot more experimentation outside of the major deck archetype leading up to that date.

One thing I’ve loved so far about LoR is that the metagame seems to always be changing and never stays stagnant. That is a breath of fresh air for anyone who has played multiple card games competitively.

That’ll do it! That’s all I have for the tournaments from this past weekend to get Patch 1.6 started off with a BANG! I hope that this article was not only helpful for all who took the time to read it, but informative in regards to staying current with the competitive scene.

Again, if you managed to make it this far, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel! I love making content for the community and being able to share it all in one place.

I do also stream regularly on Twitch in addition to my casting, so if you are looking to chat with me in person feel free to hop into chat. I’m warning you though, I probably won’t stop asking you questions or shut up.

As always, everyone stay healthy, stay positive, and I hope sh!t just works for ya! #positivitayyy See ya around!

Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed this guest post by Sh!tJustWorks. Be sure to follow him on Twitch, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook! If you have any questions, you can even ask him directly on Discord or by emailing him at