Hey, Agigas here!
Another day, another monster to slay. Last week, Dragons were everywhere and shaped the whole meta around them. With the massive increase in play rate of Dragons’ worst counters alongside the growing understanding that Dragons seem to be more of a Tier 2 option rather than a truly dominant Tier 1 deck, the archetype went from a 16% play rate all the way down to 4%.
Lurk was the main culprit in Dragons’ downfall – with its amazing win rate against them and high play rate, Lurk got a very successful first week in this new season. While Dragons’ numbers have significantly decreased, Lurk continues to see a lot of play and is now by far the most played deck with an 11% play rate over the last 3 days.
However, Lurk is far from being invincible. In fact, Lurk’s performance on the ladder has been significantly impacted by the lack of Dragons to slay. But this does not seem to have affected the deck’s play rate so far.
With such a high play rate and several existing strong counters, now is the perfect time to play some anti-Lurk decks!
Let me share with you some of the best options out there. I’ll start with the most well-known and popular ones then progressively get into more niche options. Lurk generally struggles against aggressive archetypes, as it needs time to scale up its Lurker’s attack, so be ready for a list of very aggressive decks!
- Win rate against Lurk: 65.2%
This archetype looks to create an aggressive early and midgame board thanks to the Discard synergies to create pressure and push damage all the while doing some value. Then, Sion comes down already leveled to finish games very decisively alongside burn damage.
I will spoil it to you right away, Draven Sion is not only one of the best ladder decks but also likely the single best counter to Lurk you can find. Lurk struggles to fight the constant aggression and burn damage, and their defenses against Sion are straight-up laughable.
How to play against Lurk:
- Mulligan for Draven, Zaunite Urchin, Boom Baboon, and Fallen Rider. Look to have a nice balance of Discard effects and Discard payoffs. Keep Sion if you already have some early game action.
Survivall Skillsis a very strong card to block an attacking Pyke, or simply keep a unit alive. They don’t have anything to kill your unit through it, and against their high attack units, a 1-health unit is often just as good as a full health one.
- Pyke is their key champion and can help them turn the tides of the game if they stack up his attack quickly. Bone Skewer and Pyke’s Bone Skewer is their best and only tool to prevent Pyke from dying, look to use your Get Excited! when they tap out or as an answer to it.
- If you get them low enough in the midgame, there is nothing they can do about Sion. They have no stuns, no Minimorph. Moreover, because most of their units have a very high attack, it’s hard for them to block Sion without killing and leveling him up, giving you the Rally to finish the game right away.
- Look to keep Arachnoid Sentry for Rek’Sai. A stun on her will be an absolute disaster for them. You can also play Arachnoid Sentry to remove a blocker for the turn when you look to finish them off, or to prevent a Lurk trigger if they only have 1 attacker for the turn.
- Win rate against Lurk: 60.0%
Zed Poppy has shown a remarkable start of the season, being the best-performing archetype of the meta with a 57% win rate. Because of that, the deck is finally starting to pick up in popularity and shows up as a great Lurk counter.
The game plan is extremely straightforward: play Elusive units, buff them, and Rally your way to victory. Zed and Poppy are both high-pressure champions, giving the deck an impressive early punch. Moreover, they both combine really well with your combat tricks and Rallies, making for a very synergistic deck.
How to play against Lurk:
- Mulligan for Fleetfeather Tracker, Greenglade Duo, and Zed. Keep Young Witch if you have Fleetfeather Tracker.
- Lurk is a very straightforward archetype and doesn’t have many ways to interact with your Elusives – only Pyke’s Death from Below and Bone Skewer, which is your only target for
- Be careful to not play a key unit on their attack turn when they can play a Redfin Hammersnout. We can pressure them, race them and kill them very easily if we setup our attackers for success.
- Pyke‘s Death from Below is their main tools to interact with our gameplan and win the game – Pyke can level up quickly if their Lurk triggers align nicely. Unfortunately you’re just as bad at interaction as them, so your best option is to simply race them before they get to come back and kill you.
- Lurk as an archetype is forced into attacking to get their lurk triggers. Playing Barrier effects with Brightsteel Protector or Golden Aegis on their attack turn can make their game plan really awkward if they can’t play a Redfin Hammersnout.
- Win rate against Lurk: 57.6%
Yordle Poppy is a hyper-aggressive deck looking to burn the opponent down. It plays a lot of strong early units to flood the board and push damage, and combines its powerful swarm strategy with a very high burn reach.
The deck was hit by a big nerf to Tenor of Terror and a lighter nerf to Stone Stackers but was able to recover from it by replacing Tenor of Terror with Lecturing Yordle, and still one of the best decks in the current meta.
How to play against Lurk:
- Mulligan for Inventive Chemist, Legion Rearguard, and Legion Saboteur. Creating an aggressive board as early as possible is key in this tempo-driven matchup.
- We are just as bad at interacting with Lurk as they are at interacting with us. This matchup is often a straightforward race, both players looking to kill the other as fast as possible.
- Look to play your Noxian Fervor when they can’t answer it with Bone Skewer.
- Out of this article, Yordle Burn is the list with the least consistent matchup against Lurk. There is very little room to maneuver. If our draw isn’t enough to race them down, the opponent will rapidly close out the game with their high attack units before we get time to find more burn damage.
- Win rate against Lurk: 60.5%
Gangplank TF emerged with Bandle City as a very strong burn midrange deck. While the deck lost the powerful Tenor of Terror, it is still showing up this season thanks to its great position in the meta – the deck gets a 55% win rate over the last 3 days, making it the 3rd most successful deck at the moment.
Gangplank TF looks to rapidly flood the board in the early game with the most powerful Bandle City and Bilgewater units to create pressure and push damages. All the while, it also deals a lot of direct Nexus damage with cards like Make it Rain or Inventive Chemist. The deck follows that up with a strong mid-game with Lecturing Yordle, Twisted Fate, and Kegs. Gangplank levels up easily and is a very powerful finisher.
How to play against Lurk:
- Mulligan for Inventive Chemist, Jagged Butcher, Marai Warden, and Stone Stackers. Keep Crackshot Corsair only if you are attacking on turn 1 and have no other 1-cost units.
- Look to pressure them early and push a lots of damage. If we get them in our burn’s range, the game gets very hard for Lurk – they aren’t very good at defending themselves, have no heal, and no counter-spells.
- Lurk doesn’t have many 1-health units, so you will have to do some work to set up the perfect Make it Rain or Twisted Fate’s Red Card.
- They do have a pretty good answer to a level Gangplank with Bone Skewer. Look to back up your Gangplank with a removal, such as Monster Harpoon. Because of Bone Skewer, we also have to avoid using Double Up when they have 2+ mana.
- Win rate against Lurk: 62.7%
Lurk tends to do very well against most off-meta decks, as those often need some setup to work or are simply not quite on the same power level as Lurk. However, when looking at some alternatives, Teemo Sejuani Bandle is a spicy deck that got my eyes because of its great matchup against Lurk, but also against Draven Sion! It also seems to perform pretty well on the ladder, with a 53% overall win rate.
Teemo Sejuani can be seen as a mix between Gangplank TF and the Foundry shroom decks. With the early Bandle City board flood, you rapidly create pressure and start pushing damage. You also have a lot of direct damage to help you out consistently deal Nexus damage. Sejuani comes down as a powerful midgame play and quickly levels up to lock down the opponent with her freezes while they continue to lose life through burn and shrooms.
How to play against Lurk:
- Mulligan for Inventive Chemist and Teemo. Keep Sejuani if you have a good early hand.
- In the early turns, look to create pressure and start pushing damage. Space out your damage between turns as much as possible – a leveled Sejuani will single handedly carry our game plan in the midgame.
- Three Sisters is a key card to prevent one of their heavy-hitter to deal damag with Flash Freeze. It is particularly good at denying Pyke’s or Rek’Sai’s level up, or to save a key unit from Bone Skewer.
- Sejuani is extremely stong when leveled up, but also can swing the game in your favor at level 1 in the midgame. Their only way to protect their challenged unit is to use Bone Skewer with another one of their unit – look to challenge the frozen unit with another unit than Sejuani. Her effect can also be used to prevent Rek’Sai from leveling up.
In this article, we have a list of overall quite aggressive decks, with most of them looking to beat down Lurk and burn them down. However, the aggro life is not for everyone, therefore I didn’t want to leave you with no option to beat Lurk in longer games.
Unfortunately, going too slow is often a bad idea when facing off against Lurk. Darkness and Dragons are the 2 best popular matchups for Lurk, and unconventional slow decks don’t seem to do well either.
Still, there are some options slightly favored against Lurk that are not looking to rush them down.
Bandle Tree has a 54% win rate against Lurk thanks to its ability to constantly flood the board to slow down Lurk until the Bandle Tree win condition is complete. Minimorph helps to deal with their big Overwhelm units. Look to tech in a copy of Arachnoid Sentry to counter their Rek’Sai.
Sivir Demacia with a 53% win rate is another option that does pretty okay against Lurk. Lurk struggles to deal with Sivir’s Spellshield and your numerous barrier effects are great at making Lurk’s attacks awkward. Once you get to level Sivir and buff up your whole board, there is very little Lurk can do. Be careful however to not let them stack too many Lurkers on the board, or a Jaull-fish could win them the game on the spot.
Compared to Dragons, Lurk is far more suited for its high play rate. The deck isn’t as easy to pin down and to consistently beat, especially when you’re looking to play slower strategies. However, Lurk is still far from being untargetable, and actually suffers from its own inconsistencies against a lot of the high-tier decks.
I expect Lurk’s play rate to decrease as the meta stabilizes because it is not performing so great since Dragons got less popular on the ladder. But right now, this is the perfect time to use this assortment of decks to go farm Lurk.
If you have any questions, feedback, or want to discuss those balance changes, I’ll be happy to read and answer you in the comments below!
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Thanks for reading!