Hey, Mezume here. This time I wanted to present some lineups that will be good in the Pick & Ban Standard Gauntlet this week.
I will present exactly five lineups, all of them equipped well enough to get a 7-win run. I will try to make them fairly varied, so none of the decks repeat between the strategies, but I will still keep it competitive; so no complete jank fun today.
The process of making a lineup for a best-of-1 with a ban is extremely similar to that of a best-of-3. The idea is to predict what your opponents might bring and be able to always have two decks beating at least two of their decks. On top of that, the decks need to be solid to have a chance against any non-standard brews that you might encounter.
1. Safe Top-Tier Decks
- Good Against: The entire field.
- Bans: Whatever you dislike facing.
With the games being best-of-1, it should be fairly easy to grab a win with decks that are just strongest all-around. In my opinion, those strongest and safest decks out there are currently Twisted Fate Fizz, Aphelios Zoe (with Bilgewater splash), and Fiora Shen. An argument can be made for Lissandra Trundle, but that one sits at a bit lower win rate and is more targetable than these three.
Well-piloted Twisted Fate Fizz is a beast that is nearly unbeatable – barring strong aggro hands and direct counters (that sacrifice equity against the rest of the field). Bringing this deck is completely fool-proof, as it can sneak wins against anything. On top of that, as this is Bo1, you can choose not to play it if someone went out of their way to try and counter it.
Aphelios Zoe is another deck with a high win rate and insane safety. This essentially is an Invoke midrange that has the ability to cheat out Boxtopus with Crescendum. With a decent matchup against aggro thanks to Aphelios, as well as multiple tools to beat out control in the long game, it is a great fit for a good all-around lineup.
Fiora Shen shares these same qualities. It can shut down aggro and threaten Fiora win condition, but also can play a faster game plan when facing slower decks. You will never be afraid to queue this deck, regardless of the opponent’s lineup.
This lineup is not the most exciting, but in the current meta, it is just an easy way to grab the Prime Glory. If you just want to win, play this as it has no significant weaknesses in a best-of-1 Pick & Ban environment.
2. Triple Aggro
- Good Against: Fizz TF, midrange strategies aside from Fiora.
- Bans: Fiora Shen, Ezreal Draven, Targon.
Bringing triple aggro is a way to breeze through the gauntlet at a fast pace, preying on players who decide to play midrange lineups, as well as locking them out of playing TF Fizz.
This strategy demands you to be smart during the pick phase, as your decks do not completely share their matchup tables: Spider Burn is fairly weak to Freljord SI control, while both Overwhelm and Pirates have a good chance against it. Similarly, Pirates and Spiders beat Ashe Noxus but Overwhelm struggles in that matchup.
There is a big weakness that this lineup has and it is to Targon-based lineups. Those usually run a good amount of healing – too much to overcome for our burn archetypes, while Silences can hinder Overwhelm.
As these decks are quick to end games, this is the way to grab the Prime Glory without spending too much time doing so. Also, while these decks have some nuance to them, they are overall fairly easy to pick up and play at a decent level, so they can be piloted by less experienced or confident players.
3. Triple Targon
- Good Against: A field where you believe you have the skill edge.
- Bans: Fizz TF.
This is a lineup you can play if you want to show off how good you are at the game. All the decks provide multiple ways to outplay your opponent. It is no coincidence they all use Targon, as that region is known for its flexibility that rewards skilled players.
Slow Nightfall is a bit less popular version of Aphelios’ decks that wants to end the game sooner than the regular Invoke lists. Still, it packs lots of late-game power thanks to The Veiled Temple and Starshaping.
Lee Sin decks used to be quite polarized, but Zoe and Sparklefly mitigated that, adding more tools against aggro and midrange lists. The deck can still lose to itself by simply not drawing Lee, and it requires a lot of skill to pilot well. However, it is able to win nearly any game.
Tahm Soraka is the deck that is a little more polarized than the others, but it can be used depending on the matchups you find yourself in. This is also a deck with lots of nuances, even if the win condition of Star Spring is very linear.
You will never feel on the backfoot with this lineup, as it is very versatile and very difficult to target, especially with the decks in the current meta. It is weak to decks like Fizz TF and Freeze Foundry, but you can ban the former, while the latter has fallen off in popularity in the recent patch.
- Good Against: SI Control, Lee Sin, greedy Targon lists.
- Bans: Fizz TF, Ashe Noxus, burn strategies.
The point of this lineup is to punish strategies that aim to win the game slowly. Each list here is equipped with at least one Rally effect to prey on the opponents who have a hard time dealing with your threats.
Lucian Azir and Scouts are very similar archetypes that swarm the board and want to overrun the opponent. In the case of the latter, Miss Fortune is the catalyst to victory, while Lucian Azir relies on its champions and the landmark Emperor’s Dais.
Creating a strong board followed by Rally effects like Cataclysm and Relentless Pursuit, as well as making use of Scout units, is the main win condition for both decks and it is difficult to stop for decks like Freljord SI or Lee Sin Targon.
Sivir LeBlanc works similarly, but it does not swarm the board as much; instead, it creates powerful swing turns every time it has an attack token with high power units with Quick Attack. If Sivir is leveled up, these attacks will always create board advantage, which can be further increased with Shunpo; a Rally effect within Noxus.
This is a more targeted lineup that can be brought if you are expecting many people to bring slower Targon and SI decks. It is not recommended if you just want to be strong against the field, as there is a lot of polarization in this strategy.
- Good Against: Fizz TF, Discard, non-Rally aggressive strategies.
- Bans: Demacia, Aphelios.
If you want to try to beat those pesky aggro players, this lineup is for you. Shadow Isles package includes lots of control tools, while the surprise addition of Braum Vladimir equipped with all the AoE spells in the world allows you to keep the board clear of swarm.
When it comes to the Shadow Isles decks in this strategy, they both have similar principles: stall the early and mid-game and win within a turn or two with your late-game win conditions. For Freljord it is the Spectral Matron Watcher combo, and for P&Z it’s Commander Ledros + Atrocity or Concurrent Timelines + Ledros.
Vladimir Braum is one of the most improved archetypes in the expansion – it has been performing well for multiple players even as high up as in the top 50 of the Masters ladder. This more control-oriented version still heavily relies on The Scargrounds to win games, but it has lots of tools to survive an onslaught of faster decks thanks to the addition of cards like the Blighted Ravine, Ice Shard, and Death Lotus.
Together, these decks create a lineup that will be feared by any deck with low-HP units, as well as those without answers to big threats like Ledros, Watcher, and Scarmother Vrynna. It also gives you an opportunity to play Vladimir, and that’s a win in and of itself.
Sadly, the permanent implementation of the best-of-3 Standard Gauntlet has been pushed back to the next patch, so it will take another two weeks until we can practice for the Seasonal Tournament in the same environment that it will be played in. That said, it is still Pick & Ban and can still act as a good warm-up.
The decks and lineups I included here are all viable and have their niches to win and get Prime Glories and I hope you will have success if you choose to use them.
If I really wanted to win and get the Prime Glory, I’d just go for the safe one of Fizz TF, Fiora Shen, and Aphelios Zoe. But personally, I will probably just play off-meta decks instead, as I plan on qualifying through the Ranked ladder and Gauntlet is a fun environment to test various decks in.
Thanks for reading and good luck in your quest for the Prime Glory!