It’s Mezume here, and I’m as done with the current top dogs of the meta as all of you are! In order to help us all get through the last few days before the patch, I did some research and donated some LP to test some interesting off-meta lists that I found around the internet or in my friend circles.
Out of those, I decided to showcase a total of five decks that are either innovative, fun to play, or just feel completely different than the ones we currently have in the meta! While would have been easy to slot Aphelios and The Veiled Temple into 5 separate archetypes and call it a day, I decided to only include one Aphelios deck; the rest is completely free of the meta scourge!
Usual disclaimer: these decks are not meant to carry you to rank 1, although if piloted very well, they can most likely be played to Master. With that said, have a good read, and enjoy these lists!
This deck has been first introduced by Cephalopod (at least to my knowledge) and since has been worked on by multiple high-tier players and it is definitely strong enough to reach the Master rank with. It also includes Jarvan IV, which is a big appeal of the list, considering it is a champion that has seen very little play.
Jarvan IV is, however, far from the main focus of the deck, as that title goes to two Noxian cards; LeBlanc and Battering Ram. This very unique approach to deckbuilding allows you to surprise your opponents, as the Ram is supplied with multiple attack effects like Cataclysm and Golden Aegis. With those it is possible to kill your opponent over 1-2 turns should they have no direct answer to Battering Ram, which is a 12-HP follower, meaning it is not easy to remove at all.
The strategy isn’t completely reliant on the card though, as LeBlanc and Jarvan both provide quite a bit of pressure on the board, aided by strong midrange cards from Demacia and Noxus in the form of Trifarian Gloryseeker,
A large amount of the deck’s strength comes from the surprise factor. The opponents will be rarely expecting a Battering Ram which is capable of winning the game in a single round. In addition, the pressure that the early units of the list provide is usually enough for a safe transition to the Battering Ram combo.
Cataclysm also lets you pick off pesky backline units like Aphelios, Twisted Fate, and others. One big weakness of the deck is that when it plays off-curve it becomes reliant solely on an unanswered late-game threat, which is obviously not ideal. In addition, aggressive strategies can overrun the deck if it misses its early defensive units, especially considering Gloryseeker and Reckless Trifarian both can’t to block.
Overall, the deck is really unique and I included it first because it was what inspired this article. If I had to pick one deck to recommend, this would be it!
TealRed, a Japanese streamer and top-tier player took this deck to Masters early on into the season. It doesn’t have the classic Aphelios and The Veiled Temple core and relies instead on other combos that make it much more interesting and difficult to play.
There are two main game-winning combinations of cards in this deck that are funky and underplayed. First of all, Out of the Way and Lamb’s Respite on a card like Zoe or Darkwater Scourge can shut down entire gameplans. That is expensive and inconsistent, however, so the list has a great backup in the form of Darkwater Scourge and Mask Mother.
These combos allow you to stabilized against aggro and midrange decks, while the strategy against control is the usual Veiled Temple game plan. Buff big units such as a huge Mask Mother or a Celestial from Starshaping and finish off the game with a huge Atrocity sent in towards the opposing Nexus. There is always the backup plan of Aphelios taking over the game, which has additional synergy with Out of the Way through his weapons giving permanent buffs instead of temporary ones.
The deck struggles mainly against Targon, as a single Hush can potentially ruin your day, whether it is played on a large Mask Mother, Lamb’s Respite target, or practically anything else in the list. On top of that, the deck is very punishing to misplays – it is a very complicated strategy with multiple non-obvious decision points.
Even though Aphelios and The Veiled Temple are included in the list, this deck is still something different and worth trying out!
This list has been posted on Twitter by STAN, a player I’ve mentioned in my articles before. He got to the top 10 ladder spot with it. This is a fairly standard Yasuo list which, for some reason, is working surprisingly well in this meta.
Regular Yasuo game plan applies here – your main goal is to stall and control the game with stuns and Yasuo on the board, while Swain is your secondary win condition.
The deck also has another very conditional more aggressive game plan which comes from the addition of the newest Noxus card: Thorn of the Rose. With Fae Bladetwirlers and Thorn of the Rose on the board, the created Guiles can push ridiculous amounts of damage in the early game.
Intimidating Roar can close out the game after an aggressive start like that, in addition to its standard role as a board clear in this Stun-themed deck. The late-game dream is to set up a Minotaur Reckoner with Yasuo on the board, or Swain and The Leviathan.
Thanks to the addition of Whispered Words to the game, it is easier to cycle through your deck; and the Reputation discount can be easily achieved with Bladetwirlers, Thorns and levelled Yasuo.
The deck is great in slower matchups, as it can permanently Stun units on the opposing board, as well as Deny any big blowout spells the opponent may try to cast. Lists with a more swarmy game plan can also be blown out of the water by Yasuo and Intimidating Roar. To stall to that point, cards like Death’s Hand, Arachnoid Sentry, and most importantly, House Spider are included in this decklist.
Through Yasuo, all Stuns turn into damage spells and many of those cards are already strong enough on their own.
While this is not a Tier 1 deck, Yasuo is closer than ever to being truly playable. I have mentioned that he will be better with more cards in an old article about weak and underplayed champions and it is close to becoming reality.
In the case of this deck it is impossible for me to point at who actually originally provided me with the deck idea, but what is important is that it most definitely works. I placed 2nd at Fight Night EU with this one in my lineup.
This strategy, as is the case with most Demacia midrange, relies on playing your units on-curve and taking over the board in the mid-game. While usually these lists look to take over the game gradually by playing big units, this particular strategy is more explosive in how it wrestles control of the game away from your opponent.
One of our most powerful synergies is granting Challenger to units such as Gallant Rider and Sivir and getting favorable trades through those combinations. Adding to that the raw power of 5-drops of this deck in Garen and Ruin Runner, the board state will nearly always be in your favor by mid-game, when you can finish the game with a good Rally effect.
As with most Demacia lists, one of the deck’s biggest strengths is its strong matchup against greedy decks like Lissandra Shadow Isles and Targon. Sadly, the current meta also has a lot of Fizz TF. This is a matchup that feels infinitely worse for the archetype, as there is very little you can do against a swarm of Elusive Burblefish looking to beat you down. Sivir Garen is mainly a great tournament deck, rather than one meant for ladder as it has a very distinct matchup table.
This is a fun-to-play deck that feels very good when it works, though it also does have feel-bad moments where you have to play off-curve and can’t find your footing in the game. I would definitely recommend it, however, as I have had good results with the deck competitively myself.
This is a list that is surprisingly viable considering how cheesy its concept is. It revolves around the Concurrent Timelines card, but in a less frustrating way than the infamous Ledros Timelines combo.
It is a control archetype that looks to control the board in the early game with tools like
The big weakness of this deck is its dependence on Concurrent Timelines. It is really difficult to win without it, as the late game of the deck then has to rely on the regular Corina effect and a leveled Trundle, which won’t often be enough in drawn out games against slower decks. On the other hand, with its numerous AoE and healing effects, the deck can effectively stall until drawing Timelines, allowing it to be somewhat consistent overall.
It’s a fun take on Concurrent Timelines that does not abuse the frustrating Ledros combo, and definitely worth trying out if you enjoy more top-heavy decks with satisfying tempo swings in the late game.
With the patch approaching in a bit less than a week, we are likely heading towards the end of the domination of Fizz TF and, hopefully, The Veiled Temple. But to get us through those last few days, playing something new can be helpful – that’s why I compiled this list.
Out of the five, my favorite list is J4 LeBlanc, but I believe they are all worth a try and will be a fun use of your time!
I hope you will enjoy playing these for the next few days and after the patch we can rejoice in a new and fresh meta.