The top players from each server battled it out in the World Championship qualifier tournament for a seat to represent their region. The America region has six seats up for grabs, whereas the EMEA and APAC regions each have five.
The qualified players for each region are:
America: DaTankBuster, Donut, XxWhatAmIxX, Mati24Mayo, GrandpaRoji, and HDR Maykas
EMEA: SmoothSwoleoist, Bowisse, BaJAtak, Teddy314, and AragOrnn
APAC: Kais3r, FnP Chenia, ABG Aurora, AFTV ReRoll, and KickerA
We’re usually used to players including meta decks in their lineups that are proven to perform well in the meta. However, in every tournament, players think outside the box, bringing risky and unconventional lineups in order to surprise their opponents.
I reviewed the decklists of players from all three regions and chose six unexpected decks to showcase. You can check the full decklist here.
Annie Katarina Ionia
From the EMEA server, Bool Asha brought Annie Katarina Ionia. When hearing Annie Katarina, the first thing that comes to mind is the Bilgewater version with Tybaulk and Riptide Rex; however, Bool Asha brought an Ionia version that runs The Witness, The Spirit of Wuju, and Lord Broadmane.
This deck wants to keep the board in check with Noxus spells like Ravenous Flock, Disintegrate, and Death’s Hand. Activating the Flow keyword allows you to go wider on the board with both The Witness and The Spirit of Wuju, allowing you to start sneaking Nexus damage.
The broadman is your ability to maintain a threat that must be addressed if your opponent wishes to build a board. Your cheap spells like Blade’s Edge and Death Lotus can kill damaged units if The Broadmane is on the board, providing additional value for the deck.
In the late game, Scattered Pod can sneak in Nexus damage with their elusive keyword, potentially closing out the game if their Nexus is at low health.
Elise Twisted Fate Monkey
I’m not sure who exactly started the Monkey trend for the World Qualifiers, but the idea seems to have been shared among multiple world competitors. There were 11 Monkey decks combined on all three shards.
This is surprising since the deck has had an extremely low play rate on the ranked ladder, and I haven’t seen it in any of the community tournaments. This showcases the ability of players to find successful decks through their scrims, which can come as a surprise factor in an important tournament.
You’re able to put some early pressure on the board with your units; any damage you deal to the Nexus can be crucial to winning the game.
In the late game, all the Plunder effects you’ve activated will contribute to your Poweder Pandemonium’s stack. The wide board of Powder Monkeys can act as a your finisher play to end the game.
Zilean Taliyah Reaver’s Row
Despite the buff to Taliyah Reaver’s Row, the deck underperformed in tournaments and on the rankings ladder.
Zilean Taliyah uses the Reaver’s Row landmark to create a large board of buffed-up 1 cost followers with the Fearsome keyword. Although this archetype has horrible stats, it does have a couple of matchups where it’s capable of crushing the opponent. Decks like Heimerdinger Jayce, Seraphine Viktor SI, Annie Twisted Fate, and Trundle Tryndamere have a difficult time dealing with the wide board of Fearsome units.
Kennen Ahri Spirits Unleashed
Prominent player Pingpingho from the APAC server brought the good old Ahri Kennen, but with Spirit Unleashed instead of the more known The Absolver version. Their lineup also included Gwen Katarina and Trundle Tryndamere.
Kennen Ahri is an elusive deck that wants to recall their units with cards like Ahri, Recall, Vastayan Desciple, Navori Conspirator, and Homecoming. The recall mechanism allows you to work on leveling up your Ahri, which can later turn into your win condition.
A leveled-up Ahri gains the Elusive keyword and can start setting up powerful attacks that potentially close out the game if the Ahri is not dealt with.
Once leveled, Kennen becomes a nuisance; his Mark of the Storm can pick off cheap units and keep you from completely losing board presence.
Finally, with the addition of Spirit Unleashed instead of The Absolver, you’re losing your ability to gain additional Power on the spot for an aggressive attack, but Spirit Unleashed allows you to buff up your units everywhere. This can end up being problematic for your opponent in the later stages of the game as your elusive units become difficult to deal with.
GrandpaRoji promised us a Taliyah Malphite in the World Qualifiers, and they delivered! The landmark oriented deck made an appearance on the America server in a lineup with Vayne Pantheon and Akshan Sivir Varus.
Taliyah Malphite wants to summon landmarks and level up both champions that are capable of presenting a threat with their abilities.
Taliyah with the Overwhelm keyword from The Absolver or Herald of Magus can push a lot of damage towards the Nexus by taking advantage of her ability to damage and kill her blocker.
As for Malphite, his stun ability can set up a powerful attack if you have a wide board ready to swing, eliminating your opponent’s blockers and paving the way for your units to strike down the Nexus.
Kai’Sa Sivir DE
I’m not surprised Kai’Sa made its way to the Worlds Qualifiers. The midrange deck has been on players’ radar for a week due to its solid performance against Shadow Isles decks. However, I didn’t expect for the deck to have this popularity in worlds; 15 players from all three regions included a Kai’Sa deck in their line-up.
I’ll showcase Oslow Sergi‘s version of Sivir Kai’Sa that he brought to the EMEA qualifier. Kai’Sa Sivir is a midrange deck that takes advantage of units with unique keywords like Voilding, Petricite Dragon, Greenfang Warden, and Merciless Hunter to advance Kai’Sa’s level-up condition.
Sivir is an annoying champion to see on the opponent’s side of the board on turn 4. The champion has Quick Attack and Sell Shield, two keywords that make Sivir difficult to remove. She’s able to force unfavored blocks by the opponent or even deal Nexus damage.
Once Kai’Sa is leveled she becomes your main win condition. You’ll try granting her either the Scout or the Overwhelm keywords which accelerates your gameplan and can end the game especially with a Cataclysm on defensive turns.
We saw amazing plays during the World Championship Qualifiers, and the qualified players from each shard will battle it out on December 8th where the victorious will be crowned the Legends of Runeterra World Champion.