Hello everyone! The Open Rounds for Curious Journey’s seasonal tournament came to an end and now we await the top 32 games on each server this Saturday!
The open rounds meta saw a lot of Fizz Aphelios, an archetype that gained popularity quickly at the end of the season, Viego Shurima and Ziggs Taliyah are two other popular decks that were heavily present in the open rounds. Scouts also saw a lot of play, mostly for its good matchup table that helped the archetype fit in many lineups.
While we wait for the top cut matchups I went ahead and gathered some of the unexpected decks that were played in the open rounds, performed outstandingly well, and made it to the top 32!
Let’s start with one of my favorite decks that I believe Catasus and I managed to popularize across the Master ladder, Viktor Karma! Morpice121 from the American server brought the archetype to the open rounds along with Zilean Ekko and Fizz Aphelios and managed to end their run with a clean 9-0.
The lineup overall holds its ground against aggressive decks and performs outstandingly well into slow control archetypes, it does though struggles into Demacia decks like Scouts so Morpice probably chose to ban and avoid dealing with it.
Viktor Karma relies on both champions to act as win conditions, having Viktor on the board early on in the game lets you gain additional keywords each turn until he becomes a threat your opponent has to deal with. With the Ionia region paired with PnZ, you have access to cards like Twin Disciplines, Nopeify!, and Deny all allow you to keep your Viktor safe from any threats that could kill him.
At the same time, if the game takes too long to end, Karma will take over the game as her level up will allow you to gain insane value, especially with card draws! She’ll also duplicate Hex Core Upgrade which lets Viktor gain 2 keywords per turn.
America server player MDM mistics brought overwhelm deck Gnar Darius to the open rounds.
The archetype runs an aggressive game plan early on with cards like Legion Rearguard, Ruthless Raider, and Tusk Speaker. Mid to late game the deck puts the Overwhelm units to use to deal Nexus damage. Both Decisive Maneuver and Battle Fury take advantage of the Overwhelm keyword to threaten to end the game.
MDM mistics brought Scouts and Elise Fearsomes along with Gnar Darius making it obvious with their aggressive lineup that they’re looking to end games quickly! This lineup feels perfect into Ziggs Taliyah and Fizz Aphelios, two decks that were pretty popular in the open rounds.
This one caught me off guard, SnipeCrossGG brought a Gnar deck paired with the Ionia region.
It seems to have a similar game plan to the popular Fizz Aphelios where it wants to swarm the board with the help of Gleaming Lanter and uses Rainbowfish to grant a unit the Elusive keyword and start slamming the opponent’s Nexus.
What caught my attention are the stun cards like Wallop and Concussive Palm along with the recalling mechanism Will of Ionia. It seems the deck wants to beat control decks or decks that rely on a big unit to win the game while also maintaining the ability to be swarmy on the board.
SnipeCrossGG brought Fizz Aphelios and Akshan Gnar Bandle City, basically, all three decks rely on the Attach units as a win condition.
Enough with the America server, let’s take a look at what the APAC server brought for the open rounds! Merua jp brought Taliyah Malphite to the open rounds, an archetype that gained a lot of popularity after Malphite’s buff but it slowly fell out of meta.
I didn’t expect a Taliyah Malphite in the open rounds mostly because Ziggs Taliyah was dominating the ladder and tournament scene. Both decks revolve around landmarks, Malphite and Taliyah synergize well due to their similar level-up condition. You’re looking to set up a wide board and then stun the opponent’s units with Malphite which allows for a strong attack.
Mono Shurima and Akshan Zilean Shelfolk were Merua jp‘s two other decks to complement his lineup. Obviously, it’s weak to aggressive archetypes so they were betting on avoiding aggressive lineups during their run!
Also from the APAC server, GM Ame brought Ezreal Kennen, an archetype we haven’t seen in quite a while after the deck was hit with multiple nerfs making it too weak to remain at the top of the meta.
Ezreal Kennen relies on both champions to set up their win condition, Kennen helps advance Ezreal’s level-up condition with Mark of the Storm and from there you’ll be able to burn down your opponent with Ezreal. The list does run a lot of Elusive units capable of chipping down the health of the Nexus slowly.
The Ionia region offers many cheap protection tools such as Recall, Retreat, Nopiefy!, and Twin Disciplines to keep your key units alive. Additionally, Homecoming and Concussive Palm are great spells to help prolong the game until you can set up your win condition.
Alongside Ezreal Kennen, GM Ame brought Ziggs Taliyah and Pantheon Yuumi, a good lineup into control decks like Feel The Rush.
Switching to the EMEA server the majority of the lineups were mostly meta decks that we all expected to be present in the open rounds. Well, that is until I found friendlynihilist that brought Ziggs Katarina Gnar and managed to win 8 matches out of the 9 rounds!
Taking a first look at the deck it looks like it wants to do multiple things at the same time. It can adopt aggressive gameplay with Ziggs and Gnar. However, it also runs late-game cards like Captain Farron that present an Overwhelm threat along with the Decimates he creates.
Moreover, it runs some control tools to keep the board in check like Ravenous Flock, Culling Strike, Death’s Hand, and Scorched Earth. The fun doesn’t end here 3 Treasured Trash is also included in the list, so basically you want to empty your hand before playing the 10 mana spell, and from there you’ll get to play the best 3 choices you get from the random cards!
This majestic deck was brought alongside Caitlyn Ezreal, and Elise Kindred Noxus, basically the Noxus region is present in all three decks and all of the lists are running Scorched Earth. I’m assuming it wants to beat Demacia decks specifically Scouts and Pantheon Yuumi.
Last but not least, Kuraschi brought Azir Irelia and I already know some players are having flashbacks of the days the archetype dominated the meta.
Azir Irelia was already performing well on the competitive ladder but remained under the radar, it was not until a week before the seasonal open rounds that I saw the deck being run in more community tournaments and performing well!
Azir Irelia wants to impose pressure with the use of Sand Soldiers and the Blades, you’re able to maximize the value of your summoned units once your champions are leveled.
A leveled-up Azir allows you to push more Nexus damage with your summoned units, forcing your opponent into unfavored blocks. Whereas Irelia can switch around those attacking units to better favor you mid-combat. You’re able to attack multiple times a turn with cards that activate Blade Dance.
Kuraschi also brought Pantheon Yuumi and Fizz Aphelios to complement his lineup, basically looking to beat control decks.
The open rounds this season has had a wide variety of different lineups as the meta felt pretty balanced with many viable decks performing well on the competitive ladder and tournament scene.
The meta kept evolving throughout the season, it was only until the end of it that Fizz Aphelios became pretty popular, which made it the perfect deck to target in the open rounds, hence why we saw a lot of Scouts and Demacia lineups!
Thanks for reading, we’ll see what the next seasonal tournament has in store for us!