Hey folks, Dr. LoR here with an updated meta report.
Along with Path of Champions, Patch 2.19 brought Jayce and his supporting package, inserting a sizeable wrench into the meta.
This champion expansion was exclusively focused on Jayce, so it hasn’t changed the other decks in the meta much and hasn’t even changed many of the existing P&Z decks. Let’s take a look to see what the impact on meta overall has been.
- The 63k matches of Platinum+ data and 21k matches of Gold data are from November 10th to 14th, courtesy of Mobalytics Premium.
- I am relying on Mobalytics’s archetype algorithm, which uses champions and regions to define archetypes. This means that, for example, Bandle Tree Noxus is spread across multiple archetypes. I therefore combine some archetypes that are largely the same across different champion combinations. This mainly affects Dragons (Shyvana/Asol w/ Zoe/Jarvan), Bandle Tree Noxus (Fizz/Poppy, Fizz/Teemo/Poppy, Fizz/Lulu/Poppy, etc.), Shellfolk P&Z (Ezreal/Vi/Viktor), Poke City (TF/Gangplank/MF), Yordle Burn (Ziggs/Poppy/Teemo/Darius), Rally Elusives (Zed/Lulu/Poppy), and Targon’s Peak (Zoe/Braum/Tryndamere + Asol).
- Mobalytics ranks data are imperfect and come from optical recognition for Mobalytics deck tracker users. There are many ranked games that are left uncategorized (~45%).
- I use Bayesian smoothing toward a win rate of 51.5% (which is the average win rate number in this sample of data). It is a technique that allows avoiding statistical flukes for archetypes with less data. If you want to learn more about the concept, check out this explainer.
- I use Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) to calculate meta diversity. The smaller HHI is – the more diverse is the meta. Read this if you would like to know more about the method.
- I provide 95% Bayesian credible intervals when talking about WRs (using a beta[35,35] prior since LoR deck WRs are essentially always between 35%-65%). 95% credible intervals provide a range of WRs around the average WR for a deck, and it means that we can be 95% sure that the ‘true’ WR for the deck lands somewhere between these two numbers. Of course, ‘true’ WR isn’t a static number since the meta is always evolving but the point of the 95% CI is to give a sense for the uncertainty in WR estimates.
Most Popular Archetypes
Here are the play rates for the 20 most popular decks in Patch 2.19 so far, sorted by rank. Each of these decks has at least a 1% play rate in Plat+. All of these decks together account for approximately 55% of the meta.
- How much did Jayce impact the meta? Well, he accounts for 22% of meta in Plat+ and in Gold, so suffice to say that players are intrigued by the new champion and his flashy deck style. Although these decks often play Bandle City and Manifest cards, the focus on big spells is sufficiently novel to be exciting. Jayce Lux is a natural champion pairing (probably by design) and is the most commonly played of the new decks, with a solid 8% of the Plat+ meta and almost 10% of Gold. It helps that this also allows players to play the recently buffed Lux as well.
- Jayce Heimerdinger is actually even more popular than Jayce Lux as a champion combination, but this archetype comes with various second regions. Heimer was buffed to level off Techs (not just turrets) and with Hextech Handler, he’s back in the spotlight for the first time since his turret nerfs (3 mana turret used to be Elusive). Bandle City version of the deck is the most popular at 5.5% PR, followed by Ionia at 1.7%, but Demacia is starting to gain some ground on the less popular Freljord, Targon, and SI versions.
- Jayce Sentinel Control with Elise and/or Vi is another popular way to play the new champion, slotting him into an existing deck (originally created by Scathus) and upping the number of 6-mana spells to support Jayce. Given the success of the existing shell, it’s not surprising that this is one of the more successful versions early on, especially in Diamond and Masters.
- The other popular decks in the meta remain the same as from before Patch 2.19. Plunder and Rally Elusives (Zed Poppy) had been fighting for the meta crown, and Plunder has come out on top since Rally Elusives has a worse matchup in to the Jayce decks. Amusingly, both of these decks were doing well from the start of Patch 2.18, but it took a while for players to catch on since they were so busy with Dragons and Lurk.
- Speaking of which, Lurk came down from its highs in the middle of Patch 2.18, but is still a solid role-player. It has decent matchups versus the Jayce decks (favored against Jayce Lux and slightly favored against Jayce Heimer). Dragons has settled in as a bit player.
- Yordle Burn and Draven Sion remain the two most aggressive decks with burn in the format, although they are still played less than expected given their strengths into much of the meta.
- Darkness is favored (60%) against Jayce Heimer BC, and even against Jayce Lux. It’s still the most popular control deck. Swain BC (mostly Teemo) gained a lot of popularity toward the end of Patch 2.18, but is weak to Plunder (36%) so has shrunken back a bit.
- Glorious Shellfolk (most often Fizz Vi but sometimes Fizz only, sometimes Vi only, and sometimes Fizz Vi Poppy) is a deck espoused by many top players as possibly the best deck in the meta, but its complexity has made its PR and WR lower than you’d expect from a ‘best deck.’ Nonetheless, it rounds out the top 10 most played decks this meta with a solid 2% PR.
- Meta diversity remains high, with an HHI of 257 in Plat+, still near historic best.
Most Successful Archetypes
Below, you can see the win rates for the 20 highest play rate decks, again grouped by rank. I also included 95% confidence intervals (for the explanation of the concept, see Sources and Methodology section), which you can see as thin vertical lines on top of each bar.
- The decks are sorted by Plat+ WR. Just for fun, I grouped them by tier. This is purely based on WR and is not an evaluation of raw deck strength. The right pilot can probably play any of these decks to a Tier 1 win rate.
- The best decks continue to be the same set of aggro and midrange decks. Poke City, Yordle Burn, and Draven Sion are all stronger in Platinum than above. I’d argue that Rally Elusives and Plunder are the true top of the meta, with Masters WRs over 55%. Akshan Sivir is relatively new to this rarified air.
- Surprisingly, Dragons are also doing quite well and if it weren’t for their small PR, I’d put them at the bottom of Tier 1. Instead, I tentatively placed Dragons at the top of Tier 2 along with other solid decks like Bandle Tree and Turbo Thralls. Aside from Dragons, Lurk, and Bandle Tree, most of Tier 2 consists of control/combo decks, which bodes well.
- Jayce Heimer very much needs more refinement and people still haven’t figured out how to play Glorious Shellfolk, me included =(. I don’t know why Teemo Caitlyn continues to be popular since it’s never had even a Tier 2 WR in its existence. Maybe because it’s the best Caitlyn deck, since nobody is playing EZ/Draven/Caitlyn anymore?
- Balance Watch: Although a number of decks have 55%+ winrates in Plat+, I’m not too worried since we’re still young into Patch 2.19 and many people are taking advantage of the Jayce experimentation. I could see Rally Elusives and maybe Plunder being long term issues, but we won’t see a balance patch until January anyway (but new content in Patch 2.21).
Below is a spreadsheet of the top 45 decks in Gold+, sorted by win rate. The table is split into super-columns by rank. Under each super-column, you’ll find a sample size (match), the play rate (PR), win rate (WR), and the win rate adjusted using the Bayesian smoothing technique (bWR).
In addition, the data includes a margin of error (for example, we can be 95% sure that in Plat +, Poke City has a ‘true’ win rate that lands somewhere between 54.8% and 60.4%). More data available leads to a smaller margin of error.
Underplayed and Overplayed Archetypes
In the chart below I’ve plotted win rates versus play rates of 25 decks to demonstrate which archetypes can be seen as the most impactful in the current meta, and which decks can be labeled as ‘over-‘ or ‘underplayed’.
In the graph, you can see dots and vertical error bars (‘whiskers’) for each archetype. These ‘whiskers’ represent the 95% credible intervals for win rates (the true win rate is 95% likely to be in this range). The X-axis (play rate) is placed on a logarithmic scale to prevent too much lumping on the left.
I also included the 10 additional decks as red dots without ‘whiskers’. There are only 300-350 matches with these decks, so I’m less confident about their winrates, but the error bars would be huge and distracting.
- Plunder and Rally Elusives are meta king and queen, with few bad matchups. Yordle Burn, Draven Sion, and Poke City are almost as good if not better, but are played way less. Akshan Sivir is slightly below this group of decks but is criminally underplayed for how good it is. Of course, these are all aggressive/midrange decks that are taken advantage of the soft early season meta as others experiment.
- Pirates (Miss Fortune Gangplank) continues to be a hidden gem but that’s almost always the case. It just feels like a worse Yordle Burn or Poke City most of the time so I don’t blame people for not wanting to play it. Ziggs Taliyah is another potential hidden gem, with decent matchups into the Jayce decks (~57%). Draven Viktor continues to be another strong aggro option that never quite caught on.
- Jayce decks, Glorious Shellfolk, and Teemo Caitlyn are overplayed for their WRs. I expect the Jayce decks to get more refined, but the other two must be driven by fun factor and a few strong pilots continuing to prop up the decks.
On the one hand, Jayce has had a massive impact on the meta. On the other hand, the same set of decks is continuing to dominate the environment.
Perhaps because many players are playing Path of Champions, I feel like this meta is developing a little slower than Patch 2.18, but I still hold out hope that we get at least one Tier 1 or 1.5 Jayce deck when the dust settles.
My next full meta report will be in 1 week to see where Jayce ends up in the evolved Patch 2.19 meta. Follow me on Twitter for smaller meta updates and deck optimizations in the meantime!