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Dr. LoR’s Meta Report – Patch 3.2 Week 2

Hey folks, Dr. LoR here to take a look at how Patch 3.2 has evolved in its second week.

Whereas last week saw a ton of experimentation with Gnar and other new champions, the meta seems to be consolidating a bit. A few new decks (some newer than others) have appeared near the top of the meta.

  • The 323k matches of data are from February 22 to 28, including 84k matches of Plat+ (Platinum, Diamond, Masters), courtesy of Mobalytics premium. Starting this Patch, I’m including Silver- (silver, bronze, iron), to be more inclusive. Notably, Mobalytics ranks data are imperfect and come from optical recognition for Mobalytics deck tracker users. This is especially true at the start of each season, when ranks reset. There are many ranked games that are therefore uncategorized (~20%).
  • Mobalytics archetypes are defined as a champions + regions combo. This means, for example, that 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 Yordle Rally (Tristana Demacia w/ Fizz/Kennan/Teemo/Gnar/Yuumi) Swain BC (Gnar/Teemo/Swain), Bandle Tree Noxus (some combination of Fizz/Teemo/Kennen/Lulu/Ziggs/Gnar/Poppy), Field Promotion Attach (BC Demacia with Yuumi/Teemo/Fizz/Quinn), Sun Disc (Azir/Renekton/Xerath/Nasus), Iceborn Spiders (Elise solo or w/ Trundle, Kindred, Maokai, Tryndamere), Kindred P&Z Sentinels (w/ Vi/Elise/Senna), Rally Elusives (Zed/Lulu/Poppy), and Targon’s Peak (Asol + Zoe/Braum/Tryndamere) archetypes. I have NOT combined various Rumble/Draven/Sion/Jinx or Ahri Kennen decks because they show a lot more variance.
  • I will be referring to Bayesian WR (bWR), which is win rate (WR) that has Bayesian smoothing toward 51.5%—the average WR in these data. To understand Bayesian smoothing, check out this primer…basically, we’re trying to avoid statistical flukes for archetypes with less data. A deck where one very strong player went 18-2 is probably not a “true” 90% WR deck. A deck with a lot of data (>1000 matches) is likely to have a WR closer to its “true” WR.
  • I calculated meta diversity using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI). TL;DR is that smaller HHI is more diverse and most of my recent meta reports have been in the 250-350 range, and as high as 500 in the Lurk and AzIrelia metas.
  • 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 (PRs) for the 20 most popular decks by rank (plus Plat+, the combination of Platinum, Diamond, and Masters). These decks have at least a 1% play rate in Plat+ and together they account for about 50% of the Plat+ meta. None have more than 6% play rate.

  • Scouts with Durand Sculptor and Petricite Broadwing continues to impress, breathing new life into this timeless deck. In general, Broadwing is the card Demacia didn’t know it needed. That’s why Akshan Sivir is back on the menu as well, breaking into the top 20 for the first time in many patches.
  • Darkness continues to be a fan favorite, with some players like Cephalopod updating the list to include Wallop. Lurk remains popular despite essentially no changes.
  • Gnar Trundle Timelines has roared into third place and narrowly is the most played deck at Diamond+ and Masters. Every game feels different and the game plan is powerful.
  • Yordle Rally (Tristana Demacia w/ Fizz/Kennan/Teemo/Gnar/Yuumi) exploded in popularity this week after multiple players discovered that Tristana is actually good now. Combining Yordle in Arms with Golden Aegis with wide boards is a scary game plan.
  • Yuumi Pantheon Demacia continues to edge out Taric versions, although some decks are also including some combination of Yuumi and Taric. With its eye popping winrates, this seems like a deck on the rise, especially since it appears to be the best way to use Yuumi.
  • Bandle Tree Noxus continues to see a lot of champ experimentation, but has not been performing that well in the current meta, so I suspect play rates will continue to slip.
  • Swain BC (mostly Swain Gnar but some Swain Gnar Teemo) took a big hit from the first days of the meta, probably because it’s not the best way to play Gnar. Ziggs Gnar fell off quite a bit as well, although it’s a better option in the current meta since the aggro burn package is still strong.
  • Akshan Gnar has lost its surprise factor and isn’t the easiest deck to pilot, so its popularity has slipped a bit as well. Still a potent deck and not one to sleep on.
  • Draven Rumble makes a return to the top lists and I suspect it’ll become even more popular as more and more players are climbing with the deck. The fairly similar Draven Sion is even back to life, sitting at 25th place in Plat+ playrate.
  • Fizz Gnar P&Z Yordle in Arms has surprisingly slipped in both popularity and winrate. I guess the first to reach Masters deck has a tendency to do that as inexperienced people jump on the bandwagon.
  • Gnar Sejuani BC is the last version of the Gnar Plunder strategies still popular, and it seems to be a solid deck. Interesting, OG Plunder (Gangplank Sejuani) is also back, leaving the Allegiance builds and opting into Tusk Speaker and Murkwolf Shaman.
  • Fizz Riven is an aggressive deck looking to abuse Fizz’s uninteractivity with Papercraft Dragon and other power-boosting spells for a combo finish.
  • Gnar Galio Freljord continues to maintain its popularity although Braum Galio is arguably a more obvious combination and has a higher winrate. In general, Formidable just goes well with Freljord’s combat tricks.
  • Gnar Darius is the newest incarnation of the Overwhelm archetype, packing big bodies and a few select combat tricks to keep your opponent on the back foot. Overwhelm turns out to be pretty powerful when the meta has many swarm strategies.
  • Spider Burn continues to occupy a small niche in the current meta, particularly bullying 0-attack formidable units.
  • Anivia is back in top 20, because who doesn’t love jets shooting missiles in your fantasy themed card games?
  • Meta diversity report: With an HHI of 185, the Plat+ meta is converging quite a bit more than last week. Still, nothing worrisome, especially with no deck topping 6% PR.

Most Successful Archetypes

Below, you can see the WRs for the 20 most popular decks at Plat+, again grouped by rank. The error bars represent 95% credible intervals for the win rates.

  • These 20 decks are sorted by Plat+ WR. Just for fun, I also grouped them by tier. This is purely based on WR (plus top 20 PR) and is not an evaluation of raw deck strength. The right pilot can probably play most of these decks to a Tier 1 win rate and most can be part of a cohesive tournament lineup. There are also decks that would be Tier 1 or 2 that don’t show up here because they aren’t played enough for me to be confident about their win rates.
  • Tier 1 is a bit smaller than last week and considerably different. The best decks are mostly Demacia mid-range decks (mostly featuring Golden Aegis), Gnar Trundle Timelines, and Ziggs Gnar and Draven Rumble representing for aggro at more like Tier 1.5.
  • Tier 2 is incredibly broad as usual, and I have relaxed my bounds on it a bit because it truly does seem to be a very broad meta, with many viable strategies.
  • Meme Tier: Fizz Riven is doing surprisingly poorly. Anivia is doing (unsurprisingly) even worse considering how much Demacia there is.
  • Balance Watch: With Patch 3.3 bringing no balance changes on Riot taking an AFK week, it looks we’ll have to wait a little longer to bring BC and Gnar’s power levels down a bit.

Here’s a longer list of the top 45 decks at Plat+, sorted by WR. The super-columns are split by rank, including Plat+ (platinum, diamond, and masters combined), Diamond+ (diamond and masters), and Silver- (silver, bronze, iron). Under each supercolumn, you’ll find how many matches were recorded with that deck, the play rate (PR) percentage, the raw win rate (WR), the Bayesian WR (bWR), and a 95% CI (credible intervals), which corresponds to a range of values we’re 95% sure the “true” win rate lies within. More data à tighter CIs. The last column is the change in Plat+ play rate from the last report.


Underplayed and Overplayed Archetypes

In the chart below I’ve plotted win rates versus play rates of 20 decks to demonstrate which archetypes can be seen as the ‘kings’ in the current meta, and which decks can be labeled as ‘overplayed’ 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 ‘hidden gems’ – 10 additional decks represented as red dots without ‘whiskers’. These decks have lower play rates, so they have no error bars – they would’ve been would be huge and distracting.

  • Meta Kings: Yuumi Pantheon, Gnar Trundle, Scouts, Yordle Rally. Maybe Bandle City isn’t so broken after all, since only one BC deck makes this list…
  • Overplayed: Fizz Riven, Fizz Gnar, Swain BC, Bandle Tree, Lurk, Darkness, Anivia. And multiple BC decks are being overplayed.
  • Underplayed: Draven Rumble (probably not for long).
  • Hidden Gems: Braum Galio, Kindred Sentinels, Fizz Yuumi Freljord. Braum Galio maximizes Formidable synergies and is probably better than the more popular Gnar Galio. Kindred Sentinels is a proactive control deck, which utilizes Fearsome sentinels in the early game while packing a Ledros endgame and lots of control tools. Fizz Yuumi uses the power of Attach and Freljord buffs like Starlit Seer to create a hard to stop endgame.

Summary

Are you sick of Gnar yet? He’s almost 30% of the Plat+ meta, but the good news is that most of the decks he’s been thrown in have mostly turned out to not be that strong, and only Gnar Trundle and Gnar Tristana (Yordle Rally) have emerged as strong enough Gnar decks to justify their popularity; yet, neither surpasses 6% play rate. Players have also found good shells for Yuumi (with her intended partner of Pantheon) and Galio (with Braum, although people aren’t playing this much). Udyr, meanwhile, is down to under 2% play rate.

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