Hey there, Raphterra here! Today, I’m once again looking to help spice up your ranked ladder experience. While it may be true that Kai’sa and Bard are the most dominant champions of the meta, high-rank players have found success in ranked with some spicy lists!
In this article, I’m sharing 6 off-meta decks spotted in Masters ladder. We are just a few days away from the next balance patch, and these decks might just be what you need to quickly pass time until then!
Gwen Aphelios Invoke
Starting off this list is a beautiful control deck from XxWhatAmIxX, Gwen Aphelios! If you’ve been craving for some Invoke action, this deck has you covered! This list combines Shadow Isles’ control and removal spells together with Targon’s flexible Invoke and Moon Weapon package.
Multiple copies of Vengeance, The Ruination, and Blinded Mystic are tech tools to counter the top meta decks: Kai’sa Demacia and Bard Illaoi. Blinded Mystic‘s silence effect goes through Spellshield and shuts down Kai’sa‘s followers to prevent her from copying keywords. Tentacle is another great target for a deadly silence!
If needed, Celestial Trifecta can invoke more removal spells or late game win conditions. The Destroyer, The Immortal Fire, or The Great Beyond can end games by the turn they are played. Accumulating Hallowed stacks early with Gwen and her followers can pay off in the late game when you attack with big Elusive or Overwhelm units. As a standard in Gwen decks, Atrocity is an alternative win condition.
Fiora Shen Barriers
Fiora has not seen any competitive play since the huge nerf to her health, until a few days ago! Vivo used the classic pairing, Fiora Shen, to climb from Diamond to Masters! This is Barrier Midrange, an archetype that combines Barrier effects with Challenger units to take board control with favorable trades.
I featured the Barrier archetype in my off-meta article last week where I paired Shen with Lulu. I didn’t find the success that I was hoping for with my initial pairing, and it may turn out that Fiora was the way to go all along!
Vivo‘s build emphasizes getting a strong early board as he’s running more low-cost units than the standard Shen decks. His list includes Young Witch, a cheap support unit that synergizes with Fleetfeather Tracker, Petricite Broadwing, and Fiora. He’s even running copies of Inspiring Light and Ranger’s Resolve, almost similar to how Miss Fortune Scout decks are built.
Shen and Greenglade Caretaker can snowball games quickly with help from the new Barrier support cards: Kinkou Student and Moral Support. To compete against the meta, this deck has Concerted Strike to remove threats like Kai’sa or Illaoi.
Akshan Zilean Shellfolk
In every meta, there will always be skilled players who would pilot Curious Shellfolk decks to high ranks. Pisukaru has been very successful spamming this Akshan Zilean Shellfolk deck in Asia Masters ladder. As of today, Pisukaru is currently sitting at Top 4 Masters with a 59.5% winrate across 240 ladder games.
This archetype focuses on surviving the early game and dropping Curious Shellfolk on Turn 6 for massive card value. Curious Shellfolk can generate multiple cards when used with “select” cards like Feral Prescience, Scrying Sands, Conchologist, and Prank. Shurima’s Ancient Hourglass and Rite of Negation can shut down removal attempts from decks that run Vengeance or Concerted Strike.
This deck does very well against Kai’sa Demacia decks due to Minimorph and Quicksand. It’s possible to get duplicates of these counterspells through Curious Shellfolk. This means that the deck can deal with multiple copies of Kai’sa and Void Abomination.
Desert Naturalist is a very interesting inclusion to this list. Perhaps it’s mainly used with Drop the Bomb or Time Bomb to make tempo plays, while also being a great card to counter Katarina Twisted Fate‘s Ravenbloom Conservatory.
Maokai Nautilus Deep
Maokai has been making multiple appearances in Masters ladder recently, this time with his old buddy Nautilus in a Deep deck! SnipeCrossGG has been making splashes with this deck, currently sitting at Top 6 Masters with a 75.5% winrate across 94 games!
This version has a good balance of running Deep / Toss-synergistic cards, while still having several control / removal tools. Multiple copies of Bone Skewer and Vengeance are most likely included to have answers to the meta menace, Kai’sa. In addition to the usual Toss cards, SnipeCrossGG still made sure to run copies of Jettison, Lure of the Depths, and Salvage to activate Deep in a timely manner.
Vile Feast, Undergrowth, Deadbloom Wanderer, and Megatusk give this deck favorable matchups against most aggressive decks. However, I would imagine that Deep still struggles against Bard midrange decks that can outscale Deep Sea Monsters in the late game.
This must be a good time for fans of this classic archetype!
Gwen Sejuani Overwhelm
A list of off-meta decks won’t be complete without a midrange Overwhelm deck! RickoRex, the Overwhelm connoisseur, has been using this Gwen Sejuani Hallowed Overwhelm list for his climb in EU Masters ladder.
This deck is very straightforward. Deaths from Hallowed units allow Overwhelm units to hit the Nexus for more damage. Early Hallowed units, Ruthless Raider, and Tusk Speaker exert pressure in the early turns. After that, Sejuani, Alpha Wildclaw, and Ancient Yeti fill out the deck’s curve in the mid game. Gwen is a unit that the opponent must deal with before she levels up. She will most likely eat a removal spell for your midrange Overwhelm units.
Inner Beast and Unspeakable Horror are the spicy inclusions in this list. These two cards can be used offensively to push damage and they can also be used as semi-control tools to deal with wide boards. With Powder Pandemonium and Annie Jhin being prevalent, having flexible tools to deal with these strategies is essential!
Gwen has been a part of several off-meta brews in the current patch. With the balance patch coming next week, it might just be a matter of time until the best Gwen deck emerges to the top of the meta.
Maokai Bard Mill Control
Maokai Bard has been seeing lots of play since Teal Red has been playing this deck non-stop in the current patch. He peaked at Rank 1 Asia Masters with this list, with a 62.5% winrate across 184 games. I used my own version of Maokai Bard to climb to Masters in my alternate account (list below).
This is a control deck that works towards Maokai‘s level up condition. Thinning out the deck with Toss cards makes it more likely to draw Bard‘s Chimes. By controlling the board, you can secure wins in the late game with a wide attack of big units. If you’re interested in learning how to play this brew, I wrote an in-depth guide on this high-skill deck!
Despite the community complaints on Reddit and Twitter, the meta is still evolving at the later stages of this patch. With just a few days until Patch 3.13, we should be expecting another big meta shift. What a great time it is to be a Legends of Runeterra player!