Hey, Agigas here! The Seasonal Tournament is the highly anticipated competitive event of every expansion, giving us players the opportunity to prove our skills and write our names in Legends of Runeterra’s history. Today, I wanted to help you prepare for this difficult tournament and share some of my experience and knowledge of the meta.
Publisher’s note: This type of ‘tournament coaching’ articles is usually reserved for Premium content, but this week we are featuring it as a free post available to everyone! If you’ve enjoyed it and would like to read more content like this on a weekly basis, please consider subscribing!
First, I will go over the most expected decks you will likely face during the tournament – these are the meta-defining archetypes you must be prepared for!
Then, we will take a look at some of the best and most expected lineups for this weekend, to give you a sense of what kind of strategies you might be facing, and help you finalize your own lineup if you are still hesitating.
But before we get into it, I want to stress out something particularly important. What matters the most is to pick the decks you know how to play very well. Even the most powerful and synergistic lineup won’t make it very far if you are not comfortable playing it.
The table below is my prediction of the upcoming Seasonal Tournament environment based on ladder and community tournament statistics, as well as my personal meta experience. Of course, this is not meant to be a 100% accurate snapshot, but an approximation that should be useful for your preparation.
|Regions||Name||Popularity||Strategy||Commonly Played With|
|Ahri Kennen||Meta Kings, Target Pantheon.||For Shurima variant: Pantheon decks, Fizz Lulu Zoe Lee. For SI variant: Spider Burn, Pirate Burn.|
|Pantheon Demacia||Ban Ahri.||Ahri Kennen SH, Sivir Demacia, Lurk, Fizz Lulu, The Arsenal.|
|Sivir Demacia||Ban Ahri.||Pantheon Demacia, Ahri Kennen SH, Lurk, Fizz Lulu.|
|Zoe Lee||Ban Ahri, Target Pantheon.||Ahri Kennen SH, Fizz Lulu, Ahri Lulu, Ionia decks.|
|Darkness||Ban Pantheon.||Scouts, Trundle SI.|
|Fizz Lulu||Ban Ahri, Target Pantheon.||Ahri Kennen SH, Pantheon Demacia, Lurk, Sivir Demacia, Zoe Lee.|
|Spider Burn||Hard-target Ahri & Pantheon.||Ahri Kennen SI, Pirate Burn.|
|Scouts||Ban Pantheon, Beat Ahri.||Trundle SI, Darkness.|
|Lurk||Ban Ahri.||Ahri Kennen SH, Pantheon Demacia, Fizz Lulu, Sivir Demacia, The Arsenal.|
|Trundle SI||Ban Pantheon.||Scouts, Darkness.|
|The Arsenal||Ban Ahri.||Pantheon Demacia, Sivir Demacia, Lurk, Iceborn Poros, Fizz Lulu.|
As you can see, Ahri Kennen is expected to be very popular, as it shows amazing results with the highest popularity and is much easier to ban than to target. Pantheon Demacia decks should be the other very popular deck of the tournament.
Zoe Lee and Sivir Demacia have a low play rate on the ladder but should be expected in the tournament as they both have a well-suited matchup table and really benefit from the ban on Ahri Kennen.
On the other end, Scout, Lurk, and Darkness won’t be as popular in the tournament as they are on the ladder. Their matchup table work in the disfavor in this environment, making the number of lineups interested in them lower.
Now that we’ve covered the most represented decks for this weekend, let’s look at a couple of very popular and strong lineups.
Meta Kings: Ahri Kennen and Pantheon Demacia
You can’t go wrong by bringing the best ladder decks. Players only stepping into competitive this season, and veterans alike – everyone has a good reason to bring Ahri Kennen and Pantheon Demacia.
Ahri Kennen has been dominating the season both on the ladder and in community tournaments, despite a lot of players trying to target it. It is a lot easier to ban it than to target it, meaning it will force your opponent’s ban most of the time.
Pantheon Demacia also has been performing very well this season, especially with the Pantheon Taric build. While the deck is less popular than Ahri Kennen, it shows similar results on the ladder and will be even better in the tournament thanks to an Ahri Kennen ban.
These two decks together form an extremely strong core for the lineup thanks to their very high power level. While they do not share a ton of synergies, they don’t have a lot of anti-synergies either and give a strong direction to your lineup with the Ahri Kennen ban. You can expect to see these two decks paired together a lot and so you must have a plan against them.
For the third deck, the Meta Kings lineup can be complemented in many different ways. Here are some of the most expected additions:
- Sivir Demacia is known for its particularly synergistic matchup table with Pantheon Demacia. With a ban to Ahri Kennen, the two of them get unleashed and will form a great duo to prey on control archetypes. With Sivir in the mix, the lineup will feel the most cohesive overall, but it will sometimes struggle against other ‘Meta Kings’ lineups.
- Zoe Lee is also a tournament staple that benefits a lot from the Ahri Kennen ban. This variant of the lineup gets a better matchup against other ‘Meta Kings’ lineups thanks to Lee Sin’s great matchup against Pantheon and Fizz Lulu, but loses its ability to prey on Darkness.
- Fizz Lulu is more popular and successful on the ladder than the previous two decks and also fits well into this lineup. This archetype is also happy to see Ahri Kennen being banned, although not to the same extent. It has a good matchup against Pantheon Demacia and Sivir Demacia, making it a good choice for the mirrors, though it loses to Lee Sin.
Ban Ahri Kennen: Pantheon Demacia and Sivir Demacia
While versions featuring Ahri Kennen in this kind of lineup will be very popular and successful because of how strong it is, there are reasons to turn towards more synergistic lineups. While Ahri Kennen fits decently well with Pantheon, it does not have particularly impressive synergies with it, and it is easy to find other decks that will benefit more from the mandatory Ahri Kennen ban.
Pantheon Demacia is the core of the lineup. The archetype is still extremely impressive on the ladder despite getting a lot of its losses from Ahri Kennen, and in a tournament, it will be even better thanks to the ban phase.
Sivir Demacia is an amazing fit with Pantheon, which will considerably increase its play rate in the tournament. The two decks share a nearly identical matchup table and a somewhat similar mindset.
This core does great into control archetypes and has an overall good matchup table into a very large field of archetypes thanks to the ban phase. For the third deck, there are quite a lot of candidates that will strongly benefit from our Ahri Kennen ban and that can push the lineup in different directions.
- Fizz Lulu might not seem to be the best fit for the lineup at a first look as it does poorly against control. However, control archetypes have become a rare sight lately, and this archetype’s high power level and winning matchups against both Pantheon Demacia and Sivir Demacia will help to beat other Pantheon lineups.
- Lurk is an excellent fit into this lineup, as it doubles down on the control targeting strategy and at the same time struggles against Ahri Kennen. However, with Lurk in your lineup, the matchup against ‘Meta Kings’ can be difficult.
- The Arsenal archetypes (Xerath Zilean or Ziggs Taliyah) have a similar matchup table to Lurk, but more polarized. This can be an advantage when you hit your targets, but makes you more vulnerable against hyper-aggressive strategies and ‘Meta Kings’ lineups.
Anti-Pantheon: Ahri Kennen and Zoe Lee
With Pantheon Demacia being a strong and popular deck that is a lot easier to target than Ahri Kennen, it makes a lot of sense to look for a lineup that would target the former and ban the latter.
Ahri Kennen is a very obvious choice when it comes to targeting Pantheon. Not only the deck will do absolutely great this weekend and will force most of your opponents’ bans, but it has a particularly good matchup against Pantheon.
Zoe Lee is also a very popular choice as an anti-Pantheon archetype in tournaments. Not only the deck does great against Pantheon, but it also is one of the best decks of the meta with a ban on Ahri Kennen and will overall have a lot of winning matchups.
With these two decks, this lineup is looking extremely strong and cohesive – a true nightmare for Pantheon players. The third deck, however, is a bit tougher to find. You can choose it to be the Pantheon Demacia itself as long as you’re confident in your ability to win mirrors.
However, there are a couple of options that can help this lineup keep its one-sided matchup against Pantheon Demacia, making it a true anti-Pantheon lineup:
- Fizz Lulu is a very synergistic deck with Zoe Lee as it shares a nearly identical matchup table with it. It is one of the best popular decks against Pantheon, and has an overall high power level. This lineup will do well against Meta Kings and Pantheon-centered lineup, especially when they also feature Sivir Demacia.
- Ionia decks tend to do well against Pantheon Demacia thanks to their bounces and recalls. With Ahri Kennen and Zoe Lee we already are playing the most popular Ionia decks, but it is possible to look for a lesser-known Ionian archetype to complete the lineup, such as Feel the Minah or Ezreal Karma.
Anti-Meta: Spider Burn, Pirate Burn, and Ahri Kennen
Spider Burn, after a period of domination, has fallen off lately and has been relegated to a Tier 2 archetype on the ladder. Tournament meta, however, is another story, and the deck is very well-positioned to prey on both Ahri Kennen and Pantheon Demacia (!).
Pirate Burn is the Spider Burn’s partner-in-crime. The two share a nearly identical matchup table and a similar playstyle, making it easy to pick up one if you already know the other. In addition, Pirate Burn actually shows convincing results right now and is one of the highest win rate decks.
Ahri Kennen is very often a very strong pick, and we branch out here to the Shadow Isles Go Hard version as it benefits from a strong mirror matchup. While this deck might look like the lineup week point of the lineup when facing Ahri Kennen, especially against a Shadow Isles version, it will get a strong matchup against a lot of other decks and is a perfect pick if you trained for the mirror matchup.
This lineup will perform extremely well against meta lineups – especially against the ‘Meta Kings’ featuring both Pantheon Demacia and Ahri Kennen. That said, it can be a risky pick, as your chances of victory can decrease drastically when you encounter lineups without either Pantheon or Ahri Kennen.
Ban Pantheon: Darkness, Trundle SI, Scouts
Darkness has been an extremely popular deck on the ladder for a while now and shows great results for experienced players. However, the deck is a bit harder to pull off in the current tournament meta, as it is usually easier to build lineups around an Ahri Ban than around a Pantheon ban. However, the lineup still has some interesting perks and can be built while sticking to strong archetypes.
Scouts has been rocking some of the highest win rates all the while being very popular on the ladder, and for the same reason as Darkness has been struggling in tournaments. While Scouts and Darkness have very different game plans, they actually share a similar matchup table, making them a great pairing.
Trundle Shadow Isles (either Feel the Rush control or Iceborn Spiders) will be great to round up the lineup, as they also have a difficult matchup against Pantheon and a very good matchup table once that deck is banned.
This lineup goes completely outside of the box defined by the current ‘Meta Kings’ that are Ahri Kennen and Pantheon Demacia, and all three decks have a versatile matchup table. Because of that, this lineup is quite hard to target – especially when going with Iceborn Spiders, which is more versatile than Feel the Rush Control.
The lineup also does really well against aggro archetypes, punishing players trying to counter the meta. However, against other kinds of lineups, you will have to fight through a lot of even matchups. ‘Meta Kings’ lineups can be troublesome, especially when they play both Pantheon Demacia and Sivir Demacia.
Matchup tables can be very useful when it comes to building lineups, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and also as a cheat sheet during the tournament in the ban phase.
Over the course of the season, I have built the table below, based on theory, expert opinions and my personal experiences, as well as statistics from multiple sources.
Keep in mind that exact matchup percentages may shift based on the level of your own expertise with the archetypes, and which particular decklists you and your opponents are running.
I hope this article will be helpful for your final preparations before the tournament. If you’re still undecided about which lineup you should choose, just go for what you’re the most comfortable with. Don’t wait until the last minute, it’s not gonna suddenly become easier to make a choice. Use your time to practice rather than hesitating.
Remember to take good care of your body and mind before and during the tournaments, eat light before the tournament, and play in a peaceful environment. Between rounds, try to find and enjoy some relaxing activity so you can relieve yourself of the built-up stress and the fatigue.
I wish you a good experience this weekend and for you to meet your objectives. Thanks for reading!
If you have a question, want to share feedback, or have some feedback on your lineup, I’ll be happy to answer you in the comments below or in the RuneterraCCG’s discord!