The Winners and Losers of Post-Go Hard Meta
Hello, Agigas here! I am a Master player since beta with several #4 ladder peaks and tournament wins. In Patch 2.0.0, Go Hard/Pack Your Bags is receiving a heavy nerf – in fact, it is one of the biggest nerfs we’ve ever seen in Legends of Runeterra. Twisted Fate Go Hard has been a dominant deck for a while now, and the adjustment of its power level was anticipated – and hoped for – by most players. This massive change will most likely lead to the disappearance of this prominent Tier 1 deck, which in turn will cause huge ripple effects in the meta.
In this article, I intend to go over the big winners and losers of this patch heralded by the Go Hard nerf. I hope it will help you get a sense of a direction where the meta is headed and to help you make better deck choices. The assumptions here are based on my personal opinions, but I will also back them up with Mobalytics win rate stats.
Discard Aggro had 55% win rate overall (58% – if we disregard experimental versions with Teemo and Survival Skills), and it was was already a major force and one of the best decks to climb with. The only thing that held it in the past from breaking into Tier 1 was its abysmal matchup against TF Go Hard (30% win rate). Once you take Go Hard out of the meta, Discard Aggro becomes a real contender for a dominant Tier 1 position!
TF Go Hard’s disappearance would not be the only reason why we could see the resurgence of Discard Aggro. We’ll talk more about it later, but Feel the Rush appears to be one of the losers of this patch – and it was one of the biggest Discard Aggro’s counters (30% win rate)!
Discard Aggro is also a hard counter to Ashe Noxus (61% win rate), which I expect to see more play because it is one of the winners of the patch. The only deck left in the meta that will remain somewhat consistent at beating Discard Aggro is Ezreal/Draven (42% win rate).
Overall, I expect Discard Aggro’s to become one of the best decks in this new patch precisely because its biggest counters should mostly disappear – or get significantly less popular.
Like Discard Aggro, Ashe Noxus was held back by TF Go Hard significantly, having an abysmal 25% win rate against it. Among the popular meta decks, it was literally the worst one against Go Hard. It was a fringe deck that barely held onto a Tier 2 spot and was mostly considered as a tournament deck. Now it becomes a much more interesting ladder deck, able to prey on both Fiora/Shen (63% win rate) and Scout (60% win rate), which are two of the most popular decks currently.
However, Ashe Noxus is still weak to another tier 1 deck, Ezreal/Draven (42% win rate). The rise of Discard Aggro, one of Ashe Noxus’ biggest counters (38% win rate), could also massively hold it back.
Depending on how much Discard Aggro popularity rises, Ashe Noxus could actually not gain a whole lot from this patch. But if Discard Aggro would not rise to the same amount of popularity TF Go Hard had, and Demacia decks will stay as popular as they were, then Ashe Noxus could become a great deck to attack the meta with.
Ezreal/Draven, unlike the 2 previous decks, was already a renowned Tier 1 deck, so every further advantage gained by this deck should not be taken lightly. And this is where things get really interesting: Ezreal/Draven had a very poor win rate of 36% against TF Go Hard.
But there is more. Ezreal/Draven also had a bad matchup against Feel the Rush (36% win rate), which is one of the losers of TF Go Hard’s nerf. Ezreal/Draven is also very well-positioned against Discard Aggro (58% win rate) and Ashe Noxus (58% win rate), the other two big winners of the patch. Finally, it maintains a great matchup against both of Tier 1 Demacia decks, Scouts (57% win rate) and Fiora/Shen (56% win rate).
Ezreal/Draven looks to be the actual biggest winner from this patch as everything seems to change in its favor. How successful it will get is something we have to learn, but because the deck was already among the best, the meta might shift even more to adapt against Ezreal/Draven.
This one might sound too obvious, but from the past, we know that a nerf doesn’t always mean the deck it hit has to disappear. Scouts, for example, endured countless nerfs and still remained a viable deck. A nerf will cause the deck to lose some popularity, which will then shift the meta into a place where the nerfed deck actually finds more good matchups than before. It did happen in the past that some decks actually managed to increase their win rate right after they got nerfed.
In the case of TF Go Hard, the deck’s nerf wouldn’t even come up until the later parts of the games it plays. The only thing that changed is about Pack Your Bags. However, the change here is incredibly impactful – going from 1 mana to 5 mana! This is by far the most impressive nerf we have seen in Legends of Runeterra. This should change the way Go Hard is played. Before the nerf, a major part of Pack Your Bags’ strength was coming from the play pattern where you would keep Pack Your Bags in hand and develop a full board before playing. Meanwhile, the opponent couldn’t afford to match your board while you have your Pack Your Bags threat and 1 mana. The change to 5 mana tones down this play pattern significantly. It is also not possible anymore to play Ledros and Pack Your Bags in the same turn. That was a very strong combo to burn out the opponent. Lastly, Zap Sprayfin won’t be able to tutor Pack Your Bags now that it costs 5 (will tutor Go Hard still as usual)..
I can’t say for sure if TF Go Hard is dead – I think it will still actually be playable. Though it will for sure lose its previous popularity and its seat in Tier 1, and will probably not even be considered competitive anymore. If you loved playing TF Go Hard, I think it is time for you to play a few farewell games with it before the patch hits and say goodbye, because the upcoming patch looks pretty dire for this deck.
Soraka/TK has been quite unpopular for a large part of the season but started to gain traction lately because it is one of the few decks that counters both TF Go Hard (60% win rate) and Zoe/Lee (61% win rate).
Unfortunately for Tahm Kench, TF Go Hard’s nerf might signal the end of this rise. The great matchup against Zoe/Lee remains intact, but otherwise, Soraka/TK has a lot of counters.
Ashe Noxus is one of those (42% win rate) – and should be on the rise. Ezreal/Draven (44% win rate) and Discard Aggro (46% win rate) aren’t easy matchups by any means either.
Fearsome Aggro is a deck that also countered Soraka/TK (29% win rate). It should suffer from the new patch, but it was already not so popular before so it doesn’t sound like enough of a factor for Soraka/TK to still be relevant.
All these shifts, combined with the fact that Soraka/TK was already out of Tier 1 for a while, might make this deck disappear for some time when it comes to ladder play. Though it will still be an interesting option in tournaments as a way to target Zoe/Lee.
Fearsome Aggro does have a similar story to Soraka/TK. It was already a bit down (but, unlike Soraka/TK, it wasn’t trending upwards), and the fact that in patch 2.0.0 it loses its great matchup against Go Hard (64% win rate) certainly doesn’t help.
Discard Aggro’s rise will hurt this deck even further, as it only has a 41% win rate against it. Fiora/Shen, Fearsome’s worst matchup (36% win rate), should remain a Tier 1 deck, and Soraka/TK being stopped in its rise means Fearsome Aggro loses its best matchup (72% win rate).
Feel the Rush has been a great deck for a long time now, and I don’t expect that the nerf to Go Hard will make it disappear. However, TF Go Hard was one of its best matchups (67% win rate), so, naturally, this change will hurt the deck.
However, unlike the two previous ‘losers’ of this patch, Feel the Rush at least gains a few advantages from the update. It has a great matchup against both Discard Aggro (71% win rate) and Ezreal/Noxus (58% win rate), two of the ‘winners’ from this patch. Maybe, if those 2 decks rise as much as I would expect, Feel the Rush will just be as good as before, but for different reasons.
Scouts have been rising quickly lately and it has even become one of the most popular and successful decks in the meta, taking up a comparable play rate and a better win rate than TF Go Hard. Like other ‘losers’ from this patch, Scouts had a great win rate against TF Go Hard (59%).
Scouts aren’t too happy with the other changes that might happen to the meta either. Ezreal/Draven (43% win rate) and Ashe Noxus (40% win rate) are both very bad matchups that are going to rise, and if Feel the Rush’s popularity goes down, Scouts also lose one of its best matchups (70% win rate).
Despite many unfavorable changes that are happening in the meta for Scouts, I think it will still be in a good position. It still keeps a good matchup against Zoe/Lee, an even matchup against Fiora/Shen, and it remains a great deck at punishing fringe decks. If Ashe Noxus gets so popular that it becomes Tier 1, or if Ezreal really starts oppressing the meta, things might get problematic for Scouts, but I don’t expect meta to go that far.
Overall, this patch might look too small to change things much, but don’t be fooled: the downfall of a Tier 1 deck is a huge change to the meta, and this is actually a major patch.
Personally, I’m both worried and excited about Ezreal/Draven in 2.0.0, as the deck has everything going for it there, and it is already a Tier 1 deck. This might not be too impactful at most ranks because the deck is pretty complex, but at a high-level, it might become the uncontested best deck of the meta.
I hope this article helped you get an early look into the new meta. Once the patch is live, I will follow closely how it evolves and keep the meta tier list updated, so feel free to pass by if you want more insights! 😉
If you want to share feedback, have a question, or want to discuss the upcoming meta, I’ll be happy to answer you on this dedicated Reddit post!
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Thanks for reading!