Top 10 Most Overpowered Decks in History of Legends of Runeterra

Shane digs through time to compile a list of all-time Runeterra greatest - both on a scale of power level and caused frustration.

Throughout the history of Legends of Runeterra, there have been a lot of decks many would claim as overpowered. I have been playing since the Closed Beta, so I have gotten to experience all of them! Today I will go through my memory, many patch notes, old videos, and so much more to compile a list of the top 10 most overpowered decks we have seen so far. 

This is very much an opinion piece, so let me lay down some of the criteria I used when forming this list. The first aspect I looked at was what happened to the game because of this deck. Did meta become completely warped, were there nerfs happening directly because of this deck, and so on. I also based this on how it felt to play against this deck. Were there a lot of counter options, was it a negative play experience, was it absurdly consistent, and so on. So let’s get to the list!


I am purposely placing Azir/Irelia in 10th place. This deck has been a very hot topic lately and it is the new toy that everyone wants to play with. I do not believe that this deck is the most powerful deck we have ever seen, but I do think it deserves a spot on this list.

Even though recently LoR Product Lead on Gameplay Riot Dovagedys made a Reddit post defending the state of the deck and the current meta, not everyone agrees. Blade Dance combined with the powerful backline support of Azir and Emperor’s Dais has made for a really consistent and explosive aggro deck.

It is yet to be seen if this deck will have any nerfs, but the way it shaped the meta and held a solid win rate even in an environment where it faces a lot of ‘counter’ matchups gave me enough reason to place it on this list. However, as you continue reading, I hope this list shows you just how much worse things could be!


Up next we travel back almost a year to when Nab mechanic was ruling the meta. Funnily enough, for a few patches, this ability did not even have a specific name, and everyone was referring to it as ‘Yoink’!

There were a ton of Nab decks running around at that point, but Sejuani and Miss Fortune variant became the most popular. What felt bad when you were paired against this list was the negative play experience of losing to your own cards. I have to admit, I never hated it all that much, but it was mostly because I was playing every Nab deck I could find.

Back then Nab would also steal right from the top of your deck, which destroyed Freljord buff decks entirely for quite some time. Eventually, this interaction was changed, and many cards were nerfed. Pilfered Goods went to 3 mana, Black Market Merchant lost 1 HP, and even some other cards from this archetype were eventually nerfed. Not having a Nab deck on this list was not an option for me, it was the talk of the town for multiple months!


  • Twisted Fate – Level Up: I’ve seen you draw 8+ cards
  • Twisted Fate’s Pick a Card – 3 mana, shuffle a card into your deck to draw 3 Fleeting at the start of the next round
  • Go HardPack Your Bags – both 1 mana

I personally hated playing against TF Go Hard so much, but I didn’t want myself to get blinded by my hatred against it, so I put it in 8th place – because, realistically, there were much more powerful decks.

Go Hard had a lot of variations but at the heart of the list was the ability to cycle through most of your deck and spam Go Hard enough to create a situation where you can get off 1 or more Pack Your Bags at really opportune times. At the height of this deck, Pack Your Bags only cost 1 mana!

Every time I played against TF Go Hard I felt like I was on a clock just waiting for it to tick down after which I will get my entire board wiped in a one-sided sweeper. This resulted in the biggest mana cost nerf we have ever seen as Pack Your Bags was raised all the way up to a 5-cost spell.


  • Aphelios – 3/3 (then 3/2), his Moon Weapons cost 2 mana.
  • Aphelios’s Gifts from Beyond – 2 mana.
  • Twisted Fate – Level Up: I’ve seen you draw 8+ cards
  • Pick a Card and Twisted Fate’s Pick a Card – 3 mana, shuffle a card into your deck to draw 3 Fleeting at the start of the next round
  • Wiggly Burblefish – 3/1
  • The Veiled Temple – Each round, the first time you play 2 other cards, refill 2 mana and grant your strongest ally +1/+1.

Twisted Fate is our first repeat Champion in this list! However, in Aphelios Temple, he was not the main culprit. This deck had an insane amount of sustain and flexibility. The Veiled Temple got absolutely abused in this deck and had so much value.

You could easily keep your champions alive with Sunblessed Vigor, Bastion, and of course the health buff from The Veiled Temple. Aphelios turned out to be really overpowered when he was first released, with absurd flexibility and so much value.

Bringing out the Boxtopus with full health with Crescendum was an absurd play! A lot of cards in this deck have since been changed – in particular, Aphelios, his Moon Weapons, and The Veiled Temple all got hit with a nerf.

There were a lot of decisions to make when you played this deck, and they couldn’t really end the game in one turn, but the competent pilots of the archetype were able to consistently outvalue you every step of the game and that always felt hard to deal with. 


This Top 10 list would be nothing without including Lee Sin. This man has seen so many changes to himself and his kit, and he is still in a place that could become very absurd if one or two more cards come out to strengthen the deck.

At the core of this archetype is the ability to kill your opponent in one single turn, by putting Overwhelm on Lee Sin and getting him to 10 power, and of course, leveling him up. This deck became most problematic when Bastion still cost at 3 mana but was also buffed to and give the +1/+1 buff.

This provided insane value and caused Lee Sin to become a powerhouse in the meta. Targon allowed for so much sustain and Gems allowed you to level up Lee Sin quickly, all the while buffing his attack. The current iteration of this deck is also very solid list and still sees play. But thankfully the consistency of this old version is not there anymore, because I can’t tell you how many times I watched my Nexus go from 20 hp to 0 in one swift kick…


Sometimes the Live Balance team behind Legends of Runeterra pushes very powerful buffs to underplayed cards. Most of the time, this ends up helping and making those cards interesting options. Other times it causes ripples seen all throughout the game.

In this case, buffing Braum did the latter. Before his change, Braum was vastly underpowered but giving him 1 power and the ability to spawn a free Might Poro proved to be too much. He went from severely underperforming to being the best midrange control piece the game had ever seen.

He allowed this deck to sustain itself late enough to build up the endless Anivia cycle and just run over anything in its path. Obviously, Braum had to be toned down and was reigned back in with a nerf. On top of this, Anivia’s egg ended up going down to 1 Health as well and this deck’s run at the top was over. 


There is a chance many of you reading this article don’t even remember the dominance of Mono Shadow Isles. Overall Shadow Isles cards have seen so many changes, and it still remains one of the most versatile regions to the day. It can do all three speeds – Aggro, Midrange, and Control – extremely well and has some of the strongest tools in the game.

This deck was the epitome of all of that. You could easily find yourself getting overwhelmed early with a hoard of Fearsome units, or even in the middle of the game as the Mistwraiths continued to gain power. If you survived through that, you had to deal with Hecarim’s onslaught as well as late-game bombs like Rhasa and Ledros.

So many cards in this deck have since been changed, including removing Fearsome from Wraithcaller, putting Ledros to a 9 cost, putting Rhasa to an 8 cost, making Black Spear cost 3 mana, removing 1HP from the Skitterer, increasing the cost of the Rekindler, and a million changes to Hecarim. It is obvious this deck had an extreme impact on the meta and the game. 


  • Twisted Fate – Level Up: I’ve seen you draw 8+ cards
  • Pick a Card and Twisted Fate’s Pick a Card – 3 mana, shuffle a card into your deck to draw 3 Fleeting at the start of the next round
  • Wiggly Burblefish – 3/1

Surprise, another Twisted Fate deck! Of course, TF Fizz had to make this list.

I actually love the story of this deck. For a while Fizz had seen almost no competitive play, and the Wiggly Burblefish hadn’t either. And one week, they went from that – to a Tier 1 deck! This was one of the most dominating performances a deck ever had in a short time.

This deck could consistently level up both of its champions, cycle through most of the card library, and burst you down with a ton of Elusive damage. It was one of the most brutal decks to play against because they would blast all your units off the board while building up their own swarm of Elusive fish that were very hard to counter.

The biggest problematic aspect of this deck was how fast Twisted Fate could level up and the card advantage you had over almost every other deck. When Shurima was released, this deck was still so powerful that it actually held back a lot of new cards from the new expansion in the competitive environment. Ultimately Twisted Fate saw multiple changes both to himself and to his champion spell, and the Wiggly Burblefish lost 1 power in order to simmer down the offensive capabilities of this deck.


Ionia once dominated this game. At the height of its dominance sat 5-cost Karma, and a lot of other under-costed Ionia spells. There have been so many control decks come and go in Legends of Runeterra, but none have left a more bitter taste in my mouth than this one.

The early sustain from Eye of the Dragon, the heavy removal from Piltover and Zaun, and the control tools that Ionia provided let this deck live late into the game until Karma would inevitably hit the board leveled up. Combine her insane ability with the old version of Ezreal which would deal 2 to the enemy Nexus with any spell, and you could easily finish off a healthy Nexus even at burst speed.

This made for insanely frustrating play patterns and really long games that would end in very unsatisfying ways. There ended up being multiple iterations of Karma decks later on, and eventually, after the release of Bilgewater, Ezreal would end up getting reworked. But almost directly because of this deck, we saw the change of Shadow Assassin, Will of Ionia, Deep Meditation, and of course Karma. At its time, this was the ultimate control deck and if you were planning on trying to rank up, you had to have great respect for this deck.


And finally, in my number one spot, is a deck without any champions! Championless Burn was such a staple for a very long time. It was an amazing budget deck that any player could get their hands on extremely fast.

It was fast and to the point, a perfect combination for climbing the ladder. The raw damage that came from this deck was absolutely insane, and most of it you didn’t really have to work for. There were few decisions to make, and while some of those decisions held some weight, compared to current aggro decks this was almost autopilot.

There are two main reasons I am putting this as my number 1 most overpowered deck of all time. The first is because it is the one thing that really caught the development team off guard. When we got to sit down and talk with RiotUmbrage (the Game Director of Legends of Runeterra) he was really shocked a championless deck ended up being so competitive. Not only did it end up competitive, but it ended up as one of the strongest decks in the game and the go-to climbing deck because of its speed.

The final reason I have this deck at the top of this list is that I believe it literally created a new rule in Riot’s tournament format. For the Seasonal Tournament, you are not allowed to bring more than 1 deck without champions. Really this is the only championless deck that ever became universal and problematic, and since this game is based on League of Legends champions, that wasn’t great for spectatorship.


Conclusion

Writing this article has been a really fun experience. I greatly enjoyed going back and thinking about all of the past metas we have been through, and all of the nerfs and changes that have happened along the way.

There are so many more decks that crossed my mind while making this list like Unyielding Fiora, Kinkou Elusives, Feel the Rush, Corina Control, Bannerman… I am really excited to see the feedback on this one, and hear everyone’s opinions on what I missed and what I rated too high or too low, so please feel free to continue this discussion!

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Shane

Shane has played strategy card games since before he could read, thanks to his older brother teaching him how to memorize what each card did. Currently, he is the Host of the Twin Sunz Podcast, a Legends of Runeterra podcast and community with offerings for players of all levels of skill.

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