Were you as glued to last Friday's Reckoning tournament as we were? It was a fantastic event: not only did the matches showcase a high level of skill, but this was also the first major Legends of Runeterra tournament since the expansion released. This gave us some insight into what professional Runeterra players are thinking and where the meta might go. So what did we learn? First, a big caveat: one of the things we love most about Runeterra is that you don't need to play meta decks. In the hands of a skilled pilot, the difference between an "S Tier" deck and an off-meta deck is probably less than a 10% win ratio. That said, however, whether you want to anticipate what you'll be facing or just want to score some quick wins, it does pay to keep a pulse on the meta. With that in mind, here are some trends we're expecting in our upcoming future.

The New Face of Control

Aurelion Sol Card Image

If there was one fact that became immediately apparent, it was this: if you want to play competitive control decks this fall, you'd better plan on including Aurelion Sol. Simply put, old school value engines such as Karma's free spells and Warmother's Call's free summons seem archaic compared to A-Sol's free celestial cards. Expect him to define tournament metas for the foreseeable future. Of the 16 competitors, 7 chose Aurelion Sol for one of their decks and -- with the exception of one noble effort from Cephalopod -- the others declined to bring any control decks and instead focused on combo, midrange and aggro. There is some debate about what exactly is the best deck for Sol, but it is indisputable that once dropped, he puts the opposition on a clock.

  • The tournament winner, Glop, paired him with Trundle and built a Targon + Freljord ramp deck
  • 3rd place winner Fresh Lobster also did Targon + Freljord but used Leona to create a more tempo-driven deck
  • Winding God didn't do quite well enough to place but nonetheless had a very successful run with a Diana & Sol in a Targon + SI deck 

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Some Familiar Faces

Swain Card Image Twisted Fate Card Image

The most popular deck by far was Swain + Twisted Fate, with 7 out of the 16 competitors selecting this archetype including all top 4 finishers. Perhaps this shouldn't be unexpected: between Swain's stuns and cheap pings from Red Card and Make it Rain, this is one of the few decks that can stall out Aurelion Sol if only for a few rounds. It's also a very refined and powerful archetype in its own right that has been a mainstay of Runeterra competitions for months. All 7 decklists were identical save for a few minor tech choices. 

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Combo Makes a Comeback

Ezreal Card Image

Another archetype that made a resurgence is Ezreal Combo decks. Again, this makes sense in hindsight: Ezreal is one of the few cards who can bypass Aurelion Sol, often delivering lethal nexus damage at burst speed. Only 4 of the 16 competitors chose him, but all of those 4 placed well so look for more to follow suit in the future. There again is some variety in how he is partnered:

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Fading Stars

Ashe Card Image They Who Endure Card Image Nautilus Card Image Miss Fortune Card Image

Just as significant as which decks competitors chose are the decks that they declined. Most notably, both the Noxus Ashe and They Who Endure archetypes which have been prevalent in competitive Runeterra for so long were completely absent. 2 other popular archetypes, Deep and Scouts, were picked by Sudrakon and Szerro respectively, but their scarcity combined with those competitors' quick eliminations imply both are on a path for Tier B- territory.

Improving on a Classic

Lulu Card Image Mistwraith Card Image Phantom Prankster Card Image

There were a few surprising decklists from the tournament that caught my eye. Even though they didn't have the same success as the aforementioned, they are still worth checking out as A.) they are unrefined and therefore subject to improvement, and B.) even a mediocre tournament deck can excel on the ladder.

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New Kids on the Block

Nocturne Card Image Diana Card Image Taric Card Image Trundle Card Image

Finally, I wanted to call attention to some brand new archetypes which didn't make a big splash at this event but that I think have some real potential. Watch out for them in the future as their decklists become more refined, especially on ladder where the opposing decks are generally much more diverse.

  • Both Szerro and 4LW both brought Diana / Nocturne offering aggressive nightfall strategies 
  • Hyped brought a Taric & Lee Sin deck that tried to level Lee Sin quickly off gems and then swing with a buffed Lee Sin, Dragon RageBADCARDNAME'ing any significant enemies into nexus
  • iannogueria brought a midrange Swain & Trundle deck that looks to loop Trundle into the popular Swain + The Leviathan combo. While didn't give him much success on Friday, did help him win a Brazilian tournament earlier this week

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What decks have you been seeing? Let us know below!