Legends of Runeterra Guide: Approaching a New Meta
The new patch is here and with it brings a bunch of changes to shake things up. We’ve even been given three new cards to help patch up a few regions! While most big patches come in the form of expansions, every now and then we’re given some major changes to the current card pool.
But with the majority of the changes being nerfs, there are only so many buffed archetypes to explore. Or is there?
If you’re feeling stuck and don’t know what to play, I’m here to help.
It’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung here and today we’re gonna discuss a mindset to approaching a new metagame.
What’s Your Objective?
Before we jump in, it’s important to ask yourself what you want from the experience. If you couldn’t care less about rank, winning, or losing, then by all means play whatever you like! However, I’m going to go off the assumption that many of us do strive to win, at least in some fashion. Even if you’re not aiming for the top of the ladder, we’d still like to win.
Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle. I myself enjoy messing around with new concepts initially, but then reach a point where I’ve satisfied that itch, then decides to narrow in on what works. But even in this state, the meta is still being discovered. Things change, and what worked yesterday may no longer be ideal today.
Beyond simply winning and losing, there are further objectives to consider. For instance, some players enjoy the deck-building process. The act of brewing multiple decks in hopes to create the next big thing can be exciting. However, other players would rather try out all the cool new decks instead of spending the time to build on their own. Then there are players trying to take advantage of the fresh ladder by playing well-known, optimized decks.
This may not capture the entire spectrum, but hopefully, it’ll give you a good baseline to consider. Without further ado, let’s take a look at five ways to explore a new metagame.
Play “The Deck”
Once a patch goes live, it doesn’t take long until the “hot new deck” starts to emerge. Regardless of how good it is, there’s always at least a deck or two that we dive right into. This is especially true during expansions with new mechanics to try out but also applies when buffs occur to older cards. And it makes sense because it’s usually the most exciting, at least on the surface. In today’s time, it’s Mono Shurima.
Now playing the new deck does have its perks. First off, it’s often a newer strategy, or it’s changed enough that players aren’t accustomed to its play patterns. This can give you an edge since opponents will need to adapt. Additionally, since many others are playing the archetype, you’ll often learn what works versus what doesn’t a lot quicker. It’s a lot easier to find a refined list when everyone plays it.
On the flip side, sometimes the new deck just isn’t good, and it can be hard to judge win rates effectively at the beginning. If you’re trying to climb the ladder, you may want a little more evidence before investing too much time on the deck. While it IS possible the “hot new deck” is actually insane (Kennen Ezreal, RIP), it could also be a complete flop (expansion-launch Dragons).
There’s certainly potential to find success here. However, just know that if the deck IS really good, people are going to catch on and adapt quickly. You won’t be able to farm easy wins for long.
Sometimes a single small change can make a huge difference. Just look at Azir! While that’s a more extreme example, more subtle changes can actually be just as impactful. We just have to find them.
Viktor and Aphelios have certainly opened some new doors. Viktor was previously fringe playable at best, but is now seeing experimentation in multiple archetypes. Aphelios has returned to his former state, except the rework to Crescendum drastically changes how we build around him. I don’t think we can definitely state their best decks thus far, so that goes to show how much potential there is to innovate.
It’s not easy, especially when the meta is evolving. However, if you do manage to discover something awesome, you’ll be greatly rewarded for it!
Exploit the Trends
We’re moving more into competitive territory with this one, except adding a splash of spice. In the early days of a new meta we can often start to identify trends. When players don’t know what to play, many just pick up and try the popular new deck(s). Want to capitalize on this? Build to counter them! If you caught the first days of this patch, you likely encountered two decks more frequently.
- Mono Shurima
- Scorched Earth/Divergent Paths deck
This actually happens, but only to a certain extent. Things change fast, so you’ll need to be ready to adapt. If you’re good at identifying these shifts you can give yourself great odds on the ladder. It helps if there’s one or two popular decks that you can prey on at once, but so long as one archetype holds a great enough meta share, it can be worth it.
Test Old Favorites
Just because your old favorite archetype didn’t receive any buffs doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. In fact, a lot of past decks often tread around tier 2-3, and could perform well under the right conditions. With other decks getting nerfed, it could help clear a path for an old deck to shine.
It’s important to understand the weaknesses of the deck. Some archetypes have inherent disadvantages, regardless of the metagame they encounter. Try to identify whether the nerfed decks were the key to holding it back. Or ask yourself what most impacted the deck in the first place. Did the deck receive its own nerfs a while back? Does the strategy no longer function reliably with the addition of certain cards? With a few honest questions, you may already have your answer. But if all seems promising, feel free to give the deck a shot!
Tried and True
While not the most glamorous option, if your goal is to climb, often the best choice is to go with good ol’ faithful. Unless a deck gets completely gutted, you’ll usually find at least some success with the well-established, refined archetypes. This isn’t to say they’re positioned well into the meta, but when experimentation is at an all time high, we can capitalize on efficiency over theory. They are good decks for a reason.
These are just two examples, but there’s plenty of others to choose from. The ideal choice is going to be something proactive. It’s much easier to present the threats and define the pace of the game during a fresh field. Trying to answer and control a game state isn’t very effective when we don’t know what to expect.
If you stick with a few of these you’ll likely find great success on the ladder. While some won’t fare well into the new popular archetypes, there’ll likely be at least one or two that do. That gives you favorable odds into the popular deck AND maximum consistency into all the random unrefined decks. Take advantage of it while you can!
Conclusion: Understand the Inconsistencies
When it comes to a new patch, it’s important to take things with a grain of salt and understand the inconsistencies. The deck you play could be incredible one day, then feel like garbage the next day. When we’re all exploring how things work, it’s hard to get an accurate read on what works. Remember that many of the decks you defeat you’ll never see again.
Despite all this, enjoy the experience for what it is! Fresh metagames don’t last forever, and they’re some of the best times to play the game. At least have some fun before we start complaining again.. 😉
Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day
If you’re ever unsure of what motivates you, ask yourself, “What gives me energy on the most exhausting of days?”.
Your true passion will often reveal itself. How can you use it to your advantage?
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this guide, check out the rest of Shugo’s articles.