The new Legends of Runeterra expansion, Empires of the Ascended, is here. With Shurima as the new region and 130 new cards, the meta of Runeterra has undergone a major shift. New deck archetypes are rising, while old ones that ruled the Call of the Mountain era are out.
Since the first weeks of every new expansion are a chaotic deckbuilding time, we've selected some of the best new (and old) decks to play if you want to climb to Master in Legends of Runeterra.
The Trundle/Lissandra Control is a new take on an old control deck — the Freljord/Shadow Isles combo of "kill everything until your late-game bomb wins it". In the new meta, there are a two major versions of it: with Commander Ledros (pictured) or with Spectral Matron.
The win conditions are mostly similar: survive until you can take over the game. The Spectral Matron version uses solely Lissandra's Watcher card as the win condition. The Ledros variant uses, well, Commander Ledros. Both versions are good and this is perhaps the best control deck in the current meta with good match-ups across the board.
Noxus Azir Burn
The Nox Azir Burn is a pretty straightforward aggro deck, using Azir and cheap Shurima and Noxus followers for early offense. It's very similar to the old Noxus/P&Z Aggro of old metas, where you just push as much damage as possible and then finish with either Overwhelm cards (Darius, Ruin Runner, Crowd Favorite), or direct damage (Decimate, Noxian Favor).
Azir is a powerful card here, because he can level up very fast. His Sand Soldiers can also chug in a lot of direct Nexus damage, chipping down life points every round. Don't think about strategy as much. Just count your damage and go for the throat.
Kalista Slay Aggro
Another great deck for aggro lovers out there. The Kalista Slay Aggro uses the new Slay keyword, and a lot of Last Breath cards to power it, to either push some Fearsome damage with Baccai Reaper, drain the enemy Nexus with Ruinous Path, or set up good trades with Rampaging Baccai.
This is a bit slower aggro deck than the Azir Burn, but a fun one nonetheless and you can pull off a lot of cool combos with your Last Breath followers. It's value city!
Popular streamer Mateusz "Alanzq" Jasiński with this Sivir/LeBlanc deck that plays less like a traditional aggro, but more a tempo deck with combo elements. The deck uses the new Reputation keyword, which triggers when characters have hit for 5+ damage on four different occasions.
The deck does it mostly through early drops of LeBlanc and Trifarian Gloryseeker in tandem with Whirling Death. It wins with a double attack after a Rally from Shunpo as it pushes a lot of damage from high-attack followers.
The deck also has a lot of card draw with Preservarium and Whispered Words, combat buffs/debuffs like Shaped Stone and Exhaust, and even control elements with Rite of Negation.
Ledros Timelines Combo
This Combo/Control deck from Belgian player Alessio “Ultraman” Boukou reached Top 1 Master rank and it's one of the coolest decks in the new meta. The good news for free-to-play players is that it mostly uses old cards. The only two new additions are the powerful Kindred and the namesake of the deck: Concurrent Timelines.
The way the Timelines Combo deck works is: You play Concurrent Timelines as soon as you can. Once you get Ledros, play it and hope to get The Dreadway. What happens next is: Ledros' effect will trigger, cutting the enemy life in half; then it will transform to The Dreadway, doubling all your damage. From there, if you have mana open, you can play 4-damage Mystic Shots or just swing for damage for the kill.
If you don't have any new cards, but still want a strong deck to climb the Master, the good old Fizz/TF Burn is a prime choice. The deck wins by protecting Fizz with TF and a lot of spells, as it chips down the enemy Nexus with Elusive damage (from Fizz, Zap Sprayfin, and Wiggly Burblefish).
You will meet this deck a lot on ladder, so best to learn how to play it anyways.
The Fiora/Shen Barrier Midrange is, without doubt, the best midrange deck in the game right now, and has been since Call of the Mountain. It's a deck that almost anyone can build at this point, as it uses almost entirely old cards.
The deck plays as a standard midrange: drop units on curve, protect them with Barrier, and trade efficiently. You can win by either completing Fiora's objective, or by just getting control of the field by combat trades. A very powerful deck, that's also not too difficult to pilot.
Aphelios/TF is by far the best (or at least most popular) of the Aphelios decks out there. Aphelios brings a lot of tools to control the board, which goes extremely well with Twisted Fate's own kit. There will hardly be an obstacle you won't be able to overcome — there's just too much versatility in the deck.
Just kill stuff, develop your board, keep the enemy locked out of options and push for damage. In the late game, cast Mind Meld to make a truly unstoppable army.
Esports editor and journalist of 10+ years. Lives on black tea and corgi love.