Legends of Runeterra Patch 0.9.0 went live earlier this week, and it brought with it a much-needed shift in the meta. The oppressive Fearsome and Elusive decks of the game’s nascent stage have mostly been quelled thanks to nerfs to key cards such as Mistwraith, Inspiring Mentor, Kinkou Lifeblade, and of course, Deny. So with Shadow Isles and Ionia being knocked down a peg, a new region has started to wreak havoc on the ranked ladder.
That region is Piltover & Zaun. P&Z was originally considered as somewhat of a joke region, with the cheeky and memeable Teemo decks arguably being its most popular in the early meta. After the patch though, we’re starting to see how versatile the region of science and innovation can be.
With spells such as Mystic Shot, Get Excited, and Statikk Shot, P&Z has many tools that can be used to either control the board or hit the enemy’s nexus for some rapid and devastating face damage. These spells coupled with combo-centric champions like Ezreal and Heimerdinger make the region a force to be reckoned with.
According to Mobalytics, P&Z is currently featured in all three tier-one decklists, and five out of the eight decks on the meta tier list as a whole, with many of these being control decks. In fact, control decks, in general, have been on the rise, which is something that many, including Riot (more on that later), predicted ahead of the new patch.
The reason? Well, it turns out that increasing Deny’s cost by a mere one mana had some major consequences, as it paved the way for bigger, more expensive control spells see the light of day.
One of the best combo control decks in ranked play right now is “Ezreal Control.” Although this deck admittedly had been skulking around ranked play before the patch, it has definitely morphed into a more serious contender after the patch. Featuring Ezreal as its lone champion and Freljord as its secondary region, the deck relies on cards such as Icevale Archer, Avalanche, and Mystic Shot to stall the game out and control the board while you wait for Ezreal to level up. Once that happens, the deck combines cheap spells such as Mushroom Cloud with Ezreal’s leveled up effect to deal nexus damage and finish the game. Here’s a version of it that features the Elnuk package.
Elnuks sound even more delicious in this new patch. Here's @HypedAF's version with Freljord.
SI is still prevalent so freeze/removals are a few ways to deal with the ongoing fearsomes.https://t.co/8F66KZa4CK
— runeterradex (@runeterradex) February 18, 2020
“Heimerdemacia” is another strong deck that’s been climbing the ranks as a result of the new patch. Featuring Heimerdinger as its win condition, this deck aims to combine the Yordle scientist’s effect with three mana spells in order to swarm the board with 3|1 Elusives. In the meantime, it also features an extensive collection of removal options such as Detain and Thermogenic Beam to help stall until you can start taking advantage of Heimerdinger’s immense value. Progress Day and Vanguard Redeemer are there to help fish out Heimerdinger if he’s proving especially difficult to find.
As the meta continues to shake itself out, it’s worth noting that Riot made note of control decks potentially becoming problematic in their patch notes for update 0.9.0. In a section entitled “The Watchlist”, Riot stated that “the card updates in this patch represent a general reduction in the power of tools that aggressive and midrange decks have to combat control strategies.” With this in mind, it’s obvious that Riot is keeping a close eye on how the current meta is shaking out, and won’t hesitate to make changes in upcoming balance updates.