About what Seasonals are and how they work
Seasonal tournaments symbolize peak moments in the LoR competitive scene, and a 10k dollar prize to the winner, besides also serving both as a finishing line for the current competitive season, and a starting line for a new expansion, as well as a season to come afterwards.
The first Seasonal happened on December 13th, 2020, namely the "Monuments of Power" Seasonal Tournament.
To get a spot in the tournament, you need to be among the 700 best ranked in the ranked queue, or be one of the first 324 that finish the Final Gauntlet one week before the opening rounds. This way, 1024 players compete in the first day of the Tournament, known as the Open Rounds, to then get a spot in the Top 32, which takes place the following day in a single elimination format.
The Legends of Runeterra servers are divided in 3 regions: we have the Americas, Europe and Asia, and each one of these regions has their own Seasonal Tournament. In this article we will review only the American Seasonal Tournament, so both the winners and the data discussed will be based on that server only, but it is important to be aware that there are Tournaments for the other regions.
Another important information is: The first 4 places in each Seasonals of all servers get a spot straight to the Legends of Runeterra Worlds Championship Qualifiers.
Seasonal Tournament History
Monuments of Power
This particular Seasonal Tournament happened during the first part of the Targon expansion, and though this region was very strong in that meta, we must highlight other cards. Right before the competition we had a thematic KDA event, which brought icons, emotes, and exclusive cards which referenced each KDA member. Among the 5 exclusive cards released in that event, the highlights went to the cards associated with Ahri and Evelynn, Feel The Rush and Go Hard. These 2 cards saw a lot of play competitively, being part of 2 of the strongest decks in that Seasonal's meta.
The Mexican native Puyshpii was the biggest winner of that edition. I must say I love remembering this Seasonal due to one of the decks this player used, Darius Sejuani, in his lineup to become a seasonal champion.
As an Overwhelm lover, I remember Darius Sejuani was one of the first editions of the overwhelm decks. Puyshpii also used Twisted Fate Elise (Go Hard) and Leona Aurelion Ionia in his line up.
In the second edition, still in the Targon expansion, this region got some very strong reinforcements in the form of a new champion, who became quite dominant at the time of his release: Aphelios, the Weapon of the Faithful. Other decks that were quite powerful at the time - and didn't bring Targon - were Fizz TF and Draven Ezreal.
The American MajiinBae was the seasonal champion in that edition, who nowadays is a very prolific content creator and is still very active in the community. That Seasonals is a bit tough for Brazilians to relive as MajiinBae's runner up was IanNogueira, a brazilian.
Unfortunately IanNogueira lost, and got second place instead. MajiinBae used Aphelios Tahm Kench, TF Fizz and Lee Zoe as his line up.
Empire of the Ascended
In this edition we had just received the first part of the Shurima edition, and Targon's presence in the competitive scene decreased a bit due to some of the nerfs Aphelios got, but we still had Aurelion seeing a lot of play in a Demacia deck.
Meanwhile, the Shurima region brought some new strategies to represent itself and was beginning to turn into a worthy opponent: Thresh Nasus and Renekton Sejuani, were the most notable decks. We also had the presence of Ashe LeBlanc, Trundle Lissandra, Maokai Nautilus (Deep) and Shen Jarvan IV representing the other regions.
The first Shuriman seasonal winner was the Canadian native Erigby. His line up used Vi Zoe, Maokai Nautilus and Shyvana Aurelion. His opponent in the finals was random7HS, who lost 2 to 1 to Erigby.
Guardians of the Ancient
This seasonal edition is a bit crazy to relive. If you didn't play then, be aware that at those times, balancing patches were done with less frequency, so a deck dominated meta for longer. Because of that, the Guardians of the Ancient meta was almost the same as the Empire of the Ascended meta.
But as Irelia finally came along to compliment Azir, this newlywed pair produced a very strong and dominant new deck for the format, and the meta started to consist of a clear Triad: Azir Irelia, Nasus Thresh and Lissandra Trundle (TLC).
The reason I find it very crazy to relive that Seasonal Tournament is because it was common to face one of these 3 decks most of the time, but the American Duckling became the seasonal winner without using any of them, thus becoming a real off meta hero!
Rise of the Underworld
With a very disappointed community due to the lack of balancing which created a rock-paper-scissors meta, Riot promised a big balancing patch later on and this was released with more than 40 changes, including nerfs to Azir Irelia, Thresh Nasus and Lissandra Trundle. Besides that, regarding buffs, a very significant change was made when they reverted the Make it Rain nerf, which then returned to costing 2 mana, and that helped bring back Bilgewater into the competitive scene.
On the other hand, there was still one deck that shone above the others, and this was Sivir Akshan Demacia. But still, the Rise of the Underworld expansion ended with a very diverse seasonal tournament. I'd like to highlight two Brazilian competitors, Trivo, who brought Sivir Twisted Fate and also Maykas, who brought his Viego Elise Noxus deck. These 2 decks were very different and off meta choices for both players.
This seasonal which marked the end of the Shurima expansion, had Mr eMOEtional taking the first place. His line up consisted of Draven Jinx, Lulu Zed and Pirates (GP MF). It was a very aggressive approach for this american player, and ended up taking out his comrade Aikado at the finals by 2x0.
Beyond the Bandlewood
The sixth edition of the Seasonal Tournament was right after the arrival of Bandle City as Legends of Runeterra's tenth season. This collection brought 126 new cards, and among them we have 9 new champions. The highlights go to Poppy, Sion and Nami, which formed the triad of the dominant decks in that meta.
The seasonal champion that season was ociti, of the USA, who used Poppy Ziggs, Draven Sion and Zoe Nami. His opponent in the finals was Kochua, also of the USA, and ociti conquered the title with a 2x1 result.
The Between Worlds meta kept Poppy as the main character of the format. She could play alongside Ziggs with Noxus or with Zed, and both options were aggro decks. Another aggro representative which saw a lot of play in that meta was the famous Ping City deck, a Gangplank TF Bandle City deck, and an option for more board focused play was Sejuani Gangplank, the Plunder deck.
Demacia decks, such as Miss Fortune Quinn or Akshan Sivir and Draven Sion were still seeing a bit of play, and were also good strong options for a competitive line up.
The seventh edition of the Legends of Runeterra Seasonal Tournament was the beginning of a new era for Brazilians, as after the Ian Nogueira close call in the beginning of the year, we then had our first Brazilian champion. TheBlackBoss was that edition's great seasonal champion against Kochua in a bo3 match that resulted in a 2x1 for the Brazilian. His line up was Draven Sion Vi, Miss Fortune Poppy and GP Sejuani.
The second part of the Bandle City era brought Pantheon, Ahri, Kennen and Rumble to the game. The Ionian duo came in strong then and rapidly became the new tier 1 of the format.
Pantheon was also a very powerful presence when played alongside Taric. The Darkness deck (Senna Veigar) was also another powerful choice in that meta, as it was a strategic choice to beat Ahri Kennen. In that same reasoning, Miss Fortune Quinn came at the end of that season to also beat Ahri Kennen.
The 8th Seasonal Tournament once again made the Brazilian people happy, as not only did we have another Brazilian winner but also a runner up. We had a final between Brazilians. The winner was Elder Senior, and runner up was Lazyguga in a match that resulted in a 2x1.
Every time I review this edition I keep in mind that Lazyguga went to the finals by using 3 Bandle Tree decks. Meanwhile his opponent, Elder Senior, had a line up which consisted of Ahri Kennen, Veigar Senna and Bandle Tree.
A Curious Journey
A Curious Journey brought to the game Yuumi, Gnar, Udyr and Galio. The Freljordian and Demacian champions didn't have as much highlight, while Gnar was the greatest winner of the season, being quite versatile, but he was nerfed right before Seasonals, so he was pushed out of the competition.
Meanwhile, Yuumi arrived to be Pantheon's pair, and if that Targon champion was already causing a lot of headache, then it was even better alongside this cat. Another really strong deck in that format was Fizz Aphelios (Afaelios). We've also had buffs to Shurima, which helped boost this region and that made Sundisk and Taliyah Ziggs viable.
In the last Bandle City Seasonal edition, the title went to another american born player - Prodigy, who won against another American, Kraftyon, in a match that resulted in a 2 x 1. His line up was Viego Shurima, Sundisk and Taliyah Ziggs.
Worldwalker served as a totally new expansion to the game, as it was the first expansion that wasn't tied to a region. It also introduced to LoR the concept of Runeterran champions, a class that added a new type of deck building to the game. The first Runeterra champions were Bard and Jhin.
Among the most powerful decks then we had Aphelios Viktor, TF Annie, Jayce Heimer, Bard decks and Taliyah Lissandra. It was a very diverse meta, and we even had less popular decks that could answer to the meta being viable, such as Feel The Rush and Timelines.
Meanwhile, in Seasonals, again Brazil got to the finals and got the title for a third time. The Worldwalker champion was Trivo. His line up consisted of Bard Vi, Jayce Heimer and Aphelios Viktor. He won against the american Thchem at the finals by 2x0.
Forces From Beyond
Forces From Beyond followed the Worldwalker model, and its additions to the game were Kai'Sa, Evelynn and Gwen. In that meta, Evelynn didn't have as much highlight, as Gwen became a bit better than her, however the real main character energy belonged to Kai'Sa, who dominated the meta. Everyone was trying to play against her, which in turn made the meta a bit more aggro to fulfill the need to answer the Shuriman champion.
The Forces From Beyond Seasonal Tournament brought another title to Brazil, making it the fourth title for the country. The winner was 4LW, a veteran Brazilian player who finally got the Seasonal Winner title. His line up consisted of Kai'Sa Sivir Jarvan IV, Nami TF Shadow Isles and Gwen Katarina Elise. His final opponent, the canadian Thecupismine, lost the title to the Brazilian player in a 2x1 result.
The Awakening collection brought a new trait for expansion themes: a three part Darkin themed expansion, which was great for the Runeterra lore.
In the first part, Awakening, we've had some Darkin followers in some regions and the first darkin champion released, Kayn. The other champions released were: Ornn, Jax, Master Yi and Norra, this one being an exclusive Legends of Runeterra Champion.
Norra also became the strongest champion in the meta among the new ones. Another very strong option in the meta was the Nami TF Lee Sin deck, but the Ionian region itself was very strong. We also had Pantheon Fiora as a good option for the meta.
Regarding the Seasonal Tournament, the title went again to the Americans, in a final among two players from the USA: Floppymudkip and Weiseguy. Floppymudkip got first place by winning 2x1. His line up consisted of Yasuo Katarina, Annie Jhin and Azir Irelia.
Final Thoughts and Data
With that we came to an end of our Seasonal History Review - at least of the editions we've had so far.
It is interesting to see the rankings of titles by each region, as Noxus and Piltover and Zaun are the regions with the biggest presence in Seasonal Champion Line ups, being featured in 10 of them. Bilgewater follows then with 9 features, Shadow Isles in third with 8, fourth a tie between Targon and Shurima with 7 features each and in fifth Bandle City, Demacia and Ionia with 5 features. And lastly, in last place, Freljord, which was only featured in 3 titles.
When we think of champions, the most featured in Seasonal Champion Line ups were Draven, Vi, Twisted Fate and Zoe, being featured in 3 line ups. Second most featured were Gangplank, Aurelion, Sejuani, Aphelios, Ziggs, Sion, Poppy and Azir, which were featured 2 times. The other mentioned champions were only featured in line ups once.
When it comes to countries that have won Seasonals, the USA is first with 6 titles, second place goes to Brazil with 4 titles and lastly we have Mexico and Canada, with one title each.
So? Do you have a favorite edition? Any player story that struck a chord with you? Tell me in the comment section!