There are just a few days left for the first edition of the Runeterra Open in the Eternal format, and, as usual, I come to help you build a competitive lineup, besides helping you understand a bit about the Eternal format.
In June, we'll have two editions of the Runeterra Open, instead of one, and they'll happen on back to back weekends. So, we'll have one edition on June 10th, and another on June 18th. Let's cut to the chase!
Decoding the Eternal Meta
The Eternal format meta is an endless mess, and that's why, before anything else, the first approach we must take regarding the meta is: Take as a fact that everything works, and don't underestimate never-before-seen combos and weird champion combinations. A crucial tip regarding this approach to the meta is to play in your comfort zone above all, and not betting on what you can't pilot. Out of all the tournaments, I believe this is the one which demands the most that players are familiar with the lists they're bringing, once the deck diversity will be very large.
You can expect to find, throughout your tournament journey, very crazy lists and combos you've never seen before. I recommend you take some time to study the cards that each region can bring, besides the popular Eternal lists, so you don't have any problems when it's time to identify your opponent's win condition.
When they let us know this tournament would be played in the Eternal format, many people speculated that a great majority of the meta would be Aggro, but, lately, in grassroot tournaments, Control lists have taken a lead and have performed well. Other lists that are successful are combo decks with aggressive elements or Midrange decks, such as Timelines decks and Iceborn-Spiders decks.
I built some lineups considering my opinion and my competitive experience, and I'll try to be as didactic as possible to make you understand why these decks work with each other in this very crazy format.
Keep in mind you can mix and match the lists below in any way you like: they are just organized in a way I imagine they are most likely to present themselves and play against on June 10th.
Possibly Most Popular Lineup
These are the most likely decks to be played on day 1 of the Runeterra Open. The lists are extremely strong, consistent and popular among players in the entire world.
Annie Jhin - Before rotation, this list was very dominant, and keeps being one of the best decks even in the Standard format. In the last Runeterra Open, this deck made it to runner-up. You can expect that, as it is a familiar deck to many players, and as it is an extremely consistent list, it will be one of the first options considered in a lineup.
Another important factor is that the Runeterra Open invites players from all ranks, even beginners, and the tendency is that these players are inclined to play Aggro, as this is the most played archetype in that type of demographic.
Despite all that, the list also has great matchups. It is one of the few Burn Aggro decks that plays well against other aggressive lists, or lists that put out countless quality units with big stats. That happens because the main win condition for Annie Jhin is alternating between dealing direct Nexus damage with stuns against enemy units.
The truth is that this list has a very strong early and end game, which makes it one of the hardest lists to play against. Nowadays, the card set for Nasus Thresh counts with healing elements, unit control, Fearsome units, card draw and plenty of value generation. Not to mention, it is one of those lists that like finishing the game with the spell Atrocity, one of the best finishing spells in the entire game.
Probably, it will show up a lot due to its consistency, and because it is a very safe competitive choice, once a great majority of competitive players are already familiar with this archetype. The deck is also relatively easy to pilot and doesn't require a great understanding of how the main mechanics of this list work to be played at a competitive level.
There are cards such as Bandle City Mayor and Conchologist to create resources without you losing the Aggro pulse of the deck, besides card draw such as Pokey Stick - one of the best cards in the entire game. This way, it is very easy to manage your resources while you beat your opponent down. You seem to never run out of cards as easily as you would with other Aggro lists.
The popularity of this list is immense ever since the first days of the Eternal ranked ladder, and to this moment this deck is still dominant.
I believe a possible strategy is to prepare yourself to win against this list, instead of playing it. But that comes from my personal taste. There is no problem if you bring this deck to the tournament, as a great majority of your opponents will be playing other aggressive lists as well. The bad matchups regarding this list are Control lists which are not that popular, and that is why if you bring such lists, you might surprise opponents who might not be ready for that.
This lineup is for those players who want only the most honest beatdowns and very fast games.
Big Discard - Sion is very strong in Eternal after the addition of the new card Blowback. This deck is one of the most popular decks ever since the beginning of the Eternal Ranked Season as well, as it gathers a few of the most beloved cards in the community and incredibly strong combos which were forgotten after rotation.
We're talking about Draven, the best 3-cost champion in the entire game, and the interactions with Sion followers. Not to mention, we perform very well against a great portion of the meta, and you'll hardly have a bad hand or a low rate of consistency due to the excessive card draw this list brings. It is a deck that comes to a match conclusion relatively early compared to other aggressive decks, even though it is supposed to be a slower version of the classic Discard Aggro archetype.
I need to mention that, as much as it is extremely strong, it is a very hard list to pilot, as you need to make some not-so-optimal decisions when your initial hand is far from ideal. I recommend you pay more attention to this list if you're debating bringing it in your lineup, because if you've never played it, it is quite possible that you get a bit lost in certain matches.
Pirates - A Runeterra classic, and one of the oldest archetypes in the entire game. You can expect more experienced players to feel comfortable with this list, and that it is one of the first options to be considered in lineups.
We're talking about the fastest and most aggressive region combination in the entire game, and, as time goes one, this list gets better and faster. As the Eternal mode didn't experience much refinement going on regarding its buffs and nerfs, the Noxus Bilgewater aggressive Burn kit is stronger than ever.
This list is impressive as it collects good matchups against all archetypes in the game. There are a few specific decks that play well against that deck, and that is why the matchups are quite polarized.
Pirates can work as a great alternative to eat some bans, as it is unlikely someone comes prepared to deal with that list.
Ziggs Poppy - This list was already mentioned in this article, but I will add some details here. This deck is necessary in a triple Aggro lineup, because it is currently the best the game has to offer inside that archetype.
If you're a player who identifies with fast lists, don't miss out on playing Ziggs Poppy. It will eat a lot of bans, and its bad matchups aren't polarized. If you feel a bit uncertain about bringing this list because you fear many lineups will be focusing on your deck, slightly altering it, adding slower and more value-focused cards, may help. Bandle City as a region is an expert at creating resources and cards.
This lineup is for players who like answering the aggressive meta in the Eternal format, and prefer to play reactively.
Conservatory - This Katarina Annie list is one of the best alternatives when it comes to removing enemy units. It is an expert at dealing with anything on board, and also brings one of the best champions in the entire game: Katarina. Even after the nerfs, she keeps tormenting the lives of all players due to her consistency.
Besides many removals, this deck also counts with an incredibly strong combo regarding Tybaulk and the new Condense card, in which you can copy a Tybaulk on your board, and then play it for just 1 mana. You'll share stats with Tybaulk's effect very fast, and increase exponentially the damage of your spells and skills, which makes this deck finish matches in awesome epic ways.
This list is a bit frustrating to play against, as it is a deck that can easily check-mate an opponent when you drop a Lord Broadmane on board, or when your units have gigantic attack stats, and a simple Blade's Edge is dealing 3 or more damage. As a result, you can expect this deck to be a popular ban pick among players.
Seraphine Aphelios Viktor and Ezreal - The classic Piltover&Zaun/Targon Control combo is surprisingly strong. This deck is extremely hard to pilot and can be considered one of the most complex lists in the entire game.
But, even then, more experienced players will probably not opt out of bringing it, because it is one of the few lists in Runeterra which can deal pretty much with anything rather well, and because it is a very comfortable pick for those used to it.
It is admirable how Targon can stall the game, and even more so when you pair it with Piltover&Zaun as a support for card draw and precise removals. Obviously, this deck doesn't play well against Overwhelm Midrange decks, but the rest is winnable. There are many resources to deal with small units, and there's value enough to compete even with a late game Karma.
It might not be that popular, but it is an archetype that must be considered, as it is a very beloved list among competitive players, particularly those coming from the U.S.A. I'm certain that, at least once, you'll be facing this list in the tournament.
Thresh Nasus - This deck was already discussed in the article, but I need to highlight some important bullet points. As much as it isn't considered a Control archetype deck necessarily, this list is still proficient at dealing with enemy threats.
And as this deck is currently the most consistent with that sort of game style, it is necessary to consider that there might not be another list which is more recommended than this one when it comes to controlling the enemy, even if that control is quite aggressive. For that reason, Thresh Nasus goes in the Triple Control lineup.
This lineup is for those players who want to explore the limits of the Eternal format, and are not afraid of performing badly on June 10th, as they know there will be another tournament on June 18th.
These lists are performing well in the ranked ladder, and are also quite familiar in the competitive format. These are decks that will catch your opponent off-guard, and it is unlikely that anyone goes prepared to deal with them.
Lux Jayce - This deck belongs to the long-since buried Control archetype with Demacia spells, which was six-feet under after rotation, but still lives its glory days in Eternal, winning many matches against aggressive lists, and performing well in grassroot tournaments.
The secret to this list are the matchups, which are not even the slightest polarized: you always orbit a 50% win rate against most decks. As a result, out of all off-meta decks, this is one of the safest to bring to the Runeterra Open.
It is also a package of cards which is quite trustworthy and full of resources, with a game style that is quite easy to execute.
A possible problem with this list is the lack of removal tools for big units, and it is relatively easy to start the game with a very heavy hand. Aside from that, it is one of the most annoying lists to play against in the entire game, as it seems the Lux game always has the right answers for everything you do.
Lux is a champion which hasn't been explored fully, but continues to be too strong and, in general, Barrier is a mechanic that breaks the rhythm of any deck your opponent might be playing. Just by her going onto the board with a Barrier, she already brings a very interesting complexity to the list, once you can adopt an aggressive or defensive posture depending on your matchup, and your opponent will rarely have an answer for this champion.
Ziggs Taliyah - This deck is broken. Shurima, as a region, is characterized by always bringing a unique way to play its decks, which makes the lists with this region not Aggro, nor Control, nor Combo. And this deck is exactly that: unique.
It does a bit of everything, but very well: you have light and heavy removals, strong units that create value, and numerous Burn elements and card draw. This deck is so well-rounded that it made it all the way to 1st place in the 2022 World Championship, at the hands of AragOrnn, and it only disappeared from the meta because of rotation. I believe it might be a very safe deck to bring to the tournament, considering its matchups are great against aggressive lists. And it is also extremely consistent with many win conditions: each game you play, you'll win the game in a slightly different way.
It is possible that Ziggs Taliyah still needs to go through refinement before it can be brought to a tournament, and that is why I recommend you test it out and draw your own conclusions regarding how this list should be built. Maybe adding a card here or removing one there is necessary, but as that comes from a personal taste, each player will have a different view regarding how this deck should be built ideally. Don't be afraid of exploring new cards when it comes to building this list.
Timelines - You must be asking yourself why I am listing the championless version. I believe this version is the most well-prepared for the competitive scene, compared to other lists that bring Freljord as the second region. This version has a way deeper reach than its slower counterpart using Trundle, and that means it is easier for you to close out matches with this list.
That happens because this deck proposes a much faster game rhythm, and you carry Burn elements enough for this deck to be considered a Burn Aggro deck as well. Not to mention, the consistency is infinitely bigger, as Station Archivist helps you draw your main card, Concurrent Timelines. This deck currently has the biggest win rate in the Eternal format ranked ladder, and it is an uprising list that will explode in popularity in the next few days.
It is a very beloved archetype as well. As the Timelines combo is quite strong, and hardly your opponent will be able to stop the amount of value you create, this deck will easily win games for you out of nowhere. It seems your hand does nothing, and then, all of a sudden, you have gigantic units on board.
Another factor is the potential of adapting it to different matchups that this list has, once you have full control over transformations. As a result, it is very easy for you to pick a Lifesteal unit against an aggressive matchup, for instance, which makes your deck able to deal with certain cards, even though it wasn't prepared to deal with them in theory.
Solid Lineups for Standard Players
This lineup is safer for those players who haven't invested much time playing the Eternal format, but they still want to participate in the tournament. I bring some lists here that play well in the Standard format, are well translated into Eternal, and one that is the personification of a safe decision when it comes to building a competitive lineup.
Historically, the Plunder archetype has always served as a filler deck when you have no idea what to bring as your third deck in a tournament. That happens because this deck has a win rate that hovers around 50% against everything. And when I say everything, I mean literally everything. It is a deck that benefits players who are experienced as well, as it is quite adaptable, and full of resources to deal with many adverse situations during a match. You can steal cards, freeze units and deal a lot of damage, all of that on top of keeping a card draw consistency which is the envy of any Midrange player.
I need to say that it is a bit of a cruel list, as you'll always have good chances of winning your games, but many times you'll miss just a bit of damage, or you end up not drawing your champions and that will make you almost win. And coming close to winning sometimes is worse than losing. Aside from that, I still recommend you consider this deck if you're a bit lost in the meta.
Ryze - This list has a very low win rate in the ranked ladder, but, in the competitive scene, the tendency is that it is very dominant. The reason is that it is very hard to play this list, and that is why it is quite common for players to make countless mistakes when it's time to bring it to the ranked queue.
But, I believe it is a list that can eat a lot of bans in the competitive format, as this deck has great matchups against aggressive and Control lists simultaneously. Currently, this archetype is one of the most popular in the Eternal queue, particularly among low-ranked players, such as silver and gold. It is quite noticeable the difference in win rate, once you filter the stats websites to show only Master players. You'll probably see this deck hover around a 52, 53% win rate.
I need to tell you that this list can be played in infinite ways, pairing Ryze with other regions. Don't feel stuck to Ionia. If you feel that switching to Shurima, for instance, will help you play a few matchups, I recommend you go for it, with no fear. The secret of this deck's success comes from how well a player knows this list, and as a result, the more you alter and make this deck to your personal taste, the better you'll be with this list.
Karma Sett - The version with Shadow Isles players much better in the Eternal format. A great portion of the healing and removal tools from this region were rotated, so, if you have access to cards such as Go Hard and Vile Feast, which are undeniably the best anti-Aggro cards in the game, you can almost guarantee your victory against any aggressive deck.
Go Hard has a very strong interaction with Karma, and you won't miss anything by opting out of bringing Mystic Shot and other Piltover&Zaun cards, as these two Shadow Isles removal cards will do almost the same as Mystic, only better.
Another very important factor is the presence of Vengeance, which is still the best heavy removal in the entire game, and easily replaces Hexbliterator. This deck might be relatively popular on Day 1 of the tournament due to the excess of players who abuse it on the ranked ladder.
I will list here some lineups that might appear, and some possible combo lineups in the Eternal mode that might surprise a few players.
Triple Timelines - it is possible to play three versions of the same deck, though they play extremely different from one another. Some players may opt to bring these decks as they are a relatively popular combinations in grassroot tournaments.
Triple Fearsome disguised as Control - We still don't have a confirmation if the tournament will be played with closed decklists, but it all points to that. In case that happens, it is possible to revive the old combo of three Fearsome decks disguised as Control.
You bring three Shadow Isles Fearsome lists, and put in each of them a Control champion combination with only one copy of each. Example: Veigar Senna, Viego Kindred, and Thresh Nasus. But, none of these decks are Control, and your opponent will mulligan wrong as if they're playing against a Control list.
Triple Aggro Yordle Kit - It is possible to build a lineup in which you play with almost the same Bandle City followers and only change the champions, every time. Example: Lulu, Ziggs Gnar, and Tristana Teemo.
Triple Ramp Feel The Rush - It is possible to build a lineup using three lists that speed up mana gain, and your main win condition is the card Feel The Rush. Example: Zoe Aurelion Sol, Trundle Sett, and Karma Anivia.
If you've read this far, you're now ready for the craziness of Eternal format in the competitive scene. Don't forget to share and comment on social media!
See you next time.