By Spike, Regular Contributor, Surgeon of the Cards
Champions are a major part of Legends of Runeterra. They’re often the buildaround cards you start your deck by adding, they’re probably the most important cards to work on getting via Wildcards or Shards, etc. On the Rewards Track, there are Capsules for each Region that guarantee a Champion from that Region, and for newer players, those are a good way to dictate what decks you build first. Since they cut such a large amount of the cost to craft a deck, it’s important for newer players to quickly open them from Regions that give mostly good Champions so they can build strong decks quicker, but the thing is- what Regions really are the best for Champion Rewards?
That’s what I’ll be going over today. If you want to build a specific deck, of course go for the Region Rewards that are likely to give you Champions from that deck, but this article is meant as a guideline for newer players that don’t know which to choose.
First, a quick word- Amiibo Doctor (the site owner, not the site itself) recently had a “hit piece” on him published by a rival site. It exaggerates a bit, and that rival site isn’t exactly sitting on moral high ground, but it’s turning into a mess and Doc is going to no longer be writing or publishing videos. The site and YouTube channel will be staying up because they pay for themselves, but the fact of the matter is that there won’t be much new content and they’ll likely stagnate.
This doesn’t affect you all in the Legends of Runeterra community that much as I don’t mainly focus on LOR, but I’ve got a few options now- I could continue to write mainly for Amiibo Doctor and accept the site’s decline, I could start my own site focusing on CCGs and TCGs, or theoretically I could be picked up by some other site to write for them, but I’m not stupid enough to think that’s a likely possibility.
Anyways, I do value feedback from my readers- so I’m just going to ask if you guys would continue to read my content if it were on my own site/another gaming site. Feel free to let me know in the comments, and now onto the actual meat of the article.
For rating the Region’s set of Champions, I’m looking at all Champions as of 7/8/2021 (before The Ruination event), and all statistics come from LOR Mobalytics stats across all Ranks, also as of 7/8/2021. For reference, currently 27/64 Champions have a win rate above 50% with that data. I’m also including a short list of meta decks their Champions (not just the Region!) see play in, as well as notable off-meta decks with that Region’s Champions in bold- this is meant as a guideline to help newer players select their Rewards Track Regions for good Region Champion Capsules, so I figured it would be helpful to see exactly where their Champions appear.
From worst to best, let’s dive in!
Demacia is the vanilla ice cream of LOR Champions. It takes its bottom spot because the majority of its Champions perform just okay and one (Jarvan IV) has a high tier deck (Jarvan/Shen) off the back of a recent buff. Jarvan and Shyvana are the only really desirable Champions here, but you can make pretty much all of them work. They won’t be stellar, the deck will probably sit around a 50% winrate, but they work.
Since there’s nothing standout and only 2 Champions that are really desirable, I can’t recommend Demacia’s Champions over anything else, even though it has better stats on its Champions than Targon or PnZ- because with Targon and PnZ, most Champions find a home even if it’s on the weaker side. Most of Demacia’s Champions are ridiculously basic “standalone” Champions, so it makes sense that they only see real meta play as support.
Meta decks: Shyvana in Targon/Demacia Dragons, Jarvan IV/Shen
Notable off-meta decks: Quinn/Miss Fortune Scouts, Demacia (usually Jarvan IV or Garen)/Taric
At first glance, Targon’s Champions aren’t that bad. Aurelion Sol and Soraka see play in meta decks, albeit ones on the weaker side, while Zoe is a super flexible option for just about any deck that has spare Champion slots and Diana sees play in the unpopular yet fairly strong Nightfall Aggro archetype.
The thing is, stat-wise, Targon’s Champions aren’t doing amazing- and none of them see play in top meta decks. At the moment, the likely best deck running Targon (Targon/Ionia Lee Sin Combo) doesn’t run Targon Champions in its most popular iteration. Running Zoe doesn’t make a significant change to its win rate, so it’s safe to say that it doesn’t really need her. The other viable meta and slightly off-meta decks running Targon Champions, such as Dragons, Taliyah/Malphite, TK Soraka, and Taric decks are mostly pulling win rates just over 50%. Overall, Targon isn’t a horrible region for Champions, and for the most part its Champions can be forced to work, but it isn’t great at the moment, especially when compared to higher Regions on the list. It winds up in the bottom spot due to being generally mediocre and not having any of its Champions in the most popular versions of top decks.
Meta decks: Sokara/Tahm Kench, Aurelion Sol/Shyvana Dragons, Zoe/Lee Sin (can cut Zoe)
Notable off-meta decks: Taliyah/Malphite, Taric/Spells, Leona/Yasuo, Diana in Nightfall Aggro
7. Piltover and Zaun
Piltover and Zaun has, across the board, worse stats than Targon, but it escapes the bottom spots for a very simple 2 reasons- its middle-of-the-pack Champions require less effort to make them work than Targon’s (Teemo and Vi are more versatile than Diana and Aurelion Sol), and it actually has Champions that are staples in high tier decks, those being Jinx (of Discard Aggro fame) and Ezreal (of EZ Draven and approximately eighteen thousand off-meta yet viable decks). While Jinx and Ezreal are the main draw here, as both transition nicely into amazing Draven decks, Teemo pairs nicely with just about any aggressive deck running PnZ (Draven, Ezreal, Zed or even Gangplank) and Ekko has turned Time Bombs from a complete meme into an interesting low tier meta deck. Personally, I think it’s a deck that’ll disappear from the meta soon, but for now Ekko is a meta Champion.
Ignoring off-meta decks, Vi is currently seeing play in less popular variations of Poros. The remaining 2 Champions in PnZ, those being Heimerdinger and Viktor, can be safely said to be dead ducks in the current meta.
Meta decks: Ezreal/Draven, Draven/Jinx Discard Aggro, Ekko Time Bombs
Notable off-meta decks: Ezreal brews (with Karma, Gangplank, etc), Vi/Poros, Lulu/Jinx
6. Shadow Isles
Shadow Isles’ Champions are pretty much a neat split of meta and bad, and also Nocturne. Thresh is part of a high tier meta deck, while Elise is the defining Champion of a decent meta deck and Maokai sees play (often as a 1-of) in Deep, another decent meta deck. Unfortunately, Kallista, Hecarim, and Kindred are below average at best. When opening SI Champion capsules, it’s a pretty cut and dry gamble, which is why SI clocks into the bottom four.
Meta decks: Thresh/Nasus, Elise Spider Aggro, Nautilus/Maokai Deep
Notable off-meta decks: Nocturne in Nightfall Aggro
Freljord’s Champion set is in an interesting position. One of its Champions sees play in a current top 3 deck, 2 others see play in high tier decks… but the other four Champions are pretty insanely mediocre, and only really played in off meta decks.
So, on one hand- you could get Lissandra, Ashe, or Sejuani from the Champion Capsule reward, and get a nice piece of a high tier meta deck, but you could also get Anivia, Trundle, Tryndamere or Braum. Sure, you can make them work, they see play in off-meta decks that pull relatively solid winrates, but they aren’t great. Looking at other regions with a similar half-great half-mediocre split of Champions, such as Ionia or Noxus, they just edge out Freljord by virtue of a better split.
Freljord doesn’t have a bad set of Champions by any means, and overall the possibilities from its Champion Capsules are alright. It’s a perfectly fine option for Rewards Track Champion capsules, but for new players, there are better places to spend your initial weeks of gathering XP.
Meta decks: Lissandra in Turbo Thralls, Sejuani in Overwhelm, Ashe in Frostbite
Notable off-meta decks: Sejuani Control, Trundle/Lissandra, Anivia/Shadow Isles Control
Ionia has a grand total of two truly bad Champions- Yasuo and Karma, and both of them can be made to work to some degree. Shen, Lee Sin and Irelia see play in top meta decks, Jarvan/Shen, Targon/Lee Sin and Azir/Irelia respectively, while both Lulu and Zed see play in fairly strong off-meta decks. When opening Ionia Champion capsules, the chance of getting something good or at least playable is pretty darn high, and if Noxus’s Champions didn’t have such amazing winrates across the board Ionia would have been in the top three.
Meta decks: Jarvan/Shen, Azir/Irelia, Targon/Lee Sin
Notable off-meta decks: Irelia/Miss Fortune, Ezreal/Karma, Lulu/Jinx, Leona/Yasuo, Zed/Sivir
Noxus is in the same boat as Ionia, it’s just in smoother waters. Of Noxus’s 7 Champions, only three (Draven, LeBlanc, and Swain) see play in meta decks- but two of them, Draven and LeBlanc, see play in multiple high tier decks. The worst Champions in Noxus, Riven and Katarina, are still solid cards, and their decks pull 48% or higher winrates. Other than them, every single Noxus Champion pulls over 50% winrates, which is quite insane, and the fully meta ones all pull 53% or higher. You really can’t go wrong with Noxus Champions, and if the remaining two Regions didn’t have such amazing Champions in this meta, Noxus would be an easy number one.
Meta decks: Draven/Jinx Discard Aggro, Ezreal/Draven, LeBlanc/Sivir, Ashe/LeBlanc, Swain/Twisted Fate
Notable off-meta decks: Swain/Trundle, Draven/Teemo, Riven/Draven, Darius (in Shurima/Noxus Aggro, often as a 1-of)
At the moment, Shurima is the only region to have every one of its Champions be played in a meta deck. Zilean is often a 1-of in a fairly weak Ekko/Time Bomb deck, but it’s still meta- and every other Shurima Champion sees play in a high or top tier meta deck. If Bilgewater weren’t so insane, Shurima would take the top spot due to the lack of bad Champions, but Bilgewater Champions are insane at the moment.
Currently, Turbo Thralls and LeBlanc/Sivir are likely top 3 decks. Though Taliyah’s inclusion in Turbo Thralls doesn’t make or break the deck, Sivir, after a recent buff, is a defining feature of LeBlanc/Sivir. The other amazing Shurima Champions are all the reasons their respective decks (Rek’Sai in Lurk, Azir in Azir/Irelia and Shurima Noxus Aggro, Nasus in Nasus/Thresh, and Renekton in Overwhelm) even exist in the meta, so overall, it’s safe to say Shurima Champions are all among the most impactful in the game.
Meta decks: Taliyah in Turbo Thralls, LeBlanc/Sivir, Rek’Sai in Lurk, Thresh/Nasus, Azir/Irelia, Zilean in Ekko/Time Bombs, Renekton and Sivir in Overwhelm
Notable off-meta decks: Azir in Shurima/Noxus Aggro, Taliyah/Malphite, Rek’Sai/Riven Reforge
At the moment, Bilgewater’s Fizz is the only Bilgewater Champion to not be above a 50% winrate. Gangplank is sitting on over a 55% winrate, with Miss Fortune and Nautilus not far behind.
I could write an entire article on why Bilgewater has suddenly gone from zero to hero, but the Make It Rain nerf reversion (which, ironically, is an issue for Fizz) and just a generally good meta for its main decks (Pirate Aggro, Deep, TK/Sokara, Twisted Fate variants, and Lurk) are a good part of it.
Unless it’s Fizz, any Champion from a Bilgewater Champion capsule has a home in the meta- and Fizz isn’t even horrible, he just doesn’t have a good home at the moment. Though Tahm Kench and Nautilus are in lower tier decks, both are perfectly viable and both allow their respective decks to exist. Pyke is a fairly narrowly useful card, but in his Lurk deck he does his job well.
The other three Bilgewater Champions, those being Gangplank, Twisted Fate, and Miss Fortune, are strong enough to be in top meta decks and a bunch of viable off-meta decks. Twisted Fate in particular is ridiculously versatile.
Meta decks: Gangplank/Miss Fortune Pirate Aggro, Nautilus in Deep, Swain/Twisted Fate, Pyke in Lurk, Tahm Kench/Sokara
Notable off-meta decks: Miss Fortune/Irelia, Ezreal/Gangplank, Quinn/Miss Fortune Scouts, Twisted Fate paired with everything under the sun and a few things that aren’t
Well, I’m aware that this probably isn’t the most interesting of articles, being meant for new players to help them decide what Reward Track Region to grind, but thanks to anyone who read to this little bit at the end. I hope this helped at least a couple of newer players, and if you’re newer, I’ll have a few more articles aimed towards advice on how to quickly build meta decks out in the coming weeks.
Until next time,