The League of Legends meta is always changing, bringing new champions to the forefront. Usually pro play can be normal players an insight into this, but the off-season leaves people with questions: who is the top tier pick to get me free wins and who should I be learning for next season?
It’s time to examine LoL’s preseason meta champs to learn for short and long term success.
Ever since her rework in patch 8.7, Irelia has been a threat everywhere. She mainly plays in the middle and top lanes, but can certainly work bot with an aggressive support. Right now, champion.gg ranks her as the highest performing top laner despite her having a sub-50% win rate. This might seem contradictory, but there are clear reasons for this.
The damage she puts out and takes is quite high. A champion can do one or the other better most of the time, but with items like Sterak’s Gauge, Guardian Angel, and Titanic Hydra, Irelia can do both well. In lane, she has a decent amount of sustain, making her relatively safe. She also has one of the best farming techniques with her Bladesurge (Q), helping players who struggle with that immensely.
Irelia has a number of strengths that allow her to be versatile. Her Q gives her a ton of mobility for dodging mid laners’ skillshots and for sticking on to opposing top laners in the long lane. Her Flawless Duet (E) and Vanguard’s Edge (R) can disrupt team fights while being useful in 1v1’s. She is a serious threat because she can easily solo kill her enemies and be effective in full 5v5’s.
Long time players can remember the days of season three Kassadin being a must-ban. While he isn’t quite to that point yet, buffs over the year have brought him back into the meta. He can be exploited early on, but with Corrupting Potion and Biscuit Delivery sustain options Kassadin has an easier time getting to his late game.
Currently op.gg has him at a 52% win rate and an 11% pick rate. The pick rate shows that he’s not just a niche pick played by one-tricks, it means he is no joke. Players who can master this champion have a tendency to solo carry games. His Riftwalk (R) is the core of his kit, and once you have all three points in it many consider him unstoppable.
At level 16, he is a monster, but his build takes a while to scale up. Common items include Rod of Ages and Seraph’s Embrace, so players should be wary of Kassadin’s specific power spikes. It’s hard to have early lane pressure, but if Kassadin gets ahead he can snowball very easily. His roaming and skirmishing are great and can apply a lot of side lane pressure. For players who like to scale up before making the big plays, Kassadin is a great champ to learn.
Lucian tends to bounce in and out of metas, but he is certainly in right now. He is the highest rated ADC according to champion.gg and for clear reasons. He has an insanely high pick rate at 35% and a win rate of 52% according to op.gg. Lucian has always been known as a lane bully and with his current build is able to have good scaling and power spikes throughout the game.
“The Purifier” is far above his other marksmen counterparts in terms of doing and taking damage, which revolves around his build. Blade of the Ruined King (“BOTRK”) and the Black Cleaver allow Lucian to take more hits and at the same time life steal it back and shred enemies to matter their resistances. The active on BOTRK gives him a way to chase opposing ADCs down to apply his double-shot passive more, giving him a retreat option. It is common practice to start building Critical Strike after these two items to ensure you scale well later.
Aggressive supports thriving in the current meta give Lucian more tools to help him succeed. He can snowball games with an early lead and can outplay his enemies with his Relentless Pursuit (E) and does a startling amount of damage from afar with The Culling (R). He requires more games than other marksmen for proficiency, but good Lucian players are rewarded for their mechanical skill.
As mentioned previously, aggressive supports are all the rage right now. On the top of that list sits Pyke. Pyke does a ton of things well, but they all combine to make one fantastic carry champion. He has a lower win rate compared to some other top tier picks, but experienced Pyke players can utilize him to carry and do things other supports simply can’t.
Pyke, first of all, has the ability to carry games in terms of damage. Because Riot has incentivised damage/ lethality builds, Pyke has autonomy most supports don’t have. This allows him to play aggressively in the bottom lane and look for all-ins to create a lead. With a lead, Pyke is great at roaming around the map to help his teams secure kills with the speed and invisibility of Ghostwater Dive (W). The Crowd Control (“CC”) he brings with his Bone Skewer (Q) and Phantom Undertow (E) means Pyke has some great play-making potential.
The “Bloodharbor Ripper” can have an incredible impact in team fights too. His Death from Below (R) executes low-health enemies and can be reset like Darius’ ultimate, meaning the kills can roll in. The ability also shares the gold with someone that assisted with the kill, meaning one kill goes much farther than normal. Pyke isn’t too mechanically difficult but has some devastating combos new players should learn to use his kit effectively. He doesn’t totally rely on his ADC and as such is a great solo queue choice.
Xin Zhao is the king of the early game and definitely worth a shot. This champion has perhaps the best snowballing in the game because of the pressure he has on the map. Scuttle Crabs still are a hotly contested objective in the opening minutes, and Xin’s dueling prowess allows him to secure these and bigger objectives. He has a good clear speed and can duel nearly and other jungler.
The ganks Xin can pull off are effective too. His Audacious Charge (E) lets him clear the gap to the enemy laner while his Three Talon Strike (Q) and Wind Becomes Lightning (W) applies CC. Players can choose to run Press the Attack or Phase Rush. Both help a ton in these ganks and early skirmishes against other junglers.
Finally, Xin Zhao is able to bring utility to team fights. Crescent Guard (R) can be a huge zoning tool and protects him from a great deal of damage. It causes enemy carries to either stay away from the fight or step in closer than they would like. Overall, Xin Zhao does almost everything you’d want from a jungler. He is easy to understand and easy to snowball with because of his high damage. He ups the tempo of any game and pushes it all the way to the enemy’s Nexus.
Now that the ranked season is over, it’s time to try new things! Its time for some fun, not grinding for LP with the same few champs. Picking up a new champion or two in the off-season will be a great improvement to make before season nine begins. Everyone has their own style and these are simply some suggestions to help players find new picks.
Let us know your thoughts on these picks and if there are any that should have been on here instead!
Featured image via StillGlass on Deviantart.
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