Whenever Riot releases a new champion, there are a few things that cross this author’s mind. Aside from inevitable insta-locks in solo queue, fans of League want to know if a new champion will be drafted in professional play. Pyke is League’s newest addition to the rift, a new assassin-support hybrid that hasn’t been seen in the game before. Does Pyke’s kit live up to the expectations for pros to use him? Let’s dive in.
Why champions are picked
To understand if a new champion will be chosen or not, you need to know why champions are chosen in professional play in the first place. The meta plays a huge role in champions that are chosen, meaning tanky and safe supports are usually preferred in a professional setting.
However, with the recent changes to ADC itemization, aggressive poke and engage supports tend to be valued. It is no longer a priority to protect your ADC for 35 minutes. This means Pyke has an opportunity to roam with his jungler and make plays around the map – something his kit is perfect for.
Pro players rarely choose champions in professional games immediately unless they are extremely powerful. Champions like Xayah and Rakan have been valuable assets to any team. After learning Rakan’s unstoppable engage, he quickly became the strongest support in pro-play. Unfortunately, Pyke doesn’t have the instantaneous engage that Rakan had.
So what does this mean for Pyke?
Pyke’s design as an assassin-support is quickly being changed by players. Win rates from op.gg and lolanalytics show that items like Black Cleaver and Knight’s Vow have a consistently higher win rate than the recommended Duskblade and Youmuu’s Ghostblade. Even with multiple kills, Pyke simply doesn’t have the ratios and abilities to assassinate a carry. If you want to do that, you’re better off playing Brand or Zyra.
The tanky Pyke build allows for pick potential, long CC chains and roam potential. With Pyke’s W skill, where he becomes camouflaged and gains a burst of movement speed, you can clear an entire side of the river with your sweeper. With enough front-line on a team, he can lurk and wait for opportunities rather than being the primary engage.
As the meta shifts with the new ADC itemization, supports will determine bot lane even more than before. Because of this, I don’t think we’ll see Pyke in the early weeks of LCS. He struggles too much against poke supports and cannot reliably peel like Braum or Tahm Kench.
However, with an aggressive jungler and safe ADC like Ezreal, Pyke could come out as pocket-pick in niche scenarios. Every champion added to League of Legends adds diversity and possibility for a counter-meta. As such, Pyke offers an opportunity to create new dynamics to the meta of League. Now, it’s just a matter of whether or not those new dynamics will come to fruition.
Featured Image courtesy of Riot Games.