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Will Senna Finally be Seen as a Support in LCS 10.3?

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The League of Legends Championship Series, or LCS, officially moves to patch 10.3 in week four. Along with a host of other changes, this especially brings a nerf targeting Senna, the Redeemer. Senna, marketed originally as a support, has gone on to be used heavily in the ADC/Marksman role instead. Will Senna be seen as a Support in LCS 10.3?

To figure this out, there are two questions to ask. Why did Senna make sense as an ADC/Marksman, and why does Senna make sense as a support? Now, here is a dive into the black mist.

Utility and ADC can go hand in hand

Senna made sense as an ADC, especially in the pro meta for multiple reasons. She, like a few other ADCS, brings high amounts of utility to the table. Senna is able to draw out fights, and make her team last long due to the sustain on her Q ability (Piercing Darkness). This has a dual effect. It both enables teams to have skirmishes and also keep the front line healthy, while being able to deal damage.

Senna gameplay
Courtesy of Riot Games

Senna ends up being a strong laner thanks to her high poke damage. The rune Glacial Augment also helps her process her passive more often, which deals more damage. She has the option to take dark harvest and farm, which syncs well with her stacking passive. Given that her Q goes through minions, and applies on-hit effects to champions and turrets, she has a lot of poke. The W: Last Embrace is an AoE root, in the form of an initial skillshot. Her E, Curse of the Black Mist, provides Senna’s team with a soft engage option. It also provides both offensive and defensive invisibility. Her Ultimate, Dawning Shadow, is a global range shield and damage source. 

Senna is not without her weaknesses in the kit, however. There is no dash in her kit, beyond the speed up on the E. Since there is a wind up to the skill, she can be easily caught, especially after autoing or trying to catch an extra soul. If she falls too far behind, her utility does not feel as impactful compared to other ADCs who provide utility. Ashe is another ADC that can be touted to have utility. She has two slows, an ability that reveals parts of the map in a direction, and a directable stun. When a team is behind, they can still use the Ashe ultimate as reliable engage. Senna can feel underwhelming as she is designed to scale as the game plays out.

In the Pro Scene

Across the four major regions, Senna has a 49.1% win rate over 51 games played. Every time was in the ADC role. She did not perform as well in some regions compared to others. For example, Team Liquid’s Doublelift, in previous weeks holds an 0-4 record on Senna. This highlights one of the weaknesses of Senna if the pick is not used in a specific way. Senna has low waveclear as one of her main weaknesses. TL wants the utility of Senna, but they still try to use Senna like a traditional ADC. For their team, this means that they use it to catch sidewaves. This ends up poorly as DL gets caught out on Senna trying to quickly clear waves and rotate to another objective.

On the other hand, G2 Caps has a 100% win rate on Senna (3-0). The reason again is the way that Senna is used. Her core strengths of a soft engage thanks to her E. They use Senna to catch, trap, and keep long skirmishes going longer. Caps roams with the team and try to teamfight instead of having the Senna go catch a sidewave. When Senna is off in a sidewave, G2 tries to fight, knowing that they have the Senna Ultimate to back it up.

Redemption in the Support role?

With the nerf in 10.3 to her passive, Absolution, Senna now has a hard time stacking her passive if she is the one farming. From the original value, Senna has a 1.67% Mist Wraith spawn rate on any minion she kills. This now includes cannon minions as well. Her rate of spawns increased from 20% to 25% if she did not get the last hit on the unit. This means that if people wanted to try using Senna support, it would be much easier to start scaling it. 

To see if LCS teams would start picking Senna now, compare the pick to other support picks currently in the meta. 

The top picks of supports in LCS include Tahm Kench, Rakan, and Thresh. Tahm Kench provides a safe removal of any crowd control and offers high rotational ability with his ultimate. Rakan provides a near consistent engage option with his W: Grand Entrance, and ultimate, which can catch someone near out of position instantly. Thresh has his Q, the hook to catch, and has his W, his lantern, to save an ally from a sticky situation. If we look for commonality, we see that the top picks for support in the LCS are those that can engage well. Also, those that can provide safety for their team.

So can Senna do these things? As mentioned before, Senna can heal, catch with her W, and provide an engagement boost with her E. While she may not be a contested pick compared to the top, there is definitely a niche for her in the support role in pro play.

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Catch Pranav on Twitter: @aspCEO 

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