Esports League of Legends

LoL: Three meta shifts to watch for in pro play

The League of Legends meta game is always changing, and it’s not long before pro players define it. Patch 8.11 brought about a ton of new, exciting changes to the game along with huge meta shifts. Short games are dictating the meta and as a result crazy picks are rearing their heads. With the professionals preparing for the upcoming split, it’s time to take a look at what champions and strategies could come out in the LCS.

Non- Marksman Bot Laners

The last viable marksman picks. Photo via Riot Games and LoL Esports.

The typical combination of marksmen with support bottom lanes are being ditched this patch. The changes to the ADC role are perceived almost all around as nerfs. The champions in this role now start with less AD but have better AD scaling. Also, Infinity Edge now doubles Critical Strike Chance and gives none of the stat base. Lastly, the increased gold prices of many crit items make feast or famine situations too risky. These changes make ADCs scale harder in the late game, but the early game is much more difficult. Scaling is a luxury that cannot be afforded since games on average are finishing quicker than in previous patches.

Because of the weakness many perceive in the role, ADC players are playing champions from other roles. Gen.G’s (formerly KSV) ADC Ruler commented in an interview with InvenGlobal that picks like Yasuo, Irelia and Vladimir work the best in the role. It’s certainly not limited to these though, with Mordekaiser, Brand, Ziggs and more utilized. In the first game of the Chinese LPL, Vladimir and Pyke laned together in the bot lane. Popular pro and ex-pro streamers in NA have experimented with this new play-style, including C9 Sneaky, TL Doublelift and Imaqtpie. This trend is sure to come up in western LCS leagues, at least for the start of the season. The die hard marksman fans can still rely on Ezreal and Kai’sa, whose build paths remain unchanged, as well as Lucian whose build was greatly buffed. To read more about the state and future of the bot lane meta, read HausMate Dmitriy Kizhikin’s article here.

Aggressive Junglers

The almighty rift scuttler. Photo via League of Legends Wiki.

In pro play there are always meta shifts between tank/utility junglers versus carry junglers. This patch clearly elevates aggressive carry match-ups to supreme levels. In op.gg‘s top 10 junglers, there are no tank or utility junglers. Jungle changes in the recent patches are the root cause of this, and one of the primary factors in the early ending games. The rift scuttler commands importance and respect now because of the increased gold and experience is gives. Other jungle camps became less important because of lessened experience drops. Because of this, scuttlers are crucial to gaining precious levels.

Top tier jungle champions likely to be priority picks in LCS include Graves, Xin Zhao Camille and Olaf. These champions are similar in that they all have great early clears and dueling potential. This is crucial because level two skirmishes can define jungle match-ups and start a snowball for one team. Taliyah will likely be picked or banned almost every game because of her new jungling prowess. In the most recent patch 8.11, the AOE was taken away from her bread and butter Q ability, Threaded Volley. This hurt her laning badly, ruining her wave push capability. Her base and passive movement speed was buffed and her damage to monsters was increased from 60% to 100% in an attempt to equalize her power. This gave her kit the consistent damage her kit needed to clear quickly and set up great ganks.

Mid Lane + Jungle Duos

The infamous boosting duo. Photo via riftherald.com.

Adjustments to mana pools and regen, along with the nerfs to mana items in patch 8.9 decreased the ability of many mid lane mages to permanently push their counterparts in and roam. These types of champions dominated the professional meta game for a long time, and since the Mid Season Invitational was on patch 8.8, the effects have not been observed for western pro play. In the first days of LPL and LCK, we see how significant these changes have been for one specific adaptation: boosting strategies.

Boosting strategies revolve around two players quickly and effectively finishing games largely by themselves. Infamous duos include Master Yi and Taric, Nunu and Karthus and Twitch and Kayle. Supportive mid laners complement hyper scaling carries (or jungler in the case of Nunu+Karthus) and give all the resources between the two roles for the carry. LCK’s BBQ v MVP’s first game of the series featured the Nunu+Karthus and the Master Yi+Taric against each other. Taric helped his Master Yi farm jungle and gave him the farm from mid, while Karthus constantly pushed the wave and secured farm from Nunu’s jungle. MVP Yondu’s Master Yi carried the game with the support of Taric and Lulu, doing disgusting damage while being unkillable.

Mid lane has dominated LoL pro play for a long time. Seeing it sacked in favor of jungle is a twist sure to shock many. These strategies are more terrifying in the hands of pro players than solo queue because teams can draft compositions to enable the hyper carry even more. These compositions are unlikely to become common throughout the split, but they are sure to emerge early on.

Solo Queue in Pro Play

Patch 8.11 may bring about the most diverse meta game ever seen in LoL history, especially for pro players. The aggressive play styles will be thrilling to watch, and teams known for this play style are likely to excel. This is one of the first times that strong solo queue picks and strategies will be prevalent in the professional setting. League of Legends is rapidly evolving this patch, and the solo queue clown fiesta is making its way to the big stage!

Visit lolesports.com to see each regions teams, schedules and VODs of completed games. To watch the referenced LPL and LCK games visit https://www.youtube.com/user/LoLChampSeries.

Featured image via digitalart.io and Riot Games.

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