A Shift In Meta: A Guide To Professional League Of Legends Play

League of Legends meta shift guide
With this article, we’re going to take a look at the ever-evolving meta that pro League of Legends players adapt to and revolutionize.

We’ll be focusing mainly on the pro scene here but will also include statistics from the top echelon of ranked players (Master+). Statistically, we’ll be looking at individual champion play rate, their win/loss ratio, and how they’ve fared in competitive play.

With patch 6.13 now live for more than two weeks (at the pro level), we can begin to predict where the meta shifts can presumably happen.

We’ll be looking at stats from all regions, as well as encompassing all professional leagues (LCS, LCK, LPL, and LCK). We’ll then take that information to formulate who we anticipate as S-Tier picks (also known as God Tier).

Top Lane

Gnar

GnarGnar received some quality assurance buffs in patch 6.13. Riot stated it didn’t want him to fall behind in the shifting meta, but perhaps this was an overshot.

Gnar has an excellent kit for kiting, as well as plenty of crowd control when he goes mega-Gnar. His kit, plus his high skill cap, made him one of the most contested picks in professional play last week.

Gnar’s passive range was buffed late game, as well as the maximum distance of his Boomerang Throw. His W also received a damage bonus. All of these changes have perked the interest of professional players.

Despite Gnar’s increased popularity, his win rate did not correlate. He currently has a 47.2 percent win rate with 123 games played in Season Six. Gnar’s win rate has also diminished significantly in ranked play, falling all the way down to 31 percent.

This could just be an adjustment period though, as an influx of players with little experience attempt to pick him up.

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Irelia

IreliaIrelia has been the butt of nerf jokes since her inception (better nerf irelia :P). Her kit can be abusive in the right hands, which resulted in about 15-20 minor nerfs over the course of five patches.

With the changes to Trinity Force, she’s now once again risen from the ashes to reclaim her God Tier status.

Irelia was bound to be the champion that benefitted the most from the Trinity Force changes. Critical Strike was removed from the item, a stat that doesn’t really affect Irelia.

The extra attack speed will provide her with stronger trades in lane. More importantly, doubling the Cooldown Reduction to 20 percent allows her to stun and dash more. Combined, Irelia can now stun more frequently as well as get in an extra auto attack or two with each Equilibrium Strike.

Last week in competitive play we saw Irelia jump up into the top three picks (21 overall picks) for top laners. Her ban rate also climbed to 14 games. She currently has a 54.2 percent win rate across all leagues, with the most success seen in the EU LCS (66.7 percent win rate).

Trundle

TrundleTrundle remains one of the most contested picks in the top lane this season. His ability to build tanks yet provide adequate damage is key to his popularity. He’s also one of the best duelists in the game.

Trundle’s kit provides him the opportunity to sustain in lane, as well as an ultimate that can shred defensive abilities on fellow tanks.

Trundle’s received several nerfs over the last few patches, but his stat-sapping abilities, especially with a meta that has previously been dominated by tankier champions, allows him to continue to excel.

Trundle continues to be a top three selection in the top lane, as well as receiving 14 bans last week. He currently has a 51.5 percent win rate in the top lane and a 52 percent win rate as support. His highest winning percentage is in China (61.4 percent) where he also sees the most games played.

Jungle

Gragas

GragasThe shift in meta to tankier junglers has once again brought back two staples from the end of last season. Gragas has the utility to provide early pressure to his lanes, but also scales great as a tank into the mid-to-late game.

Gragas innately has very high burst damage. He has multiple skills shots and crowd control abilities that make him an attractive choice.

His passive also allows sustainability, and every one of his spells provides AoE damage (great for clearing the jungle).

Gragas was the most-played jungler last week with 47 games played in competitive leagues (he also received 11 bans). He currently has a 54.4 percent win rate in the top lane. Gragas has also seen a significant rise in the high elos of North America, with a 63.4 percent win rate.

Rek’Sai

Rek'saiRek’Sai is our only other S-Tier pick currently in the jungle. Her ability, Tremor Sense, provides one of the highest prioritized elements in League of Legends — vision.

Tremor Sense allows the player to see the movement of enemy champions without the necessity of vision control. That information is crucial at the pro level.

Beyond the unique ability to track enemies, Rek’Sai also provides adequate clear time in the jungle. Her kit provides plenty of AoE damage, as well as sustainability when she burrows.

Much like Gragas, Rek’Sai can also attack lanes as soon as she hits Level Two. While she doesn’t offer as much burst damage as Gragas, she makes up for that with even more map control.

Rek’Sai was right behind Gragas in terms of picks last week. We saw her in 44 games, as well as more than double the bans we saw with Gragas. She currently has a 53.8 percent win rate this split, with an amazing 60.4 percent win rate and 56.6 percent win rate in China and Korea, respectively.

Mid Lane

Malzahar

MalzaharMalzahar is our biggest winner in the mid lane, jumping from just two games played to 22 games played last week. Malzahar’s kit provides excellent opportunity to control the lane, and his ultimate can be extremely useful when roaming and ganking.

Malzahar’s Q and E combination provides the wave clear that allows him to control his lane. He also has great zoning control with his W. Lane opponents also have to respect him ultimate, as it can essentially erase an opponent below 50 percent health before they can even realistically react to it.

Malzahar’s win rate is currently at 62.7 percent this split, the highest among mid laners with over 50 games played. In the EU LCS, he currently has won 72.7 percent of his games (11 played).

Those numbers don’t drop off much from each region, with 61.5 percent win rate in NA (13 games played) and 66.7 percent win rate in Korea (12 games played).

Viktor

ViktorJust like Malzahar, a good Viktor can dominate the laning phase.

His wave clear is as strong as Malzahar’s (one well-placed laser with enough AP can take out the entire wave). This is particularly true when the player picks up a Hex Core. Riot has recently increased the cost of this item to delay when it’s purchased in-game.

Viktor transitions seamlessly from lane control to teamfighting god when he reaches his ultimate. His augmented E provides him the ability to damage from a distance, and his ultimate can chase down fleeing enemies while providing a ton of burst AoE damage. This allows Viktor to play within a multitude of different compositions, making him a high value pick.

Viktor was the most-played mid laner last week, seeing 31 games played. He also received just as many bans (30). Viktor currently doesn’t have the highest win rate this split (48.4 percent), but that’s also because he’s almost been played 285 times.

Among high elo player in NA, Viktor has a 52 percent win rate.

AD Carries

Sivir

SivirThe transition to utility ad carries (a theme we saw last season) has once again emerged this split. It’s no surprise then that the two ADCs that provide the most utility, Sivir and Ashe, were also the most played last week.

Sivir is considered one of the safest picks in lane. Her Q has incredible range, allowing her to CS or trade with her opponents from a distance. Her E, a spellshield that pretty much can negate any enemy spell, is crucial to her laning phase.

Sivir’s ultimate provides the most utility however, giving her and her team a nice speed buff to chase down enemies or flee from a fight gone bad.

Sivir currently has a 54.2 percent win rate with over 332 games played this split. Between China, Korea, and North America, she averages 55.5 percent win rate. She’s a safe first pick, as there’s not an ADC that is a strong counter to her. Sivir was also the most-banned ADC last week (21).

Ashe

AsheAshe is the epitome of a ramp-up champion. Her early game doesn’t really give her any kill potential, and the best strategy is to farm up until you can grab your ultimate. Paired with the right support, Ashe’s crowd control can be a deadly lane combo.

Ashe’s main utility comes from her ultimate, a global arrow that stuns on impact. This can be crucial for finding picks or setting up team fights.

Her E, Hawkeye, also provides temporary vision of any area of the map (great for sniffing out the enemy jungler). Ashe also has plenty of crowd control baked into her kit (her auto attacks and W slow opponents).

In competitive play last week, Ashe was picked 33 times and banned 13 times. She currently has a very high win rate this split (59 percent). NA is perhaps the most popular region for Ashe, with a 60.7 percent win rate (61 games played).

Support

Braum

BraumBraum and his glorious mustache have seen a high rate of play this split. His kit is just too dynamic to pass up, and he saw almost double the play last week compared to the second most-played support champion.

While Braum has a very expansive kit, his true power lies in his passive and E shield. Once Braum lands an auto attack (Q also applies his passive), the next three subsequent auto attacks within six seconds will stun the opponent. Braum’s shield can also deflect damage or even negate enemy spells.

Braum currently has 368 games played this split, with a 48.9 percent win rate in competitive play. That number is slightly skewed based on region though. In NA and Korea, Braum has below a 44 percent win rate (187 games played). However, in China and EU, Braum’s win rate is almost 55 percent (181 games played).

Alistar

AlistarAt the beginning of this year, Alistar was one of the most played support champions. The new masteries buffed his healing potential, and that led to Riot nerfing him over several patches. He took a back seat for a while, but now that melee supports are once again returning to the meta, so has Alistar.

Alistar is one of the few champions that can chain his crowd control abilities. If an unsuspecting ADC or squishy support walks into Alistar’s range, his E and Q combo can become lethal. His ultimate also reduces his damage significantly, which makes diving towers a high possibility.

Alistar jumped up from 15 games played to 26 games played last week. He’s been played 124 times with a 52.4 percent win rate this split. He’s most popular in China and Korea, with over 84 games played (50 percent more then NA/EU) and a combined win percentage of 53 percent.

Rachel Perry

About

Rachel is an avid gamer whose insatiable desire for all things gaming related has been augmented by the inconceivable growth of eSports and how competitive gaming is viewed. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite games, Rachel can be found playing League of Legends, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, or watching too much Twitch.tv.

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