An Overview of OP Champions to Avoid In Solo Queue
Tue 23rd Jun 2020 - 7:34pm
League's roster is deep. And it only gets deeper as the years go on. There are Champions to fit any sort of player out there! Burst Mages that want to pop single targets, AoE-focused Tanks that are all about disruption, enchanting Supports that are all about shielding and healing their allies, and plenty more! But, when you narrow down your roster of Champions to take into Solo Queue, League's most competitive mode, there's a few of those Champions that you should leave collecting dust on the shelf. Today, I'm here to tell you what Champions to avoid in Solo Queue, and why you should avoid them for the sake of your climb!
1. Sylas, the Unshackled
Sylas is the first victim to the chopping block today, and it's honestly not the Solo Queue community who is to blame here. Sylas' game shattering ultimate, one that allows him to steal and utilize enemy ults, has and will always be a pain for Riot to balance around. And with each and every adjustment or release to the rest of the League roster, Sylas must be taken into consideration since he too can use that ult. It's this ability that brought him instantly into the professional scene as a pick-or-ban selection, and in the hands of capable professionals and high-ELO masterminds, he warped the Solo Queue experience for everyone in the game. As low-ELO players mastered him, Riot had to make changes to stop Sylas for dominating the meta forevermore.
So, Sylas has been consistently trimmed down in power and is a situational pick at best in today's environment. Across each of his roles, Top, Mid, and Jungle, there are Champions that simply facilitate their team or flat out carry better than Sylas in the 2020 Season. And his selection boils down to how well you can abuse what's presented against you on the enemy team. If the team is a 'Press R' sort of comp, you may have a chance, but even then, this Champion's high skill ceiling is another cause for pause. Without ample practice time under your belt, taking Sylas into a ranked setting is just asking for trouble as once he goes in he needs a skillful set of hands to carry him out. One must have complete mastery over his range, animation cancels, timing on his W (Kingslayer), and must know from moment to moment how to maximize the effectiveness of the ultimates that are around him... And honestly, that's a lot to manage when you can just play Hecarim and run down the enemy Marksmen instead.
So, unless there's a particular patch where Sylas is truly abusing the meta, avoid Sylas if you're wanting to truly climb this season.
2. Akali, the Rogue Assassin
I absolutely hate that I'm writing this since I consider myself an Akali main, but she's not too great for Solo Queue. Much like Sylas, following her rework, Akali was snatched up by the professional scene and used and abused until Riot had to answer the cries of the community that had come to understand her following the pros examples. Her mobility was nerfed, then her evasiveness and untargetability, then her damage and wave clear, and then... well, you catch my drift. She's the new Irelia now. And even if you think the Champion is subpar, you can never be surprised to see her on any given patch notes getting a random nerf dude to some unseen mechanic that players discovered and abused.
So, her nature as one of the most volatile picks is why I can't recommend her for climbing. As one of League most popular Champions, and honestly a newfound mascot, Akali will always be in a 'playable' state, but after being a terror for so long, it's hard to imagine Riot giving her an inch that wouldn't send shockwaves across the ranks. Besides, much like I mentioned with Sylas, if you're wanting to play an evasive assassin with great all-in potential, there are better picks for the Solo-Queue environment.
Talon, Zed, and Qiyana, for example, all require less set-up and, in my opinion, less skill to execute than Akali does. And since they're much more front-loaded Champions, you'll be able to weave in and out of your all-in opportunities much easier as one of these picks. So, avoid Akali if you're looking to climb, and set your sights on these previously mentioned assassins to fulfill your destructive Marksmen fantasies.
3. Udyr, the Spirit Walker
The first Jungler on the list, Udyr is one of the last 'outdated' Champions on the roster in the eyes of many players. Beyond the Trick2g-guard, there's few that would consider themselves an Udyr main, and it's primarily due to the nature of his kit.
Udyr suffers from a complex of being one of those Champions that can only run towards their target. And outside of Flash, there's little else he can do to bridge the gap. With League's excessive mobility creep over the years, this has left Udyr reeling back patch to patch and as we've found ourselves full into a season that supports Tanks and Enchanters, targets that can keep Udyr at bay, he's found it hard to find his footing this season. And with his weird niche items being removed or adjusted to prevent toxic strategies that he could once employ, Udyr now finds himself the words of all the 'Right-Click' Junglers, and should honestly be avoided.
If you like to right-click and enemy and run towards them to watch them die, pick up Master Yi instead. His snowball and solo-carry potential is much higher than Udyr's, and he has some semblance of evasiveness that his reenacting Neo from the matrix every time you see a skill-shot coming your way.
4. Viktor, the Machine Herald
Don't get me wrong, I like Viktor. His essence as a zone-control and scaling focus Mage speaks to me. But he suffers from a problem that Akali, Sylas, and Udyr all suffer(ed) from, and that's he has to be balanced around a key item. And in Sticky Vikky's case, that's his Prototype Hex Core, an item that's entirely unique to Viktor.
Viktor's Hex Core gives him access to new effects on his abilities as he purchases upgrades for it throughout the game. Unfortunately for Viktor, as he's purchasing his second or third upgrade so that he can be a relevant Champion, his enemies are purchasing items that not only allow them to abuse Viktor's nature as a low mobility Mage, but they're also be rewarded with higher base stats for simply not play Viktor.
The idea behind Viktor is that he gets stronger as the game goes on, like Vayne or Kayle, but Viktor takes doubly long to come online. After upgrading his core to its relevant second level, Viktor then has to pivot his build regular items. And in the case of most Mage items, that usually a giant gold sink. Imagine, you get your 1350g in lane and you're super excited about back and grabbing Lost Chapter so you can more freely spam your abilities in lane. Well, if you're playing Viktor, you're buying that core upgrade of 1150g instead while your enemy picks up that Lost Chapter. Now you have to dodge their URF-like poke for another 1300g before you can even come back with your own Chapter. And when you do, they've got Luden's in response. Congrats. Now you lose out on spam AND damage. Feels good, doesn't it?
Topping it off, you're low mobility and low damage early gives you little lane priority to help your Jungler with early skuttles. And you really only start to play the game at about 30 minutes. Assuming your nexus hasn't exploded by then. There are just better scaling mage picks, and the likes of Ryze, Cassiopeia, and Kassadin offer more scaling power and utility to their teams. It's flat out best to avoid Viktor until his itemization receives some serious love from Riot.
5. Ivern, the Green Father
Green Daddy has never really lived up to his loving potential in my eyes. And though he represents a supportive option for Junglers to pick-up, he just doesn't provide the pressure that is required out of the Jungle in Solo Queue. Sure, his shields, Daisy peel and dive, and overall utility are fantastic, it just doesn't slap as hard you need it to when looking to carry from a game, even from a Supportive mode.
Where Udyr can at least duel his enemies and potential, Ivern falls flat and needs solid priority and good play from his team around him through the early game. Much like the Ardent Supports of old, he requires a certain set of items to be relevant and overcome his statistical weaknesses as a Champion, and if he gets used and abused by an aggressive invading Jungler like Xin-Zhao or Elise, he'll struggle to find pace back into the game.
Again, Ivern suffers by being a worse version of other Champions, and Nunu is his primary competitor when it comes to Supportive Junglers. Nunu's gank are not only better than Ivern's overall, he's also tankier and able to survive longer in fights thanks to his Consume. To top it off, he secures neutral objectives much faster and should always win a smite-fight in high-pressure situations. Pick up Nunu if you're wanting to be a Support Jungler over Ivern any day. Besides, Nunu's dance is far better.
Kai'sa - Ezreal and Vayne are just better and safer than her in every way. Pick them instead.
Azir/Corki - Both require excellent team-play and patience. And that's not common in Solo-Queue.
Irelia - High-skill requirement, loses to popular Champions like Garen, Renekton, and Darius.
Lee Sin - If you're below Diamond, stop it. Even if you're Diamond, stop it unless you have 500k mastery points.
Lucian - Feast or famine Champion that gets abused by popular picks like Ashe, Ezreal, and Jhin. MUST be paired with an extremely aggressive support like Leona or Nautilus.
If you missed the common thread of each of these Champion picks, it's that some other Champion simply does what these Champions want to do better in everyway. Be that from quick and clean executions, to supply great utility, or to be a solid DPS option throughout the game. There's just better out there. Naturally, if you love a Champion, play them! It's all about having fun after all! But, you have to understand you'll probably take some lumps in LP and from your teammates if you hover these picks without them being well-practiced for you.