Blogs

Champions to Pick Up in the Current Meta

Phantome

Phantome

Tue 28th Jul 2020 - 7:56pm

Current State of the Meta

As of now, the main points of contestation on the map for the majority of the game lie between the lanes, around Dragon and Rift Herald. While Herald can potentially accelerate the pace of the game and provide an advantage, dragons spawn sooner and more frequently while providing team wide buffs. According to GOSU.AI, teams that claim the Dragon Soul enjoy between a 78.79% to 79.91% win rate while 62.6% of games are won by the team that slays the first dragon. This puts more of an emphasis on creating and maintaining leads between middle and bottom lanes as opposed to top lane. Due to the Dragon Soul's raw power as well as it being possible for a team to attain the Dragon Soul as early as 21-23 minutes into the game, with Elder buff available every 6 minutes thereafter, the emphasis of the game has shifted towards the mid game.

With the average game lasting between 27 and 31 minutes, it helps to ensure that you pick champions that can hold their own early, peak in the mid game, and have decent scaling into the late game. I have split this article up into 3 sections with champions of varying difficulties and included resources to learn those champions. Without further ado, let's get into it. 

Easy

Diana

Diana is a scaling melee mage fighter who is adept at split push, spikes in the mid game with 2 to 3 items, can carry teamfights, and has an easy time gaining priority in lane from level 1. It should be noted, Diana's win rate decreases the higher elo you are. That being said, considering that 96% of the player base is in platinum or lower with 82% being gold and lower, she maintains a higher winrate than 55% of the champions in the game in those 2 elos at the time of this writing. She can play in any solo position in the game but does best in the mid lane. 

In lane, Diana can easily get priority thanks to her passive and AOE abilities. You can choose between shoving waves and roaming or freezing near your tower to set up for ganks. Diana needs to whittle enemies down slightly before committing to an all in but is surprisingly sticky due to her E. In the mid and late game, you can alternate between split pushing and teamfighting. Her ultimate allows her to take 1v2 fights easily in the side lanes while being an enormous threat in teamfights. When looking for a massive ultimate, look to flank instead of grouping with your team and running at them head first. This video will help you get started with Diana.  

As Diana, your biggest weakness is getting CC'ed and burst down which is easy when you consider her high AP, low resistance build path. Additionally, positioning and awareness of the enemy junglers location is extremely important as Diana has no escapes. Her mobility is limited to catching up to people offensively. Finally, Diana can have a hard time against champions that can drain tank her damage or stop her from getting onto them:

            

Wukong

If you were looking for a champion to main that will increase your winrate within 30 minutes of reading this, then Wukong is your monkey. Despite being a simple champion, his W provides you with a fun mini-game that can get in your enemy's head. In diamond and below, Wukong has a higher winrate than 90% of the champions in the game. To top it off, learning him takes no time at all! Simply read his abilities, learn his combos and playstyle, then give it a go. For returning players take note, Wukong has shifted from a one-shot assassin champion to a autoattacking consistent damage bruiser after his rework. Be sure to be in the right frame of mind!

In lane, the armor and HP regen he receives from his passive along with the extended range of his Q and attack speed buff of his E make Wukong great at taking extended trades, especially against AD champions. Upon hitting 6, you can easily look for an all in, especially if you have been constantly trading effectively. In the mid and late game, Wukong's double AOE knock up can be game winning. Similar to Diana, flanking will be a big determining factor in how effective you will be in teamfights. Running straight at the enemy will likely get you killed but a good flank will likely win you the game. The biggest thing to pay attention to when playing him is when to use W, using it offensively will allow you to nearly double your damage and the reach of your R but leave you without an escape in the middle of a fight.

When playing against Wukong, keep in mind he excels in extended trades. Look to do very quick, short, trades as to not allow him to benefit off his passive. Pick up a sweeping lens if you ever get tired of getting stop-juked. Aside from that, AP champions nullify part of Wukong's passive and tend to do well against him. On top of that, being able to disengage or stop him from getting on targets reduces his effectiveness since he has no ranged abilities. Champions that come to mind include:

        

 

Medium

Pyke 

Pyke is a high damage, high mobility assassin who can be played mid or support. This champion is infamous for creating huge gold leads for his team, being a one man comeback and snowball machine, solo-ing your squishy carries, and being full build when everyone else has 3 items. His natural inclination towards building lethality allows him to reach full build faster than most champions and deal obscene amounts of damage to targets without resistances. Additionally, Pyke's insane mobility from his W and E allow him to approach enemies from any angle, get deep wards in safely, and escape most situations effortlessly. Finally, the bounty from Pyke's ultimate that gives 2 bags of 300g every time an enemy champion dies within the "x" makes you the only champion in the game who people want to be KS-ed by. 

Fortunately, while Pyke's abilities are simple, he has a slight learning curve which can be seen from his winrate. From Iron to Platinum, Pyke has a really low winrate of less than 50%. In Diamond, his winrate becomes better than 59% of the champions in the game and in Master and above, he has one of the highest winrates in the game. 

In lane, you have multiple ways of engaging on your enemy with your Q and E. Unless fully committing, you want to safe your W as an escape. Mobility boots allow you to rotate faster than many expect. Establishing deep vision, roaming, and picking people off between lanes are large parts of Pyke's playstyle. People can get pretty tilted after they get one shot by a support. Just be sure you do not leave your ADC 1v2 in lane for too long when playing support. In teamfights, look to pair up with another assassin/diver to assassinate key targets or peel for your carry until he enables you to loot the enemy. For a more detailed guide on how to play Pyke by Hanjaro, click here, for a video on combos, click here. 

In general, due to his passive, Pykes live in constant fear of burst and CC. Look to catch him warding and punish him for blind face checking areas without vision. Additionally, a well-timed shield can also stop him from getting rich off of your allies. Remember, with his high damage and cheap build, Pyke is always on the look out to tilt squishy carries farming in side lanes. Otherwise, these champions fair comfortably against Pyke:

        

Graves

For those of you who want to play a tanky ADC anywhere that isn't a lane with some "oomph" in his autoattacks, look no further. After all, why be stuck in one lane getting terrorized when you can roam the entire map, terrorizing the enemy jungler. A control jungler with a penchant for stealing Raptors and Wolves, Graves's passive gives him a unique twist and some added difficulty but allows him to clear the jungle at break neck speeds while taking minimal damage. Furthermore, his W slow and sight reduction ranks among one of the most annoying spells in the game. Emerging from a Graves W can feel like dropping out of Mordekaiser's R into an enemy team reunion. The mobility of his E and R also allow him to gank lanes and enter the jungle from unconventional angles. Finally, the passive on his E provides him with stacks of bonus armor that cap at a ridiculous 64-160 based on level, pretty decent considering Sunfire Cape provides 60 armor at the cost of 2,750g. 

Playing Graves can be a little tricky and take some time to get used to. Considering the fact that you have little to no CC in your kit, ganking can sometimes feel awkward. That being said, Graves excels at counter ganking and jungling. Your insane clear, mobility, and passive armor stacks allow you to hold your own while plundering the enemy jungle. Power farm early until you complete your jungle item, by then you should be strong enough to bully enemy junglers off their own camps. Just play around your item completion timings as you mainly spike from items and will not be as strong as some junglers in the early game. In teamfights, you want to play like a second ADC, look to put out consistent damage from as safe a distance as possible. Only look to burst squishy's when they are out of position and you can get away with it. Tarzaned has become kind of synonymous with Graves, so check out his YouTube channel for in-depth information.

Similar to Wukong, Graves's passive armor makes him extremely durable in extended trades. Generally, picking AP champions is effective against him until he gets his third item which is usually Death's Dance. Additionally, while he scales decently into the late game, he has a hard time against high ranged champions due to his range. Finally, Graves's autoattacks can be blocked making it possible to take no damage from him by simply hiding behind minions in lane, or your tanks in teamfights. That being said, Graves doesn't really have many bad match-ups. Even against champions that supposedly counter him, you can just avoid them and farm till you outscale them. AP champions like Nidalee and Taliyah also tend to be harder to play than Graves. Opting into simpler tanks or teamfight champions might be better:

        

Hard

Azir

Azir is a hyperscaling mid lane mage that has it all. He fits into nearly every composition and is capable of splitting, sieging, peeling, engaging, providing consistent damage, and gaining lane priority at almost every stage of laning phase. Additionally, Azir provides great zoning for areas around objectives. As such, it is important to prepare for objectives early and ensure your team has control of the area first. Forcing your enemy to walk into a choke point guarded by your soldiers is about as close to Christmas as it gets in Shurima. That being said, picking him up as a champion can be an arduous task as he has a really high learning curve, an extremely unique playstyle, and one of the worse winrates in the game at diamond and below.  

Like most hyper scaling champions your goal in the early game is to farm up as much as possible while remaining safe. Azir's powerspikes revolve around levels and items, be sure to avoid sharing experience where possible. Playing Azir will force you to see the game in an entirely different perspective. In the mid game, look to be as proactive as possible whether you are soaking up as much experience and gold as possible or looking to make a pick on the enemy. A lot depends on your experience with the champion. Great places to learn more about Azir can be found on RTO Academy, Dignitas, and all over YouTube. 

As a result of his mana consumption, unique playstyle, and steep learning curve, most match-ups will be a struggle. That being said Marksmen midlaners like Lucian and Tristana might make you want to quit the game, as well as champions with more range and equally hard scaling:

        

Bard 

Personally, I have a list of champions with the most annoying abilities that do not do damage. The list features the likes of Shen, Poppy and Yasuo W. But no champion features so prominently on that list as this ball of fluff. Bard is an infinite scaling champion with some of the highest flexibility in the game; he can play in any role, in any composition, and build almost any item. Bard's passive alone gives him movement speed, mana, a slow, and AOE damage on his autoattacks for taking a walk in the jungle. The utility that this champion provides through slows, stuns, speed ups, heals, and stasis effects is unparalleled by any other single champion in the game. In fact, I have seen team compositions with less utility than this single champion. To top it all off, Bard has the 2nd and 5th highest winrates of any champion in the game in Diamond and Platinum respectively with a decent 50.8% winrate in Silver, a testament to his low skill floor and high skill ceiling.

While Bard is a scaling champion, his kit allows him to look for trades with his passive autoattacks and Q, while having your W to heal up and stay safe, in lane. Bard is also a fantastic champion to learn roaming given his passive movement speed, his need to collect chimes, and his E. In the mid game, you will want to be proactively looking to roam, make picks, and establish vision. In teamfights, Bard's flexibility is evident in his ability to engage, peel, disengage, and make picks for his team. Take a look at each team's win conditions to determine your next moves. More can be learned from Nasteey's video, Lathyrus's challenger guide, and these ability tips.

Finally, while Bard does well into squishy and immobile champions, his Kryptonite comes in the form of hard engaging, high CC champions that can abuse his squishiness. Champions that creep into his nightmares include:

        

Alas

All things considered, it is important to note that losing the Dragon Soul does not immediately equal losing the game. If your composition scales much better than theirs, securing the Elder Dragon might win you a massive team fight and allow you to win the game even if the enemy has Dragon Soul. More often than not, losing an elemental dragon in exchange for killing 3 or more enemies is more than worth it as it will allow you to generate a lead which can be used to secure future objectives, provided that dragon is not the last one they need to get the Soul. I wouldn't fret about giving up 1 or 2 dragons in order to scale for future dragon contests, just remember to take your composition and positioning into consideration before committing into a fight. It is important to understand the basic of objective control and to arrive at least 40 seconds before the objective spawns in order to prepare for it. For more articles on improving in LoL, check out our full list of fundamentals for beginners. Remember, the more complex a champion becomes, the more you need to rely on solid fundamentals in order to excel. You got this!