With the 2016 League of Legends World Championship just around the corner, teams from all over the world are boot camping to get in some last minute practice and scrimming with other world class teams as much as they can. They are also catching up on several patches, and picking up on the new top tier champions. With 6.18, the Yorick patch, being the patch that worlds will be played on, several champions who have reigned supreme throughout the summer split have fallen by the wayside, while new champions are rising to the occasion. Let’s take a look at what you can expect to see when the group stages start on September 29th.
While the top lane champions who have dominated the split should be expected to remain despite some minor nerfs, there have been two new champions who have seen quite a lot of play next too Gnar, Ekko, and Gangplank.
Kled, who was disabled in the patches leading up to worlds, has been being picked up quite heavily. While his laning is nothing to write home about, his real talent comes in to play with his ult, and team synergy. One of the top tier choices for a pick composition, his ultimate allows the entire team to sprint across the rift and catch enemies by surprise. While I would not expect him to be the highest pick in the lane, he will definitely show up for several teams.
Jayce, on the other hand, has risen as a big lane bully in the top lane. In patch 6.17, he received a big buff that changed his ultimate ratio from AP to AD, allowing him to dish out much more punishment with bruiser builds. With the boost in burst potential, along with his long range poke, expect to see him quite frequently as a counter to more melee focused top laners.
As an aside, Yorick will be disabled for worlds, or else he might have made some appearances as well
The mid lane will be the lane that is least likely to be shaken up with these latest patches, since the mid lane has had the widest champion pool all season. We will still see the likes of Cassiopeia, Syndra, and Lissandra as heavy picks, but every mid laner has his favorite champions, and most of them are pretty competitive. The one big change coming into patch 6.18 is that Aurelion Sol will no longer be disabled, and you can expect him to become a heavy favorite for many mid laners.
In the bottom lane, supports have seen little to no changes. Karma, Tahm Kench, Braum, and Trundle should still be safe picks, though a few teams coming in seem to enjoy the off meta picks, such as support Brand.
The ADC position however, has undergone quite a few changes. Nerfs to the big three and buffs to several other marksmen has seen a large shift in the bottom lane. The supportive style ADC has fallen out of favor, due to the nerfs as well as the new first tower gold, and more aggressive marksmen have come to the forefront.
After a split where he saw minimal play, Lucian has made his triumphant return. Though he saw no buffs in the latest patches, the nerfs to Ashe, Sivir, and Jhin have caused his already strong lane dominance to shine. His ability to quickly push waves, as well as burst enemy carries, makes him on of the strongest laners for the current meta.
Another returning champion down in the bottom lane is Ezreal, although this time he has dropped the defensive style Blue build in favor of a much more aggressive Trinity Force build. With the recent changes to Trinity, and the consistent poke and safe game play that Ezreal brings, he has become a favorite in the lane. You can expect him to be picked up as a counter to some of the more oppressive bottom lanes.
On the more aggressive side, Jinx has seen some minor buffs, and her fast and hard hitting game play has risen as one of the strongest late game carries currently. Her lack of any escapes makes her laning a bit dangerous, but once she gets rolling there is no stopping her. Huge wave clear, strong team fighting, and a buffed ultimate have made her a force to be reckoned with in games that give her time to farm.
Other champions you can expect to see include a still relatively strong Jhin, a good poking Caitlyn, and the occasional niche Kog’Maw pickups.
There have been two junglers who have dominated the last split: Gragas and Rek’sai. Both of them have received nerfs, and while the nerfs to Rek’sai are minor inconveniences that shouldn’t change how strong she is, the nerf to Gragas will likely cause him to drop heavily on the list. With his ultimate no longer being instant at short range, it allows for a lot of counter play, and a switch to other junglers for many players.
Elise, Graves, and Nidalee, who have all seen time throughout the season directly under the other two, have risen slightly in priority. This heralds a bit more for aggressive style jungling, and the junglers who have risen up to fill the void recently seem to second this style.
Vi, who received a nice set of buffs in 6.17, has been charging all over the rift recently. Due to her fantastic gank potential, and ability to solo out the enemy carries, she has seen a lot of play and a lot of success. Changes to the Trinity Force have also favored her fists, and her damage potential is quite high considering her utility. The combination makes for quite an oppressive style of play.
Speaking of oppressive, the return of Evelyn is sure to make people happy. With increased CDR on items, and a buff to her ultimate’s cooldown, Evelyn has risen in popularity as the perennial squishy slayer. Her permanent invisibility allows her to get quite close to any target she chooses, and with her ultimate at the ready much more frequently, her nuke potential for softer targets, followed by good disengage, has made her a great pick against softer teams.
The changes on the past few patches has been kept to a minimum to avoid the crazy scenario from Season 5 Worlds bruiser patch, so the overall meta itself has not changed much. You can still expect to see things like standard lanes, tanky supports, and heavy dragon control, with only the champions and compositions changing up. All said and done, the latest patches have not changed the game enough to cause teams to rush into learning crazy new game play, but have balanced the game enough to widen champion pools across the rift. This year’s worlds look to be an exciting one with a variety of picks, and some incredibly competitive teams.