Orianna. We all know her for providing us with some of the most hyped plays in LoL Esports history, but for the past 2 seasons, she’s seen minimal play. The main reason for her absence was due to other mid laners rising in power to a point were the Lady of Clockwork was simply not good enough to be played competitively. She has always been one of the most balanced champions in the game, which is both a blessing and in this case also a curse. But I don’t want to write about how Orianna faded into obscurity, instead, I want to show how she will retake her throne as Queen of the Mid Lane.
Recent patches have been kind to Orianna by buffing her and at the same time, nerfing her more powerful counterparts. In 6.17, her ultimate was buffed to lower the mana cost and cooldown, and in patch 6.18 (the patch on which the World Championship will be playing her) both Vladimir and Taliyah received significant nerfs.
With the Shockwave on a lower cooldown and costing at the same time less mana, this will encourage team fights more often, and in a meta where one massive fight can turn the table and seal the fate of a whole game, this is huge. The nerf to Taliyah’s Q on minions will completely eliminate the “push wave and kill razorbacks for level 2 strat.” Nerfs to Vladimir’s heal on empowered Q and E cooldown will affect him in all parts of the game and make him less effective overall.
Now, these patch changes do not really mean much until we see pros starting to play the champion, but with Orianna, that’s exactly what we are seeing right now. 2 of the 3 NA mid laners (TSM Bjergsen and C9 Jensen) have Orianna as one of their most played champions on their Korean bootcamp accounts, each with 7 games. CLG’s mid laner Huhi has only played Orianna once on his account, but he is known for strange mid picks (like Aurelion Sol) and CLG as a whole has had a history of misreading the meta this past split. EU Summer Split Champion G2 Perkz’s most played champion in Korea is indeed Orianna and several other mid laners have had her in their match history 1-4 times in the past week.
It appears that the western teams are focusing more heavily on Orianna than other regions, and this sets up a similar situation to what we saw at MSI this year. Back in May, CLG’s Aphromoo set the groundwork for the new support meta by playing champions like Sona, Janna, and Soraka and for once, the other regions followed what a western region was doing. At worlds this year, if the western teams play Orianna and start winning games, we will see the other regions adapt to the meta of the tournament, making Orianna a top pick.