News LOL Game The Metagame Report: Midseason mixups

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Patch 7.9 has hit League of Legends, and with that a completely new metagame has descended upon the rift. Champions new and old are coming out of the woodwork thanks to reworked items, reworked champions, and even a reworked neutral objective in Rift Herald. With that in mind, this wouldn’t be the metagame report without looking at the actual meta now that it's been turned on its head.

Top - Fiora, Renekton, Kled

Death’s Dance changes have made physical damage off-tanks and splitpushers even more appealing than they were before the mid-season changes. While picks such as Fiora were incredibly niche, Renekton and Kled became larger picks as the season went on. The new Death’s Dance and its ability to hold double the damage that it did previously allows for champions such as Fiora, Renekton and Kled to complete dominate 1v1 matchups as they’re able to fully heal off of their opponents thanks to the item’s physical damage lifesteal and spell vamp.

In combination with a hydra item, the splitpushing threat and kill pressure becomes amplified further. Renekton can go tanky afterward, with Spirit Visage being a powerful choice. Bloodthirster can ensure Fiora’s safety as well through triple lifesteal. They both also have very good matchups into all tanks, including the slightly overtuned Galio.

Jungle - Nunu, Kindred, Olaf, Ivern

Tankier junglers are a little more prominent in the new patch, with Sejuani, Gragas, Lee Sin and Elise being the model of consistency in 7.9. Ivern is still the top utility pick, and has even an more comfortable early game thanks to the slower and less aggressive moves that tank junglers will make. With this, and Graves animation cancel nerfs, junglers that counter Ivern who are on the rise include Nunu and Olaf, who can run him down without issue and take care of Daisy comfortably.

Kindred has also seen a huge spike in their win rate, and I’m not crying wolf here. They have seen huge buffs thanks to the slower pace of the jungle in combination with the safety of buff starts. The tempo of it is such that they can go from buff to buff, and get the scuttle mark very safely. Further, Kindred becomes deceptively tanky and powerful with the new (old) combination of Phantom Dancer, Death’s Dance and an optional Ninja Tabi.

Mid - Taliyah, Zilean

Taliyah and Zilean are control mages with good teamfight that benefit greatly from the new meta and the new itemization options as well. With a protect the AD carry meta starting to emerge, these two provide great methods which give the frontline difficulty in approaching the AD carry while being decent damage dealers themselves. Taliyah is a greater lane presence and roamer, while Zilean has a revive and speed boost that completely turns fights and literally protects the AD carry. Both also find great value in the new Banshee’s Veil, which protects them from previously overpowering picks such as Ekko and LeBlanc. Going a Lost Chapter into Banshee’s Veil removes kill pressure and keeps you in lane with needed mana regeneration.

AD - Xayah, Lucian, Jinx

Death’s Dance and crit builds have risen in popularity thanks to the earlier nerfs to Lethality combined with the new nerfs to armor penetration and Runaan’s, which have affected on-hit builds. While on-hit and Blade of the Ruined King is still viable, mid-game builds are more punishing and less effective when compared to crit builds against the reworked champions and new state of items. The aforementioned combination of Phantom’s Dancer and Death’s Dance gives Xayah and Lucian a crucial 40% cooldown reduction alongside Essence Reaver.

Jinx stands out as a powerful pick who can counter-push the popular Caitlyn and one who actually benefits enormously from the changes to Runaan’s Hurricane, which made bolts stronger for those building more Attack Damage. She has great scaling and operates well if she has peel. With utility being a more prominent part of the meta, and Knight’s Vow combined with a more appealing Guardian Angel overall, it’s hard to contest her raw power. Her laning with a ranged support isn’t actually that detrimental either, which makes her more valuable as melee supports come more into the fold.

Support - Thresh

Though Lulu and Karma still have their dominant edge in the bottom lane, the new Ancient Coin line has made Thresh a more palatable choice against these two champions in particular. Thresh is known to be able to do it all, capable of engaging, disengaging, shielding priority targets and bringing consistent crowd control. The new shift towards ignite in the bottom lane with the nerfs to exhaust has also increased Thresh’s kill pressure against these utility options, allowing that pressure to out scale the utility provided he can secure an advantage in lane.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a news editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

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