When preparing to climb the solo queue ladder in League of Legends, one of the first question players ask is, “What champion should I play?”
While you’re researching who to main next, you’ll do a few things. You may visit League stats sites to figure out who wins the most. You may watch top tier streamers or pros to figure out what champions are at the top of the meta. Or maybe you’ll just lock in someone that you find fun to play, because you read somewhere that it doesn’t matter who you play as long as you’re good at them.
Unbeknownst to many players, though, there is actually a small grey area of champions that are really strong, but they aren’t so strong that they’re played the most or banned often. Champions don’t usually last very long in this field, as a small balance change to a meta champion or item may be enough to shake things up, but nonetheless, sometimes, these are the best champions to climb with. They’re strong and they’re safer to main because they won’t be contested by picks or bans very often.
7) Warwick – Jungle
Warwick is in a great spot right now because, unlike many meta junglers, he’s useful at all points of the game. He’s a tank that gets really beefy, has tons of crowd control, he’s good at initiating fights on his terms, and he deals a ton of damage when compared to other tanks. He’s one of those junglers that can really carry a game if played well. His playrate is much, much lower than the likes of Kha’Zix, Jarvan IV, Gragas, Sejuani, and other meta picks, so he’s safe to pick. He also deals enough damage and has high enough dueling power to deal effectively with strong early game picks while maintaining usefulness as the game goes on.
6) Taric – Support
Janna, Lulu, Blitzcrank, Soraka, and Alistar are played in almost every game. Taric, however, is only played in a meager four percent of all games, according to League stats site OP.gg. His winrate, however, is one of the highest in the role. He’s an extremely underrated champion right smackdab in the middle of the Ardent Censer meta with both strong shields and heals, and he has tools for engaging, disengaging, and massive teamfights. Taric’s biggest problem is his early game, which suffers a bit. But if you max his stun, he can put up numbers with the best of them.
5) Miss Fortune – ADC
Despite being nerfed last patch, Draven is banned in a ton of games for his ability to cheese enemies with insane early harass and get a monstrous lead snowballing. Miss Fortune also has the capability of chunking her lane opponents with a well-placed Q. At early levels, she can take down a quarter to a half of an enemy ADC’s health with a critically striking Q, and that makes her extremely oppressive. If you’re one of the many ADCs that love Draven but dislike that he’s picked and banned so much, Miss Fortune may be exactly what you’re looking for.
4) Heimerdinger – Mid
Heimerdinger received a pretty sizable rework a few months ago shortly following the midseason update. The purpose of the changes were to turn Heimer from a turret spamming oddity to a proper control mage when played correctly, and despite his extremely low playrate, he’s actually in a very strong position. He deals a ton of burst damage, and there isn’t another mage in the game that handles ganks quite as well as he can. If you master the Lord of the Dings, you’ll find yourself winning one-on-twos against your lane and the enemy jungler more times than you can count, snowballing yourself to victory.
3) Sion – Top
When you think of strong top lane champions, your mind will no doubt skip to Maokai, Gragas, Jarvan, and sometimes Kled. But what about Sion? He has one of the highest winrates in the entire game despite his low rate of play, and that means that the few people that do play him can really wreck games with him. Huge buffs to his tankiness and ultimate ability recently arrived in Patch 7.16, and he’s been performing exceptionally well since then. Unfortunately, it’s probably only a matter of time before people catch on, so if you’re interested in playing Sion, we’d recommend picking him up soon.
2) Akali – Mid
There aren’t many hyper carry assassins like Akali. She performs extremely well into the later stages of the game, which is the opposite of other assassins like Talon, which perform worse when crowd control comes together in the same place during a teamfight. Akali’s biggest weakness is the fact that her early game is very bad, and it takes some patience to hit the 15-minute mark when she gets the gold needed to wrack up some damage. Thanks to the Doran’s Shield, surviving the early laning phase is a breeze, which covers up that big weakness.
1) Jax – Jungle
Jax is another late-game hyper carry, just like Akali. People often make the mistake of assuming his early game is as bad as hers though, which is sort of true when you’re playing top lane. But in the jungle he feels much more at home thanks to his fast clear speeds and survivability. Thunderlord’s also gives him the option of high damage early ganks without needing the expensive item build that will give him his crazy damage later on. A well-timed stun is very easy to land on him, too, so he’s also great for blowing early Flashes from laners you gank. Jax scales exceptionally well, so get ready to carry after you pick him up.