With Patch 5.18, the patch on which the Season 5 World Championship will be played, released last week all the numbers are known for the upcoming Tournament. However it is quite hard to know exactly which champions will be played competitively by the best teams in the world. I’m going to look at the strong picks for each role and give a few of my opinions which Champions are going to be played and which Champions might fall out of favor. Today we will start with the first part of this series where I will look at the top lane and try to predict which Champions will come out strong and which will not.
This Article is basically a very short and compact post to give you some Ideas if you do not have much time or look for a specific champion. For a more detailed Article with a lot of thoughts and more Champions I suggest you are reading this Article by Kilgannon
Gangplank has been very dominant on Patches 5.14 and beyond in every region. I do not think that will change as we are heading into Worlds. Gangplank has been nerfed twice but he is still a very strong champion who is able to deal a huge amount of damage to enemies if he can catch them with his barrels.
I expect Gangplank to be among the most picked or banned Champions for the entire tournament. That being said I do not expect him to be as dominant as he has been in the regionals and the summer finals.
Fiora has been dominant in Korea and China after her rework in Patch 5.15 and has not been nerfed heavily. She is still a very strong split pusher with the potential to win a duel against any opponent. Even though her impact has not been as strong as Gangplank’s for example she will be a very dominant factor in October.
In my opinion she will be just as contested as Gangplank and it will be very likely that either both get banned or both get through since teams will not want to give up one of them without being able to secure the other.
Darius has been dominant in Solo Queue for the last month since the Juggernaut rework went life. He has not been picked in China where the regional qualifier was played on Patch 5.16, but has been buffed later. He is a very strong champion but can be kited decently by long ranged abilities or auto attacks.
Therefore I do not think that Darius will be as contested as Gangplank or Fiora but I expect him to be picked a few times and do well in Top Lane. I mostly expect him as a counter pick to tanks or other melee champions who cannot get away from him.
Just like Darius Garen can be insanely strong if he gets a lot of money or if he gets ahead early. But just like Darius Garen is very vulnerable to being kited by more mobile Champions. Additionally he lacks crowd control abilities to be a threat to his enemies.
As a result I do not expect Garen to be played competitively this year. I believe there are a lot of better options available.
Jax has been buffed on Patch 5.17 and therefore is in a much stronger position now than he has been recently. He has the tools to get in range of champions like Gangplank or Fiora and win duels against them. Therefore he can be a very strong pick against those champions. However Jax is weak in lane swap scenarios which harms him a lot in competitive play.
I still think Jax is strong enough to be successful at worlds and I would not be surprised if he rose in popularity as the tournament progressed. Jax has the potential of being one of the strongest picks in the current meta if he is allowed to farm early in the game.
Maokai has reigned in Top Lane for the whole season since the beginning of the tank meta. He is still very strong at locking down high priority targets in a fight and offers a lot of tanky stats to his teammates. However he will not be able to do well in lane against most the other contested Top Lane picks leaving him in a bad spot during laning phase.
I still can see Maokai being played if the opponent team lacks the tools to punish him and I think that we will see him in a few games. But he is not as dominant as he used to be.
Malphite is in the same spot as Maokai but has not been as dominant before since he lacks sustain. That makes his laning phase against other tanks difficult since he can be harassed and forced to recall by Champions with sustain. He is still strong against most bruisers since he brings a very armor efficient kit as well as an attack speed slow onto the Rift. He can handle Jax and Fiora in lane and later be a very strong initiating force in team fights.
Just like Maokai Malphite has a small but decent niche where he works very well and I believe he will be played a couple of times.
Rumble has a lot of problems if he has to face strong duelists. A team with Rumble will always want to lane swap and play two versus one lanes as long as possible since Rumble works fine without a lot of Gold. It will be very risky though because once the other top laner catches up he will offer a much bigger threat than Rumble.
I think Rumble can still be played into Tanks but should not be picked against bruisers. Unfortunately the upcoming meta favors bruisers a lot and leaves very little opportunities to add Rumble into a team. Therefore I do not expect Rumble to be played very often.
Lulu is a Champion that has come to a place where she is only played in very specific compositions that are all about protecting one hyper carry that will then kill the whole enemy team because he cannot be touched. Lulu will still do very well in those compositions but I assume that these compositions are a bit harder to pull off now since the meta is shifting towards more damage oriented Champions in the Top lane and more Assassins in the mid lane.
Lulu will still be a key component of every protective team comp and will therefore be played a decent amount at worlds.
Tomorrow the series will continue with Part II, where we will take a closer look at the junglers and which are going to come out strong at worlds.