A short and compact Prediction of the Meta for Worlds - Part III: Mid Lane
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 continue with part 3 and a closer look at the mid lane. As always I will try and guess which champions will be strong and which champions might no longer be as relevant.
- For a look at my first part about top lane please follow this Link.
- For my second part which was all about junglers please take a look here
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
Azir has been very strong ever since he has been released one year ago. He offers a lot of engage or disengage potential while dealing a crazy amount of damage late game. He has been nerfed several times most recently in Patch 5.17 but his strengths are still the same. He can be played in most match ups and therefore is a strong blind pick champion.
Nevertheless with the rise of Assassins I can see him having more trouble in lane now and thus I do not think that he will be picked or banned in every game. But I expect Azir to be among the most picked Mid Laners for worlds. Especially since his disengage potential will be a huge factor against bruisers and assassins.
Viktor's mid game power has taken a big hit with the nerfs in patch 5.16 where his AP ratios were reduced on his Hex Core until he has fully upgraded it. Hence he will have a harder time hitting a strong power spike after completing his first items. Additionally Viktor is very vulnerable to Bruisers and Assassins due to his low mobility and his short range.
Therefore I think Viktor should no longer be the great blind pick option he used to be. He might see some play when teams pick him up last after knowing that their opponent has no champions that can dive him and burst him down. He will most likely be picked a few times but I cannot see him as a contested pick anymore.
Diana was on the rise for the last couple of weeks and has not been touched at all during the last patches. She is a very strong assassin that can farm well until she hits level 6. After getting access to her ultimate she can deal a lot of damage and kill enemies in a straight up one versus one fight or at least force them out of lane.
The fall of tanks and the rise of less tanky bruisers will benefit her even further and I believe that Diana will be the most contested pick for this year's world championship. I think that she is the strongest assassin currently and will be picked or banned in almost every game.
Ahri has not been as contested as before in the last split but she has never fallen out of meta completely and was still picked up every now and then. She has received a nerf to her sustain especially at early levels (for example at level 5: Old 7 HP per Unit hit, now 3 HP per Unit hit). Her high mobility and her potential to catch and assassinate enemy carries will still make her a viable pick at worlds. Furthermore she can do well against Diana which will be important since Diana is very strong at the moment.
I think Ahri will be played often but she will not be the most contested pick. I can see her being picked if other mid lane champions are banned but I do not think that she will draw many bans herself.
Yasuo has been mostly played as a top laner recently and he has had much success at it. He was not a strong mid lane pick since he has had a hard time against control mages like Viktor and Azir. However with the return of a lot of assassins I believe that Yasuo will once again be a strong pick in the mid lane while being a flex pick that could go top as well. He is strong at split pushing and skirmishing if his team provides additional knock ups which will be very likely since there are a lot of knock ups in the meta currently.
Yasuo surely will not fit into any team and therefore will not be seen in every single game. But I predict him to play a decent role in the upcoming Tournament and he will definitely be seen in a few games.
Zed has been a fan favorite ever since his release. His flashy play is fun to watch and therefore a lot of people keep asking for his return. Now with the decline of tanks Zed will be able to find more targets to assassinate. However Zed excels at split pushing and duelling enemies and that is currently a problem for him. Champions like Jax, Darius or Fiora should be able to beat him in a one versus one fight later in the game which would harm his split pushing ability. Besides he lacks tools to be very strong in larger fights as he does not have any utility unlike Diana or Yasuo.
Zed will probably be played once or twice this year but I cannot believe that he will be high priority. He might work in certain situations but I think that he is outclassed by too many champions who can surpass him.
Fizz has been hit by a nerf in patch 5.17 which was intended to remove his Bruiser ability without hitting his strengths as an AP Assassin. However the nerf to his Ultimate is pretty big especially in the early game before Fizz has his Lich Bane completed. The removal of the physical damage amplification means that Fizz will do a lot less damage with his early all ins in laning phase and that he will probably be unable to kill his opponents early. Since he lacks any ranged poke that is a huge problem and will harm him a lot.
Therefore I fear that Fizz will not be played during worlds simply because he has lost his early pressure. In theory his late game should be even stronger but I doubt that teams will take the risk of picking Fizz while there is that much on the line.
Kassadin and LeBlanc
Kassadin and LeBlanc have been dominating the competitive scene many times before until they fell out of meta in the last year. Both of them will profit somewhat from the increased amount of potential targets and especially in Kassadins case they will not be poked as hard in laning phase since poke champions like Varus have fallen out of favor. Both have received a Buff in patch 5.16. Kassadin's Riftwalk now scales with additional ability power while LeBlanc can move faster with her W.
In my opinion they are in a similar spot like Zed and will hardly be played. I predict they will return to the meta at some point but I think worlds are too early for them this year.
Recently Twisted Fate has started to become a more viable pick. His global pressure is very strong due to his Ultimate and the immense roaming potential it offers. He often offers a lot of map pressure simply by the fact that he could join a fight with his Ultimate even if he decides not to. TF is usually quite vulnerable in his own lane though and he can get ganked easily because he has no mobility in his kit.
I do expect Twisted Fate to be played in some games. He will probably sit in a similar spot like Viktor where he is picked every once in a while but he will not be the most contested pick of all mid laners.
Just like Ahri Orianna has not been as contested as she used to be but has never fallen out of the meta completely. She is still a very well rounded champion with a lot of wave clear, a decent laning phase, some pick potential and a game changing Ultimate if she hits the right targets. She can do decent against Assassins by poking them with her Orb while shielding herself if they try to go all in on her.
However her mobility is not that high and she will have trouble if multiple enemies dive her and her back line in a fight. I think that she will be played on a handful of games especially since she fits very well into protect compositions with her well scaling shield.
Last but not least there is Lissandra who a lot of people predict to come out strongly in this year's worlds. She has been buffed in Patch 5.16 and her Ultimate now heals herself if she uses it on herself. Lissandra has always done well against Assassins like Zed in the past and this buff should make her very strong in the current meta that is dominated by Bruisers and Assassins.
Due to her flexibility and her strength not only against Assassins but against Bruisers as well who she can kite around very effectively, Lissandra should be very strong heading into worlds. She can played in the Top Lane as well as in the Mid Lane and I believe that we will see her quite often. Furthermore I do not think that Lissandra will be banned very often because there are other priority Champions that teams want to remove from the game.
Tomorrow the series will continue with Part IV, where we will take a closer look at the Marksman role and how the meta shift is going to influence those Champions at worlds.