An Unfortunate Time To Be An ADC
Since the dawn of its competitive community, League of Legends has followed the same generic meta. No one really questioned if it was the best way to play the game. It just… happened. The idea of the meta had become so popular that Riot has made it an official part of the game’s core.
Unfortunately, recent patches have left one role as a major despairity compared to the others.
The solidified meta that has been taught to millions of players is simple and easy to follow. It has been broken down to such a science that people can often tell where new champions will lie, solely based on their abilities.
Top - Here, you will generally find tanky AD melee bruisers, with the occasional ranged AP mage. Almost every game leaves the fighters of the top lane battling it out for CS while the jungler focuses on helping out the rest of the map. Not much has changed in the top meta besides the champions that go up there.
Jungle - Despite the bountiful number of changes the jungle has seen in recent years, the relative meta has stayed the same. You always take at least one of your buffs and immediately look for an opportunity to make a play somewhere on the map, whether it be ganking a lane or counter-jungling your opponent. Some jungle champions have been pushed to the side thanks to how difficult the jungle camps have become, but they can still shine in the right hands.
Mid - Mid lane might be the only lane in the game where you can see every champion do well. In my time, I’ve seen the likes of Jarvan IV, Mundo, Riven, Master Yi and more solo-carry a game because they destroyed an Ahri or Lux. That being said, people still generally stick to the caster AP and AD characters that excel in controlling team fights or picking key targets.
ADC - Likely the worst off position in LoL history, AD Carries generally use ranged AD characters that deal massive damage at the cost of having little to no escape tools or mobility. Riot tried to get rid of the name “Attack Damage Carry” since it implied you had to “carry,” but the name stuck with the community. This position is one of the hardest to master as you have to have near perfect positioning in every fight or you risk getting one-shot by nearly every other role in the game.
Support - Usually the ADC’s best friend, the support does exactly as its name implies. Supports generally spend the beginning of the game buying wards so the rest of their team can see, while also building aura items and shields to keep the team alive and healthy. Their entire job during laning phase is to make sure the ADC lives long enough to scale into mid and late game, which is a lot harder nowadays than it was a few years back.
See? The meta is fairly simple to follow and leaves some breathing room for people to get creative and bring in their own little flair to their favorite role. However, what happens when a role just stops working all together?
At the beginning of the season seven preseason, Riot updated a large majority of the assassins, making tweaks to their abilities, or in some cases, giving them brand new ones. While this may seem like a great idea, it came with many repercussions.
Starting at around the middle of season six when the mages got their massive update, the role of ADC became more and more scary. You couldn’t step one place out of line without eating loads of CC or dying to a mage. Syndra became a dominant power over ADCs and forced them to play incredibly passive. Now, add the loads of assassins that got updated, and you can basically cancel out the ADC position as a whole.
It could be argued that the role of ADC has grown progressively worse as the seasons have gone by, as every other major role has had a rework in some way. You can say that ADCs had an update a while back, but it's hardly anything when you compare it to the scale of the assassin and mage updates.
So, with the position of ADC currently in such a bad state, what are people doing? What champions or style of play could people replace the role of ADC with? Control/Siege mages.
Over the past couple of days, we have seen a massive surge of Ziggs in the bot lane, as opposed to a typical carry like Caitlyn or Ezreal. What is even more interesting is that they don’t build AD, rather their normal AP build. Surprisingly enough, it works.
Riot has already responded and plans to nerf the likes of Ziggs in the bot lane in order to restore balance. The issue is, there is a lot more to the problem than Ziggs. A huge reason people were taking Ziggs and Yasuo into the bot lane in the first place was because traditional ADCs stood no chance against assassins or mages. ADCs have to play aggressive in order to maximize their damage output, but doing so is impossible when you face the risk of getting one-shot by everything in sight.
Not to mention, teams have access to other sources of AD damage, like bruisers or AD assassins, so losing the damage ADCs provide is manageable. It seems like the community has decided to change the meta for the betterment of the game, unless Riot has other plans up their sleeves to make ADCs relevant again. The role is not necessarily dead, but the likelihood of it being played every game like it has been over the past few years is slim.
Many professional and casual players alike have spoken out about the disfunction of the ADC position at this time. Some have even gone far enough to make memes saying that Ziggs and Azir are better ADCs than the more common champions we see today.
Only time will tell if ADCs get the update they have long awaited, or if they will be completely erased from the meta and replaced by mages or bruisers. It truly is an unfortunate time to be an ADC, especially when your very own role is being taken from you.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the ADC position? Let us know by tweeting us at @GAMURScom or by commenting below.
Photo credits: Riot Games