27 January 2017 - 15:34
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LCK Weeks 1-2 Picks: The Good, The Banned and The Broken

A look at some of the surprisingly good and surprisingly bad picks for the first two weeks of the LCK.
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After a short second week, the LCK will be on a break for the next week to celebrate the Lunar New Year. With the top teams in the league already looking dominant, let's see what champions are doing the same.

Must Bans

Rengar/Camille/LeBlanc

Unfortunately, there isn't much to say about these three picks, as they all share a 100 percent pick/ban rate, as well as a 100 percent win rate. Rengar has seen the most play out of these three, with only five games. One thing to take away is that 89 out of the 94 bans these three have received have been from red side. With blue side holding a slight edge of winning, 20/34 (59 percent) of games played, red side is essentially locked into these bans, which seems to be making an impact.

With these champions taking up 100 percent of the red side's first three bans in week two, the trend seems to be continuing. Until changes are made, the only way I could see these champions being given more play is if red side decides to trade one of these picks. If red side bans out their least desired of the three for their first ban, but then bans something different for their second ban, it could force blue side to have to use a ban on one of the champions, or be forced into first picking it. I could see this as a viable strategy due to red side essentially receiving one of these untouchable champions, as well as the pick of the litter on the remaining power picks.

Best Win Rates

Champions with the highest win rates with at least six games played.

Kha'Zix

Banned: 9/34 (26 percent)

Wins: 14/19 (74 percent)

KDA: 5.29

With only six games where he wasn't contested (five of which were in the first week), Kha'Zix is taking over the jungle in Korea. With a 6-1 record in week two, Korean teams have definitely realized the strength of this pick. With the current strength of the jungle in general, most teams are sending a tank into the top lane, allowing for balanced compositions around a carry jungler. With Olaf being the next closest jungler in win rate, at three wins and one loss to Kha'Zix, we'll have to see if teams are able to put together compositions that don't allow Kha'Zix to get rolling, because once he is, there's no stopping him.

Maokai

Banned: 13/34 (38 percent)

Wins: 13/20 (65 percent)

KDA: 4.01

Across the world, Maokai has been the undisputed king of the top lane. We've seen teams come up with some interesting picks to attempt to take down the tree, such as Kennen from Afreeca Freecs, but with a 65 percent win rate, I don't think we're going to see teams drop any priority on this champion, unless some very hard counters show up to play.

Orianna

Banned: 5/34 (15 percent)

Wins: 6/9 (67 percent)

KDA: 3.44

It's no surprise that Orianna has yet again found herself as a top tier champion. The overall kit of the champion is very flexible to the point where it's hard to find a team comp that she doesn't fit into. With very high single target damage teams being put together, Orianna's ability to keep teammates safe while still delivering exceptional damage is a priceless feature. I'd say Orianna is in a very good, but not too good, spot right now. We'll likely see her continue to be a default mid lane pick, as she has been for years.

Taliyah

Banned: 9/24 (38 percent)

Wins: 5/6 (83 percent)

KDA: 5.85

When the nerfs to Rylai's Crystal Scepter were announced, many thought Taliyah would be left behind. With a buff to the damage on her Threaded Volley in the same patch, Taliyah has had no problem keeping up with the top meta picks. Taliyah's excellent wave-clear, combined with her semi-global ultimate, allow her to be a very safe pick, but still one that can show some heavy impact early on. With only three teams having picked the champion thus far, I think it's a pick that will be showing up in many more drafts come week three.

Zyra

Banned: 19/34 (56 percent)

Wins: 10/15 (67 percent)

KDA: 2.86

With picks such as Ashe and Varus controlling the ADC role, Zyra fits in just perfectly. Her heavy early game damage and crowd control more than makes up for any weak laning phase some of these champions may have. The second week of play showed a 100 percent pick/ban rate for Zyra, with five bans, and wins in all three games she was available. Along with Taliyah and Kha'Zix in this category, Zyra will continue to be one of the most contested picks after the first ban phase in the next week of play.

Over-prioritized

Champions with the lowest win rates with at least six games played.

Kennen

Banned: 4/34 (12 percent)

Wins: 1/6 (17 percent)

KDA: 1.00

When Afreeca Freecs busted out the Kennen pick against Samsung Galaxy, it was quite the statement game for Jang "MaRin" Gyeong-hwan for his first game back in Korea. With a heavy attack speed/on-hit build, an early advantage snowballed MaRin into an unstoppable split-pusher, who even successfully 1v2'd a Ryze/Maokai in the late game. However, that first Kennen game of the split is where the success has ended. The very next game we saw MaRin in the same matchup, only this time, he fell behind early. Without an early advantage, it took too long for MaRin to be able to reach the items needed to become a threatening duelist. While we've seen this pick as one of the few answers provided to Maokai, I think teams need to take some time to ensure their team comp will guarantee an advantage before picking up Kennen again.

Lee Sin

Banned: 7/34 (21 percent)

Wins: 2/13 (15 percent)

KDA: 1.79

After going 0-11 in the first week, I was quite surprised that teams still wanted anything to do with him. That being said, the two wins he received were in some pretty one-sided matches from the second week of play. It's very rare that you can say Lee Sin is a "bad" pick, but with the way current games have been played, Lee Sin doesn't provide the type of damage teams need from their jungler in the early game. While it is a comfort pick for most junglers, I hope we see teams looking deeper into the jungle pool instead of falling back to Lee Sin when it simply hasn't been working.

Tahm Kench

Banned: 5/34 (15 percent)

Wins: 1/7 (14 percent)

KDA: 1.37

While Tahm Kench is a logical choice to help protect against things such as Kha'Zix and Malzahar, his laning phase is currently unable to stand up to the top tier supports. Tahm Kench's early game is heavily out-pressured by these high damage ranged supports we're seeing, allowing for teams to prey on the bottom lane to gain their advantage. We've seen successful games from Zilean, Nami and Karma that can still do a decent job of saving their carry, but have a much more bearable laning phase. I hate to say it, but it looks like it's time to bench the Kench.

Special Mention: Ziggs

While Ziggs only has five games played, with four losses, I think it's time we see this champion out of the bottom lane. The only win was with SKT's Bae "Bang" Jun-sik grabbing him, and with their current form, SKT is certainly no indication of whether or not a pick is viable. With only one pick in the second week, I think this fad may have passed.

Under-prioritized

Champions with high win rates, but low pick/ban rates. While they all have a very small sample size, I think we could see these picks rise in priority.

Katarina

Banned: 2/34 (6 percent)

Wins: 3/4 (75 percent)

KDA: 3.91

With the whole assassin update, Katarina received one of the more interesting reworks. Her new kit shows very high potential, but quite the difficulty with execution. I think many would enjoy if this pick began to get some more love, as the excitement of watching Kat successfully tip-toe in and out with such precision is unmatched. Luckily, we've seen Faker put on a couple of shows with Katarina so far, so teams with weaker mid laners will likely need to ban this champion and open up some of the near perma-banned power picks.

Olaf

Banned: 4/34 (12 percent)

Wins: 3/4 (75 percent)

KDA: 4.50

While teams are falling back on the old guard of junglers that is Lee Sin, Elise and Rek'Sai, Olaf seems to be almost forgotten. Olaf has potential for some pretty potent early game ganks, often able to force enemies to flash simply by ghosting into the lane. While Olaf doesn't fulfill that heavy damage role a lot of teams are getting from their jungler, his ability to brute force ganks so well is often able to give teams the advantage they may need to deal with the likes of Kha'Zix. Despite Olaf's only loss being to Kha'Zix, I think the matchup is one of the more bearable ones if teams are going to let Kha'Zix through bans.

Singed

Banned: 2/34 (6 percent)

Wins: 3/5 (60 percent)

KDA: 2.81

A pick I certainly did not expect to see in competitive play was Singed. However, Singed currently holds a 2-1 record over Maokai and has proven to be quite viable in the top lane. Singed is able to pressure the Maokai pretty heavily in lane, while also not being that much worse in team-fights. While Singed is primarily thought of as a split-pushing champion, he has a very useful kit for being disruptive in team-fights, and zoning the enemy carries while surviving for a very long time. I'd like to see more teams take a look at Singed the next time a team picks up an early Maokai.


That wraps up my overview of LCK weeks one and two picks. What champions do you want to see played in Korea? Let me know @calvinbwitt and follow @GAMURScom for more League of Legends content.

Photo credits: Riot Games

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