League of Legends esports enjoyed a record-breaking Mid-Season Invitational this month that reached the highest viewership number in the tournament’s history. Despite the increasing interest in the competition, though, some fans were not happy about the event’s meta.
On May 22, the day after the 2023 MSI finals, a Reddit user shared a post claiming that Yuumi’s lack of presence made MSI “truly enjoyable” and their viewer experience improved as a result.
While many agreed with the user, there were also some people complaining about the bot lane meta and its stale state. And according to one fan on Reddit, it felt like it was “one of the least varied meta in a very long time.” They even said this “killed a lot of the enjoyment” for them.
The bot lane has been a hot topic in the pro play meta, given its rising importance over the past few months. With the increasing presence of hyper-carries like Aphelios and Jinx, teams have often just had these two picks in their comps with little to no alternatives. Both champions produced a 75 percent presence rate at MSI 2023 with more than 40 games played on each pick, according to League stats site Games of Legends.
Zeri and Xayah were considered one tier below and were usually picked only if Aphelios or Jinx were banned: Their presence rates were both below 50 percent, according to Games of Legends. Lucian was supposed to be another strong pick, but he was banned in most cases (40 bans in total at MSI, according to Games of Legends).
Another user tried to explain why they think Aphelios and Jinx warped the meta: “ADC is inherently the least varied role in pro play because the champions in the class vary the least in terms of what they offer to the team, which is physical ranged damage. It usually just boils down to the question of whether they are in the best state to provide that damage or if it is better off coming from other parts of the map.” Based on this consideration, they suggested there should be at most five optimal ADC picks in every meta.
While this is partially true, the MSI 2023 meta was quite particular compared to previous metas that offered multiple carries in different roles. At this tournament, ADCs were the only way you could get consistent DPS and there were almost no secondary carries, aside from a few extreme cases: BLG Bin’s Gwen in game two of the MSI finals, for example, dealt 24.4 percent of his team’s damage compared to Elk’s 22.2 percent, according to Games of Legends.
Most champions in other roles, including the mid lane, had the specific goal of bringing utility and crowd control to lock down the biggest enemy threat but with little to no damage. Whenever this occurs, having a hyper-carry ADC is essential to make up for the low damage output coming from other players.
Now that MSI is over, we should be seeing a major meta shift due to the midseason Patch 13.10. The item changes, alongside the system changes, are likely going to lead to a completely different meta—to the joy of some viewers.