If there is any place on the map where individual mechanics take center stage, it is the mid lane. At the beginning of every game on Summoner’s Rift, the two mid lane players clash one on one for power and control. It is no surprise that the mid lane meta is the most wide open because every player has their own unique play style. Therefore, every summoner has their own champion pool. However, there will always be strong picks at different times due to nerfs, buffs, and changing strategies.
During the 2014 season, we saw several champions gain the spotlight in the mid lane, including Orianna, LeBlanc, Syndra, Twisted Fate, Xerath, Zilean, Lissandra, Zed, and Talon, to name just a select few. The 2015 season looks to be even more interesting, as the season 3 double AD carry composition seems to poke its head into the fray every once in a while. Below are some predictions that may or may not happen regarding this year’s mid lane.
Cassiopeia Becomes the Center of Attention
I received several questions about why I left Cassiopeia off my “Predicting the Meta: The 2015 Season Top Lane” article a few days back. The answer I gave Reddit is what I will stick to. Cassiopeia’s lack of mobility would make it more difficult for her in a longer lane. However, the mid lane is far shorter, and it gives her more safety against ganks and allows her to force the enemy to farm under tower much easier.
After her rework, Cassiopeia looks like a nightmare to deal with in the late game. Once a player reaches 500 stacks on her passive, Aspect of the Serpent, she basically receives the same ability power buff that a Rabadon’s Deathcap yields: 30% increased ability power. Cassiopeia might be one of the easiest champions to reach 1000 ability power on, and once you reach that and max out on Aspect of the Serpent stacks, your ultimate would hit for well over 1000 damage. Although Cassiopeia’s early game is not as strong, she can still push opponents out of lane fairly easily. Cassiopeia may be the scariest champion entering the mid lane in 2015.
Time for a True Display of Skill: Marksmen in the Mid Lane
In season 3, double AD carry compositions found their niche, but after a certain point, they dropped off completely. During the 2014 season, Team Curse mid laner Voyboy brought Tristana to the mid lane (although he claimed it was an accident), and they ended up winning a few games with it during the LCS season. By far, Ezreal has been the most popular mid lane marksman due to his heavy damage poke, magic damage skillset, and escape options. During IEM San Jose, Cloud 9 brought Corki to the mid lane, who delivers a similar kit to Ezreal.
I won’t be too bold and make claims for Caitlyn mid or Draven mid, but Ezreal, Corki, and Tristana all have the necessary skillsets to be played in the mid lane. Ezreal and Corki have survivability and massive poke to keep mid lane in their control. Anyway, 2 AD carries are better than one, right?
Assassins Gain Ground, and Xerath Falls Because of It
For part of spring and most of summer, Xerath was one of the top picks for the mid lane due to his ridiculous range, unending poke, and a lack of assassins in the meta. Although Xerath still remains a popular pick in poke compositions, Zed and Talon have since made a return to the mid lane meta (Zed more than Talon). I feel that Akali may receive a buff fairly soon. She snowballs very hard if gifted a few kills, but until she reaches level 6, she is extremely vulnerable to the point where several professional players won’t touch her (only Voyboy, Westrice, and Looper would). In the right composition and if played correctly, Akali has the potential to be a higher impact assassin than Zed in the future mid lane meta.
Vel’Koz Disintegrates the Mid Lane
If the assassin champions, such as Zed and Talon, receive further nerfs, immobile mid lane champions like Xerath will bring better results. Another champion with a similar kit, Vel’Koz would also benefit. Vel’Koz is one of the most immobile champions in the game, and his glass cannon structure does not fit in a meta where assassins rule. However, if assassins took a hit in favor of safer champions like Orianna and Xerath, Vel’Koz will fit right in (as long as you hit his skill shots). If Vel’Koz is allowed to position himself effectively, his ultimate, Life Form Disintegration Ray, is a game changer.
Time for Lux to Shine
For the past two splits, I look at the meta and think to myself, “This is Lux’s year.” Unfortunately, she has appeared less in professional play over the past two splits than Sion has been over the past two tournaments. This is due to nerfs made a long time ago to her ultimate’s cooldown and like many other burst mages, her lack of mobility. If assassins lose ground, then Lux may join the party. Despite the crowd control she provides a team, she is a liability herself when she misses her skill shots; therefore, there is no room for error when playing Lux. With some nerfs to other AP mages, Lux may find herself back in the mix.
Azir – Azir does not look like he is going anywhere. Unless Riot deals massive nerfs to Azir’s late game damage, he will continue to see play despite his difficulty to play.
Kassadin – Kassadin is still a very strong mid lane champion, who will see increased play if more burst mages return.
Galio – If several burst mages make their return, Galio will enter to counter.
Hecarim – Mid lane Hecarim could be an answer to an increase in assassins or melee champions entering the meta.
Heimerdinger – I just really want to see it.