The best SoloQ picks: an in-depth analysis of classic and unorthodox picks
Have you ever wondered which are the best SoloQ picks or why they are so good? Then this analysis should enlighten you and increase your chances in winning matches, racking in that precious LP.
As everyone knows, League of Legends is divided into 5 lane specific roles: Top, Jungle, Mid, Marksman and Support. Each role has champions that mesh in with SoloQ play style and thus they make your game easier. These champions often have big win-rates and little pick-rates and ban-rates. Sometimes you need to surprise your enemies with a champion that isn’t commonly played so that you can win.
If you have ever thought about playing something else, then you shall find this guide useful in finding some other champions to add to your pool.
In case you are wondering, yes there is a tl;dr on the last page.
Top Lane Champions
At the moment, the champions who have a great chance at winning while playing top lane are Wukong, Galio, Fiora and Tryndamere.
Wukong and Galio are both great split-pushers, making good use of teleport, but they are bound to succeed in team-fights because of their ultimate abilities which disable multiple opponents while dealing massive amounts of damage. These two champions are good in SoloQ because every team needs an initiator and this is just what these two bring in a team-composition. After a good ultimate the rest of the team follows and just run down their enemies.
Fiora and Tryndamere are probably the best split-pushers in the game. Their laning phase is really strong because of their skill-kits and high base stats allowing them to snowball from any little mistake their opponents make. Because of their mobility and sustain, these two can escape ganks or take on multiple enemies for a prolonged amount of time, just enough for the rest of the team to take advantage of the situation and secure an objective.
Mobility and sustain aren’t the only factors allowing Fiora and Tryndamere to split-push effectively. Their Attack Damage steroids increase the damage they deal to towers as well as minions, meaning that they will take down minion waves and turrets very easily.
The best SoloQ junglers at this time are Nunu, Shaco, Nidalee and Amumu.
Nunu and Amumu are team-focused champions. Nunu has decent ganking potential and good team-fighting, but is extremely good at securing objectives for his team, often killing the drake before minute 6. Amumu has way better ganks than Nunu and better team-fighting, but lacks his objective securing abilities. Even though he doesn’t have a good way of securing objectives, all he needs is to pull off a successful gank and the objective is his.
What makes them so good in team-fights is their utility to their team. Nunu has his slows, attack-speed and movement-speed steroid and an AoE ultimate, while Amumu has a lot of crowd control.
Shaco and Nidalee are two junglers who like to gank the opposing jungler while farming. The two excel at clearing a camp really fast and then running to their opponent’s buff and killing them there.
The two are good at more than killing the enemy jungler over and over, they can also pull off high damage ganks or prepare the battlefield before a fight starts. Nidalee can chunk the whole enemy team by throwing a few spears, while Shaco can put up a few boxes and thus make his enemies stop in their tracks.
Another thing both of them are great at is split-pushing. By split-pushing they can attract attention to them just as well as Fiora and Tryndamere. Their mobility makes them almost impossible to catch and kill.
Mid Lane champions
Right now the best mid-laners you can play are Annie, Heimerdinger, Malzahar and Talon.
Annie and Talon are two very potent assassins, the only differences between them being Annie’s lack of mobility and Talon’s lack of ranged AoE assassination.
Annie is a great mid-lane pick because of the fact that she can farm very safely with her Disintegrate while she can apply pressure to the enemy when her stun is ready. Even though she doesn’t have any mobility, her stun allows her to get out of a dangerous situation without taking a considerable amount of damage. Her passive works wonders with her AoE spells, often she can win teamfights on her own by chaining her passive with her ultimate and the rest of her abilities.
Talon is a great assassin who has a great time roaming the map and killing people wherever he finds them. Because of his Rake ability he can push his lane fast and start looking for careless enemies. The slow and damage amplification on his Cutthroat ability merge greatly with Mercy, his passive. When Cutthroat is maxed out, he receives 15% damage amplification from it and then another 10% from his passive. When he chains these abilities he can deal around a thousand damage while having no items. He also has a good teamfight presence. Because of his fast burst, he can pop an enemy carry really fast while his enemies take collateral damage from his AoE abilities.
Heimerdinger and Malzahar are champions who like to keep the lane pushed and take down the enemy tower fast, while the defender is stuck under it. Both of them have good ways of escaping ganks, even though they don’t have any mobility. Heimerdinger’s grenade is enough to slow his enemies down while he is strutting away from danger. Malzahar’s silence is really long and if landed correctly can make the difference between a living void prophet and a dead one.
Besides the fact that both of them are great at pushing, they are also good at poking and teamfighting. Heimerdinger’s rockets deal a big amount of damage if all of them land and Malzahar’s Malefic Visions are enough to take down a squishy to half HP while Call of the Void takes down another chunk of the target’s health.
In teamfights, Heimerdinger is one of the most versatile champions as he can play whichever role he needs to. By upgrading his turret he can be a consistent damage source, he can become a burst mage by upgrading his rockets and he can become a disabler by upgrading his grenade. Malzahar on the other hand isn’t a very versatile champion in teamfights. All he must do is apply Malefic Visions to a target, place his Null Zone in a choke point and try to silence as many enemies as possible. His ultimate is to be used if he gets to an important target or if he needs to use it to disable an enemy while the rest of the team takes care of the fight.
Having only 18 marksman champions, it is pretty hard to find champions with low pick-rates and high win-rates, the best SoloQ marksmen right now are Ashe, Sivir, Jinx and Miss Fortune.
Ashe and Sivir aren’t champions who are defined by their high damage ability kits, but they are the best utility based marksmen. As I said earlier, in SoloQ there is a constant need for an initiator. Ashe and Sivir are both marksmen who can cause a teamfight to happen when they want to by pressing a button.
Ashe’s ultimate, Enchanted Crystal Arrow, is a great initiation tool, having a stun of 1 to 3.5 seconds and slowing everyone around the area of impact by a considerable amount. Stunning an important target can cause that target to die and then most objectives become free.
Sivir’s ultimate, On the Hunt, is almost as good as Ashe’s ultimate, it’s only downside is that you rely on your team-mates to continue the initiation with the movement speed you gave them.
Besides initiation tools, the two marksmen also have good ways to stay alive, each of them having something to ruin the enemy’s plan to kill them. Ashe’s slow is rather big and Sivir’s Spell Shield is great at mitigating a lot of damage or crowd control.
Sivir also has great means to wave clear by using her Boomerang Blade and Ricochet. These two skills allow Sivir’s team to either push to the enemy towers, turtle under their own tower or deal damage to more than one champion.
Jinx and Miss Fortune are marksmen who have a very good lane phase which can translate to an excellent mid-game and late-game.
Jinx is one of the marksmen with most damage in her kit, her Zap! ability having good damage ratio and base damage. Switcheroo! is Jinx’ bread and butter ability. This makes range change and also makes her deal damage to more enemies at the same time. The fact that her attack speed increases each time she uses her minigun to put holes in her enemies is a great thing, each time she attacks, her damage per second increases. Super Mega Death Rocket! is Jinx’ ultimate and even though it was nerfed, it can still deal a lot of damage if it flies enough.
The fact that Jinx’ attack speed increases each time she hits is great for taking down towers too. Jinx can take advantage of this by using her high damage output to send her lane opponents back to base and while they move back to lane she can destroy the tower and get back to safety because of her passive, Get Excited!.
During teamfights, Jinx is able to keep herself safe by using Flame Chompers! to stop her enemies in their way to kill her.
Jinx is very dangerous in teamfights because of her ultimate and her rocket launcher. The fact that she has a very long range, deals splash damage and can reposition after each kill or assist is a big factor in what makes her a good SoloQ marksman.
Miss Fortune is a huge lane bully. If positioned correctly, her Double Up can deal a lot of damage to the enemy marksman and force them under tower while Miss Fortune farms freely.
Her Impure Shots is great at taking down towers and killing a single target because of the damage stacking and attack speed steroid.
Miss Fortune is another marksman who can look after herself because of Make It Rain’s slow. While in the beginning it doesn’t deal too much damage nor slow a lot, when maxed out it slows for 65% which is enough for Miss Fortune to use her Strut to run away.
During teamfights, Miss Fortune’s positioning is the most important factor. If she can use Bullet Time fully, the fight is almost won.
The best supports of this patch are Janna, Soraka, Nautilus and Sona.
Soraka and Sona are two supports who can be played as either poke support or sustain support. Their heals are very big if maxed and thus allow you and your marksman to sit in lane for an extended period of time. Sustain supports are best played against poke compositions. Your heals allow you to outsustain the enemy poke simply because of mana costs and spell effects. Soraka’s Astral Infusion, when maxed out, heals for a minimum of 240 with a base cooldown of 2 seconds. This means that you can fully heal a team-mate before they get hit again.
Her passive, Salvation, makes her great at arriving at a fight’s location and start helping people right away.
Sona’s Aria of Perseverance is best used while fighting because of the shield it applies on a friendly target and the damage reduction Power Chord applies on the enemy hit. 20% damage reduction is half the amount Exhaust reduces.
As I said before, Sona and Soraka can be played as poke supports aswell.
Even though when people see Sona or Soraka they firstly think of heals, they can deal a lot of damage. Soraka’s Starcall can deal a maximum base damage of 345 with a 5 second base cooldown while also slowing for 50%. Her Equinox, besides silencing and rooting the enemies can also deal a maximum base damage of 460 with a 16 second base cooldown. This is a rather big cooldown, but the spell is almost never used as poke as it is Soraka’s only means of peeling for her team.
Sona is almost always played as a poke support because of the obscene amount of damage her Hymn of Valor deals in combination with Power Chord.
Hymn of Valor has a maximum base damage of 200 with a 8 second base cooldown and also gives all allied champions a base on-hit bonus damage of 100 for 3 seconds.
In combination with Power Chord, her whole poke combo can deal 630 base damage. This is pretty big for a support who provides such great utility with her auras.
Sona’s and Soraka’s ultimate abilities are extremely helpful to their team. Sona’s Crescendo is a very good way of starting a teamfight in which enemies begin as stunned for 1.5 seconds.
Soraka’s Wish is like having a Guardian Angel on all team members, that if the enemy team has a lot of area of effect abilities and Soraka’s team mates are all under 40% HP.
Janna is one of the best peeling supports in the game. She has a lot of crowd control abilities which stop enemies trying to hurt the team. Her knock up, knock back and slow help the team disengage fights or keep enemies in fights they cannot win.
Her passive, Tailwind, allows her team to either fall back fast or to follow her fast self closer to the fleeing enemy team.
Janna’s shield, Eye of the Storm, is very strong early on, giving her friendlies a base shield of 240 and 50 bonus attack damage when maxed out. This is especially helpful for marksmen in laning phase skirmishes when the side dealing most damage can snowball that advantage in a good creep score lead or a map objective.
The ultimate, Monsoon, isn’t only a great way to disengage, but it also heals friendlies for a big amount, 600 maximum base healing when the skill has 3 points assigned.
At the moment, Nautilus is probably the best initiating support in the game. His Dredge Line and Staggering Blow combo is keeping the enemy next to him for at least 1.5 seconds. In combination with Riptide he also slows the enemy for 50% when at max points.
Titan’s Wrath makes Nautilus be a great tank in the late game, giving him a shield of 85 + 17% max health, shield which lasts for 10 seconds.
Depth Charge is one of the most dangerous crowd control abilities in the game. The fact that it’s targeted and it knocks up everyone in it’s way makes Nautilus able to knock up every enemy champion. On top of that, the skill also stuns the targeted enemy for 2 seconds when maxed.
These are my opinions about the best SoloQ picks this patch. If you’ve read everything and didn’t skip to the “Too long; didn’t read”, I salute you. :)
Too long; didn’t read: Look up champions with high win-rates and low pick-rates, but do not play only those. Many people do not know how to play against champions with low pick-rates and they can be very useful. There are a lot of champions that no one plays, but are very strong in solo play and can very often take the win.
Credit to Welterz for using his role specific pictures and Riot Games for using their picture and logo. The opinions are based on my game experience and knowledge, stats are taken from leagueoflegends.wikia.com and win/pick/ban-rates are taken from champion.gg.