The most recent League of Legends patches have brought the game juggernauts; big and beefy tanks who also boast high damage. The most controversial juggernaut is the new and improved Mordekaiser who rather than being played in Top, Middle, or Jungle is played as an AD Carry. This forces the topics of 1: Are melee carries viable and 2: Will they have a place in competitive League of Legends.
The first step to looking at the questions presented is to look at why Mordekaiser is being played as an AD Carry rather than a tank or mage. His entire presence bot lane is caused by his W (Harvester of Sorrows) and his ultimate. The passive of his W, which gives him full xp even if he’s sharing it with a support, is a blatantly broken ability that was Riot’s attempt to actually create a melee carry. However the rest of Mordekaiser’s kit just barely makes the cut. His Q is an exponentially powerful ability that can literally 3 shot champions, his passive lets him absorb most of the enemy team’s auto attack poke, his W forces him to have a teammate near, but allows him to heal, gain movespeed and deal high damage, and his E’s decent AD ratio gives fair wave clear. All of these factors combine are creating a currently strong champion boasting a 53% win rate. However many pros and solo queue players have realized the weakness in Mordekaiser and that revolves around his ultimate which has tipped him over the edge, and the counters to his passive.
Mordekaiser’s ultimate thematically feels epic. Summon the spirit of the dragon, and destroy your foes with it. But, what if you don’t get dragon? Then you lose a massive power point, and lose one of your ways to truly take over the game, and as the game grows longer and longer dragon becomes weaker and weaker. Now common conception is, “Well let’s just get early dragons, and GG.” However this feeds into the other weakness of Mordekaiser, his range. On release he was a very very powerful laner due to how new he was, but now many players have discovered the weakness of his shield vs. champions such as Lucian, Vayne, and Tristana who currently dominate the AD Carry tier lists. This has, and will continue to cause a fall in the play of Mordekaiser, who can just barely with a blatantly overpowered kit keep his head above water, and would drastically affect all other melee carries. So this begs the question: How, when a champion with shields, xp buffs, heals, and tons of damage can’t win lane, or hard carry, will any melee carry ever exist.
The standard meta is 1-J-1-2 this is played in every single competitive game, and is also the speed bump melee carries will never get over. First one needs to examine the point of every possition and lane.
Top: This is the farthest position from dragon which is the primary early objective. Therefore the long lane becomes an island that is home to tanks and bruisers who can withstand damage if they have to run and escape to tower. As a result a melee carry who scales with items instead of levels would get his, or her face pounded in before they could reach a power point. This is also a specific reason Mordekaiser cannot be used in lane swaps since he can not gain early dragon control. While melee carries in general would lose or go even if it turned into a 2v2 with the support roaming up to help his, or her top laner.
Jungle: A good jungler can simply gank a lane where the champions have to overextend into melee range to cs, and can control the zone of the map to not allow a melee carry to ever siege.
Middle: The mage role due to the short lane allowing squishy mages to lane safely until they can get to power points, and be able to handle themselves. However for a melee carry to actually achieve success they would have to handle the roam which is the same as a jungle gan, and be able to withstand/start dealing damage to a tower in a siege situation, and due to their range it is not physically possible causing a team with a melee carry to be inevitably behind on map control.
AD Carry and Support: This is where a melee carry should be laning unless their is a lane swap. The issue lies in the range of an AD Carry and Support which can bully a melee off and away from cs, which stops them from getting gold, and stops them from reaching power points since carries scale off gold, not levels. The other issue with bot lane is dragon control, and the lack of range to disengage properly and the lack of availability to away from initiations kills a melee.
Now let’s imagine somehow a melee got past the difficult laning and innate disadvantage of being a melee, and made it to the mid/late game. They would still have issues with teamfighting, while continuing the problems with sieging. In a teamfight the AD Carry’s role is to deal as much DPS as possible. This mainly means kiting tanks, or diving in to clean up a fight once they don’t have to worry about assassins or CC. Obviously this hurts the melee carry since he is in the frontline by nature being battered by the enemy AD Carry, and mages/assassins. Multiply this by the lack of damage brought by a champion forced to bring tank stats to the fray. Team fights would be literally impossible to win unless the enemies were potatos. This is the last line for melee carries, and unless a champion is realised who literally could click Q and 1 shot the entire enemy team was released melee carries will never truly be playable compared to a traditional ranged carry.