There have been some really entertaining games during the 2018 League of Legends World Championship Play-in Stage so far, highlighted by Cloud9’s impossible comeback against DetonatioN and the slugfest between Kaos Latin Gamers and G-Rex.
Despite all that entertainment at the hands of the players, however, the champions have been anything but. The meta so far has been extremely vanilla during play-ins, with every game featuring a mix of Urgots, Alistars, Kai’Sas, and more. There’s an odd Yasuo in there, and even a Taliyah jungle once in a while, but for the most part, it’s been predictable.
This isn’t a terribly uncommon issue with the play-ins each year. The meta that’s set during the regional gauntlet in each region tends to extend into the play-ins, even though there’s usually a patch or two in between each set of games. That’s simply because the pros don’t have much else to go on, and theorycrafting doesn’t work terribly well if you don’t have evidence to work with.
Usually, the first meta shift at Worlds happens after the Play-in Stage at the beginning of groups. That’s because the teams in the Group Stage do have evidence to support their theorycrafting—they can let play-ins teams succeed and fail with champions to decide what does and doesn’t work for their own stage.
Just because it’s normal, though, doesn’t mean that this meta isn’t boring. Urgot is banned or picked, Aatrox is banned or picked, and the bot lane is full of play-making supports, Varus, and Kai’Sa. Lots of Kai’Sa. Thresh has been picked a couple of times, which is different than the gauntlet meta, however, so there’s that. Hopefully, for the viewers’ sakes, the meta shifts a little bit before the end of the week.
We should be counting our lucky stars, however, because there hasn’t been a single Janna picked so far. There’s always a silver lining.