For the entire Spring Split of both the NA and EU LCS, the ADC meta was extremely off-balance. Varus, Jhin, and Ashe were uncontested in their domination of Summoner’s Rift this year, being played 544 times while all other marksman champions combined only clocked in at 306 games, according to Stage.gg, a stats website for professional League of Legends.
Ashe has been played consistently since 2015, and she’s actually been the most-picked marksman since then—but Jhin and Varus only became as popular as Ashe this year. Their sudden rise in popularity was largely due to the fact that the armor penetration system was reworked at the end of last season, introducing the Lethality meta this year, which both Varus and Jhin benefitted from more than any other ADC—mainly due to Lethality items allowing ADCs to build cheap, early damage that ignored the small amount of natural armor squishy champions gained by leveling, making their long-range burst even more potent.
The lethality meta didn’t last, however, and following its buff in Patch 7.5, Blade of the Ruined King (BotRK) quickly became the flavor of the month for ADCs. Lethality wasn’t nerfed, so you’d assume that this would only broaden the meta for both attack speed marksmen and lethality marksmen, but it didn’t work out that way. BotRK was so strong that lethality fell out of the spotlight, and the meta shifted to only champions that use it. Jhin fell out of professional play quickly, and Ezreal took his place, which solved nothing. Not to mention Lucian quickly rising through the ranks of solo queue to absolutely pub-stomp the competition. He never picked up regularly in the LCS, however, because of his short-ranged attacks and lack of utility.
A fair solution needs to be reached before the LCS Summer Split. Perhaps that solution could be found in a small nerf to the BotRK or a cost increase, because if lethality was buffed again, we’d be right back to the original problem.