It’s been very hard to assess the meta in the pre-season for League due to the lack of tournaments on the pre-season patches. While IEM Cologne and the 5v5 matches at All Stars have shown some of the new powerful picks, the first week in the Chinese, Korean and LCS regions are the first time teams have been able to develop strategies around the new changes to the game.
The nerfs to Blade of the Ruined King, Last Whisper and smaller incremental buffs to Dr. Mundo have made Tanks a lot more effective. It only takes one tank to be strong for a tank meta to emerge, as teams find ways to counter and work around the strong tanks. The difference with this patch is that picks such as Fiora and possibly Jax might be strong enough to out split push Mundo. However, the increased gold income makes tank junglers and supports are much stronger, meaning that two low-econ tanks are sufficient enough to tank entire teams. In particular, Rek’sai who on previous patches built tanky but didn’t really have much damage reduction in her kit has become a better primary tank than on previous patches.
Carry Junglers Enter the Fray
The introduction of Kindred and changes to Graves have added an appreciated depth to the jungle pool. Carry junglers have existed throughout previous patches but they have been mostly bruisers such as Khazix and Rengar. Last season junglers that wanted to hard carry the game had very limited options as junglers such as Chaser, Rush and Spirit resorted to Nidalee for extra carry potential. It was therefore very difficult for star junglers to convert their carry potential into results. Now, Kindred and Graves provide an extra layer of depth to compositions as teams can have more carry threats in their compositions.
Changes to the towers, minions and wards have left very few strategies to effectively win games. Teams have placed more emphasis on taking turrets due to games ending earlier, which reduces the incentive to play dragon-centric compositions. The games in Korea have typically involved lane swapping to trade top and bottom towers, then grouping middle until someone breaks the middle outer tower. This therefore has encouraged teams to use double AD carry compositions. What’s interesting about double AD compositions this time is that teams have a lot more freedom on where to put the second AD carry due to the introduction of Kindred and Graves in the jungle. This frees up the types of picks that can be used the mid and top lane without committing to a full AD composition. Long-Zhu, EDG, Ahq, H2K and G2 are amongst some that have won with different combinations of double AD compositions, with ROX Tigers and Jin Air both winning with triple AD compositions. KT Rolster have alternatively have found success with a very season 5 style, aiming to give Ssumday a splitpush advantage. What all these strategies have in common is that they all prioritise keeping the lanes pushed and breaking towers above anything else.