Summoner’s Rift is a place of constant change. Every new patch brings something different to the table, offering new item builds and shifts to current champion picks or bans. Keeping on top of all of them will help you know which teams to place your LoL bets on.
The LCS gives us an insight into who the strongest champions are, while also demonstrating why we should be playing them. Although patch 7.3 has focused on tweaks to competitive play, it has brought certain champions and classes to the forefront of the meta. So who are the strongest champions in this year’s LCS?
Ivern: the Green Father
Ivern has been hugely popular across the world of League of Legends pro play, especially in the European LCS. In week three he was the most picked jungler, and was banned in every other game where he wasn't picked. Ivern’sa very uniquejungler who brings a tremendous amount of utility and support to his team.
He has excellent CC with Rootcaller, which makes him extremely dangerous to invade, while his clear speed is extremely efficient thanks to his passive Friend of the Forest. Once Ivern hits level five he leaves behind blue and red saplings after clearing the blue and red camps. These saplings can only be taken by Ivern’s teammates, so there is no way they can be stolen.
Week three of the EU LCS showed how effective Ivern could be when Misfits took on Fnatic. In game two Lee “KaKAO” Byung-kwon managed to secure a lead for Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage when he gave his mid-laner double buffs in just nine minutes of play. PowerOfEvil then used his buff advantage to quickly kill Rasmus “Caps” Winther’s Katarina and started snowballing an early lead for Misfits.
In the current meta, Ivern is the only jungler who can afford to give away buffs this early into the game without severely hampering his own effectiveness. Ivern can also prioritize cooldown reduction items like Redemption and Athene’s thanks to his strong clear, which allows the Green Father to constantly spam his spells to help support his teammates. He can effectively shield incoming damage with Triggerseed and even stealthily take objectives with Brushmaker. Ivern may lack damage, but he makes up for it with the utility he brings to every team.
Ryze: the Rogue Mage
Ryze has been a hotly contested pick throughout this year’s LCS thanks to his game-changing ultimate, Realm Warp. This ultimate is absolutely devastating in pro play where communication and positioning are key. Realm Warp allows Ryze to open a portal around him, and upon successfully completing the channel, he and all his allies within the portal blink to a targeted location. There are so many ways this ultimate can be utilized and we’ve seen some devastating examples of it in the NA and EU LCS.
Rasmus “Caps” Winther used Ryze’s ultimate to outplay GIANTS! Gaming mid-laner NighT, while Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg impressively teleported his allies into Team Liquid’s base and ended the game for TSM. Being able to transport your entire team anywhere within 3000 range offers a huge amount of objective control and map pressure. Because of this, Ryze can quickly rotate lanes to help secure a kill for a fellow teammate, quickly take a turret, or even sneak Baron.
His high AP burst damage and lockdown with Rune Prison also make him an excellent anti-carry champion who can instantly shut down any major threat on the enemy team. The potential the blue mage has within pro play is tremendous and we can expect to see more mind-bending Ryze plays in the future.
Camille: the Steel Shadow
Camille has attracted plenty of competitive bansworldwide, and has been a common ban during the drafting phase of the LCS. However, during week two of the Spring Split, Echo Fox surprised everyone by picking Camille support in their first match against FlyQuest. It was shrugged off as an accident by the casters, but things soon became clear when Echo Fox went 3-0 before the ten-minute mark. Austin “Gate” Yu effortlessly showcased just how potent the Steel Shadow can be, and gave us an insight as to why she is a top ban in the LCS.
We saw a glimpse of Camille’s early game power when Echo Fox invaded FlyQuest’s top jungle at level one. FlyQuest’s Hai "Hai" Du Lam retreated on Orianna and it looked as though he would escape, but Camille’s excellent mobility with Hookshot/Wall dive and flash allowed Gate to close the gap and take down Hai for First Blood. Seven minutes later, FlyQuest’s bottom lane would crumble to the Steel Shadows might when Daerek “LemonNation” Hart was caught out of position as he tried to push the lane with Malzahar support.
Gate quickly capitalized on this with Tactical Sweep, which allowed fellow AD carry Yuri “Keith” Jew to stun LemonNation with Jhin’s Deadly Flourish. Gate then followed up with a wall dive to stop the FlyQuest bot-lane from escaping and Echo Fox quickly cleaned up the kills. The pros in the LCS have proved that Camille’s kit is super strong and she has the ability crush her opponents like no other champion.
Varus: the Arrow of Retribution
The bot-lanemeta has seen a rise in supports packing absurd amounts of damage, with Zyra and Malzahar being very popular picks. These two supports generally just 1v2 the lane while the AD carry provides utility and added damage. AD carry role has taken a backseat in the current meta and support mages are very strong at the moment, so LCS teams are relying on their supports to deal a lot of the damage in bot-lane.
Games are considerably shorter now and in pro Play you can't put your faith into a late game team anymore, which is why we’re seeing such a heavy emphasis on utility AD carries like Varus.
Varus is an excellent example of an AD carry that brings tremendous poke and utility to the table. His Chain of Corruption gives him tremendous lockdown and utility in team fights, while his Piercing Arrow has amazing poke potential that can go through tanks and hit the backline for a good amount of damage. Apollo "Apollo" Price showed an excellent example of how deadly Varus can be when Team EnVyUs faced Team Liquid in their first match of week three.
Apollo used Piercing Arrow instantly chunk a huge amount of damage off of AD carry Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin in a mid-lane team fight. He then quickly got in range to deliver the lockdown from Chain of Corruption, which allowed his team to collapse on the retreating Team Liquid without being poked down from Piglet’s Jhin. The excellent utility and damage Varus brings to the Rift makes him one of the strongest AD carries on the Rift.
Bet your bottom Unikoin that James knows his esports. Hailing from the British Isles, making sense of the scraps on Summoner's Rift is his specialty. Find him on Twitter @JamesBusby64
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