Occassionally, League of Legends sees trends that gain so much popularity that they start dominating the pro scene, like the recent gold funneling strat that we’ve seen pretty much every team run these past few weeks.
The gold funneling strat is pretty much what the name suggests. It’s all about funneling gold to one single champion, and in the current state of the meta, it’s arguably the most effective strategy to run of them all.
The Gold Funneling Strat in a Nutshell
So, what’s gold funneling all about? Simply put, a single player in the team gets far more gold than they’d normally get at the expense of their teammates. This involves taking gold which would have otherwise gone over to another teammate.
A simple example of gold funneling is the average bot lane. The support stays to the side so that the carry can last hit all the minions and take all the gold for themselves. This allows the carry to reach their items quickly, at the expense of the support, who doesn’t get much gold. The support, in turn, has to rely on low cost builds and gold income items, compensating for their lack of raw damage with utility, shields or crowd control.
This dynamic works great, and is something which nearly all League players are familiar with. Well, this is exactly what the funneling strategy looks like. However, instead of the botlane, we see this happening in the jungle these days.
Basically, what happens is that a single player consumes all of the resources available in the lane, and as many of the jungle camps as possible. Having all the lane minions along with the jungle camps means that the player gets much stronger than the competition a lot faster.
Consuming all those resources not only means more gold for that particular player, but also makes that player level up faster than the average laner. This allows them to snowball out of control, and to start dealing more damage than what’d generally be considered normal. The strategy has few counters, and is fairly reliable, which is why it’s sending shockwaves all over the Rift.
Where It All Started
A lot of people are under the impression that the gold funneling meta is central to Season 8. However, this isn’t true in the slightest. We’ve had gold funneling for years, only that it was hidden in the dark confines of the Twisted Treeline. This strategy wasn’t so difficult to pull off in that map. And since the basic gameplay is different to Summoner’s Rift, no one really thought about giving it a shot there.
In the Twisted Treeline, one laner would pair up with a support champion that would help them with their clears. The jungle could easily be dominated, and the both of them could easily push the lane. It was inevitable that the champion would snowball, and start winning the match for their team.
Some smart people saw the potential of such a strategy, and started applying it to the Rift. At first, it looked slightly different from what it is now. The gold funneling would be carried out, but not as extensively. The first signs of gold funneling on Summoner’s Rift may have started showing sometime during Season 7, during which it was called the Chinese boosting strategy.
The Chinese Boosting Strategy
This boosting strat was comprised of a Kayle in the top lane that rushed Ardent Censor, with a Master Yi in the jungle. The Yi would power farm in the jungle, and also gank the top lane repeatedly. Along with any kills he got, he would also take all of Kayle’s available farm. Kayle has all the tools to make a gank successful, even before the duo hit level 6. She has a heal and a long range slow built into her kit. She can also dish out large amounts of damage to whittle down opponents from afar.
Keeping in mind the Ardent Censor meta, we have to appreciate the amount of damage Yi could pull off utilizing Kayle’s heal along with his own ult and E. It granted him nearly unlimited attack speed, which was enough to melt tanks and squishies alike. To top it all off, Kayle’s ult meant that Yi could easily turret dive opponents in order to secure kills.
Once the Yi was ahead, he could run into opponents 1v2, or even 1v3, and still come out on top due to Kayle’s ult.
The Current Gold Funneling Strategy
The current rise of the gold funneling meta is pretty much a long time coming. The changes to the Rift Scuttler only helped the case for it, especially because of how easily the game could swing towards the team that got all the Scuttlers due to how valuable they were.
One way of dealing with this was to play early game junglers in order to contest the Scuttlers. Another was to get the midlaner to do whatever necessary to help their jungler out with the inconvenience of having to face an early game jungler. This is where gold funneling started to really take off. Players soon realized that the midlaner accompanying their jungler meant easily dominating the jungle. Midlaners started taking smite for easy contests.
From here on out, we saw a full blown midlane gold funneling meta, where the jungler is, in essence, a glorified support, and the midlaner is the actual jungler.
Why Is Gold Funneling So Damn Effective?
We’ve seen plenty of duos that make sense and are abnormally overpowered. Their combination is unstoppable, and no matter how strong the enemy jungler is during the early game, there’s just no way for them to deal with two champions at once.
Another thing to consider is that the champion to last hit jungle monsters is the one to receive all the gold and experience. This pushes the carrying champion over the edge, and allows them to reach power spikes much earlier than expected.
Nunu and Karthus
Nunu has insane clear speeds, which helps Karthus greatly in the Jungle. With the help of Blue Buffs, Karthus can easily spam Qs in order to push the wave and get back to jungle farming. Due to those accelerated clear speeds, Karthus ends up reaching level 6 much faster than anyone else in the game. With the help of Nunu’s Blood Boil, Karthus deals unholy amounts of damage with his clear and ult. With an ult that can wipe away half of an enemy’s health points, there really isn’t much competition left.
Taric and Master Yi
This one is pretty similar to the Kayle and Yi combo. The gold funneling is relatively easy since Yi has a great clear on his own. With the added Taric stuns, shields and heals, Yi becomes almost twice as fast. Utilizing jungle buffs means he can easily clear the lane with his kit, and get back to farming. Once he hits level 6, he becomes an unstoppable bulldozer who can’t be stopped since he reaches his power spike much faster than the opponents.
Taric’s ult is always useful during teamfights, and when they protect an overpowered Yi from dying, victory is pretty much guaranteed.
Xayah and Rakan
This iconic duo used to belong in the bot lane. However, they’ve had plenty of success with the jungle too. With Rakan following Xayah, she really doesn’t need to fear having to face enemy junglers due to Rakan’s crowd control and her damage. While this one is a little difficult to pull off, it ensures that the team has a strong marksman champion for teamfights and quick picks. Plus, Xayah has a great clear, which means she can easily push out the mid lane and head for the jungle again.
Perhaps the most overpowered aspect of gold funneling is that the enemy jungler cannot keep up with the funneling carry. The funneling duo can easily invade after pushing out their lane, and the enemy mid laner needs to choose between farming or helping their jungler. Both choices could end up in a loss, and this puts the enemy team through quite the ordeal.
Is Gold Funneling Sustainable?
There’s nothing more impressive than a midlaner that has an equal amount of farm to their enemy who’s adopted the funneling strat. This has happened plenty of times during pro play, and the funneling team loses heavily every time this happens. This goes to show that the strategy is not invincible, and can be deterred.
However, solo queue players have a much harder time dealing with it due to a lack of coordination. It’s been shown to be overpowered, even to the point where a streamer started inting because he had gold funnelers on his team. It’s telling that a player thought the strategy was so unfair that he lost the game on purpose.
However, Riot have indicated that they want the gold funneling strategy to be nerfed in order to make it less viable. This doesn’t mean it’ll be nerfed to the ground, but it does make sure that players won’t be able to abuse it without the fear of defeat.
Playstyles which evolve organically are one of the best aspects of League of Legends. They truly show that the player base is out and about, looking for creative ways to win. They keep the game fresh and interesting. Gold funneling is just another one of those playstyles. The Riot balancing team just needs to make sure that a certain playstyle doesn’t become so overpowered that everything else is worthless (just like ADCs in 2018). I
n short, gold funneling is a fascinating concept to observe and carry out in practice. It hasn’t had an impact so large on the game as to break it, but it is viable enough that we can see it staying popular for the next few patches.
What do you think about the funneling strategy? Do you think it’s OP? Do you think it’ll last in the meta, or will it disappear soon? Let us know in the comments below!