Thanks to League of Legends Patch 8.11, the LCK we’ve seen so far is different from the usual Korean games.
The arrival of League of Legends patch 8.11 has shaken up the entire League.
Critical Strike Chance-based AD Carries have been left out of the metagame, as the items they need have become more expensive and hitting their power spikes have become a lot more delayed. In addition to this, nerfs to marksmen, in general, have made them more susceptible to damage. Even worse, chances for lane sustain, such as the Keystone Rune Fleet Footwork, have become significantly weaker now.
As a result, we’re seeing a lot of experimentation now on champion selection. Certain marksmen remain viable. This includes Lucian, Ezreal, and Kai’Sa. However, the bottom lane has opened up to bruisers like Yasuo and Darius, as well as to Mages like Ryze, Mordekaiser, and Vladimir. Also, because of the viability of pairing two melee champions in the bottom lane, gold sharing has emerged once again, with both champions picking up Relic Shield and its upgrade, Targon’s Brace, to place vision across the map.
This has put professional bottom laners like Bae “Bang” Jun-sik or Kim “Deft” Hyu-kyu in a tough position. Both have played marksmen for the majority of their careers. They’re accustomed to being played around, protected, kiting enemy champions, and becoming the big late-game carry for their respective teams. Should Bang or Deft pick up a champion like Yasuo, their playstyle as it is would not be a good fit; they’ll go from kiting to being expected to making space by split pushing and being in the middle of team fights.
If there’s a bright side, it’s that the recent League of Legends patch went online only in June. This means that most players have not had much time to acclimate themselves to their new roles just yet.
More Skirmishing and Teamfighting
Overall, the game is still focused on snowballing early leads into victories. The only difference now is that skirmishing and teamfighting across the map are encouraged. This is most likely due to the changes in the jungle. In particular, the Rift Scuttler, which provides vision near the Baron Pit and/or the Dragon Pit, adds another objective for teams to secure and fight over.
In the early game, two Rift Scuttlers are found across the river, but after the pair of scuttlers are slain, only one spawns on either of the two locations. This makes junglers with faster clear times power picks, as they could get to the scuttlers first. But since this is a contested objective, junglers also need to contribute in skirmishes. This is why Graves and Olaf remain valuable picks in the current meta. To some extent, the same reasoning applies to both Nocturne and Xin Zhao as jungle picks as well.
Mids specializing in skirmishing and team fighting also have incredible value in the current meta. This includes picks such as Lulu and Karma. However, carries, like Irelia, Zoe, Leblanc, and Yasuo, remain valuable in their own rights. Also, because teams now are willing to roll out lineups with zero marksmen, team fighting is all the more important to secure objectives, such as the structures and Baron Nashor.
The Importance of Versatility
Picks and bans also look drastically different because of the recent League of Legends patch. There’s now an increased premium for versatile champions — champions that excel in two or more roles.
This is what led to Vladimir being such a high priority pick. The champion can go top, mid, or bottom lane in this patch, and can thrive regardless of the lane. Add his impeccable team fighting prowess due to its area-of-effect abilities, and Vladimir is a no-brainer. The same goes for Darius, who can bully enemies on the top side of the map and is still viable for the bottom lane if a counterpick is drafted. Teams can also shore up a bruiser’s weakness now by running the champion with a support in the bottom lane.
What the difference in drafting tells us is that while blue side usually gives powerpicks, red side is heavily favored as it allows teams to hide their picks, especially in a meta where there is one additional lane champions can possibly go to.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the meta change drastically as a result of a League of Legends patch. This is, however, the culmination of the last few patches. Rotations, lane assignments, role execution, as well as picks and bans, have become much more important these days than insplits’ or season’s past. In fact, during the very first game of the summer split, we saw a Taric-Master Yi composition.
All of these changes have added a new challenge for teams vying for the championship to overcome.
Personally, I welcome all of the changes. It allows for better strategic diversity, making drafts less boring and predictable. Of course, because the League of Legends patch is new, we still have a lot left to discover.
What do you think of the changes brought by League of Legends patch 8.11? Do you think we’ll see a major shift in 8.12? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.