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Oct 31, 2016

Which Champions are Strongest When Mastered? - November 2016

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Hi everyone and welcome back to the newly updated Strongest Champions When Mastered List, which focuses in on champions that are strongest once you know the ins and outs of what they are capable of.

This list features quite a few chnges, which may come as no surprise to you after the latest world championship. After seeing some of the greatest players in the world perform, we were treated to unexpectedly dominant performances from champions that were all but left for dead. No Miss Fortune on this list though...

Season 6 - Patch 6.21 Champion Gallery
"Strongest Champions When Mastered"

This List has been updated, and new versions are available via this link

Introduction

Hi everyone and welcome back to the newly updated Strongest Champions When Mastered List, which focuses in on champions that are strongest once you know the ins and outs of what they are capable of.

This list features quite a few changes, which may come as no surprise to you after the latest world championship. After seeing some of the greatest players in the world perform, we were treated to unexpectedly dominant performances from champions that were all but left for dead. No Miss Fortune on this list though...

Check out the full list below, or if you're more interested in the FOTM picks, check out the FOTM Tier List too!

Updates

  • Mid Lane: Leblanc, Yasuo replaced by Cassiopeia, Ryze
  • Top Lane: Gangplank, Irelia replaced by Jayce, Kennen. Poppy, Rumble added to honorable mentions.
  • Jungle: Gragas, Vi replaced by Elise, Olaf
  • Support: Alistar replaced by Zyra
  • Marksmen: No changes

Purpose

Winning in solo queue is a complex affair. There are so many variables involved outside of player control such as lag, that consistency plays a massive part in climbing the ranks. Some champions excel in outplaying other champions, while others rely on brute force or special skills to win.

However, in an ideal situation with teammates who select champions that reasonably synergize with you, which champions offer the most bang for their buck when mastered?

What Makes a Champion "Strong"? 

Damage based champions rely mostly on sheer damage, usually via skill shots to overpower their enemies;

Utility based champions do something unique and game-changing, creating situations that are extremely beneficial to their own team or create detrimental effects for the enemy team that they cannot ignore.

Outplay based champions make the enemy miss skills that would otherwise definitely hit, mitigating large amounts of potential damage.

Although some champions may overlap, the criterion laid out above is used and we will omit the following criterion that we use for solo queue
  1. Ease of play; 
  2. Synergy with popular champions; and
  3. A good margin of error.

Strongest Mid Laners


New Champions

Ryze [Damage/Utility] New!: Some people still consider Ryze better as a top laner. However, after Faker's performances on the world stage with Ryze, it is difficult to argue about how effective Ryze can potentially be in the right hands. Although he is highly combo reliant and requires good cooldown management, a powerful Ryze can absolutely dominate his lane. Additionally, the utility on Ryze's teleportation ultimate allows him a myriad of flexible options on positioning his team for maximum devastation.

Cassiopeia [Damage/Utility] New!: Cassiopeia players have mechanics that make some marksman mains jealous. Her extremely fast casting speed allows her to kite very hard in the hands of the elite. This means an extremely high potential for outplaying enemy teams while dishing massive damage. The utility on her ultimate is also exceedingly good, but only effective if you land it well.

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Removed Champions

Leblanc [Damage/Utility]: Leblanc is by no means a weak champion in her current state, but simply cannot carry without getting some kills early to mid game as a result of her poor scaling. In a stomp Leblanc snowballs very hard, and can delete squishy champions from outrageous distances. However, to get to that state generally requires playing against less skilled opponents, in which case you will likely stomp regardless.

Yasuo [Damage/Utility]: Yasuo's ability to outplay has always been extraordinarily high with his excellent mobility, passive, and of course, his famous windwall. He synergizes very well with meta champions like Zac, but at the very highest level he begins to suffer as a glass cannon mid-laner, and is probably better located up top. As a result, we have moved him to honorable mentions.

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Returning Veterans

Ahri [Damage/Utility/Outplay]: Ahri's power remains a staple in every mid-laner's repertoire. Renowned for her ability to dodge and outplay with her ultimate, she combines those with her damage potential and CC from her kit to result in a flashy, yet effective burst mage. Late game, her cooldowns are also short enough to smoothly transition into a sustained damage dealer that can easily tango with late game marksmen.

Syndra [Damage/Utility]: Syndra's 1v1 potential is extremely powerful as a result of her single target ultimate. However, her AOE damage is where she truly shines. A champion that has no diminishing returns on her AOE, her potential is limitless. Meanwhile, her Scatter the Weak provides an extremely large amount of utility via the knockback and is capable of completely negating a large number of movement-based attacks like Alistar's Headbutt or Akali's Shadow Dance. Deleting enemies from the field after negating their dash attack is one easy way to show dominance.

Zed [Damage/Outplay]: A master of shadows, Zed's burst damage was greatly augmented by Duskblade of Draktharr, resulting in essentially a double Zed ult. Combined with Thunderlord's Decree, Zed dishes out some obnoxiously high burst damage. He's also able to quickly jump in and out of team fights to take down targets, and good Zeds will also be able to deal excellent sustained damage at high speed via Youmuu's Ghostblade.
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Honorable Mentions: Anivia, Brand, Ekko, Fizz, Katarina, Leblanc, Lux, Orianna, Twisted Fate, Veigar. Viktor, Yasuo

These champions often have the ability to dominate solo queue by themselves. However, their damage output is currently not quite as strong as others are in their pool in the current patch. I would keep them tight on the radar though, as they are strong contenders in their own right.

Strongest Top Laners


New Champions

Jayce [Damage] New!: Jayce in his current state is a raw power type of champion. He has some minor utility, but otherwise its really his combo and poke damage that allows him to dominate the rift. Ever since changing him to a somewhat higher risk champion, Jayce is now capable of dueling down more enemies in lane than ever before, transforming him from a simple ranged lane bully to a powerful snowballing hypercarry.

Kennen [Damage/Utility] New!Where Jayce specializes in single-target deletion, Kennen specializes in complete team annihilation. Combined with the oh-so-powerful Hextech Protobelt, Kennen is capable of quickly diving into teams from long range with his speed boost and flash, resulting in insane 1v5 engage followed by some clean-up from his teammates.

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Removed Champions

Irelia [Damage/Outplay]Irelia has both incredible burst damage and excellent sustained damage, two things that should never be allowed on someone this tanky. With good match-up knowledge, she can beat nearly anyone 1v1. However, she is somewhat more prone to being kited, and as a result, we moved her to the honorable mentions.

Gangplank [Damage/Utility]Gangplank is one of those champions that keeps falling off the list and then coming back on. His barrel mini-game separates average Gangplanks from truly good Gangplanks. However, it is really his abilities to dominate a lane while simultaneously safely farming and impacting the map that put him head and shoulders above the rest. His ability to secure double kills bot lane without using his teleport really allows him to snowball games in ways that other top laners cannot. The current meta-game is very reliant on winning lane. This means that as a split-pushing teamfight champion, he scales up a bit slow compared to other top laners.

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Returning Champions

Yasuo [Damage/Utility]Yasuo with a Phantom Dancer and Frozen Mallet is currently one of the strongest builds available in the game. By building these two items, Yasuo ends up as an incredibly durable sustained damage champion that is impossible to escape. When you combine this with his amazingly high utility wind wall, you end up with one of the strongest top laners in the game.

Riven [Damage/Utility]Riven has a TON of quirky mechanics that most players never discover, but a fully mastered Riven player can dish out some ridiculous plays and obnoxiously high damage. As a Riven player, her best defense is a good offense. This allows her to survive many situations that would kill almost any other champion while netting kills in the process.

Gnar [Damage/Utility]When it comes to the professional scene, few champions receive as much attention as Gnar, and for good reason. He is an extremely safe laner as a ranged champion, and in his melee form his ultimate can be game-changing with the right follow up. By grouping enemies in a clump, AOE mages like Syndra can truly show how powerful they can potentially be.

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Honorable Mentions: Gangplank, Ekko, Irelia, Rumble, Ryze, Poppy

Jungle


New Champions

Elise [Damage/Utility] New!: Elise remains a very strong pick in today's meta because of her strong early game and overall utility. She has the ability to snowball games very quickly via her powerful ganks, but is reliant on hitting her stun to be successful. Late game, she can convert to a tanky build via Rylais for continued effect, and also build Protobelt for longer range engagement and burst damage.

Olaf [Damage/Utility] New!: I never thought I would see the day when Olaf made it onto this list. Nevertheless, credit must be given where credit is due. In a meta where the strongest marksmen have no gap closers, the strongest supports are crowd-control based, and speed-jungling is king, Olaf reigns supreme.

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Removed Champions

Vi [Damage/Utility]: Vi is still a great champion to play in solo queue, but as several readers mentioned, she is not exactly a "strongest when mastered" type of champion. However, she remains an incredibly strong ganker and late game dive champion.

Gragas [Damage/Utility]: An extremely mobile pick, Gragas has evolved through several forms as a jungler. In his latest form, Gragas works as a ganking jungler, and can dish out quite a bit of CC and damage. His burst isn't quite as high as it used to be, but his ultimate can still change a teamfight around just as quickly by repositioning entire teams. In his current state, he clears the jungle a bit too slow to be effective at high level play.

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Returning Champions

Hecarim [Damage/Utility]Hecarim is a champion that comes and goes, but often stays for very long periods when he gets here. A jungler that can gank from warded areas successfully via his insane movement speed, Hecarim is near impossible to avoid. The latest Trinity Force changes were a massive boon to his overall damage and allows him to build tank while dishing a boatload of pain to enemy champions. Lastly, a well-placed Hecarim ultimate can absolutely turn the tide of a battle, especially since he can quickly isolate a single champion while dealing AOE damage to the rest right after ulting.

Lee Sin [Damage/Utility]: A Lee Sin that cannot land his Q or perform smooth ward jumps is hardly a Lee Sin at all. There are hardly any Lee Sins at all. However, a well-executed 5-man knock-up via Lee Sin kicking their marksman through the entire team is 100% game changing. A good Lee Sin can snowball the game from start to finish. Games are lasting shorter than ever and tracker's knife providing free wards to jump to, making Lee very strong now.

Zac [Damage/Utility]Zac's current status as one of the best junglers in the game revolves around his insanely healthy jungle clears combined with his obnoxiously long ganking range. To give you and idea of how far he can jump, it is possible to jump from dragon pit to blue side golems via his Elastic Slingshot. In a meta full of immobile marksmen, Zac's ability to gank outside of ward range is extremely valuable and results in either a kill or summoners burned the majority of the time.

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Honorable Mentions: Gragas, Kha'Zix, Nidalee, Rengar, Shaco

Strongest Supports


New Champions

Zyra [Damage/Utility] New!: Zyra's success is mostly a result of the current meta. When it comes to being a lane bully, there are few champions that do it better, and safer, than Zyra. Her burst damage with her plants is extremely high, and generally, does not need her to even land her Q spell as a result of the Thunderlord proc via a few plant hits for good harass. Meanwhile, her damage output with just a Liandries Torment often lands her on the top of the damage graph, which is a bit absurd for a support with as much utility as she has.

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Removed Champion

Alistar [Outplay]: Mess with this bull and you get the horns. Strong engagement and diving power are further enunciated by the fact that his headbutt pulverize is now an easy mechanic for most players. The major issue he's facing however, is that player reaction times are getting much faster. This means that dodging the headbutt (and thus the pulverize) is now commonplace, resulting in a less effective champion at the highest levels.

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Returning Veterans:

Blitzcrank [Utility]: Where Janna and Thresh keep teams ahead of the game, Blitzcrank has the ability to take away leads from even careful enemy teams. With his hook, he has the ability to create advantageous team fights without needing to get close enough to the rest of the enemy team. This, combined with his speed boost makes it so that he can get the job done.

Braum [Damage/Utility]Riot is continuously changing spells from targetted spells to skillshots with animations instead. As a champion that can instantly redirect targetted spells from squishies into his powerful shield block, Braum's save potential is through the roof. When combined with his early game cheese via his passive, a good Braum can snowball a game from support with ease.

Janna [Utility]: Janna is close to being indisputably the best support in the game in terms of sheer utility that she provides by herself. Through both her tornado and her monsoon (ultimate), Janna has the ability to block a massive number of champion "jump" attacks mid-air, including but not limited to the following:

Lee Sin, Akali, Kha'zix, Tristana, Corki, Lucian, Jarvan, Ahri, Fizz, Pantheon, Shen, Wukong, Xin Zhao, Vi, Fiora, Amumu...the list goes on and on. Check out this link for a full list!

Not only that, but she provides nearby teammates the ability to simply be faster than enemy champions whether it is for running away or for chasing down. This combined with the ability for her shield to deny death and give an insanely strong damage buff cements her as a top tier support.

Thresh [Utility]: Where Janna is the queen of preventing plays from happening, Thresh is the offensive version and king of making plays happen. His lantern and hook make him essentially the best support initiation in the game, as he can bring a friend with him during his initiation as a free gap closer. Additionally, all the champions listed above that Janna can block Thresh can also block with his flay (although with a shorter range/window of opportunity).
mid

Honorable Mentions:  Alistar, Bard, Nami, Sona, Soraka

Strongest Marksmen (AD Carries)


No changes to the strongest when mastered this time around, but in the current meta Jinx and Ashe are extremely good. However, a fully mastered Ezreal or Vayne can still dominate games much harder.

Returning Champions:

Caitlyn [Utility]: The premier lane bully, Caitlyn works very well in the hands of a good marksman. As a high ranged champion, Caitlyn is extremely safe to play, especially for players that understand spacing.

Meanwhile, her traps can be placed in quick succession, allowing for extremely effective one-man (girl) zoning potential for her entire team during sieges. Although her damage isn't anything terribly noteworthy, her abilities to kite and zone are what make her a top-notch marksman at the moment.

Ezreal [Damage/Utility]: Technically speaking, if you were to hit every one of his Qs on enemy champions every time it came off CD except when they flashed or otherwise dodged it on purpose, Ezreal would be the most broken AD carry in the game, bar none. Luckily, most people seem to hit around 20%, if that.

Jhin [Damage/Utility]: The newest marksman on the rift started off with mixed reviews, but soon became not only one of the most fun champions on the rift, but also one of the most respected as well. As a champion that relies on traps and massive skill shot reliance to crush his opponents, strong Jhin players can quickly overwhelm enemies, whereas poor Jhin players will need to rely on some luck.

Lucian [Damage/Outplay]Lucian's early game trades are insanely strong, especially since he synergizes well with the Fervor changes. As a mana hungry champion with a large number of spells required to maximize his damage, Essence Reaver allows him to snowball through the game, even when he's using tons of mana offensively. Good Lucian players will use their E both defensively and offensively at the same time, allowing him to outplay many skill shot based champions.

Vayne [Damage/Outplay]: In a world full of powerful tanks and skill shot-based champions, Vayne is the one soldier to take them all head-on. Although very difficult to master, her sheer potential is high enough to make her one of the strongest ADCs on the rift now. Better yet, she does not require as many crazy requirements as some other marksmen to reach her full potential (who can really hit every Ezreal Q anyway?

Honorable Mentions: Ashe, Draven, Jinx, Sivir, Twitch

Thoughts on other champions who should have made the list? Comment below!

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