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Dec 26, 2016

Which Champions are Strongest When Mastered? - December 2016

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Hey folks, welcome to the latest Strongest Champions When Mastered series. This time around, there are quite a few changes to the jungle scene as well both a support and marksman changes this patch, which is somewhat rare. Meanwhile, mid-lane still has a ton of honorable mentions, but I think a Leblanc and Katarina are clear stand-outs. 

Season 7 - Patch 6.24 Champion Gallery
"Strongest Champions When Mastered"

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

Introduction

Howdy folks, and welcome to the latest Strongest Champions When Mastered series. This time around, there are quite a few changes to the jungle scene as well both a support and marksman changes this patch, which is somewhat rare. Meanwhile, mid-lane still has a ton of honorable mentions, but I think a Leblanc and Katarina are clear stand-outs. 

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

Updates

  • Mid Lane: Cassiopeia, Zed replaced by Leblanc, Katarina
  • Top Lane: Kennen replaced by Camille
  • Jungle: Elise, Zac, Olaf replaced by Ivern, Shaco, Vi
  • Support: Braum replaced by Nami
  • Marksmen: Lucian replaced by Twitch

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

Leblanc [Damage/Outplay] New!: Leblanc fell off the list a while back prior to her rework. However, with her new kit, she is back on top of the mid lane pyramid for good. Her new mechanics allow her to be a fearsome combination of sustained and burst mage, giving her the best of both worlds. Her new clone also increases her outplay potential with the addition of a spell cast for extra illusion.

Katarina [Damage/Outplay] New!Similar to Leblanc, Katarina fell off prior to her rework but has quickly earned back her place as one of the most feared mid-laners on the rift. Her impossibly high damage potential allows for a myriad of outplay opportunities and can be extremely difficult to deal with if she gets ahead.

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Removed Champions

Cassiopeia [Damage/Utility]: Cassiopeia players have mechanics that make marksman mains jealous. Her extremely fast casting speed allows her to kite 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. However, the reworked assassins are much stronger, and as a result I'm moving her to Honorable Mentions.

Zed [Damage/Outplay]Zed is still quite a strong 1v1 champion in the hands of good players. However, his abilities are lackluster compared to some of the newly reworked champions. During team fights, he now has trouble deleting the backline against effective peel. As a result, he is also being moved 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.

Ryze [Damage/Utility]: Some people still consider Ryze better as a top laner. However, after 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.

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.

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Honorable Mentions: Anivia, Brand, Cassiopeia, Ekko, Fizz, Lux, Orianna, Twisted Fate, Veigar. Viktor, Yasuo, Zed

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

Camille [Damage/Outplay] New!Camille currently sports one of, if not THE most overloaded kits in League of Legends. The newest champion on the rift is an absurd assortment of various passive mechanics and outplay abilities. As a result, she can snowball through any game even in the hands of a newer player, thus earnings her a place in the ranks of the strongest top laners around. More on Camille here.

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Removed Champions

Kennen [Damage/Utility]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. However, after the Protobelt nerfs and introduction of Courage of the Colossus, he's a bit weaker than before.

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Returning Champions

Jayce [Damage]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 hyper carry.

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 lane bully 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

Ivern [Utility] New!Ivern is one of the newer champions on the rift, and found his way as a niche jungler. His support spells allow him to keep his allies safe from harm on a short cooldowns, and his counter-jungling abilities are second to none. As a result, a good Ivern can completely control the map, allowing his teammates to take objectives hidden from enemy sight via his bush creation spell.

Shaco [Damage/Outplay] New!Shaco was always a very sneaky jungler, and the latest changes he received in the assassin rework only made him stronger. His objective control and team-fighting abilities were greatly amplified via his box changes, and as an AP assassin he is easily relevant through the late game without the need to build both tank and damage simultaneously.

Vi [Damage/Utility] New!: Vi is one of those champions that continuously pops on and off of the list. Her powerful burst damage and single target crowd control allows her to maul dangerous targets with ease. However, this time around she's also packing Courage of the Colossus, allowing for more outplay potential than before.

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Removed Champions

Elise [Damage/Utility]!: 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. However, she's being moved down to Honorable Mentions as she's strong, but not broken right now.

Olaf [Damage/Utility]: After the introduction of Colossus to the scene, Olaf is comparably weaker than before. Although he is still viable, I wouldn't say he's one of the strongest junglers right now.

Zac [Damage/Utility]: 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. For the most part I'd say he is still very good against teams that cannot stop his Elastic Slingshot. However, he is otherwise too easily countered by most defensive utility spells nowadays.

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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.

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Honorable Mentions: Elise, Gragas, Kha'Zix, Nidalee, Rengar, Zac

Strongest Supports



New Champion

Nami [Utility] New!: In the current meta where Redemption and Locket of the Iron Solari are incredibly powerful, Nami makes good use of the shield and heal increase as a sustain support. However, more importantly, her ultimate can quickly stop Jhin's ult, one of the most popular champions on the rift right now. She also synergizes incredibly well with champions like Caitlyn and Jhin to ensure the double crowd-control via her bubble.

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Removed Champion

Braum [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 onto 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. However, the current meta bot lane is a very defensive oriented long-range meta. As a result, Braum can no longer snowball as easily as when Lucian and Kalista were in the meta.

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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.

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).

Zyra [Damage/Utility]: 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.

Honorable Mentions:  Alistar, Bard, Braum, Karma, Sona, Soraka

Strongest Marksmen (AD Carries)



New Champion

Twitch [Damage] New!: Twitch is an absolute monster right now, and the changes to control wards/pink wards allows him to be a complete nuisance on the rift. His burst damage allows him to absolutely destroy any other marksman if he pops out from his invisibility, and his lack of true skillshots prevents him from actually getting outplayed. Lastly, proper positioning puts his team fight power through the roof, resulting in the highest potential burst damage of any marksman.

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Removed Champion

Lucian [Damage/Outplay]Ever since the changes to Youmuu's and repeated Lucian nerfs, he is no longer the powerhouse he used to be and currently reserved for true diehard Lucian fans. We'll see how he places after the buff hits, but in his current state Lucian is lackluster.

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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.

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

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

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