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Jul 23, 2013

July: Chatting About the Solo Queue Tier List

There's been a lot of back and forth on the solo queue tier list lately, which I love! I'm not saying I'm always correct, which is why hearing feedback from you guys is definitely a strong component that moves the tier list day by day.

The tier list is evolving...

So this post is made to address some of the current "scandalous" champions that you guys think are *outrageously* high or pitifully low on the tier list and some Work In Progress (WIP) thoughts on movements.

Post in the comment section if I've missed anything~

Your Demands (Will update to keep in mind)
Move Up: Kha'Zix, Lissandra, Syndra, Ryze, Quinn, Swain, Karma, Rengar, Support Fiddlesticks, Fizz, Shen
Move Down: Wukong, Malzahar, Warwick
Add: Jungle Aatrox, Mid Soraka, Top Nunu, Gangplank Support, Swain Top

Building a tier list takes time. There are over 100 champions to order, and at the rate that champions and meta changes, it'll likely never be 100% accurate. Plus, arguing for your favorite champion is half the fun of tier lists!

I could always make a list purely based off of popularity, but then readers would always be behind the curve on the hidden secret OP champions.

Possible Ordering Methods
The way I see it, building a Tier List can be done through 4 ways:

  • Win Rates
  • Pick/Ban Rates
  • Theorycrafting
  • Observational Bias
Since any one of them alone is boring, my list is comprised of all 4 combined, with a heavy weighting towards solo queue win rates. Some of you have brought up that win rates are highly subjective, which I'm not sure what that means -  

Surely observational bias is more subjective than quantifying win rates over thousands of games no? For those of you wondering, yes, I do use LolKing's database whenever I refer to winrates and pick/ban rates. (They're awesome).

Comments on Unusual Champion Choices
Personally, whenever I read a tier list, it's never the FOTM champions that I find interesting, it's always the non-FOTM ones that strike me as "new-and exiciting" and encourage me to try something unique out. Of course I'm always hoping that my little secret that will someday snowball into an upset victory at a major tournament so I could say "you heard it here first!"

Rammus - Homeguard boots + Mobility + Powerball + Teleport = Massive ganking speed unrivaled by any other champion.

Jungle Malzahar - Insane ganking power and ranged red buff compensated by a vulnerable early jungle.

Top Lane Kayle - Before Rincent posted his build, who knew that Kayle beat EVERYONE? 

Tier 2 and Tier 3 Champions
You'll sometimes see formerly popular champions drop into Tier 2 or Tier 3...everyone knows that they're strong, nobody wants to go toe-to-toe with them, and nothing they do catches people off guard. The element of surprise is definitely a strong factor in winning, especially in solo queue where players get cocky against non-FOTM champions.

They're viable, but nothing special anymore. *balanced* does not mean weak.


FOTM Champions
Meanwhile, I know that I've dropped some popular champions like Lissandra, Syndra, Rengar, and Alistar into Tier 4. I've seen people say:
"You want a tier list? just look at the FOTM champions, those are Tier 1" 
I'm not that lazy.

Even though everyone thinks they're strong and they look strong on paper, considering how much they're played, they should really win over 50% of the time if they're actually strong champions...and they're not even *close* to that, and are instead competing with Olaf to see who can lose more.

I never shy away from a good argument, and in fact I enjoy it. I might be a little too busy to respond sometimes due to the sheer volume, but I try to do as much as I can and let you guys chat among yourselves on the rest. Just remember, keep it classy and have fun!

- SSJSuntastic, platinum scrub

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  1. Tom OwensJuly 24, 2013

    So who do you think is secret OP right now? Wukong is pretty much out there as super strong, who do you think will be next? At the minute I'm thinking Vayne... her terrible early game is not so terrible any more after all the indirect buffs, and her late game is still godlike.

  2. Condemn nerf in PBE as we speak. Riot's nerf senses were tingling... :D

  3. I'm still curious to see how to play Wukong properly. I bet those "Wukong too high" complainers and myself just have no idea. I'd take ANY excuse to use him again. In the top lane which is my hometown...

    As for the others, Fizz is pretty good, I agree. Top Nunu is garbage. Mid Soraka doesn't have hard CC or enough burst, and no movement abilities too, so a gank is likely to burn a flash. And Gangplank support, seriously? I don't see utility in his skills. Maybe a slow from the ult but you might as well use Zyra or Leona instead...

  4. Win % is always something I find hard to use as a gauge. Good people on a strong champ will destroy, bad people see good people use champ, use that champ themselves constantly and lose. % goes down even when the champ is strong.

    % very hard to use and so is picks and bans for similar reasons.

  5. As someone who thoroughly enjoys Wukong, I say he fits right in at god tier. I myself am pretty bad at the game. But I can tell you that almost every single game that I play Wukong, I will do terrible. I'll give first blood, I'll lose my tower really quickly, I'll mega feed the top laner, and my team will bitch at me to no end about this. And then suddenly at the end of the game I'll look up and my score is 8-5-20. Wukong is just a really good champion. With strong attacks that give him strong harass capability, strong mobility from all of his, Nimbus Strike, his Decoy, and his ult, that make him very slippery and hard to chase down, and an ult that will ensure the win in a team fight, especially if paired with champions like Nami or Zyra, he's just overall an extremely strong pick.

  6. But if you are really stomped all the time top with wukong, your ult will do no damage and only knock back. For this porpose i think malphite would be a way better pick than wukong

  7. SuavePuppyJuly 24, 2013

    I agree that Fizz may need some reconsidering, considering his power in solo queue and the lack of communication required to lock him down.
    However, Wukong is right where he should be. His trades are great, especially after 6. With his armor shred and dash, his ult makes it impossible to escape without being taken very low, and because he speeds up during the ult, the damage keeps coming. By that time, he can almost use his other abilities again, and if he has ignite, you're dead. By the time you get back to lane, he's ahead and almost able to ult again, and you'll continue losing trade after trade. Its exactly how it used to be laning Riven. One early kill and the ult comes up often enough to push that advantage.
    On another note, it would be cool to see Swain top on the list, he's a bit of a bully.
    I Also think that Shen is pretty balanced for solo queue, although his presence in a team is unmatched. Its just hard to find a good one in solo queue, there are better/easier picks for top lane right now.

  8. falcolinkJuly 24, 2013

    Tierlist mean nothing.
    The ability of the player mean a lot .
    That last patch with blitz I I've found you can destroy nunu pulling buffs ()fro

  9. Well SSJ's tier list is solo queue, and Shen isn't optimal when your teammates aren't normally on the same page as you.

  10. Wu OP? Even Lee can see this statement as untrue.

  11. I've played Top Kayle since S1, it's always been good

  12. WindAerisJuly 26, 2013

    You overrate win rate, that's all.

    Karma is good mid. She can 100-0 better than any other utility mage. Why is her win rate low? God is she the worst support ever.

  13. SuavePuppyJuly 26, 2013

    That's what I was getting at. People want him moved up but in my opinion he's balanced in 2nd tier because its solo queue. He's clearly a great champion and top competitive choice, but like you said, he's more about communication

  14. notencoreJuly 30, 2013

    Thresh is already high tier, but with his changes in 3.10 he's going to go above god tier. Building pure AD and letting your Flay build damage while getting free AP and Armor is going to be amazing.

  15. While true, good people use weaker or niche champs and the same thing happens or they'll see a game where a less strong champ dominates and emulate. Emulation is global so it is still fair to me, too this dialogue doesn't seem to create accurately the whole picture. And while no one can truly divine what is going on, I think just like how you raise rank if you're a good player over enough iterations, so does a champions win rate stand out over enough iterations. The one caveat I have is that win rates between different levels of play will differ however lolking stats provide this info as well for consideration and the surprising thing is in most cases the win rates are grossly similar between tiers of play with few notable outliers.


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