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May 4, 2015

Which Champions are Strongest When Mastered? - May 2015

As per popular demand, we're back with another update to the "Strongest Champions When Mastered" series. This series has been tentatively slow to update, as it was originally not supposed to be influenced by temporarily overpowered champions, but instead highlight champions that consistently rewarded high mastery.

Season 5 - Patch 5.8 Champion Gallery
"Strongest Champions When Mastered "


As per popular demand, we're back with another update to the "Strongest Champions When Mastered" series. This series has been tentatively slow to update, as it was originally not supposed to be influenced by temporarily overpowered champions, but instead highlight champions that consistently rewarded high mastery.

However, Riot's proven that their game is amazingly balanced in a way that a few simple tweaks to items are enough to shift the entire meta to a point where even some of the "strongest" champions fall prey to the newer talent on the field.


  • Mid lane - Morgana replaced by *Anivia*
  • Junglers - Lee Sin, Shaco, Master Yi replaced by Nunu, Sejuani, Gragas
  • ADC - Graves replaced by Vayne


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 that 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 skillshots 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 can't be ignored.

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 criteria above is used and the following criteria that we use for solo queue are omitted
  1. Ease of play; 
  2. Synergy with popular champions; and
  3. Margin of error.

Strongest Mid Laners

Anivia [Damage/Utility] - New!: Replacing Morgana is Anivia. In an era where multiple CC champions are stronger than their single target counterparts, Morgana's utility is now not as effective since she can only block for one champion at a time.

Sporting one of the only "wall" type skills in the game, Anivia can chokepoint spots that effectively maximize her potential AOE stun. Although unlikely, a 5 man stun is effectively enough to end a teamfight then and there.

Add this to her insanely good synergy with Liandry's Torment, and you have a tank piercing champion that scales up extremely hard to the point where she can one shot champions using nothing just her point and click spell while still being extremely tanky.


Ahri [Damage/Utility/Outplay]: Replacing Cassiopeia on this list post nerfs is Ahri, Annie and Xerath were a close follow up, but Ahri is simply insane for her ability to dodge and outplay with her ultimate. This combined with the damage potential and CC from her kit makes her impossibly strong at the moment, despite recent nerfs that hoped otherwise.

Zed [Damage/Outplay]: Staying on the list for a third straight term is Zed. Despite failing popularity, he remains a very strong candidate in terms of sheer talent. In terms of team utility, Zed essentially has none. He is a pure damage and outplaying machine, and efficient management of poke, clones, and all-in timing is crucial to pull off that sweet ultimate + nuke + fade away back into the shadows. However, pulling off amazing plays with him is probably one of the most satisfying things you'll ever do in League of Legends.

Katarina [Damage/Outplay]: Although nerfed slightly this patch, in terms of raw damage potential Katarina is bar none, still the strongest snowball champion in the game. The second she kills or gets an assist off one champion, her damage effectively increases by an instant 50~100%. This combined with the fact that 75% of her skills are AOE means that she WILL get a reset and your team WILL die.

Leblanc [Damage/Utility/Outplay]: A good Leblanc is absolutely indispensable. Surprisingly, it's her ability to poke with distortion that separates a good Leblanc from a bad one (there are no mediocre Leblancs, but plenty of bad ones). She is an extremely high risk, high reward champion, and her most popular skill order puts her right in the middle of the fray to maximize her AOE damage output. However, with good timing and skill management, she can also lure out dangerous spells via her poke before she goes all-in to burst down a squishy.

Honorable Mentions: Annie, Cassiopeia, Morgana, Xerath, Yasuo. These champions are tried and true, and often have the ability to dominate solo queue by themselves. However, at the moment their damage output isn't quite as strong as others in their pool in the current patch. I would keep them tight on the radar though, as they're strong contenders in their own right.

Strongest Top Laners

Patch 5.8 Update - Surprisingly, after looking over this list, these same champions still offer a massive amount of outplay potential at the highest levels. However, I've added several more honorable mention picks to the list.

Fizz [Damage/Outplay] - Updated: Despite his nerfs, he remains a steady top laner, clocking in an a slightly above average win rate of 50.8% above platinum level. Even with the huge changes on his W, true die-hard Fizz mains seem to remain unscathed, still electing to continue building the old Trinity Force + Blade of the Ruined King build.

While it remains to be seen if that's actually the best build for Fizz at the moment, his ability to outplay almost every popular champion in the game right now continues to make him a very dangerous champion at the highest levels.


Riven [Damage/Outplay]: Finally making it to the list, Riven is in a great spot right now for those that use her well. It's no surprise from the videos that you watch what she's capable of, and when executed to her fullest potential, she gives her opponent(s) little to no time to respond with her fast execution combos and short cooldowns.

Irelia [Damage]: Irelia is a champion that can snowball insanely hard from the get-go, or slowly whittle down enemy top laners until they can no longer stay in lane with her, even from a losing position. She's extremely powerful right now due to her ability to quickly navigate via minion waves, coupled with her sustained true damage.

Lissandra [Damage/Utility/Outplay]: The only top laner to stay on the list three renditions in a row, Lissandra's ability to outplay via her untargetability combined with her long distance initiation/mind game power gives her extremely high utility. This, in sync with her strong AOE damage output means that she can shred down targets extremely efficiently when combined with her teammates. 

Hecarim [Damage/Utility]: As a top laner, Hecarim brings heavy sustained punishment via his auto-resetting spell, and can swiftly take down most melee champions with ease. The most popular builds on him actually run teleport and ignite, which gives him the ability to chase down quick double kills bot lane and snowball to victory. With his insane movement speed, a fed Hecarim is extremely difficult to avoid and can engage/disengage at will.

Honorable Mentions: Other very strong champions include Vladimir, Rengar, and currently Shyvana


New Changes

Sejuani [Damage/Utility]: I really didn't want to include Sejuani since she's OP for all the wrong reasons. However, her current state really does make her one of the strongest junglers in the game, and omitting her would be technically incorrect on many levels. Since most of you already know how strong she is and she's basically banned every game, I won't go into too much detail, but her crowd control, damage, and utility are absurd.

Nunu [Utility/Outplay]: In his current rendition, Nunu is the "new" Shaco of the jungle in the tank jungler era. His invading power is insanely high as always, except now he scales into late game so hard that a good Nunu can take over the game by himself, even if the entire enemy team comes after him. With his above average early game movespeed, he can easily avoid dangers and outrun any that he finds. With strong jungling knowledge, Nunu is easily the most powerful champion in the game for controlling the pace.

Gragas [Damage/Utility]: Like Sejuani, as a very popular champion at the moment, he's likely to see nerfs in the near future. However, from a purely skill based standpoint, the things that Gragas can do with his ultimate can be potentially game shattering by itself if played at a perfect level. Meanwhile, in his current state he scales super hard into the late game, dealing a great amount of sustained damage, blocking skillshots, and in providing a huge amount of CC. If I were to recommend a jungler for the long term, Gragas is an excellent choice.


Fiddlesticks [Damage/Utility]: Few junglers (or champions for that matter) have the ability to make an entire team run or die at almost any point in the game. Fiddle is one such champion, and through his ultimate, has the ability to change the tides of a game by himself. However, because of his weak constitution, he needs to be careful in terms of when and how he engages. Getting interrupted or instantly bursted down before using Zhonyas is enough to make bad Fiddles completely ineffective.

Nidalee [Damage/Outplay]: Replacing Jarvan IV on the list is jungle Nidalee. With her strong jungle clear courtesy of Riot buffs, Nidalee is an extremely powerful presence in the jungle right now. Her ganks with a successful spear are exceedingly high, and even if they quickly flash away, the damage from impact is more than enough for your teammates to win their lane. While forcing a flash is good, oftentimes you'll see your allies still lose lane. However, from 10% remaining HP, few people can outplay their opponents. This combined with the amazing utility from her cougar form W have earned her a place amongst the greats.

Honorable Mentions: Amumu, Lee Sin, Maokai, Shaco

Strongest Supports

No change to supports this time around. While Annie is getting popular, I don't think her potential impact is on the same level.

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.

Not only that, but she provides nearby teammates the ability to simply be faster than enemy champions whether it's for running away or for chasing down. This combined with the ability for her shield to deny death and also 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).

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 teamfights without needing to get close enough to the rest of the enemy team. This, combined with his speedboost makes it so that he can get the job done.

Strongest Marksmen (AD Carries)

Vayne [Damage/Outplay] - New!: Replacing Graves this list is Vayne. In a world full of powerful tanks and skillshot based champions, Vayne is by far 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 at the moment. Better yet, she doesn't require as many crazy requirements as some other marksmen to reach her full potential (who can really hit every Ezreal Q anyway?


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 only be able to hit around 20%, if that.

Sivir [Damage/Utility]: Where Ezreal and Lucian feel smooth to play with the complicated mechanics, Sivir falls short in the quality of life department, and often feels the pain of her somewhat slow boomerang and sometimes clunky auto attack reset animation from her W. However, when mastered her burst damage is absolutely outrageous, and can easily chunk someone like Sona down to half in a single combo at level 3.

Draven [Damage]: Draven has the strongest level 1 burst damage in the game bar none. 1v1, he will beat everybody. If he's able to all-in level 1 with a creep advantage, he essentially wins his lane then and there, provided he catches all his axes.

Kalista [Damage/Utility]: Kalista provides overwhelming chase power along with mid game utility and snowballing strength via her passive.Melee champions with high cooldowns on gap closers stand absolutely no chance against Kalista, and catching or chasing her often provides to be a self-defeating task.

Honorable Mentions: Corki - With his strong ranged damage output and high damage potential via his skill based ultimate, he can position himself to do very well throughout early to mid game.

Previous Versions:

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

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  1. OblongOtterMay 04, 2015

    Wow, Fizz top is both on the list AND an honorable mention. He must be crazy good right now.

  2. Michael ThompsonMay 04, 2015

    I still think that Syndra should be on the list (not even an honorable mention this time). She can effectively neutralize most enemy engages by stunning them and burst down the back line as long as she has a couple of dark spheres around.

  3. calico jonesMay 04, 2015

    There's no way you meant to keep Fizz on here, right? I don't think he's all that strong top lane anymore.

  4. SSJSuntasticMay 04, 2015

    Crazy good!

  5. SSJSuntasticMay 04, 2015

    I was originally going to take him off the list and replace him with Rengar, but honestly he's still got that insane outplay potential and still runs a cool 50% even with everyone in solo queue factored in.

  6. Josh ThurlowMay 04, 2015

    Is there anyone else that may be close to taking his spot like maybe Gnar?

  7. Steven NadlerMay 04, 2015

    Gnar needs to be on the top lane list. When played correctly a good gnar can even beat riven. The hardest part is utilizing Teleport and his Rage bar to it's fullest potential. Gnar can easily turn a team fight into a team obliteration. He can also dodge skill shots with his E (jump) and initiate team fights with his E (jump off teamates/minions heads). Gnar is deserving of a top lane champion that, when mastered, can impact a game in everyway. Please Look into this.
    IGN: Mega Mini Gnar (feel free to look me up)

  8. Josh ThurlowMay 04, 2015

    and isn't new BC like, crazy good on him?

  9. Steven NadlerMay 04, 2015

    I just posted about Gnar, take a look!

  10. Steven NadlerMay 04, 2015

    Usually first item rushed, unless against an AP champ (hexdrinker).

  11. The JokerMay 04, 2015

    For Zed you said "staying on the list for a second term straight" when now it's the third time.

  12. Dani3850May 04, 2015

    SSJ is this from strongest to "weaker" ?

  13. Josh ThurlowMay 05, 2015

    I thought BC is not gold efficient until the enemy has 200+ armor

  14. SSJSuntasticMay 05, 2015

    Fair enough

  15. Should Blitzcrank still be on this list post nerfs? Thoughts on somebody like Nautilus replacing him?

  16. Oranji JuusuMay 05, 2015

    I think the break down of champion types is too simplistic.

    At the very least damage falls into sustained and burst; support falls into healing, hard CC, soft CC, area denial and mitigation; tanks can be mitigation, soak, and avoidance. Outplay is a little less concrete.

  17. Aldo TorresMay 05, 2015

    Yeah, but this article is not specific about if is Solo Q or 5V5, in solo Q i prefer Blitz, because you can abusse the lack of team sinergy and the huge amount of errors people make when they play alone.
    In a 5v5 i prefer nautilus because the amount of errors is so tiny you can't squish all the juice out of Blitz, while you have a reatarded cuantity of CC to peel your carry from strong tank's engages (Actual meta) with Nauti and even after that you are incredibly Tanky :D

  18. The DoctorMay 05, 2015

    Im not sure if ive understood correctly... Most pf these champions arent god tier in the regular list.. Why are they so strong then?

  19. Dunked By ViMay 05, 2015

    This list is talking about the champions that are strongest when they are mastered. For example, Ahri isn't all that great when not mastered because people don't generally understand how to use her ultimate or land a lot of charms etc. but if you've seen really good Ahri players that know a lot about the champion they will land like 80% of their charms and have efficient use of their ultimate. Another great example is Zed, where we all fear a good zed player that can instantly burst down an ADC with a sick shadow play when they have clear mastery of the champion.

    Clearly, there are champions that are easier then others and may be able to do somethings that these champions so but better but if you know some of these champions very well you will have great success with them.

  20. Valor BotMay 05, 2015

    One day, i shall be on the Top Lane list... AND IT SHALL BE GLORIOUS 🐦

  21. disisdeathwingMay 05, 2015

    fizz should be gone with ad fizz pretty much not a thing anymore.

  22. disisdeathwingMay 05, 2015

    blitz w...

  23. Brooklyn BennetMay 05, 2015

    Yeah, ad fizz kinda sucks now...feel like kennen could replace him.

  24. BoltOfSpadesMay 05, 2015

    Don't worry Bard, the community might think low of you.

    But I know better.

  25. Orianna not even on honorable mention? Explain? though i am guessing its because you're not adding in the "synergy with other popular champions"

  26. Philippe MazzoneMay 05, 2015

    I never really played Katarina. Tried her a few times last weeks and what i like about her is her insane amount of damage with no difficulty to execute her combo at all. I failed to do that because the habit i got from Talon, always doing an AA before using the skill to reset. With her, you just have to press the buttons and watch people die.

  27. Anthony “llParsitell” MezaMay 05, 2015

    not really he still can carry pretty hard due to him amount of raw damage he can provide and even with the Nerf if you can master him he can single handily carry a game.

  28. Zula WarriorMay 05, 2015

    Umm cough cough Rengar

  29. Mac MorrisMay 05, 2015

    Why not add bard to supports? When skilled in the game in general and in bard mechanics sick plays can be made. At least honorable mention him cus of his ability to save baron, dragon, turrets, teammates, etc from a range. Also magical journey with decent game knowledge is... well magical!!

  30. DatDianaMainMay 05, 2015

    no syndra should be mid too

  31. Hi SSJ, first of all thank you for this site, it's my first comment but I really like this site and how you manage it.
    I think yout list is pretty good but in my opinion fizz could be replaced by Rumble which is the strongest reward champ when you master it because every good ulti is a teamfight win !
    And i think you could add vel'koz as support, because even if his base kit didn't introduce him as support, he still can do the job really good and can outdamage and outplay ennemy, with great poke, nice cc, and brute damage !! Think about it :)

    Anyway good job SSJ and the team and sorry for my english but it isn't my native language.

  32. rabidtangerineMay 05, 2015

    The Fizz explanation is based on outdated information, his current W has almost zero synergy with attack speed. They moved the percent damage back to the passive DoT recently, so top lane DPS Fizz is just as weak as it always has been.

  33. Steven NadlerMay 05, 2015

    Well since it starts off at 6% armor reduction on the first tick of physical damage done. It can do very well at early levels as well.

  34. Puddleglum567 .May 05, 2015

    I hate how people see "numbers low=garbage poop champ". AD fizz does a ton of damage still, it's just damage over time so it gives the enemy time to think that it's going to survive before dying to the dot. He's still the snowbally champ that he used to be it just takes more skill to get snowballing, which is why it is on this list

  35. Josh ThurlowMay 06, 2015

    Yeah, it's a % though. So it isn't super effective earlier

  36. This is kind of nitpicking probably, but I think outplay should be added to ez's tags, since, you know, blink.

  37. the thing about rengar is that you can play against him with pinks and escapes and the like, and once you shut him down he has a very hard time recovering.

    Make no mistake though, a good rengar is very very scary. I can tell you this first hand. one of my league buddies is a ren main. ;A;

  38. the thing you have to remember is that fizz is a high skillcap champion due to mastery of his troll pole. While his damage is suffering from before, make no mistake he's still an outplaying machine.

  39. Don't worry, Azir, Baby, you'll get that numbers buff you need to make you terrifying upon mastery soon enough.

  40. He Won't get buffed, he's still seeing some competitive play in LCK and LCL and from the many red posts talking about him they seem to think he's balanced right now

  41. my joke seems to have gone way over your head.

  42. Eric ValkenaarMay 06, 2015

    its okay xerath, someday you'll grab that spot.....

  43. o:
    okedoke, it just seemed like love for the pigeon man ://

  44. KingoftheSocksMay 07, 2015

    My kitty is no longer a top lane master

    Today is a sad day for me

  45. It was a joke with love for the pigeon man. :3

  46. *cough* Quinn *cough*

  47. Matt StreetMay 10, 2015

    if you first item BC then you're a fkn retard

  48. Actually as a top laner (you're basically an island who should be playing off 1 v 1) his insane mobility gives him incredible chase as well as nigh on impossible ganks, meaning you shouldn't need help from rest of team. And between Botrk and his burn, he basically eats tank tops for breakfast. He's probably one of few champions, I'd think has a favourable match-up vs heca top we've been seeing lately

  49. I think the biggest problem with gnar being top in this list is...this list goes of skill when mastered. Gnar is strong and really good at punishing mistakes, but if you CC him for the duration of mega-gnar, or catch him out as mini. He cant do much, and his ult being useful requires them to make a mistake of going near the walls for the stun. Which is reliant on the rest of your team having displacement (which this list ignores) or the enemy being stupid enough to stand near a wall (which this list ignores)

  50. Shepard GordonMay 14, 2015

    Anyone think Leona deserves an honorable mention?

  51. Uniq YiouXMay 16, 2015

    I think Bard is extremely strong, when mastered as well! think about it please

  52. Alan ChenMay 17, 2015

    I wouldn't, as a Bronzie Leona main, as Leona feels like she's a land combos and GG. Low skill IMHO. But what do I know?

  53. There's a small typo in the Irelia explanation. It says she can wittle down the enemy's hp when it should say whittle. It's not really gameshattering but I thought you might want to fix it. As much as I check out this site I notice things like that.

  54. SSJSuntasticMay 19, 2015

    Thanks for the catch, always appreciated :)

  55. I actually think miss fortune should replace sivir. From a sheer DPS stand-point she wins, hands down, and her ult range ensures a kill on almost any champion.

  56. Orion WeissMay 30, 2015

    Honest question, why isn't Nautilus in the support section? He has the most CC in game bar none(2 single target ensnares, a tracking single target knockup that knocks up entire teams with high damage, and a massive slow) and he is tanky as fuck. Not to mention you cannot avoid having his ult hit you, so you have a gauranteed engage once you are in range of a good target even once

  57. Ryze should be on top 5 for top lane- He can shut every one of those champions down mid combo, the only thing hecarim has is his ult, and we all know how armor-tanky ryze can get. Also ryze in team fights is ridiculous. With a full CD load his ult will reset after 6 seconds of spamming. He is incredibly strong with his recent buffs

  58. Nicholas GoodsonJune 02, 2015

    Sivir's Spell Shield alone completely counters Miss Fortune

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  60. omgwtfbbqhax1June 06, 2015

    good question. i was also wondering why master yi wasnt in the support section either

  61. Acrux SaarJune 08, 2015

    that might have been funny except that you are wrong to doubt nautilus support. even if you didnt know that its actually strong, Orion gave good arguments. you on the other hand, are an example of the cancer that plagues League almost every game.
    please click the red X in the top right (or left) of your browser, go to bed, and never visit this site ever again.

  62. Acrux SaarJune 08, 2015

    dead on, except, go to the soloqueue tier list where your comment belongs (or used to until Ryze got moved up to god tier.)
    read the intro to this list again - these are high skill champions, the exact opposite of Ryze. besides, we're all waiting for his perma stun lock to be nerfed in 5.11 or 5.12.

  63. Acrux SaarJune 08, 2015

    you realize that Ahri has been God tier in the soloq list for like ten patches now? you don't need a lot of skill to do at least decently with her. but you're right, a really good Ahri is some scary shit.
    Annie on the other hand might be an example of a strong soloqueue champion, but one who probably doesn't take an immense amount of skill to master (though NA's Annie Bot might disagree with me here)

  64. Acrux SaarJune 08, 2015

    you may or may not be right, but we'll never know because you're a "fkn retard" at explaining your reasoning lol

  65. Jagmaster Jayk DillaJune 19, 2015

    mfw no akali mid even she can destroy all of these champs gg

  66. TardamereJune 24, 2015

    Need an update.

  67. Dakota BurnhamJune 29, 2015

    I think Yasuo should replace Zed on this list.

  68. Listen FriendsJune 30, 2015

    Will this get updated soon?

  69. IntoxicationJuly 01, 2015

    Ot would be nice if this was updated every patch

  70. IntoxicationJuly 01, 2015

    It would be nice if this was updated every patch

  71. Ali RashidJuly 06, 2015

    Could you guy update the list plz. Thx :)

  72. Sasa ToaderJuly 10, 2015

    Shouldn't kalista have outplay rather than utility? Her passive makes it so that any skill shot champ like xerath and velkoz can't even touch her and she can run around a whole enemy team. But that's just my opinion.

  73. Justin McmillanJuly 11, 2015

    aatrox strongest champ when mastered make it happen

  74. Add more Support champions please. Bard and Tahm Kench are both at least worthy of honorable mentions.


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