Feb 29, 2016

Which Champions are Strongest When Mastered? - March 2016

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The wait is over. We're back with the highly anticipated, yet rarely updated "Strongest Champions When Mastered" series! To reiterate the purpose of this page, this article highlights the strongest champions over a broad meta and tries to avoid day-to-day FOTMs that quickly come and go. However, when champions are hard nerfed or extremely buffed, they become difficult to ignore and sneak their way back towards the top of the list.

We try to focus mainly on champions with higher longevity, but with a game that changes as quickly as League of Legends tends to do, modifications do occur quite a bit more frequently than you'd expect. That being said, I also won't be putting Graves up in every single position because that's just silly.

Check out the goods below!

Season 6 - Patch 6.4 Champion Gallery
"Strongest Champions When Mastered "

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

Introduction

The wait is over. We're back with the highly anticipated, yet rarely updated "Strongest Champions When Mastered" series! To reiterate the purpose of this page, this article highlights the strongest champions over a broad meta and tries to avoid day-to-day FOTMs that quickly come and go. However, when champions are hard nerfed or extremely buffed, they become difficult to ignore and sneak their way back towards the top of the list.

We try to focus mainly on champions with higher longevity, but with a game that changes as quickly as League of Legends tends to do, modifications do occur quite a bit more frequently than you'd expect. That being said, I also won't be putting Graves up in every single position because that's just silly.

Check out the goods below!

Updates

  • Mid lane - Brand replaced by Lux
    • Corki added to Honorable Mentions
  • Top lane - Jax, Illaoi, Tahm Kench replaced by Malphite, Nautilus, Dr. Mundo
  • Jungle - Kindred and Rengar replaced by Gragas and Nidalee
    • Udyr added to Honorable Mentions
  • Support - Soraka replaced by Alistar
  • Marksman - Miss Fortune, Tristana replaced by Kog'Maw, Caitlyn

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. Margin of error.

Strongest Mid Laners




Lux [Damage/Utility] - New!As one of the safest mid laners on the rift, Lux packs quite a punch when it comes to CC and team utility. Her shield allows teams to take objectives with minimal damage, and also prevents would-be assassins from taking down an otherwise squishy champion. Her teamfight ability is excellent when it comes to extended trades, and she can easily one-shot squishies end game if they get caught out at any point in time. During laning phase, her E makes for excellent trades since it's *technically* undodgeable with standard movespeed.

Corki [Damage] - New [Honorable Mention]!: Corki plays perfectly as a high magic damage mid-laner that builds AD. His early game bullying power is extremely high, and his late-game waveclear/poke are exactly what you'd expect from a mid-laner. He also has one of the longest range escape spells in the game, which makes him very strong. The main thing that keeps him off the list is simply his play-making ability and straight-forward nature. However, he can easily hold his own against the majority of the champions on this list.

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Removed Champions

Brand [Damage]: After nerfs to Deathfire Touch and his apparently buggy ultimate, Brand is weaker than before. He's still quite strong in terms of sheer damage, in tight corridors, but he can no longer cheese kills mid lane via extraordinarily lucky ultimate bounces.

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Champions Returning For Another Round

Ahri [Damage/Utility/Outplay]: Ahri is simply insane, renowned for her ability to dodge and outplay with her ultimate. This combined with the damage potential and CC from her kit makes her very strong now, and has been a consistent power pick for a long time now.

Leblanc [Damage/Utility]: A champion that needs no introductions, Leblanc is still on top as a strong contender for mid lane dominance. Leblanc can still jump in and out of battles seamlessly, allowing her to dodge many spells that might otherwise kill her. Meanwhile, the mind games that she can utilize are extremely varied, each with the potential to be game changing via distortion poke or passive clone microing.

Yasuo [Damage/Utility]: Yasuo's ability to outplay has always been extraordinarily high with his excellent mobility, passive, and of course, the previously mentioned windwall. Although Warlord's Bloodlust has been nerfed to the point where Thunderlord's Decree is now better on him, Yasuo still does extraordinarily well in team fights if he can get the appropriate knock-up he needs.

Zed [Damage/Outplay] - : A master of shadows, Zed's burst damage is perfectly complemented by the Season 6 Thunderlord and Assassin masteries. He's able to quickly jump in and out of teamfights to take down targets, and good Zeds will also be able to deal excellent sustained damage at high speed via Youmuu's Ghostblade. The new Duskblade is amazingly good on him as well.
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Honorable Mentions: Anivia, Annie, Brand, Azir, Corki, Ekko, Fizz, Katarina, Morgana, Orianna, Veigar.
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


Dr. Mundo [Damage] - New!: After being nerfed, it looks like Riot's done with messing with Mundo at the moment, leaving him at a particularly decent state. As a result, we're adding him onto the list since it looks like he's here to stay as he is. At a high level of mastery, Dr. Mundo is one of the safest laning champions in the game with infinite chase potential and near total invincibility via regen. His 1v2 ability is also quite good, and as a result Mundo plays as a very versatile laner.

Malphite [Utility] - New!A time honored champion that received some extra popularity with the rise of AD based champions on the rift, Malphite has been a dominant champion ever since he was released. His game-changing ultimate can instantly turn around team fights, and he is certainly capable of holding his own in lane. With champions like Kog'Maw on the rift, Malphite is the perfect champion to either peel for him, or take down that squishy attack speed based dog-thing.

Nautilus [Utility] - New!: New to the list, Nautilus made quite a splash when players realized what an insane amount of trading potential he has top lane against most melee champions. His late game utility is also through the roof, and the potential multi-man knock-up can affect teamfights in a similar degree as a Malphite ultimate.

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Removed Champions

Illaoi [Damage]Illaoi's tentacles deal a potential maximum of 200% AD; this means with a tentacle spawned nearby combined with a full 5 man ultimate, Illaoi can potentially deal 1200% of her AD in AOE damage with each smash. While it is difficult to keep enemies in the danger zone for very long, the maximum damage potential of her is still insane. However, as players have learned how to deal with her, she seems like she's in a fairly balanced state.

Jax [Damage]: After item and champion nerfs, Jax no longer dominates quite as hard as he used to. His damage and trading power are still high, but Jax players now have more bad match-ups.

Tahm Kench [Utility]: Tahm is still quite a strong champion top lane, but his late game impact simply isn't as good as other champions when it comes to carrying. His laning phase is good 1v1, but not particularly safe as he opens himself up to camping as he bullies. Nevertheless, his late game utility is still very high.

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Returning Champions

Fiora [Damage/Outplay]: Fiora has definitely held her own as one of the strongest champions top lane. She has a slew of abilities that give her strong outplay potential, especially her AOE riposte stun that can take down obnoxiously simple abilities like Malzahar's suppression and stuns for the same duration as a Sona ultimate.

Poppy [Damage/Utility]: Poppy is one of those champions that can either absolutely dominate or be utter trash. If she can smash an opponent against a wall, she doubles the damage on that ability and guarantees the second half of her Q damage. Missing the wall stun reduces her overall damage by a massive amount, resulting in a high skillcap champion.

Poppy's ultimate and dash block also have insanely high utility for what they can potentially do in a team fight, giving her some extremely helpful tools for making great plays in an advanced player's hands.

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Honorable Mentions: Gangplank, Gnar, Illaoi, Irelia, Jax, Quinn, Vladimir, Tahm Kench

Jungle


Gragas [Damage/Utility] - New!: The latest changes to the AP jungler item (Runic Echoes) elevated several magic damage based junglers to new heights. For example, Gragas is now able to proc the bonus damage immediately after a body slam or explosive cask, rather than the previous delayed bonus from an auto attack. The bonus movespeed that Runic Echoes grants also helps him improve on his gank power, creating better openings for engagement.

Nidalee [Damage/Outplay] - New!: Similar to Gragas, a champion with a somewhat powerful kit received the magical buff of Runic Echoes. Her strength as a poke damage dealer skyrocketed with the new changes, and she no longer needs to build Luden's if she wants to focus on long range damage.

Udyr [Outplay] - New [Honorable Mentions]!: A champion that likely deserves to be on this list simply as a result of his solo queue ability, Udyr is still one of the strongest junglers on the rift right now. His split pushing abilities are outrageous, and he can be one of the biggest nuisances around. However, as he'll likely continuously get nerfed and does not provide a massive amount of assistance during team fights or against organized compositions, I'm leaving him off the main list.

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Removed Champions

Kindred [Damage/Utility]: Kindred's kit is extremely overloaded with small things that add up to potentially awesome outplays. Utilizing mini-heals, gap closers, and AOE death denial, a good Kindred player has a ton of tools at their disposal. Kindred's counter-jungling requirement also separates good Kindreds from amazing ones, meaning that the difference between a fully empowered champion is scores different from ones too afraid to enter into the enemy forest. She's still a very strong champion, but there are better choices at the moment.

Rengar [Damage/Outplay]: Although the new assassin masteries this season made Rengar very strong, the changes to his bola in recent patches made him extremely unreliable when it comes to ganking. After the introduction of the Duskblade he did become somewhat stronger, but not enough to prevent him from dropping off this list into the honorable mentions block.

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Returning Champions

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.

Master Yi [Damage/Outplay]As a champion with excellent synergy with Guinsoo's Rageblade, a sated Master Yi can easily dispatch enemies after dodging dangerous spells via his Alpha Strike. In the hands of a good Master Yi player, auto resets, Alpha Strike dodges, and meditate resets are just the start of the possible high level moves he can pull off.

Elise [Damage/Utility]: Elise remains a very strong pick in today's meta because of her strong early game and overall utility. She performs excellently with Thunderlord's Decree, and her combos make it very easy to proc if she hits her cocoon. The latest changes to the AP jungler item also improve her gank power, something that is crucial to playing a good Elise.

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Honorable Mentions: Diana, Ekko, Kindred. Rek'Sai, Rengar, Xin Zhao, Udyr

Strongest Supports


Alistar [Outplay] - New!: Mess with this bull and you get the horns. Strong engagement and diving power are further enunciated by the fact that missing his headbutt pulverize combination is no longer a possibility for seasoned Alistar players. After the recent changes to Alistar's ability to queue up his pulverize mid headbutt, players can now focus more on play-making decisions rather than difficult mechanics that even professionals mess up from time to time.

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Removed Champions

Soraka [Utility/Outplay]Despite her innocent seeming kit, Soraka is actually capable of some extremely powerful plays. By utilizing her passive and managing the entire team's health flow, Soraka can effectively negate all poke from the champion pool by herself via her heal. Additionally, her AOE silence is instantaneous and an extremely powerful follow-up to any initiation as it prevents summoner spells from being cast as well as rooting as well...in an AOE.

However, after the latest round of nerfs to Soraka, Assassins can now dispatch her before she can heal back up to full. Ever since she was a must-ban, residual memories in the minds of players always target her first, and for good reason.

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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.

Tahm Kench [Utility]With his insanely short cooldowns  and powerful utility-based spells, it seems obvious that Tahm Kench can potentially pull allied units right in the nick of time out of dangerous situations or remove dangerous champions from the battle to create immense confusion. The damage output via his devour on enemy champions is also absurdly high, and although it can be difficult to decide which targets to hit during a team fight, that is where the champion mastery comes into play.

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).

Honorable Mentions: Bard, Braum, Lulu, Sona, Soraka

Strongest Marksmen (AD Carries)


Caitlyn [Utility] - New!: The premier lane bully is back in good standing. As a high ranged champion, Caitlyn is extremely safe to play, especially for players that understand marksman 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 note-worthy, her abilities to kite and zone are what make her a top-notch marksman at the moment.

Kog'Maw[Damage] - New!: After streamlining Kog'Maw's kit, he no longer needs to make strange skill point choices. Instead, all his damage creating skills are concentrated in one place, and is now able to effectively trade early to late game at great success. He's still somewhat fragile and requires a protect-the-Kog'Maw composition, but as long as he can survive through any initial burst of crowd-control, there's essentially nobody that can out-trade him in his effective range.

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Removed Champions:

Miss Fortune [Damage]: Miss Fortune's She has a ton of small mechanics dealing with her targeting during a team fight, and can greatly increase her damage output depending on the individual microing skill of a player. However, after the last few nerfs to ratios, she's no longer the powerhouse bully she used to be. Her utility in general isn't particularly high otherwise, so she suffers as a straight-forward champion.

Tristana [Damage/Utility]: Tristana's ability to snowball through a teamfight is arguably the best out of any of the marksman. A good Tristana is also similar to Lee Sin; where an average Tristana will knock back one target, a good Tristana can peel multiple targets at once. However, she lacks poke and her early game isn't very strong. As a result, she doesn't always get to use her multi-jumps in teamfights and drops her damage output drastically.

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Returning Champions:

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.

Lucian [Damage/Outplay]As a prime candidate for the new Thunderlord's Decree, Lucian can easily proc it with a single spell and his two hit combo off his passive. This makes his early game trades insanely strong. Additionally, his new reworked ultimate allows him to build more crit than attack speed, while still making full use of its rounds. As a mana hungry champion with a large number of spells required to maximize his damage, the new Essence Reaver buffs are also a godsend for him.

Vayne [Damage/Outplay]: In a world full of powerful tanks and skillshot-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: Draven, Graves, Jinx, Kalista, Quinn

Previous Versions:

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



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