Jan 13, 2018

Which Champions are Strongest When Mastered? - January 2018

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Some champions are so easy to play, you just need to lock them in and faceroll your keyboard. Other champions are only playable by a few elite few, and their intricacies are small and detailed. Either way, this list encompasses a little of each with the assumption that no matter how hard a champion is, you've mastered it. When you're at this level, which champions are the absolute strongest for your time and efforts? Check out the list below!

Season 8 - Patch 8.1 Champion Gallery
"Strongest Champions When Mastered"

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

Introduction

Some champions are so easy to play, you just need to lock them in and faceroll your keyboard. Other champions are only playable by a few elite few, and their intricacies are small and detailed. Either way, this list encompasses a little of each with the assumption that no matter how hard a champion is, you've mastered it.

When you're at this level, which champions are the absolute strongest for your time and efforts? Check out the list below!

If you're more interested in the FOTM picks, be sure to check out the FOTM Tier Lists too!

Updates

  • Mid: Taliyah, Syndra replaced by Zoe, Katarina. Azir, Vladimir, Xerath added to Honorable Mentions, Brand removed.
  • Top: Gnar replaced by Camille
  • Jungle: Zac, Maokai, Gragas replaced by Kha'Zix, Xin Zhao, Evelynn. Ivern removed from Honorable Mentions.
  • Support: Rakan replaced by Leona
  • Marksmen: Caitlyn replaced by Xayah

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

Zoe [Damage/Utility] New!There's no surprise on anyone's face when they see Zoe on this list, and for good reason. Her massive mobility and utility coupled with her extraordinary snipe range and damage make her an interactive version of old Nidalee with crowd-control. Her main weakness is potential poor positioning, but in the hands of a great player this is quickly mitigated by well...being a great player.


Katarina [Damage/Outplay] New!Katarina's ability to snowball games in her current state is incredible after the rune rework. There's a reason she keeps popping on and off the list, but overall I'd say she's on for sure. At lower divisions she can gain kill potential by dropping a dagger in the vicinity to the CS line, and at higher divisions she can zone off enemy champions by dropping a dagger in the vicinity of the CS line. Sounds like a win/win at any division.

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Removed Champions

Taliyah [Damage/Utility]Taliyah's still a great champion that belongs on the honorable mentions, but right now she's just a bit too clunky compared to other mages of similar caliber. Her roam potential is phenomenal and with a high engage composition her ultimate is extremely valuable. Her early game cheese can also quickly snowball a game in her favor, but later on she suffers a bit against heavy engage compositions.

Syndra [Damage/Utility]: Similar to Taliyah, Syndra's still very good and worth learning if you like her kit. Her ability to 1v1 pretty much anyone is incredible, but she does suffer a bit against assassins and long range poke damage. The introduction of a free Zhonya's via runes also makes it more difficult for her to 100 to 0 someone for free at level 6.

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Returning Veterans

Zed [Damage/Outplay]Zed is one of those champions that always comes back around after a series of nerfs. His massive potential for outplaying enemy champions combined with his ability for making a clean getaway with low counterplay makes him very difficult to fight against in the hands of a master. Ever since the rune changes, he's gained an extra damage boost that translates into more deaths for enemy laners.

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.

Orianna [Damage/Utility]Everyone's favorite clockwork enchantress Orianna has always been extremely popular for her low cooldown AOE one-shot ability, which allows her to blow enemy flashes or straight up assassinate them with ease late game, only to do it to another player 50 seconds later. She's somewhat difficult to master, but if you can position the ball correctly and weave your autos, she does an absurd amount of sustained and burst damage.

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Honorable Mentions: Anivia, Azir, Cassiopeia, Ekko, Fizz, Kassadin, Leblanc, Lux, Syndra, Taliyah, Twisted Fate, Veigar. Xerath, 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

Camille [Damage/Outplay] New!: It's actually kinda funny how Gnar and Camille keep trading places depending on if the meta is more team-fight oriented or kill the marksman oriented. As of now, it's more kill the marksman-oriented, which Camille does incredibly well via her long range engage and single-target isolation abilities.

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Removed Champions

Gnar [Damage/Utility]Gnar is one of those champions that keeps jumping on and off the list with high frequency. A champion with incredible team fight ability, whenever the meta shifts he's always at the top of everyone's list to jump back into the fray. Keep him in your pocket in case his best friend Jarvan is high in the meta as well.

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Returning Champions

Yasuo [Damage/Utility]The current meta favors Yasuo highly, and the available runes synergize with his kit very well. There are also surprisingly a decent amount of low mobility mages in the mix, which means he can engage at will for high effect. Even if he falls behind early, his late game potential allows him to snowball through team fights as long as he can land one good knock-up.

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.

Fiora [Damage/Outplay]Fiora is arguably one of the strongest duelists available to top laners right now. Her ability to snowball team fights and smash even the tankiest of foes allows her to dominate lane and quickly bring the enemy jungler to assist. Her Riposte [W] also lets her outplay potentially ANYTHING, resulting in a champion that's impossible to deal with if you're good enough with her. Even after the nerfs, she remains an excellent champion if you can position her well.

Gangplank [Damage/Utility]Gangplank is the champion that I had the hardest time determining if he should be left on the list. However, his ultimate is still enough to snowball fights bot lane without the usage of teleport, but it's really the potential 0% chance of out-playing with his barrels that seal the deal. Although it's not easy, hitting phantom barrels with perfect timing can really change the course of a game.

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Honorable Mentions: Ekko, Irelia, Jayce, Gnar, Quinn, Pantheon

Jungle


New Champions

Xin Zhao [Utility/Damage/Outplay] New!: Xin Zhao encompasses a huge array of skills that are very effective for solo queue. His gank potential is great as a result of his early game gap closer and crowd control combo, but it's really his Crescent Guard [R] that shines through. Three seconds of damage negation is no small defensive maneuver, and the knockback is great for isolating dangerous carries.

Kha'Zix [Damage] New!: This bug has always been incredibly good at picking off enemies and snowballing to victory. In the current damage jungler meta, he does especially well considering tanks are falling out of favor. Overall, he also has a very versatile jungle clear pattern, making it difficult for enemies to track him and allowing him freedom to counterjungle as well.

Evelynn [Damage/Outplay] New!: After the last series of bug fixes and buffs, Evelynn is in a great spot. Her rework gave her the ability to become untargetable and blink to safety via her ultimate, which as you can probably guess, gives her an incredible amount of utility. Essentially, it's become like a reverse Ekko ultimate without the heal.

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Removed Champions

Maokai [Utility]Maokai has largely moved up to the top lane rather than in the jungle. He's still playable in the jungle, but this tree's one that needs a bit more sunlight and less coverage in foliage.

Gragas [Utility]: There's not much to say about Gragas, but the big boy simply isn't in the meta right now. Players have come to depend on the jungler more for damage and carry potential rather than utility, and he just doesn't fit the bill in his current state.

Zac [Utility]Zac is a champion that suffers largely from too much knowledge in the hands of enemy players. There are ton of spells that can stop his Elastic Slingshot dead in its tracks, and this greatly reduces his effectiveness. He can still gank via his Q stun, but with more limited effects.

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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.

Kayn [Damage/Outplay]The newest champion on the scene, Kayn sports a kit with extremely high snowball potential. The built-in percentage based life steal and untargetability with his ultimate allows for some insane outplays, especially when you combine it with his ability to move through walls.

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Honorable Mentions: Elise, Gragas, Graves, Hecarim, Maokai, Rengar, Sejuani, Shaco, Vi, Zac

Strongest Supports


New Champion

Leona [Utility] New!: This was a tough call between Alistar and Leona, but in the end I decided to drop Leona onto the list and put Alistar in honorable mentions instead. Both represent powerfula all-in damage tanks that are notoriously difficult to kill and can engage at a whim. However, Leona does have a somewhat more intricate engage pattern that can results in a ton more damage than Alistar as long as she weaves her spells to maximize her passive in concert with her allies.

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Removed Champion

Rakan [Utility]: Rakan is by no means a bad support at this time, but we've dropped him down into honorable mentions simply because he's not as reliable as some of the other supports. In a low mobility meta he still works extraordinarily well, but in a high-mobility meta he gives enemies a bit too much time to escape his crowd-control to be highly effective.

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Returning Veterans:

Janna [Utility]: Janna is still 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).

Blitzcrank [Utility]: Janna and Thresh keep teams ahead of the game, but 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.

Bard [Utility]Bard always had this "theoretical" edge, but in practice just didn't have enough raw stats to carry it out. Ever since the buff to his meep collection, he's now strong enough to solo-carry games if you're good enough. This makes him one of the best play-making supports out there, and potentially one of the most game-changing ones as well.

Honorable Mentions: Alistar, Braum, Lulu, Karma, Rakan, Soraka

Strongest Marksmen (AD Carries)


New Champion

Xayah [Damage/Outplay] New!: Xayah finally made it to the list. As a marksman her damage is of course, on par with the best, but her shining point is her ability to negate damage via her ultimate and CC entire teams with good positioning. Of course, the damage she drops if she does manage to CC an entire team is absurd as well, but that's just a theoretical maximum.

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Removed Champion

Caitlyn [Damage/Utility]: Caitlyn's a staple marksman in any ADC main's arsenal. However, the amount of dive potential present in most team compositions prevents her trap zoning from being as effective as they should be. Additionally, the new relic shield meta prevents her from abusing early game as hard as she used to.

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Returning Champions:

Twitch [Damage]Twitch is an absolute monster right now. His burst damage allows him to absolutely destroy any other marksman if he pops out from his invisibility, and his lack of true skill shots prevents him from getting outplayed. Lastly, proper positioning puts his team fight power through the roof, resulting in the highest potential burst damage of any marksman.

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.

Draven [Damage]: There are few champions that can draw as much pressure as Draven does when he's snowballing bot lane. Without good crowd-control, Draven is virtually unkillable through his lifesteal and only knows one movement direction: forward.

Jhin [Damage/Utility]: Jhin isn't quite as effective as he used to be, but can still snowball teams very hard. His long-range crowd control can be game-changing as it brings him into fights beyond the range of other marksman. His ultimate also creates immense pressure during team fights, and generally causes enemy teams to think twice even if it looks like a winning battle.

Honorable Mentions: Ashe, Ezreal, Jinx, Lucian, Kog'Maw

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



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