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Jul 30, 2018

Which Champions are Strongest When Mastered? - July 2018

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I bet you guys weren't expecting a strongest when mastered update today were you? Well, to be honest, I wasn't either. But in a massive burst of inspiration and 2 hours, we've put together a long overdue update to the Strongest Champions When Mastered series for your viewing pleasure.

In a world of rapidly shifting metas, there are some champions that you might see in honorable mentions you think should really be in the top 5. Please feel free to voice your thoughts in the comment section below! After all, there's a good reason why they ended up in the honorable mentions!

Season 8 - Patch 8.14 Champion Gallery
"Strongest Champions When Mastered"

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


I bet you guys weren't expecting a strongest when mastered update today were you? Well, to be honest, I wasn't either. But in a massive burst of inspiration and two long hours, we've put together a long overdue update to the Strongest Champions When Mastered series for your viewing pleasure.

In a world of rapidly shifting metas, there are some champions that you might see in honorable mentions you think should really be in the top 5. Please feel free to voice your thoughts in the comment section below! After all, there's a good reason why they ended up in the honorable mentions!

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


  • Mid: Aurelion Sol, Fizz, Katarina replaced by Talon, Vladimir, Zoe
  • Top: Fiora replaced by Darius, Wukong added to honorable mentions, Urgot/Pantheon removed
  • Jungle: Kayn, Kha'Zix, Warwick replaced by Graves, Kindred, Taliyah
  • Support: Fiddlesticks, Morgana added to Honorable Mentions
  • Marksmen: Vayne replaced with Kai'Sa


    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

    Talon [Damage] New!: Based on pure damage alone, Talon is one of the strongest burst damage champions on the Rift. His ability to decimate enemies instantly from invisibility allows him to be highly effective in essentially any situation. His laning phase is also impressively oppressive, and his status in the current meta allows him to be highly effectively in pretty much any team composition.

    Vladimir [Damage/Outplay ] New!: While it's rare that a classically late game champion makes it onto the top champion list, Vladimir is works especially well in a meta that favors assassins. Using his Sanguine Pool, he can effectively negate the effects of enemy burst damage. When you couple this with his incredible sustained damage, he can run through teams and enemies are powerless to stop him.

    Zoe [Damage/Utility] New!Zoe's finally gained some age after a few months, and her strengths and weaknesses are more apparent than ever before. Despite this, she continues to outperform many other mid-laners simply because of her long-range poke and impressive catch potential. Her ability to snipe enemy champions from far outside the fog of war gives her nearly zero counterplay in certain scenarios, resulting in a terrifying champion in the hands of a true master.


    Removed Champions

    Aurelion Sol [Damage/Utility]Aurelion Sol is one of those champions that looks really easy on the paper, but ends up having an incredible impact when he's played correctly. By properly positioning his stars to maximize burst, Sol dominates team fights as enemies discover they're too poorly positioned to avoid catastrophic damage. His waveclear and roam capabilities are second to none, and true Aurelion Sol mains are rewarded with a consistent 60%+ win rate once they get over 50 games under their belt. Since he doesn't 1v1 too much, he has very few bad match-ups. His main issue in the current meta is that assassins are far too common, which makes it difficult for him to really gather up his sustained damage potential.

    Fizz [Damage/Outplay]Fizz's fall from grace is largely a result of nerfs. Otherwise, he's still the same playful trickster that we know and love. He can dodge spells at will and can easily delete enemy champions if need be. However, many other assassins simply do it better without needing to land a relatively slow skillshot to do so.

    Katarina [Damage/Outplay]Katarina's ability to snowball games is undeniable. However, in her current state she's not so much of a solo carry as someone who needs to kill steal a few times to get going. She's by no means bad champion, but she's not about to one shot someone until she gets a few items. She's no Talon...


    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.

    Zed [Damage/Outplay]Zed is one of those champions that always comes back around after a series of nerfs. His shadow clones allow him an extremely high level of variability with his plays, and his ultimate gives him the ability to outplay almost every spell.


    Honorable Mentions: Anivia, Aurelion Sol, Azir, Cassiopeia, Ekko, Fizz, Kassadin, Katarina, Leblanc, Lux, Orianna, Ryze, Syndra, Swain, 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

    Top Lane Overview

    The champions that have dominated top lane in the past continue to beat down the rest mercilessly. While Urgot's being added to honorable mentions for his incredibly oppressive laning phase, he's not quite ready to overtake the reigning champions quite yet.

    New Champions

    Darius [Damage/Utility] New!: Placing Darius here is somewhat a matter of numbers, but it's hard to say he doesn't also have amazing utility. His AOE Apprehend [E] is potentially game-changing if he can pull one or more enemy champions over a wall, but it's certainly his laning phase that's absurdly powerful. He's notoriously hard to trade with, and even with his spells down he can still outdamage the majority of enemy champions with just his bleeds and some good kiting. Meanwhile, late-game Darius is no joke with his massive heals and true damage.


    Removed Champions

    Fiora [Damage/Outplay]Fiora has always been a strong duelist, but nowadays she's a bit more lackluster after several nerfs. Her ability to Riposte will always be better in metas with champions with telegraphed crowd-control and burst damage, and of course, experience will make up for it even if enemy champions aren't easily predictable. Nevertheless, I do think she's not as strong as she used to be and for that I'm dropping her down a bit. She's certainly still on the radar as a close #6 though.


    Returning Champions

    Camille [Damage/Outplay/Utility]Camille's ability to dominate the laning phase is good, but it's her absurd late-game snowball ability that can really change a game. Between her hookshots and her isolation ultimate, Camille's ability to impact a team fight is largely determined by her decision-making ability. However, with the right moves she can single-handedly carry a team to victory.

    Yasuo [Damage/Utility]: Yasuo is a champion that can all in at any level successfully given a good windwall. Meanwhile, the same windwall can utterly shift the tide of a team fight either by blocking a dangerous spell or simply zoning off the enemy ranged champions from using any of the spells successfully.

    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.

    Gangplank [Damage/Utility]: Gangplank has dropped significantly in popularity as a result of more lane bullies populating top lane. He needs to be a bit more careful than before, and power-creep on enemy champions makes it more and more difficult to land good barrels. That being said, his ability to poke down enemy teams and engage remains excellent. His global ultimate also remains one of the highest impact split-push spells in the game.


    Honorable Mentions: Ekko, Fiora, Irelia, Jayce, Gnar, Quinn, Wukong


    New Champions

    Kindred [Utility/Damage/Outplay] New!: Kindred's place here may be somewhat a result of being flavor of the month instead of a true lasting strongest champion when mastered. However, the utility her kit provides is certainly worthy of note. In a perfect world, Kindred's ultimate and ability to jump over walls would be used to their greatest ability, resulting in an incredibly difficult to deal with champion. The fact that Janna is played much less than she used to is also good for business.

    Graves [Damage/Utility] New!: When it comes to his smokescreen, it's hard to find a more annoying spell unless you're looking at Quinn's blind. Meanwhile, his damage is simply too high to deal with in his current state. This results in a champion that can clear camps insanely fast and gank far too effectively.

    Taliyah [Utility/Damage] New!: I never thought I'd see the day that Taliyah jungle would make this list, but it's important to give credit where credit is due. Taliyah's map control is extremely powerful due to her passive, and her ganks are impressively strong despite the slow proc time of her Seismic Shove. In the hands of a good Taliyah player, she is extremely oppressive and controls the map easily.


    Removed Champions

    Kayn [Damage/Outplay]: Similar to many that were removed, Kayn is still fine to play. However, he simply isn't as strong in the current meta. His burst damage is a bit slow, and leaves him open to attack. With the insane mobility on most champions nowadays, using his ultimate often drags Kayn into dangerous positions and inevitable death.

    Kha'Zix [Damage]: Kha'Zix will always hold a soft spot in my heart. Nowdays though, he's simply good and not amazing. Good Kha'Zix players will still perform well, but it's more difficult to snowball than before.

    Warwick [Utility/Damage/Outplay]: Warwick currently still works well as a mid to late game champion, but his early game simply isn't as dominant with all the other early game junglers on the Rift. When he was dealing with Sejuani it was easy to run around clawing everything in his path. Now with Graves and Kindred though, it's much more difficult to snowball games.


    Returning Champions

    Evelynn [Damage/Outplay]After the last series of bug fixes and buffs, Evelynn is in a great spot. Her rework gave her the ability to become invulnerable 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.

    Nidalee [Damage/Utility]If you're looking a high skill snowball champion, there are few that fit the bill quite as well as Nidalee. She's very skillshot based, but THE most versatile champion in the game when it comes to gank patterns and escape routes. If you plan ahead, she's constantly one step ahead of the enemy. When you combine this with her manaless movement enhancer, she's capable of some extremely frustrating plays.


    Honorable Mentions: Kayn, Kha'Zix, Rengar, Shaco, Xin Zhao, Warwick

    Strongest Supports

    New Honorable Mentions

    Fiddlesticks [Utility/Damage] New!: Fiddlesticks as a support is incredible right now. However, I do think he's still more of a FOTM pick than a true staple. His damage is good and his fear is obviously incredibly annoying, but the amount of utility he provides doesn't quite stack up to what you would expect from the other support Gods. I think with a few small numbers tweaks he'll quickly fall back out of favor.

    Morgana [Utility] New!: Morgana is a champion that will never be "bad". Her black shield is game-changing and of course, her snare will end fights quicker than they start. However, she's a bit easily outplayed and thus I have trouble putting her in the top five.


    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.

    Rakan [Utility]Rakan's always jumping on and off the list simply because he's somewhat of a nice blend of offense and defense, but needs good synergy to use both correctively. In the current patch, Xayah is extremely good, resulting in excellent Rakan abilities as well. Meanwhile, players discovered building Zeke's Convervence works insanely well on him as it provides everything he needs and more. Overall, he's in a perfect spot in terms of both damage and peel.

    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, Fiddlesticks, Lulu, Morgana, Karma, Soraka

    Strongest Marksmen (AD Carries)

    New Champions

    Kai'Sa [Damage/Outplay] New!: Anyone who's seen a fed Kai'Sa knows that she's basically Vayne on steroids. Vayne still has a place to be sure, but Kai'Sa range and waveclear are on another level. When it comes to sheer utility, Kai'Sa's cooldowns are simply more abusive.

    Quinn [Damage/Outplay] New!: How far we've come, from half a year ago when Quinn was so underplayed we put her up as a weird pick for bot lane. Now, after a multitude of changes to crit items, Quinn is actually incredibly strong as a bot laner. The new Stormrazor synergizes with her incredibly well, and her ability to outplay enemy champions using her Vault gives her one of the highest outplaying potential of any marksman. Meanwhile, if she's fed enough there's absolutely nothing to stop her from hunting down enemies as a result of the absurd movespeed of her ultimate.


    Removed Champion

    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. However, he's highly susceptible to enemy displacement spells, and his damage can be mitigated by simply forcing him to miss a few axes.

    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 keep her on the honorable mentions. While crit damage nerfs have diminished her overall potential, Vaynespotting is alive and well.


    Returning Champions:

    Ezreal [Damage/Outplay]: Popping Ezreal back onto the list was a no-brainer after Tristana and Press the Attack nerfs. His Kleptomancy setup still works great, and while it's still a high skill oriented play-style, it was good enough to get Rank 1 in Korea. Most players nowadays also opt for the Iceborn Gauntlet build. This gives Ezreal good survivability and kite power while keeping his damage at a respectable level with Manamune.

    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.

    Xayah [Damage/Outplay]: 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.

    Honorable Mentions: Ashe, Jhin, Jinx, Lucian, Kog'Maw, Vayne

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

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