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Nov 5, 2018

Which Champions are Strongest When Mastered? - November 2018

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Season 8 - Patch 8.21 League of Legends Champions List - "Strongest Champions When Mastered" Tier lists show champions that will help you win games the fastest for the effort needed to play them. This list shows the absolute strongest champions that you can pick after many hours of practice and learning the ins and outs of their kits. If you're willing to put in the work, these champions will carry you as far as you can go on the ranked ladder. Patch 8.21 : A few months after the last update, we're seeing many of the new champions and reworks make their way onto the list including Pyke and the reworked Irelia. On the other hand, I've also finally added Twisted Fate to the list after quite a bit of consideration as a result of how consistent and safely he can snowball games to victory.

Strongest League Champions 
Strongest League Champions

Season 8 - Patch 8.21 League of Legends Champions List
"Strongest Champions When Mastered"

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

Tier lists show champions that will help you win games the fastest for the effort needed to play them. This list shows the absolute strongest champions that you can pick after many hours of practice and learning the ins and outs of their kits. If you're willing to put in the work, these champions will carry you as far as you can go on the ranked ladder.

Patch 8.21

A few months after the last update, we're seeing many of the new champions and reworks make their way onto the list including Pyke and the reworked Irelia. On the other hand, I've also finally added Twisted Fate to the list after quite a bit of consideration as a result of how consistent and safely he can snowball games to victory.

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


  • Mid: Zoe, Vladimir, Zed replaced by Leblanc, Twisted Fate, Yasuo. Akali added to honorable mentions.
  • Top: Yasuo, Gangplank replaced by Urgot, Irelia
  • Jungle: Nidalee replaced by Kayn
  • Support: Bard replaced by Pyke
  • Marksmen: Quinn replaced by Lucian


    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

    Leblanc [Damage/Outplay ] New!: The master of illusions herself, Leblanc has long struck fear into players for her huge outplay potential and possible late-game one-shot ability. Nowadays, players play a more consistent Leblanc that focuses on maxing Distortion and popping minion dematerializer to maximize her CS and roaming capabilities. After all, killing one lane opponent isn't as good as building up some items and roaming bot for a clean double-kill.

    Twisted Fate [Utility] New!: Twisted Fate is one of those champions where it's easy to see where his potential lies. It takes some practice to easily one-shot minion waves, but once you get the hang of it his lane phase is incredibly safe for a champion with no dashes to escape. Meanwhile, his gold card stun means that his ganks almost always result in kills and not just summoner spells blown.

    Yasuo [Damage/Outplay/Utility] New!: Coming down from the top lane to land in mid, Yasuo is a champion that needs little in the way of introduction. He can solo carry a game offensively with a well-placed tornado or solo save a game defensively with a well-placed wind wall. You would expect a champion like this to be a jack-of-all trades and master of none, but it just so happens that his kit allows him to be a master of all if you're good enough with him.


    Removed Champions

    Zed [Damage/Outplay]Taking Zed off the list wasn't an easy choice, but readers will be pleased to know he's certainly staying on-board as an honorable mention. The main issue with Zed is that while he has a ton of outplay potential and his damage ceiling is incredibly high, he's also fairly telegraphed when it comes to his cooldowns. Enemy players who are familiar with is kit can generally avoid the bulk of his damage, making even the best Zed players only truly shine in a highlight reel clip.

    Zoe [Damage/Utility]: In her current nerfed state Zoe is fairly lackluster. While she's of course playable and can snowball to the point where she's 100 to 0ing enemy players, her skills (similar to Zed) are fairly telegraphed and players have learned to work around her damage. Now that her passive is nerfed, she's not nearly the threat she used to be.

    Vladimir [Damage/Outplay ]: Vladimir takes just a little too long to get going compared to the other top picks of today. His late game is just as abusive as ever, but to get to that point means picking up more resources and items than you'd expect for other mages. That's not to say he can't solo carry a game by himself anymore, but it just takes him longer than others. He's been moved to honorable mentions.


    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 crowd control 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. Her glacial augment build is particularly good and while it has some pros and cons when compared to the standard electrocute build, overall it's certainly made her into a more consistent champion.

    Talon [Damage]Based on pure damage alone, Talon is still 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 effective in pretty much any team composition.


    Honorable Mentions: Akali, Anivia, Aurelion Sol, Azir, Cassiopeia, Ekko, Fizz, Irelia, Kassadin, Katarina, Lux, Orianna, Ryze, Syndra, Veigar. Vladimir, Xerath, Zed

    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

    New Champions

    Irelia [Damage/Outplay/Utility] New!: If you ever wanted to see an overloaded kit Irelia is your best bet. Sporting a nearly instantaneous multi-use movement ability, an AOE stun and semi-unique crowd-control type, she's got the definition of a wtf-were-they-thinking kinda kit. While she works well as a mid-laner, her kit is still better suited as a top lane bruiser. That being said, she can snowball incredibly hard to be simultaneously unkillable and dish ungodly burst damage.

    Urgot [Damage] New!Placing Urgot on this list took a bit of time, but I think he certainly deserves a spot. His laning phase is absolutely abusive and there are very few champions that can trade effectively with him in any scenario. Meanwhile, his execute ability on his ultimate means that not even tanks are safe from getting rolled over in lane.


    Removed Champions

    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.

    Yasuo [Damage/Utility]Yasuo's power as a top laner is still very high. That being said I'm only removing him to make way for Irelia, and have kept him on as a mid-laner instead. Generally speaking his windwall will be more effective against mages than against auto-attack heavy bruisers top lane.


    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 hook shots and her isolation ultimate, Camille's ability to impact a team fight is largely determined by her decision-making ability. However, with the right move she can single-handedly carry a team to victory.

    Darius [Damage/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 out-damage 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. If he can get five stacks on any opponent, Noxian Might will absolutely steamroll teams.

    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.


    Honorable Mentions: Ekko, Fiora, Jayce, Gnar, Yasuo


    New Champions

    Kayn [Utility/Damage/Outplay] New!Kayn's resurgence to the list lies largely in the success of his super tanky Red Kayn mode. The amount of sheer utility that he possess in this form as a result of the AOE knock-up is more than enough to earn him a place on the list. However, when you combine it wih his movement through walls and dually offensive and defensive ulttimate, his position is all but solidified.


    Removed Champions

    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. In the current meta she's an excellent pick, but being moved into the honorable mentions for now simply because landing spears is often more reliant on enemy lack of skill rather than the Nidalee player's own.


    Returning Champions

    Kindred [Utility/Damage/Outplay]: When used to their full extent, Kindred's ultimate and ability to jump over walls results in an incredibly difficult to kill ranged champion that deals incredible amounts of damage. They can turn tides of battle by themselves, and really only need to watch out for Janna or Gragas. If those champions aren't in the game, picking Kindred means your team can really capitalize on high damage, low health picks.

    Graves [Damage/Utility]When it comes annoying spells there are few that can match up to his smokescreen. 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. His ultimate can also be used as an incredibly longe range execute, meaning even flash won't save you from death.

    Taliyah [Utility/Damage]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, shifting the flow of the game to her whim.

    Evelynn [Damage/Outplay]Evelynn's lack of early game invisibility hasn't slowed her down at all. Her damage is precise and powerful, and her ganks are extremely effective as a result of her charm. Meanwhile, her late game is extremely difficult to slow down or stop simply because of the massive utility that her ultimate offers.


    Honorable Mentions: Gragas, Kha'Zix, Nidalee, Rengar, Shaco

    Strongest Supports

    New Champion:

    Pyke [Damage/Utility] New!: The champion we've all been waiting for, Pyke is the highly interactive kill-focused support that every auto-filled player dreams of. He plays like an assassin, but focuses on play-making CC spells coupled with massive damage. There's not much to not like about him, and his overloaded kit means he has a ton of tools at his disposal. At the highest levels, Pyke is one of the few supports that can legitimately solo carry a game.


    Removed Champion:

    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 been incredibly good, and his play-making ability is still up there with the rest. However, it's hard to say he compares to Pyke or the rest of the champions listed, so he's being relegated to honorable mentions.


    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.

    Honorable Mentions: Alistar, Bard, Braum, Fiddlesticks, Lulu, Morgana, Karma, Soraka

    Strongest Marksmen (AD Carries)

    New Champions

    Lucian [Damage/Outplay] New!: Lucian's been on and off the list quite a bit simply because he's buffed and nerfed directly and indirectly so much. In the current meta, he specializes as a highly mobile tank-killing machine. There's also his level two power spike, which is enough to get him snowballing early through a simple E - AA - AA - Q - AA - AA combo. There are few champions that can hope to out-trade him like this, which means he generally gets a free lane if his support is competent.


    Removed Champion

    Quinn [Damage/Outplay]: Just as quick as she flew in, Quinn's flying out from the bot lane. Stormrazor is still great on her, but her skillset simply doesn't scale as well as the other marksmen on the list. Her lack of a disengage also creates issues in a meta where so many tanks are able to run down ADC even with a support trying to keep them alive.


    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.

    Kai'Sa [Damage/Outplay]: 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. Meanwhile, her self-peel abilities are incredibly good for kiting highly dangerous bruisers in the current meta.

    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, Draven, Jhin, Jinx, Lucian, Kog'Maw, Vayne

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

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