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Feb 24, 2019

Which Champions are Strongest When Mastered? - February 2019

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Season 9 - Patch 9.4 In our latest update to the Strongest When Mastered list, we're seeing the usual shifts in jungle, with relatively minor changes in support and marksmen. You'll note I didn't add Karthus to this list, mostly because I think he's more of a FOTM pick at this time. Yorick is potentially also a FOTM pick, but I do think he has a lot more staying power after his ultimate rework. Check out the full article below!.

Strongest League Champions 
Strongest League Champions

Season 9 - Patch 9.4 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, most overpowered champions in League of Legends 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 9.4

In our latest update to the Strongest When Mastered list, we're seeing the usual shifts in jungle, with relatively minor changes in support and marksmen. You'll note I didn't add Karthus to this list, mostly because I think he's more of a FOTM pick at this time. Yorick is potentially also a FOTM pick, but I do think he has a lot more staying power after his ultimate rework. Check out the full article below!

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


  • Mid: Talon replaced with Vladimir; Irelia and Zoe added to honorable mentions
  • Top: Urgot replaced by Yorick, Sylas added to honorable mentions
  • Jungle: Kindred, Taliyah, Evelynn replaced by Kha'Zix, Xin Zhao, Master Yi, added Hecarim to honorable mentions
  • Support: Rakan replaced by Zyra
  • Marksmen: Xayah replaced by Vayne, Sivir added to honorable mentions


    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 Champion

    Vladimir [Damage/Outplay ] New!: Late game Vladimir is one of the scariest champions out there. For someone with no mobility spells and limited crowd-control, that never seems to stop him from solo engaging enemy teams as initiation, assassination, and domination. His Sanguine Pool [W] can be used in a myriad of ways, and the amount of outplay this provides him combined with his unexpectedly high life steal allows him to run circles around enemies.

    Removed Champions

    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 main issue in the current meta is the strength of marksmen. With champions like Iceborn Ezreal and Black Cleaver Lucian as main staples, Talon's finding it hard to get in and get the job done.


    Returning Veterans

    Ahri [Damage/Utility/Outplay]: Ahri's power is a consistent 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.

    Leblanc [Damage/Outplay ]The master of illusions herself, Leblanc has long struck fear into players for her huge outplay potential and possible late-game one-shot ability. She's starting to fall out of favor as a power pick, but a fully mastered Leblanc is still impossible to deal with and can dominate a map by herself.

    Twisted Fate [Utility]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]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. His kill pressure from long distances is also absurdly high for a melee champion, and standing near a minion wave with a fed Yasuo behind it almost guarantees death.


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

    Yorick [Damage] New!: After the changes to his Eulogy of the Isles [R] mechanics, Yorick's suddenly finding himself absurdly strong when it comes to snowballing through games by himself. He's just as good in a team fight as he is in split-pushing, and with good ultimate management, he can do both. He has limited bad match-ups, and can still safely farm and split-push into rough ones.


    Removed Champions

    Urgot [Damage]: After nerfs to Urgot's kit, he's no longer the incredible dominating top lane that he used to be. With limited mobility and reduced damage, his engagement potential is low and he's become more of a kill stealer than a hypercarry. That's not to say you can't still do well for him, but getting him fed is simply less rewarding than putting kills on your marksmen at this point.


    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.

    Irelia [Damage/Outplay/Utility]: Now that Irelia is showing some age, we're finding that she's settled into this interesting spot. Once you fully master her, she's just as oppressive as a good Yasuo player. On the other hand, she's a bit of a high-risk, high-reward champion. The difference between landing her stun and not landing her stun is incredibly rewarding or punishing for such a small AOE spell, and will exponentially modify her overall damage.


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


    New Champions

    Kha'Zix [Damage] New!When it comes to 1v9 domination, few can do as well as Kha'Zix. With invisibility combined with resettable gap closers, Kha'Zix is an absolute force from start to finish that needs to be addressed. He specializes on picking off enemies that are the even the slightest bit overextended, and unlike most assassins, can jump right back to safety.

    Xin Zhao [Utility/Damage/Outplay] New!: Similar to Kha'Zix, Xin Zhao's notorious for his early game. Level two ganks are his specialty, and he forces enemies to play safe or face eternal camping from his massive damage and crowd control. His ultimate is also incredibly good for staying alive, and the disruption it provides can swing the tide of a team fight.

    Master Yi [Damage/Outplay] New!: I'm always a bit hesitant to put Master Yi on here, but this guy is indisputably the biggest pub stomp champion out there. If you're highly skilled with Master Yi, you can annihilate enemies from any division or skill level. When you combine his resets with his ability to dodge almost everything on low cooldown, Master Yi's ability to steamroll teams on sight is phenomenal.

    Removed 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. In the current meta I think they're still a good pick, but just not quite as good as the other champions on the top five.

    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. In the current meta she's still good, but weakened from her late Season 8 nerfs.

    Evelynn [Damage/Outplay]Evelynn's 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. She's still very playable, but similar to Taliyah, received some nerfs at the end of Season 8 to reduce her effectiveness.


    Returning Champions

    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.

    Kayn [Utility/Damage/Outplay]Kayn's current status is as a reuslt of his flex pick. As Red Kayn, the amount of sheer utility that he possesses 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. As Blue Kayn, he provides teams with excellent damage as a secondary diver. When playing against very squishy teams, this version of Kayn crushes enemies from every angle.


    Honorable Mentions: Evelynn, Gragas, Hecarim, Kindred, Nidalee, Rengar, Shaco, Taliyah

    Strongest Supports

    New Champion:

    Zyra [Damage/Utility] New!: Zyra in the current meta is the perfect counter to every meta sustain and hook support. Her high damage allows her to blow through enemy sustain, and her plants allow her to greatly reduce enemy hook support's effectiveness. Meanwhile, her low cooldown AOE snare is perfect catching enemy teams out of position, allowing her to deal massive magic damage with minimal items.


    Removed Champion:

    Rakan [Utility]: Previously the premiere all-in engage support, nerfs on the speed of his Grand Entrance [W] effectively made it much less of a guaranteed hit. In a high mobility meta, this makes him twice as bad. While landing it can still allow him to do quite a bit, he's essentially become a hook support that needs to put himself in melee range even if he misses his crowd-control.

    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.

    Pyke [Damage/Utility]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.

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

    Strongest Marksmen (AD Carries)

    New Champions

    Vayne [Damage/Outplay] New!: Back in play after buffs to her Tumble [Q], Vayne is again one of the strongest hyper carries on the Rift. Capable of massive outplays and sporting excellent self-peel potential, tanks and squishies alike melt quickly to her damage output.

    Removed Champion

    Xayah [Damage/Outplay]: After the Rakan nerfs, Xayah's lost quite a bit of her maximum potential. While she can still massively outplay enemy champions using her ultimate, she has trouble against meta supports like Lucian and Ezreal. As a result, I'm moving her down to honorable mentions.


    Returning Champions:

    Ezreal [Damage/Outplay]: Popping Ezreal back onto the list was a no-brainer. His Kleptomancy setup gives him a massive gold advantage, and his late game is insanely good with his reworked Essence Flux [W]. Meanwhile, his double tear build is still arguably makes him the strongest six item makesman in the game. While he may not win every all-in fight, his poke ability gives him the luxury of potentially two-shotting someone for free at any given moment.

    Kai'Sa [Damage/Outplay]: Anyone who's seen a fed Kai'Sa knows that the amount of punishment she dishes are on a whole other level. When it comes to sheer utility, Kai'Sa's cooldowns are simply abusive. Her waveclear is one of the best of any marksman early and 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 destroy any other marksman if he pops out from his invisibility, and his lack of 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.

    Lucian [Damage/Outplay]: In the current meta, Lucian 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 almost no champions that can hope to out-trade him like this, which means he generally gets a free lane if his support is competent.

    Honorable Mentions: Draven, Jhin, Jinx, Kog'Maw, Sivir, Xayah

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

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