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Sep 6, 2020

Which Champions are Strongest When Mastered? - September 2020

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Patch 10.18

Going forward I'm planning to update this page roughly once a month. If there's enough interest I might update it once per patch, but so far it doesn't seem like there's enough demand for it.

We're seeing a few newcomers make it to the list this time around like the newest champion, Qiyana to the mid lane. Meanwhile, Jungle's getting an overhaul and some old favorites have finally made it to the top of the pack. Lastly, we're swapping out Ezreal this patch for the hypercarry lategame powerhouse Jinx. Check out the full scope of changes below!

Strongest League Champions 
Strongest League Champions

Season 10 - Patch 10.18 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 10.18

The season is upon us, the one in which we update the Strongest Champions When Mastered list and all rejoice. It's taken quite some time to get this together and I've uploaded a live stream of the thought process behind putting the list together on Twitch available here. Be sure to follow if you haven't already!

As usual, some of the champions have endured the tests of time and remained on top while some new arrivals have come to dethrone their superiority. Check out the full list below!

Updates

  • Mid: Diana, Qiyana replaced by Sylas, Yone
  • Top: Kled, Riven replaced by Fiora, Jax
  • Jungle: Ekko, Olaf, Elise replaced by Nunu, Hecarim, Evelynn
  • Support: Pyke, Nautilus replaced by Rakan, Lux
  • Marksmen: Aphelios, Jinx, Kai'Sa replaced by Caitlyn, Ashe, Ezreal

    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

    Sylas [Utility/Outplay] New!: Sylas is what every mid lane outplay god wanted and more. His true potential of course depends on what the enemy team picked (pls no Udyr) but otherwise when played at a high-level Sylas is capable of executing some of the most intricate combos in the game. Playing him involves thinking on the fly and understanding the range of every champion in the game. However, once you've reached this level Sylas becomes incredibly good in the hands of a master.

    Yone [Damage/Utility/Outplay] New!The newest champion on the Rift is definitely providing quite the show. As a mid-lane champion he plays similar to a melee assassin while having the late-game power of a bruiser. His damage output and range allow him to freely dive enemy lanes and pop back to safety, resulting in a highly mobile champion with incredible AOE crowd-control on low cooldown. A well-positioned Yone is simultaneously unignorable and also impossible to kill, with his E effectively acting as an extended Zoe ultimate and giving him the ability to dodge enemy spells.

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    Removed Champions

    Qiyana [Damage/Outplay/Utility]Providing a champion with invisibility and gap closers is annoying enough, but when you combine that with powerful crowd-control spells you suddenly get someone who's extremely obnoxious. Her damage is still excellent post-nerfs, but she's being moved to honorable mentions to make room for Sylas and Yone.

    Diana [Damage/Utility/Outplay]: Diana's early game is indisputably strong and she's able to all-in very consistently compared to other assassins. Later in the game, her reliable AOE crowd-control gives her an additional margin of error when diving on enemy backlines, and the damage output is more than enough to be deadly to multiple champions at once. She's an extremely consistent solo queue champion but simultaneously also simplistic in execution. At the highest levels, she doesn't have enough tools at her disposal to make as many flexible plays and is prone to counter-engages. However, she remains an excellent laner that should be in any mid main's arsenal.

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    Returning Veterans

    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.

    Katarina [Damage/Outplay]Katarina has proven time and time again that a Katarina one-trick is able to utterly dominate any game where their team isn't getting hopelessly slaughtered from level one. Timing her resets is key, but as long as Katarina is able to get at least one kill she can easily steamroll fights and one-shot enemy carries with clean escapes without repercussions. 

    Akali [Damage/Outplay]Despite nerf after nerf, Akali remains a champion where the ones that truly master her dominate games completely and the ones who don't perform subpar at best. However, at the top of her game, Akali has the ability to instantly delete enemy champions in bulk while simultaneously being invisible and highly mobile. While she doesn't get hyperfed often, when she does she completely takes over games by herself.

    ---

    Honorable Mentions: Ahri, Cassiopeia, Diana, Ekko, Fizz, Irelia, Leblanc, Kassadin, Lux, Orianna, Qiyana, Ryze, Syndra, Talon, Twisted Fate, Veigar, Vladimir, Xerath, Zed, Zoe

    These champions also 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

    Fiora [Damage/Outplay] New!: Fiora finally makes it into the strongest champions when mastered list after a 20% buff on her Lunge [Q] cooldown. This change allows her to be extremely sticky and trade openly with almost any other top lane, giving her unmatched lane pressure and late-game strength. Overall, Fiora is a high skill champion that's easy to explain: just Riposte [W] the enemy champion's most important skills and crowd-control, aim it back at them, and then smash all their vital points. That being said, while Lunge is her core offensive ability that can be used to dodge skillshots, Riposte is what really carries her over to being one of the strongest champions in the game. Completely mitigating all incoming damage is a mechanic that in a nutshell, can be completely game-changing.

    Jax [Damage/Outplay] New!Jax represents the melee equivalent of Kayle with less strict breakpoints. He's item dependent to get to his late-game dominance, but once you understand early game match-ups he's almost guaranteed to get there. There are few champions that can truly fight multiple enemies on a regular basis alone, and Jax is one of them. He's one of the most flexible champions in the game and can easily turn the tides through macro game-play as a result of his ability to nearly solo baron and down structures faster than full teams can push. His counterstrike also gives him the ability to block a variety of melee enhanced auto-attacks, giving him excellent outplay potential given the melee heavy top lane meta.

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    Removed Champions

    Kled [Outplay/Utility]Kled's ultimate is one of the strongest engagement spells in the game. Almost anyone who's fought against him top lane will also contest to how absolutely obnoxious he can be in lane. Ever since they gave him a built-in Grievous Wounds, he's become one of, if not the best top lane champion in the game during laning phase. However, late game he can fall off, especially if teams are able to blow through his ride as he becomes drastically weaker on foot.

    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. Moving her down to honorable mentions this edition comes with hesitance, but it's mostly a result of her difficulties in the current meta dealing with recently buffed top lane rivals. I would expect her to come back on the list some day, but in the meantime she's lurking just below these top five.

    ---

    Returning Champions

    Camille [Damage/Outplay/Utility]Camille's late-game hypercarry ability and isolation power is incredibly good against low mobility marksmen. Her range and travel distance provided by her kit also means that she can engage from distances that most enemy champions would consider safe. This also gives her excellent jungle assistance when it comes to ganks and roaming into the river rapidly. At high levels, her ability to stall out her stun also gives her incredible mind-game ability, adding depth and flexibility to her plays.

    Mordekaiser [Utility]: Mordekaiser's really come into his own the last few months as a powerful lane bully, an excellent initiator, and the best isolator in the game. There are few times when he actually loses to anyone he ults as a result of the stat boost, and pulling enemies into his zone is almost a guaranteed kill. In a meta that's team fight heavy and AOE prone, dragging out a crucial utility champions makes or breaks a fight.

    Sett [Damage/Outplay/Utility]Sett in the current meta simply needs to get close enough to smack you in order to win trades. His lockdown ability is insane and his shields allow him to out-trade any champion or set of champions in the game as long as he isn't getting camped too hard. His ability to initiate is greatly enhanced by way of Hexflash and Nimbus Cloak, making him a very potent diver. At higher levels, perfect positioning gives him expoentially higher damage as his AOE skills feed off large scale team fights.

    ---

    Honorable Mentions: Darius, Gangplank, Illaoi, Gnar, Riven, Shen, Vladimir

    Jungle


    New Champions

    Nunu [Utility] New!: As a jungler, Nunu's somewhat like an upgraded version of Rammus. He's always moving at high speeds, loses minimal health in the jungle, and has some of the most effective ganks in the game. With multiple sources of crowd-control, a well-played Nunu is both unavoidable and unescapable. His objective securing ability is also second to none and is the epitome of everything allies expect from a jungle champion.

    Evelynn [Damage/Outplay] New!Evelynn's success is largely a result of her insane damage output and ability to 100 to 0 enemies from invisibility while keeping them fully CC'ed the entire time. The fact that she can dodge damage with her ultimate also gives her the ability to beat the majority of burst damage casters as long as she times her ultimate correctly. Her latest buff doesn't necessarily translate to her jungle becoming stronger, but giving her reduced cooldown on lane minions helps her shove lanes after successful ganks and provide additional map pressure.

    Hecarim [Damage/Utility] New!Another champion that continuously moves between the strongest and honorable mentions, Hecarim is a champion that can blaze straight through warded entrances and still successfully gank lanes without breaking a sweat. When Hecarim has ultimate and ghost, champions that roam past the river point are subject to unavoidable lane ganks and full crowd-control chains. A good Hecarim dominates the game from start to finish and snowballs incredibly hard to the point where he can one-shot enemy carries during his massive AOE-crowd control while still being relatively tanky.

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    Removed Champions

    Olaf [Damage/Utility]: Olaf is still one of the strongest duelist junglers in the game and has been moved down to honorable mentions. His strengths against heavy utility, high crowd-control marksmen like Ashe is unparalleled and he's able to counter-jungle almost every champion in the game. However, his late-game isn't quite as strong as other junglers as a result of his lower engage potential and damage he takes while trying to dive their back line.

    Ekko [Damage/Utility/Outplay]Ekko's crowd-controla dn dive power is still very potent and we're moving him down to honorable mentions. While his potential is very high, his crowd-control cooldowns, range, and reliability aren't as high as the other junglers playing a similar role. That being said, he can still outplay enemies very hard with his ultimate and should still be a part of every jungle main's champion pool.

    Elise [Damage/Utility]Elise is dropping down from this list as a result of multiple buffs to other junglers since the last update. She's a very stable pick but tends to be a bit too squishy mid to late game. While her temporary invulnerability helps with the survival, she plays more like an assassin than the heavy AOE champions we've come to expect from junglers.

     ---

    Returning Champions

    Lee Sin [Damage/Utility]: Despite his high skill cap, players have beaten the practice tool to death and being good at this guy is no longer limited to a few masterful players. Now his flashy skill set is highly accessible with some practice in the tool. If you've been putting off Lee Sin for years, now's the time to jump in the tool and finally become the Lee Sin God you know you could be. Practice tool aside, he's still got great mobility compared to a lot of other champions despite his age, and players continuously find new ways to use his kit and allow him to keep up with new champions.

    Shaco [Damage/Utility/Outplay]: Ever since they changed his boxes to AOE damage and his ultimate to an instant fear Shaco's late game has improved dramatically. His early to mid-game was always good and requires a well-coordinated team to stop his boxes from giving him a massive lead over the enemy jungler from the first clear. The amount of variation his boxes provide him also makes his jungle route incredibly hard to read effectively, giving him nearly global map pressure as a result of his potent early ganks.

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    Honorable Mentions: Elise, Ekko, Fiddlesticks, Gragas, Graves, Karthus, Kayn, Kha'Zix, Master Yi, Nidalee, Olaf, Rek'Sai, Rengar, Shyvana, Vi

    Strongest Supports


    New Champion:

    Rakan [Utility] New!: The original nerf to Rakan's ability to R -> W was mitigated by the fact that you can still R -> E -> W very quickly. However, the latest buff on movespeed to Rakan's R gives him back the nearly unavoidable AOE team knock-up that once put him on the list long ago. Now, he's almost guaranteed to hit his charm which leads to a definitely guaranteed knock-up. This means that all by himself, he can lock down an enemy team long enough for his own team to dominate while he skirts back to safety with his E. His damage output is also incredibly high early game, meaning that cheese plays and skirmishes where he lands his skills almost always end in his favor.

    Lux [Utility] New!: The kit that Lux has was always (at least on paper) something that screamed support. However, she was always more of a mid-laner as a result of her high mana costs and cooldowns. Ever since Riot started moving her directionally towards being a true support however, the dream that Lux support would be one of the strongest in the game is now a reality. Maxing her shield and building Athene's has launched Lux up to the top of the charts when it comes to damage mitigation, and her crowd-control abilities are still potent. Building support items also gives her cheap, quick cooldown reduction and mana regeneration, unlocking the full potential of Lux's kit after all these years. Where Lux support would be considered troll in seasons past, Season 10 Lux support has finally become one of the strongest supports in the game.

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    Removed Champion:

    Pyke [Damage/Utility]Pyke support was the unfortunate victim of solo lane Pyke's success. He's been nerfed several times ever since he started dominating mid lane, and as a result, his support power has been greatly reduced. He's still decent and has made it into the honorable mentions, but he's relatively balanced and won't be 1v9'ing enemy teams like he used to.

    Nautilus [Utility]: This tanky boy is still a very popular support. However, the things that he does, Leona does better. Overall, still a great backup to Leona, but tends to be a bit too squishy if he misses his hook and can't get his Aftershock proc off. In a game where his team is running Yasuo he could be better as a result of his knock-ups, but generally speaking he's not quite as good as he used to be.

    ---

    Returning Veterans:

    Leona [Utility]Leona performs well against both squishy enchanters and all-in engagement hook champions. While her kit seems relatively straight-forward and aged, it still performs wonderfully as a result of the sheer amount of lock-down she can dish out. At the current amount of damage most champions are dishing out, Leona's lockdown is more than enough time to secure kills every time her ultimate is available.

    Bard [Utility]Similar to a few other champions on this list, Bard started off as a champion that few would believe could be capable of things he's now capable of. His laning phase is an excellent balance of offense and defense, but it's really his map control that makes him incredibly potent. His magical journey gives teams insane mobility and his ability to set up ganks is second to none when you consider the range and consistency at which he can do it.

    Thresh [Utility]: Thresh is the king of play-making. His lantern and hook make him one of the best support initiations in the game, as he can bring a friend with him during his initiation as a free gap closer. The same lantern also means that a well-positioned Thresh can allow his fed marksmen to play aggressively and not worry about being ganked. He's been on the list ever since its inception for good reason and will likely remain on the list until more champions are released.


    Honorable Mentions: Alistar, Blitzcrank, Janna, Lulu, Lux, Morgana, Nautilus, Pyke, Senna, Soraka

    Strongest Marksmen (AD Carries)


    New Champion

    Ezreal [Damage/Outplay] New!: Not surprisingly, Ezreal's back on the list. His mid to late game is still incredibly strong once he completes his Muramana, and he scales to the point where his long-ranged Q hits are capable of chunking enemies down to half health. Meanwhile, his laning phase early tends to be relatively weak...unless he lands all his Q's, at which point it becomes incredibly strong. Either way, Ezreal's potential is definitely very high and a playing him well will always be beneficial to your team.

    Caitlyn [Damage/Utility] New!: After nerfs on a lot of all-in champions, Caitlyn's back in the fray as one of the strongest full game marksmen in the game. She's always had a strong early game but ended up getting outscaled by 1v5 marksmen.  However, now that most marksmen actually need a team to help them, she's become a staple pick that deals the damage necessary and is safe enough to be alive to do so. At higher levels, her trap combos end up being surprisingly intricate and a good Caitlyn player's mind games become the most integral part of her playstyle.

    Ashe [Utility] New!: Similar to Caitlyn, in a world where hypercarries no longer have the ability to two shot front lines Ashe is proving to be very potent. Despite a few nerfs she remains one of the strongest marksmen in the game and her utility is unparalleled. She's one of the few marksmen that have consistently deserved a spot at least on honorable mentions ever since her release...in Season One.

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    Removed Champions

    Aphelios [Damage/Utility]: Aphelios is still a champion with a lot of potential, but nerf after nerf has taken him down from being one of the strongest champions when mastered. Even the best Aphelios players will have trouble against a decent Ashe, and his lane dominance doesn't generally translate to massive leads unless he gets a ton of kills. That being said, I do think he deserves at least a spot in honorable mentions.

    Jinx [Damage/Utility]: Jinx almost stayed on the list instead of Vayne, but for now she's being moved to honorable mentions. She's a late-game powerhouse and one of the few marksmen with good early-game crowd control. However, overall she just doesn't have quite as much impact early game as other marksmen and her snowball potential mostly relies on picking up some cheap kills mid-game.

    Kai'Sa [Damage/Outplay]: Similar to Aphelios, Kai'Sa is a victim of pro play nerfs. Again similar, she's being moved to honorable mentions as she can still be quite good, but simply doesn't shine the way she used to after a few swift smacks with the nerf bat. Her outplay potential and damage output is still incredibly high if you proc her passive, making her 1v1 strength very high. However, she needs a good team to play around and a support that knows her damage output almost as well as she does.

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    Returning Champions:

    Vayne [Damage/Outplay]: Vayne is one of the few hypercarries that can do decent early too. She struggles against Ashe and Caitlyn, but at the same time is able to solo both of them after two or three items. That being said, we're leaving her on the list because she's one of the few marksmen that's able to self-peel while simultaneously annihilating front-line tanks.

    Senna [Damage/Utility]: Senna packs a reliable crowd-control spell along with massive utility in the form of long-range slow (with Glacial Augment) and low cooldown healing power. While she doesn't act as a traditional marksman, her utility means that with good positioning she's capable of solo carrying a game indirectly. That being said, her stacking passive means that late-game Senna is capable of chunking enemies extremely hard from long-range, making her safer and safer as the game goes on.

    Honorable Mentions: Aphelios, Draven, Jhin, Jinx, Kai'Sa, Kog'Maw, Twitch, Xayah, Yasuo

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




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