The annual pre-Worlds League of Legends game changes are a contentious topic. Each year, as the regular season transitions into the World Championship, Riot Games announced their ‘ingenious’ plans to revolutionise the way the game is played.
Last season’s ‘Juggernaut Patch’ crippled the 2015 World Championship, as the same, over-powered champions were either picked or banned for every game. Ahead of the 2016 tournament, Riot may have actually got their aim for diversity on the money, with an astonishing 110 viable champions on the table.
What is the definition of a viable champion? In short, a viable champion is one that a professional player can pick in a competitive match without getting completely dumpstered on due to the inherent weaknesses of their champion. The forgotten relics of Aatrox, Nasus and Galio may still not get a look-in, but any number of typically unpopular picks may well sneak back onto the professional scene radar…
20000 Retweets for a teemo pick tomorrow. 😀
— Andy Dinh (@TSMReginald) 31 July 2016
It’s worth noting that Team SoloMid lost that game against the eventually relegated NRG Esports… it’s fair to say Teemo is not a viable pick-up for the World Championship group stages.
Despite there being a natural preference to certain power picks in the mid lane, more or less every champion is playable within the right team composition. The long-overshadowed picks of Jayce and Orianna have suddenly risen into ascendency after some careful tweaking from Riot. Every western mid laner has been putting in some serious hours on the mechanically complex Orianna; Cloud9’s Nicolaj Jensen was witnessed crushing Korean solo queue with the mage on a number of occasions:
The jungling role, typically one of the most restricting positions for champion diversity, is a mark of the variety Riot have brought to the table for the 2016 World Championship. Zac is expected to see a lot of playtime after the powerhouses of Reksai and Gragas were toned down slightly. Ever the innovators, Korea are expected to some niche picks to the international competition, SKT’s Kang “Blank” Sun-gu is pushing Evelynn is a strong alternative, whilst Volibear is similarly rising in popularity.
With Mordekaiser AD Carry firmly in the grave where he belongs, fans will be hoping not to experience the madness of last season’s World Championship. The highlight of Edward Gaming vs Fnatic and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu’s Jayce vs Martin “Rekkles” Larsson’s Kennen was a pleasant fiesta, but unlikely to be repeated this season.
Variety is the spice of death, and as the 2016 World Championship prepares to commence on the 29th of September with some spicy opening fixtures, the prospect of witnessing previously unseen, devious team compositions is already igniting fan’s imaginations.
76 champions is Riot’s number to beat ahead of this seasons tournament, an accurate benchmark upon which to grade the excitement levels the World Championship can bring – let’s see that Teemo pick…