Evaluation of Champion Trends in Season 3
Thu 17th Jan 2013 - 4:02pm: League of Legends
Hey guys, it's Fox here and today I want to talk about champion trends. I've been studying the champion picks and bans over the last month on lolking.net, and comparing the numbers to the picks and bans at the Season 3 Qualifiers. So below I have some graphs, showing some game statistics. I want to just talk about what has changed, and why picks have shifted
(Click the image to enlarge) - Source
These statistics are from the Season 3 Qualifier in North America. I started to realize a lot of the power of champions in Season 3, and I feel like these statistics are very characteristic of this season.
The thing I find most note worthy is the sheer lack of AP mages. There are AP Assassins like Evelynn and Katarina, but champions like Morgana, Oriana, and Anivia, and other AP utility mids that were highly contested picks in Season 2 are getting little to no play in Season 3. I think a large portion of this has to do with itemization. AP champions don't have the power to go toe to toe with the AD casters bruisers that have started to occupy mid lane. With the change to armor penetration and Black Cleaver as a strong new item, most teams don't feel the need to even have a magic damage champion.
We also just see a ton of assassins. Itemization for burst damage is really strong, where some defensive items are less cost effective than they used to be, causing champions like Evelynn, Kha'zix, and Katarina to bring chaos to the Fields of Justice.
Now when I look at the highest win rate champions, one thing comes to mind, and it's presence. The amount of strong team fight (8 of the 10 champions there have AoE ultimates) is ridiculous, and a lot of strong gankers like Shaco, Eve, and Twisted Fate. When this champion is on the map, you can't take one misstep because these champions will punish you for every mistake you make.
I want to talk about Taric for a moment though. If you look at the graphs, champions like Talon and Sejuani have good win rates, but it's from a small sample size and that's hard to be perfectly accurate about. But Taric is the exception, having both an amazing win rate, and a really high pick rate. I think part of the reason Taric has such a high win rate is the popularity of AD assassins. Taric is absolutely perfect at getting into the assassin's face and stopping them from killing his team. Most of the popular assassins are building pure damage with no defensive items, so if Taric catches one in a two second stun, they can easily be bursted down. And with teams deciding to skip having any magic damage in favor of more AD, Taric's armor aura can do lots to make his team more durable.
Seeing more and more assassins.
Many others are the standard bans Shen, Malphite, Blitzcrank, Amumu, champions who have a ton of presence and can abuse bad positioning. I think Blitzcrank will always be somewhat feared, because there is no way he can be balanced around the sheer game changing potential that he can bring with just one well placed grab.
Alright guys, I've got one more graph I'd like to look at. Here are the ban stats from 6 months ago. This is just really interesting to me, to see what players were concerned about then, compared to now.
Shen and Malphite on top of the list, they have a lower ban rate now but are still as strong as ever. Twitsted Fate is still the king of ganking all over the map. But when I was looking over this, I had to wonder, where are the rest of these champions now? Most of these champions recieved nerfs landed into a much more balance spot, but I'm going to talk about a few of them who stand out.
Alistar: After getting a handful of small nerfs here and there, it seems Alistar's glory days are over, and is now among the champions with the lowest win rates in the game.
Morgana: formerly one of the safest and most powerful midlaners, Morgana has dropped off in popularity significantly, and is now consistantly below 50% win rate, losing more games than she wins
Rumble: Right now Rumble has a very high win rate, and a very low number of picks/bans. Liandry's Torment and Rylai's on Rumble allow him to just deal so much damage, and his team fight presence is huge with a good ult. Keep an eye out for him in the future.
Jungle Changes in the Thresh Patch
With the changes to the jungle, to decrease the health of the small minions, and increase the health of the large minions, I think it will help tone down champions with strong AoE clears. It will also allow single target champions to catch up a little, and I'm interested to see what junglers become popular in the coming patch. I suspect the changes won't go into effect right away, but over time I predict a decline in Amumu picks, and we will be seeing higher diversity in junglers.
Thoughts and Conclusions
So in this patch it's just all about who can adapt to the new items. I think mid lane is where we see it the most. With mid being full of assassins, AD (Talon, Kha'zix, Pantheon) or AP (Evelynn, Katarina), the standard AP Mages like Morgana, Ahri, or Oriana just have too much trouble keeping up. I think it's still early in the season to be making broad proclimations, but I would like to see itemization for AP casters increased. With the changes being put into the Thresh patch, such as nerfs for Eve and Kha'zix and changes to popular items like Crystaline Flask, I'm interested in seeing what happens to these champions, and if the top champions shift.
Thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoyed!