Why Do ‘Low-Picked’ Champions Suddenly Become Relevant In Pro League Of Legends?
The world of League of Legends has witnessed an enormous number of champions. While some of them manage to stay relevant in the on-going meta of the game, the others simply get lost in the sands of time. These forgotten champions receive buffs to their abilities and sometimes get a complete rework to revive them for the players.
The competitive matches over the seasons have showcased many champions, and it is quite evident that every champion wouldn't be the best pick in every team combination. As a result, many champions don't see their play-rate increase over the months. But does that signify that the least played champions are inadequate and irrelevant? Certainly not. They do have their position in every meta. Still, they don't seem to fit or provide the same utilities that other champions would in specific in-game circumstances under specific team comps.
Every champion in the game has a set of strengths and weaknesses. Good players recognise the limitations of the champions they play and understand the playstyle associated with them. However, the least played champions also have definite strengths, which could be lethal when used with the correct team combinations.
Let's dive into some nuances through which low-picked champions suddenly become relevant in the meta in League of Legends.
NEW SEASON 11 ITEMS CHANGES OVERHAUL
The newest Season 11 of League of Legends introduced a ton of new items, reworked items, and removed old ones to balance the game's meta. As one would expect, some massive changes to the whole meta and new mythic items were much more impactful first buy items for the players. Every champion in the game had different items to go for, and many champions have found new builds/routes for their champion based on the state of the map.
Coming back to the competitive matches, with items like Turbo Chemtank, many professional players have started using Udyr as a priority pick. Udyr hasn't seen many hikes in his play-rate since the last few seasons as players could never properly utilise his strengths. He couldn't close out the gap between him and the enemies; therefore, players never tested his burst of damage or ability to soak damage. However, with the introduction of Turbo Chemtank, many players have started picking him as a priority pick and dominating the jungle with him.
DYNAMIC EVER-CHANGING META OF THE GAME
The League of Legends meta is unpredictable. While it is possible to deduce which champions work the best with the meta's current items and stance, it changes so fast that players have to adapt by using different champions/items. Many champions aren't up to the mark where other champions could better perform their role.
Riot Games keep a firm eye on the play-rate increase and decrease of the champions. Moreover, the meta dictates which roles will be the strongest and will see the most versatile picks. The jungle has been a dominant role to play in the current meta, and it will continue to snow-ball matches in favour of the team with a better jungler. Therefore, its champion pool would be somehow restricted as the players would often use the meta picks. However, roles like mid, top, and support could see a vast number of champions as they could be counters to existing meta picks in the game.
PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS' 'SPECIAL PICKS'
Professional League of Legends players often have individual champions played by them in the solo queue ladder and remain hidden until an uncanny pick happens in the leagues. In the vast history of League of Legends esports, many instances have occurred where players have picked off off-meta picks and caught the enemies by surprise.
Traditionally, these kinds of picks happen in the LEC often; players are very experimental with their drafts and choose champions that fit right with the team combination. One such famous instance happened in 2018, EU LCS Summer Split semi-finals, where Rasmus "Caps" Winther picked up the Vayne mid lane pick in the match and changed the late game dynamics team fights, securing the series for Fantic against Misfits.
Whatever the reasons being, these picks are fun to watch for the spectators and analysts as they reduce the mundane nature of the game and keep everyone on the edge of their seats for the rest of the remaining matches. It is also one of the key reasons why esports is very exciting to watch in the contemporary world.
Images via Riot Games