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Five picks that marked the LEC’s fifth week

Week 5 of the LEC might have unleashed insanity upon solo queue for good reason: some of the most unique picks have made their appearance upon Summoners’ Rift in victorious showings. In some ways, Patch 9.3 has thrown League of Legends back into a time machine, with the likes of Zed grabbing the spotlight.

The LEC had it all on week 5, and we couldn’t be happier. New patch: check. New perspective on gameplay: check. New picks? Absolutely, check. One could have expected AD carries to outshine the competition as Patch 9.3 heavily benefited them, but other champions were just as impactful overall.

In fact, some of these champions are bound to throw solo queue into disarray, especially considering their popularity outside of competitive play. In addition, picks that were once considered obsolete (or reserved solely for solo queue flavor) have decided game outcomes in their teams’ favor in the LEC.

Before charging onward, we would like to acknowledge stellar performances from two bot laners in particular: Martin “Rekkles” Larsson on Sivir, and Jus “Crownshot” Marusic on Jinx. Although he missed out on Week 5’s list, he did so narrowly.

With that done, here are our five top picks of Week 5:

Kold’s Gragas: 8/1/5 vs. Excel Esports

A photo of Kold during Week 5 of the LEC

Excel Esports would definitely not call what Kold wrought upon them a “Happy Hour,” but he would.

Origen have been surging through the LEC rankings at a meteoric pace after a slow start, and they have stepped up to seemingly impossible challenges – such as beating G2 Esports. Before that, they demonstrated their ability to spiral a game out of control in Patch 9.3, as Jonas “Kold” Andersen took over Summoners’ Rift with Gragas, a pick that has been periodically in and out of the meta.

On his own, Gragas has a straightforward kit with damage abilities, a damage amplifier, and one of the best team fight ultimates in the game, Explosive Cask. A player’s ability to fire it in a way to deter chase-downs or split team fights favorably is crucial – so is their ability to combine Flash and his E, Body Slam, for a near-inescapable setup. Kold was particularly devastating on the latter, hence Origen’s landslide victory.

Gragas is one of the best junglers at creating gank opportunities for his teammates, as he provides solid damage on top of a reasonable clear speed. However, to truly benefit from Gragas’s toolkit (and delay using Body Slam to close distance), Kold selected the Predator keystone. On top of the movement speed boost, his ensuing attack or cast usually meant trouble for his opponents. As such, Body Slam casts resulted in surefire kills or defensive Flashes, which opened opportunities for all three lanes. Did we note that Body Slam and the Sudden Impact rune work well with one another?

Beyond that, Kold opted into the Inspiration tree’s Perfect Timing and Cosmic Insight runes, granting him flat statistics and a Stopwatch, which he later converted into Zhonya’s Hourglass. Following his dominant start, the jungler built primarily for Magic Damage, with Runic Echoes, Sorcerer’s Shoes and Oblivion Orb as his early-game purchases. Judging by Excel’s inability to fight back, that strategy (as well as Gragas’s brews) were a little too effective.

Nukeduck’s Zed: 5/1/4 vs. G2 Esports

A photo of Nukeduck during Week 5 of the LEC

Nukeduck’s unseen last pick on red side was the deadliest.

Remember how crucial Kold’s Gragas was against Excel Esports? His Karthus was also good. However, it was nothing compared to Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm’s surprise Zed pick as a counter pick to G2 Esports’ strategy and to Rasmus “Caps” Winther’s Cassiopeia. In a highlight-filled performance, he reminded everyone why Zed was once a staple competitive pick.

Since his release before Season 3, Zed has been extremely potent at dealing with squishy characters – stationary mages and squishy assassins alike. At the time, Zed players secured leads during the laning phase then translated that into a 1-3-1 side lane pressure gameplan. The transition allowed him to apply pressure and isolate targets, as opposing teams frequently attempted to dispatch those minion waves. G2 was no exception near the end of the game, and it cost them dearly.

Zed slings spells and weaves attacks in rapid succession, making the Electrocute keystone a must on him. The Sudden Impact rune also comes in handy as his W – Living Shadow and R – Death Mark cause him to blink to another location when prompted, thus increasing his lethality. In addition, the Inspiration tree’s Magical Footwear rune allows him to keep up with Cassiopeia for free in the early game.

Overall, Nukeduck reached critical threat levels very early into the game, as he purchased Youmuu’s Ghostblade and Edge of Night well before the 20-minute mark. Not only was he able to slice through targets like butter, G2’s magic damage dealers had a tough puzzle to crack. Later on, Zed purchased a Black Cleaver and Mortal Reminder, adding even more Lethality into the mix. The whole ordeal explains what happened in the video listed above in great detail – and why Luka “Perkz” Perkovic’s Sivir drew her last breath within milliseconds.

Jankos’s Elise: 7/0/3 vs. Misfits Gaming

A photo of Jankos during Week 5 of the LEC

Newsflash: Misfits Gaming may have become arachnophobic after seeing Jankos’s Elise.

Before their winning streak met a most unfortunate demise, G2 Esports waltzed through Summoners’ Rift against Misfits Gaming. In doing so, they ended their first half of the split undefeated. Beyond that, they showed that Karthus was not unbeatable, as Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski’s Elise stalked prey across Summoners’ Rift.

Karthus relies on his lanes to be even or ahead to be efficient, but Jankos ensured that such a thing would never happen. Indeed, Elise is one of the deadliest early-game gankers and skirmishers in the jungle when the meta favours her (which it currently does). In addition, she can orchestrate tower dives as early as Level 3. Jankos demonstrated both points very early in the game.

Elise’s kit allows her to use the Electrocute rune to its fullest, with Q – Neurotoxin (Human form) / Venomous Bite (Spider form) and W – Volatile Spiderling (Human) / Skittering Frenzy (Spider) providing four spells Jankos could cast within a short period of time. Beyond Electrocute, Jankos also uses Sudden Impact in conjunction with Venomous Bite and E – Rappel (Spider), Relentless Hunter for its movement speed component, and Magical Footwear to obtain fairly early boots as a result of his aggressive pathing and ganking.

As Jankos secured a very early lead for his team, he was able to snowball into Runic Echoes (Challenging Smite) and Sorcerer’s Shoes at the 10-minute mark. Due to the lead he accrued, he was safe to build a Magic Damage heavy itemisation. From there, Misfits had nowhere to skitter: it was G2’s time to feast.

Attila’s Kai’Sa: 6/0/5 KDA vs. Schalke 04

A photo of Attila during Week 5 of the LEC

Attila was the hunter against Schalke 04, and he had one prey in particular: Upset.

Amadeu “Attila” Carvalho and Elias “Upset” Lipp threw fire at one another in a pregame segment to set the tone for a fiery duel in the bot lane. However, Schalke 04 went further than that as they banned Attila’s Draven (when other champions were worthier of a ban). Their attempt at unsettling Vitality’s AD carry worked too well, as he took their transgression to heart: in came Kai’Sa.

Before Patch 9.3, Kai’Sa was notorious for her long ramp-up time as Stormrazor, Guinsoo’s Rageblade and Rapid Firecannon were essential to her. However, itemisation changes have thrown her build upside down. As a result, the new Infinity Edge, Runaan’s Hurricane and Guinsoo’s Rageblade were fully accessible by minute 23. Once Attila reached that point, his bloodthirst had reached critical point.

Unlike Rekkles’s safer Kai’Sa gameplay during Week 3, Attila unleashed havoc from the start of the laning phase. Once team fights neared, he set his sights squarely on his prey, Upset, and systematically shadowed his moves. That is when his W – Prey Seeker landed on his target; cue the Killer Instinct (literally) taking over, with Attila diving head first into the backline to obliterate Upset’s Sivir and other targets on the way.

Attila’s Kai’Sa was more about its aggressively minded gameplay than his otherwise defensive runes. Fleet Footwork and Overheal and provide excellent sustain and movement speed. The Sorcery tree provided extra scaling in Gathering Storm, as well as mana regeneration in Manaflow Band or movement speed in Celerity. His runes did matter to some extent, as he survived plenty of times after obliterating his prey, but the outcome justified the risks. With that in mind, Vitality’s victory was barely an upset.

Kikis’s Pantheon: 2/1/6 KDA vs. Misfits Gaming

A photo of Kikis during Week 5 of the LEC

What’s on your mind, Kikis?

What do you do when you’re a struggling squad such as Rogue? Judging by their response against Misfits Gaming, the answer was: to go all guns blazing – or on this case, go full Spartan. In the past, Kikis has built a reputation as a creative jungler, originating picks such as jungle Twisted Fate. It stands as no surprise, then, that he would be the first to unleash Pantheon in Europe for the first time since 2017.

Judging by Rogue’s ability to snap their losing streak, Kikis had taken the right decision. His hyperactive Pantheon may not have yielded as many kills as Jankos’s Elise, but his role was not to do so. As long as he brought peace of mind to his teammates, they would scale into relevance and skirmish whenever they pleased. In that context, Pantheon’s ultimate, Grand Skyfall, effectively zones opponents out of critical areas; failure to step away from the area usually met death.

Given Kikis’s role as a front line bruiser and tower diver, Kikis resorted to the Resolve tree’s Aftershock as his keystone. Beyond the extra damage upon locking targets down, Pantheon would also benefit from Bone Plating to survive further, and Demolish to turn positive skirmishes into tower takedowns. Kikis also secured extra survivability through Triumph (upon killing champions) and Overgrowth (while in the jungle or near minions).

In the early game, Kikis provided threat across the map and coordinated counterganks, securing significant leads across the board. Later on, in tandem with Finn “Finn” Viestal’s Urgot, he broke siege defenses and eventually broke Misfits Gaming’s base. In the end, his early-game gambit paid off, and Misfits bit the dust (and/or bakeries, considering Kikis’s usage of the Baker Pantheon skin).

Were these the biggest picks of Week 5? Would you rather have seen Mikyx’s Alistar listed? Or did Crownshot’s Jinx and Rekkles’s Sivir go unrewarded? Let us know your view in the comments below.