The last week of Patch 9.3’s tenure in the LEC has proven extremely interesting as original trends have emerged from seemingly nowhere, and as the most notorious flex picks fade out of the meta ahead of Patch 9.4. Of course, LEC players were quick to adapt to the changes.
Although many of the usual suspects remain (with Martin “Rekkles” Larsson’s Kai’Sa making its presence known on Summoners’ Rift), a few of them have re-emerged in completely different positions. In the meanwhile, old classics have also made an impact. Let’s take a look.
Support Galio: 70 percent pick presence (ban/pick), 100 percent win rate
As an old standard, Galio fell out of the meta in the mid lane as Patch 9.2 brought nerfs to his wave clearing potential. However, the champion remains a strong team fight pick, and three LEC players demonstrated that to onlookers at large. Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle, Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon and Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov unleashed the pick to the tune of a 3/6/38 KDA across three games (to 6.83 KDA ratio) and contributed to 68.85 percent of their teams’ kills (42/61 overall).
Galio’s toolkit allows him to provide exceptional peeling abilities during team fights, as well as be the perfect secondary initiator within a team. In the past, the champion traditionally excelled alongside Camille (before nerfs did her part), Nocturne to some extent, and Jarvan IV. Although Misfits Gaming and G2 Esports were unable to demonstrated the Galio-Jarvan IV combo’s efficiency, they demonstrated the pick’s game-changing impact during skirmishes.
As a support, the champion’s rune set is similar to his former mid lane counterpart. Indeed, both variants see great merit in the Resolve primary tree with the Aftershock keystone. In addition, they also use Shield Bash from the Resolve tree, Minion Dematerializer, and either the free boots from Magical Footwear (Hylissang) or Perfect Timing’s free stopwatch (GorillA and Mikyx). However, Support Galio favours Second Wind and Unflinching over Bone Plating and Overgrowth, as those runes provide sustain tools much easier from the position.
Sencux and Nemesis’s Zoe: 6/2/6 KDA vs. Excel Esports | 8/0/8 KDA vs. Origen
With most of the flex picks gone and the advent of control mages in the mid lane, the old queen of the mid lane has made her grand return to the dismay of many (or is it delight? The jury is still out on this one). In the end, Chres “Sencux” Laursen and Tim “Nemesis” Lipovsek dazzled on the pick – and Sencux illustrated how oppressive she could be in a regular game setting.
G2 Esports had already demonstrated Zoe’s power alongside Jayce, but she is fearsome on her own as she provides plenty of zoning through her W – Sleeping Trouble Bubble and damage in siege situations through Q – Paddle Star. Although she thrives in skirmishes, her power in team fights is nothing to scoff at either. In fact, the more items she can purchase, the higher the chances of victory. In fact, a Luden’s Echo and two Needlessly Large Rods could be all she needs to be relevant.
Sencux and Nemesis’s Zoe used the Sorcery tree’s Summon Aery as a primary keystone for more reliable damage in lane, and to access Manaflow Band, Transcendence to to convert excess cooldown reduction into Ability Power, and extra late-game damage through Gathering Storm. The Inspiration tree’s Minion Dematerializer and Cosmic Insight complete the rune page. Beyond that, the two players confidently purchased Mejai’s Soulstealer as they racked up kill after kill, allowing the item to be extremely cost-efficient.
Cabochard’s Jarvan IV: 6/2/9 KDA vs. Splyce
Another consequence of the disappearance of most flex picks is the fairly diverse champion picks that LEC players displayed throughout Week 6. Even then, two picks have appeared more than the others: Yorick and Jarvan IV. Of the two, Jarvan IV enjoyed a better win rate, with several top laners picking him alongside Galio. However, Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet did not need Galio to shine.
Indeed, Cabochard demonstrated how devastating the champion is at setting up ganks for his jungler. The matter led to a very fast takeover of the lane to a devastating extent, as he purchased Black Cleaver and Titanic Hydra before the 16-minute mark. From there, there was no stopping his side lane pressure, or his forceful and decisive team fight initiations.
Cabochard’s itemisation may have centred around damage, but his runes focused primarily on survivability and trading to some extent. The Fortitude tree’s Grasp of the Undying keystone allows him to recover some missing health after receiving damage, pairing well with Second Wind. In addition, Jarvan IV’s W – Golden Aegis shield also benefits from Shield Bash and Revitalize. Cabochard also selected the Inspiration tree’s Magical Footwear and Biscuit Delivery – the latter for more sustain in lane.
Maxlore’s Ivern: 0/2/11 KDA vs. Origen (91.66 percent kill participation ratio)
Unlike the previous picks, Ivern’s presence has nothing to do with flex picks’ irrelevance following nerfs. Instead, LEC players have seen him as a counter pick to “Karthus, one of the most dominant junglers in the current meta.” Jankos had already used Ivern during Week 2 within a shield-filled composition. However, Maxlore used him in a slightly different way.
Although the two junglers seemed to agree upon the importance of the Inspiration tree as their secondary one (with Future’s Market and Cosmic Insight as the chosen runes there), they disagreed upon their primary keystone choices. Although the two junglers sought to amplify their shielding power, Maxlore selected the Guardian keystone from the Resolve tree for shielding purposes, whereas Jankos selected Summon Aery from the Sorcery tree.
In fact, Maxlore’s choice also allowed him to select Revitalize to further bolster the shield from E – Triggerseed. It also granted him the ability to provide additional sustain to his teammates. Indeed, his Q – Rootcaller snares targets, allowing teammates to benefit from Font of Life. Let us not forget as well: Ivern’s kit synergises well with Ardent Censer, further amplifying his carries – an added benefit to his tower-sieging help through R – Daisy!
Kobbe’s Ezreal: 11/1/8 vs. Rogue
The final pick could also have been Rekkles’s Kai’Sa, but we have already explored that one in a previous highlight. Instead, another standard takes her place: Kasper “Ezreal” Kobberup’s Ezreal. The pick has been standard for a while and gained popularity before the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational, and he has been an immovable object from the bot lane since then.
Ezreal’s Q – Arcane Shot procs on-hit effects, providing it with a strong synergy with the Inspiration’s Kleptomancy rune. In addition, the spell is fairly cheap in terms of mana. The matter allows Ezreal players to stack two tears: one for Muramana, and the other one for Seraph’s Embrace. In fact, both purchases make sense, as Ezreal’s kit scales moderately off Ability Power, and as Seraph’s Embrace also provides an extra punch for Muramana. In order to purchase both items, and in order to address the pick’s lacklustre laning, Ezreal also equips the Teleport summoner spell to recall, purchase a Tear of the Goddess, and return to lane as soon as he has enough gold for it.
From there, Ezreal’s duty is to play safely in a hit-and-run style and pounce on opportunities whenever he sees fit. On that regard, the champion fits Kobbe like a glove: safe, calculated, and efficient.