After the first, long and exciting week of the League of Legends Season 3 championship, lets take a moment on our collective day-off to examine some of the popular trends that are occurring in the tournament right now. Besides the obvious meta-approved titans such as Shen, Jarvan, Caitlyn, Orianna etc, there have been some unorthodox niche picks, a return to power and one champion in particular who has risen through the ranks to be a dominating force in the tourney so far.
Vi? Stands for Viable !
The emergence of Vi to many and the reemergence of Vi to the people who played Vi is definitely a talking point in this tournament. With teams like TSM seemingly picking her out of nowhere and the Korean teams running her in the OGN finals tournament, just what is it about the previously nerfed Pummeler of Piltover that is attracting the world’s best to her ?
It’s a really simple concept that we all know and hate half of the time! GANKS! A post level-6 Vi is an absolutely brutal gank and pick machine that can snowball a game for her team very quickly. A fully charged Q into flash into ultimate combo from Vi is a 1900 range gap closer that ends in a 1.25 second suppression of it’s target. Compared to a Nocturne gank, which is a 2000 range jump with vision loss that combos into a tether for a 1.5 second fear. Vi ultimate is easier to follow up on for the allied midlaner, and when you get to the level of people playing on the world stage, 1.25 seconds is all it takes to change a lane. Combined with high damage mids, there is hardly a midlaner in the game with the ability to survive a beat down at the hands of Vi and pals.
However, Vi is not a direct replacement for Nocturne or any other gank centric jungler such as Jarvan. She lacks the utility of J4 and the free stats of Nocturne, so without a strong early game to grab some items she really is hampered by the low gold income of the jungle. Without a solid team around her, Vi fails to shine as she can. While she should not be a contested pick in the tournament by any means, don’t be surprised if she gets picked a few more times or even banned out to prevent a strategy that revolves around her.
The ride of the Valkyrie: Corki comes back from the Danger Zone !
Once part of the big 3 of AD carries with Ezreal and Graves, Corki was relegated to a non-tourney pick for most of season 3. However, with the buffs to his best friend Trinity force, Corki has surged back into popularity with a powerful early-mid game laning and harassment kit and his same old strong, armor-shredding damage lategame that is coupled with one of the strongest and longest range escape tools on any AD carry in the game.
The buff to Trinity Force, mostly the new Phage passive, makes catching Corki nearly an exercise in futility for many bruisers. Combine this with popular support picks such as Thresh or Zyra and Corki is downright irritating with no easy remedy. Even without diving him, Corki still has Missile Barrage, making his siege as strong as it ever was with a constant stream of explosives being fired at enemies. With his Q’s wave clear and his ultimate, Corki’s waveclear is stronger than the other popular siege ADCs such as Caitlyn.
On top of all that, Corki has a very strange item option that not many other AD carries have. His boots. You may think it’s crazy, but Corki, an AD corki, has the option of running sorcerer boots viably. Why? Well obviously it’s because he has magic damage that is strong and scales on AD. But why would you do that is the actual question. A lot like Ezreal, Corki is useful to a team that is heavy on AD damage, such as a comp that would have a solo lane pair of something like Shen/Zed. While both of them bring some amount of magic damage to the fray, they are by no means an AP carry. With Sorcerer boots on Corki, you offer a patchwork fix to your team that prevents an armor stack on the enemy team from shutting down your damage. With bizarre utility like that and his most essential core item buffed, it’s no surprise that Corki has come back into the meta-scene and had an impact on worlds so far.
Don’t you trust her? Why is Ahri just so charming to the World’s teams?
Not quite a trend that started with Worlds, but one that has been overtly thrown into everyone’s face at the tournament is everyone’s favorite nine tailed fox: Naru Ahri! Mobility, lane dominance, strong teamfight or the ability to DELETE someone from the game make Ahri a powerful addition to many team compositions that will be exhibited at Worlds, especially a pick-off composition.
When combined with other World tourney trending champion Vi, Ahri can really menace a lane post 6 with inescapable aggression between the two. Additionally, Ahri’s lane strength, especially post 6, is some of the strongest if not the strongest you can find in a midlaner. Ahri is not a midlaner with a ramp up or fall off either, she is strong all game, from a Level 1 invasion team with her Charm to a late game assassin with few answers. Her ability to eliminate people such as the enemy midlaner or support comes from the burst combo of Charm, DFG and then her 3 high damage spells. With great base damage on four (!) spells, Ahri gets away with building Deathfire and Abyssal Scepter in either order, and then removing people from the game with ease and in a manner that is fairly hard to counterplay.
With no true weaknesses, Ahri is everything a midlaner could want in a meta-approved AP champion: Strong all game, many options to play either offensively or defensive and multiple build paths that do not pigeonhole her into rushing a non-AP stat item such as Grail or having heavy reliance on an item like Lich Bane to do respectable damage.
Ahri, Corki and Vi aren’t the only Trinity Force doing Puns of Damage at Worlds!
Besides this Trinity Force of champion that are seeing alot of action at Worlds, there is one other object, an item, that is also seeing alot of trending popularity at the Worlds Tournament. This item, of course, is Trinity Force ! Seeing a complete rework of one of it’s components, Phage, Trinity Force has once again become the cost effective, 15 minute monster of an item that we all knew and some loved back in Season 2. The rise of Corki is only the beginning of this neo-Trinity Force craze if history tells us anything. With first time builders of Trinity Force such as Kog’Maw seeing use of the item, look for the next trinity of trends to include Trinity Force monsters such as Jax, Irelia and maybe even the return of bruiser Nidalee to the top lane. With the first set of games played and another set coming at us tomorrow, the question is: are these trends the only new ones we are going to see at the Worlds, or are there even more S3secretsgg.docx that the top teams are hiding from us, simply waiting to reveal? Be sure to keep your eyes peeled and your mind open while watching the games, or you may miss all the cool trends that are happening right infront of you !