While the Korean players are still trying to figure things out as they are adapting to the pre-season changes, few things have become apparent. Due to the support item Talisman of Ascension, compositions have been based around mobility and/or hard crowd control to catch people. Teams are trying to stack up mobility to utilize Talisman to its fullest and base their compositions around it. Along with mobility, we see the rise of champions that benefit from the Defensive Mastery becoming an unkillable tank late game.
The top lane matchups have shifted a bit, as Renekton and Shyvana are slowly becoming less popular. Rengar and Dr. Mundo have risen up to dominate the top lane position while Renekton and Shyvana have become secondary choices. These champions all build the same item route with Sunfire, Spirit Visage, and most likely a Randuin’s Omen at some point in the game. All of these champions have either a lot of mobility, or the ability to catch people. Another thing they all have in common is that they are all manaless champions. Currently, manaless champions will always out-sustain champions who have mana because they do not have any restrictions on their abilities other than cooldowns. In the current meta, top lane is basically an island where two tanks try to out sustain one another. The reason why Shyvana and Renekton are not as highly contested top laners, is because Renekton doesn’t scale as well into the late game and Shyvana has no self sustain to benefit from the new masteries. Along with these champions, Olaf has also seen some play in the top lane but generally he is better for the Jungle position.
The defense masteries in the pre-season really focused on increasing self healing effects and making champions much tankier. By going deep into the defensive tree, you are able to pick up Perseverance, Second Wind, and Legendary Guardian. Perseverance allows you to heal 3% of your missing health every 5 seconds with Spirit Visage and Second Wind you are increasing that healing and any built in sustain by a considerably amount. This really benefits champions that have built in sustain and build several tank items. In a team fight, Legendary Guardian can give you up to 20 Armor and 10 Magic Resist making you even more tanky. Overall the mastery changes made the biggest impact to the top lane more than others.
Even before the 3.14 patch, Rengar was starting to become the flavor of the month and now he is even stronger due to the new defensive masteries. In this meta Rengar is used as a tanky split pusher with insane amount of sustain. The goal is to force multiple people to try to stop his split pushing, while rest of the team are able to take objectives by having a numbers advantage. Well how is it any different than other split pushers? When Rengar senses that people are coming for him he is able to use his ultimate and escape from danger but when the opposing team gives up hunting him down, he can turn around and continue his split pushing.
These translate to 3x Attack Damage Quints, 9x Hybrid Penetraction Marks, 9x Armor Seals, 9x Magic Resist Glyphs
There are some variations between the other players for the masteries but generally it’s player preference. Most other Rengar players does tend to use 5% CDR from Glyphs instead of flat Magic Resist.
Currently, players are running Hybrid Penetration Marks on Rengar and maxing Battle Roar first giving him wave clear and sustain. Typically you see Rengars rush either Spirit Visage or Sunfire Cape depending on whether they need Armor or Magic Resist for their lane matchup then buying the other after. After that theypick up a Bone Tooth Necklace because at this point you are tanky enough in fights where you won’t die easily and lose stacks. Since you get the same amount of stacks for kills and assists you as long as you can live through fights you will start to stack them up. As for a damage item they often pick up a Trinity Force because Rengar can benefit from all the stats except the mana and the between Sheen Procs and Savagery he is able is take down towers in seconds. If they are looking to be more tanky they will pick up a Randuin’s Omen and you can sneak up on the enemy’s back line slowing down their whole team.
While he is a split push monster, when it comes to team fighting he uses his Ferocity to use empowered Bola Strike and make a target immobile, allowing his team to burst them down. Since Vision Wards are not invisible anymore, Rengar can take advantage of this roam around the map. SKT Impact was able to do this against CJ Blaze and ultimately snowballed the game for them while CJ Frost Shy focused more on split pushing and taking down objectives.
This champion probably benefited more from the new Defensive masteries more than anyone else. Dr. Mundo’s favorite stats are Flat Health and Health Regen. Every Health item he buys, such as Sunfire, Spirit Visage, and Randuin’s Omen increases the effects of his passive and ultimate. When Mundo drops below the 25% health threshold, he is able to regen health incredibly fast due to his Adrenaline Rush, Sadism, Perseverance, Spirit Visage’s passive, and Second Wind complementing each other. At one point we witnessed CJ Frost Shy gaining over 1000+ Health Regen every 5 seconds.
These runes translate to 3x Health Regen Per 5 Sec Quints, 9x Hybrid Penetration Marks, 9x Armor Seal, 3x Flat Magic Resist Glyphs and 6 CDR Glyphs.
I did not use Flame’s set up here because Shy’s set up was much more common comparing to some of the other Top lane Mundos. Instead of Health Regen Quints he used Spell Vamp instead which did not work all that well. It’s funny that no one actually goes 0/30/0 in competitive. The most common is 4/26 and 2/28 both taking the CDR from the Offensive Masteries.
Due to the fact that Dr. Mundo has an Attack Damage Steroid and a lot of Magic Damage, running Hybrid Penetration Marks on him is most effective. Maxing Infested Cleavers have been the most common choice, as with the Magic Penetration from runes you are able to take big chunks out of people with them. That is another thing that Shyvana, Dr. Mundo, Renekton and Rengar all have in common. They all do a lot of both Magic and Physical Damage making it difficult to build resistances against them in lane. With a Doran’s Shield start and Dr. Mundo’s high Health Regen from his passive, it is very hard to force him out of the lane. Dr. Mundo also gains 35% Movement Speed at max rank of his ultimate, this gives him a lot of mobility and allows him to go where he pleases.
All of the Dr. Mundos that we have seen in Champions have chosen Flash and Teleport as summoners. This allows him to split push well as he has a lot of wave clear between Burning Agony and Sunfire Cape. At level 1 Dr. Mundo has been going into the duo lane trying to make a 3 man play on the opposing team then teleporting back to the solo lane without missing any experience. During the mid game he just split pushes and teleports into the middle of the fight and tanks everything in his way. Because of how mobile he can be and how fast he can regen his health, Dr, Mundo can run out of a fight and get back into the fray in the blink of an eye.
Before the pre-season patch, Olaf was on the rise and he still a terror in the jungle with his fast clear and strong ganks. He is still one of the strongest Junglers along with Evelynn, Lee Sin, and Elise. These are all hyper aggressive junglers who are looking for kills in the lane to snowball. Dr. Mundo and Olaf have been played in both the top lane and jungle position effectively. Dr. Mundo is better for the top lane has it allows him to scale faster and his ganks are not particularly strong as his Infected Cleavers are his only form of Crowd Control and it is not very spammable. On the other hand Olaf is strong in the jungle than the toplane as he has one of the fastest clears and also strong ganks. In game two of CJ Blaze vs SKT T1 K, Daydream was able to successfully lane gank on Olaf by landing axe after axe and perma-slowing Piglet. The new jungle camp has also given the 1v2 laner an easier time lane as they can clear it when they are waiting for the minion wave to get to tower. What all of these champions also have is mobility, with abilities to go over walls and or speed boosts.
Vision and Trinkets
With the Vision changes and Trinkets being introduced, aggressive junglers have been allowed to make early plays. Even though everyone can start with a ward now with the Warding Totem, it only lasts for 1 minute and gives players a false sense of security. As most supports start with a Gold Generation item now, they are only able to purchase 1 or 2 wards. This reduces the overall vision in the early game and gives champions like Olaf a way to just waltz into the lane and make a successful gank. Junglers typically start with either a Warding Totem or a Sweeping Lens. Being able to start a ward on Lee Sin allowing him to utilize it in an early gank or escape is a huge buff. Some junglers have opted to start with a Sweeping Lens this allows the jungle to clear wards in the early levels and apply pressure or come back to gank an unwarded lane.
The vision changes have benefited Evelynn more than any other champion. In the past Evelynn has been able to apply global pressure due to her passive, but Vision Wards were used to be able to keep a track of her around the map. With the pre-season changes, you are only allowed 1 Vision Ward per player and they are now visible. Evelynn can simply clear the Vision Ward and come back to the lane knowing that the enemy will have no vision of her.
These runes translates to 3x Ability Power Quints, 9x Attack Damage Marks, 9x Armor Seals, 9x Flat Ability Power Glyphs.
Najin Black Sword’s Watch played Evelynn against KT Rolster Bullets and was able to take full control of the early game. Ever since Diamondprox brought out the Blue Elixir start on Evelynn jungle it came become the standard start for most junglers. Due to the fact that you are not starting a Machete and that Evelynn is a very squishy champion you have a hard time doing your first clear. Running Attack Damage Marks allows you to have an easier time doing your first clear and it synergies with the Attack Speed buff you get from Ravage. Evelynn is a champion that was picked to snowball the early game and this still holds true as the vision changes have only made it easier. Running Flat Ability Power Glyphs and Quints allows you to get the most offence out of runes for the early game and quickly assassinate people.
Evelynn is also an extremely mobile champion due to her Dark Frenzy. She can flank the enemy team with her incredible speed and engage with Agony’s Embrace to set an ideal team fight. Due to the reset on her Dark Frenzy she is able to escape or continuously to hunt down her target. As long as the vision changes stay in their current state, Evelynn will continue to be a heavily contested pick until teams learn to play against her.
The mid lane position was not affected as much by the pre-season changes. Players’ champion pools have stayed roughly the same with a few exceptions. Some common champions being Orianna, Syndra, Zed, Gragas, Riven and Nidalee. CJ Frost Maknoon was able to bring out a Kayle pick as well as a Kassadin pick. SGB Pawn brought out a Katarina mid pick when their tournament life was on the line. Again all of these champions have a lot of mobility besides Syndra who has not won a single game out of the 3 that she was picked. The new vision changes has also rewarded aggressive mid laners that like to roam heavily. Due to the lack of vision mid laners have a much easier time roaming successfully. It’s not uncommon to see the top or mid laner trade in their Warding Totem for a Sweeping Lens to gain more vision control.
Gragas has been a highly contested pick since before the World Championships and he is still a strong pick through the pre-season. The recent patch has reduced his mobility a little bit by increasing the cooldown on his Body Slam. In return his Body Slam now does the full damage to every target that it hits instead of spreading the damage among them. His Barrel Roll’s Range was reduced a bit but now he can explode them earlier making them harder to dodge. This allowed Gragas to be more aggressive in lane and win more trades that he wouldn’t have before. His Body Slam still grants his a lot of mobility since he is able to go through walls with it but he has to more mindful when using it aggressively. Exploding Cask is an AOE dispositioning tool as well as a nuke. If used correctly it can knock people into your team and burst them down instantly.
These runes translates to 3x Ability Power Quints, 9x Magic Penetration Marks, 9x Armor Seals, 9x Scaling Ability Power Glyphs.
SKT T1 K Faker was able to use Gragas to dominate CJ Blaze Ambition on Orianna using these runes and masteries. Scaling Ability Power Glyphs is something that Faker always likes to run on his mages. This allows you the most Ability power out of your runes while giving up Magic Resist. Faker runs 9 points into the Defensive Tree because it will make up for the Magic Resist that he did not take in runes and this will allow him to be a bit tankier in lane. He is able to give up the 9 utility points that mid laners typically get because of the sustain he receives from Drunken rage and Happy Hour restoring both Health and Mana. The interesting point is that Faker took the mastery Exposed Armor which gives his Allies around him 1% more damage. This is most likely because Gragas is typically used for in siege compositions and team fight compositions and the 1% damage would be somewhat useful then.
Like the mid laners marksman has not been affected too much by the current changes. Lucian and Sivir are the most contested picks out of all of the marksmen with a 100% pick/ban on Sivir and 97.1% on Lucian. Some of the other common marksmen are Caitlyn, Ezreal, and Vayne the same picks in the previous patch. While other regions have been continuously to pick Jinx, she has yet to be picked in Korea. She just does not fit well in the currently mobility meta due to the fact that she has no gap closer, escape, and her speed boost only activates upon taking down a tower or champion. As the top laner, jungler, and support becomes more tanky due to the defensive masteries it’s possible that we will see more Vayne play as she is able to melt through tanks with Silver Bolt.
Lucian is one of the strongest laners right now due to his passive allowing him to get an extra auto attack off. With his passive, Lightslinger, he is able to out trade most of the other opponents easily. Being able to hit your opponent with Piercing Light followed and your passive then chasing them down with Ardent Blaze or Relentless Pursuit to proc your passive again will nearly kill the enemy carry in a quick session.
These runes translate to 2x Life Steal Quints, 1x Ad Quint, 9x Attack Damage Marks, 9x Amor Seals, 5x Flat Magic Resist, 4x Mana Regen per 5.
These runes have been the standard setup for marksmen for the majority of season 3. 4% Lifesteal allows you to start with a Doran’s Blade and still have enough sustain for the early laning phase. The 4 Mana Regen Glyphs allows you to be able to use your abilities more often which is crucial on champions like Lucian, Caitlyn, and Ezreal. CJ Blaze Captain Jack took both Spell weaving and Blade Weaving from the Offensive Tree. The reason behind that is Lucian is more of an Attack Damage Caster like Ezreal than your standard auto attack carry. Lucian being able to spam abilities allows him to gain Blade Weaving stacks and his passive allows him gain Spell Weaving quickly.
Lucian is an extremely mobile carry due to Ardent Blaze and Relentless Pursuit. Ardent Blaze allows you to repeated gain 40 movement by simply auto attacking a marked target. Relentless Pursuit is a dash that allows you to chase, escape, and even go through walls. While the Culling is not the most damaging kill it serves the ability to take down a minion wave quickly and also being on a very low cooldown. The Culling comes in very handy when you are trying to keep a tower from being destroyed or sieging an enemy tower. Combined with his passive Lucian is able to siege and take down towers extremely quickly.
Ever since Sivir was playable in Champions Winter, she has been banned out every game except one. She has received significant changes that has made her surpass the other marksmen in this current patch. With Boomerang Blade and Ricochet she can take down a whole entire minion wave with one combo. Now that her Spell Shield does not cost Mana it doesn’t punish her for misusing it but still rewards her with Mana when it successfully blocks an ability. The biggest reason that Sivir has been such a highly valued pick is due to the mobility that she has and brings to the team. On the Hunt gives you and your teammates 60% increased movement speed making sure that no composition will be able outrun your team.
These runes translate to 2x Life Steal Quints, 1x Ad Quint, 9x Attack Damage Marks, 9x Amor Seals, 5x Flat Magic Resist, 4x Mana Regen per 5.
In the one game that Sivir was not banned, SKT T1 K was able to first pick her for Piglet. Piglet used the standard rune set up on Sivir identical to Captain Jack’s Lucian. Comparing to Captain Jack’s mastery page, Piglet ran something a little bit different. He did not take Blade Weaving and took Double Edged Sword instead. Double Edged Sword has not been something that common amongst the marksmen. The couple point variations between players comes down to mostly player preferences. SKT picked Rengar, Mundo, Gragas, and Lulu all of these champions have mobility and with On the Hunt active it is nearly impossible to outrun this composition. What Sivir also provides is the insane AOE damage she can put out during a teamfight and the ability to chase people down with her passive.
The support role has been effect the most by the current patch which was Riot’s initial intentions. In the previous patches it common to see supports with only a Philosopher’s Stone, Sight Stone, and mobility boots. After that supports normally focused on buying Oracles and wards to cover the map, it was rare to even see a support having enough money to pick up a Shurelya’s Reverie. Due the new Gold Generation item choices, supports now are able to afford a lot more items and have much more variety in their builds. Aside from highly contested picks like Annie and Thresh other support champions are starting to rise with the pre season patch.
Starting Items and Vision
Currently supports have three Gold Generation 5 items to chose from: Ancient Coin, Spellthief’s Edge, and Relic Shield. So far every support in the OGN has ended up with a Talisman of Ascension due to the fact that you can basically have a Shurelya’s Reverie around the 16 minutes mark. Some melee supports have opted to start with a Relic Shield for the gold in lane and then sell it for the Ancient Coin as soon as laning phase ends. Currently, in this meta the 40% Movement Speed active from Talisman is far more important than the other Gold Generation items can provide. The core items for supports right now is currently Talisman of Ascension and Mikael’s Crucible. The reason why Mikael’s Crucible has been so common is that it is a cleanse for your carry as well as a heal. The Magic Resist prevents you from being bursted down easily by Ability Power assassins and the Mana Regen is always a nice stat for a mana user.
Due to the fact that each player can only place 3 wards on the map some supports have opted to not get a Sight Stone. It is not only the support’s responsibility anymore everyone has to pitch to gain vision control. Especially now that you can only have 1 Vision Ward per player it is really important to place them in tactical areas to avoid being cleared easily. It is really important that the support either start with a Sweeping Lens or switch into one during the mid game because Oracles can’t be bought anymore and besides using Vision Wards, Sweeping Lens is the only way to clear wards. We have also seen that when there is a melee support the Marksman picks up the Sweeping Lens for laning instead because being ranged, they will have an easier time clearing them.
Karma has been one of the most played support in Champions Winter since patch 3.14. She is an all around solid support with poke, self sustain, crowd control, shield, and a speed buff. Most importantly Karma has a built in Shurelya’s Reverie in her kit. Giving a maximum of 60% Movement Speed and a shield to everyone around her, paired up with Talisman of Ascension she becomes a huge initiation tool and disengage
These runes translates to 3x Ability Power Quints, 9x Magic Penetration Marks, 9x Armor Seals, 9x Flat Ability Power Glyphs.
Samsung Galaxy Blue Heart uses a 21/9 Page on Karma which seems to be a lot more effective than StarLast’s set up.
Both Jin Air Falcons Starlast and Samsung Galaxy Blue Heart have been prioritizing Karma over the other supports. You run almost the same set as you would when playing her in a solo lane. This allows you to poke effectively with Innerfire/Soulflare in lane and stronger shield from Inspire/Defiance. The Offensive Masteries lets you be more of a lane bully, while making your defensive abilities more effective. One of the lanes that was ran by Samsung Galaxy Blue was Karma and Caitlyn. This lane allows you to poke your opponent down with Innerfire/Soulflare and Piltover Peacemaker. Not only that, but it gives you poke it also lets you wave clear easily.
The Falcons were able to capitalize on the Inspire/Defiance with Talisman of Ascension combo to safely disengage after taking a risky dragon or to disengage from an unfavorable position. They have also 5 man camped a brush and using this combo to quickly jump on an unsuspecting victim. By being able to create a pick with the mobility from Karma you are able to force an objective by having the numbers advantage. In the current state of the meta, Karma is a really strong pick and she offers the same mobility as Sivir but in a support role. We will continue to see Karma being a part of compositions as long as high mobility is a priority.
In the current patch Taric is at a very strong state with the changes to his kit. Taric benefits from Armor most compared to any other stat because it serves as both defensive and offensive purposes. By stacking Armor, Taric and his allies become tankier, his auto attack does bonus magic damage, and provides more armor shred. In the early game Taric does a significant amount of burst damage with Shatter and in the mid game he is able to do as much as a tanky bruiser from a solo lane. With the purchase of some Cooldown Reduction, Taric can stunlock a target down with Dazzle due to his passive Gemcraft.
These runes translates to 3x Armor Quints, 9x Armor Marks, 9x Armor Seals, 9x Flat Magic Resist Glyphs.
I used Madlife’s set up here over both Mafa and Lustboy’s because there are more standard for Taric.
Both of the CJ Entus teams, Blaze and Frost, have been favoring the Taric pick in the support role. It was also run by Mafa from KT Rolster Bullets in their second game against Najin Black Sword. Since Taric does not have any gap closers or ranged abilities besides Dazzle going deep into the Utility Tree greatly increases his Movement Speed which allows him to be able to catch someone with his stun. There are some rune variation between the players as Madlife ran a full Armor page with only Flat Magic Resist Glyphs to becomes as tanky as he can in the early game while still being able to burst down his opponents.
While both Mafa and Lustboy ran a lot of armor in their runes they used Health Quints instead of Madlife’s Armor Quints. This is all just player preference, there are the most variations in setups for the support role. Every support always seem to have their own twist when it comes up rune set ups.
Taric has been seen to be paired up with strong laners like Lucian. Together they have absolute lane dominance and kill potential. Despite not bringing mobility to the team, he offers the ability to hold someone down with his targeted stun Dazzle. By gaining lots of Movement Speed from the Utility Tree, Taric is able to use Talisman of Ascension for the speed burst to get in range to catch someone with his stun. During a teamfight Taric can stunlock someone and become the tanky frontline.
In the current state of the Korean meta where mobility is pretty much everything it makes some champions obsolete while bringing in new champions such as Karma. Positioning and vision control have become increasingly more important as it is easy to be caught out of the position and die to roaming high mobility champions. Due to how tanky champions like Olaf, Rengar, and Mundo can get, we will probably start to see more Vayne play even after her nerfs. Along with Vayne we might see Blade of the Ruined King being built more often on other Marksmen and champions with long ranged initiation like Leona.
Alasdair ‘Bubble’ McDermott for Editing my poop writing
David Widrick for the awesome player splash arts
2×2 for the Header.
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