These past two weeks we’ve seen the LCS switch from patch 11.11 to 11.12. What’s changed in meta for the pro teams? What was the high priority in 11.11 that changed in 11.12?… let’s take a look.
Changes in top lane
In 11.12, Malphite saw a buff that took his w on-hit damage from 10/20/30/40/50 (+10% armour) to 15/25/35/45/55 (+15% armour). During the 11.11 patch, he had only one pick and no bans, but he lost his only game, which was Cloud9 vs 100 Thieves. He was taken as a counter to Gnar, who also got nerfed this patch, but was not picked again after these buffs. He likely will stay as a counter pick due to all the fighters in the top lane.
Gnar was nerfed this patch, but it was only a nerf to his base attack damage, which saw it go from 59 to 57. In patch 11.11, Gnar saw seven picks and five bans, ending with a total presence of 40%.
In 11.12 however, he only saw five picks and three bans, ending with a presence of 27%. He ended up winning two of the games he was picked in, but in 11.11, he ended the patch with an 86% win rate. It seems that the nerf did affect Gnar in pro play as it was intended. We may not see him again until he is buffed again since teams view him as weaker in his current state, which is dictated by his dramatic drop in pick rate.
Wukong was another top lane champion that was nerfed in 11.12. His nerf was his attack damage growth going from four to three and a half, as well as his Q damage ratio going from 50% bonus attack damage to 45% bonus attack damage. In regards to play, in 11.11 he had a final of three picks and one ban, finishing with a presence of 13%.
In 11.12, he had no picks and no bans. Since he already had a low play rate in the highest level, it makes sense that he dropped off after a nerf like this. He wasn’t popular for some reason in North America since his rework, so this nerf did not help his pick rate in the LCS. I would not be surprised to not see him again in the LCS until he is buffed or is an overpowered counter to a champion in the meta.
As one of the most popular champions in the top lane, Renekton saw a nerf to his Q healing to non-champion targets. It went from 3/4/5/6/7 (+4% bonus ad) to 2/3/4/5/6 (+3% bonus AD), and the empowered went from 9/12/15/18/21 (+12% bonus ad) to 6/9/12/15/18 (+9% bonus AD). Play rate wise, in 11.11 he saw one pick and twenty-five bans, finishing the patch with an 87% presence, but lost the one game he was picked in.
In 11.12, he has seen eight picks and eleven bans, having a 53% presence, and won four games that he was picked in. The nerf seems to have done what it was intended to do, due to his diminished stats in lane, but the pro teams pick him for his point and click stun for the backline targets that he can get on easily. If he is to fall out of the meta, his utility would be needed to be nerfed first.
Changes in the jungle
Before the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational, Hecarim was seen as one of the two strongest junglers in the game. After a slew of nerfs, this isn’t the case, so Riot decided to buff him. In 11.12, he saw a buff to his base armour, going from thirty-two to thirty-five, and his Q damage ratio went from 75% of his bonus attack damage to 85% of his bonus attack damage.
Play rate wise, in 11.11 he was not picked or banned once, and the story was the same in 11.12. Unfortunately, Hecarim was never picked as a damage champion, but as a tank for dive compositions and not as a damage champion. Until he receives buffs his movement speed or he can get tankier, we are likely never to see him again.
In a similar vein to Hecarim, Udyr used to be one of the best jungle champions in the game, often being traded for Rumble or Hecarim, before MSI, but it seems that Riot wanted to see more change and hit him as well.
His R cone damage saw a reduction, taking it from 60/110/160/210/260/310 (70% AP) to 50/95/140/185/230/275 (80% AP). This change effectively took this champion out of the meta due to him using this ability making his clear speed much faster and dealing more damage on ganks.
In 11.11, he was picked a total of nine times and banned twenty times, giving him a presence of 97%, but in 11.12 he was never picked once or banned once. Until he is reworked, a rework that was decided in the 2021 champion update poll, we are likely to not see him again this season.
Changes in mid lane
Ziggs, a champion who was last seen being played by Damonte in the 2020 LCS Summer Playoffs, saw two big buffs this patch. Both his Q, the base damage went from 85/130/175/220/265 to 85/135/185/235/285, and his R, the missile speed went from 1550 to 2250 (minimum 1.2 second travel time), saw buffs this patch.
Previously in patch 11.11, he was not played once, but in 11.12, he was picked and banned once in the mid lane in addition to one ban, ending with a 10% presence, but also picked with fasting Senna in the support role, where he was also banned twice, ending with 13% presence down in the bot lane.
As the weeks move forward, I would not be surprised to see more Ziggs in LCS games. His ability to seal objectives from across the map as well as taking turrets is close to unmatched right now, fitting him in perfectly to the potential split push meta that may be coming in patch 11.13.
Changes in bot lane
Previously known as “Mr. 200 Years”, we haven’t seen Aphelios as much in the LCS as we did last season. Despite a buff to his magic resists growth, going from twenty-six to thirty, and buff to his attack damage growth, going from 2.4 to three, he still hasn’t been picked in either patch 11.11 or 11.12. There seems to just be better marksman champions right now in the meta when compared to him, but in 11.13 he is receiving more buffs to both the lethality on his E and the bonus damage on his Q so we may see him then, but we will not know until then.
In patch 11.11, Kai’Sa was one of the main three champions that were picked in the bot lane. Finishing with eleven picks, three bans and 47% presence, in 11.12, she was picked once and banned three times, ending with a presence of 13%. Her nerf was to her Q cooldown, going from 8/7.5/7/6.5/6 seconds to 10/9/8/7/6 seconds.
This change has seemingly killed the champion in the eyes of pro players. Her solo queue pick rate also reflects this, going from a 48.86% pick rate in 11.11 to 47.87% pick rate according to op.gg at the time of writing. Since she was so highly prized in previous patches but is not anymore, we may see another champion take her place in the top three at the end of the patch’s lifespan in the LCS.
Another one of the top three champions in the bot lane from 11.11, Varus, saw nerfs in 11.12. His W missing health bonus damage went from 10.8%/14.4%/18%/21.6%/25.2% to 9/12/15/18/21%. In 11.11, he saw seven picks, eighteen bans, and finished with an 83% presence.
In 11.12, he was still a high priority, seeing eight picks, eleven bans and finished the patch with a 63% presence, falling only behind Ezreal. While the nerf did seem to take some damage out of his kit, his lethality build seems to be too strong right now for pro teams to lower him in priority completely. Being able to hit the late game and chunk an enemy champion for most of their health from seemingly across the map fits too well into poke compositions, therefore he is still picked highly.