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League of Legends Season 11: Meta Breakdown

League of Legends Meta Report

League of Legends Season 11 kicked off a couple of weeks ago, and the competition is slowly but surely heating up across all regions. Preseason patch brought a complete shop and items overhaul that brought many exciting changes and introduced some new, interesting mechanics. New champions Samira, Yone, and Rell also got their chance to shine on the “Competitive Summoner’s Rift” for the first time. Without further ado, let’s dive into the first edition of the Season 11 League of Legends Meta breakdown.

Even though the season started quite recently, we have gathered a good sample size to observe what teams prefer early on into the season. More than 500 League of Legends games have already been played across the World. However, this LoL meta breakdown will focus on the four largest and most popular leagues. Teams in Europe’s LEC, North America’s LCS, Korea’s LCK, and China’s LPL collectively played over 200 games.

Strong Teamfight and Hard Engage Comps

There are two major reasons why team fightcomps with a lot of engage options dominate the meta right now. The first one is that it is still early in the competitive season and there are a lot of newly formed rosters. Many teams replaced one or multiple players, so they did not have as much time to practice together yet. Teamfight comps are famous for usually being easier to execute than splitpush or poke comps that require more team coordination. The second and the main reason is Dragon soul still being very powerful and usually the game-ending objective. Comps that are designed to fight 5v5 around objectives, with strong lanes can usually control early dragons and eventually force the enemy team to contest them 5v5 at some point in the game.

However, that doesn’t mean that teams just pick ultra late-game scaling and “wombo-combos” all the time. With the introduction of new Mythic items, more champions get tremendous one or two items powerspikes than before.

Nevertheless, we have seen a decent amount of poke or semi-poke compositions centred mostly around Zoe paired up with Jhin, Nidalee, or Jayce. Those types of compositions focus around strong lanes and utilizing your poke as a tool to repel enemy teams from contesting objectives, as well as having a great siege potential. However, they usually require being ahead coming into the mid-game and that is why they are the most popular in LPL that is famous for early action and a lot of kills.

Check out a video made by Evil Geniuses Competitive & Collegiate Development Lead and LPL expert Kelsey Moser about the dynamic of Poke comps in Season 11 LPL.

Credit: Kelsey Moser/Kelsey’s YouTube Channel

The Fall of Flex Picks

The amount of “viable” flex picks in Season 11 has been significantly lower compared to Season 10. Strong flex champions like Sett, Lucian, Shen, etc. have drastically fallen in priority. Also, there are examples like Syndra who is still high in priority, however, she is not being flexed bot lane in Season 11 so far.

The only true flex pick that is relatively high in priority is Galio who has been played quite a lot in both mid and support roles, even though he lies only at 47% presence.

Gragas has 50% presence, but he has mostly been used top lane(48 games). “The fat man’s” secondary role seems to be support, where he appeared 16 times plus only 3 times in the jungle.

Akali is in a weird spot right now. She stands at 50% presence although, in 87% of those games, she was banned. Furthermore, Akali’s overall presence is expected to significantly fall with the nerf to her Q energy cost.

Other flexible champions worth mentioning are Sett with 34% presence(87% of games as support), Lucian with 34% presence(77% of games in the mid lane), and Jayce with 27% presence(90% of games in the top lane).

Even though this situation is unusual for recent League of Legends metas in the past years, the meta itself is still developing. For example, champions that like to build Moonstone Renewer like Seraphine, Lulu, and Ivern are all playable in multiple roles and might see a rise in priority, but more on that later.

Power Picks

Power picks are the champions that have a very high ban rate as well as overall presence. The champions that teams don’t want to leave out open, so they usually have a high Red side ban rate. Power picks are perceived as one of the strongest champions in the game, and most likely don’t have any hard counters and unplayable matchups in the meta.

Most Contested Champions-League of Legends Season 11 Meta Breakdown
Data Source: gol.gg

Pantheon is the most banned champion to date in 2021, with a 72% ban rate including 74.9% of the bans being on the Red side in phase 1. He has got an 88% overall presence which clearly defines him as a power pick. Pantheon’s win rate of 63% is also very good.

The second most banned champion is Olaf. He has been banned in 59.1% of the games, with just over half(56.2%)being in the first phase by a red side team. Olaf is the second most contested champion in this meta with 93% presence. Even though Olaf is universally viewed as “broken”, his win rate stands at only 51%.

Next on the list is yet another jungler, Taliyah with a 56% ban rate and 61.5% red side first phase ban rate, as well as 72% overall presence. Taliyah has won a stunning 82% of her games(31 out of 38) which is the highest win rate out of any champion played more than twice.

Following two champions don’t draw as much 1st round red side bans, however, still have a huge impact in the draft phase.
Kai’Sa is the first non-jungle champion that is in this group. Although Kai’Sa doesn’t have as high of a ban rate(30.2%), she is by far the most played champion with 149 picks in 232 games with a 57% win rate. Also, Kai’Sa has the highest overall presence with 94.4%. The fact that ADC with the second-highest presence is Samira at 57%, emphasizes how teams feel about Kai’Sa in this meta.

The other one is Renekton who got banned in 47% of the games however, he has the 4th highest presence competitive League of Legends. “The Croc” has been picked or banned in 81% of all games and won 60% of them.

Most Phase One Red Side Bans- League of Legends Season 11 Meta Breakdown
Data Source: gol.gg

Blue and Red Side Dynamic in Drafts

Historically speaking Blue side has been favored in many more metas than Red side. The comfort of having the first pick in the draft, as well as being able to have more target bans is usually something teams like to have. However, the red side emerges when there are no or very few must ban power picks.

Out of the all champions in this meta, only Pantheon and Olaf seem to qualify as the S+ tier across all regions. And even they have a decent amount of answers due to the jungle role being extremely versatile at this moment. There are six jungle champions with at least 48% presence which is double compared to last year’s Summer split and 2020 World championship respectively. (Sett qualifies too, but he was heavily played in other roles too).

Blue/Red side dynamic-LPL spring split 2021-League of Legends Season 11 Meta Breakdown
Blue/Red side dynamic-LPL spring split 2021
Credit: gol.gg

Despite that, the Blue side still seems to be “the better side” if we look at the win rate. The Blue side has a comfortably better win rate in all major regions with the average being over 60%. It will be interesting to track this statistic over the course of the season as more games are being played and the meta develops further.

Top Lane a.k.a. Bruiserland

“Bruiserland,” “Goredrinkerland,” “Steraksland,” all those names fit the top lane meta pretty good. Bruiser items are extremely strong at this point, and champions that can abuse them the most are in a great spot.

Already mentioned Renekton leads the charge in the top lane with 78% presence. Renekton has been a very popular pick even last season, and Goredrinker + Sterak’s Gage build path gave him incredibly potent power spikes. He is still dominant in the laning phase, but the amount of heals and shields he gets from his build, make him scale much better into the late game than previous season. Renekton is especially effective when paired with strong AP junglers with high amount of burst, such as Taliyah and Nidalee. He can set up ganks and dives very easily. Enemies have a hard time surviving their burst since they can’t itemize against both AD and AP threat early on into the game.

Renekton
Credit: Riot Games

Even though she doesn’t build Goredrinker or Stridebreaker, Camille is the second most contested top laner with 68% presence. Camille’s mix of strong laning phase, dominant side lane presence in the later stages, as well as providing great value in isolating priority targets in teamfights, make her very appealing to pro teams. She deals a lot of damage in all stages of the game, as most players seem to prefer Trinity Force into Ravenous Hydra build.

Just behind Camille, Gnar is the third most contested top laner with 66% presence. Even though a part of the community feels like he is not very good, pro teams seem to think otherwise. He doesn’t have many terrible matchups in the current meta, and his impact can be huge if played correctly. Mega Gnar has been buffed, and we all know that a good Gnar ultimate can change the course of a teamfight. Gnar’s builds have been a bit “all over the place,” however Stridebreaker into Sterak’s Gage is the most common option.

Following the top 3, there is a big gap until the next champion in terms of presence. Ornn is the only true tank option that is present in the top lane with a 36% pick and ban ratio. Gragas is another tanky champion up there with 42% presence however, he has multiple build paths that sometimes lean more into AP. Other champions are worth mentioning are Jayce with 26%, Gangplank with 21%, and another “Goredrinker abuser” Aatrox with 30% presence in drafts.

Picks to watch

With recent Goredrinker nerfs, we might see the rise of some new picks in the top lane. Perhaps we see more tanks with some of the tank Mythics getting buffed. Some interesting enchanter champions like Ivern, Lulu, and Karma are already being played top lane a bit and we might possibly see some more of them in the coming weeks.

Carry Junglers are Still Meta

The trend of carry junglers that got popular with jungle experience buffs in the Summer split of last season, carried over to Season 11. The core trio from 2020 Worlds- Graves, Nidalee, and Lillia are still very much viable and played consistently. However, three new champions surpassed them as the jungle “rulers.” As I already mentioned, Pantheon, Olaf, and Taliyah are some of the most contested champions in the LoL meta right now. Almost all of those champions have exceptional clear speed and feel comfortable powerfarming and scaling later into the game.

Out of the “Big 6”, Pantheon stands out as the only “ganking style” champion. He is on average behind 8cs and 193 experience at 15 minutes to his counterparts, however, his global presence, ganking prowess, and pick potential have great upside in competitive League of Legends. Pantheon also likes to get Goredrinker and Sterak’s Gage so he can be very tanky in teamfights.

League of Legends Season 11 Meta Breakdown-Pantheon
Credit: Riot Games

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Olaf is the champion that possibly utilizes Goredrinker+Sterak’s the best in the game. His clear speed is very fast due to his high attack speed and Q, so he can often get ahead on experience just by powerfarming. However, once he unlocks his ultimate and buys his Mythic item, he becomes nearly unstoppable. He thrives in mid-game skirmishes and fights around objectives in the mid-game. Prior to this season Olaf would often get kited and die before he could run down the priority targets when he would run into the enemy team with Ragnarok. Nowadays, Olaf can survive forever with his items and runes.

When it comes to the rest of the “jungle squad”, they all fall into a similar role of scaling, damage-dealing carry junglers. Taliyah is the most contested one with 72% presence, Graves and Nidalee are next with 56% presence. Graves, however, is the most picked out of any jungler with 89 picks. And finally, we have Lillia with 48% presence in drafts.

Competitive Jungle Pool-League of Legends Season 11 Meta Breakdown
Data Source: gol.gg

Picks to watch

Besides Hecarim, which has seen a decent amount of play with 13% presence, another champion is becoming very popular during the past couple of weeks. Udyr has been played in 32 games and banned in 7 (17% presence) in a very short time, especially in LCK. Udyr is interesting due to his incredibly fast clear speed when he maxes his Phoenix stance. He is able to run down enemies with Turbo Chemtank and Phase Rush while being very tanky. He can be very obnoxious to deal with, especially when paired with Orianna or Lulu that can speed him up even further. Ivern is another champion we should keep an eye on in the future, due to him being very effective in utilizing Moonstone Renewer and Staff of Flowing Water build.

Standard and Reliable Mids

With flex options like Sett, Lucian, Akali, etc. falling off in priority, the mid lane meta is forming mainly around overall solid and pretty safe champions. Akali technically still has a high presence in drafts with 50% bans however, 90% of those are bans, so she didn’t really see much play.
The majority of meta mid laners right now have a solid laning phase, got some kind of playmaking ability, and do well in teamfights. 8 out of the 10 most contested champions are magic damage based, with the exceptions of Lucian(32% presence) and Yone(24% presence).

The most contested pick is Twisted Fate with 65% presence. His ability to enable other lanes is very valuable to pros. Twisted Fate is especially difficult to deal with when paired with strong side lanes such as Renekton or Camille top, who can lock down their lane opponents while TF arrives with his Ultimate. Hextech Rocketbelt alongside Lich Bane, Zhonya’s Hourglass, and Rapidfire Cannon enable his playmaking ability even further, while him still having a high amount of damage.

Twisted Fate
Credit: Riot Games

Closely behind “The Card Master” are Orianna with 63% and Syndra with 58% presence. It seems like whatever meta may be, these two are always up there among priority picks. Their power is pretty obvious, with them having almost no bad matchups while being extremely useful in all stages of the game. They both have good pick potential while being able to singlehandedly win teamfights. Both prefer a classic mage build with either Luden’s Tempest or Liandry’s Anguish into multiple Ability Power items.

Number four on the priority list is Zoe with an overall presence of 55%. Zoe is the most reliable poke option in the meta. Although she is usually a focus piece of a poke comp alongside Jhin/Nidalee/Jayce, she can work well in other team compositions. If Zoe manages to consistently land her poke, the enemy team have a very hard time contesting her around objectives and siege scenarios. Luden’s Tempest into a lot of AP and Magic penetration is usually the preferred way to itemize Zoe.

Galio is the final champion on this list with 47% presence in drafts. He is the only true flex pick in this meta with 41% of his games being in the mid lane and 59% as support. As a mid laner, he fulfills a similar role as TF in early and mid-game. He is very good at enabling other lanes with his powerful roams. His favourite “sidekick” is Camille as their ultimates work very well together in all stages of the game. His priority is not surprising with the amount of engage in today’s League of Legends meta, as he provides great follow-up engage. Mid lane Galios prefer running the Predator keystone as well as Hextech Rocketbelt as their Mythic item to give Galio extra mobility and gap close.

Other notable champions are two more control mages, Viktor and Azir with 20% and 18% presence respectively. However, they are usually more situational options to round out a comp rather than a priority pick.

Picks to watch

Yone has already seen a decent amount of play. As more players become comfortable on this mechanically challenging champion, we should see more Yone in the future. Other champions that might see play in the mid lane are Seraphine, Lulu, and Karma, as they can be played in multiple roles, giving teams more flexibility in draft.

Kai’Sa and the Some Other Champions

Riot Games explained that one of their goals with marksmen items rework was to provide them earlier power spikes. The old traditional crit chance build path usually relied on two to three items in order to become powerful enough to feel relevant. However, with the new Mythic items, even the more scaling champions feel better on one or two items than they used to, while still being traditionally strong at later stages and 5 or 6 items.

The champion that meets those conditions the best is Kai’Sa, and it is not even close. She is the most picked and most contested champion in today’s League of Legends meta with 94% presence, while still having a decent 57% win rate. Pretty much all players favor full AD Kai’Sa without any AP items and leaving out the W evolve. She still has versatility though, with being able to build either Galeforce or Kraken Slayer as her Mythic of choice, depending on the situation. If she wants to dive and try to assassinate the backline Galeforce gives her another source of burst as well as a gap-closing/escape tool. However, she faces multiple tanks and wants to play more traditional front-to-back teamfights, Kraken Slayer gives her the power to do it. Ether way, Kai’sa players like going The Collector as a second purchase. Some players even like to rush Serrated Dirk first to gain some more laning power.

Kai'Sa
Credit: Riot Games

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Next on the list is Samira, although the drop off in numbers following Kai’Sa is pretty significant. Riot’s new addition to the bot lane is either picked or banned in 57% of the games while having a 42% win rate. Samira has a unique kit, as she is both ranged and melee champion. She excels at cleaning up fights with her Ultimate and dash resets on her E ability. Also, her being able to deny projectiles with her W is very powerful for the enemy to play around, which gives her another dimension as well as outplay potential. Since her goal is to dive into the teamfight she prefers to be paired with an engage support like Alistar, Leona, and especially Rell. On that note, she itemizes a lot of sustain and burst with Immortal Shiledbow, The Collector, Infinity Edge, and Bloodthirster.

After some time in the outskirts, Aphelios is back in the League of Legends meta. The “200 years” man has been picked or banned in 53% of the games, securing him a solid third spot on the ADC priority list. Aphelios has been on the receiving end of a lot of nerfs throughout 2020, which brought him from 95% presence in Season 10 Spring split to just 11% presence at Worlds. However, it seems he has found his footing as he can have his pop off moments once again. He usually builds Kraken Slayer into Runaan’s Hurricane and Infinity Edge, although he can also take Galeforce if he wants extra mobility.

Credit: LCK


Other notable champions are Jhin with 28% and Miss Fortune with 19% presence.

Picks to watch

Xayah is gaining a lot of traction lately with a 29% pick-ban rate. She could also see even more play in the future as her ability to self-peel in a meta with a lot of engage and dive potential is very powerful. Vayne has also seen some play(9% presence) as she is considered pretty good into Kai’Sa as she can survive the laning phase. With a lot of melee champions in the meta, Vayne still does “Vayne things” later on in the game. Other champions we expect to see more in the bot lane are Senna with the new Kraken Slayer+Gunisoo’s Rageblade build and Seraphine which can be played in pretty much any role not named jungle.

Go Hard or Go Home

All of the top ten most-played supports right now have some kind of initiation tool in their kits, while most of them are just hard engage champions. With the top lane having all these bruisers and jungle being filled with scaling carry junglers, it is expected that supports took over the primary engage task. With new Mythic items, they can also get pretty tanky and provide even more utility than they used to.

Alistar is comfortably leading the support priority race with 73% presence in drafts. Even though he might not be the best laner out there, his teamfight value is extremely high. Just like most of the meta supports, Alistar has insane playmaking ability so teams and players that can take advantage of it, surely have an edge over the enemy team. Some Alistars also like to take Phase Rush as a keystone rune so they can sick to the target and follow up the Headbutt-Pulverize combo with E much easier.

League of Legends Season 11 Meta Breakdown -Alistar and Leona
Credit: Riot Games

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Furthermore, we have Leona with a 53% pick and ban ratio. She fulfills a similar role as Alistar, however her engage is slightly longer range and her all-ins are a bit more potent in the 2v2 matchup. However, she doesn’t provide as much peel as Alistar does. Leona’s W ability alongside Aftershock make her ultra tanky, so she can disrupt a fight by landing multiple stuns. Leona also provides great follow-up engage and secures picks very consistently, especially from fog of war.

The third champion on the list is Thresh with 49% presence. Although not very good at initiating teamfights like Alistar and Leona are, Thresh still adds great value to the team. First and foremost, Thresh is a really good answer to many engage supports when it comes to the laning phase, including Alistar and Leona. If Kai’Sa/Alistar is the most popular bot lane duo, Aphelios/Thresh combo is considered as a good answer to them. Thresh is great at peeling bruisers away from his backline, and his playmaking potential can never be overlooked. 

The rest of the Top 10 most contested champions are Galio(35%), Rell(34%), Sett(32%), Gragas(28%), Rakan(14%), Maokai(12%), and Nautilus(12%) . It is not very hard to understand what pros feel is the strongest way of playing support in this meta of League of Legends.

Picks to watch

First and foremost, we expect to see Rell played much more in the future weeks. Her ability to both engage and peel is very underrated. Also, she synergizes well with Kai’Sa and Samira which are the two most contested ADCs in the meta. Also, more and more teams realize the power of some enchanters, especially Seraphine. While she can be flex picked to both mid and ADC role, she is originally a support, so we might see her stock rise significantly over the next few weeks.

OP and Less OP Items

After every huge update, everybody is trying to figure out what is the best and most effective possible way to play the game. This time around, everyone is rushing to figure out what are the best item choices for each champion. Some items are just objectively overpowered however, there are surely underrated items yet to be fully tested. It has been only a few months since the new items got introduced to League of Legends, and there are still plenty of new build paths that will surge throughout the year as the meta develops. New Senna build with Kraken Slayer and Guinsoo Rageblade is a great example.

Even though Goredrinker got nerfed on the most recent patch, there are no signs of bruisers slowing down anytime soon. Goredrinker into Sterak’s Gage is such an insane two-item power spike, champions besides bruisers build it. The fact that champions who ordinarily benefit from other items and stats such as lethality or Spellblade passive(Sheen items) build Goredrinker is definitely a concern for Riot’s balancing team. For example, Irelia would build Trinity Force pretty much since Atma’s Impaler/Warmog’s combo got nerfed back in Season 3. Wukong and Pantheon usually preferred lethality. They all just buy Goredrinker now, and it is not healthy for the game.

Another interesting build path that we see more often is Moonstone Renewer into Staff of Flowing Water. It got popularized by ex coach and LCK caster Nick “LS” De Cesare and former Fnatic mid-laner Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek. These two items synergize very well together, they are very cheap so the champion becomes “online” much faster. It’s effect is especially noticed in long and drawn-out fights, as constant healing, AP buff, and extra movement speed have a great impact in those scenarios. The build is very powerful on enchanters such as Seraphine, Lulu, Ivern, Karma, etc; although LS argues that it should be built on other champions such as Lillia, Nidalee, etc.
Here is a video of LS explaining the Moonstone Renewer and Staff of Flowing Water combo on the T1 Fighting youtube channel.

Credit: T1 Fighting Youtube Channel / Nick “LS” De Cesare

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