With Worlds 2020 Knockout Stage already underway, let’s take a look at the unique champions picked & compare them to last year’s Worlds.
Worlds 2020 – The importance of having a diversified meta
With the latest release of Samira, in Patch 10.19, Riot reached 151 unique champions in their whole lineup. That’s been a long way since 2009 when the company released the game to the public with just 40 champions.
In the last few years, starting from Season 6, fans & players complained that the meta was too stale. Pro teams prioritized meta champions & banned out the OP champions, making the whole champ select phase very predictable & to a certain extent, boring. Remember that one of the most important aspects of the game is Draft: the diversity grants excitement to the game & the rise of champions that were forgotten for a long time can add a lot of spice to the mix.
The main reason behind stale metas was balancing issues: Riot learned throughout many years, with backlash & a lot of criticism, a better way to tune up & down champions gradually. Pros & solo queue players would feel the changes to a smaller extent, learning to play around the nerfs or buffs the champions received.
Not only that, but players also learned how to play with specific counter matchups: Quinn, for example, is considered one of the most annoying counters for top laners as she can abuse the range advantage & her E to flee in case the enemy wants to engage on her.
This idea was brought up by certain coaches, like LS, who is very knowledgeable about the game. A meta champion is not only strong in terms of stats, but it can also be strong since it beats many of the other champions who are currently present in the meta. This is why some champions can be considered blind-pickable. These are the champions that don’t have problems facing anyone & can be picked since it satisfies the comp the team wants to build.
All of these reasons made teams consider more & more champions to play which could allow them to gain an advantage in terms of the draft phase. These results peaked in Season 9: a total of 92 unique champions were picked during the tournament, the highest number ever at Worlds so far.
Worlds 2020 -Almost 50% of all Champions have been played
This year, the number has already reached 75 unique champions ( after the DWG vs DRX ) series. That’s just slightly below 50% of all the Champions. Teams still prioritize all the strong champions, with top lane being the most diversified lane ( 23 champions ). The least diverse role, instead, is jungle: only 11 different picks, with 3 champions ( Graves, Lillia & Nidalee ) getting an aggregate 71% pick rate. Graves, in particular, has been picked 39 times out of 52 games.
Numbers have already reached S7 & S8’s standards but it’s still very far from the 92 champions in season 9. With how the meta is going, we’re not going to likely see a lot of new stuff coming from the pro teams. Some new champions might be picked here & there but overall, numbers will very likely drop from last year.
This is necessarily not a bad thing, as Riot did keep the variety going. However, many champions won’t see any playtime & that’s surely a pity for the fans. The latest release of Samira & Yone could’ve added a lot to the table, but Riot thought that it would’ve been risky as balancing around those two would’ve been very problematic & maybe unfair.
The KDA Event also announced Seraphine, so that will make 152 champions in total. Hoping that Riot will continue releasing new content but still being careful with the overall state of the game. Mistakes were made surely but learning from them is the most important thing. Not only for the game itself but also for League’s legacy.