This year’s preseason was met with many new changes to the Summoner’s Rift. Just like its theme, Rise of the Elements, the elemental dragon system was given a makeover, and depending on the dragon spawning, the Rift itself was shaped according to elements.
With much more underlying changes that await in the Summoner’s Rift, casual and pro players are all on the lookout for champions that are not only strong in solo queue, but also can potentially be seen in competitive play. Here are four champions that fit the aforementioned criteria. Please keep in mind that itemization and runes should always be situational.
SyndraA mix of Karthus and Elise in the jungle
Pros: While Syndra is a champion that’s predominantly picked in the mid lane, it’s a new meta pick that has creeped into the jungle role, and is getting much attraction from pros. With such a short cooldown on Syndra’s Q, Dark Sphere, and overall long range, she almost has the same clear speed as Karthus, and the same gank potential of Elise in the jungle. At level 6, she is able to 100-0 a squishy enemy target, and with her passive, Transcendent, which grants her additional effects on all abilities that are maxed out, she also scales really well into mid-late game.
Cons: With the removal of catch up experience in the jungle, Syndra faces the same problem that all junglers face: as a mage jungler, if you fall behind, it’s especially harder for her to offer much to her team.
Items: As an AP mage jungler, Syndra’s first completed item would be the Runic Echoes enchantment on Stalker’s Blade. Then, depending on the enemy team composition, itemization is situational: either a Zhonya’s Hourglass for survivability and against AD heavy team compositions, or Banshee’s Veil against an AP heavy team. However, one thing is for certain: as a burst mage, build lots of AP for tons of damage.
Keystone: Just like Karthus, the most optimal rune for her in the jungle is Dark Harvest. However, for more consistency, Electrocute also works as well.
NocturneThe "Doinb" champion for Beginners.
Pros: In the mid lane, Nocturne is able to clear waves very quickly, even at early levels. This allows him to quickly shove his lane to move into the jungle for potential skirmishes. With Nocturne’s kit offering a spell shield and CC, he can also outduel many champions. At level 6, when he unlocks his ultimate, Paranoia, he is able to put on global pressure, and catch over-extended enemies in the side lanes. Once the laning phase is over, Nocturne becomes a great split-pusher, especially with the new item, Sanguine Blade, which grants lethality, lifesteal, and a passive that grants attack speed under certain conditions. When a teamfight breaks out, he can put a halt on his split pushing duties and easily stick to the enemy carries via Paranoia. Lastly, it's an easy champion to learn, so once mastered, Nocturne mid will be a good champion for climbing the ladder.
Cons: Being a melee champion, he struggles against most ranged champions in the mid lane. As Nocturne heads into late game, he falls off when the enemy carries build Zhonya’s Hourglass or Guardian’s Angel to nullify his all-in potential.
Items: Tiamat on his first back. This item helps Nocturne push his minion waves a lot faster, and look for roams toward the side lanes while locking down the enemy laner in the lane. After that, lethality items are a must for Nocturne. Sanguine Blade unlocks Nocturne’s split pushing potential, and the various lethality items, such as Youmuu’s Ghostblade for movespeed, Duskblade of Draktharr for extra damage and slow on its Night Stalker passive are all great for Nocturne. Again, item builds should be situational, where Hexdrinker - Maw of Malmortius should be built against an AP heavy team composition.
Keystone: Lethal Tempo seems to be the best rune for Nocturne, as the extra attack speed helps put his passive off cooldown that much faster. However, you many also take Conqueror (just because that Keystone is so strong at the moment), or Electrocute if you really want to delete an enemy carry.
Miss FortuneDoran's Blade. Another one. And another one.
Pros: Miss Fortune is not a pick that is new in solo queue, but with the new build path that’s trending in Korea, not only does she have the potential to be a meta pick in solo queue, but also in competitive play. On her first buy, depending on how much gold she has, she buys 2 to 3 Doran’s Blade. With up to 3 to 4 Doran’s Blade in her inventory, she gains up to 240-320 health and 9-12% lifesteal. By also taking the rune, Legend: Bloodline, in the Precision tree, it allows her to not only survivability against champions that stick to her, she has enough sustain, so she doesn’t have to recall until she gets enough money to get her core items. Her late game is also something to be feared, as Miss Fortune’s damage output in the late game is one of the highest out of all the other marksman champions.
Cons: Although her item build and her W, Strut, offers sustain and move speed respectively, she’s still very susceptible to ganks and roams, and is very vulnerable to champions that can stick to her very easily.
Items: Miss Fortune builds 3-4 Doran’s Blade on her first buy, then completes Essence Reaver for Mana, and crit items, such as Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer, and so forth. Although she can build lethality items, Miss Fortune is currently at her strongest with her crit item build.
Runes: According to Sangyoon, the retired pro player that made this build trending in Korea, Miss Fortune either takes Press the Attack against ranged support champions or Conqueror against melee support champions. However, with recent changes to Conqueror on ranged champions, Press the Attack seems to be the rune to take in almost all situations.
KatarinaResets, Resets, Resets.
Pros: Katarina is a champion that can single-handedly carry games in solo queue. With the new changes to Conqueror, which now gives adaptive force for 6 seconds and heals for 15% of the damage dealt (8% for ranged), Katarina has an easy time with activating this keystone. This rune greatly helps out Katarina’s weak laning phase by being able to trade early against the enemy laner, and in teamfights, she can easily hop into the back lines for assassination potential on the enemy carries.
Cons: CC. CC. CC. Crowd Control is her biggest weakness. Katarina’s combos rely on fluidity and swiftness, but any champions with a lot of CC can lock her down in skirmishes and teamfights. Also, although seasoned Katarina players will be able to overcome bad matchups, most champions have an easy time shutting her down in lane. She also has a very high skill cap, so it’s not a champion for players that are starting to learn the game.
Items: The two core items for Katarina are Hextech Gunblade and Death’s Dance. Hextech Gunblade is the first item that she builds, because the item offers both AP and AD, 30% healing on all the damage she does, and 175-273 instant magic damage with a slow on the active effect, so when Katarina finishes building this item, she will hit a major power spike. The next item, Death’s Dance, has the same healing effect as Gunblade, but it’s an additive effect, so with Conqueror’s 15% and 30% each from both Gunblade and Death’s Dance, she simply does not die.
Keystone: Although Conqueror seems to be the strongest keystone for Katarina at the moment, you can also take Electrocute for faster assassination or Dark Harvest if you’re feeling confident enough.
▲DAMWON Gaming's ShowMaker, a pro player known for his Katarina
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