When a champion is being released for the first time or receives a completely new rework, Riot Games’ balance team tends to follow a certain formula, and that’s to make a champion perform really well at least once. With the release of the 10.7 patch in League of Legends, Riot released the rework of one of the oldest champions in the game, Fiddlesticks. However, most users found him to be very weak on release, so over the course of several patches, he received buffs to his kit.
Among these buffs, one notable change to his kit is in the minion damage reduction, which was reduced from 60% to 40%. A recurring trend in the history of balance changes in LoL is when a champion becomes overtuned, it can also be used in other lanes. This led to Fiddlesticks going Top Lane, thus giving the birth of tank Fiddlesticks (which unfortunately got slightly nerfed on the 10.12 patch).
When Fiddlesticks is picked as a jungler, there are three Keystone runes that the players tended to take, and that’s Electrocute, Predator, and Dark Harvest. While you can find some pro players, especially those in Korea, experimenting with Unsealed Spellbook as well, the aforementioned three Keystones were the top three go-to choices for jungle Fiddlesticks.
However, when Fiddlesticks is picked top, Aftershock is the number one choice of Keystone rune. With Aftershock, not only does it go really well with the crowd control in his kit (able to potentially CC an enemy for 3.5 seconds with the Fear and the Silence), it goes naturally well with his tanky build (his core items being Spirit Visage, Frozen Heart, and Zhonya's Hourglass), and even helps Fiddle survive top lane dives.
So what led to the rise of Fiddlesticks in the top lane? A former pro player, MakNooN, with over 200 games of Fiddlesticks in the top lane in Master tier Korean solo queue, provided some insight into playing top Fiddlesticks in an interview with a Korean LoL analysis Youtuber, 프로관전러 P.S. He stated that the reason why Fiddlesticks goes tank is because while you do need the damage as jungle Fiddlesticks and be the carry threat on the team to balance out the team's damage output, plenty of value can still be found as a tank Fiddle top lane, as he's a lane bully with an unconventional way of outtrading your lane opponent (outranging most top laners/trading with Bountiful Harvest within a minion wave). He further states that with the snowball from lane kingdoming your opponent, his tankiness with his build, his insane amount of CC, and incredible teamfighting prowess, Fiddlesticks becomes unstoppable.
According to statistics from OP.GG, Fiddlesticks has a 50.25% win rate with a 1.31% pick rate in the top lane, and a 52.01% win rate with a 4.27% pick rate in the jungle. With new faces such as Nidalee, Twisted Fate, and even Ziggs are being picked in the four major regions of competitive play, Fiddlesticks has yet to make an appearance. In addition to the fact that Fiddlesticks can be flexed into three roles in the draft phase, the ‘Ancient Fear’ looks to become ancient no longer.
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