Unlike most years where a champ finds itself at 100% pick/ban presence throughout all of Worlds, not a single one sits at over 92% so far, showcasing a better, more balanced game with a broader scope of playable champions and strong meta counterpicks. However, just like most years, there are a few champs with an incredibly high presence that have an abysmal win rate — but there's a reason for that.
Both Syndra and Renekton are the two in question. Why are teams still picking these champions, which both have sub 40% win-rate? There are a few good reasons. Syndra and Renekton check a lot of boxes, they're good blind picks, and they're more or less comfortable champions that anyone can play into nearly any lane matchup, especially pros at the highest level.
League is a very complex game, and it all starts with the draft phase that sets up the actual skirmish. The draft is a puzzle with no perfect or clear solution, but there are ways to manipulate it to provide an advantage in the game. And lastly, in a best-of-1 round-robin, drafts tend to be more flexible and safe, and these picks do just that for the teams who choose them. Let's break that down further for both Syndra and Renekton.
Syndra sits at an 85.7% pick/ban presence, with 19 bans and 23 games played by 13 of the 16 mid laners in groups, yet she sits at a 39.1% win rate. One argument is that with a win rate so low, she should stop appearing in drafts, but she is somewhat of a necessary champion in the meta despite losing most of the time.
Syndra "checks all the boxes," meaning she does anything and everything a mid laner needs to do. She has waveclear, (long-range) crowd control, self-peel, burst options, consistent DPS, zone of control, objective steal potential, can force a change in itemization for the enemy, and more. She has fairly consistent power throughout the game, with various power spikes, can run a few different builds, and is hard to counter in lane. She really does it all. Her two big drawbacks are a lack of mobility and no offering of supportive abilities to assist or buff her teammates.
For all of the reasons above, she becomes a stable option to include in a comp, even if her numbers are weak. As mentioned previously, the draft is a puzzle, and Syndra gives the puzzle a wealth of solutions. Syndra is an incredible blind pick option because she allows for your team comp to take on many different styles later in the draft. You can keep your cards to your chest without giving away any information but still have a strong versatile piece on the board.
Lucian is quite possibly the strongest mid lane option at Worlds right now, however, even he gives away a bit more information around a team's draft. He is also more easily drafted around for enemies to counter. And while a pick like Galio might be the perfect answer for a given comp that a team is building, if the team doesn't provide him with certain complementary factors, then he will most likely be a worse pick than Syndra would've been. Galio's strength is more reliant on the team to have specific follow up and/or set up potential.
Finally, Syndra is a champion a majority of these pros just know how to play. She's been a stable pick for years and she's simple and effective. Her negative win rate is likely a mix of 1. sheer luck based on best of one format, 2. enemy comps being more complete and complementary, and 3. that nearly all of her play came from teams knocked out in groups, meaning her teams were generally weaker anyway (and maybe that's why they struggled with draft, requiring a pick like Syndra in the first place).
Renekton is a more divisive champion, but he still has his place in the meta for a number of reasons. Renekton sits at a slightly lower presence and win-rate: 77.6% pick/ban percentage and a 37.5% win rate. He's more hated than Syndra both because of his lower win rate and because of the conversation headed by LCK caster, LS, and his fans. While LS' points about the champion being limited and having a relatively weak late game are valid, Renekton has a definite place in the meta as well, for similar reasons as Syndra.
Renekton checks a lot of boxes, but not as many as Syndra. He is a strong lane bully that nullifies a lot of enemy top laners' ability to scale through the laning phase and can be played as both strong side and weak side. He is hard to dive post level 6 due to his ult, stun, and spell vamp. He can easily shove in waves and move towards objectives, and he is a menace towards AD carries and mid laners in the mid game.
Renekton is like Syndra in that he does a lot of things well and is therefore a very easy blind pick. The problem is many players don't always utilize him correctly or draft around him accordingly. Renekton doesn't provide much engage, unlike other top lane staples such as Ornn. Renekton is also often paired with AP junglers who can then look to pair up with the croc to take over the top side. But the common jungle pairings are also devoid of any real primary engage potential, leaving it for the support role.
Renekton does not provide the "go button" that an Ornn or Camille does, and if a team doesn't play around him and utilize his priority, then it can become incredibly problematic in the mid to late game, particularly if they haven't drafted well outside of the top lane. If the draft does not feature any other form of engage, that can leave few options for Renekton past two or three items when he is looking to flank or follow up on a teammate's engagement.
Renekton is called a "gater" in Korea, which is a pun that means he stops the enemy comp from doing what they want to do. A Shen has a hard time sitting in lane and scaling and looking for ults when facing a Renekton. If Renekton's opposing team leaves their top laner on an island, he will reap great rewards.
Renekton receives bans because he's hard to deal with and can ruin a team's own strategy, and he is picked for the reasons above. Overall, teams just need to be more careful about the rest of their draft and play with Renekton's strengths in mind better.
In conclusion, the champs are likely prioritized a bit too much, but they still have solid reasoning to be picked and banned. Banning the champ on red side forces the blue team's hand to pick something that could either shoehorn their comp or give away their direction early, allowing red side to steal picks or get a head start on countering the blue team's comp. Banning it on blue side can allow for an OP champ lockin with no safe and versatile response from the red team.
For the mid lane, Orianna should likely see a bit more priority, as she accomplishes much of the same role and is another stable mid champ with no clear weaknesses and incredible versatility in a team comp that has seen a bit more success so far this split (50% win rate across 18 games).
Both champions should see less play moving forward no matter what, however, as we move into a best of five series for the rest of the tournament which will extend draft into a much bigger, longer puzzle than the 10 ban 10 pick one teams were working through in groups. In best of fives, power picking champs and constructing more specialized comps is more important for the longevity of the series, so Rene and Syndra should drop a bit.
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