The 2021 Mid-Season Invitational is just days away. This year’s MSI will be played on patch 11.9; with most participating regions having played their playoffs matches in patch 11.6 [the LCS in patch 11.5], we’ve seen quite a bit of changes in the game since then. Here’s a preview of which new champions that we can expect to be picked at MSI.
1. Lee Sin as a solo laner [mid/top]
Throughout the history of League of Legends, Lee Sin was always considered a jungler. However, his pick rate in Platinum+ (KR server) is over 15% in the top lane, and is even being picked in Master+ queue as well.
The reason behind this is due to the most recent buff he received on patch 11.8. He had his E skill’s [Tempest/Cripple] cooldown reduced by two seconds. It might not seem much at first glance, but due to the buff, his wave clear became that much faster in a solo lane. He’s especially a strong duelist against melee champions in the top lane, so he’s a great pick to get early lane pressure and priority. While he primarily does physical damage, his E does magic damage, so the semi-hybrid damage he does will be very tricky to play against in the early stages of the game.
Many experts in the scene say that the possibility of Lee Sin being picked as a solo laner is very real, but they predict it’s not an S tier pick. Lee Sin’s a very mechanical champion as well, so the dependency on the players’ mastery over Lee Sin will definitely matter. However, now that it has the potential to go into a solo lane [even mid], he’s a champion that can be flexed into multiple positions in draft. The blind monk will definitely look to make his return to the competitive meta at MSI.
2. Morgana & Diana
Alongside Lee Sin, there are two other champions that transitioned into a different role. Patch 11.8 was one of those patches that tried to make different champions more viable in the jungle. Darius, Diana, Mordekaiser, Morgana, and Zed were the five champions that got changed for faster jungle clears. However, when it comes to how the champion functions overall, Morgana and Diana stand at the top of that list. Based on the data from patch 11.8, Morgana has a 53%~ winrate with a 11.5% pick rate in Platinum+ solo queue in Korea; she’s an S tier jungle champion.
So the big question is, why? Morgana’s jungle clear is insanely fast. She’s even faster than the champions who are known for their jungle clears; champions such as Karthus, Olaf, and Nidalee. Despite her W’s damage against non-epic monsters being reduced from 200% to 185%, she can full-clear the jungle in 3:15. In addition, the insane amount of CC that Morgana has in her kit and the utility that she provides with her E, Black Shield, she’s a champion that quickly rose to the top of the jungle tier list. However, in early skirmishes, she heavily relies on landing her Q, Dark Binding, so she’s not a champion without weaknesses.
Diana is also a champion that quickly rose to the top of the jungle tier list. While she statistically falls behind Morgana, she’s a champion that’s being more picked in higher Elo. In patch 11.8, her passive damage against non-epic monsters went up from 150% to 300%, and her passive attack speed got buffed as well.
As an assassin champion, Diana’s every marksman champion’s worst nightmare, especially when she gets her Mythic items. She’s great at early to mid game skirmishes, but needs to snowball before the transition to mid game, because she falls off in the late game. Due to her early dueling potential, her playstyle is basically the opposite of how Morgana is played in the jungle. Despite the small nerfs that she got in patch 11.9, she’ll still be a niche pick in the right team compositions.
3. Lulu + Kog'Maw [or any other hypercarry marksman, but mostly Lulu]
In patch 11.9, Lulu had her W cooldown decreased, with her ally cast bonus attack speed increased earlier. Despite Moonstone Renewer receiving impactful nerfs in 11.8, it received some compensation buffs in patch 11.9. Additionally, Shurelya’s Battlesong received big buffs, giving Lulu more itemization options.
These Lulu buffs are more impactful than it may seem at a glance. She’s great with any marksman champion, with Kog’Maw being the prime example. Kog’Maw also received some buffs as well; his Q reduces more resistances, and his E now costs less mana. Up to this point, tanky engage champions like Rell and Leona took over the bot lane meta. However, when Lulu is paired with any hypercarry marksman champion, her buffs, as well as her diverse itemization choices will look to be a threat that will overtake the MSI meta.
4. Notable mentions - Kindred/Rumble
With Hecarim receiving a string of both direct and indirect nerfs in patch 11.7 and 11.9, much attention was on Morgana and Diana in the jungle. However, one champion that also rose in tier is Kindred. In patch 11.7, her Q ratio increased, and her E cooldown decreased by two seconds at all levels. Kindred some more love in patch 11.9, where she got her Q cooldown decreased by 1 second and its damage increased with more points in the skill. Many pro players have attested that she’s very strong in patch 11.9; Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek, the former mid laner for Fnatic who became a content creator for Gen.G, stated that she’s the strongest jungler in this patch.
Rumble is also on the lineup of champions that got over-tuned in patch 11.8, but received nerfs in patch 11.9. His E now shreds the target’s MR [and it stacks too], and he now gets 50% attack speed when overheated. To balance out his over-tuned state, he does less on-hit damage when overheated. Overall, his damage is much stronger than before, and due to the fact that he can be triple flexed during draft [top/jungle/mid], this mechanized yordle will prove to be a menace at MSI.
**All images provided via Riot Games**
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports