In League of Legends, the meta isn’t something that’s stagnant. Players are always looking for the most optimal and the strongest tools inside the game, especially those that grind the game hardcore. That’s why the solo queue ecosystem and pro play is heavily intertwined, as both amateur players and pro players are inspired by the drive to find what’s best for the game.
Especially on the KR server, one of the reasons why you see so many dodges in solo queue lobbies is because of that drive to find even the slightest advantages in the game. Whenever you watch the highest level streamers play KR solo queue, most of the games seem similar, because they don’t like to deviate from the meta picks.
What if you were told that there’s a person who thrives from defying the meta? Meet Addy [애디]. He’s a streamer on Twitch.tv who currently sits comfortably in the top 100 on the KR solo queue ladder, who plays off-meta champions to great success. While he also plays other off-meta champions in the top lane such as Rakan, here’s a look into how he plays two of his most played champions, Shyvana and Taric, in the top lane.
ㄴ Runes: In almost all of his games, Addy takes Press the attack, Triumph, Legend: Tenacity, into Last Stand as his primary runes. Then he takes conditioning and Overgrowth in his secondary runes, with attack speed, armor and health rune shards against AD, adjusting accordingly depending on the matchup.
ㄴ Items: His usual go-to Mythic item choice is Frostfire Gauntlet. Then, he actually builds Spellthief’s Edge, an itemization choice that may seem odd at first, but makes sense once you understand how he likes to play. The rest of his itemization choices are Warmog’s Armor, Ionian Boots of Lucidity [CDR boots], Gargoyle Stoneplate, and Demonic Embrace.
ㄴPlaystyle: Shyvana has a very weak early laning phase, so he tries to play it as safe as possible. He’s not afraid to give up waves and turret plates to his enemy top laner to roam down to bot lane to not only get his bot duo ahead, but also look to secure drake, as she gains bonus Armor and MR from getting it.
After Addy completes his Mythic Item, he immediately builds Spellthief’s Edge. This is due to the fact that he roams around the map, gains vision for his team, and plays around more drakes. Not only does Spellthief’s Edge allow Shyvana to place wards, but also has AP stats to synergize with her E, Flame Breath’s AP scaling. It’s a perfect item for his playstyle and the champion. The top lane has very little influence in the current meta, so even if he has to give up his own resources, he plays to get his bot lane teammates ahead.
ㄴ Runes: Depending on his lane matchup, Addy either takes Phase Rush, Press the Attack, or even Lethal Tempo as his keystone rune. If he takes Phase Rush, he also takes Manaflow Band, Transcendence, and Waterwalking in his primary tree. He takes Conditioning and Revitalize in his secondary tree, then takes Attack Speed, armor/MR [depending on the matchup], and health shards.
When he takes the Precision tree in his primary runes [PTA/Lethal Tempo], he goes Presence of Mind, Legend: Tenacity, and Last Stand, with his secondary tree and shards remaining the same as Phase Rush.
ㄴ Items: Just like Shyvana, his go-to Mythic item choice is Frostfire Gauntlet. Then he builds Spirit Visage, Randuin’s Omen, Mercury’s Treads [in most cases]
ㄴ Playstyle: Many people may not realize this, but Taric is actually a pretty strong laner due to his passive, ‘Bravado’, which empowers his next two autos and reducing his spell cooldowns. This allows him to duel his opponents early, while constantly refreshing his Q, Starlight’s Touch. Not only does his Q offer sustain in trading against his opponent, his E, Dazzle, stuns his opponents for 1.5 seconds, which allows him to weave in more empowered auto attacks.
Addy buys a tear into whatever components for Frostfire Gauntlet he can get, then immediately heads towards the bot side to take turret plates and free up his bot lane from the laning phase. Just like Shyvana, he likes to skirmish around bot side due to how the current meta is. After his first recall, he almost never returns to top lane to lane against his opponent, especially due to Taric needing low resources to function as a champion.
In a recent interview with the top laner for T1, Choi “Zeus” Woo-je, commented on Addy’s eccentric top lane picks.
“I actually tried playing top lane Taric in practice. I think mastery over the champion is incredibly important. If there’s a pro player that’s good at Taric, I think if there’s a player that’s good at Taric, then Taric might make an appearance in the LCK. Grievous Wounds got nerfed in recent patches, so I think it’s hard to match all the healing that Taric has. Furthermore, Taric’s really good in teamfights, so things like that are his strengths.
I have this challenger Twitch streamer named ‘Addy’ on my friend’s list. We sometimes chat, and he always tells me that Shyvana and Taric are good, so I did think about playing those two champions at one point in time.”
The meta should never be stagnant. As long as there are those that continue to grind League of Legends, the meta will continue to evolve. It's not far-fetched to say that Addy's the one who started the rise of Shyvana in the top lane, as she's already slowly being picked up in pro play around the world. Will Taric and Addy's other eccentric picks also break through the meta and find their place?
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