For the past year and a half, AD Carries have had to share their position in the Bot Lane. While there have been specific times in seasons past where isolated examples of unconventional Bot Laners have existed, the past 18 months have featured non-marksmen ADCs — playfully dubbed AwesomeDudes by the English broadcast of South Korea's LCK — in the spotlight on a more consistent basis than in any previous LoL Esports meta.
Certain bruisers and tanks can fulfill the Bot Lane carry role in specific compositions, but the most common non-marksman Bot Lane champions have been mages. Mages are the second most common ranged class, can offer lots of flexibility in draft due to many being viable Mid Lane champions, and in dealing primarily magic damage, can allow for compositional flexibility should other roles want to draft heavily towards physical damage.
DPS fundamentalists may balk at the changes to the Bot Lane over the past eighteen months, AD Carry players willing to adapt to changes now have more options in the Bot Lane than ever before. The mages listed below can be played in the Bot Lane right now, regardless of rank or champion duo synergy.
Syndra, the Dark Sovereign
Bot Lane Mages have been prevalent throughout the 2019 League of Legends World Championship, but above all wizards, Syndra reigns supreme. The Dark Sovereign's high single-target burst damage, smooth power curve, strong laning matchups, flexibility in runes and item builds, incredible waveclear, and viability in two roles as part of nearly any team composition has seen Syndra pick or banned 95% of Worlds 2019. Only Pantheon, at 100%, is higher.
Syndra bot lane can catch unprepared AD Carries by surprise. Due to her high burst style being counterintuitive to the Bot Lane's established fundamentals, and the possession of a stun in 'Scatter the Weak', Syndra can be a very powerful choice. As if the pick couldn't get more flexible as it was, Syndra is also good with nearly any support. She's happy to follow up with high burst off of any single CC by a playmaker or poke from a distance, and she excels in both areas.
Syndra has been flexed to the Bot Lane sparsely thorughout the 2019 LoL Esports season, mostly in the hands of G2 Esports Bot Laner Luka "Perkz" Perković, who used the Dark Sovereign in game 5 of the 2019 Mid-Season Invitiational Semifinals to defeat SK Telecom T1.
However, on patch 9.19, Syndra is a staple to the point where teams at Worlds 2019 who are unable to play her in both roles are at a clear disadvantage. At this point, she simply offers to in the game's current state to ignore. Not every level of play has caught onto Syndra's newfound flexibility, so the lower a player's elo, the higher likelihood that the Dark Sovereign will catch an opposing Bot Laner unawares.
Heimerdinger, the Revered Inventor
The donger has always found success doing one thing and one thing well: being an absolute pushing machine. Literally, Heimerdinger's entire lane strategy, regardless of the meta, season, or even the lane he's in, is to put down turrets and shove the wave as quickly as possible with multiple sources of damage simultaneously in the form of turrets and other gadgets.
Heimerdinger is extremely annoying to play against. He exerts an enormous amount of pressure, is deceptively resilient when if allowed to set up before getting ganked, and essentially nullifies the opponent's agency of the laning phase by turning into a push-and-pull of the minion wave. By hard shoving the wave over and over, the Bot Lane need not be thought about by a Jungler, who can then focus on the solo lanes.
Heimerdinger does his best work in essentailly neutralizing a laning phase, almost always as an incremental positive. However, in certain situations in the current meta, Heimerdinger can be quite punishing.In Cloud9's first game of the 2019 League of Legends World Championship against Hong Kong Attitude, Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi locked in the Revered Inventor to give his team an even damage spread heading into the match.
In this game, Sneaky's Heimerdinger was a full-press answer to the Garen Bot Lane of HKA's Wong "Unified" Chun Kit. Having the absurd presence of Yuumi in the hands of Ling "Kaiwing" Kai Wing helped Unified mitigate the losses in lane, but after the laning phase, Sneaky also showcased another aspect of Heimerdinger that nearly every marksman is unable to match: side lane independence.
By taking Teleport in lane, Heimerdinger can split off from the rest of his team and continue to play to to his strengths by shoving side lanes. While Cloud9's Mid Lane execution was poor against HKA, the idea of freeing Tristan "Zeyzal" Stidham up from the bodyguard role to do his best role as a playmaker on Nautilus lined up right with the C9 team dynamic and playstyle.
However, Sneaky also lost side lane pressure for longer than he should have when he delayed building Zhonya's Hourglass, which is vital for Heimerdinger to aggressively push side lanes and have more options should he be ganked. Under normal circumstances, Zhonya's Hourglass should be built second or third on Heimerdinger due to the item's Stasis active making him extremely hard to kill in a 1v1 situation.
Veigar, the Tiny Master of Evil
Veigar, like Syndra, possesses an enormous amount of single target burst damage. However, when compared further, the Tiny Master of Evil trades strong laning for hyper-scaling and a more punishing Stun Ability. Veigar is the most recent iteration of the Glacial Augment Bot Lane Mage , a niche previously occupied by champions like Karma as shown by Fnatic's Martin "Rekkles" Larson.
However, Veigar has a unique trait in this archetype in that he possesses enough individual damage to followup and punish on his own CC. It's worth noting that Veigar's lane push that is commonplace amongst Glacial Augmenters of Bot Lane metas past is lesser than the previous utility focused picks.
In the first match of Worlds 2019 Group D, DAMWON Gaming drafted the Tiny Master of Evil for Sin "Nuclear" Jeong-hyeon. It's worth noting that due to the high mobility and advantage gained by TL that Nuclear skipped Twin Shadows entirely, going for Zhonya's Hourglass as his second item.
Usually a staple on Glacial Augment Mages, Twin Shadows may be a luxury that Veigar cannot afford in certain situations due to his immobility and complete lack of defensive utility save a well-timed Event Horizon. However, the Hextech GLP-800 remains core to any AP Glacial Augment user and provides Veigar with sustain and utility as he scales to his point of power.
Vladimir, the Crimson Reaper
Vladimir was one of the first mages to become viable in standard Bot Lane situations in the summer of 2018, but has enjoyed most of his success in the solo lanes throughout the 2019 season. However, Vladimir make an appearance in the Bot Lane in the Worlds 2019 Play-In Knockout Stage when Isurus Gaming took on Hong Kong Attitude. In the only game won for Latin America against the #3 LMS seed, ISG's Fabián Esteban "Warangelus" Llanos Bernal brought Vlad back to the Bot Lane.
Warangelus did not Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwonpreferring the damage and 2v2 trade value of Electrocute and the Domination rune tree to Kleptomancy.
However, Warangelus did borrow the components-heavy build DAMWON Gaming's Top Laner had been using for a 45% CDR Rush and an earlier powerspike. Vladimir is known best for his scaling, able to completely take over teamfights as builds creep closer to complete in the latest stages of the late game.
Focusing heavily on building components in the early game gives Vlad a bit more agency in the early game, and his evasiveness and innate sustain make him a relatively safe pick in the Bot Lane with the ticking time bomb of a late game teamfight.
Cassiopeia, the Serpent's Embrace
Syndra, Heimerdinger, Veigar, and Vladimir all posses the late game damage of a late game AD hypercarry, but lack the raw consistency of the DPS dealt by more traditional champions in the Bot Lane. Enter Cassiopeia, a true DPS mage for the Bot Lane.
Cassio has been played in the Bot Lane before, and like last time, can be flexed by all three carry positions. Her powercurve is extremely similar to that of a late game AD hypercarry and her unique forms of CC in Miasma and Petrifying Gaze provide the Serpent's Embrace with far more build and playstyle options to compliment her compositional flexibility.
That isn't to say Cassiopeia is fit for any situation, however. In Day 3 of the Worlds 2019 Group Stage, Cloud9 drafted the snake lady for Sneaky against G2 Esports. Sneaky was absolutely destroyed by the high mobility of the Xayah/Rakan in the respective hands of Perkz and Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle, and ended the game 0/7/4 as Perkz' stellar play on the Rebel snowballed a quick victory for G2.
Sneaky's level of play in the game certainly could have been higher, but regardless of his individual performance, G2's Lovers Duo did a great job of highlighting when Cassiopeia can be exploited and how to do it. However, her early laning phase is still quite good, and her late game power with a mandatory no-boots build should not be taken lightly.
Uma Jan, an alias used by and in reference to Perkz from a name of one of his Solo Queue accounts, has become nearly synonymous with the unique approach that G2's Mid-turned-Bot Laner takes to his new role. While Zoe was the first champion Perkz played as a Bot Laner, it'ss not just mages that bring about the rumblings of Uma Jan — Perkz has also won games on Yasuo in which he flexed to the Top Lane, Neeko, Garen, and even Pyke.
While not every single ADC main is going to be able to replicate Perkz's champion pool, and not every Support in matchmaking will be able to play Yuumi to make a Garen Bot Lane work, but mages currently provide versatility, flexibilty, unpredictability and utility in a way that is applicable in more situations in the Bot Lane than ever before in League of Legends. Accept the glory and grace of Uma Jan into your life and wear your wizard's cloak to the Bot Lane.