With the overarching jungle meta remaining fairly stable since the start of Season 8, not many new champions have emerged to take the crown as the King of the Jungle. Although Sejuani, Jarvan IV, Skarner, and even Kha’Zix have controlled the jungle meta for the majority of the season, the Mid-Season Invitational poses the perfect opportunity for players’ champion pools to expand.
With champions like Trundle, Graves, and even Xin Zhao popping up over the course of the tournament, one extremely obscure pick has been involved in multiple champion selects through the MSI Group Stage: Kindred.
The Eternal Hunters have been slowly creeping their way back into relevancy at MSI, as the duo has been discovered to be a pretty decent counter-pick to Trundle. As it turns out, Kindred can effectively use their Q, Dance of Arrows to backflip over Trundle’s Pillar of Ice and effectively kite the Troll King. This strategy was used quite effectively by Kingzone DragonX jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho against Jake “Xmithie” Puchero and Team Liquid during Day 3 of the tournament’s Group Stage.
With Team Liquid using their first pick to select Trundle, Peanut and Kingzone felt confident enough to bring the Lamb and the Wolf onto the Rift, as Peanut’s skill level on Kindred is nearly unmatched. Throughout his career, Peanut and Kindred have paired up a total of 16 times, while Peanut holds a solid record of 11-5 when playing the champion. Additionally, he has a stellar all-time KDA of 4.4 on Kindred with a KP of 70.4%.
In addition to Peanut, potential MSI finals opponent Liu “Mlxg” Shi-Yu of Royal Never Give Up also plays a historically mean Kindred, as 13 total games have amounted to an 11-2 record over the years, with a KDA of 4.4 and a KP of 73%. With Kindred rising in the meta as a potential response to the Trundle renaissance, it’s possible we could see the Eternal Hunters make an appearance at the tournament’s Knockout Stage.
So far, Kindred holds a 6% presence throughout the course of the tournament, however, that mark still makes them the 6th most prioritized jungle champion outside of the meta dominators of Graves and Trundle. In addition to Kindred’s appearances at the MSI Main Event, the pair was picked twice by BAUSuperMassive’s Furkan “Stomaged” Güngör, effectively doubling the champion’s personal play-rate since the start of MSI.
With the tournament set to close this weekend, be sure to look for Trundle to serve as one of, if not, the most prominent and present junglers at the MSI Knockout Stage. However, wherever Trundle goes, Kindred is sure to follow, as the Eternal Hunters have been picked in response to Trundle in 6 of their last 7 competitive games where they’ve appeared.
Each time the Troll King makes an appearance over the weekend, make sure Kindred is in the back of your mind, as a convenient counter-pick could provide as the sparkplug for a potential shift in the meta. A change could be coming, with the Lamb and Wolf potentially leading the way.
Photo Credit: Lolesports, Riot Games