In an impressive change of pace compared to last season, it seems as though the professional League of Legends landscape is becoming much tighter in terms of champion diversity and the characters that dictate the meta of the game.
And while one region doesn’t paint a complete picture of the competitive scene as a whole, it’s fair to say that each league mirrors one another in some way or form. With that in mind, the numbers posted by the LCS in particular don’t bode well as only 87 champions were picked or banned at least once this Spring (not counting playoffs). Of that number, only a handful of champions were serious threats in the North American meta.
Only 32 champions were picked 10 or more times throughout the course of the split. And while this number might seem to showcase a foreboding image at first, the lines become much more blurred when you realize that each position had at least two champions picked at least 25 times throughout the season. With this being said, it’s easy to narrow the competitive meta down to just about 10 or 15 champions, with a few more being sprinkled in throughout the course of the season.
Champions like Aatrox, Zoe, and Aphelios were pretty much shoe-ins to be seen every single game, while others like Leblanc and Senna were practically invisible, being banned contest after contest. Only champions like Xayah, Gragas, Jarvan IV, and a few others were true toss-ups in regards to whether they were going to be picked or banned.
In many cases, seeing the same handful of champions every game starts to feel repetitive, and many viewers can start to get the inkling of the meta once a stagnant trend starts to form. With just a few certain characters dominating the meta throughout the course of the split, and a strong portion of those who have been picked only being selected once or twice, it’s clear that the game is regressing in terms of champion diversity thus far in 2020.
What’s most notable is that there are 14 champions who have appeared in over half of all champion selects worldwide. Of course, Aphelios leads the way on a global scale just as he has all season long with a 97% pick/ban rate, while Sett isn’t too far behind at 86%. And while moving to a global viewpoint might make things seem more diversified, as there’s only 17 champions in the game left to be picked or banned, it’s fair to say that many of the champions who have popped up here and there are nowhere near as prominent or dominant as the roster’s elite.
As we move forward, it might prove to be difficult for more champions to get exposure. The meta might stay constricted for the foreseeable future, as the global scene’s traditional Spring international tournament, the Mid-Season Invitational, looks all but officially cancelled. If there’s any hope for loosening things up as far as the Summer Split goes, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Riot implement some sort of game-altering rework to a class or position that ultimately upends the meta.
You wouldn’t have to think that far back to remember when Riot completely changed the bot lane meta in May of 2018, significantly impeding traditional AD Carries while also bringing mages and bruisers into the fold. Perhaps as we march through 2020, something along those drastic lines could be needed to shake up the competitive landscape as a whole.
Photo Credit: Riot Games, League of Legends, Lolesports