As some of you might be aware, especially those of you like me who are bored enough to spend the occasional weekend watching e-sports, IPL 5 was this past weekend. Now I could spend this entire post analyzing team strategies, match ups, etc. I like watching and discussing sports, so this is something that I would consider quite fun and informative. Then I realized, wait, this probably won’t actually mean a thing to people who would rather just be playing LoL and not spending all day watching or reading up on it. So instead of talking about the team play in the tournament I’m going to discuss what effect the tournament might have on your solo que’ing experience – specifically what champions and tactics that were used in IPL 5 that you might end up seeing in one of your games.
There are quite a few champions in this game that are perfectly viable but do not receive a lot of play time until they either become frequently used by the pros or one particular pro uses them to dominate. One such champion from this weekend was Master Yi, who was used frequently (and to good effect) in mid lane by one of the teams. Master Yi with an AP build is an interesting beast. He only really has one offensive move, but that move (Alpha Strike) can swiftly apply a lot of damage to most of your team (as it scales 1:1 for AP). His meditate (which heals him and gives him massive amounts of magic resist and armor) also gives him great sustain and allows him to get in the middle of a team fight and tank a lot of damage until he is able to attack again. I also gave AP Yi a quick tryout in the jungle. Once he gets rolling, his clear times are ridiculously quick. He doesn’t really have any cc but does have the speed to at least be able to lay down some damage when he ganks – even if he doesn’t secure the kill. Definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a non skill shot mid to play or a jungler with fast clear times and a lot of sustain.
Though I end up playing a lot of support, I’ve always really enjoyed playing in the top lane and seeing what happens up there. At IPL 5 we learned that, despite the nerfs that many said would make him unplayable, Rengar remains a beast. Though he no longer is able to nuke his opponents down with his Q, many players had great success playing him as a more sustain oriented tank. Most folks that I saw were building a lot of health on him (which allows him to heal more with his W) until he was tanky enough to start winning trades. Once he could do this, they would switch to building damage on him. Kha Zix also got some high profile play in the top. This one will be interesting because the Kha’s that were played were played really well by people who play the game really well. Kha’s ability to jump in and burst down squishy champions before leaping or stealth’ing out was definitely highlighted. The result here, in my opinion, is that we will be seeing a lot of people playing Kha but not playing him very well. He remains fairly squishy and if he has a rough time in the top lane, which he will against a lot of the standard tops, he won’t have the ability to burst squishy targets and becomes next to useless in team fights. While I think Rengar might see a nerf on his self healing I don’t see similar attention being given to Kha. One last note on the top lane, if you intend to play a lot of top lane make sure you learn Shen. He does get banned a lot but when he doesn’t he is still almost always picked up and played because he offers a lot of utility to his team. He can split push, initiate, shield and the list goes on and on. Like I said, a good champion to make sure you can play.
For those of you who are fans of the bottom lane, let’s take a look at what was happening with the AD carries and supports. Not many games went by without a Sona or a Leona making an appearance. Both of these champions offer a great deal of early game aggression, but what makes them more popular than other aggressive supports like Taric is that they offer great AoE CC for the team fights that pop up later in your game. Nunu was also frequently played to speed buff Caitlyns and Kogs, Lulu has become popular again thanks to her amazing Ult and shield, and Zyra (with her great snares and AoE) also made the occasional appearance on support. The tactics for supports remained pretty traditional but we did see one support Zyra build a lot of AP after finishing her first gold per 10 items. This isn’t something I would recommend for most of us, as it sacrifices a lot of early game utility that can be provided by items like Aegis, but if the game goes late or you are doing well it does transform your support into a second AP carry. I would also argue that Zyra is very good to build AP on while someone like Janna or Taric doesn’t offer the same kind of damage for the money you would end up investing. As for the AD carry’s, Caitlyn has definitely worked her way back into being a mainstream pick while Ezreal remains the go to AD carry for most players. What I thought was interesting was that Graves was not frequently played in this tournament, perhaps due to Caitlyn coming back into style with her ability to whittle him down from range.
The final thing I’ll mention, and I really don’t know if this will actually have any effect on solo que, is that clearing wards has become something of a phenomena. Basically, every time a ward was cleared the crowd would go nuts. I think this was mostly just some bored kids in the crowd trying to be obnoxious, but hey, if it leads to more people purchasing oracles and clearing wards I certainly won’t be opposed to it.
So as quick recap, I think the strangest thing we will end up seeing is a lot more AP Yi play. Outside of that, you will likely have to keep banning Rengar and dodging those Ezreal ults. If you want to check out the highlights from IPL 5 (basically any match containing team WE is worth a watch just to see how good they are) so you can see how team World Elite took the tournament you can find most of the videos posted here. If you want some more detailed analysis of the matches you can find that here at Mobafire. Mobafire also has some fairly handy guides, so that’s just one more reason to check them out. If you have any thoughts on IPL 5 feel free to leave a comment. I’ve definitely been known to miss a trend or two (what do you mean loving Nickleback isn’t cool any more?) so I would love any additional insights on the tournament and some of the trends you might have seen.