Riot Please: Like smiting crabs in a barrel
In our first edition of Riot Please, we take a look at a new mid lane strategy that is sweeping Summoner’s Rift.
Danny “Shiptur” Le is largely known as an entertaining North American mid laner that has proven himself on the Rift anywhere from Team Dignitas to the meme stream dream team Delta Fox. But for now, his name is important because he opened the floodgates of a new strategy, one that many are already decrying as abusive and bad for the game. This subsequently brings our first edition of Riot Please.
So what has the playmaker extraordinaire done to our poor League of Legends? And why does it smell like Maryland on the Rift?
Crabs in a river
While it’s debatable whether Shiphtur was the first to do it, his stream play has popularized a new style of mid lane play. And we aren’t joking when we say it involves a little summoner spell called Smite.
The strategy involves playing high mobility champions for starters, including champions like Ekko, and Ahri. This is to take advantage of the lack of need for a strong second summoner spell beyond the always needed Flash. And you guessed it, we’ll be filling that second summoner spell slot with Smite.
This of course isn’t the first time laners have taken Smite, a bold move we’ve seen anywhere from Blitz in the bottom lane (to clear the way for surprise hooks,) to aggressive laners combining it with jungle items of old to trade even harder. But this time around, the spell is used another way.
Once you get to mid lane on your mobile smite-ready champion, the strategy involves taking control of scuttle crabs, denying their gold and sustain from the enemy jungler while also providing you with consistent strong vision of the river from very early on. As well, high mobility means you can contest jungle camps with the enemy jungler much more effectively, forcing junglers to save Smite for camps like raptors rather than use on buffs or objectives. With the new scuttle crab changes, it’s more valuable than ever, and a much more important objective for both teams.
While this all sounds okay, the strategy has proven quite quickly to be incredibly strong, and by many mid laners estimations beats out the power of other options like Cleanse or Ignite. It starves the enemy jungler of experience, and effectively takes them out of the game from the very beginning.
With this new wave of strategy, you can fully expect to see Smite on your mid laner for the foreseeable future, regardless of your rank and regardless of their ability to use it. That is, unless a certain Emmy winning game developer decides to toss the ring of power directly into Mount Doom to save all of Middle Earth.
The grand scheme
Some feel this kind of adaption in the game is a symptom of a very healthy meta, one that is still being solved over time. Others however see it as an abusive strategy that can only mean more frustrating and nonsensical matches on the Rift. After all, coupled with heavy jungle changes that Riot announced recently, changes that are already critiqued by some professional players as a deathblow to the jungle, this is quite a lot of change to the jungler role in very little time.
While we’ll have to wait to see the strategy on the competitive League of Legends stage, its presence on the Rift is already scaring players all over the map.
So although we don’t yet know for sure if the scuttle crab abuse is simply too strong for the game, with the way the jungler role is going, we have just one request.