It’s been a riveting first half of the NA LCS this 2017 Spring Split, and I couldn’t be happier with the surprise picks coming through this season. While we all get excited when a non-meta champion gets locked in, we should become even more excited when that champion shines. What I mean, is that some champions that aren’t necessarily meta still offer a lot of win potential to their team.
When we speak about meta, for the purpose of this article, I mean the following:
- A champion who has become 100% pick or ban.
- A champion who is picked consistently even if never worth a ban.
With that in mind, we will now discuss my opinion on the top champion per role that fills our underrated game changers. These may not be a super-secret, but their merit is real!
Top Lane: Nautilus
We all know Nautilus is the CC God. There are not many champions who can compare to his amount of lockdown (CC= Crowd Control). In fact, the only skill of his that doesn’t have some CC is his shield. That shield just makes him a monster.
This is a big part as to why Nautilus is my top lane choice for a game changer/MVP. His laning phase is solid as he is very tanky but can still output good damage (especially early level). As long as you bring teleport, the plays with Nautilus can be quite ‘lit’. A TP in the back line can, AND HAS, changed an entire game. As soon as he teleports in, he can remove a squishy carry from the backline with his pull or opt to knock up the grouped enemy team (via his ultimate). Some champions just don’t have that much pressure, but Nautilus does. He can engage with his hook, his lock on ultimate, or even his damage aoe move which also slows. You want to disengage; you say? Well, his hook also works on walls which you can use to get away or use any of his skills for an escape.
Nautilus is a tank if any. The Keystone Courage of the Colossus is his bread and butter (yes, even after the nerf it received). Now Nautilus is even tankier, and if the game goes long enough, you may be unlucky enough to go against one with a Guardians Angel. He almost seems impossible to kill now. There have been several games in the first half of the LCS where Nautilus has honestly turned the entire match around. He is still viable after a poor laning phase, and those are the reasons why I believe he deserves to be an MVP.
The lean walking tree, Ivern, coming up to take that Jungler MVP position. You don’t see many, but when you do the game is extremely interesting. Supports do a lot of work for their team, and that’s what Ivern is in a sense. Let’s delve into what he offers to his team.
For one, this guy has the potential to own the entire jungle without a sweat. All he needs is his smite to be off cooldown, and he can instantly clear a camp. That means a faster jungle pathing, which means more counter jungling or lane presence (if not both). He doesn’t have to worry about dropping low against his camp either because his shield (which eventually does damage as well) is very powerful…and at the same time, it slows and does damage. Starting to get the picture?
If not, he also shares buffs! When he kills a red or blue buff camp, a sappling is dropped to the ground, and an ally can just pick it up. Now they both have red buff instead of just the one (which is how all other junglers work). The difference in buffs makes all the difference for a game like League of Legends. Ivern has a nice root, kind of like Zyra, and while you get rooted prepare to be attacked by Ivern’s dashing in allies. If Daisy is up, she will also target you.
Daisy is Ivern’s Ultimate move, and boy oh boy it’s like having a sixth member when Daisy is out and tanking/attacking. She can send out a shockwave knocking up nearby enemies and lasts for a super long minute. Daisy can help bust the enemies’ cooldowns because she is so hard to kill and at the same time does a decent amount of damage. Plus, if she starts getting low, Ivern will be a good partner and shield her! Ivern and Daisy are mega engaging tanks, with a root, a powerful shield, and of course his bushes that he can spawn to trick enemies or increase his stats. Having Ivern available to feed his carries via ganks is simply wonderful. A lot of team comps can struggle against something so powerful like Ivern’s kit, and it did happen during the NA LCS’s first half. Other regions are making use of him more, but I hope to see more Ivern come through champ select.
Mid Lane: Corki
You may want to debate with me that Corki is meta, but he is not 100% pick or ban in NA. He is flourishing mid lane right now, and it’s usually picked to try and counter say a meta pick like Syndra. Corki has always had some presence in the professional scene, but it varies. This season some plays split pushes, and package engages were totally game changing this split. There have been games where Corki simply carries without much effort.
What makes Corki so great? Well, his passive gives him 50/50 AD and AP damage, which is so beneficial to his kit and preventing the enemy from out building him defense wise. Then the best part of Corki’s passive is the ‘The Package”. Trust me, this is one package you won’t want to accept if going against a Corki. The package stays in the base, and once Corki picks It up, he gets increased movement speed (out of combat) and gets to cast Special Delivery. He gets to do TONS more damage, knockback enemies you charge through, and make his Valkyrie move more like a rumble ultimate with the slow and burn damage. Avoid at all cost. This is an amazing engage for Corki.
The bomb he throws, as long as built correctly, can burst your opponents down quickly and has a rather short cooldown. Your gap closer helps initiate, disengage, and secure a kill that just wants to keep running away. There have been many insane Corki plays with his Valkyrie jump skill in the LCS, and it just makes it so much better when he has his package. His other skills are basically like shooting a mini machine gun in a way. This works well with the Thunderlord keystone which is very popular in the LCS (League in general). Great poke and lane control when using this skill. His last skill is his ultimate which fires out rockets that deal crazy damage (also procs your staple item Trinity Force). The aoe damage from his ultimate can help burst waves and enemies at the same time. Great lane pressure tool.
With Corki’s mobility, ad and ap ratio, package engage, and bursty damage there is no wonder why Corki has been chosen as the game-changing mid laner. The fact that your mid lane can split push as well as an ADC and as safe as a top laner is great to have on your team.
Bot Lane ADC: Miss Fortune
Now now, before you begin to argue, please note I am only choosing her for the ADC role. Her support meta picks have dropped and will not be discussed here. There are players like FlyQuest’s Altec who have shown complete dominance with Miss Fortune ADC. She is very viable though overlooked due to the Jhin, Varus, and Ashe’s popularity.
Miss Fortune can dish out some extreme damage with her bouncing shot and her ultimate. Being stuck in her ultimate is signing a death wish. But let’s go by skill by skill and why they make her such a game changer.
Miss Fortune is a lane bully. Her Double Up bouncing shot can cut you for half your health after just a couple items. It makes it hard for opponents to CS as carefree as they would because positioning is super important when laning against an MF. If you stand behind your minions, you risk getting gutted. If you stand off to the side, you risk being slowed by her raining bullets move. That slow has helped initiate so many ganks and team fights because the slow continuously refreshes the longer you stay in it. We’ve all burned a flash to get out of there at some point (admit it). Then if you do happen to get through those obstacles, she can always speed herself up to escape danger. This speed up can be used to help engage/ get in range to pop the slow or leave a fight going poorly.
We all know MF’s golden time is during team fights. When you group up against a Miss Fortune, you are asking for that Ult. It shoots out a cone shaped formation of bullets for 3 seconds. The cone is rather large, the duration rather long, and the damage output is EXTREMELY HIGH. By the way, each wave that comes out during this ult can critically strike which lowers your odds of survival. You need to either attack her to cancel the ult or get the heck out of it. Getting out of her ult is never that easy, and it breaks your entire team fight organization. Now someone is overextended, too low to fight or cut out from the rest of the team.
Her burst, crit, and ability to aggressively push lanes is why I’ve chosen her as the game-changing MVP ADC.
Bot Lane Support: Taric
I spent some time thinking about my support pick. While Nami and Karma are coming up and Malzahar and Zyra are falling a bit, I wanted a gem. Look where I found it, in Taric! As soon as I remembered Taric there was no turning back. This guy offers so much turn potential it’s insane.
Taric is an extreme tank. He doesn’t output damage, but he doesn’t need to. He has a decent heal to use on his team, although it is not the best heal in the game. It works on a charging system and can heal all nearby allies. His shield though is very useful. You choose an ally to bind to and when you do it gives them a shield, and the entire time you are bonded it increases both users armor. The most interesting part of this bind is that all of Taric’s abilities are now simultaneously cast from both players.
This binding helps the most when it comes to Taric’s two remaining abilities we have yet to discuss. His “Dazzle” ability creates a decently sizes stun radius in front of him and his bonded ally. If the enemy gets trapped inside it, they become damaged and stunned for up to 1.5 seconds. This is a great disengage and engage. You have the potential to stun the entire enemy team and just clean up.
Now we get to the real reason Taric is my MVP pick. His ultimate. This ultimate has created so many games changing plays. Your ally team member could be so far behind, but a well-timed ultimate can save his life and get him/her up three kills. What his ultimate does is grant everyone inside the radius invulnerability for 2.5 seconds. Now, what makes it harder is that it has a 2.5-second delay, and the fields/radius spawns on top of Taric and his bonded ally. So if you aren’t in that circle, you won’t get it.
Taric has become a game changer in this first half of the LCS, and I’m surprised he hasn’t been picked more. He offers so much peel to his team, especially in group fights. That is why I chose Taric as my MVP game-changing support.
I know everyone has their opinion, but again, please keep in mind that I’m trying to avoid the hard meta as my MVP picks. These five champions made plays, turned games, and assisted their team more than credit has been given. Hopefully, we see more in the second half of the NA LCS.
Let me know your opinions or predictions for the next half in the comments below!