Hidden OPs in LoL - Finding Your Pocket Power
Wed 7th Feb 2018 - 9:48pm
The hidden OP - a pick that isn’t meta but has a bit more power than is balanced. Now many hidden OPs become meta shortly after they are found, but until then they are exploitable for that sweet, sweet LP gains.
Now my name is Robbie ‘RobsterMonahan’ Monahan and I’m a mid to high platinum support main on the EUW server and have maintained this moderately high level of ELO for several years now. This means that I have seen more than my fair share of meta shifts, from the assassins of Season 3 to the hypercarrys of late Season 7.
In this guide, I hope to show you some methods to finding those picks that are strong but have not been noticed and placed on the solo queue banned every game list so that you can add them to your champion pool and them exploit their power for your own ranked gain.
Fun Game Modes
Now I hear you ask, "How does playing Riot’s weird and wacky twist on the standard game reveal the hidden OPs in the patch's gamestate?" Well it can do so in many ways but the most common is by revealing a pick that no-one plays but is still powerful. However, there are other ways the power pick can be revealed. Note that there are a few game modes that you cannot apply this concept to. Unfortunately, everyone’s favourite game mode of URF cannot be used for this as it's just too different when compared to the standard game. Hexakill can have a similar effect but isn’t as bad. The game mode I have found best is Nemesis Draft and I shall explain why. I first played Nemesis Draft about three years ago and at the time Sejuani was considered a garbage jungler (note, this was old Sej who had the chain stun ultimate) and so was prominent in Nemesis Draft. During some solo ND games, I was given the boar rider a few games in a row and, oh boy, easy wins were had. So, I took Sej into some normal games and learned her better. Next was ranked and to cut a long story short, +89LP. A week later Sejuani was seeing play in the LCS and was top tier and was a ban list regular. But, what we have is an example of a hidden OP being exploited for LP.
Now, before you jump to conclusions, this is not a single counter matchup like the Vel’Koz into the current meta pick of Azir. No, a meta counter is a pick that does well into a majority of the current meta, not just an individual pick. So how do we find this kind of hidden OP? Well, first we need to look at what’s meta and then identify what makes them ‘meta?’ Follow that up by figuring out what counters that trait and who carries the counter trait. A great example of this can be found in the impact of Thresh in the recent Ardent Censer meta where the AC carriers were typically very squishy and so vulnerable to the hard engage of Thresh’s Dark Passage. So here we have another example of a hidden OP which can be potentially exploited for sweet, sweet LP gain.
e.g. Morgana countering CC heavy metas that could feature Leona
In League, we have gone through so many overpowered items (Ardent Censer, why did you exist in that state for so long) and trends in champions. But one thing that many players do not consider is taking off-meta picks and fusing them with meta builds/items. Now this method does take a lot of trial and error alongside a good knowledge of the current gamestate. For this you have to think, "What can I bring to the table while still being able to utilise the meta build?" Now if you can find this niche you’re in business, so get learning and exploiting.
Just to prove this is possible I will share a tale of how I was able to apply this technique to getting my own little niche. It’s Season 5 and the support role is gripped in a tank meta dominated by the picks of Braum, Alistar and Thresh (Lulu is also there for the ability to create a tank with her ultimate) who could utilise the old Aegis line alongside the Glacial Shroud build path. Now one of my favourite items in game outside the traditional support core is Frozen Gauntlet, a pseudo-tank item with added CC and stats that a support can make use of.
Now I’m sure you’re putting the same two and two together here that I did, "What non-meta support could build and use this item well while bringing that extra zing?" For me the answer was Sona. This worked out fantastically as the healer support was able to build tanky with FG and Locket (creating a well-rounded support tank build). The point of this, it showcases that with a little thought I (and in turn, you) can find a Hidden OP pick in a meta and exploit it for lot of LP (over 200+ over several patches) during a meta’s time at the top.
Now before I conclude I want to make a point very clear. Just because you find a hidden OP doesn’t mean a free win is guaranteed, especially not in ranked. These picks are of your finding and so it is up to you to ensure they are developed and ready. Notice in how the Sej pick came about I took it to normal first? There is a reason for that - so that I had time to learn my pick. You got to sow your seeds before you reap your LP grain.
So, to sum this up, Hidden OP picks are opportunities for solo queue players like you and me to get ahead of the meta (and maybe even define it) and utilise the information (and remember information is power) to get an advantage in ranked games, and with that I wish you the best of luck in finding your own hidden OP picks. GL and HF.
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