Stay Flexible - Flex Champions and Builds for Solo-Queue Survival
Fri 27th Sep 2019 - 9:26pm
Flexibility in life is necessary. Sometimes, rules and opinions need to be bent to see to it that everyone is happy. Solo/Duo Queue is no different in this aspect. League players all have their own ways they want to go about doing things and sometimes this just boils down to them furiously typing, "mE mId" during draft. Well, if you've already dodged for the day, and you're the one he's wanting mid from, it's going to pay off if you're flexible (Hopefully.) So, with that, I'm here to introduce you to some champion picks and builds that can flex across various roles. These picks will allow you to better facilitate your teams and hopefully keep draft from deteriorating while still giving you a power pick to perform with.
Pick #1 - Swain, The Noxian Grand General - Top/Mid/Support
In Top, Swain, like his buddy Vladimir, is a sustain laner that can hold his own in bad matchups or dominate the ones where he possesses a range advantage. In most matchups, he takes advantage of his ranged status by abusing Grasp of the Undying procs to heal himself and gain an incremental health advantage over his opponent throughout the lane phase. Swain also carries a solid bit of CC to help set up his jungle for ganks, and his ability to scout with his W, Vision of Empire, can help him lane safely when extending to place wards or create lane pressure.
This is your standard Grasp of the Undying page:
In Mid, Swain's matchups are a bit worse, but with the length of the lane, it's a much safer lane for him to be in due to his lack of mobility. Piloting from Mid also gives Swain the opportunity to get involved with more teamfights across the map which will help him stack his passive quickly. This lane also sees a change in the way we run his runes. We opt for Phase Rush over Grasp in this lane, and our build is more geared towards the damage aspects of Swain's kit versus sustain.
This is your standard Phase Rush page:
Swain's last spot on the Rift is in the support role. For this role, we'll be taking Electrocute over our other pages and we'll be looking to all-in and consistently proc Electrocute's burst. You can think of the playstyle here similar to something like Zyra's. We want to go in with our E, pull our enemies in, and then run them down with our AD. And always buy your support item.
This is your standard Electrocute page:
Pick #2 - Pantheon, The Unbreakable Spear - Top/Mid/Jungle/Bot
The new Pantheon is hot stuff folks. His strong all in, resiliency to incoming damage, and execute have made in reliable throughout multiple lanes on the rift.
In Top and Mid, Pantheon dominates melee matchups in both of these lanes with his all-in potential and constant desire to want to skirmish. Against mage matchups, especially in mid, he has a bit of resiliency to their poke and burst thanks to his E, Aegis Assault. Regardless of lane though his ult, Grand Starfall, gives him the ability to get around the map and snowball the leads he creates for himself with his dominating lane phase.
In the Jungle, Pantheon's clear speed isn't the fastest, but after having received some buffs he's more than viable in the role. And no jungler should complain about adding a champion with an execute, point-and-click-CC, and a semi-global ultimate that helps them gank and catch flanks.
As a Bot-laner, Pantheon fits into the typical cheese strategies of a 'kill lane'. Meaning he wants to abuse the early disadvantage that traditional bot-laners come with by snowballing hard and fast with his early playstyle. When paired with champions that want to all-in like Leona, Braum, or Naut, the lockdown from Pantheon plus his lane partner is insane. Naturally, this lane is a bit rougher due to the constant range disadvantage, but one slip up by the enemy means death.
Regardless of role though, the rune page stays the same and is as follows:
Pick #3 - Karma, The Enlightened One - Support/Mid/Top
Starting with her primary role, Support, Karma is an aggressive hybrid of an Enchanter and Mage. Karma wants to shove and poke her opponents out of lane while also enabling a carry that'd like to do the same with her shields and snares. Though you can build full-AP, it's recommended that you build like a traditional enchanter due to your low income. Karma relies on her base damages primarily anyway, not items, to push through the lane phase as Support.
This is your standard rune page for Karma Support:
From her solo lanes, Karma keeps her title of 'Lane-Bully' but packs a bit more punch and resiliency due to the extra income she receives from farming. From Mid, her rush items are standard AP-Mage items like Luden's Echo and Morellonomicon before transitioning her build into a support path. From Top, you can follow this same build to play like a mage, or go for the infamous 'Tank-Karma' builds by picking up Iceborn Gauntlet and Spirit Visage to give yourself the defensive stats to handle regular fighting and tower pushing. Either lane though has a plethora of options in terms of Keystones for Karma to utilize. Comet, Aery, and Kleptomancy are all viable. Kleptomancy is Karma's more infamous selection though. Thanks to the ranged advantage she typically has in Top, or versus melee matches in Mid, Karma can abuse her low cooldowns and ranged status by stacking Kleptomancy to accelerate herself towards key items.
Here's an example of the Kleptomancy page:
Pick #4 - Lucian, The Purifier - Bot/Mid/Top
When in Bot lane, Lucian's matchups against his fellow Marksman typically favor his opponents. Lucian's range is short and he relies heavily on the crowd-control or poke from his supports to setup his all-in rotation to secure kills. He's favored in bot against matchups that want time to scale like Vayne, Twitch, or Jinx. These champions come online with items, not levels or abilities, and Lucian is all about securing kills before items are present.
In Mid, Lucian is seen as a counter-pick. Against champions like Kassadin or Ryze, who want to farm and get items, Lucian takes advantage of his heavy early damage through PTA to bully these laners into submission. Against assassins like Zed or Akali, Lucian abuses their melee range with his own and can outplay their all-ins with his dash to secure himself kills. When it comes to mages though, he tends to struggle. Lucian certainly has the all-in advantage against a mage early, but by playing safely for levels and farm, a good mage can wait until their advantage over Lucian to burst him down or set him up for ganks.
In Top, Lucian is picked similarly to how he's selected for Mid. He bullies out scaling champs like Nasus, abuses assassins like Akali, and can outplay bruisers like Darius or Rumble. His weaknesses as a champion can be more apparent in this lane though. Like in Bot, Lucian often has to overextend to press his advantage over his opponents in Top. As a Marksman, Lucian can rely on his Support to get him out of hairy situations, but as a Top-laner, Lucian is all on his own and can only rely on his dash to escape from ganks. Further, if Lucian doesn't abuse his early advantage over his opponents, a quick Bramble Vest or investment into armor items will swiftly shut off the damage potential of Lucian and quickly turn him from a carry into a split-push machine.
Lucian's all about aggression. Be it Bot, Mid, or Top, this gunslinger is out to blow spells and get kills as fast as possible to snowball himself into a dominating lead. In all lanes, Lucian takes the Keystone, Press the Attack. After three auto-attacks, stacked quickly thanks to his passive, Press the Attack makes opponents vulnerable to all incoming damage for 6 seconds. With a full rotation of his abilities and autos, he can kill or shove out any enemy in the early stages.
Here's an example of Lucian's typical rune setup:
Pick #5 - Poppy, Keeper of the Hammer - Top/Jungle/Support
As a Top, Poppy Keystones herself into Grasp of the Undying and pushes towards a bruiser or tank build. Thanks to her shield, she can take advantage of the Keystone and proc it from range. With her W, she can abuse champions like Kled or Jax who want to jump into the middle of a teamfight. Poppy's E makes positioning near walls a constant gamble and her ultimate allows her to disengage ganks or enemies in teamfight situations to give herself and her team the advantage.
Here's your standard Poppy Top page:
While in the Jungle, Poppy's playstyle is vastly more aggressive as she opts for Electrocute over Grasp. This Keystone gives her the extra pop she needs to fight off invaders and take down foes on ganks. The deceptive amount of damage she does early can often bait enemy laners into not respecting her. Those disrespectful opponents usually find themselves splattered against walls while Poppy continues to run down their team With her W and E. Poppy's ganks provide a lot of CC for her team to follow up on, and throwing her Q into the mix quickly allows for the pop of Electrocute to make its way into her ability rotation.
Here your standard Poppy Jungle Page:
Poppy's last role is Support. Here she plays the role of a tank by running Aftershock as her Keystone. Utilizing her W and E, she can lockdown enemy Bot-laners that have positioned themselves poorly against her or she can stand close to her carry and act as a barrier to entry against pesky assassins or bruisers that would do her DPS harm. Aftershock gives her increased tank stats as she goes about tumbling and soaking damage for her team, and her ult is a perfect disengage and zone control tool to help set neutral objective fights.
Here is your standard Poppy Support page:
I hope I've piqued your interest in taking the time to learn these extremely flexibly champions. Adaptability is a vastly underrated skill for League players and to become the best at your primary role, you'll need a deep understanding of the other roles across the Rift. Each of these champions presents not only the opportunity for solid performers in their primary roles, but also for fun or unique play patterns in their off roles. Naturally, there are more flexible champions that could be mentioned. For those, I encourage you to do your own research. For now, though, I hope you've been enlightened to the possibilities and flexibility of these champions and I hope I've encouraged you to diversify your roles and champ pools with these spicy picks.
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