League of Legend is an evolving game. With constant patches being applied to the game and champions changing every so often, it’s not wonder there have been countless metas in the history of the game. In those metas there used to be specific champion picks or builds that might have seemed weird on paper but were actually fairly effective for one reason or another. Here are 5 of the most unusual strategies in the history of League of Legends.
Blue Ezreal – Season 3
This was quite the interesting build. The item known as Spirit of the Lizard Elder used to be a jungle item that was oriented towards physical damage dealing junglers. The modern equivalent of the item would be today’s Warrior Enchant for jungle items. The problem with Spirit of the Lizard Elder was that while it was very cost efficient, but it gave junglers no defensive statistics, leaving them incredibly squishy. At that time junglers couldn’t really afford to be overly squishy so the item didn’t see much use. That was until both Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana and Brandon “DontMashMe” Phan (now known as Mash) started rushing the item on Ezreal and building Tear of the Goddess into Iceborn Gauntlet for mid game damage. The idea behind the build was that the early game efficiency of Lizard Elder both in stats and cost, would give Ezreal enough early game damage to transition smoothly into the later stages of the game. While the build did see some success at first, it was quickly exploited for the low impact it has if playing from behind. Certainly a terror for all support mains that had to lane with Blue Ezreals. It relied heavily on hitting Mystic Shot meaning if the Ezreal player was bad with his skillshots, he would be fairly useless.
Jungle Nasus – Season 3
A pick I remember mainly from watching Joshua “NintendudeX” Atkins‘ games in the NA LCS. Jungle Nasus was quite the interesting pick. Usually a champion that needs to build stacks should be in a lane where he can farm more easily right? The idea behind the pick was not to build stacks but to max E and focus on objective control. Nasus used to have decent jungle clear with his E which meant you could just max it since you wouldn’t be able to stack your Q properly anyways. The other benefit of the pick was the exceptional dragon and baron control it gave thanks to Nasus’ ultimate. While that may not be the case today, in Season 3 a Nasus could solo dragon with ease just by popping R and staying next to it. Although the pick has long since disappeared it was certainly a very innovative one that had its use. And while it could only be used for one thing, it was really good for what it was.
Jungle Riven – Season 4
I’m looking at you Ilyas “Shook” Hartsema! So to put it simply, Jungle Riven in itself is not a super innovative thing. The reason why it is so odd to me is because at the time Shook used it, there wasn’t much sense in playing it. There were carry junglers such as Lee Sin or Elise which meant that using Riven in the jungle was unnecessary. Not to mention it was very risky because if a champion like Lee Sin falls behind, he still has utility to remain relevant in the game. But that is not the case for Riven because the champion is bad in pro play when having to play with a disadvantage. And yet despite all of that the former Alliance jungler would whip it out every now and then, achieving average to decent results with it. Definitely not something I would love to see back in the meta ever but an interesting strategy nonetheless.
Urgot/Taric bottom lane – Season 2
A combination that remains in my memory after seeing Steve “Chauster” Chau and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng use it on more than one occasion. What made this duo lane so obnoxious was how tanky they were and how they could harass from afar despite being relatively short ranged. To this day Urgot remains a champion that is rarely seen in the meta but when he is, he just seems so obnoxious to play against to the point where you just want him banned. The awful thing about it is that if you fall behind on Urgot, you’re probably even more useless than a Jungle Riven. Taric is in a good spot in today’s meta but back then he was only good in the early stages of League where his unreliable point and click stun had its use without too many mobile champions in the game. Nowadays if you try to play Taric and Urgot in the bottom lane, you would probably fail miserably just because every meta champion in the bot lane has some sort of mobility, dash or gap closer that lets them dodge out of things like Taric’s Dazzle or Urgot’s Noxian Corrosive Charge.
Mid Lane Hecarim – Season 5
Oh Lae-Young “Keane” Jang….how did you even think of this? A strategy introduce by Dignitas’ current mid laner Keane while he was on Curse Academy and later Gravity, Mid Lane Hecarim functions as an Assassin. Yes you read that right. A bruiser champion that was meant to be a jungler was played as an Assassin in the mid lane. The idea was that once Hecarim is able to get Trinity Force, he can use his power spike to roam around the map and gain advantages for his other lanes. The problem with this strategy is if the enemy mid and jungle decide to pressure the Hecarim to keep him from roaming and slow down his farming. On paper it’s a good pick and while it can work very well, it’s just not reliable enough to warrant picking it. It’s not wonder Keane wasn’t able to use it to great success in professional games despite being proficient on the pick.