Breaking Up: When Rakan Isn’t There

League’s newest champions Xayah and Rakan have stolen the hearts of many players.  Their corny romantic dialogue in game makes them lovable and fun to play with each other, even if just from a thematic standpoint.  In addition to the loads of unique interactions between the two as they chat with each other across the battlefield, there are a few mechanical benefits they gain from being played as an ADC and Support duo, with slightly increased damage and mobility, as well as the ability to hitch a ride on each others’ backing animations (though admittedly this bonus, while mildly useful, is more for flavor).

Although released as a duo meant to be played together, the realities of draft mode can mean that AD carry players picking Xayah may find themselves without a Rakan to support them, whether it be through bans, allies not owning Rakan, or the other team snatching him away.  Though intended as a duo, each champion is strong enough to stand on his or her own, providing unique benefits to a team even when played solo.  Xayah, just like any other ADC, has some characteristics that give her better synergy with some non-Rakan supports than others.  Support and ADC players alike should know these synergies and why they work so that they can maximize Xayah’s strengths, while purposefully staying away from supports that synergize poorly with her kit.

 

Crowd Control

 

One might say that crowd control synergizes with every champion, but Xayah thrives with a few specific types of CC.  She has a fairly long root in her kit, but the three-feather requirement means that it can sometimes be difficult to activate by herself.  This means that supports who can help her set up her root synergize well with her.  These kinds of supports generally come in two types: Harass-style and initiators.Long-range champions such as Morgana and Nami who have long stuns can allow Xayah to set up enough feathers to proc her own stun, while feeding into the poke-heavy style that favors short engagements and quick disengages.

On the flip side, Xayah lacks mobility in her kit, which can mean that she struggles against initiator type supports.  Nautilus and Leona can present a huge challenge to Xayah, as she simply does not have the tools to get away from their CC reliably.  On the flip side, these champions when on her team can provide her with the initiation and protection she needs to get a good fight started.  Thresh is perhaps the prime example of this, as he has a reliable hook that can set Xayah up for her own root, as well as a slow to chain after that root wears off.  Thresh also has his lantern, which rounds out Xayah’s notable lack of mobility.

 

Peel/Protection

 

Noting Xayah’s immobility and lack of reliable ways to dodge enemy abilities, there are several supports who thrive when paired with her.  As noted before, Thresh has great synergy with Xayah, as all of his tools can be used both for initiation as well as for peeling.  Thresh’s lantern can provide a great tool for a quick retreat, or for an instant reposition to get away from a pesky enemy support.  Peeling supports have many unique methods, Braum increases defenses and blocks projectiles, Lulu provides movement speed and disables for enemies, and Tahm Kench literally gobbles her up and spits her out in safety.

Support champions who provide protection for Xayah will always synergize with her.  Rakan provides an amazing amount of protection, as well as a little bit of sustain, so other supports who can fit that bill tend to work well with her.  In this way, Xayah is much like other late-game carries such as Varus and Jhin, who have amazing late-game potential, but suffer from extreme immobility.  Support champions should be picked in this instance based on how well they can protect Xayah and set her up to rain feather-daggers into the enemy.

Support champions who can balance both of these criteria and provide strong protection melded with reliable crowd control are the best picks for pairing with Xayah, as they maximize all her strengths while minimizing her weaknesses.

 

Bad Synergy

 

While any support “could” work well with Xayah, there are a few that stand out who have little synergy with her.  Burst-mages like Annie or Brand, while providing great trading potential, do not work with Xayah to set up her crowd control, and do absolutely nothing to protect her should the enemy get within range.  Supports like these do not play off Xayah’s strengths, and similarly do not directly mitigate her inherent weaknesses.  Brand has no way to protect Xayah in the event that she gets jumped on, whether that be in a 2 vs. 2 skirmish botlane or later on in a full-scale teamfight.

Arguably, burst mage supports are really a whole different style of support, where the “support” creates value by forcing the enemy to make the decision whether to focus the AD carry or the support, as technically the support does more damage in the early stages of the game.  However, due to Xayah’s poor early value, this can lead to her in a sense being relegated into a support role for the mage she is paired with.  Later on in the midgame, this easily leads toward Xayah receiving little actual aid from her “support.”  Xayah, like other immobile late-game oriented carries only reaches her highest potential in the early and mid game when she is backed by a champion who is truly dedicated to seeing her thrive and farm.