With the introduction of the Preseason rune changes, solo-queue games will start to look slightly different than what you might’ve seen during worlds and the patches that followed. Some of the biggest changes you might see are that the Guinsoo’s late game carry botlaners and the passive Ardent Censer supports aren’t going to be an integral in your team comps anymore. While the multitude of changes can make me write about this topic forever, I’ll mainly be covering the ones that will most prominently impact solo queue and possibly pro play.
What caused the Worlds meta?
Ardent Censer gave health. Plain and simple, Ardent Censer was a broken item that was integral when deciding to make a team comp. Even when you saw a team pick a Leona as the support, you would still see an Ivern in the jungle or a Karma in the midlane; simply not running an Ardent Censer was often not an option for the players at worlds. This trend was reflected in Solo Queue until roughly patch 7.21 where Riot gave Ardent Censer a second (possibly third) nerf which got rid of its necessity in the draft and itemization sections of the game.
The meta primarily revolved around the Ardent Censer, but a few notable parts to the protect the carry comps were control oriented Mages to systematically apply pressure around the map. Junglers were mainly tanks with a catch potential on high priority targets. And finally, the Top Laners consisted of either Tanks, tank punishers, and Rumble. In a larger picture, the compositions made were all supposed to be protect the carry, fantastic teamfighting compositions.
What is lost in the rune changes?
Besides the Ardent Censer being a relic of the past and the fact that all of your runes no longer exist, another notable difference is the change to Thunderlords and Stormraiders surge. With the movement to focus on unique abilities, it makes it a little bit more difficult to proc the new masteries for certain champions that used TLD (Thunderlord’s Decree) or SS (Storm Raiders Surge). Another notable change is that of the defensive nature of Courage of the Colossus has changed into a damage related ability. One of the runner-ups for changes in the Pre-season is that the Jungler catch up experience is now gone, slightly altering players’ approach to the jungle.
What’s been gained?
During the first week, Aery dominated almost every lane. Since the nerf to her late game potential, she still finds her place amongst a decent amount of controlling supports and mages. Press the Attack is the second most impactful introduction to the preseason. With this, AD carries are still going strong as a reliable, usable damage dealer that can most likely find its way into most team comps. Another significant change has been the Junglers receiving Celerity and Waterwalking as lesser talents. Expect the 2v2 mid lane and Jungler skirmishes in the river to occur as they have been through worlds.
How does this impact high ELO solo queue?
One thing you can expect to stay consistent are the sheer volume of control mages in your mid lane. While most of the tanks are slightly weaker than before, you can’t really expect the number of assassins to increase by much because there isn’t as much incentive to play them as there was before. Mid Laners are still going to be the dominant force in how a game plays out, and the current meta calls for the methodical and team fighting ability of control-centralized mages. One thing you can expect to see is a resurgence of bully/poke bot lanes as Aery will provide enough damage to out sustain a defensive farm heavy lane. Also in the bot lane, with Celestial Body in play, tanks and melee champions are not at a huge disadvantage as one might think.
Impacting low ELO
With the regard for low elo players, the metagame might change drastically. You could argue that within low elo, keystones like dark harvest, electrocute, and predator make assassins much stronger because of the assumption that lower elo players don’t know how to play against assassins as well as high elo players. The power of Aery to control a game in a slow, methodical manner is not in considerations as much in lower elo, so extra damage to oneshot a carry can be really really good if the enemy team doesn’t know how to play around it.
A second major consideration is around how the bot laning phase plays out. Without a polished understanding of trading, supports in low elo can find themselves easily dominating the bot lane with their early damage output. Doran shield purchases will still probably happen as these poke oriented supports show dominance in their lanes.
Impacting pro play?
It’s hard to say whether or not things will drastically change in the pro scene. In 2017 we saw the vastly different structure of pro play change. Just looking at the ADC position, season 7 brought us memes like League of Lethality, ADC’s in 2017 LUL, and eventually the League of Ardent Censer. Things like the Ghost Ward make me think that vision control will still be a gigantic element of pro strategy that teams play around. And with no changes to the objectives around the map, these mastery changes might shift matchups in certain champions’ favor, but overall it’s near impossible to guess what the next dominant meta will be without going out there and playtesting it for yourself.