The Group Stage for Worlds 2017 is here, and based off the picks and bans we've seen so far, the meta is looking more diverse than it has in the past two years.
(Featured image via Riot Games.)

Picks and Bans at Worlds 2017: Group Stage Meta Predictions

Oct 4, 2017
(Featured image via Riot Games.)

The emerging Worlds 2017 meta is more diverse than we expected. Using preliminary play-in data (pre-October), we’ve seen 63 unique champion picks, compared to 56 picks in the entirety of last year’s World Championships. We can expect to see even more unique picks once the Group Stage begins on October 5th. With that in mind, we can use data about picks, bans, and win rates to make some predictions about what the rest of Worlds 2017 has in store for viewers.

First, let’s take a look at how many champions have been picked in each role so far.

Top: 12
Jungle:  15
Mid: 17
ADC: 12
Support: 13

Total: 69

(Due to flex picks like Jarvan and Galio, there’s some overlap in the data that accounts for this total to be higher than the 63 unique champions mentioned above.)

Top Lane Picks at Worlds 2017

Top lane picks at Worlds 2017.
The top lane meta is all about the tanky teamfighters at Worlds 2017. The top four picks are all tanks: Cho’Gath, Maokai, Galio, and Shen. Bruiser and carry champions like Rumble, Camille, and Gnar are less popular because they aren’t reliable teamfighters compared to the tanks. In the Worlds teamfight meta, there’s little reason to play difficult to execute picks when tanks are available. There are a lot of fringe carry tops out there (Irelia, Kled, Jayce, Kennen) that serve as great counterpicks, so don’t be surprised if we see more diversity in this role over the course of the tournament, especially as teams like Longzhu counter the tank-top meta with Khan, their superstar carry top laner.

Jungle Picks at Worlds 2017

Jungle picks at Worlds 2017.
The jungle role has seen the most overall number of flex picks at Worlds 2017 so far. Gragas, Sejuani, Jarvan IV, Jax, and Maokai have all been played in the jungle as well as in top lane. Despite all the diversity, two picks largely define the jungle role: Gragas and Sejuani. Sejuani’s nearly 100% pick/ban is strong evidence that teams think the champion is overpowered. However, Gragas is rarely banned, despite being the most picked jungler at Worlds.

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Just looking at the win rates for these two champions, it seems that teams might have overrated Sejuani while letting Gragas quietly outperform him. If teams are paying attention–and they should be–we should anticipate more bans targeting Gragas in the Group Stage at Worlds 2017.

Mid Picks at Worlds 2017

Mid picks at Worlds 2017.
In Patch 7.16, Riot handed out minor nerfs to a handful of top mid lane picks (Cassiopeia, Orianna, Taliyah, Syndra) in an attempt to expand the pool of viable mid champions. While the nerfed champions are still popular picks, these changes have succeeded in diversifying mid lane. Based off of what we’ve seen so far, Syndra and Galio will be among the most picked and banned mid laners at Worlds 2017. Galio is a unique pick for being a tank that can flex pick between top and mid, and he’s especially resilient in high-pressure lanes. This makes him a great pick against players like Faker, whose unquestionable lane dominance needs to be kept in check.

ADC Picks at Worlds 2017

Mid picks at Worlds 2017.
The ADC role might be hurting the most. Tristana has the most OP late game: long range, two escapes, and the ability to melt towers with her Explosive Charge. Other picks like Xayah and Kalista can have great synergy with their supports, but if a game starts running late, Tristana is always a safer (and better) pick. Kog’Maw seems strong, especially with all the Ardent Censer supports to pump him up, but we don’t have enough data yet to draw a definitive conclusion. It will be interesting to see if teams continue to ban Kalista, who currently sits at an 87.5% ban rate.

Support Picks at Worlds 2017

Support picks at Worlds 2017.
The best support picks at Worlds 2017 are a mixture of strong engagers like Rakan and Alistar, and Ardent Censer-building champions like Rakan, Janna, and Lulu. Rakan is in a class of his own because he fits into both categories; he is the most-banned support and boasts a 70% win rate to boot. Janna is the best disengager, and probably the most natural Ardent Censer user. Janna’s biggest shortcoming is her lack of a reliable engagement ability, but that hasn’t stopped her from having an 86% win rate.

Let’s round things out with a top-10 list. Champions that made this list were selected for having high pick/ban rates and (usually) high win rates at Worlds. Sejuani’s win rate dropped below 50% on Friday, but this hog is still nearly 100% pick/ban, so he makes the cut. If you were in charge of a pro team’s champion selection at Worlds 2017, these picks would be your top priorities:

  1. Janna
  2. Kalista
  3. Galio
  4. Jarvan IV
  5. Rakan
  6. Gragas
  7. Tristana
  8. Xayah
  9. Maokai
  10. Sejuani

Honorable Mention: Cho’Gath

Last month, I predicted that the World’s meta would be pretty stale because there wasn’t a large patch right before the tournament. Whether or not the meta is drastically different from the summer split, fans should be satisfied with the diverse metagame we’ve seen at Worlds 2017 thus far. Who can complain about exceeding the total number of unique champion picks from Worlds 2016 before the Group Stage starts? It’s possible that Worlds 2017 will shatter the record of 74 unique champion picks currently held by Worlds 2015. The introduction of 10 bans in champion select has done more to widen the metagame than any of Riot’s individual champion nerfs and buffs.

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Joseph Schmidt
Joseph is a devoted League of Legends player who loves discussing strategy and helping players get better at the game. When he's not gaming, Joseph can be found playing electric guitar, enjoying nature, and taking photographs.
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