Season five is upon us, and with the latest changes on the Summoner’s Rift, the strengths and weaknesses of champions have changed the game entirely. While some summoners remain as strong as ever, still others have moved up and around from the lowest tiers into legitimacy in all-new roles and much higher priority on the ranked queue pick/ban lists. If you’re looking to master the strongest champions in the league and fly straight through your ranked seed, here’s everything you need to know about tiers in February of 2015. Click here to skip to the Nerf Tier
Never fear, Bronze tier is here. These poor champions either never got much attention or have such an out of balance kit for the current meta that they just don’t fit. These champions are the ones to watch out for the most however, because they will likely be a target of future buffs. Playing champions from the Bronze tier in these roles will not be beneficial and leads to general frustration when picking them as “troll” picks.
- Top Lane: Soraka, Urgot
- Jungle: Yasuo, Garen
- Mid-Lane: Urgot, Soraka, Janna
- AD Carry: Urgot
- Support: Nidalee, Orianna, Poppy, Elise, Galio, Shen, Yorick, Lissandra, Ashe, Leblanc
As some of the most violent offenders in League of Legends, support plays prominently in the Bronze tier. Misplacing a support character in League of Legends can literally mean the difference in life and death, and with old offenders making their way back to Support roles, our champs are not what they once were. Take Nidalee for example, with high damage output and a heal, she is frequently misplaced in the support role, where her strengths come more prominently in new positions with season 5. She offers a weak heal, with reduced ratios compared for former seasons, leaving her much better suited to mid. Most other champions in the Bronze tier are clearly placed here for the roles above, with some debate that may be given for Orianna, another former support used the League Championship Series. This is again a case of better use in other roles, with only mastery of a champion allowing for some variance.
Put these champions in the wrong champion roles and you’ll be noncontributing to a game, much less a composition. It is still possible to win with the champions in these positions, but the skill level required for the Silver tier roles is much higher than would be for these champs in other situations.
- Top Lane: Shen, Gragas, Morgana, Akali, Zac, Master Yi, Galio, Kassadin, Talon, Ryze, Rammus, Mordekaiser, Alistar, Yasuo, Leblanc, Vayne, Nunu, Elise
- Jungle: Nunu, Nocturne, Yorick, Kha’Zix, Fiora, Zed, Malzahar, Leona, Dr. Mundo, Elise, Shyvana, Shen, Gragas, Riven, Darius, Evelynn, Fizz, Tryndamere
- Mid-Lane: Syndra, Lulu (AP), Kassadin, Akali, Leblanc, Jayce, Fizz, Zilean, Master Yi, Gragas, Jarvan IV, Fiora, Yasuo, Sona, Riven, Cho’Gath, Fiddlesticks, Ryze, Kha’Zix, Veigar, Sejuani, Malphite, Tristana, Kog’maw, Ezreal (AP), Elise
- AD Carry: Quinn, Twitch, Twisted Fate, Kennen
- Support: Nautilus, Lux, Gragas, Maokai, Volibear, Zilean, Nunu, Kayle, Teemo, Malphite, Anivia, Syndra, Veigar, Lee Sin, Gangplank
As we make our way through the “Silver” quality level of League of Legends champions, the list gets crowded quickly. We’ll go over each category and why these champions won’t carry you to any free wins in these roles.
Focusing on former seasons yet again, we see Shen step up to the top lane in Season 5. While playing a top lane typically means rolling as a “tank” character, Shen’s inability to compete in the early game could set him far behind in a season with lane clearing top champions featuring prominently. Surely his global presence keeps him out of the Bronze league, but he’s almost certain to be countered without significant damage. Popular without much merit, Vayne is trending in the top lane. Figured as a sure counter to examples like Shen, Vayne is a great percentage damage champion, but when standing against a target she can’t simply roll away from, she still doesn’t belong in the lane, holding her down to the Silver tier. With loads of practice and patience she is possible to play at a higher level, but the slightest mistake can burn you with any jungle persuasion.
In the jungle role, we’re seeing more of the same from Season 4 coming back to haunt. Season 5 offers more mobility options than Season 4, more siege push, and more even distribution of damage. Champions that once took hold of the jungle for their burst damage step back in Season 5 as item changes put more focus on crowd control utility. Take note as Dr. Mundo won’t help your team focus down a champion, nor will Elise or Nocturne. We’re much better off looking forward to large group control and area of effect damage in Season 5 where team fights and objectives are more focused than ever.
Stepping into the mid-lane, we see one of the league’s most likely banned characters, Akali. So what gives? Deathfire Grasp is gone as of this week, dropping her stock value dramatically. Sure, she’s still an assassin. Yep, she can still chase, but in a team fight her ability to destroy you with a few clicks is now muted, and she’s right in line with another debatable champ in Silver – Fizz. Fizz is dropping stock this season, but as with both of these champions, we’re looking at a quick devolution with the loss of a damage burst that had been boosted with the DFG. As another skill champion posted frequently in the mid-lane, Yasuo’s placement has more to do with skill requirement than damage output. While he can be effective in the lane, there really are two types of Yasuo players: Game changers, or game killers.
Attack damage carries need much less utility than last season and much more healthiness or abilities with crowd control, as mentioned before as a higher focus this season. Quinn being a perfect champion for chasing down targets or out damaging her competition is not so good at locking down or surviving a team fight and resorts to running for most of it. As assassins are getting turned away in Season 5, an assassin carry goes along. Kennen has the Crowd Control options that a team fight needs, but his scaling is mainly AP which leads to an extremely difficult early game as AD carry – an issue other champions simply won’t have. Twitch has perfect ability to escape and move around undetected, however one pink ward or upgraded red trinket tears him up, leaving Twitch on the higher skilled level of Silver. Twisted Fate was never much of an AD carry in the former seasons because of his opposing values, much like Kennen and this continues with the start of Season 5. This discounts the unreliability with his main attraction, the stun card. Experienced Twisted Fate players will memorize the card order, surely, yet it is not guaranteed without loads of practice and inherently harder for new players to pick up.
When supporting in the Silver tier, you are probably best suited to play a traditional support, which results in the champions you’ll see above. Unless a support style champion plays out of their traditional role properly, or your various lanes have a combined support effect, you could be wasting your efforts with these champions in Support. When it comes to Lux, Nautilus, Maokai or Viegar, it’s clear that the Silver tier is making a common mistake in thinking that one [or two] stuns translate into a support champion. With area of effect “poke” damage, both Viegar and Lux are much better suited in the mid lane. Nautilus takes his tole on many top lane champions with a heavy shield and on-hit effect damage in the same skill. Taking that ability into the jungle with some attack speed, Nautilus is clearly ready for other roles aside from Support in Season 5.
Champions in the Gold tier have usually been hit with a fair amount of nerfs but are still playable. These champions may have also risen to Gold with item changes, or because others have simply fallen from their numerous “balances” into oblivion.
- Top Lane: Darius, Cassiopeia, Maokai, Jax, Volibear, Singed, Nidalee, Warwick, Azir, Rengar, Dr. Mundo, Trundle, Aatrox, Udyr, Karma, Garen, Lee Sin, Jayce, Lulu, Shyvana, Kayle, Cho’gath, Olaf, Yorick, Xin Zhao, Poppy, Viktor, Kha’Zix, Quinn, Vi
- Jungle: Pantheon, Warwick, Xin Zhao, Nidalee, Shaco, Volibear, Udyr, Maokai, Rammus, Nautilus, Lee Sin, Master Yi, Kayle, Jax, Zac, Cho’Gath, Rengar, Poppy, Aatrox, Malphite, Diana, Irelia, Karthus, Nasus, Olaf, Trundle, Gangplank
- Mid-Lane: Zed, Lissandra, Orianna, Azir, Pantheon, Diana, Morgana, Lux, Kennen, Ziggs, Viktor, Kayle, Karma, Mordekaiser, Twisted Fate, Vladimir, Nidalee (AP), Galio, Teemo
- AD Carry: Varus, Ezreal, Lucian, Vayne, Kog’Maw
- Support: Taric, Braum, Annie, Soraka, Fiddlesticks, Alistar, Lulu, Xerath, Vel’Koz, Brand
With no significant advantages or disadvantages overall in the League, you’ve likely seen champions listed above in these roles prominently. If you’re looking to mix up the “meta”, change it using the Gold tier list for respectable success levels. Sure, you’re not too familiar with Xerath in support, but he takes what Nidalee may have done a year or two ago and applies that with a stun option this season. Take special note to Nidalee’s new and interesting position here, as Nid has become a respectable Jungle, if you can manage a spear. She’s got Lee Sin-like mobility when a trap or spear triggers, so give it a go or two if you’d like to step out on a limb, but practice before taking it into ranked play.
These Platinum tier picks are champions that you can take to any solo queue or even duo queue and compliment a composition with little to no problems. Champions in these roles have proficiency in their roles allowing them to keep up in the game, and likely could see a nerf but aren’t too high on Riot’s priority list.
- Top Lane: Swain, Renekton, Sion, Wukong, Fiora, Nasus, Rumble, Rek’Sai, Kennen, Tryndamere, Lissandra, Gnar, Riven, Hecarim, Teemo, Heimerdinger, Gangplank, Vladimir, Pantheon
- Mid-Lane: Swain, Annie, Cassiopeia, Malzahar, Vel’Koz, Talon, Anivia, Zyra, Wukong, Xerath, Brand, Karthus, Heimerdinger
- Jungle: Rek’Sai, Wukong, Hecarim, Amumu, Sion, Skarner
- AD Carry: Draven, Kalista, Ashe, Corki, Miss Fortune, Caitlyn, Tristana
- Support: Leona, Blitzcrank, Thresh, Sona, Nami, Zyra, Karma, Morgana
Concerning yourself with the top lane in Season 5 means more than just tanking, and utility tanks feature prominently as such. Be they caster or attack damage, the most prominent top lane champions are capable of clearing without taking much damage, or supplement damage with regeneration. With few exceptions, only Teemo stands out from this group as a champion that slightly relies on right-click skill to win the lane, but efficient level 6 resistance to the jungle saves his low health, high AP damage over time ability and if you leave him alone he will surely beat you in the late game.
In an intriguing turn for the better, Swain is making a prominent revival with the distinct lack of Deathfire Grasp in season 5, and the mid lane is clearly lacking in burst champions. Living somewhere in line with more of the season one and two feeling, mid lane champions in patch 5.2 benefit from damage over time and area of effect attacks. With few exceptions on the list, the top mid champions in the meta ask for a small amount of crowd control and a large amount of leave-behind damage. Whether it be an Annie ultimate, Malzahar dot, Heimerdinger turret, or another source, you’ll find a familiar theme missing, as Fizz just doesn’t do what he used to right now.
Following a familiar theme, Jungle in our Platinum tier means area of effect damage and crowd-control. While it has always been important to have an element of surprise, nothing says “gank” like stepping up against a 2v3 fight to change the game right away. Having Wukong disrupting individuals or Amumu picking up a team to enable a solid combination from the group, there’s nothing to disrespect from the jungle here. Doubters on Sion’s capability need look no further than his extremely distant ganks. Count this in with his ability to deal damage that persists through death and you might see the value in one of the highest post-death damage dealers in the league.
Moving right along to the AD carry role, tradition takes place here. Only the inclusion of Kalista and her extreme mobility changes what we’ve come to know from previous seasons, so why does she work her way in? With an extremely high focus on AOE right-click and attack speed [think Runaan’s Hurricane] Kalista requires training, but as with any ADC those who focus on positioning skill will take her to the top of the meta.
Support all-stars in the Platinum tier are rocking one of two things: High CC, or high healing, and sometimes both. Given a recent change to Blitzcrank, look forward to higher damage outputs and the usual traits we love to hate, pitting him right on top of the best supports in the game. When reaching into a team fight with any of the characters featured here, enjoy picking out the champions you’d like to see die, or simply hurting everyone that you see while locking them down: A familiar theme, as season 5 rolls on.
For the main attraction, this is our “Nerf tier”. Champions here fit the current meta almost perfectly. These champions have high degrees of durability and crowd control options available to them which enable them to get their full combos off in almost any fight. Most of these champions in our Nerf tier rely heavily on their abilities and skill shots. Missing these skills will not only ruin your night, but can be a catastrophe for champions such as Malphite missing an ultimate or Graves missing an up-close Buckshot. Given that missing a skill shot with any champion can be detrimental, many characters in the Nerf tier require solid execution. While Katarina is obviously in here because of her skill resets and low cooldowns, other champs like Irelia [better nerf Irelia] are here because of their passive and skill sets make them extremely tanky, fitting right into the current play style.
- Top Lane Nerfs Incoming: Irelia, Jarvan IV, Malphite
- Jungle Nerfs Incoming: Jarvan IV, Vi, Fiddlesticks, Sejuani
- Mid-Lane Nerfs Incoming: Ahri, Katarina
- AD Nerfs Incoming: Sivir, Jinx, Graves
- Support Nerfs Incoming: Janna, Leona