If you watched the LCS this past weekend, you probably noticed a few teams late in the game using all five members to protect a siege minion rather than trying to fight the other team at all.
While this strategy may seems strange at first glance, there’s a good reason behind it and we’re here to tell you exactly what it is.
What exactly are the teams trying to do?
Well, mostly, they’re trying to destroy their enemies base. The strategy revolves around buffing a siege minion using Banner of Command, which makes the minions significantly tankier, while also giving them an additional 100 attack damage. In other words, these minions suddenly become very powerful and great at taking turrets.
Here’s what it looks like.
Why weren’t teams doing this earlier?
There are a couple reasons for that, but the biggest one has to do with Patch 8.4. Nestled deep within 8.4’s massive patch notes was a small bug fix that correct an issue where siege minions weren’t dealing the proper amount of damage to turrets. Essentially, both the Baron buff, which adds 50 attack damage, and the Banner of Command buff, which adds 100 attack damage, were going completely uncounted when a siege minion attacked a turret. Now that those issues are fixed, siege minions suddenly do a whole lot more damage to towers.
Is that good for the game, is there even a counter for it?
Mostly and kind of. Before Patch 8.4, games were getting a little ridiculous. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for a game to last 50 minutes and a few went closer to 80. In the context of professional play that means something needs to change, and this — along with about 10 other changes from 8.4 — will help get games moving again so teams are forced into boring stalemates waiting for the other to make a mistake. As for counter play, teams could certainly try to fight when their opponent has Baron, but the more likely option is that teams will try to better orient themselves around the early game, allowing champions that have been out of favor for months to come back a bit thanks to their ability to win fights within the game’s first 25 minutes.
So, the next time you see 10 professional League of Legends players all standing around staring at a very buff minion, at least you know why. In all likelihood, this strategy will get a change or two well before teams make it to playoffs, but for now, the new and improved siege minions are a breath of fresh air for the second half of the Spring Split.