The Group Stages of the 2017 World Championship have come to a close and as the remaining teams prepare for their Quarterfinal match ups, it’s time to take a look back at which strong champions went underplayed in the Group Stages and which popular picks teams would be better off letting go.
Who should teams be picking more: Gnar
Gnar is a lot better than people give him credit for right now. He is a counter to every tanky top laner in the meta right now, he offers incredible CC in teamfights and is even pretty hard to kill himself. Sure, he may be a little harder to fit into a team composition than a champion like Cho’Gath, but he is all around stronger than his five games played might suggest.
Who should teams be picking less: Maokai
Maokai has been picked in 22 games and he has won five. As a general top laner that doesn’t particularly have any standout strengths, that’s not good. If you need a top lane pick and think no one but Maokai will do, fine. But the teams picking Maokai blind, or into Cho’Gath need to look elsewhere to find the perfect fit for the lane. In the nine times the two champions have matched up, Maokai has only managed to win once.
Who should teams be picking more: Kha’Zix
This isn’t necessarily because he is a great jungler, as it is that Kha’Zix makes the enemy team play differently than they might otherwise. Picking Kha’Zix in game two or three or a series could easily catch a team off-guard and help a team pull out a surprise game thanks to his ability to assassinate carries.
Who should teams be picking less: Ezreal
I know this is basically just North American teams picking this, and that it already got Immortals knocked out, but on the off-chance Cloud9 is thinking about it, let’s be clear: Ezreal is bad. Sure, it was good for a second, but not at this tournament. The ganks are extremely predictable, and easy to escape from which makes it almost impossible to have the successful early game that Ezreal needs to make a difference in the game.
Who should teams be picking more: Cassiopeia
It may sound strange to say about the third most picked mid laner, but teams really under value Cassiopeia and her flexibility in mid. It’s not that she does anything best, it’s that she does everything well, which is exactly why she should be default champion teams look for mid.
Who should teams be playing less: Ryze
It’s easy to see why teams picked Ryze so much. He has lots of exciting things in his kit. On the other hand, he’s 6-16 at the tournament so far. When the most picked mid laner in the tournament has under a 30 percent win rate, it’s a great sign that teams don’t quite understand how to use him in a composition. If teams want to win with Ryze, based on what we have seen, it comes through strong vision control and unconventional teamfights, not pretending he is Cassiopeia.
Who should teams be playing more: Caitlyn
This was an easy one to spot after just the first day of Groups two weeks ago. The two best AD Carries in this meta are Twitch and Kog’Maw and Caitlyn beats both of them in lane and fits perfectly into the pick and siege compositions that gained ground in week two.
Who should teams be playing less: Tristana
Tristana can’t quite keep up with the likes of Twitch and Kog’Maw when it comes to hyper carries, so I’m going to cheat a little bit here and give another champion teams should replace her with: Varus. Tristana isn’t bad, but everything she does well happens to also be a strength of Varus — outside of his slightly lower damage — and he brings CC to a team composition.
Who should teams be playing more: Taric
Taric offers a few things that other champions can’t. For one thing, he gives invulnerability and for another, he has an AOE heal to take advantage of Ardent Censer. Sure, he isn’t exactly the all around star that Janna is, but he could be a strong option instead of teams defaulting to Lulu.
Who should teams be playing less: No one, there are three supports involved in basically every game we can’t afford to lose one here.