The Metagame Report: Gragas dominates the tank jungle meta

by theScore Staff Aug 30 2017
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

Junglers, alongside AD carries, have seen some of the lowest diversity in the latter half this split. Though Elise stands alone as a frequently used carry jungler, tanks have mostly populated the forested portions of the Rift. It makes sense, thanks to the new tank item buffs and the need for beefier frontlines in the face of a hyper carry backline meta.

In Europe, Gragas is completely faltering, with a win rate less than 35% in compettive play. But it holds an 85% win rate in Korea, and above a 60% win rate in every other major region. The pick's strength has always been evident in recent months, but has skyrocketed even further as a result of its immediate pressure. Europe is an outlier, and Gragas is seen as an international threat.

Unlike other tanks, Gragas packs an early-game punch that is devastating if the enemy team is unable to handle it. His area of effect clear from all available spells allows him a quicker clear speed than most other tank junglers. As a result, he also has immense gank pressure.

This gank pressure is doubly deadly thanks to the mechanics of his hard crowd control ability Body Slam, which has a range beyond its indicator and a hitbox that is patently absurd. With flash available, this gank is long-range, unstoppable and almost guaranteed to blow a summoner spell.

After Level 6, Gragas becomes the ultimate mid-game disruptor, taking the title of most annoying displacement from Lee Sin as he falls out of meta. His disruption can even ruin the engage tools of other tanks. Zac and Jarvan IV have their dashes completely stopped by the Body Slam, bringing them short of their intended engage. As a follow up, Gragas can also knock them away with ultimate or do massive percent health damage through his W.

Performing a "fat man" inSec is very simple with Gragas, as he can body slam from afar and knock an enemy into his team with Explosive Cask. The ultimate can also completely remove key carries from the fight and ensure that you can turn the tide in your favor.

Though they lost the game, OmarGod demonstrates this potential through his use of Gragas in 29:20 game time of the below video. He knocks away Cody Sun and allows his team continue an attempt at shredding the remaining four members of Immortals. They lose that fight because of the stark gold disadvantage, but in a more even game you would see that Gragas ultimate be incredibly impactful as a key carry is unable to impact a teamfight.

Gragas also functions very well with tank itemization and support itemization. He can take advantage of Knight's Vow, Gargoyle Stoneplate and even Ardent Censer if he is using Stoneborn Pact. His versatility in this respect gives him flexibility to approach different situations and enemy compositions. It also allows him to adjust to the needs of him own team. Gragas can also build damage through items such as the Runic Echoes enchantment, or Iceborne Gauntlet if he aggressively snowballs a game on his own.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a news editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.