The Metagame Report: Xayah and Rakan's surge

by theScore Staff Sep 14 2017
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

League’s latest playable champions in competitive have resurfaced as extremely powerful picks in the current meta, and mostly as separately playable champions rather than a perfect pair.

In competitively play, the duo see themselves often picked up in the first phases of the draft, in order to aggressively utilize their early and late game power, try to collect both of them in one draft rotation and simultaneously punish the enemy team for not picking or banning one of the two.

Even in solo queue, Xayah and Rakan sit at double-digit play rates and still maintain a comfortable win rate above 50%. This means that everyone is able to bring out their strengths, even if they're not necessarily laning together.

With or without you

Xayah and Rakan have particular synergies that make them amazing together, such as the synchronized recall that allows a roam to occur and an extended range on Rakan’s shield. However, the champions are still incredibly strong on their own, hence their status as first rotation picks in competitive play. What makes them so devastating on their own is their unique playmaking abilities combined with comfortable laning phases.

In the above play, which triggers the comeback for Team SoloMid in their 3-1 victory over Immortals, Biofrost’s Rakan uses the massive engage range of R + Flash + W to completely lock down a couple of the key members of Immortals, allowing Gragas to split up the fight in favor of Corki and Tristana and give them ample time to pump out damage. Despite the fact that Rakan gets slowed by the Rumble ultimate, he is still able to pull off a great re-engage. TSM is 10K gold down, but this initiation and subsequent W for a re-engage would allow TSM to clean up a 3 for 0 without a response.

Xayah on her own is also a devastating champion with late game prowess thanks to her attack speed steroid, massive area of effect damage and invulnerability. As shown at 45:37 in the above video, Sneaky kites with Xayah, putting feathers on the ground and being able to create a large wave of feathers for his first pull, which kites targets and shreds them. Afterwards, despite getting slightly caught, he is able to completely dodge follow-up damage with his ultimate and buy time for a second pull of E, which devastates the enemy team and keeps him healthy enough to take aggressive duels.

Xayah is very strong specifically because of her feathers and her association with critical chance and damage. Feathers help her push or counterpush against popular meta picks that push waves quickly such as Tristana, Kalista or Sivir.

Their synergies together can also not be understated. In the below video of World Elite vs. Invictus Gaming Game 1, Mystic and Ben bring World Elite to a victory through massive pressure and the ability to chain crowd control in order to let Kha’Zix help clean up the tower dive.

The amount of kill pressure that the duo is able to exert together leads to an absurd CS lead before ten minutes, as Tristana falls to two well-executed dives and has to resort to buying cull to attempt to keep up in gold.

In the later stages of the game, Rakan's amazing engages are further perfected by Xayah, either through her feathers to follow up or her ability to get herself and Rakan out of the fray when it's unsafe from afar. This is seen at 1:51:26 in particular.

In ranked play, duo queueing is a common tactic to climb, and you can utilize Xayah and Rakan and their late game strengths to take control of teamfighting in the mid-late game with your partner. With their extra perks together and already powerful individual stature, they are easily the highest priority picks at the moment.

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.