The latest iteration of League of Legends is looking to be a radical departure from the game’s core systems, with a switch in the runes system and some changes in items, the jungle and core champion stats. It may be the greatest overhaul of champion stats in history of League of Legends. With a new big preseason patch means new completely broken things to exploit. Certain champions have skyrocketed in priority, and in particular the five below have gotten a bit too comfortable with the current state of the rune system.
The newest champion on the Rift has a lot of bite to her, despite only having one really high damaging spell. Her setup is great, with a sleep bubble that can hit long range through walls and her Paddle Star providing deadly followup. Her laning isn’t bad at all either, as an early point in W can help turn the tides through an assortment of items actives and summoner spells. Once she gets to the late game, she can duck and weave, scaring frail enemies away with blasts of sparkle star power. Just… don’t portal into the enemy team.
Leona emerged as a niche pick at Worlds to counter the scaling attempts by opponents with Ardent Censer lanes. Now, you’d be remiss not to pick up Leona at any point where she is open. The new runes give her absurd durability in and out of fights, and make her an immovable object with devastating kill pressure. In particular, Aftershock contributes to her all-in damage and durability, as she can lock down opponents with E and Q long enough to get Aftershock’s damage explosion off. With only a 20 second cooldown on the keystone, this continues to be overbearing on most support picks, creating a dominating 2v2 and 3v3 lane phase. In the late game, her pick potential is enormous, which compliments the damage dealers rampant in other roles during the preseason.
Karma has made her way back onto the Rift as an incredibly powerful laning support to compliment the utility AD carries reemerging in the bottom lane. The strength of relevant support items such as Redemption and Ardent Censer help keep her teamfight impact up. In the late game, Karma’s Mantra E shield can be upwards of a 700 value on all allies, as a support. Plus with The Ultimate Hat, she’s almost guaranteed to get multiple Mantra abilities off in a single teamfight.
Bucking the trend of ridiculous support power on the current patch, Ornn is one of the most versatile top laners in 7.22 alongside Shen. With the ability to take Grasp in melee matchups and Aftershock in ranged matchups, Ornn has the tankiness and strength to survive lane phase and bring his devastating ultimate into any and all skirmishes. It doesn’t help the enemy that he has access to a zany amount of percentage health damage skills, such as his W and Grasp, which makes splitpushing a real possibility against tanks. This is doubly true with the Demolish rune, which allows him to shred Towers. Complete safety, no awful matchups and game-changing abilities make Ornn a demi-god to be scared of in 7.22.
Wait, didn’t he win a World Championship? Malzahar may have been considered a strong pick beforehand, but now that strength has been turned up to the maximum, thanks to runes that help his otherwise dire lane phase. Scorch, Manaflow Band, Arcane Meteor and Summon Aery in particular are devastatingly strong for Malzahar, giving him the ability to trade by preserving his mana pool and also dealing good damage in response. In the late game, Malzahar can spam his silence, which has high base damage and low downtime, and force opponents back by virtue of an inability to retaliate with their own spells. He also secures objectives incredibly quickly.
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.