It's all about Jayce, 'bout that Jayce, 'bout that Jayce — no counter. Within the European LCS, Jayce has seen a massive growth in popularity. Today, it was either picked or banned in four of five games. When it didn't appear, other poke champions ruled the Rift.
Addressing Jayce's rise is becoming more important. Poke compositions began to rise with slight Cinderhulk nerfs that allowed teams to play around tanks. Sivir dictates the kind of game you play, but with Sivir banned or not picked, poke compositions become much more viable. She can no longer mow down immobile targets with high damage if she isn't in the game.
The nerfs to assassins also allowed champions that sit in the lane and keep mid tower up to enjoy a lot of relevance. If mid tower falls, that yields the most map pressure of any first tier turret, making it extremely valuable.
Corki's ability to stand up in the low relevance AD carry meta boosts poke compositions. He gets an earlier power spike off Trinity Force, allowing many to think of him as a pick that can work well in lane against Kalista and stand up to Sivir in dragon fights. His hybrid damage makes AD carry mid lane champions more relevant.
The final Jayce advent occurred with the frankly ridiculous across the board buffs to the numbers on his kit.
With 320 base damage at max level, 120% AD scaling, and 40% area of effect, damage, and missile speed through Acceleration Gate, Jayce's single eight second cooldown Q becomes an ability that can easily force an enemy team off an objective. It's no wonder his popularity has soared in the European LCS. Arguably, he's undervalued in other regions.
Jayce allows a high mid-game powerspike after the stacking of Tear of the Goddess and the completion of Muramana. From there, Last Whisper or The Brutalizer for extra cooldown reduction and armor shred give Jayce a ridiculous amount of siege potential and objective control in addition to the ability to just pick off squishy targets. With just two items.
On top of everything, the movement speed buff factor of Acceleration Gate is something that is only beaten by Sivir's On the Hunt or Karma's Mantra-empowered Defiance. If you can combo two and add a Talisman of Ascension, your poke composition becomes untouchable.
Jayce alternatives: Runeglaive Ezreal and Varus
Two alternatives to Jayce appeared today. One is only played so far by the Giants' PepiiNeRo: Runeglaive Ezreal. The area of effect splash from Luden's Echo and Runeglaive gives Ezreal a massive burst. As a result, Runeglaive Ezreal was the only champion to out-damage a Jayce in today's matches.
The general scaling overall of Giants' composition gave them an ability to come back against SK Gaming, but the fact that Ezreal stands out as perhaps the clearest scaling poke champion over Jayce gives him a nearly unique status. I expect to see more of him.
As to mid lane Varus, he is much more popular in the Chinese League of Legends Pro League than in the European LCS. He appeared in one game today in the game between Origen and Elements. This was also the only game without a Jayce pick or ban. In this case, Varus' healing reduction made him a strong lane counter to Vladimir. Coincidentally, xPeke out-damaged all players in his game as well.
Unlike Jayce, Varus didn't receive direct buffs, but his ability to hold the lane, his long range engagement, and the nerfs to assassin champions that could make his life miserable allowed him to take a place in the mid lane.
Like Jayce, Varus builds a stacking Tear of the Goddess into Muramana and relies on his Q to do a significant amount of wave clear and poke damage. Varus' Piercing Arrow may not scale as hard off attack damage, but its range and ability to clear out approaching minions makes it nearly unrivaled in holding turrets. It also comes with a long range engage option that Jayce lacks.
Jayce of the day: Ryu's Infinity Edge Jayce
The most interesting Jayce of the day came from H2K's Ryu. Against Unicorns of Love's Orianna, Ryu opted for more of a sustained damage build. The matchup had a lot of detail to it.
PowerOfEvil's oft-favored Orianna came out earlier in the draft than Ryu's Jayce. Orianna provides poke of her own, and in the sustained damage game, she'll scale better, as her Command: Attack can move around more frequently with a three second cooldown at max level. The shield from Seraph's Embrace also provides some buffer for Jayce's burst damage. PowerOfEvil chose to build a Tear of the Goddess, then delay his build even further by going for a Zhonya's Hourglass and finally a Morellonomicon.
While this gave PowerOfEvil a massive scaling advantage, it didn't necessarily work within his composition. The Corki, Rek'Sai, and Gnar picks suggested the composition would look to make moves around mid game against H2K's overall superior scaling of Gragas and Jinx. As a result, delaying items like Rabadon's Deathcap and Void Staff hurt the team's overall power spike.
In order to not punish his team and to stay relevant in sustained damage output, Ryu went for an alternative build. Many Jayce players look for The Bloodthirster, but Ryu opted to pick up the Infinity Edge. The Infinity Edge synergizes well with Hyper Charge. Attack speed of three basic attacks increases, and damage is modified. The modified damage stacks with critical strike, so a maxed Hyper Charge does 110% of AD. If the attack critically strikes with Infinitiy Edge's 2.5 critical strike modifier, it will do 275% of AD.
As a result, Jayce can put out up front damage on his Q and compete with Orianna's sustained damage if he can compensate for range. Positioning and a solid front line and disengage champion like loulex's Gragas helps.
Ryu had a massive game. He dealt 20,000 more damage to champions than even Hjarnan's Jinx and finished with a score of 13/1/6. Overall, a good week for H2K, who now sit second in the European LCS standings.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore eSports. You can follow her on Twitter.