Mysterious Meta DiscussionsSun 1st Jul 2012 - 3:15pm Category: League of Legends
I have a love-hate relationship with the current meta we have. While I love the fact it wins me games, I hate the fact it places communal limits on what we can do and play. I am, by confession, a metagolem. AP Janna has a special place in my heart as the exception to the rule.
However, what I want to do today is take some time to analyse how meta shifts take place. Snoopeh of CLG.eu in his recent reddit AMA answered many questions on the meta of the jungle and he seems to believe that carry junglers like Mundo are falling out of favour in comparison with heavy-CC gold independent junglers like Alistar. So let’s take a moment and think why.
Carry junglers have high damage and fast clear speeds, excellent for counterjungling. With the hard, aggressive counterjungling Moscow Five displayed being introduced to the general playing population, it has become the most used jungle strategy. Therefore it becomes more important to have an independent source of gold and experience or you risk falling behind and having a much smaller impact on the game, while the enemy carry jungler will become a much larger threat as a result.
Support junglers do not have this problem. Champions like Maokai and Alistar have AoE clearing abilities which allows them to clear their jungle fast enough if needed, but their real strength lies in the crowd control they bring to a team. Carry junglers will typically have a weak CC of some sort, but high damage to follow up with during ganks. Support junglers focus on locking an enemy down for long enough that your laner can output the majority of their damage. They thrive on assists and GP/10 items, and can become independent from their jungle. As a result, being counterjungled doesn’t impact them in the same way it would another carry jungler.
Here we see one variant of a meta shift – an adaptive change to a situation. Being counterjungled as a weaker carry jungler was hurting too much, so players found a new way to minimise the effects.
Of course that’s a specific example. Let’s look at the previous most popular meta strategy – full AoE composition. Focused on dominating teamfights through sheer mass CC and damage, why did this eventually get replaced? There are a few factors to it that shed a bit more light on how a metashift occurs
- Riot nerfed the abilities of some core AoE champions, like Miss Fortune and Morgana
- People started creating splitpush/poke compositions, which were able to exploit the main weakness of an AoE composition – the need to force a teamfight to be effective
- The rise of junglers and supports meant that more people were getting caught out of position alone and dying before they could contribute to a teamfight
Here we see three different factors. One we have already identified – an adaptive metashift to deal with the dominance of the AoE comp in the form of the poke comp.
However, we can now see that how Riot nerfs and buffs champions also affects which champions are utilised and how strategies are built. As changes are put into action, players constantly re-evaluate the pros and cons of their chosen tactics.
The effect of random factors like different roles being theorised also throws a spanner in the works of a meta. Either people learn to deal with the new factors within their strategies, or they have to adjust it to account for the impact that the new factor will make.
In conclusion, metashifts are constantly occurring in order to deal with the constantly evolving environment of League of Legends. Our trusty current meta has survived for so long as a result of it being the most efficient and adaptive blueprint. But just around the corner, lurking in the deep shady depths of some patch notes, might just be the changes that can make a ripple form in our game – causing a tidal wave of innovation to come pouring down on top of our heads.
The question would then be – do I drown? Or do I ride the waves?
(Snoopeh's recent AMA can be found on reddit HERE)