Factors to consider when improvising a champion pick

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Playing your favourite champion is the best case scenario so you can enjoy League of Legends as much as possible. However, there are times when your favourites are not the optimal choices. It all depends on the context such as which kind of champions your teammates and opponents have. 

You have to consider such possibilities if you are playing in a competitive game, especially at rank silver and above. Here are the top four factors to consider so you can choose the best champion in the given situation. Solutions will vary per player as no two matches are alike and everyone should limit their options to their respective list of mastered champions.

Cover your team’s weaknesses

Every player in League of Legends should have at least three favourite champions for every role. You can make it easier by mastering champions who are great at multiple positions like Pantheon or Vi who can do anything except becoming an attack damage carry. But first, you need to consider what your team lacks before resorting to these two safe picks.

The most common weakness that a team full of random players often have is lacking someone who can withstand damage and shield allies who are not as resilient. This usually happens because assassins, mages, and enchanters are very popular. Pantheon and Vi can fill that gap while also having high offensive capabilities. 

Likewise, it is possible for a team composition to lack ability power (AP) damage because everyone scales with attack damage (AD). If that happens, either the support or mid lane should opt for a mage like Lux. Ahri and Akali are great picks but only if you have no other assassins. If you have more than two AD slayers in your team, it’s better to opt for an AP tank like Galio or Singed. 

You will sometimes have no choice but to be the last player to pick a champion in a League of Legends ranked game. When that happens, you will have no choice but to adjust, especially if a teammate decides to steal your lane or desired champion. You can practice this scenario in blind drafts by letting the others pick while you try to figure out what the team needs.

In rank, your lane rival’s chosen champion

Ranked matches let players between the two teams take turns choosing a champion but they can see each others’ picks. This is where the concept of ‘counter-pick’ starts. By rule of thumb, you should choose a champion that has a mechanical advantage over your opponent.

Ideally, your side’s first pick should counter the enemies mid lane or dragon lane then pick an ally mid lane who can counter the opponents’ slayers or assassins. However, the order of choosing is completely random and you can’t make a good synergy with your teammates if you don’t belong in a party. 

The safest decision is to just choose the one that best counters the champion on the opposite side of your lane. Try to win in the early game by getting a gold lead or at least delay their growth by maintaining your lane. If you are playing in the jungle position, then it’s better to choose a champion that complements your allies rather than competing with an opponent. 

Possible win conditions and combos

Players in the support or baron lane roles have the highest impact in a team composition. Support champions determine when to initiate a teamfight or split up to cover objectives. Baron lane champions, on the other hand, can make or break any team composition and it all depends on what the player chooses.

Champions that perform well when outnumbered typically need to be the centre of the team composition like Darius. Pantheon and Wukong, on the other hand, are better at supporting the rest of the team by initiating the clash only when the others are ready. They need to be separated under other conditions. Camille and Akali are better at playing aggressively against their lane rivals early, start taking objectives in the mid game, and eliminate the enemy enchanter in the late game. 

Whichever type of champion you choose must be determined by how you expect the other lane’s pace is going to be. Having a jungle champion that is great at ganking early should mean that your mid and bottom lane can push early. If so, then you need to be a support with abilities to secure kills or a fighter who can keep the enemy baron laner from helping their allies. Alternatively, the support and baron laners should be good at contesting objectives if your jungle champion is built for clearing camps rather than ganking. 

Safe champions to lessen counter picks

If you are not sure how to compliment your teammates or disrupt the opponents’ win condition, then you should at least pick a champion that is great in any situation. These are called ‘safe picks’ because they have little to no exploitable weakness.

The downside to safe pick champions is that they are so difficult to master or that solo queue players don’t usually know how to compliment them. Champions that fall in the former category include Yasuo, Riven, Fiora, and Akali. You are either amazing at piloting them or become the weak link in your entire team. Always spend time practising them on blind drafts until you know their rhythm and pacing preferences. Once you have mastered them, they can be so versatile that you will always give a positive impact on any strategy.Champions who are easy to pilot but are difficult to support include Diana, Vi, Pantheon, and Leona. They are also known as initiators so it is up to you to determine the pace of the fight if you are piloting them. What makes it difficult to keep up with them is players’ tendency to be bad at communicating. If you can solve that issue by being a good communicator, then these champions will be among the most formidable forces in League of Legends.

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