LCS Infographic - Doran's Shield nerf brings top lane and support changes!

Super Week has come and gone, and the data left behind is extremely meaningful due to one important change that hit the competitive field right before the games: the Doran’s Shield nerf.


Before I dive off into the data, I offer a reminder that I'll only be posting here every month or so. However, you can see all of my posts at my official website, keep up with me on Facebook or @GentlemanGustaf, and see me as a regular poster at Riot Games' LoLEsports.

Now, without further ado, let's talk Super Week!

Doran’s Shield is the most bought starting item in the game, with well over a 50% purchase rate in bot lane and top lane, and a considerable purchase rate in mid. However, it lost 20% of its health and 40% of its health regen with the most recent nerf.

As well, Spellthief’s Edge was changed in a way that is probably a buff.

So what do we see in our pick/win rates lane by lane as a result of these changes?

Top Lane

Last week, I had this to say: with the Doran’s Shield nerfs coming through, I predict Shyvana and Dr. Mundo falling slightly out of favor, with Renekton sticking around as a generally strong laner, and Trundle as a strong Renekton counter. As well, champions who have strong sustain from their kits or builds — Irelia/Aatrox/Jax — or strong poke — Jayce — might be able to force champions out of lane without the the oppressive regen of Doran’s Shield. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see more Warwick!


Our first prediction is pretty easy to see: Renekton remains the top pick, but his win rate skyrocketed. His win rate jumped from sub-50% vs Trundle and Shyvana to 60% and 80% respectively.

Trundle also jumped up to the #2 spot, even in North America (where he had previously seen limited play). Why? Without Doran’s Shield as a safe start available to them, he now beats Shyvana and Mundo in lane hard enough to snowball a huge advantage. Shyvana was matched up against Trundle 5 times, going 1-2 with Doran’s Shield, and 1-1 with Cloth Armor.

I think it’s more likely that the days of Shyvana top are over. Without Doran’s Shield’s sustain to to keep her and Dr. Mundo afloat, they went a combined 3-12. I think it’s safe to say that the meta should see some shaking up top lane.

And while Irelia wasn’t nearly as impressive, Wickd’s 3-0 on her was certainly notable.

Aatrox only managed a 50% win rate, but was picked more times during Super Week than he has been in the first 7 weeks.

We even had a 1-0 from Jayce and a 1-0 — not to mention thrice-banned — Ryze (a champion I’ve been hyping since my review of Patch 4.3 2 weeks ago).

Ok, so there wasn’t any Warwick top, and our data pool isn’t as large as it could be, but I’m feeling pretty good about my predictions top lane. Let’s keep a focus on top  lane over the next few weeks to see if this trend continues.


Last week, I came out in support of Vi, Lee Sin, and Pantheon. I also labeled Elise a situational pick vs only Vi and Eve, called Wukong bad except vs Elise, and didn’t even find Kha’Zix noteworthy (especially with the nerfs he just got). What did we get over Super Week?


Where did Evelynn come from? I feel like I dropped the ball on her rise. She was the most-picked jungler, with a decent win-rate to boot. Then again, her win rate was only 50%, and Elise still fared well against Evelynn. I want to see another week or two of data before I hype her. Teams like C9 and TSM seemed to know exactly how to deal with Evelynn, with all of her wins coming against CST and XDG.

Vi, Lee, and Pantheon all did well, as expected.

Wukong continued to disappoint (although his only win was vs Elise, predictably) and Kha’Zix fell off of the edge of the earth with his recent nerfs.

Minus the many Evelynn picks, jungle went about as expected; there simply weren’t any major changes to the jungle from previous weeks.

Mid Lane

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so tentative to make conclusions about mid lane based on the data through Week 7, as the data was mostly born out.


Gragas did well, thanks to LeBlanc and Ziggs being good matchups of his.

Otherwise, Nidalee, LeBlanc, and Lulu continued their dominance. That, and we learned why you ban Kassadin.

The only champions who didn’t perform as normal were Kha’Zix and Ziggs, who both suffered from a lower win rate.

Bot Lane


Last week, I was hoping for more Sivir play (especially from non-WildTurtle ADCs) and less Lucian play.


It looks like I only got one of the things I wanted, but it also looks like we’re approaching a tipping point in the ADC meta: Caitlyn continues to be dominant over Jinx (4-1) and Sivir (2-0), and Lucian is the only ADC who can handle Caitlyn (5-5). Sivir dominated Lucian 5-0, though, so he may not be a safe pick for long, as more and more ADCs (7 this week) pick him up. Look to see Lucian, Caitlyn, and Sivir remain the dominant picks, with Jinx only picked up when Caitlyn is not a threat.


The support results we expected to see are simple: less Leona as more Morgana comes out.


At support, Thresh continues to be dominant, with a 50%+ record vs every other major support. Not too much to say here, although Leona players appear to have learned to play against Morgana supports.

But the big changes at support came in the items. After its rework, Spellthief’s Edge was purchased more this week than the rest of the season.

Annie started with Doran’s Ring twice (2-0), Spellthief’s Edge 4 times (1-3), and Doran’s Shield 9 times (4-5)

Morgana started with Spellthief’s Edge 10 times (4-6) and Doran’s Shield 5 times (3-2)

With the Doran’s Shield nerfs, Leona picked up Relic Shield 4 times out of 11, going 3-1.


Riot wanted to shake up picks and itemization — especially top lane and support — with the changes to Doran’s Shield and the support gold items, and they succeeded. The changes I’ve outlined might seem minor, but if this is how much of a shift we see in week 1, we can be relatively certain that we’ll see more changes as time goes on. And the changes won’t stop there. With the potential for more damage champions top, tanky junglers and supports become more attractive, while ADCs will have fewer meat walls in their faces. I don’t know what the meta will look like by the playoffs, but I expect it to be somewhat different from the one we had for the first 7 weeks of the 2014 Spring Split.

Remember, if you liked this post, check out the discussion on r/leagueoflegends and feel free to join in!

Mattias "Gentleman Gustaf" Lehman is a big time nerd-gamer and mathcrafter who has ranked as high as Diamond 1 in solo queue and Diamond 3 in arranged 5s.
Check out my League of Legends Website!
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  • #24 BigTurboD

    And I really hope they don't follow through with nerfing Renekton. He is the exact same champ, and has been since season 2, where he was considered a weak pick until the end. Riot seriously only touched the % armor shred. That was the last change done to him (aside from a couple bug fixes), and this occured when Draven was released nearly 2 years ago. The only reason I see that made him great was the better itemization available to him once Season 3 hit. Really,the only thing that made him stand out were the phases of the meta: League of Cleaver, where you could stack Cleavers and blow people up (Renekton loves Cleaver), then League of Warmogs, where he fit in due to getting a massive health steroid from his ult, to the most recent meta, where it was manaless tanky tops that could win simply through base damages. And still, Renekton has stuck around, and will continue to stick around, provided he doesnt get nerfed into the ground first.


  • #25 GentlemanGustaf
    Quote from BigTurboD »

    And I really hope they don't follow through with nerfing Renekton.

    And still, Renekton has stuck around, and will continue to stick around, provided he doesnt get nerfed into the ground first.

    Is that supposed to be a good sign for his balance?

  • #26 BigTurboD

    Renekton is balanced: strong, but not completely overpowering to the point of warping the game around him. People complain about his sustain, but his sustain was only amazing due to Doran's Shield and how strong the Defense tree was. Now that they both have been nerfed, the only way for Renekton to sustain is to go up to the minions, expose himself to attack, and Q. To get the most benefit from it, he needs to hit the most enemies possible, which likely means going into the middle of the enemy wave. Sufficient punishment can zone Renekton away, and deny him his sustain. 

    On another point, the only reason Renekton may seem overpowered at the moment is just due to the fact that he has remained untouched while his usual counters have been nerfed around him: Kayle, Teemo, Jayce, Elise, and Shen have all been hit pretty hard over the past year (Mordekaiser is also a counter, and he hasn't been nerfed, but he has other issues). The other tanky, manaless tops that were popular for Season 4 (Mundo, Shyvana, and Rengar) were all hit on some way by nerfs. So far, the only top laners that can truly stand toe to toe throughout laning phase with him are Olaf, Darius, Trundle, and Garen. Jax, Irelia, and Nasus can too, but suffer early on (until around level 9). Jayce may be making a comeback soon, due to DShield nerfs and the Tear buffs, so he can be back to deal with Renekton. 

    This is a similar case to Ezreal, back around the time PFE came out: when the AD Carry Caster trinity of Graves, Corki, and Ezreal was dominant, the two others were nerfed, until Ezreal stood alone as the best ADC of Season two (until Draven). He was everywhere, but only came to prominence due to the void created from his peers falling from power, similarly to how Renekton is now.

    Last edited by BigTurboD: 3/13/2014 11:51:23 AM
  • #28 GentlemanGustaf

    Power is relative. If all champions around you get nerfed, you're still OP.

  • #29 A1rheart

    Basically what Gustaf said. For a long time Renekton was a viable pick not because he would always win his lane but because he skill set meant he couldn't really lose it because regardless of the situation he could always build against it. Now he's completely dominant because unlike other Doran's shield abusers like Shvy and Mundo; Renekton can actually sustain himself through his skill set rather than his item choices. He needs to be toned down back to a safe Jack of all Trades pick rather than a dominant best early game lane bully he is right now in order to be balanced because if the pre nerf Ryze and Caitlyn dominance of last year taught Riot anything, its that the safe pick cannot also be the best pick.

  • #22 BigTurboD

    Great. No more Mundo. I felt like if I didn't pick Renekton against him, he would be like a time bomb: I had to try to secure a kill against him pre-6, or the lane would be a wash, kinda like Singed, but SO MUCH BEEFIER. And in all seriousness, I really like where the top lane is going. I hated always having to rush Sunfire Cape against the other guy because that was what he was doing, and if I didn't get it first, I would just end up losing lane due to not being able to really dent the other guy. Now, as a Renekton main, I can go and start building the croc the way I always felt like he should in lane: Get damage early (Tiamat/Brutalizer), murder the other guy, then start tanking up for teamfights, be a god of carnage, and break the other team's squishies over your knee.

  • #21 Arekualkhemi

    I can see and agree that DShield limited top lane some, but with it nerfed hard along with Perseverance, the horror reign of Teemo, Elise and Olaf returns to top lane in soloQ and I definitely don't want that.

    I was happy that we didn't have to deal with shit like Kennen or Jayce anymore.

  • #20 goonza29

    Still waiting Renekton nerfs. I mean, is it really too hard to tone down a bit his early game? Given equal skill, he crushes any laner (save for trundle, 1/120 champions) and is very safe. He can snowball, he is a pretty good diver, supporting the aggresive "mantheon" meta, and if he wins lane even slightly, he wont be falling off until the 30 minute mark. Enough time to get even more fed and close the game.

  • #23 Firalus

    There are a lot more champions that can win vs. Renekton given equal skill. Pantheon, Darius, Jayce or Shen just off the top of my head. Renekton's problem is not 1v1 laning - a lot of his matchups are actually pretty even. His problem is how hard he is to gank and how well he assists ganks combined with how few bad matchups he has. I'm not mentioning about how he can snowball from a single kill just because it's a common trait on top lane.

  • #27 Rahvin90210

    Other than shen i really gotta disagree with this. Equal skill Renekton should never lose his lane ever, its not about how the opposition plays, its just about how renekton plays. He crushes Pantheon and Jayce because they are both carries, and Renekton can just outtrade them from those all important early levels. They also have pretty hefty mana costs and no sustain on their kits.

  • #30 Firalus

    Renekton can outtrade both Jayce and Pantheon, but then, if Jayce or Panth let Renekton take the initiative, they should never play those champions. Jayce should disengage from every trade attempt by Rene (or just force him to overextend and get ganked in order to actually get a trade) and wait to outscale. Panth should keep throwing spears at Renekton's face, overdamaging him by tons (and if Rene doesn't start Cloth+5, he is gonna get eaten at level 4. If he does, he is gonna get pressured by the jungler). If Pantheon manages to get a kill or force a back on Renekton, he is just gonna pressure the advantage with tons of Long Swords or Doran's - trust me, a Flask into double Dorans into BT Lanetheon is pretty brutal. Darius is a skill matchup about whether or not Rene can bait out Darius' Qs and trade once they are down. Every Darius should keep Rene in for an extended trade, which is not something gator likes. Especially not with the monstrous DPS advantage Darius has over him at any point in the game aside from around level 6 in an all-in situation. Rene has the sustain advantage, but he can't outtrade nor outscale nor outduel a skilled Darius.

  • #32 BigTurboD

    The other issue is that Pantheon top lane is strong, but not in this matchup. Pantheon gated by his mana costs. All good Pantheons know that a level 1 Q is pretty bad, since it does very little damage for its mana cost. I wouldn't begin really spamming them until I get a second point in Q, because the mana cost is the same, but the damage goes up, making it much more efficient. But the earliest this happens is at level 3, and by that point, Renekton will have all three skills, which, when used in conjunction with each other, are much stronger than the two skills Pantheon would have at this point (if he picked up level 2 Q, then he would have to pick pick either his W or E. And by doing so, you miss out on having your stun or extra damage). In addition, Pantheon's main strength (and the reason why he is picked mid and jungle) is his global presence: by going top lane, you can really only use the ult to affect mid lane, or the enemy top jungle, whereas a Midtheon or Jungle Panth can gank any lane at anytime post 6. As a side note, for laning, Panth doesn't hit the power spike that Renekton does at 6, since Panth's ult is pretty useless for lane fighting, but Renekton can fully make use of his. 

    In a way, I guess you can say Panth is like a harder-hitting, melee TF, since both characters really only use 2 skills for the bulk of their damage, and have a stun and global ult to make plays in other lanes. 

  • #16 Aeonx651

    I don't know what is up with these support players not branching out into a wider variety of supports. Lulu, zyra, nami and janna can easily be played, but everyone is stuck with thresh leona and annie still (kudos to the morg tho). Doran's shield was a shackle to the bot lane meta and it had remained unchanged for so long, people have forgotten what it was like to be free! I'm still hoping for the day we can see orianna, heimerdinger and lissandra support as viable options. This has been my support dream :)

  • #18 LemurGuy

    It's because they don't counter each other hard, and they're still really strong ... There's not a reason to switch it out if you're playing to win lane and not basing it around some specific team comp. 

    I do however think that in the current meta, Veigar support would be very strong. He starts with relic shield so he can build Q stacks without stealing CS, he has a potent AoE stun / disengage that isn't as hard to land as Morgana's nor as limiting as Annie's... AND he becomes a very strong counter to Morgana, Annie, and any other AP support once he hits 6. Top all that off with the longer length of games due to all the antisnowballing mechanics and Veigar becomes a very appealing support.

    Mark my words. Veigar support will be a thing in the LCS this season.

  • #19 goonza29

    Veigar won't simply see play (although I second your opinion on being playable at least) because he is too fragile (morgana binding aaaaand you are dead) , gets actually countered by morganas shield, most supports build little to no AP, and morgana still has more utility with her ult. Then, building Q stacks with relic? you can get, AT MOST, 50 AP from that in 30 minutes.

    Other supports don't see play mainly because they lack playmaking potential. Lulu does see some play though. Janna, Nami and Zyra are too fragile to be supports in a meta where a pantheon skyfalls on you at lvl 4-5 and Annie support is a thing with flash+stun. Now, with the doran shield changes, Lulu, thresh, morgana and leona will be even more set on stone since they can endure the laning phase without it.

    And I am sad because I have to admit that thresh is WAY too overpowered. I love playing him, but he just outclasses anything. Get a bit of practice with him and its free elo.

  • #15 A1rheart

    I'm gonna withhold judgement on the doran's nerfs effect in the top lane for the time being. On the one hand it definitely encourages picks like Jayce which I like a lot but Im also worried that we are just gonna see Renekton vs Trundle since they are functioning close to the same thanks to their built in health sustain. Still anything that pushes Shyv out of favor should be a win in my book so I'll count my blessings.

    Last edited by A1rheart: 3/11/2014 4:33:52 PM
  • #11 FoskSnake

    Just wanting to point out something since looks like you didn't notice:

    the patch 4.3 only was enabled on the NA Super Week, the EU LCS still played on the 4.2, so all the data taking the european into account could be biased.

    Last edited by FoskSnake: 3/11/2014 3:26:01 PM
  • #10 guidooo4

    Very limited data for any conclusions. 


    `Without Doran’s Shield as a safe start available to them, he now beatsShyvana and Mundo in lane hard enough to snowball a huge advantage. Shyvana was matched up against Trundle 5 times, going 1-2 with Doran’s Shield, and 1-1 with Cloth Armor.´

    So Trundle wins one game more (in 5 games 1 of the 2 should win more often) and trundle now beats shyvana? Especially if you consider that a game isn't decided by one lane's matchup, and skill differences are also not negligible.  Seems pretty even to me.

    Tough Renekton deserves a nerf. He rules top sinces worlds. I don't know if he is thát op, but some variety would be lovely. Ryze isn't the most exiting champ to watch, but I am happy he is back.


    If you take into account the professionals are all the best of the best, and generally have very similar skill levels (you will literally never see them feed another), it becomes very dependent on champions and objective control. The item changes may have a small sample so far, but his predictions seem pretty sound.

  • #14 GentlemanGustaf

    The issue isn't Trundle winning the matchup. I agree, it's not necessarily a sign that Trundle is extremely dominant of Shyvana. But this leaves Shyvana with literally 1 winning matchup (Dr. Mundo), and Dr. Mundo has 0 winning matchups, so probably will fall out of favor (he was doing so even before the DShield nerf due to the tendency of teams to dive him once or twice pre-6 to set him behind).

    It's not the fact that Trundle took an extra game off of Shyvana, it's the fact that Trundle is able to win vs Shyvana at all.

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