Solo Queue Heroes: December 2012

Welcome to Solo Queue Heroes, a new feature. Today I'll be discussing some of the champs that I feel are doing really well in solo queue right now and why, with a focus on champions that didn't use to do well and now do, or champions you might not have considered. With Season 3 changes well underway I feel it's a good time to highlight who some of the pub stompers are right now.



Remember those “Talon mid” idiots? They are not so idiotic anymore. With Black Cleaver and host of other lovely damage items, Talon can now much more effectively jump on someone and kill them immediately, like he’s designed to. He can even do this if he gets behind now, whereas before if you started to lose, you couldn’t do anything for the rest of the game. Don’t take him lightheartedly.


She is not as frustrating as the pre-DFG nerf phase as last season, but she pretty strong stiil. The penetration and burst options, such as the better (but not retarded) DFG and Liandry’s, helps a lot. Even more, people are a little more lazy about map awareness because there are more wards. But Eve doesn’t care about wards, does she? 


Shrooms are going to be nerfed soon. Oracle nerf is a huge buff to him. No one is willing to buy it against him. Hybrid masteries are easier to set up. On-hit and attack-speed hybrid items that no one else cares about are better on him. He’s banworthy. He’s winning a lot of games out of laziness right now.


Subtly buffed by his Q range, I feel he benefits more from the bottle, and his penetration bash makes him hit a lot harder. He just seems more bursty and like it's easier for him to get to that smash your entire team hard phase. 


A lot of people are bad with him. But he has the ability that he had in Season 1 to really wreck a jungler’s day. Counterjungling is harder than it was in Season 2, but not for Shaco, putting him comparatively much farther ahead at simply owning in the jungle. If you can learn him, you can climb the ranks simply by repeatedly murdering the jungler, then aggressively killing lane towers.


Like Talon, this guy can burst down almost anyone, and with ease. The Black Cleaver nerf has helped the game but Pantheon still can use it to great effect. He’s great in mid as an AD-based Twisted Fate that can simply snowball the other lanes, he has a stun, and he has a lot of great matchups now. Penetration, Black Cleaver, other new items, flask, the damage/armor cost adjustments…all are in his favor.


Kayle’s double-shred passive and her high single-target damage and decent aoe damage make her a much better jungler, and she is still great at top. I don’t even have to try hard to get much damage done, even with minimal items. She’s also a great support in certain matchups and can easily burn down carries and supports in early level fights.

Xin Zhao

Xin’s passive hits a lot harder. I’ve played some armor pen Xin’s in Season 2 and in Season 3 and the speed with which he bursts someone down between levels 3 and 9 when people have low or moderate armor is crazy.


Wards are so much more common now, especially at bottom lane. Oh well, guess I’ll gank from golems again, whatever.


See above, though not quite as strong or easy. A few Rammus’ have crept in my games and I feel he has an easier time than he used to. While I wouldn’t say he’s top tier, he’s acceptable now and you can actually survive ganks and skirmishes because other junglers have to get machete and have +13-18 armor as opposed to last season’s 32-37, and you will have +58 armor while your W is on this season instead of 77. You’re both hurting for armor, but they’ll be hurting more.


Like Rammus, needs work, but all the health for cheap is nice for her. She's actually acceptable now as opposed to abysmal. 


I doubt he’ll be picked at top-level play again soon, but his ability to burst and hurt people at bott is much stronger. A lot of supports won’t have the armor from the defense tree, and with easier damage and better penetration he melts a lot harder.

Miss Fortune

If you get a Black Cleaver they will all proc quickly with he ult. Her ult is ridiculously strong at all stages right now; it used to be it would be sneezed at by some fed or buff junglers or tops, but that's the case much less often now. The premium on MR makes impure shots melt people even faster. 


Let me know what you think in the comments and whether you've got any stories to share about these or other champs. Also, send me your eyebrows! SEND ME THEM!


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  • #30 NGAF

    I've been doing some surprise pubstombs as Swain recently.

    The surprise part comes from me not stomping the lane, sometimes even slightly losing it. Then comes the first teamfight where I'm not the prime target since I'm obviously not fed and I'm tankier than the ADC. And the stomping begins.

    It's probably the community's lack of knowledge about Swain that helps me at the moment. I don't expect this to work at higher elo.

  • #28 Douggie

    If anything I see this more as a "Guess who doesn't suck compared to Season 2 anymore list" with a few exceptions (Nocturne and Evelyn for example). However I think this better then a tier list, since the game is constantly changing and more flavor of the month champs pop up I think it's just better to keep tabs on who are the bigger movers and shakers for the month rather then gauge some power creep.

    With that being said I would keep my eyes on Nidalee and Elise. Both have strong lane versatility ( they can go top or mid and Elise can jungle fairly well), they both have lots of build options available to them (better access to hybrid set ups for Nidalee and better Magic Pen options for Elise) and they have decent late game options (both can split push well or play an assassin like role in teamfights). Finally they have pretty strong laning phases and really strong mid-games so it's a lot harder to stop their snowballing.

  • #29 Tortferngatr

    Syndra is getting buffed on PBE.

    As someone who actually plays her, I'm finding it mysteriously hard not to chuckle.

  • #27 CraneLotus

    Hey, I'm thinking about buying either Shaco or Evelynn, can anyone recommend which one might be better for solo queue?

  • #31 MannerPots

    If oyu are planning on mid, evelynn. Shaco is better in the jungle though.

  • #22 Subjugglator

    I'm probably gonna get flamed for this, and I haven't been playing ranked recently, but I've been finding garen  to be absolutely retardedly strong right now. His early game damage is as good as ever, and with a few exceptions (Teemo, vlad, kennen) he gets early advantages very easily. If he rushes BC, you do crazy amounts of damage in midgame, while still being pretty tanky. From there you can either buy a youmuu's for even more damage, or start getting your tank items, eventually into atmas. The simple fact of the matter is, with pen runes, youmuu's and BC, you deal true damage to anyone with less than 72 armour, and pen 200 armour down to ~90. This means you can continue to abuse is great base damage and scaling for longer than you ever could before, and still remain tanky in the mid and late game. 

  • #23 BuddyBoombox

    No flame from me, i have a friend who started playing Garen again and even after the Black Cleaver Nerf he still makes excellent use of getting one early, and tanking out for end game.  He still terrifies carries everywhere, in my opinion.
    Garen, "Demacia!"
    Vayne, "Shit shit shit..."

  • #24 MerryLane

    Why play Garen when Darius does the same but better? o.O


  • #25 Samuxvnz

    Becuase Garen required some skill to play and Darius is a noob champ

    no just kiding, it's because you do want you want, that simple, i prefer play garen not just for the executing power, Darius is the executing power, Garen have a great tankyness that go over Darius, the silence hit, and the spin is clasic, Darius is good but can't spin that much

  • #21 Gunthore

    Love the new article type, keep em coming!

  • #20 Edge363

    Rammus is in diar need of buffs... I have no idea why you'd think he's all that good:p  

    though everything else makes sense! 

    Last edited by Edge363: 12/21/2012 6:47:17 AM
  • #17 SilkSmooth

    What?! Miss Fortune's ulti procs BC's passive?!? Good to know.

  • #18 MerryLane

    Just wondering ... Do muramana also proc on each of MF's ulti? :p


  • #19 Kab00se

    No, muramana only works on auto's and singletarget spells. Since the ult is AoE it doesn't proc muramana.


  • #16 Cerbereth

    I don't know about Rammus being good. I mean I wouldn't dodge que over a jungle Rammus, but he seems to be bottom of the barrel when it comes to jungling.

  • #14 Nicokuh

    How can u not have mentioned Kha'zix? I don't get it.

  • #13 Migotliv

    I'm surprised at no mention of Darius or Mordekaiser, but, given that this is the surprising picks - I'll be sure to check them out.

  • #12 MerryLane

    Man, Darius is 100x better than any of the champions you listed.

  • #11 imwithn00b

    I really think the champs depend on elo range, and you missed ezreal & taric...

  • #26 Samuxvnz

    no, talon is not op agaisnt a good cc, Evelyn counter by pinks ward, ppl just don't buy they and that why she can gank and snowbal easy, shaco allways had being a toxic designed champion, and teemo is the free elo mushrooms rat, yeah teemo is op right now

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