Solo Queue Heroes: Sucks to Be the AD Carry Edition

What Works Right Now?

Rather than go in-depth about each champion, many of whom you are already aware, I’d like to talk about what the solo queue meta looks like right now. What kind of champions win, how the roles have changed, and why, and with those in mind, then give you a list of the champions to pick and avoid.

Right now, being a mage or a bruiser is the best thing to be. The masteries and meta favors this. Being an AD Carry is, in a way, the worst right now, because the changes have affected them the most negatively. Junglers and supports have more gold, and tops are harder to kill.

It was already frustrating to play this role in solo queue because if your team didn’t get the proper cc and/or doesn’t peel right, you’re free food. If your team doesn’t push and you try to split push, the other team will usually kill you, and then your own team gets upset that you’re feeding during the League of Jungle Farm or League of Minion Clearing.

Mundo and Shyvana are strong again, and a fully stacked and fed Mundo and Shyvana, who are not countered by the appropriate mage and/or bruiser (and they often aren’t), is a nightmare.

To be awfully, awfully reductive, supports got buffed, jungling got slightly buffed (overall, not every type), top got buffed (defense masteries), and mid is about the same. All of this, along with vision changes and other mastery changes, leads to carries feeling weaker than before.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t win as an AD carry, as Sivir’s win and ban rate currently attests. It just means you have to think of the carry differently. The role has shifted, just as others have.

A carry is still good at pushing down turrets. A carry can still do a lot of damage to the enemy team. And a carry can kill a lot of people. It’s the one-on-one, the hotshot stuff, the getting fed and destroying everyone bit that’s been toned down. You don’t have to do that to win. Right now, games go longer. The vision changes have players feeling more paranoid about getting caught and losing. The inhib changes mean a single lost team fight or inhib isn’t the end of the world. Comebacks happen more often. With more fights, and less of them being aces, pushing will take the cake. That is one reason why Sivir and Ziggs are ridiculously strong right now. They have great map reach and they can do a lot for their team even after they lose a lane.

Early game snowball stuff has changed. Going Lee and getting 5 successful ganks in 10 minutes for a clinched victory just doesn’t happen much anymore, and killing someone so hard that you win the game entirely is harder to do too (though not as impossible as support junglers snowballing right away). A game being decided early generally only happens if someone gets insanely fed off more than one source (not just a lane opponent, which is why Kassadin hasn’t changed at all even if the assassin meta has) or if 3 lanes or roles got destroyed. If a jungler has no presence and two lanes lost heavily, or all three lanes lost heavily, it can be game. But just one lane is not the case. I once went 7-2-0 as Sivir in 15 and got the bottom and mid turret down, with the top following soon after (due to map pressure shifts). Our top and mid were even or only lost slightly. Our jungler was Sion and weak all game. We almost lost. We lost plenty of team fights, then were behind most of the game. The enemy Vi (who killed got 2-3 kills on our support early and then fed off all of us for much of the game) ruined two easily winnable fights and we pushed for the win, and got lucky. Point is: game’s aren’t as foregone as they used to be.

So play a carry more like an independent champion. Focus on turrets. Don’t focus quite as much on farming and having people peel for you. The world doesn’t revolve around you any more.

Case in point.

Making decisions, map awareness, and warding intelligently are rewarded even more. That is a little harder as a carry, especially if your team isn’t as cohesive as it could be.

The pool of strong carries isn’t very large right now. That’s not terribly fun but you do what you have to. It’s not as bad as when Ezreal, Corki, and Graves were the only competitive legitimate options.

That said, ban or pick Sivir. Her nerfing isn’t done yet. If you have to play against her, pick Jinx, Lucian, Draven, or (if you’re good with them, but these are less recommended) Ashe, Varus or Quinn. Only those in the first list are on the “heroes” list.

As for non-carry champs, don’t worry about the carries so much (unless they get Sivir, or they get Lucian to counter your Nasus, etc.). Worry about late game, roaming, pushing, and independent map management. Depending on your teammates is even more frustrating than before. However, it applies to the other team to, and teammates like to follow people who roam, farm the enemy jungle, and push without dying. Do that, and they will subtly come to where you are. Also, it’s stupid, but people don’t look at pings. Do a regular ping, then do the “on the way” ping. Someone will think someone else responded and that two people are going to do something.

Hyper-carries, and people who benefit from tons of money will benefit more. Annie is good champ. But once it’s late game, her power doesn’t spike the way an Orianna, Kayle, or Jax’s does.

For mids, pick pushers and sustained AOE damage champs or Kassadin.

For tops, pick those that can wreck entire teams when fed. Darius can be kited and cc’d and escaped from. He doesn’t push that well compared to many other tops. Champions previously mentioned, or champions like Renekton.

Supports are similar, only apply it to tanks and mages. Zyra can die instantly or get caught easily. She’s a two-edged sword. Leona at late game can be impossible to kill. Same with Taric or Thresh. Fiddlesticks can blow up the other team after he won bottom lane with his fear and silence.

Last tip: don’t pick Vayne into Sivir because of what bronze players voted on a community website before Sivir was reworked and made ridiculously strong, and Vayne was nerfed multiple times even as a middle-rate / niche carry. It’s not a good idea. I see it happening all the time. It’s the logic and advice of fools to do so.

On to the list. I’m not going to rank every single champion: that’s not the point of this article.

Solo Queue Heroes

Teemo, Sivir, Rammus, Taric, Thresh, Amumu, Shyvana, Kassadin, Fiddlesticks, Warwick, Morgana, Quinn, Viktor, Lucian, Jinx, Draven, Mundo, Riven, Sona, Kayle, Singed, Volibear, Nasus.

These champions are all ridiculous at late game and counter or deal with a lot of the established meta. Most of these champions fit qualities mentioned earlier in this article. Sona and Taric, while nerfed along with traditional supports, are just awesome with big items, and Taric was reworked to his old feel of lane bully who can make a lot of mistakes. Viktor’s late game team fights are great. The hardest decision for this section is Quinn, who is good at top lane. At bottom lane she is difficult to play (especially if against the other marksmen) but in either lane her ultimate is great in the new season for covering the map, the big long escapes, chasing people down, and pushing like crazy. Her vision move helps a lot too for not getting caught and for checking Baron. She fits a lot of the meta. I almost put her in the category below.

Solo Queue Maybes

Eve, Annie, Akali, Galio, Syndra, Karma, Poppy, Xerath, Heimerdinger, Blitzcrank, Olaf, Zac, Leona, Orianna, Udyr, Kha’Zix, Cassiopeia, Aatrox, Xin Zhao, Fiora, Kog’Maw, Shen, Fizz, Nami.

These champions have benefitted from recent changes but are not shoo-ins. Basically, if you are good at these champions you can do well with them as long as you understand when to pick them and how to play them. For example, Heimerdinger is great for the pushing meta, but not against infini-tank Shyvana or Mundo or in long, drawn out team fights with long chases. Eve, Annie, Syndra, Blitzcrank, Olaf, Cassiopeia, and Aatrox fit this as well. Poppy, Fiora, and Kha’Zix are champs that you’d not think are doing better, but they are as it’s easier to get to late game with them. But they are hard to play and can be horrible picks against certain team comps. If you are great with these champs, go to town, but they should be picked with caution. Zac is much better at top than at jungle (his clearing is weaker). Blitzcrank is banned less of the time but Taric and Leona are very popular and stronger now, and Lucian, Sivir, and Jinx are all good against him.

Solo Queue Zeroes

Ezreal, Vayne, Garen, Zed, Nidalee, LeBlanc, Shen, Elise, Lee Sin, Vladimir, Irelia.

These champions should be avoided. They lose too much and have too much opportunity to lose a game after a won lane. They also fail to deal with tanks, even if they get pretty fed, and that applies to even Vayne, whose strength was at chewing up supporty type tanks. With two big bruisers who are more likely to be farmed, carries who beat her, and supports that don’t have to be terrified of her, even in the later game, I can’t stress enough that you shouldn’t pick her, even often if she’s your best. I’m a stat nerd: I check people’s stats before game. Plenty of good Vaynes are losing right now. It’s time to put her on the backburner.  

Ezreal is great at split-pushing but he has poor wave clear and is weak as an anti-tank carry. I’m willing to bet LeBlanc actually wins more as support than as mid, if it weren’t for the fact too many people pick her incorrectly or can’t play her well. But a LeBlanc has poor, poor wave clear and that’s even more important now. Now more than ever, a winning LeBlanc has to run around putting out fires if her teammates lose lanes, all while not being able to push well at any place she stops. Shen doesn’t wreck other teams and boss the map like he used to.

Best,

Old Man Eyebrows 

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Comments

  • #125 natemiddleman2

    I am reading the comments and it seems to me that the biggest problem people have is that Lee Sin is a zero. What I think people do not realize is that Lee Sin has never been consistently good. He used to be one of the best champs that could get a lead early and keep it. Now though, it is much harder to get that lead in the first place. Free wards lvl 1 reduce not just the chance of a successful gank, but the chance of an early buff steal. In season 3 at least the defensive masteries sucked for tanks, so he was not punished by going offensive. Now that the defensive tree is arguably the best scaling one, true tanks are doing much better therefore Lee is doing worse. Pretty much every single change in the preseason has hurt Lee in a small way, which is really hard for a champ that was never consistently good to begin with.

  • #124 Nephalos

    Why is Vladimir a zero? He has god tier wave clear and scales incredibly well into the late game, along with his massive AoE damage and excellent tower diving potential (Pool/Zhonya's) ? If all that mattered in this game was wave clear, Mordekaiser would be OP as fuck.

  • #128 skipaway1

    I think you answered your own question. "If all that mattered in this game was wave clear, Mordekaiser would be OP as fuck." However, I think it also has to do with the range at which a champion can wave clear. Champions like Vlad and Morde have to get close to the wave to clear it effectively whereas Sivir and Ziggs have a ridiculous range. It helps SO much in defending towers.

    Vladimir can still be decent pick in certain situations. He is an excellent split pusher and can duel many champions in the later game, then sustain very well as he continues putting pressure on another lane. The problem with this is that split pushing in solo Q is usually not a good idea in lower tiers where players don't communicate very well and don't know how to do it effectively. 

  • #129 MerryLane

    Not really a zero, just a highly situationnal one.

    The reason you'd be better off playing another champ are :
    a) We are in a burst heavy meta with teams that are not grouped in packs. Vlad has moderately low burst, and does mostly aoe around him. "Tanky" isn't that a good option anymore (you get bursted so hard whatever you build, the goal is to burst harder/from further atm)
    b) Spectral wraith was nerfed/modified, and shouldn't be built anymore as much on Vlad. Having his itemisation nerfed is a bad thing for a champion.
    c) The itemisation against you is better (than against burst heavy champs). Spirit visage and banshee, namely, as well as the defensive tree, helps a lot "negating" vlad's sustained dmg. Same against his "main" power, wave clearing : an Hydra rush counters u so hard.
    d) Vlad has some really atrocious matchups, and he "spikes" too late (at lvl 9), which makes it that most of chars can own him.
    e) Vlad is said to scale well into lategame, because before he just farmed so hard from 9 to 18, got so much gold and xp out of it, which comparatively made him reach late sooner. Now with the changes, he "accelerates" slowlier than before, comparatively.
    f) "Awful" early game last hitting

    What I just said is more and more true, the higher your MMR is. Below a certain threshold, all chars have some form of "abuse" that lets them carry games more often than not if you know them. But the higher you raise, the less likely enemies will let you abuse your inner OPness, if they can.

    Also the OP said that "the all that matters in this game is wave clear" for ADC. Ya forgot an important part.
    It's more and more true that everyone needs a good wave clearing, to reduce the chances of falling hard (like lb) or to splitpush or to defend, but top is about abusing matchups, and other lanes are about having the best burst possible.

  • #121 smagann

    I just noticed Shen in maybes and zeroes.

  • #117 PhilNye

    I would consider Tristana among the strong ad carries at the moment.  Her early game is actually very respectable now that Caitlyn isn't so common, and works very well with this "push to level 2 and snowball bot via all-in" strat that's so popular, as she naturally pushes very well.  Additionally, she scales super hard, and having two forms of self-peel/escape mechanisms as well as the potential for a lot of safety due to range is very helpful.  If you can manage Tristana's low point in the mid-game, or if you get very snowballed early game, Tristana will work very well.

  • #114 Delrin

    ...Where's Twitch?

  • #122 Runeack

    Invisible. 

  • #110 Apollinarius

    I want so badly to disagree. But the reality is that it's true.

    Lee Sin has one of the highest pick rates, but he has an abysmal winrate.

    Except for the fact that I think that Sivir nerfs hit the spot, and she probably won't be looked at again for a while, most of the things said here are true. Mundo is god, but mostly because people just learned how to play him. I wouldn't say that anything has really changed in the game to benefit him. Shyvanna, same thing.

    A whole bunch of champions are only worth picking if you specifically are good with them, but would be a bad choice in the hands of someone not as experienced. I can make MF work, simply because I've had so much experience on her. Even then, I lose games I would have won in the past, simply because she was more reliant on having support than many other carries, and these days too often "support" doesn't buy any wards or gold generation items, just taking cs and building damage as if they're a carry.

    I'd say that in general bottom lane duo is not a thing anymore. There is no support+carry synergy, because supports are picked at random and are usually people who play other lanes but got stuck with support this time around, rather than experienced support players.

     

  • #109 Mautrix

    Nice list, sad thing is that most noobs dont agree with the list just because they dont know why champs like zed and lee suck atm. Only thing I'm against is the elise in zerolist, maybe should be in the middle-low

  • #115 ratzing

    Call everyone that have different opinion than you "noobs", even the one challenger player that has voiced his opinion in this thread => ??? => profit.

  • #105 Joe1512

    This post is ridiculous.  You are trying to convince us that OP Lee is in the ZEROES trash tier?  Seriously?  Ditto with Elise, his magical opposite number.    And this is because they fail to deal with tanks? 

  • #106 iP4thy
    Quote from Joe1512 »

    This post is ridiculous.  You are trying to convince us that OP Lee is in the ZEROES trash tier?  Seriously?  Ditto with Elise, his magical opposite number.    And this is because they fail to deal with tanks? 

    article is about soloQ ._.

    in yoloQ evry1 run where they pleases

  • #107 Mautrix

    Dunno if you play in bronze or cardboard but lee sin atm pretty sucks, so please.

  • #116 smagann

    In my opinion, if your good as Lee Sin, he never "sucks." There are a few challenger players who near exclusively play Lee Sin, but hey, your're in Diamond and I'm still in Gold lol. :P

    Last edited by smagann: 12/16/2013 1:56:11 PM
  • #104 Jamial

    Probably the worst post of quite a while on this site. Yes bruisers are strong, but adc's STILL put out way too much damage, and they're still being used in proplay, so they're absolutely fine. In soloqueue it's more a matter of it requiring skill than it is of adc's being weak.

    Botlane went from being stupid to just outright retarded. Now not only does the adc snowball and get stupid damage if botlane snowballs, the taric/leona will be unkillable and have CDR to boot or the fiddlesticks will have 300ap at 20minutes. Botlane needs to be toned down, or something done to prevent the snowball. I still win games as a jungler by ganking bot ONCE succesfully in the first 10minutes of the game. You just get a free win. 

  • #111 Apollinarius
    Quote from Jamial »

    Probably the worst post of quite a while on this site. Yes bruisers are strong, but adc's STILL put out way too much damage, and they're still being used in proplay, so they're absolutely fine. In soloqueue it's more a matter of it requiring skill than it is of adc's being weak.

    Botlane went from being stupid to just outright retarded. Now not only does the adc snowball and get stupid damage if botlane snowballs, the taric/leona will be unkillable and have CDR to boot or the fiddlesticks will have 300ap at 20minutes. Botlane needs to be toned down, or something done to prevent the snowball. I still win games as a jungler by ganking bot ONCE succesfully in the first 10minutes of the game. You just get a free win. 

    Jungle is by far my favorite role in S4. I play Mundo/Xin, and get 2-3 successful ganks by level 6. That is usually enough to snowball lanes really hard. It feels like it's harder to win the game now if you're ahead by a little bit, but it's a lot easier to snowball than before. As a result, playing someone who is able to create advantages early in all lanes will usually get you a win.

    Honestly, the only times I've had this strategy lose is that we get ahead by so much that people begin to think they're invincible. They start doing really stupid things and start dying in 1v4 or 1v5 situations over and over again.

     

  • #103 DahakaMVl

    This list is bullshit..

  • #101 Horlan

    Please don't refer to a total of 7 games on a champ as proof for anything. I was 9/1 on Tristana once and by god she isn't THAT good .... things like that might just be statistical flukes.

    Yes going for objectives wins games, but listing your personal stats for a champ you played 7 times doesn't really prove anything. Its like me claiming Darius/Pantheon botlane is op because I won the two times I tried it ...

    Last edited by Horlan: 12/16/2013 3:19:11 AM
  • #97 B3hr7

    Lol another day, another solo que champ list posted based on someone's own personal beliefs (which is what all tier lists are based on durrrr), another comment section filled with people who are butthurt over the fact their fav champ was not listed in the godtier section.

    Personally I agree with the article about ADCs, this is definitely not an ADC friendly meta we're in currently. Still, someone's gotta do the role, someone has to stand by me when I laugh at people about to lose their soul, keheheheheh....

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