To be good at League of Legends, a player must have many things going for them including awareness, game sense, mechanics, and so much more. What about the most obvious choice of them all - champion knowledge? Is it better to know 1 or 2 champions as well as you can possibly know them, or to just be proficient in 6-8 champions and play the match-ups / team compositions? I've seen the question 100 times when players ask how to get out of "elo hell" and have witnessed pros go about getting better in both ways. In a perfect world you would simply know 10 champions better than anyone else knows 1, but let's take a realistic look at the pros and cons of each approach.
Quality: Knowing a champion like you know yourself
First let's define what quality really is when talking about knowing a champion. This isn't a rudimentary knowledge of what a champion can and can't do and how to build them. Really truly knowing a champion is knowing what they can do in every situation against every opponent and every possible build when you are ahead or behind. This type of knowledge only comes from playing a champion hundreds upon hundreds of times and having experienced these situations first-hand.
Every player going into a game has a certain style they play the best with, whether it be defensive, offensive, push, pressure whatever it may be and for each role Riot has done a good job developing champions that fit each player niche. Players that become so good with these specific champions even start absorbing bans because their opponents start fearing the champion being seen at all. Very few hard counters exist in League of Legends, so even if playing an advantageous match-up, you can find yourself losing simply because that player knows his or her champion far better than you do yours.
This is compounded even more in competitive play. Absorbing bans is a fairly gigantic deal in League of Legends since each team only has 3 and anywhere from 2-4ish champions in a particular patch will be borderline "op." If a player has 1 or 2 quality bans that must be taken away, they free up their teammates to pick their most comfortable characters, or allow them to simply get champions that are a little better overall in a patch. League of Legends is a team game, and just because one person isn't doing amazing doesn't mean the team can't win (as anyone who has played solo queue can attest).
The cons for quality are quite obvious because you are wielding the proverbial double-edged sword. If your other champions are drastically different than your 1 or 2 "mains" it puts that much more pressure one everyone else on your team if you can't play them because they are banned / picked. Playing against people who know champions well that counter you can keep you or behind or even in competitive play seeing a 2v1 lane to stymie your advantage. In the competitive scene players will know if you have 1 or 2 particular champions that are drastically better and can prepare accordingly.
Quantity: Knowledge is Power!
What is quantity when it comes to League of Legends? It means being able to play a handful or more of champions at an above average level. You haven't spammed these champions in over a thousand games, but have played them all enough to know them well enough to excel. This refers to players who know generally all the strong champions for their particular role but aren't just wtfbbq outstanding with any specific one. This allows the player to be versatile and reactive to what their opponents are doing in order to put themselves in the best position to win. They know what their opponents are going to do so they simply react and play what does the best against them.
Just because you aren't supremely efficient at one or two particular champions doesn't mean you can't be successful. Players that have the ability to adapt their play-style and meld them to a number of champions are also huge boons to their team. Irelia or Nidalee don't fight in every specific team composition because sometimes you need a champion with strong initiation. Pigeon-holing yourself and by proxy your team requires everyone to build around you and the team to be very rigid. Teams that have to play a certain way with champions will always be easier to play against because the players know what is coming and can prepare accordingly.
All those cons about quality? Those are the pros are of quantity. It's impossible to ban out a player that has several champions up their sleeves and even more so, they can work with their teams to build compositions that involve double ap, double bruiser, double ad, dive or split compositions that suddenly has their opponents always wondering what is coming next. The element of surprise can be a huge factor in games, and not allowing teams to simply spend all their time preparing on one way to beat you is a huge advantage.
The cons for quantity though are the same as those quality pros. They never absorb bans because they would simply be wasted, but those bans have to go somewhere and are then directed at their teammates. Advantageous match-ups the quantity player picked into can be lane swapped and all of a sudden that advantage disappears. Not only that, if the "op" champions are gone from bans already this type of player almost has to counter pick their opponent, forcing their team to pick their own champions earlier thus opening themselves up to being counter-picked.
At the end of the day both approaches can be successful and it boils down to what type of player you at heart are. Are you someone who is able to play differently according to your opponent, or is your strength in excelling at particular strategy that simply works for you? In an ideal world everyone would have both, but it's not always that easy. Professionals especially train hours upon hours a day and still only know the same two or three champions sometimes, or still never have that one champion they are absolutely outstanding at.
What do you think RoG'ers? Which style works for you and which is the best to have in general for both competitive and solo queue play?
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