Which Champions are Dominating LoL Pro Gameplay and Why?

Published: August 16, 2021 Updated: September 10, 2021
LoL Pro Gameplay at an eSports Tournament

The League of Legends World Championship is only a few weeks away. The current META of League of Legends is being dominated by a few champions that we are bound to see at the penultimate tournament itself. We will look at these champions and why they are so powerful right now.

Thanks to the diverse meta we are in, there is a tremendous wave of enthusiasm going around League of Legends esports fans. The LCS and LEC teams are bringing out some of the most exciting champion picks we have seen in years. Today, we will look at why certain champions are dominating the professional games more and why picking these champions in your SoloQ adventures might be a bad idea. We have identified four great champions to talk about: LeBlanc, Kalista, Ziggs, and Viego, so let’s dive in!

1. LeBlanc

LeBlanc is a favorite of professional players. She is often picked when she isn’t banned. In this week’s playoff matches, we saw LeBlanc having an 87% presence in LEC while LCS was just a little behind, with 79% presence. There is so much to look at when talking about LeBlanc, so let’s get into it.

LoL Pro Gameplay with Leblanc in White and Black

Leblanc’s Playstyle

LeBlanc is a champion that will only work in the middle lane because of a few key characteristics. She relies on brief intervals of burst damage, combined with her extravagant mobility, making her a menace despite a reasonably weak wave clear in the mid-game.

She can't do much against bruisers or tanks in the top lane and can't compete with a bottom lane duo. This means that she is confined to the middle lane. However, as an Ability Power Assassin, she is a fairly unique champion and offers a completely distinct playing style. To do well, Leblanc must get ahead in the early game before helping her fellow champions gain leads of their own.

Why is Leblanc being prioritized in LoL pro gameplay?

The atmosphere of your SoloQ games and professional games couldn’t be more divergent. Professional games, unlike SoloQ games, are all about coordination and map awareness. LeBlanc can be a compelling pick if a team has good coordination and great map awareness. She is solid during the early game and offers a lot of damage if played properly, along with great survivability thanks to her dashes.

It is crucial to obtain lane priority while playing LeBlanc, as that allows her best qualities to come to play. If you are the first one to rotate to a skirmish nearby or help your jungler secure early objectives like the scuttle crab, then you can start applying pressure on your lane opponent from the first few minutes of the game. This will make your lane opponent's life a lot more difficult.

Professional Gameplay in League of Legends with Leblanc in Purple Dashing Around

Although, one must wonder why professional players would pick the champion if there is a risk of not getting any meaningful lead and not contributing to their team as much as they hoped they would. We have the answer for you.

The professional players in the pro games are some of the best globally and are far better at identifying weaknesses than average players. There is rarely a point when they lose lane during the game such that they won't be able to come back. Furthermore, they will eventually catch up with their opponents by taking down squishy targets or dealing damage while flanking.

Only the most confident and capable mid-laners choose to take Leblanc in professional play.

Why might LeBlanc not be the best pick for your SoloQ games?

We have already talked about how strong LeBlanc is when she is ahead of her opponents, but it’s time to talk about what she is like when she is behind. LeBlanc is one of the worst champions in the game if she falls behind early on. She lacks damage without her item spikes, resulting in you having trouble dealing with any meaningful amount of damage to your opponents.

Coven Leblanc in Black and White Feather Outfit

It is definitely not a good idea to play LeBlanc as a blind pick without knowing what you're getting yourself into. If you are not a LeBlanc main or willing to put the time into learning her, avoid going for it as your first pick. Yet, if you are feeling confident in your mechanical abilities, go with your gut feeling and land some insane LeBlanc combos. You can find more about the most optimal builds for Leblanc based on what the enemy team comp looks like with our LeBlanc build guide.

The best professional game performance while playing LeBlanc last week

If you are a LEC fan, then you know what we are going to talk about. G2 Caps had a terrifying LeBlanc performance against MAD Lions in the third game of the series, which they unfortunately lost. Caps’ LeBlanc got so far ahead that he was a menace running wild on the rift, but MAD Lions countered his insane burst of damage by establishing vision control around the map, which confined the angles Caps could surprise them from.

This is the primary argument against LeBlanc being played in professional games, as these players know how easy it is to counter her by placing wards in effective areas. This nullifies her threat of burst damage from behind. However, if she gets going, there is no way one can stop her if her teammates play around her rather than taking foolish risks of their own.

2. Kalista

Kalista dominated the meta for the entirety of 2021, yet she was only picked a single time during the LCS playoffs. Surprisingly, she still has a 91% presence during the pick/ban phase of LCS, but she was only allowed to be picked a single team this week during the playoffs because she was banned a record number of 20 times! This section will look at what makes Kalista so popular in professional play, especially LCS.

Kalista Firing her Spear in Profession League Gameplay

Kalista's Playstyle

Kalista is a unique champion when it comes to the marksmen class. While most of the ADCs in League of Legends have a highly one-dimensional playstyle, she can offer a lot more than just raw damage output in skirmishes around the map. Every single Kalista ability offers some protection to her, making the opposing team constantly worry about how to deal with her.

Kalista’s “Sentinel” ability allows her to always be on the front foot during the game's laning phase. It offers added protection against any rotations by the opponent team to the bottom lane. Her ultimate ability “Fate” can be used as a survival tool to allow her partner to escape any unpredictable moves by the opponent champions. Furthermore, it can be also used as an aggressive tool to catch them by surprise.

She is a fairly aggressive champion who runs out of fuel if you let the game go really long. Therefore, you should always look to play aggressively and get in the opponent's face from the very first minute of the game to ensure that you can secure the victory quickly.

Why is Kalista being prioritized in LoL pro gameplay?

There is so much to like about Kalista when it comes to professional play. She is the perfect champion to offer an insane amount of damage if the player can show off their kiting skills during skirmishes around the rift. Kalista also provides a lot of surprise factor if her ultimate is used creatively. Yet, what makes Kalista an absolute favorite in professional games is her Rend ability.

Kalista in Her Red and Black Outfit with Plume on Her Helmet and Spear in Hand

You will more commonly know "Rend" as her “E” ability. This allows her to secure important objectives around the map a lot easier. The best teams are the ones who play around the objectives rather than what their opponent is doing. Having Kalista as an insurance policy to secure them will always be a terrifying sight for opponents in professional games.

Why might Kalista not work in your SoloQ games?

We are sure that you get excited by watching professional players pull off insane plays with Kalista. Yet, there are a few key things you should keep in mind before locking her for your SoloQ adventures.

The most important thing to keep in mind is what your support player is playing. If they are playing an enchanter or fragile mage with no real engagement abilities, then you might not be able to utilize your ultimate to its full potential. Kalista is best when paired up with champions like Thresh or Leona. She's almost guaranteed to get a kill against the opponent champions with these supports' great tank and heavy CC abilities.

Kalista and Thresh is a Good Pairing in Pro LoL Matches

Another essential detail to remember is that she is perhaps the hardest champion to master when kiting in the game. Her unique auto-attack mechanic isn’t something one gets used to without putting a lot of time in. If you feel confident and feel you play Kalista like Zven of Cloud9 or Tactical of Team Liquid, then we have the perfect Kalista build guide for you!

The best professional game performance while playing Kalista this week

Kalista was picked by Tactical of Team Liquid in their fourth game against TSM FTX in the second round of the upper bracket playoffs in the LCS. Tactical had one of the best performances of the series.He didn’t die a single time and got eight kills on TSM. Furthermore, he ensured his jungler and support were in a comfortable position while roaming the map thanks to the vision he provided them with the Sentinel ability.

If you are looking to learn Kalista, you should definitely catch that masterclass by the Team Liquid ADC.

3. Ziggs

Ziggs is a champion that belongs to a class with few champions in it. They are called “Artillery Mages”. These mages rely on their skill shots from afar to deal reliable damage to their opponents. The extra range these champions have is definitely something one can play around and center their team composition around. However, it doesn’t mean they don’t have any flaws, as they are relatively easy to kill if an opponent can close the gap between them.

Ziggs Standing Around with Bombs in His Hands Looking Evil and Smiling

Ziggs had a 65% presence in the LCS, making him the most popular mage pick for the bottom lane. He also appeared in the LEC playoffs, but his presence was lower than the LCS. This is because LEC teams often prioritize Varus and Tristana over him. If we are being honest, LCS definitely won at really understanding how powerful the champion can be and we will tell you why.

Zigg's Pro Playstyle

As a member of the artillery mage subclass, Ziggs is a powerful champion if one can maintain a good distance between them and their opponents. If you can land your skill shots, you will get an insane amount of damage on the opponent champions, making skirmishes around the map beneficial for your team. You can deal reliable damage from afar without ever really being under any threat.

Ziggs’ abilities enhance your team’s chance of securing objectives as there is a lot of Area of Effect damage. AoE damage confines the opponents to play from tight angles to avoid going back to their Fountain.

Ziggs Firing his Artiller Mage Ultimate to Blast Tahm Kench and some Minions in League of Legends

If we really want to understand the recent popularity of Ziggs in competitive play, then we will need to go back a couple of months. In patch 11.12 earlier this year, Riot Games buffed Ziggs' damage during the mid-game and increased his ultimate speed. This ensured that Ziggs could deal damage from afar while not being there directly.

Ziggs is also really powerful in professional play, as these teams are the best at maintaining vision control around key territories around the map. If we combine this with Ziggs’ ability to take turrets quickly, we have a split pushing mage who can escape easily without the opponent spending a lot of their resources to take him down.

Ziggs is currently one of the best champions to play in the mid lane or bottom lane as it allows many flexible scenarios for the coaching staff of these professional teams. Furthermore, it can cause champions like Lucian or Irelia to make their way into the middle lane without ever worrying about who will be their magic damage dealer in the late game.

Why might Ziggs not work in your SoloQ games?

In the game's current state, we have seen so many ADC players complain about how the opponent team had insane amounts of hard engage and Ziggs can actually solve this problem if played correctly. If you can establish a respectful distance between yourself and the enemy team, then you will deal a lot of damage if you can land your skill shots perfectly. However, that still doesn’t mean that you are immune to gap closers.

Ziggs with Gems for Eyes in Pro League play

A champion like Yasou or Yone might slash their way towards you and eliminate you from the very first second if your support player or frontline can’t really stop them. There is a good chance this might happen in your SoloQ adventures due to a lack of communication. If you feel confident and trust your teammates, we have a very reliable Ziggs build guide for you to choose your items efficiently in your games to secure that dub!

The best Pro Ziggs performance from professional games this week

Rogue of LEC is a team that really brings out the best of Ziggs whenever they play him thanks to their ADC player Hans Sama being really proficient with his rotations in the mid-game. Hans Sama ended the game with a KDA of 2/1/14. He was such a threat to the Misfits team in every skirmish. He confined the terrain they could play around. He ensured that his team could deal reliable damage thanks to his perfect crowd control abilities to deny the opponents any escape opportunities.

4. Viego

The Ruined King made a dramatic comeback this year to the world of Runeterra, but his presence in professional games had a far greater impact than what he did during the “Sentinels of Light” event. Viego is a straightforward champion that relies on getting into the face of his opponent, but what makes him so powerful is how easily he can stay alive with an assist or a kill.

Awesome Sitting Viego in Pro LoL Gameplay with Glowing Sword

As Viego, the player has the ability to shred tanks and act as the frontline of their team while dealing a lot of damage of their own. However, Viego players must be careful of his weak early game. The early game often results in you giving up a side of your jungle. This results in the map being split between your team and the opponent team if you have warded effectively.

Pro League of Legends teams still prefer playing him as we saw him having 100% presence in the LEC playoffs. He was also the second most picked jungler in the LCS. We will give you a better idea of why he is still being prioritized despite some of the easy things his opponent can do to hinder his progress into the late game.

There are so many things about Viego that make him a fantastic pick in professional League games. Still, the most important is his ability to be an obliterating force in late-game team fights through his resets.

We have seen Viego changing the tides of the fight thanks to his ability to possess an effective champion from the opponent team and ensuring that their own strength becomes their weakness.

Viego using Posession to win a professional league of legends match in an eSports tournament

Viego also offers a lot of survivability and gank potential at the same time due to how his mist works. One of the best ways to take down an enemy with Viego in League is to sneak up on them and close the gap. There isn’t much the opposing team can do if Viego is the last one remaining. His possession ability is excellent, as we have seen pro Viego players being able to eradicate the entire enemy team single-handedly.

Why might Viego not be a good pick for your SoloQ games?

It’s all about timing and decision-making when it comes to Viego. If you cannot get a good reset at the perfect time, you will likely fall victim to enemy crowd control abilities. Then, your Viego pick will just become a huge anchor for your own team.

If you want to play Viego well at the highest level, you need perfect communication of the plan in any skirmish that breaks around the map, but that isn’t possible if your team isn’t following up and leaves you isolated.

If you are confident in your ability to make the right decision for your target selection, we have the perfect Viego build guide for you to ensure you have the best items to shred the opponent team apart. At the same time, they try to land every ability on you.

Viego can Posess Enemies to Win at Solo Queue in LoL

The best pro Viego performance from recent professional League play

If you are still not convinced about what we told you about Viego, you can verify that from the Rogue vs Misfits series. In the last game of the series, with their backs against the wall, every member of Rogue fell against the mighty Misfits apart from their jungle (Inspired) on his Viego. Fortunately for them, that's all they needed to secure the victory and ultimately their qualification for the World Championship later this year.

Inspired got the perfect pentakill against Misfits despite being in a 1v3 situation thanks to his perfectly executed possessions. He won the game for his team on his own. It was a moment of joy for everyone watching the game as it showed how powerful the champion can be in the right hands.

Futuristic Viego Looking Cool

If you are interested in learning the champion, do check out Inspired’s performance against Misfits, as you will definitely come out a better player after witnessing some truly pro Viego gameplay with your own eyes.

Conclusion

We hope that we gave you a better insight into what champions are dominating the professional esports scene right now and the reasons behind them. We didn’t include champions like Thresh or Gnar in this article, as they have always been present in every meta. Still, if you are interested in finding out more about them or any of the other [League of Legends champions], you can check out our guides. They are definitely the best resource you can find to understand the fundamental identities of these champions.

Images Courtesy of Riot Games.