The Kraken Princess Appears! An Overview of the Top Lane Meta, and Riot’s Lucian Treatment of Illaoi

Traditional Top Lane Punching Bag

      With the constant practice,  teams have been running various lane swap strategies for years, and show no signs in slowing down. These strategies have been more apparent, and various teams throughout the world have identified themselves for their early game strategies around controlling one portion of the map. Advantages do rise in these strategic play styles;  however, Riot Games has made changes over the years to turrets, items sets, and champions to discourage lane swaps. The reasoning? The top lane is severely impacted due to the nature of the strategy itself (freezing/slow pushing creep waves), and the shape of the top lane.

      The mid lane has the shortest distance between the allied and enemy turret. Mid laners are allowed to skirmish more often, and even have a more diversity in which summoner spells  they can choose for the game. Bottom and top lane are the same length, both being longer than mid. The marksman and support role; however, generally support each other throughout the early parts of the game. Coordinating bottom lane dives requires more resources, and often sparks five man team fights, which results in a more volatile swing of events. Professional teams can easily create a situation where top lane Is the designated punching bag, not just for tanking, but for dives as well. If one team controls one side of the map, the top laner MUST farm the jungle for a period of time, or help the other side of the map, by joining in a 3v0 push of the bot or top lane tower .The top laner is easily susceptible  to a 3 to 4 man tower dive, if he or she decides to play a Standard solo lane role on the side the enemy team is controlling.

Patch 5.23 – Illaoi Is Released

      With the brief overview of this strategic play, Riot Games has introduced Illaoi in late November (Patch 5.23) and it is clear how Riot Games wanted players to utilize her. The immovable object that  drove allied and enemy teams to play around HER position for once, and not the other way around.  However, on release she fell through the gaps, and people easily saw through her weak points. She excelled when the enemy engaged onto her Specifically, but lacked any type of engage tool, and was easily kited around and baited. Riot Games as a company is known for keeping champion buffs to a minimum, however with Illaoi, She has received non-stop buffs since.

Here are brief examples of recent game play of Illaoi’s bully potential:


Patch 6.10 And Patch 6.11

      By giving Illaoi percentage damage on her harsh lesson skill, she is given much more dueling potential when being tower dove by multiple opponents. Since it is based off max health percentage, Illaoi deals more damage to healthier targets. Combined with her ultimate and healing passive, Illaoi may be one of the hardest champions to tower dive at this state of the game at level six. At earlier levels, she has the sustain, to fend off early one versus two skirmishes, or potential tower dives as well. Basically, the more champions that decide to attack Illaoi, the stronger she becomes.

The Agenda

      In most of the patches, champions have been subjected to nerfs and periodically champions are buffed if they are neglected for a period of time. However, Riot Games has given Illaoi a treatment on par to Lucian, before his rise to dominance in the marksman role. Her kit was changed, while simultaneously having buffed damage and cooldown reductions. She currently is a slumbering juggernaut, waiting to be utilized correctly by the professional scene. The champion has immediately seen professional play after the 6.11 changes, showing negative results; however, these teams have begun to notice her and utilize her in their top lane champion pools. If successfully used, teams may have to adapt the way strategies are used around Illaoi for the future, including the World Championships tournament.

Written by Nduka Bandicoot

Edited by Williaf

Featured Image provided by the r/Illaoi Subreddit on Reddit

Videos provided by OPLOLReplay and EpicSkillshot’s YouTube Channels

Highlights were made with Vibby

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