However, over the course of League of Legends, some champions have remained relevant over numerous metas. This is because they work very well in a team game populated by players queueing alone or with one friend.
Below are some of the recommended champions to rank up in Solo Queue. Some themes you might notice being repeated are early game power, versatility, and the ability to roam quickly and effectively.
Top – Shen
Shen is an excellent pick in Solo Queue because of his ability to affect the map. His main tool to do so is his ultimate Stand United, allowing Shen to both shield an ally and teleport to their location. Shen also has great trading ability built into his kit. His passive Ki Barrier grants him a shield, and his ability Spirit’s Refuge blocks basic attacks. His Twilight Assault also helps him deal bonus damage on his auto attacks. Shen also has a mobility and CC spell in Shadow Dash, allowing him to use it offensively to taunt enemies or to escape from ganks.
Shen may not be picked to dominate lane, especially with an ultimate that does not help himself in lane, but he trades very effectively with auto attackers. Besides being able to block their attacks with Spirit’s Refuge, Shen likes to build tank items like Ninja Tabi and Sunfire Cape. Shen has a harder time with spell-based champions, but the shielding from his Ki Barrier helps him to stay healthy enough to farm.
Hitting level six to gain access to his ultimate is when Shen really shines. His first ultimate can often catch opponents off guard, especially bot laners who are typically level four or five when solo laners hit six. Shen is great at turning around ganks for teammates, as his ultimate shield is more effective the lower his ally’s health. Upon arrival, Shen can place down Spirit’s Refuge for his teammates and use his Shadow Dash to close the gap on enemies and taunt them.
Because of his ability to teleport across the map with his ultimate, Shen is best utilized in a side lane throughout the game. While he isn’t the type of split pusher that looks to kill his opponent and put pressure on the enemy in that way, Shen can clear waves and force the opposing team to commit someone to stop his push. When that opponent is pulled to him, Shen can then use his ultimate to join the rest of his team to create a 5v4 advantage.
Lack of Waveclear
The problem with that line of play is that Shen is very slow to push waves on his own. Without any AoE spells, Shen relies on auto attacks to kill minions. Considering he also doesn’t generally build damage, that goes very slowly. Shen needs items like Sunfire Cape and/or Titanic Hydra to get his split push online. He can also struggle later against mages that can quickly clear waves and chunk him out, or opponents that have teleport available.
Still, the power of a global ultimate in Solo Queue cannot be understated. Running Shen with teleport allows you to use your ultimate to turn around an early skirmish without even having to sacrifice your lane, because you can just teleport back. This double teleport is also very impactful late game. You can use one of them to force your opponent’s teleport, then return to the side lane and have one still available while your opponent is out of options. Shen may not be a great pick to solo carry, but he’s a great Solo Queue pick to enable your teammates.
Jungler – Hecarim
Hecarim is a great Solo Queue pick as a jungler. The AoE damage from his Rampage and Spirit of Dread abilities make it easy for him to quickly clear jungle camps. Damage dealt while Spirit of Dread is active also heals Hecarim, helping him to sustain a healthy clear. The movement speed from Devastating Charge is excellent for ganking, as is the knockback at the end of the ability. Finally, Hecarim’s Onslaught of Shadows helps Hecarim to close the gap in those gank situations, as well as provide crowd control with a fear.
The first important aspect of choosing a jungler is the consideration of clear speed and champion health. With two AoE abilities, Hecarim has no problem quickly killing the large jungle camps. While the first couple of clears will be slower, Hecarim has great clear speed when his Rampage is maxed. Likewise, the early healing from Spirit of Dread is negligible, but Hecarim really benefits from the healing later when he has more damage. It’s not uncommon for him to leave a fight at low health and use the jungle camps to heal back up.
Hecarim is a top tier jungler because he not only clears efficiently, but he offers great ganks as well. He doesn’t offer much crowd control before he hits ultimate at level six, but he does offer a lot of damage. His passive Warpath converts his bonus movement speed to bonus attack damage, making his Devastating Charge very deadly early on. When Hecarim hits six, he can combine that with Onslaught of Shadows to very easily chase down enemies more than a screen away. Hecarim is great to be paired with laners who have early access to crowd control.
Hecarim does have some vulnerability early. Because movement speed is so good on him, his best Summoner Spell with Flash is Ghost. Without access to a dash, Hecarim is very vulnerable to invades and being caught out in the jungle. He must very carefully plan his paths and rely on his teammates for help when he invades or gets invaded. Hecarim also runs out of mana very easily early until he gets his jungle item.
Still, the combination of clear speed and ganking ability makes Hecarim a great pick for Solo Queue. He is also a very versatile champion that can be itemized and used for different situations. When fed, he can build damage and go for assassinations on enemy squishy champions. Hecarim also utilizes defensive items like Spirit Visage well, allowing him to peel for his teammates when needed. With all the different playstyles Hecarim can lean into, Hecarim can be safely picked in almost every situation.
Mid – Akali
Akali doesn’t have a global ultimate like Shen, but she can offer a lot of roaming potential as well. She pushes waves quickly with her Five Point Strike, allowing her time to look for roam opportunities. She has to walk through the rivers to gank, but she has several tools to ensure her safety. Shuriken Flip and Perfect Execution can get her over walls and create distance from enemies, while Twilight Shroud allows her to juke around and buy time for her allies and cooldowns.
These same characteristics also make her potent when she arrives. Enemy champions do not have a lot of options if Akali commits to the chase. Three gap closers mean Akali will be able to get in range. She also has incredible burst damage and an execution on the second half of her ultimate.
Akali’s ability to flex between lanes is also useful for Solo Queue. First, it allows you to trade lanes based on matchups or based on the role you get when you queue up. It’s very effective to have a small champion pool to focus on while climbing, so it’s a big bonus to be able to play a champion in multiple roles. But it also can confuse enemy teams and make it tougher for them to counter pick when they don’t know which lane a champion will play in.
Struggles From Behind
Though she has these plus sides, Akali is another champion who struggles playing from behind. If she doesn’t have enough items and levels to delete an enemy champion, she doesn’t offer her team any utility in fights. She also cannot waveclear from a safe distance against a siege. These are common problems when playing melee assassins.
The point of the pick is to use your laning and roaming power to get yourself and your team ahead. Akali can still make an impact when her team is behind, as long as she herself is ahead. She can ensure this by farming hard with her Five Point Strike and being opportunistic with her roams. Her escapability makes her a tough gank, so she has the tools to carry even when focused by the enemy team.
Bot – Caitlyn
Bot lane is one of the toughest roles in Solo Queue. Four players in one lane creates so many possible fight scenarios at all times, not to mention attracts the most attention from the other players on the map. It can also be frustrating if you don’t have a duo queue partner to coordinate within lane. That’s what makes Caitlyn such a valuable pick. Her amazing base range allows her to dictate trades on her own. It also gives her easy access to farm even if the lane falls behind.
Starting from level 1, Caitlyn has the range advantage in lane and can dictate the terms. Good use of auto spacing allows her to win all auto attack exchanges, and her Piltover Peacemaker makes for nice poke. Even though she isn’t a great burst champion, she still pairs well with a crowd control support because she can layer her Yordle Snap Trap with her support’s stun.
There is no substitute for range in team fights, so Caitlyn also excels there when she gets enough items. She isn’t the most mobile carry, but she does have at least one mobility spell in 90 Caliber Net. She doesn’t have flashy spells to dance around the fight, so she has to be on point with her orbwalking and auto spacing to output maximum damage.
Weak Mid Game
The tradeoff for her range is that Caitlyn does not deal much in terms of spell damage. Her Piltover Peacemaker locks her out of attacking and none of her other spells are really used for damage in the middle of fights. This makes her weak in the mid game on one item. She needs to get a damage and attack speed item to ramp back up, but preferably three total before she comes online.
That mid game power dip should be managed by keeping the enemy ADC down in lane. It doesn’t hurt as much if the enemy can’t keep up with the items Caitlyn is purchasing. With a strong CS lead and by chipping away turret plates, Caitlyn should be able to buy her way through her weak phase. That makes her a powerful pick in the right hands in Solo Queue.
Support – Morgana
Morgana isn’t a classic support that offers healing or a shield that works against auto attacks, but her kit makes her a great fit in Solo Queue. She has crowd control and damage with her Dark Binding and her Soul Shackles ultimate, offering kill threat in lane. Conversely, she can go on the defensive by making her bot lane partner immune to crowd control with her Black Shield. Morgana’s Tormented Soil can also help to shove lanes out when trying to get off a base for a lane reset.
Supports first and foremost have to have a presence in the lane. Even “defensive” supports like Lulu and Soraka have damaging poke abilities that allow them to trade with enemies. Morgana definitely has presence, starting immediately with her Dark Binding. The ability has a huge hit box and roots her enemy for two seconds at level one. That, coupled with Tormented Shadow can pack a punch against the typically squishy champions sent bot lane.
However, Morgana doesn’t have to just be used offensively as a support. Her Black Shield is one of the most powerful support abilities in the game. Giving your carry CC immunity for up to five seconds is incredibly valuable, especially if you can time it for the perfect moment. Morgana’s ultimate Soul Shackles is also a great peeling tool for your carry. Not only does it slow nearby enemies on initial cast, it then stuns still tethered enemies for 1.5 seconds.
Morgana does have her weaknesses, of course. She offers little utility to her carries if the opposing team has no crowd control. Morgana’s Black Shield can also be burtsted through by magic damage, so it must be used at the correct time, or it could end up blocking the wrong spells. Morgana also needs the survivability of a Stopwatch or Zhonya’s Hourglass to make use of her ultimate in the later stages of the game, meaning she has to use her gold on those items instead of more supportive items.
That said, the overall package of Morgana still makes her a great pick. The CC she offers will always be useful in lane, and Solo Queue is often decided in the laning phase. It also helps that if you end up getting fed in a game that sees the rest of your team struggling, Morgana makes great use of Ability Power and can be built as a secondary carry. Unlike strict supports, Morgana can take matters into her own hands if needed. That versatility makes her the perfect pick in Solo Queue.