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League of Legends

Worlds 2021 Meta: Mid-Tournament Report

Zakaria Almughrabi

The League of Legends 2021 World Championship is entering its final stage. A total of 92 games have been played in the two and a half weeks Worlds has been running. The Play-in Stage featured 80 unique champion picks in just 38 of those games. The Group Stage on the other hand saw that number shrink to 75 unique picks and featured a major shift in champion priority. The rush to figure out the meta is always one that separates the average team at Worlds from the championship contenders.

Worlds 2021 Champions

The meta at Worlds 2021 has evolved as the tournament has gone on. (Images Credit Riot Games)

The Top… Cat

The most impactful champion in the Worlds 2021 meta so far has been Yuumi. The enchanter support sported the second-highest Group Stage Pick/Ban presence at 94.4 percent. She also has the most bans at 39 in total. Due to the incredibly safe nature of the champion, Yuumi has the best KDA of any champion at Worlds with more than two games played at 7.75.

This rise in the Group Stage is a stark contrast from how she was perceived in Play-ins. The cat only had 10.5 percent PB presence with four bans and zero picks. It’s not often that a champion can go from never being played in the Play-ins to being one of the most important ones just days later. When Yuumi does make it through the draft, she has been snatched up almost instantly. Ten of 12 Yuumi games have been on blue side.

Yuumi’s most popular pairings have been Miss Fortune and Jhin with six and four games apiece. Gen.G’s Life has the most Yuumi games at two and no one else has more than one. Team Liquid and T1 are the only teams that have played against it more than once. Yuumi will continue to be a hotly contested pick going into knockouts.

Back to the Bench

With the rise of new picks in the Group Stage, some champions who were prevalent in Play-ins are much less popular now. The biggest example of this is the Sad Mummy himself. Amumu was incredibly hyped coming into Worlds 2021 as one of the most powerful support picks. With high presence in solo queue and scrims, Amumu debuted in his second professional game since August 2018 (Oceania played him once earlier this year).

Amumu ended the Play-ins with a 57.9 percent PB presence. Unfortunately for the Sad Mummy, his win rate was an abysmal 27.3 percent. He just wasn’t able to output the lane pressure that picks like Leona could and his team fighting was only marginally better. To add insult to injury, the rise of Yuumi who could poke him down and Thresh who could peel him easily made Amumu incredibly difficult to make work in the Group Stage. Amumu’s new friends disappeared quickly, resulting in his only presence in seven games (13 percent). Six of those games were second-half bans, leaving Gen.G’s Life with the only Amumu game in groups.

Amumu Worlds

Amumu has fallen far in priority as he found little success early in the tournament. (Image Credit Riot Games)

Another pick that has fallen off quite heavily is Lillia. The Worlds Meta has featured many heavy AD team compositions with picks like Graves and Tryndamere in solo lanes. As such, AP junglers had a lot of implied value coming into the tournament. Lillia was the premier pick to fill this niche and had 39.5 percent PB priority in Play-ins.

More mage picks started to take over once the Group Stage started. Twisted Fate, LeBlanc, Sylas, and Ryze all became staple choices for every team. This left Lillia without a home. She was never banned in groups and only saw two games played, both being losses. Her 3.7 percent PB presence is doubled by Fiddlesticks who was also one of the viable AP junglers coming into Worlds.

One Size Fits All

There are a few champions at Worlds 2021 that are heavily prioritized no matter what team composition is being built. They either bring too much power to the table to ignore or possess tools that are universally valuable in this meta.

Lee Sin is topping the jungle pool by a large margin. The Blind Monk boasts the highest PB percent at Worlds at 98.1 percent. He has a 50 percent win rate over 24 games played. The raw clear speed and skirmish power that Lee Sin provides allows his teams to be ready for any early game objective fights. Worlds has been heavily dominated by Rift Herald rotations and side lane plays. Almost no jungler can provide as much pressure for this as Lee Sin.

The flex threats of Irelia and Lucian are next up. These carry threats had 81.5 and 87 percent PB presence respectively with Irelia only making it into six games. Her win rate is terrible on paper at 16.7 percent, but the 1v1 potential and scaling threat she provides makes her incredibly threatening in mid and top.

Lucian on the other hand had the second-highest win rate among champions with more than two games played at 72.7 percent. While most of his games come in the bot lane where he can be paired with powerful enchanters, a few mechanically prominent top lane players like Xiaohu are not afraid to play him as a solo lane bully.

Solo Role Power Picks

Surprisingly, Worlds 2021 is far less skewed towards flex and multi-role picking than Worlds and the year preceding it. A lot of the strongest picks like Yuumi and Lee Sin have been played in only a single lane.

Twisted Fate is the number one mid laner at Worlds. He ties Yuumi in PB percent but gets through the draft nearly twice as much. TF is an expert at control and playmaking due to global vision and a teleport on his ultimate. On top of that, his point-and-click stun coupled with the utility of Rapidfire Cannon and Everfrost make TF into a pick and skirmish nightmare. Twisted Fate brings so much guaranteed value that he is impossible to ignore.

LeBlanc is also quite up there in priority for mid laners. The AP assassin is tied with Lucian in PB presence and banned nearly as much. Her prominent solo kill pressure and burst threat allow LeBlanc to control the flow of an entire game by herself. LeBlanc is number three in both win rate (68.8 percent) and KDA (6.43) among champions with more than two games.

LeBlanc Worlds

LeBlanc has been a favorite hard carry pick of mid lane players throughout Worlds. (Image Credit Riot Games)

Aside from Yuumi and Lucian who are banned more often than not, bot lane has been dominated by the duo of Miss Fortune and Leona. MF brings incredibly potent lane pressure due to her ability to spam damage spells. Additionally, her Strut passive makes MF very hard to lock down in fights. When its time to skirmish around objectives, MF can shred an entire team with a well-placed Bullet Time if enemies stay in it.

And what better way to ensure that enemies can’t move than having Leona on your team? The crowd control queen is back as one of the most prominent support picks at Worlds. Her 70.4 percent PB presence is good for second behind Yuumi and 30 percent higher than the next supports, Rakan and Thresh. There are few champions in League that can bring as much raw value as Leona. Her long-range engage and sheer tankiness make Leona perfect for starting fights off right.

Honorable Mentions

There are many champions who are still very important to the Worlds meta despite being lower priority. The duo of Jarvan IV and Xin Zhao are both potential jungle answers to Lee Sin. They can clear their camps incredibly quickly and are strong in early game skirmishes while also bringing some value later on with their ultimates.

Graves and Jayce are very potent top lane bullies who scale very well into carry roles later on. On top of having few if any bad matchups, their ability to output pressure and transition into fights make this ranged AD duo team composition-defining picks.

Last but not least, Aphelios has become the standard response to Miss Fortune, even sometimes outplacing her in pick priority. With a 68.5 PB presence, Aphelios is highly favored when a team needs a hyper carry. Aphelios has the range and sustain to lane against the best of them. He also provides tons of team fight prowess with items and White + Red guns.

The Worlds 2021 meta has been firmly carved out. We’ve seen some picks rise while others have fallen. There are less prevalent flex picks than in previous years, making for many strong solo role champions. Even though we have a good grasp on what the top eight teams value moving into the playoffs, things could continue to change. New bans or priority picks could give rise to interesting counter picks and strategies. Anything could happen as Worlds continues on October 22.