Once the MSI is over, it’s time for us to analyze the priority picks and new trends for the top teams in the World. MSI was played on patch 11.9 and since this patch was live, all eyes were set on the jungle.
After a season where the Turbo Chemtank junglers were dominant and we had our fair share of Udyr and Hecarim, the latter, as well as the Turbo Chemtank, suffered some adjustments that left the Shadow Knight out of the meta game.
Besides, patch 11.8 opened the door to new champions in the jungle with Diana, Rumble, and Morgana being spammed in SoloQ and, as we will see, two of them were here to stay. This turnaround in the jungle had, of course, its consequences in the rest of the lanes.
We will break down the top priority champions position by position analyzing what has changed in this MSI from the Playoffs in the different regions.
Afterward, we will select the two most predominant picks by position and compare their stats when they faced each other in lane in this MSI. Let’s get started:
TOP LANE: Gnar and Lee Sin
Before MSI, Gnar was clearly the most picked champion in the top lane across all four main regions with Sion being the go-to option for pure tanks. We did not see Renekton that high in the Pick % due to his permaban status; instead, Jayce and Karma were mainly picked as signature picks for LPL and LEC respectively.
Jayce is a carry with a big 2-item power spike (Eclipse and Manamune) who can easily win the lane and provide range for his team, really useful in poke compositions.
Karma is used as an enchanter that can enable and protect carries as well as provide some AP damage, especially valuable when the meta leaned towards AD junglers.
During MSI, two champions have been heavily prioritized in the top lane:
MSI Pick Rate: 50.62%
MSI Pick & Ban Rate: 82.7%
MSI Win Rate: 46.3%
Gnar is a top laner who combines range and melee in both of his forms. Managing his Rage bar is crucial in order to transform into Mega Gnar at the right time and provide the engage with his Ultimate ‘Gnar!’.
MSI Pick Rate: 24.7%
MSI Pick & Ban Rate: 91.4%
MSI Win Rate: 80.0%
The Blind Monk has been one of the biggest changes in the meta. His abilities as a bruiser to get in the fights with his Sonic Wave (Q) and out with the Safeguard (W) into an ally, ward or minion is one of his main features. His Tempest (E) brings a lot of damage and wave clear and the Dragon’s Rage is a perfect ultimate to kick an enemy champion and bring it into melee range of his teammates.
Besides, the switch to AP junglers makes him a flex pick in three lanes: top, mid. or his usual role as a jungler. You can read an in-depth analysis about his role shift here.
Gnar vs. Lee Sin
Now that we've identified the two most dominant picks in the top lane, let’s compare their stats when they faced each other during this MSI.
Lee Sin dominated almost all the stats against Gnar in this MSI, especially KDA, Gold/min, Gold at minute 15 with an amazing 422 gold ahead on average, and the win rate, winning 7 out of the 9 times he faced Gnar in the top lane.
However, Gnar dealt more damage on average, probably due to his greater AoE damage in team fights and his range advantage during the laning phase.
Gnar is a main source of engage in his MegaGnar form for straightforward team fight compositions while Lee Sin is a bruiser that goes in, bursts an enemy carry, and then goes out of the fight waiting for his cooldowns to come back. Besides, the Blind Monk is a good option for picks with his ultimate.
Of course, there are many factors to take into account, like the players who played these champions, what was at stake for their teams at that point, etc. but in any case, Lee Sin stats over Gnar in this MSI are valuable to analyze.
In light of these strong performances by Lee Sin, it's no surprise Riot Games has targeted his Tempest (E) as its cooldown was nerfed from 8 to 9 seconds on patch 11.11.
JUNGLE: Udyr and Rumble
Before MSI, the meta was pretty much clear. Udyr and Hecarim looked like the only two viable options. The Turbo Chemtank was too strong and gave a definitely not needed extra speed to both junglers:
On patch 11.9 Hecarim received massive nerfs that got him out of the meta game, although they have been partially reversed on the last patch, 11.11.
Regarding Udyr, well… he is still really strong and he had the highest pick and ban rate in this MSI.
Let’s cut to the chase:
MSI Pick Rate: 61.7%
MSI Pick & Ban Rate: 95.1%
MSI Win Rate: 52.0%
Udyr literally sprints through the jungle, he is fast, he gains movement speed thanks to his passive when he swaps between stances, and he clears the camps quickly thanks to his AoE damage in his Phoenix Stance (R).
Udyr’s gameplay is pretty straightforward, he goes in, uses his Bear Stance (E) to stun an enemy for 1 second, deals plenty of damage in his Phoenix Stance (R), and moves on.
On top of that, he can easily invade the enemy jungle and steal camps in the blink of an eye.
MSI Pick Rate: 44.4%
MSI Pick & Ban Rate: 75.3%
MSI Win Rate: 48.6%
The yordle provides tons of damage with his Flamespitter (Q), slows the enemies with the Electro Harpoon (E), and is really useful to split the opponents apart in team fights with The Equalizer (R).
It’s time now to draw comparisons between both junglers in the 17 matchups they had in MSI 2021.
What we can deduce from the data is that Udyr was more successful during this MSI especially thanks to his early game dominance. He is ahead of Rumble in KDA, Gold and CS at minute 15. It makes a lot of sense since Udyr is an early game champion while Rumble shines in the mid-late game.
However, looking at the data, we can say that the early impact Udyr has on the map being almost 5 points ahead in KDA at minute 15 could translate into a snowball that allows Udyr to be ahead also in the stats at the end of the game.
On the other hand, there is one single stat that we cannot deny Rumble’s superiority over Udyr and that is damage. The yordle was able to put out more damage than Udyr in all 17 games that they faced each other.
To sum up, Rumble looked like a completely overpowered pick ahead of the MSI. He is indeed strong, has better carry potential, and fits well into poke compositions, but at least at MSI, Udyr clearly won the matchup.
We should highlight that Rumble’s passive damage against monsters has been nerfed on 11.11 and Udyr has not been nerfed directly, but Phase Rush was as well as the jungle changes on 10.10 that don’t really favor fast clearing junglers, so let’s see if the meta allows more champions to come into the jungle.
MID LANE: Viktor and Orianna
Not much has changed in the meta from the Spring playoffs when the control mages had the highest pick ratio.
As we have just seen, we are in a meta of AP junglers, Udyr, and especially Rumble and Morgana, so the AD mid laners are always an option. We’ve seen Lucian picked 11 times in the mid lane and banned 50 times in this MSI and flexing Renekton or Lee Sin into the mid lane is also a possibility.
However, Viktor and Orianna are the king and queen of the lane in this meta. Both are team-fight-oriented providing utility, range, scaling, and tons of damage with their ultimate.
MSI Pick Rate: 30.9%
MSI Pick & Ban Rate: 49.4%
MSI Win Rate: 28.0%
Viktor uses his Gravity Field (W) to slow enemies down and then has a lot of AoE damage in his kit with the Death Ray (E) and Chaos Storm (R), an Ultimate that he can redirect. His strengths come usually in the late game thanks to his good scaling.
MSI Pick Rate: 27.2%
MSI Pick & Ban Rate: 59.3%
MSI Win Rate: 54.5%
Orianna usually has a hard time in lane, but she is also a great scaling champion. Her Ultimate, Shockwave, can completely turn a team fight around. She also provides a lot of utility to her teammates by speeding up an ally with Command: Dissonance (W) and shielding them with her Command: Protect (E).
Viktor vs. Orianna
Unfortunately for us, the sample is not as representative as in the previous two positions. Viktor and Orianna have only faced each other 3 times during the MSI.
ShowMaker and Maple on Viktor dominated their matchups against Perkz and Humanoid on Orianna, respectively.
In any case, Viktor has outperformed Orianna in all the stats in their head-to-head:
Both of them look like the safest options for the mid lane but more picks can join as we’ve seen quite a lot of Zoe and Sylas in this MSI and Azir can make his way back into the meta as his Q mana cost was lowered on patch 11.11.
BOT LANE: Kai’Sa and Tristana
If the bot lane could be defined by a champion during the whole Split, that is Kai’Sa. She’s been the most picked AD carry during Regular Season and Playoffs in all the top regions as well as this MSI.
Usually paired with engage supports, her damage and ability to reposition with her ultimate makes her the strongest AD carry at the moment. Xayah appeared in the meta since she’s a good pick into Kai’Sa, and the common bans of Thresh (that enables immobile carries like Jinx or Aphelios) and Senna or Tahm Kench, made Kai’Sa and Nautilus one of the most predominant bot lanes in Season 11:
MSI Pick Rate: 81.5%
MSI Pick & Ban Rate: 90.1%
MSI Win Rate: 56.1%
Kai’Sa is a champion with a lot of damage and wave clear with her Icathian Rain (Q). She is a mobile champion with her Supercharge (E) that increases her movement speed, can mark enemies from distance with the Void Seeker (W), and dash into them with her ultimate Killer Instinct.
Engage supports pair well with her because crowd control effects help her stack Plasma, dealing increasing magic damage and makes it easier to land her W.
One of her main weaknesses is her lack of range.
MSI Pick Rate: 40.7%
MSI Pick & Ban Rate: 56.8%
MSI Win Rate: 45.7%
Tristana is another "safe" AD carry. Her Rocket Jump (W) can be used offensively or defensively to jump in or out from a fight. Same thing with her Ultimate, Buster Shot, which is often used to knock enemies back.
The yordle scales better than Kai’Sa due to her passive, Draw a Bead, which increases her range as she levels.
Tristana is a flex pick, can also be used in the mid lane because she can easily push waves with her Rapid Fire (Q) and especially punishes any roam from the opposite mid laner due to her Explosive Charge (E) into enemy towers, granting her a lot of gold from plates or turrets.
Kai’Sa vs. Tristana
Looking at the large number of games between both AD carries, 30 games in this MSI, we can affirm that the stat comparison will be surprising for many.
Tristana leads in almost all the stats by a narrow margin.
However, the KDA difference is noticeable at both minute 15 and the end of the game. Another advantage for Tristana is her gold at minute 15 over Kai’Sa, which can be explained, as we mentioned before, by her ability to get tower plates.
On the other hand, the biggest strength of Kai’Sa over Tristana is her farm difference at minute 15, when the yordle still doesn’t have enough range.
Kai’Sa has been the most prioritized carry during the whole season, but at least in this MSI Tristana is slightly favored in the comparison even if Kai’Sa ended up victorious in 16 of the 30 encounters.
None of them got triggered on the last patches, so we can expect more matchups coming up between them.
SUPPORT: Nautilus and Leona
The season in competitive gaming for supports was clearly monopolized by engage supports. Alistar and Rell were the most picked during the season, but the nerfs they received on patch 11.7 swept them off the top support priorities.
Nautilus came as one of the strongest picks in the MSI meta and Leona was always there, arguably competing with Rell as we analyzed here, and definitely stepped up during this MSI.
MSI Pick Rate: 55.6%
MSI Pick&Ban Rate: 80.2%
MSI Win Rate: 48.9%
A kit with his characteristic Dredge Line (Q) that hurls his anchor towards an enemy. He can root any enemy with his first attack thanks to his passive, he also has an ultimate that chases and knocks up enemies and considerable damage with the Riptide (E).
Pairs well with Kai’Sa and partially counters Thresh’s hooks, the support with the highest pick-and-ban rate of this MSI.
MSI Pick Rate: 43.2%
MSI Pick&Ban Rate: 67.9%
MSI Win Rate: 60.0%
Definitely not a support that anyone would enjoy facing on the other side of the rift. Her Shield of Daybreak (Q), stuns enemies, her Zenith Blade (E) immobilizes a target that she will dash into and her Ultimate, Solar Flare, stuns in the center and slows on the outsides of the area.
A kit full of stuns and especially single target engages or even multiple with the Solar Flare into two or more enemies, which can be a nightmare for the opposite AD carry.
She gained priority during the season to get to the top 3 support in pick and ban rate, just behind Thresh (usually banned) and Nautilus.
Nautilus vs. Leona
They’ve split the wins, 8 for each, in a matchup that in this MSI falls slightly in favor of Nautilus. He especially leads in early game damage, helped by the ignite, that grants him early kills and assists in the 2v2.
On the last patch, 11.11, Nautilus' Riptide (E) damage against monsters was increased so it’s quite likely that you can encounter him in the jungle in your SoloQ games.
Here ends our MSI meta analysis. We’ve tried to compare the picks that we’ve all seen during this MSI, putting the data on the table. From this point, it’s time for you to draw conclusions.
Hope you enjoyed the read and stay tuned as the 2021 Summer Season is about to get underway.