How League of Legends’ mid lane meta is changing in Season 11

Andrew Amos
Victorious Orianna in League of Legends

League of Legends went through arguably its biggest pre-season in history in Season 11. The item rework drastically changed up exactly what players build. However, it hasn’t really changed what people are playing, especially in the pro scene.

League’s mid lane is the center of attention. A lot of the worlds’ best have mastered their craft there ⁠— Faker, Caps, xPeke, Rookie, Bjergsen and more.

However, it was set to be shaken up in League of Legends Season 11 with the item rework. With a number of core items getting changed, there was real potential for a shift in the champions we saw picked. Has that been the case? Let’s find out.

By the numbers: Syndra and Orianna still dominate

Using Worlds 2020 as a litmus test for the pro play meta, nothing much has really changed. Across all major regions, Orianna (72 out of 186 games globally) and Syndra (59) are still the top two mid laners, like they were at Worlds.

New releases like Yone (15) have provided some diversity, while Viktor (29) has made an emergence due to his late Season 10 changes. That being said, in solo queue, there’s been a few surprise entries.

Anivia is listed as the number one mid laner on OP.GG with a near 55% win rate thanks to the new Liandry’s. Pantheon mid is also up, so is LeBlanc and Lucian. All of these could be a sign of what’s to come in pro play. It might just take some time.

Perkz on the ‘new meta’: “It hasn’t changed that much since Worlds”

Despite a day-one loss, Perkz has high hopes for Cloud9 in 2021.
Perkz’s Yone turned heads for the wrong reasons in LCS Lock-In, but it’s a pick we can expect to see more of.

Luka ‘Perkz’ Perkovic is known for his interesting mid lane picks. After all, the G2 jokester has come over to North America to send a message, and he is still one of the best. However, what he’s playing isn’t too different from what he was back in the old days.

He’s pulled out the Zoe to great success, while the top three mids at Worlds ⁠— Orianna, Syndra, and Galio ⁠— remain the three strongest now.

“I think it hasn’t changed that much since Worlds. I still think that Mages are pretty good and carry junglers are pretty good. The bot lane is still playing tank supports. Maybe Bruisers got a bit stronger because of the Goredrinker-Sterak’s combo, but other than that…everything else is similar to Worlds,” he told Dexerto.

The only change really is Yone. Yasuo’s brother wasn’t eligible for play at the World Championship, and he could be the wildcard for the meta in Season 11.

“I will still keep Yone. I’ll just pick it in a better situation, or have better bans for it afterwards. I’m playing some pretty exciting champions in mid lane right now ⁠— maybe that’s not the meta, maybe I’m just trolling a bit. Maybe I’ll change to Syndra / Orianna when Spring starts.”

Ablazeolive on returning picks: “They fit best in a competitive environment”

Ablazeolive playing for Golden Guardians Academy in LCS 2020
Ablazeolive might be new to the LCS mid lane, but the picks he’s playing aren’t.

Golden Guardians’ new mid laner Nicholas ‘Ablazeolive’ Abbott falls in the same boat as Perkz. The rookie mid believes the comfort picks of old ⁠— those Syndras and Oriannas ⁠— have a place in the pro meta because of their versatility.

“I think those champs are the best because they’re the most versatile and they fit best in a competitive environment. They’re not necessary comfort or people are used to playing them. Most of the newer players can play pretty much everything, and even if they’re not very good at it, they’re still trying to practice it. That’s just what’s the best,” he told Dexerto.

“You can attribute that to comfort, but when it’s such a collective ⁠— everyone in the world has the same understanding of what is strong ⁠— those are what the agreed upon best champions are on.”

The new items aren’t going to change who is good immediately. However, there could be changes in the situational matchups, or even just who is the very best.

The minutiae of exactly which champions are best in certain situations is going to be argued, but is Syndra good? Yes, she’s always going to be good. When she’s the best that’s not clear, but you always know what you’re getting.”

Damonte: “There needs to be more time to have the meta evolve.”

Damonte playing for Clutch Gaming in LCS 2019
Damonte believes with a bit more time, the mid lane meta could get spicy.

100 Thieves’ Tanner ‘Damonte’ Damonte is a little bit more high on the new items though. While we’ve seen some innovation like the “MoonStaff” combo, there’s still a lot of things that are yet to be tested.

“In terms of the new items, there’s a lot of stuff that is untested right now. Definitely in some ways players are just playing comfort. The meta definitely needs to evolve a bit more before we see all of the new items, but I’ve seen a decent amount of players playing with the new items,” he said to Dexerto.

“When people are picking Zoe, a lot of people are opting into Horizon Focus which wasn’t an item before. Other than that, the items aren’t too much different. There needs to be more time to have the meta evolve.”

There is one item he has his eyes on though, and it’s Night Harvester. The AP assassin Mythic could be a good pickup, and you might just see it a bit more in the LCS if Damonte has his way.

“I’ve been messing around with a bunch of Night Harvester stuff because I think the item is pretty sick. It doesn’t give you mana, and that’s the biggest issue, but we will see what we come up with.”

About The Author

Hailing from Perth, Andrew was formerly Dexerto's Australian Managing Editor. They love telling stories across all games and esports, but they have a soft spot for League of Legends and Rainbow Six. Oh, and they're also fascinated by the rise of VTubers.