After the first day of the 2022 World Championship, we’ve already seen our first off-meta pick come out from the VCS’s Bùi ‘Froggy’ Văn Minh Hải — Zac mid lane.
It’s Worlds season, and that means it’s time for some off-meta picks. As the playstyles of multiple different regions come together, the meta evolves into a unique beast the likes of which is only ever seen at international tournaments.
And the Worlds 2022 meta has seen its first major evolution: Zac mid lane. Picked by Saigon Buffalo’s Froggy, the pick currently has a K/DA of 3.6 and a 100% win rate after the Buffalos utilized it for a clean 35-minute victory versus the TCL’s Istanbul Wildcats.
But what exactly is so good about Zac mid lane, and why have we seen it appear from nowhere on the first day of Worlds?
Why are Caps, Froggy & more playing Zac mid at Worlds 2022?
Although Froggy was the first player to pull the pick out on the Worlds stage, G2 Esports mid laner Rasmus ‘caPs’ Winther has been terrorizing EU West solo queue with the pick, racking up a 65 percent win rate on it from September 23 to September 30.
With the current meta focusing on bot lane carries, Zac mid is a tank pick that’s low-resource/high-reward. While his laning phase isn’t much to write home about, in the mid-game he’s just another fight-disrupting, crowd-control heavy tank who can create space for an AD Carry to come in and clean up.
In SGB’s win versus IW, the Zac picked enabled SGB to pick up a secondary tank in their draft without forcing carry top laner Lâm ‘Hasmed’ Huỳnh Gia Huy onto a utility pick. With a Gwen pick in the top lane and Hecarim in the jungle, Zac provides the all-important teamfight setup alongside Leona in the support role.
Zac’s also a strong counter-pick versus Sylas. His tankiness means he’s able to survive Sylas’s all-in damage in a way that other mid laners tend to struggle with. Zac mid lane also tends to run Conqueror as his primary rune, which gives him an immense amount of sustain in fights that matches Sylas’s inbuilt healing.
Zac mid guide in League of Legends: Best build, runes
So you’ve watched the first day of Worlds, and you’re looking to take Zac into your solo queue games for some free mid lane LP. Here’s how it’s done.
These are the runes that Froggy ran in his 2/4/11 victory — the magic resist shard can be swapped out for health depending on the opponent. Conqueror gives the mega-tank some sustain in the early game, and the resolve tree secondary affords you some bonus tank stats just for that extra can’t-be-killed flair.
Item’s wise, you’re looking to get a Bami’s Cinder as early as possible. Farming on Zac, especially in the mid lane, is a pretty hellish experience — Bami’s will help counteract some of that, and also give you a nice injection of bonus damage when you’re fighting melee units.
That Bami’s Cinder will become a Sunfire Cape, and then you can decide whether to go for caPs’s tankier variation of the build, or itemise for some damage like Froggy.
If you want to do damage, then pick up a Demonic Embrace. It grants you Ability Power equivalent to 2% of your bonus health (Sunfire alone gives 425 bonus health). Froggy also slipped in a Thornmail before the Demonic Embrace purchase for some bonus survivability and more health to be converted into AP.
If you want to go the full-tank caPs route, then pick yourself up a Randuin’s Omen and a Spirit Visage. Believe us when we say you will be essentially unkillable.