The Meta is the Meta for a reason. Players tend to play the strongest Champions for each role to gain an edge on their opponents. With that being said, there are plenty of reasons to skirt off of the Meta sometimes (or every time). Playing off-Meta Champions is very fulfilling. Every win feels like it was earned through skill, not just playing busted Champs.
It’s fun, of course. Playing the same Meta Champs over and over can get mundane very quickly. Finally, it has its own strategic advantages. Players usually do not have much experience playing against non-Meta picks. Contrary to popular belief, the Meta is pretty malleable and can easily change, so it’s good to experiment. You never know when you’ll discover the next Meta and break the game.
Playing an Off-Meta ADC is a bit riskier than other lanes. ADC plays a very crucial role in every game. They are the source of consistent AD damage during fights, which means if you play something off-Meta, your team may lack that damage. To counteract this disadvantage, you’ll have to play very well and make up the damage somehow, either through your team or your skills.
The Best Off-Meta ADCs
Alright, with that introduction out of the way, let’s get down to the list. You’ll probably notice that most of these Champions are Casters. This is because many Mages and Casters play similar to ADCs. They sit in the backline and pump out constant damage. However, I tried to keep this list diverse, so you’ll see a wide range of Champions, not just Mid laners.
I decided to start off with a bang. Personally, I’ll play Thresh ADC once in a blue moon while having fun with friends. He’s very fun and catches enemies entirely by surprise. Thresh’s E passive empowers his auto-attacks. Wait for your E passive to turn red, and then whip the enemy ADC or Support for a massive chunk of damage.
The main downsides to playing thresh as an ADC is that he doesn’t have much escape potential. He can peel himself with his E, Q, and R, but unless he can hook himself away like Spiderman, he’s at the mercy of most dive Champs that can stick to him.
Strengths: Empowered E does significant damage
Weaknesses: Falls off very early
Good Supports: Leona / Aggressive Supports
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Kindred is closer to your standard ADC. She’s ranged and builds attack damage. She does not usually go Bot lane because she scales off of Jungle camps. By playing Kindred as ADC, you’re not utilizing most of her passive. However, this can be made up for later, and she still deals pretty hardcore damage.
Kindred scales exceptionally well and is very fun to play. It can be a little hard to get the ball rolling on her, but once you do, it’s pretty hard to stop. Her ultimate makes her very hard to kill, and she can be very dangerous in lane when paired with the proper Support.
Strengths: Hyper Scaling
Weaknesses: Weak laning phase
Good Supports: Peel Supports like Janna, Bard, Thresh
This evil caster minion comes in as our first Mage. Veigar is so good in the Bot lane because he can simply farm with his Q, and if anyone jumps in on them, he can save himself with his cage. Veigar is all about stacking his passive and scaling, and bot lane is the perfect lane for this. Veigar also deals consistent damage with his low Q cooldown so that he can put out damage like an ADC would (although it will be AP damage).
Veigar has no escape abilities beyond his cage. So if he gets jumped on while his cage is on cooldown, he’ll be in big trouble. He’s rather squishy and easy for assassins to kill, so he needs to have a good Support on his side to reach his full potential.
Strengths: Huge Burst Damage
Weaknesses: No escape abilities
Good Supports: Peel Supports, or Aggressive Engage Supports
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Cass is another caster that excels in the Bot lane. Thanks to her low cooldowns, she pumps out damage and can peel herself with her ultimate. Cass plays exactly like an ADC as far as team fights and skirmishes go. She sits in the backline and spams her abilities and auto-attacks, dealing as much damage as possible.
Cass doesn’t really have a significant weakness. She doesn’t have the best escape in the game, but she has her Ultimate to save her, as well as an ability that grounds enemies. Her main weakness as ADC is that your team misses out on AD if no one else covers it. She is also rather challenging to play well, in general.
Strengths: Consistent Damage
Weaknesses: High skill cap
Good Supports: Peel Supports, or Aggressive Engage Supports
This might be the most underrated pick on this list. I’ve only personally witnessed one AD Zoe, but they completely demolished every game they played. Zoe plays just like any other ADC and uses her abilities to escape and outplay enemies (similar to how she does in the Mid lane).
Her weakness, of course, is that she doesn’t scale very well off of AD damage. You can always build AP on Zoe if you want, but that’s not as exciting, is it? Either way, Zoe is an excellent Champion with a lot of outplay potential, which makes her a fantastic off-Meta pick.
Strengths: Lots of outplay Potential / Self peel
Weaknesses: Doesn’t scale on AD
Good Supports: Peel Supports
Just like Kindred, Quinn plays like your typical ADC. She has a bit more dive potential than most other ADCs, though, since her typical role is as a Bruiser/Assassin. Quinn’s blind also gives her quite the advantage in lane. ADCs are all about auto-attacking, so taking that away from an enemy ADC can be game-changing.
Quinn, unfortunately, just doesn’t have the same consistent damage as other ADCs. She has pretty high burst damage, which makes up for it slightly, but not altogether. She has to stomp lane to impact the mid to late game.
Strengths: High burst damage
Weaknesses: Falls off quickly
Good Supports: Engage Supports
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Quite frankly, I hate Heimerdinger, and so do a lot of people. That’s what makes him so strong. Nobody knows how to play against a Heimerdinger. You either don’t engage on him and lose your turret, Dragon, etc. Or you engage on him and get triple killed by his stupid little turrets. Good Heimerdingers are terrifying, whether they post up in the Mid lane or the Bot lane.
Heimer’s main weakness is that he requires a setup before a fight to play his role. He can’t just stroll up and start melting people unless he’s fed. He needs all of his turrets to be effective, which requires five head thinking.
Strengths: Strong lane control
Weaknesses: Needs set up to be effective
Good Supports: Peel Supports
Graves is fun because of how aggressive and powerful he is (Do I have a crush?). He does an insane amount of damage and is extremely tanky. I’m honestly surprised that Graves has not taken Bot lane more often. If he is paired with a good Support, he can demolish the enemy Bot lane and steamroll to the inhibitor without much trouble.
Graves does not put out the consistent damage a typical ADC does and needs to be fed to be useful. Graves roll is to dive enemy squishies and melt them. He can’t do this if he isn’t ahead in levels like he would be in the Jungle.
Strengths: Tanky, Lots of burst damage
Weaknesses: Damage is not as consistent
Good Supports: Engage / Aggressive Supports
Ziggs is similar to Veigar, except with a lot more poke. Pairing Ziggs up with a Champion like Xerath can tilt an enemy ADC until they cry. He has an escape tool, a slow, and lots of bombs to go around.
Ziggs is an excellent replacement for the typical ADC. His role is pretty much the same, except with Bombs instead of auto-attacks. He can even melt turrets with his Satchel Charge. He’s only a poor pick if your team already has too much AP.
Strengths: Consistent AP damage similar to an ADC
Weaknesses: Needs items to come online
Good Supports: All / Peel Supports
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Yasuo is a monster, plain and simple. Well, if you’re good with him at least. If you’re only mediocre, you may find playing Yasuo bot very difficult. Yasuo shines because he has insane damage, incredible lifesteal and can easily hop on the squishy enemy ADC and ruin their night. Yasuo’s Windwall is also excellent against the ADC since it shuts down their primary form of damage, auto-attacks.
Yasuo is melee, however, which means smart ADCs may be able to poke him down before he can fight back. If Yasuo gets shut down, he becomes significantly less impactful. There’s a reason so many Yasuos will either feed or get fed. There really is no middle ground with the Champion.
Strengths: Can solo carry games when fed
Weaknesses: Vulnerable to enemy auto-attacks in the early game
Good Supports: Engage Supports (Or Supports with a knockup)
In reality, you can take just about any Champion Bot lane, but you have to keep a few things in mind. In Bot lane, you’re splitting XP, so if your Champion needs to be ahead in levels to be useful (Zed, Shaco, Fizz), then they’re going to have a hard time. Try not to be disheartened by a few bad games, and keep in mind that you may tilt your team with your pick. However, if you play well and stomp with an off-Meta Champion, you’ll look and feel like a pro.