Best Off-Meta Mid Laners to Shake the Rift!

The Rise of Off-Meta Mid Laners: Shake Up Your League Game!

Ever felt that the mid lane has become a tad… predictable? If the conventional champs are starting to bore you, it might be time for some off-meta magic!

TL;DR:

  • Off-meta mid laners are champions that are not typically seen in the mid-lane.
  • About 12% of players took this unconventional route in 2021.
  • Trying off-meta can surprise enemies and lead to game dominance.
  • Understanding the champ’s strengths and weaknesses is key.
  • Several champs shine when given the chance to run mid.

Think Outside The Mid Lane Box

The Off-Meta Phenomenon

Let’s start by understanding what’s cooking in the off-meta world. An off-meta mid laner is simply a champ that’s not usually seen holding down the mid lane fort. But why the sudden rise? It’s all about unpredictability. This technique can bamboozle opponents, and as the 2021 stats suggest, many are diving into this approach. After all, variety is the spice of gaming life.

The Word From the Pros

When Faker, the League legend, chips in, you better listen up! As he famously said, “Playing off-meta picks in the mid lane is all about understanding the champion’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s a risk, but it can pay off if you know what you’re doing.” True that, Faker!

Spotlight On Some Surprise Picks

We’ve dug deep to bring you some champs that are showing up and shining bright in the mid lane.

Hold onto your gaming chairs; this is going to be a wild ride!

Caitlyn: The Lethal MarksmanCaitlyn: The Lethal Marksman

Caitlyn, the Sheriff of Piltover, is renowned for her long-range sharpshooting capabilities, making her a formidable force in the bot lane. With her trusty rifle, she lays down the law, establishing dominance in the early game and transitioning into a powerhouse late-game carry. This guide uncovers the secrets to mastering Caitlyn, transforming her into a lethal weapon on the Rift.

She’s not just a sharpshooter; she’s a mid-lane bully! With her unmatched range and heavy-damage Q, Cait is becoming a favorite. And hey, did you hear about the lethality build? Oh boy, it’s a game-changer! But remember, she’s still squishy, so tread carefully.

Caitlyn’s Strengths:

  1. Longest Base Attack Range: At 650 range, she can harass opponents without retaliation.
  2. Trap Control: Her Yordle Snap Traps (W) can zone enemies and set up massive burst combos.
  3. Siege Potential: Her Piltover Peacemaker (Q) is excellent for wave clear and poking under turrets.

Build to Dominate:

Core Items:

  • Kraken Slayer: Provides the on-hit true damage, amplifying her auto-attack potential.
  • Stormrazor: Synergizes with her passive, Headshot, for increased burst.
  • Rapid Firecannon: Extends her already formidable range, allowing for safer poke and siege.

Boots:

  • Berserker’s Greaves: Increases attack speed, a crucial stat for Caitlyn.

Situational Items:

  • Infinity Edge: Massive damage boost once you have other crit items.
  • Mortal Reminder: Against healing-heavy teams.
  • Guardian Angel: For added security against dive-heavy compositions.

Strategy and Tips:

  • Laning Phase: Use your range advantage to harass the enemy AD Carry when they come to farm. Combine Q, Piltover Peacemaker, with auto-attacks for poke.
  • Trap Placement: Strategically place your Yordle Snap Traps (W) in choke points, around objectives, and under turrets to zone and catch out opponents.
  • Ultimate Usage: Use Ace in the Hole (R) to finish off low-health targets, but ensure you’re in a safe position when casting.
  • Kiting: Caitlyn’s 90 Caliber Net (E) can be used both offensively and defensively. E away from threats and follow up with a headshot auto for efficient trades.

Tony Fallon’s secret tip: While Caitlyn is known for her ADC role, her mid-lane dominance can be lethal if played right. Caitlyn’s formidable range allows her to bully most mid-laners. The lethality build, especially when paired with the Dark Harvest rune, turns her into an unexpected menace. With an arsenal including Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Manamune, and Duskblade of Draktharr, she’s set to dominate. Yet, her power comes with vulnerabilities. Squishiness can be her undoing, so tread with caution.

Lee Sin: The Electrifying FighterLee Sin: The Electrifying Fighter

Lee Sin, the Blind Monk, has long been a staple pick in the jungle, dazzling audiences with his acrobatic plays, engaging kicks, and unparalleled map mobility. However, venturing beyond the wilderness, he has shown sparks of brilliance in the top and mid lanes as an agile fighter. This guide delves into a high-octane, burst-centric approach to Lee Sin — one that electrifies the Rift with each engage.

Quick trades, especially when leveraging the Electrocute rune, can chip away enemy health, setting up for a kill. The lethality build, anchored by items like Prowler’s Claw and Axiom Arc, boosts his damage output, making him a formidable opponent.

Why The Fighter Role?

Lee Sin’s adaptability and fluid kit allow him to excel in various positions:

  1. High Burst: Equipped with a strong Q, Resonating Strike, Lee Sin can deal a significant amount of damage in a split second.
  2. Mobility: His W, Safeguard, provides unmatched outplay potential.
  3. Control: R, Dragon’s Rage, can single-handedly turn the tides of a skirmish or teamfight

Electrifying Build:

To maximize Lee Sin’s burst and dueling prowess:

Core Items:

  • Hextech Rocketbelt: Dash in, enhancing mobility, and amplifying the burst.
  • Electrocute Rune: Compliments the burst-centric playstyle.
  • Sterak’s Gage: Grants survivability in extended fights.

Boots:

  • Plated Steelcaps or Mercury’s Treads: Based on the enemy team composition.

Situational Items:

  • Black Cleaver: Against tanky compositions.
  • Guardian Angel: For added security in teamfights.
  • Maw of Malmortius: Against heavy AP threats.

Strategy and Tips:

  • Lane Phase: Use Q, Resonating Strike, to poke and secure CS. If the enemy is mispositioned, follow up with E, Tempest/Cripple, for added damage.
  • Ward Hopping: Perfect the art of “ward hopping” using W, Safeguard. It allows you to engage, escape, or outmaneuver foes.
  • Ult Usage: R, Dragon’s Rage, can be a game-changer. Kick enemies into your team or use it to disengage from threats.
  • Roaming: Lee Sin’s mobility makes him an excellent roamer. Use it to your advantage, assisting other lanes.

Kog’Maw: The Majestic Mage MarksmanKog'Maw: The Majestic Mage Marksman

Born from the caustic caverns of the Void, Kog’Maw, the Mouth of the Abyss, is more often than not found raining down living artillery on enemies from the bot lane. But beyond his traditional role as an ADC, Kog’Maw’s potent hybrid damage, long-range poke, and the unique nature of his abilities allow him to function in a mid lane mage role as well. Dive into this guide to understand the power of this unconventional mid lane monster.

Why Mid Lane?

The argument for Kog’Maw in the mid lane stems from several strengths:

  1. Versatility in Damage: A blend of physical and magical damage, making it hard to itemize against him.
  2. Extended Range: With his R, Living Artillery, Kog’Maw can poke from afar and safely farm.
  3. Powerful Late-Game: Scaling abilities and items make him a late-game powerhouse.

Mage Marksman Build:

When played mid, focus on maximizing his AP potential while keeping survivability in mind:

Core Items:

  • Luden’s Tempest: Boosts burst, offers mana sustain, and enhances poke.
  • Nashor’s Tooth: Takes advantage of his hybrid damage and boosts auto attack potency.
  • Zhonya’s Hourglass: Crucial for its stasis effect given Kog’Maw’s lack of escape.

Boots:

  • Sorcerer’s Shoes: For increased magic penetration.
  • Alternatively, Berserker’s Greaves for an auto-attack-focused approach.

Situational Items:

  • Rabadon’s Deathcap: For a hefty AP boost.
  • Void Staff: Against MR-heavy teams.
  • Banshee’s Veil: When facing heavy AP or critical engages.

Strategy and Tips:

  • Lane Phase: Use your E, Void Ooze, to control waves and poke. R, Living Artillery, is great for last-hitting or poking enemies under turret.
  • Positioning: Kog’Maw lacks mobility. Positioning is key. Always be aware of potential ganks and stay near your turret when necessary.
  • Power Spikes: At Level 6, 11, and 16, Living Artillery becomes increasingly dangerous. Use these power spikes to your advantage.
  • Teamfights: Stay at the back, and use your abilities to poke and melt frontline tanks. If dove upon, use Zhonya’s strategically.

Kog’Maw is no stranger to mid lane. His ability to poke and deal massive AP damage makes him a solid choice. Despite having no escape abilities, his damage output, amplified by items like Luden’s Tempest and Seraph’s Embrace, more than compensates.

Soraka: The Silent EnchanterSoraka: The Silent Enchanter

Soraka, often known as the Starchild, is typically viewed as a backline support, healing allies and ensuring they stay in the fight. But beneath her tranquil demeanor and serene presence lies a potential power that many underestimate — her capability to enchant and bewilder foes in a mid lane matchup. Let’s dive into how Soraka can become “The Silent Enchanter” of the mid lane. No one expects Soraka to be a mid-lane terror. Yet, her damage, especially from her Q, is nothing to scoff at. Building her with Crown of the Shattered Queen and Zhonya’s Hourglass offers her protection, while Rabadon’s Deathcap boosts her damage.

Unconventional Power: Why Mid Lane?

Unlike traditional mid laners who are often burst mages or assassins, Soraka brings a unique playstyle to the table. Her strength lies in her ability to:

  1. Poke & Sustain: Her Q, Starcall, can be a relentless poke tool, with the added bonus of healing her, giving her significant lane sustain.
  2. Zone Control: With her E, Equinox, Soraka can silence enemies and create zones where they can’t cast spells, crucial for controlling the lane against spell-reliant champions.
  3. Global Presence: Her R, Wish, allows her to influence other lanes without leaving her own, potentially turning the tides of skirmishes or saving allies from certain death.

The Enchanter’s Build:

For a mid lane Soraka, the idea is to strike a balance between damage, sustain, and utility. Here’s a possible build path:

Core Items:

  • Luden’s Tempest: Enhances her poke and provides mana sustain.
  • Zhonya’s Hourglass: Defensive item for those risky situations.
  • Banshee’s Veil: Adds spell shield and magic resist.

Boots:

  • Sorcerer’s Shoes: For added magic penetration.
  • Ionian Boots of Lucidity: For ability haste if prioritized.

Situational Items:

  • Morellonomicon: Grievous wounds against healing comps.
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap: If you’re ahead and want to maximize AP.
  • Ardent Censer: If your team can benefit from the attack speed buff, turning you into a semi-support.

Strategy and Tips:

Lane Phase: Use Starcall to poke and sustain. Be wary of aggressive all-ins, as Soraka lacks mobility.

Vision: Warding is crucial. As a squishy mage with no escape, be mindful of enemy jungler ganks.

Roaming: Although not the best roamer, post-6, Soraka can have a global presence with her ultimate.

Teamfights: Position safely. Even as a mid-laner, your healing can turn the tide of fights. Silence key opponents, like those with channeling abilities, using Equinox.

Varus: Arcane Archer of the Mid Lane

Varus: Arcane Archer of the Mid Lane

Varus might be familiar in the mid, but his AP build is pure magic! The synergy of Manamune and Luden’s Tempest with his W and R abilities provides outstanding damage, offering tons of gameplay options. Varus, the Arrow of Retribution, is primarily known as a bot lane ADC.

His story, a tragic tale of love and loss, shapes him as a champion whose bow channels the very corruption that seeks to consume him. While he’s usually seen paired with a support in the bot lane, Varus’s range, poke potential, and utility make him a deadly contender for the mid lane as well. Here’s a guide to harnessing the power of the Arcane Archer in the mid lane.

Why Mid Lane?

Varus’s transition to the mid lane is supported by a few key factors:

  1. Poke Potential: With his Q, Piercing Arrow, Varus can keep many mid laners at bay and control the flow of the lane.
  2. Utility: His R, Chain of Corruption, is a game-changing engage or counter-engage tool in mid lane skirmishes and roams.
  3. Adaptive Build Paths: Varus can opt for either a lethality build or on-hit build, depending on the matchup and team needs.

The Arcane Build:

A mid lane Varus will primarily focus on lethality and poke, but always be ready to adapt:

Core Items:

  • Eclipse: Offers lethality, omnivamp, and a shield, making skirmishes more favorable.
  • Youmuu’s Ghostblade: Mobility and lethality to enhance his roams and positioning.
  • Umbral Glaive: Useful for vision control in the mid lane and river.

Boots:

  • Ionian Boots of Lucidity: For ability haste.
  • Plated Steelcaps or Mercury’s Treads: Depending on the enemy team comp.

Situational Items:

  • Edge of Night: Spell shield can save him from critical engages.
  • Mortal Reminder: To cut down on enemy healing.
  • Guardian Angel: For added survivability in teamfights.

Strategy and Tips:

  • Lane Phase: Use Piercing Arrow to poke and farm from a distance. Aim to get a lead through CS rather than kills, unless the opportunity presents itself.
  • Positioning: Always be aware of your positioning. Without innate escapes, Varus relies on positioning and vision to avoid ganks and engages.
  • Roaming: With Chain of Corruption, Varus has strong gank potential. Look for roams to the top or bot lane post-6.
  • Teamfights: Use your R to engage or peel for your team. Your primary role is poking down key targets before a full-on engagement.

FAQs

Is off-meta mid-laning for everyone?

It’s best suited for those willing to experiment, adapt, and possibly face a few challenges.

Which other champions can be played as off-meta mid laners?

Varus and Soraka have also shown potential. Experiment to find what works best for you!

Do off-meta picks guarantee a win?

Nothing guarantees a win in League. It’s about strategy, understanding the champ, and adapting to in-game situations.

Are off-meta picks frowned upon?

While some purists might scoff at the idea, remember, it’s a game! Enjoy and find your unique style.

Why play off-meta mid laners?

Playing off-meta picks can offer unexpected strategies, catching opponents off-guard and providing a fresh gaming experience.

Are off-meta mid-laners viable in ranked games?

Yes! If played correctly and with the right strategy, these picks can be as effective, if not more, than meta picks.

How do I know which off-meta pick to play?

Experiment! Each champion has strengths and weaknesses. Understand them, adapt your gameplay, and find which one resonates with your style.

Can off-meta picks be countered easily?

Like any pick, off-meta champions can be countered. However, the unfamiliarity of playing against such picks can give you an edge.

What other champions can be played off-meta mid?

The possibilities are endless! Champions like Tristana, Lucian, and even Senna have found their way to the mid-lane at times.

Can I go on-hit Varus in the mid-lane?

While it’s possible, the lethality build capitalizes on his poke, which is more suited for mid. On-hit is typically more effective in prolonged fights, making it a better fit for the bot lane.

Who counters mid lane Varus?

Assassins with gap closers like Zed, Fizz, or Talon can be a challenge due to their all-in potential and Varus’s lack of escapes.

How do I deal with wave clear?

Varus’s E, Hail of Arrows, combined with his Q, provides decent wave clear. However, managing mana is crucial, so consider items or runes that help with mana sustain.

Conclusion: Dive into the Off-Meta Wave

Off-meta mid laners offer a refreshing change from the routine. They bring excitement, unpredictability, and the potential to dominate. So, the next time you lock in your champion, why not go off the beaten path? Who knows, you might just find your new main!

Exploring off-meta picks not only adds a twist to the game but showcases the diversity and strategic depth of League of Legends. It’s not about defying the norm for the sake of it, but discovering hidden potentials and strategies that the typical meta might overshadow. Happy experimenting!

Sources:

  1. Mobalytics 2021 Stats
  2. Faker’s Interviews and Gameplays
  3. Champion Guides from Pro Players

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