Going into the 2014 World Championship, we have a pretty good idea of the champions we expect to see, but what about the surprise? Today, I’ll detail my top 10 sleeper picks for Worlds!
#10 – Talon Mid
Talon Mid has been cropping up everywhere. First in the EU Promotion matches, then in Korea. Talon absolutely blows people up when he gets ahead. I’m not sure who exactly would play him, but he counters a fair number of random mids.
#9 – ADC Vayne
Vayne is known as one of the most mechanically interesting AD Carries in the game, with low range, only single-target damage, and infinite outplay potential. She is a rare pick outside of the best AD Carries in the world, but with the likes of NaMei, Imp, Deft, and Rekkles all present, it’s unlikely that we won’t see at least one team take a gamble on Vayne. Her damage is insane, her 1v1 is ridiculous, and she just looks cool.
#8 – Top Kassadin
I may be reading into this too much, but Shield has picked up Kassadin in the top lane. It’s quite possible that this was just a lane swap to avoid a bad matchup, but given that Shield’s Save has played multiple AP damage-dealers top, I could also see it as a common pick over time.
#7 – Jungle Jarvan
Jarvan has all of the tools of a old-school jungler: damage, CC, mobility, and initiation. He has found himself out of place in the current meta due to weaker dueling power and a rough time initiating when behind. However, he has seen a few recent picks in Europe and Korea, and offers rather unique capabilities to a team. Look to see him picked up a few times, perhaps by SK’s Svenskeren.
#6 – Mid Fizz
If you have watched any GPL games, you’ve likely heard of Westdoor. He is one of the strongest mid laners in the region, having taken the #1 solo queue spot on three different regions’ (NA/TW/KR) ladders. His signature champion is Fizz, and any team that lets him get through the ban phase will have hell to deal with. Fizz is an incredibly versatile champion, with high burst, two gap-closers, and a Zhonya’s like ability to become briefly untargetable, not to mention an AoE knockup. With Ahri seeing some play in Korea, it would be no surprise to see Fizz also sneaking back into the meta.
#5 – Top Kayle
Save and Acorn are probably the last remaining carry top laners. While Acorn has largely shifted to the standard meta, Save has been playing more and more carry picks. One of his most common picks has been Kayle top. Kayle top is one of the strongest new picks in the game. Kayle has all of the tools that a current top laner Lulu provides. First, she has an ability to protect a select target. Second, she has a ton of slows, allowing her to peel. However, unlike Lulu, she does not bring hard CC, replacing it with a crazy amount of damage. If three-threat teams climb back into the meta, look to see Kayle as one of the highest priority damage-dealers.
Save is the obvious choice for Kayle, but she has been in the meta before, and could likely be played by a number of top laners, Balls and sOAZ included.
#4 – Support Alistar
Alistar is pretty much the definition of a support oriented champion, as he has high CC and gets extremely tanky without any items. However, he is extremely risky due to how extended he has to be to make plays. However, on a player who is capable of making plays and yet doesn’t overaggress, he can be extremely powerful, serving as a sort of poor man’s Malphite on a much lower cooldown. Normally, he is not played much thanks to the perfection of mechanics and decision-making he requires. However, while Aphromoo – one of the best-known Western Alistar players – will not be at Worlds, there is one player who can be expected to play him.
Mata has been called MadLife-lite thanks to spectacular mechanics on support champions, and that makes him a spectacular choice for Alistar. He is known for fantastic play on Alistar, even against MadLife.
#3 – Jungle Rengar
Rengar is one of the weirdest junglers in the world. North America and Europe have never had successful Rengar players. However, while Korea and China both love Rengar, they play him vastly differently.
LPL junglers, led by inSec, build heavy damage on Rengar, preferring a Feral Flare and a Cutlass. This gives them strong ganks and exceptional control over objectives.
OGN junglers, led by Dandy, build CDR and tank states on Rengar, playing him for his spammable stun. This gives them
Kakao has been known to play both styles, and while he won’t be at Worlds, the mere existence of two different Rengar styles makes him a strong sleeper pick for Chinese and Korean teams, as they can pick him and leave Western teams unsure as to what exactly to expect.
#2 – Top Rumble
Rumble dominated the Season 3 meta in the hands of Korean top laners like Acorn, as well as North American top laners like Balls. While he has faced nerfs since, he is an incredibly strong damage dealer. His zoning potential is huge, and he can even bully a lot of lanes, especially Maokai. With a potential shift from tank top laners to damage top laners, Rumble should make a showing at some point.
While Balls is the most famous Western Rumble, Acorn is probably the best current Rumble player in the world. Samsung Blue has no need to pull out surprises, given the strength of their roster, but this pick could still come out as a comfort pick.
#1 – Support Janna
Janna is one of the oldest supports in the game, but she hasn’t seen considerable play since Season 2. However, she has always hung on the fringes of the professional scene, with a few dedicated players. With the meta shifting back to hyper carries, Janna should be at a premium. Her shield can grant her AD Carry bonus scaling damage, while her 3 disengage tools can keep that squishy damage-dealer alive. Moreover, she actually has the potential for aggressive plays when played to her full extent. Finally, she actually lanes quite well in the current meta, with one of her hardest counters, Sona, having well out of the meta. Look to see her played again and again as other supports realize her strength.
Gorilla, the support from Najin White Shield, is actually well known for Janna as his second-best support, behind Thresh. Look to see him pull out Janna in the face of bans on his signature Thresh.