The League of Legends competitive scene recorded a new high for the Mid Season Invitational, as the event managed to reach the biggest viewership scale in the competition’s history. However, even after achieving a viewership record, the community agrees the overall meta was rather stale especially in one role, the bot lane.
Bottom in professional play has been quite controversial during the event, given how much impact this lane has since the new season started. With the dominant presence of long range carries such as Aphelios and Jinx, teams concede their flexibility in order to pick one of the two. Both champions recorded a 75% presence rate throughout MSI with a total of 40 games played on each pick, according to League of Legends statistics website Games of Legends.
Other options that popped up were Zeri and Xayah, however the low range hyper carries were only picked if any of the previous 2 were unavailable. Their presence rates were ultimately stuck below 50%. Lucian was heavily expected to make a comeback when paired with Nami, but the Purifier was banned a total of 40 times throughout MSI.
It is rather easy to pinpoint the reasoning behind both Jinx and Aphelios domination this year, both champions are extremely self sufficient and have good enough base statistics to survive the laning phase and ultimately carry the game. In competitive play, consistency is everything, and these 2 champions are the most consistent out of them all.
When compared to previous international metas, MSI 2023 did offer a lot of flexibility for basically all the other lanes, with bot lane being the only role with less than 7 champions picked. Overall, bot laners was the only consistent path teams had for consistent DPS with other lanes focusing on spacing and crowd control to enable them. Ahri, Sion, and Maokai are just a few examples of meta picks that were purely selected to enable Jinx or Aphelios.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule, the most notable being BLG Bin’s Gwen in game 2 of the MSI finals, where he did 2% more overall damage than his bot laner Elk.
With the recent changes within the game (Mid Season Patch), including the ADC item rework, we expect bot lane to be revamped when it comes to champion pool. However one things remains certain, in competitive play range and stability is king so we will most likely continue to see both Jinx and Aphelios in the near future.
For now the community is excited to see how the new meta plays out once the Tier 1 and Regional Leagues are officially underway.
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