The metagame report: Bot lane hyper carries

In early Season 7, many AD carry mains fretted over the fact that the AD carry position was restricted to only having champions that provided excess utility over damage. Jhin, Varus and Ashe were the primary picks, and while they do see some play in the current meta, they’ve made way for more impactful picks in the late game. In the Mid-Season Invitational, we’ve seen that shift come in the form of hyper carries, who took center stage in the bot lane. Ashe is still a very high priority, but Kog’Maw and Twitch have seen higher play rates and above 50 percent win rates in the tournament

This reflects patch 7.9’s new reality as well (MSI is being played on 7.8), where the same AD carries are in the top four for win rate while maintaining a very decent rate of play. Much to the chagrin of other lanes, rapidly scaling AD carries that peak at the very late game, known as “hyper carries,” are here as a viable option for the foreseeable future.

Which Champions?

While AD carries are all ranged and are meant to be a primary contributor to damage on their team, hyper carries are generally a subset of champions that have to be played around in order for them to succeed. Where picks such as Ashe or Varus may hit a power spike, or moment of strength, after two items (Blade of the Ruined King and Runaan’s Hurricane), hyper carries such as Twitch and Kog’Maw become unbearable after three or more items. Their range and safety make them the utmost priority target for enemies at that point.

Jinx also has that hyper carry moniker, and the midseason changes have made her more of a threat, thanks to buffs to her usage of Runaan’s Hurricane, and crit items overall.

Why now?

Both Twitch and Kog’Maw utilize the new Blade of the Ruined King very well, as they have their own attack speed buffs and would rather utilize the attack damage and greater sustain to survive the laning phase where they tend to be the weakest. The advent of utility and sustain supports also help them with pushing pressure, which is vital in the laning phase and early game to pressure the map. Picks such as Karma and Lulu also synergize well with them in the late game, as they can buff the hyper carries to ensure that they survive to do their damage, and can even help them contribute damage through itemization (e.g. Ardent Censer, Zeke’s Harbinger).

Their lane matchups are not as bad as they were previously, just because the current economy makes it so that they seek out similarly priced items to their laning counterparts. Since other AD carries will opt for cheaper items to build Blade of the Ruined King and Runaan’s Hurricane, or even Essence Reaver and a Zeal item, it makes it less likely you will be punished in lane for a more expensive build. The ability to build efficient components such as Bilgewater Cutlass also helps.

Playing a hyper carry in solo queue

There’s a massive difference in how hyper carries interact with their team between competitive games and solo queue. For you, intrepid reader, adjusting to these differences can be the difference between a blowout win and a rage-inducing loss. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

  1. Your team is less likely to play around you as a result of less co-ordination. You should not expect tons of jungle pressure as a result.

  2. You will be pushed in more often, so try to practice and learn to farm under tower. Your lane will not be poised to have kill pressure early, which means that every CS counts that much more.

  3. The longer the lane phase continues, the better it is for you. This means that it’s okay to not overcommit for first tower if you get the advantage; if you get it, that’s fantastic, but otherwise you can bounce the wave and keep laning against your weakened opponents.

  4. Hyper carries are weaker in early skirmishes and teamfights due to their kit having reduced survivability options and less potential damage, so staying in lane phase prevents you from dealing with that.

Example

SK Telecom T1 has played hyper carry compositions to great effect. Bang’s Twitch and Kog’Maw are given room to survive the lane phase, either through protection by Tahm Kench or Braum, or the sustained support of a Lulu or Nami. In every case, they choose to opt against a lane that will push in their favor, ceding their pressure for late game scaling. For example, in their first game against World Elite, Bang completely conceded the laning phase in order to be patient and scale up against his opponents. He died twice in 14 minutes and then never again afterward, marching on to victory. Emulating this patience is key to emulating its success as well.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

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