League of Legends Weekly Weird Pick: Rumble Support by Afreeca Jelly

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
Rumble in the Jungle. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Courtesy of Riot Games. /

Our weirdest pro pick of the week in League of Legends belongs to Afreeca Jelly and his Rumble support.

Welcome to our newest (hopefully) weekly series where we profile one odd pick in one of the four major League of Legends pro regions (quit snickering, LCS still counts). Today, we look at Afreeca Freecs support Son “Jelly” Ho-gyeong, who picked Rumble support in Game 2 of their series versus Griffin.

Afreeca ended up winning the game and the series, 2-0, and Jelly ended up with a 4/3/12 scoreline. So why did Afreeca end up going with this pick, how does it work, and is it something that we could use in our solo queue games?

Well, to the first point, yes it absolutely is something that could be strong in solo queue. According to Youtuber and streamer i0ki Rumble support has been a strong pick in Korean solo queue for a few weeks now. He released a video detailing the strengths of Rumble support and discussing how to play the lane as a support a week before Jelly brought it out on stage.

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So, why did Afreeca decide to bring out this unusual pick?

The Ultimate Flex Pick

Well, if we look at the pick and bans for this team, we see that Afreeca first-picked Rumble as a flex pick. In their first three picks they picked Rumble, Jarvan, and Kennen, to try and make Griffin believe it was a Jarvan jungle, Kennen top, and Rumble mid going into the second ban phase.

However, Griffin was not fooled. They already had Ornn picked and still needed to pick their own support and mid lane in the second pick phase, but they still banned Sett and Akali which indicates that they sensed that the Rumble might not be going mid. They had the first pick after the second ban phase and picked their support, allowing them to see that Afreeca was picking Viktor mid, and thus countering with Mordekaiser last pick and swapping the Ornn to mid lane.

The lesson here is that pro teams in Korea are seeing Rumble as an incredibly valuable flex pick, who can obviously go top or mid,  but now teams must also be prepared for him to possibly go support. In this case, Griffin was actually prepared for this pick, yet it still worked. How did this happen?

Well, Afreeca drafted a great team to go along with the Rumble. They added Jarvan and Kennen for easy AoE lockdown, making it easier for Rumble to hit key Equalizers as well as Ashe for long-range pick set-up. Moreover, having Ashe be paired with the Rumble in lane really strengthened their kill potential because both champions have slows in their kit that will allow them to dump more damage onto the enemy laner.

How to Play Rumble Support

We know that Rumble is a valuable flex pick and that it works great in the type of team comp that Afreeca picked, but the last question to ask is why this pick works and how you can play it in solo queue.

As to the first question, the reason Rumble support works has to do with the big change to the support items, allowing them to upgrade without having to spend money. This lets supports get their upgraded boots earlier and for Rumble it lets him get Sorcerer’s shoes on a very early back so his damage can spike massively. This change also allows for supports to spend more of their income on high-cost items they wouldn’t have been able to spend on in the past, and for Rumble, that means getting the 1500g Haunting Guise and 3100g Liandry’s Torment are no longer unreachable.

The second reason Rumble support is so good is that he can apply consistent damage with his Electro Harpoons, which also slow and allow him to land damage with his Flamespitter. Combined with the fact that almost all the meta supports are engage tanks (Nautilus, Leona, Thresh), Rumble can output a lot of damage that they can’t mitigate. Plus, Rumble wants to be up close to the enemy when he’s on max heat and a hook from Nautilus to bring an overheated Rumble onto the ADC is what the champion wants.

Playing Rumble support is very different than playing Rumble top or mid. You’ll start with your Electro Harpoons to get that early poke off and allow you to easily land your Arcane Comet (which should be your keystone), before leveling your Flamespitter and Scrap Shield. At Level 3, you’ll basically win every trade if your shield is off cooldown.

You’ll take Spellthief’s Edge as your support item, making sure to get max Tribute procs and gold by landing your Harpoons. Your goal is to push the wave with your Flamespitter, but not to last hit. Leave the juicy gold to your ADC, but pressure the enemy lane under their tower and throw up a shield if they try to retaliate.

Make sure you back to get your Sorcerer’s Shoes and from there you should be able to out-damage and win most trades. Use your Harpoons and Equalizer to set up possible dives for your jungler and poke down the enemy laner. You should be looking to abuse your range, damage, and shield in trades to force the enemy off that turret early and often so you and your ADC can convert that into plates and dragons.

After laning phase, you kind of play and build Rumble as you normally would. Use his game-changing ultimate at neutral objectives (and if you took tower early you can rotate to help top and get Rift Herald). You can also ward somewhat safely by using your Harpoons and Flamespitter to check brushes before you ward.

However, one thing that is very important is to make sure you don’t fall behind in lane and get ganked. If you fall behind in this lane as Rumble it can be very hard to come back, especially if the enemy picks up early health or MR. If you’re not on a team with guaranteed CC/lockdown, playing Rumble support could just mean that you’re useless in the mid and late game.

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Still, Rumble support looks to be a viable pick in pro and solo queue. Make sure you try him out in a few normal games to get the hang of the playstyle, even if you’re a seasoned Rumble player, before taking him into ranked!