League of Legends: A Look at the Diversity of Each Role

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

“This is all well and good,” you might be thinking, “but this data is just for Platinum and above. Virkayu is talking about the jungle meta in high elo and pro play.” Well, let’s take a look at that.

Per GOL.gg, these are the top ten champions in all of pro play from the major regions by overall presence (pick + ban):

Created by Josh Tyler.
Created by Josh Tyler. /

If you’ll notice, there are only two junglers in the top ten (Elise and Jarvan), but three top laners, two mid laners, and one and a half supports and ADCs (we’ll split Senna between the two roles).

Well, so what? There are always high-priority champions in pro play for each role so it makes sense that the jungle wouldn’t dominate the top ten champions by presence. So let’s go and take a look at the champions by pick rate in each role (since banning a champion doesn’t tie to a specific role) to see how wide and deep the champion pools in pro play are.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that any champion that has been picked 10 or more times this season in a major region is considered to be a part of the meta. Here is how many champions that is by role for Spring 2020:

  • Top = 19
  • Jungle = 16
  • Mid = 27
  • ADC = 14
  • Support = 15

So now the argument becomes a bit clearer. Although the jungle should have a larger potential pool than the ADC and support roles, as evidenced by the solo queue champion pool, they have barely more meta picks than those other two in pro play.

When we look at the ratio of champions that make up the “pro meta” compared to the solo queue meta, we see again that Virkayu’s argument about a stale meta gets stronger.

  • Top = 0.049
  • Jungle = 0.037
  • Mid = 0.065
  • ADC = 0.053
  • Support = 0.041

As we can see, the champion pool for junglers in pro play is the narrowest relative to the number of potential junglers to play. That is to say, pro players play far fewer of the junglers that are meta in solo queue than in any other role.

So the jungle seems to have the narrowest champion pool in pro play, but how deep is it? Let’s look to the top ten champions by pick rate in each role in the four major regions.

Created by Josh Tyler.
Created by Josh Tyler. /

We can see from the raw pick numbers of junglers compared to the pick numbers of other roles that the jungle is quite top-heavy. Jungle has the most champions that have been picked 100 or more times (6) and is tied with ADC for the second-most champions picked 50 or more times (one behind support at nine).

While this doesn’t really seem like a problem, remember that the jungle pool is supposed to be significantly wider than ADC and support based on what pools existed in solo queue. Yet in terms of depth of the pro meta, jungle is perhaps the shallowest of any of the roles. For comparison, 21 mid laners have been picked 17 or more times, yet Qiyana makes the top ten for junglers with that many picks.