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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Guardian of the Sands Kha'Zix. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Courtesy of Riot Games. /


Ultimately, I mostly agree with Virkayu’s conclusion regarding the jungle role. In solo queue and especially pro play, there is a large potential pool of champions that should be viable in the jungle. However, the depth of that pool (i.e. how many of those champions actually are viable) is quite small. Riot’s efforts to buff non-meta champions into the jungle so far has not worked and I do agree that these top-tier junglers will likely continue to be staples absent a major meta shift.

However, this is not a problem unique to jungle. Supports also have very limited numbers of champions that are viable in both pro play and solo queue. In my opinion, both these positions could benefit from a thorough examination as to what makes these roles unique and how new or reworked champions could better fit these molds. For instance, here are all the champions that were rated in the top three in their roles on our tier list and how many times they were put in the top three.

Created by Josh Tyler.
Created by Josh Tyler. /

As you can see, the support role has been utterly dominated by Thresh to the point that it has as few unique champions as the ADC role, which has a much narrower pool. Additionally, mid lane also appears to have a much shallower pool in solo queue than it does in pro play, which is curious given that only one of the five most common top-three mid laners has been picked more than 10 times in professional play (Kassadin, at 24).

While Virkayu is correct that the newest released junglers have not made a significant impact on the professional meta, in contrast to the newer supports, the fact remains that the jungle still has a fairly deep roster of champions to play in solo queue. The contention that junglers like Lee Sin, Elise, and Jarvan are crowding out junglers is certainly correct in professional play, but I don’t believe that is necessarily the case in solo queue, where Kha’Zix has been the most common top-three jungler in the last year-plus.

From all of this data, here are my final conclusions about each role’s champion diversity and recommendation for what needs to happen next.

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  1. The top lane has the widest champion pool and also probably the deepest. Even at pro play, there are still a lot of unique champions being brought out as picks. While top laners might complain that their role has little agency, I think this is overblown given how many different champions can be viable in the role at all levels of play, so I wouldn’t advise any huge changes aimed at the top lane roster.
  2. Mid lane also has a very wide and deep champion pool, though not quite as deep as top lane. However, the mid lane champion pool gets deeper at the professional level than it is in solo queue. My recommendation for Riot would be to continue buffing and tweaking underpowered solo queue champions (like mages) to expand the solo queue pool.
  3. ADC has the narrowest champion pool, but it is one of the deepest relatively and this is consistent across brackets of play. There are a limited number of ADC picks but almost all of them have been viable at each level of play, but this also limits the skill expression for players outside of mechanical skill on the strongest current champion. My advice would be for Riot to work to bring back more mage and bruiser carries in the bot lane in both solo queue and pro play so that the role has a wider champion pool.
  4. While the support role has the second-narrowest pool, it also has a very shallow pool in both solo queue and pro play. There is also not a large overlap between champions that are strong in solo queue (like Pyke, Nami, and Blitzcrank) and those that are strong in coordinated play (Braum and Tahm Kench). Given how unexpressive those pro play champions are, I would recommend Riot take away the defensive tools of the less-interactive pro picks (throw Taric in there as well) and buff up some more independent and aggressive picks.
  5. The jungle pool is fairly wide, but is relatively the shallowest of all the roles, particularly in pro play. For solo queue, I really don’t think that there is a big issue but for pro play there is clearly a need for some big changes to allow for counter-jungling and farming junglers to have a spot in pro play.