LCS Mid Lane Analysis

Many people love seeing tons of different champion picks. To an analyst, it’s sort of a nightmare. Mid lane ends up being the hardest to analyze this season, because the wide variety of picks decreases the consistency of picks, which makes it hard to distinguish actual trends from random correlations. However, we can certainly see a few interesting trends.

First, let’s revisit the common picks!


You might recognize a lot of the picks from last season: Gragas, Nidalee, Orianna, Zed, Kha’Zix, Riven, Fizz, and Ahri. But those only account for 108/256 mid picks thus far. This leaves 58% of picks for new champions!

I divided these into 5 classes in my previous analysis; let’s look at their win rates:

  1. Wave Clear Mids – 33/71 (46.5%)
    • Gragas/Ziggs
  2. Assassins – 37/58 (64%)
    • LeBlanc/Zed/Kha’Zix/Fizz/Ahri
  3. Team fight mids – 18/34 (53%)
    • Orianna/Yasuo/Karthus
  4. Supportive mids – 16/39 (41%)
    • Kayle/Lulu
  5. Nidalee – 12/17 (70.5%)

A lot of these champions are situational picks.

Let’s start with Gragas. His win rate may only be 46%, but he’s a very valuable pick. First, he has a winning ratio vs the top two mid picks: 5-4 vs Ziggs and 2-1 vs LeBlanc (I’d like to see more games, though…). He is actually 17-17 against all champions with more than 4 picks. But he is 1-4 against random champions: Pantheon, Teemo, Vladimir twice, and a Kassadin that snuck through the ban phase somehow.

Same goes for Ziggs: 11-12 once you leave out games vs Gragas. Kayle loses every matchup but Gragas, against whom she is 3-1.

I think analyzing each matchup in mid is disingenuous, though. The most-played matchup is Gragas vs Ziggs, with 9 games, the next highest is LeBlanc vs Orianna, with 6 games, and from there, everything is 4 games or fewer. For comparison, you have to go to the 5th-most-played matchup top or bot lane to get below 9 games. So while it’s safe to say that there’s counter-picking, there’s a lot of picking to fit the team, or counter the enemy’s team, or picking a jungler to offset the laner’s strengths.

And while all of these factors are true in every lane, they feel the most real in mid, where so many options are available. You can talk all you want about fitting the team top lane, but assuming you’re going for one of the big 4, the only real questions are early game vs late game and countering your lane.

Mid has to choose between roaming and lane dominance; wave clear and single-target burst, utility and damage, and so many more factors, not to mention countering their lane. No wonder many teams leave mid for their last pick. So instead, I’ll leave you with a few meandering thoughts:

  • Assassins. LeBlanc and Kha’Zix have extremely high win rates, and Zed has seen some success, despite outcry after his last set of nerfs.
  • Nidalee is also scary, as usual. Dem spears.
  • Karthus seems to be making a comeback, with the same 80% win rate as Vayne
  • Lulu wins lane, and that’s given her a decent win rate at 56%.
  • Yasuo was hyped as super scary, but 54%, while strong, doesn’t quite live up to the hype.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back with the much more interesting top lane, but I wanted to delay that post for a day, to sync it with my Riot post on top lane.


Mattias “Gentleman Gustaf” Lehman is a big time nerd-gamer with high-level experience in both SC2 and LoL. He has ranked as high as Diamond 1 in solo queue and Diamond 3 in arranged 5s.

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3 Comments on “LCS Mid Lane Analysis

  1. How much did the ap ratio nerf on Kayle’s Q affect her viability in your opinion?


    • I don’t think she was an incredibly strong pick to begin with (1-7 record in LCS speaks to that). Add the Lich Bane nerfs and I’m not particularly worried about her over LeBlanc or Lulu or Nidalee.


      • I love Leblanc and i play her a lot when she isn’t banned. I end up playing against a lot of ad assassins mid like Talon, Zed and Khazix. I used to use Kayle a lot to counter, but I have been trying other champions lately like Lissanda. Lulu mid seems interesting, but she is banned a lot.


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