Doran’s Shield has been an extremely dominant item in Season 4, but with patch 4.3, it received a huge nerf. Rushing in to fill the gulf has been Doran’s Blade, melee and ranged auto-attackers, and AP tops.
Doran’s Shield was the starting item for top laners in well over 80% of the games, week in and week out. But not anymore:
We saw Doran’s Blade picked in almost half of all games with a 64% win rate, and Cloth Armor being the next strongest item. Doran’s Shield was still picked more, but seemed somewhat weak, coming up with a 41% win rate over 17 games.
It’s important to note that some of these champion picks are from the EU Super Week, which did not have the Doran’s Shield change implemented already. It is likely that these changes will only further drive the data.
First things first: Renekton is still extremely strong. Of the three main top laners (Shyvana/Renekton/Dr. Mundo), he is the only one who can start Doran’s Blade over Doran’s Shield, and he is the only one with a winning ratio vs champions outside of the power 3. So with those champions falling out of favor, we expected Renekton to stay strong.
Trundle fell off a bit, as he was the passive laner in the Trundle v Renekton matchup, and thus was hit hardest by the Shield nerf.
Auto-attackers with natural sustain (Aatrox and Irelia) were extremely strong in this patch, because their natural sustain made up for the Shield nerfs, while their reliance on auto-attacks was no longer hit so hard by the Doran’s Shield nerfs. However, Jax had a hard time, possibly due to his lack of sustain.
North America was a bit more static:
However, the number of Shyvana picks probably represents the mentality of the players, as her win rate was relatively low. Most interesting was the dominance of Trundle/Renekton. While Europe went for melee auto-attackers, North America busted out ranged mages and Jayce, none of whom performed all that well. However, the sample size was pretty low. We’ve seen Ryze be successful in the hands of Korean tops, including by KT Bullets vs Fnatic at IEM Katowice.
Overall, I look to see this trend continue, with Renekton and Trundle remaining dominant picks, while melee auto-attackers with sustain (Aatrox and Irelia), AP Carries (Gragas, Nidalee, Ryze, and Kennen), and maybe even ranged auto-attackers (Jayce) slowly creep onto the scene.