The reigning World Champions, SK Telecom T1, became the first team to play to play Ziggs in the bottom lane on a competitive stage, securing a decisive victory over the Jin Air Green Wings. Whilst SKT ADC,Bae “Bang” Jun-sik may be the first to play ‘The Hexplosives Expert’ in the bottom lane, he will almost certainly not be the last. The innovative move raises multiple questions about Ziggs as a champion, the state of ADCs, and the state of the game in general.
There is no singular reason as to why Ziggs in the bottom lane has become a trend. The flex pick first started gaining traction through the play of former Team Dignitas Mid laner, Danny “Shiphtur” Le, whose great success on Ziggs quickly lead to the pick being adopted by multiple other high elo players in North America, before spreading across the globe. What was originally a commentary on the state of ADC, has become a viable strategy being used at the highest levels of play.
The past few months have resulted in a cocktail of changes that have contributed to the rise of Ziggs ADC. Bonus gold for the first turret destroyed, an update to Ziggs kit, changes in penetration (lethality), and the rise of the obnoxious Courage of the Colossus keystone, have all contributed to an environment in which ADCs struggle and Ziggs to come into focus.
Ziggs in the bot lane is not a healthy situation for League of Legends, and highlights the need for changes, both champion specific and in general, to improve the health of bot lanes in the game. Ziggs’s ability to quickly kill turrets separates him from the other mages in the game and if the ease in which he destroys towers is tuned down or removed by dampening his empowered autos and/or removing the satchel passive, you would not see him simply replaced in the bottom lane by another mage.
Of course, there are other changes that need to be made to improve the state of the game specifically for ADCs. Item changes and the numbing switch from armor penetration to lethality hurt many mid game power spikes for ADCs, pushing penetration equivalents until later in the game on many items (e.g. Youmuu’s Ghostblade). These changes have left underwhelming options for ADCs, many of which would significantly delay normal build paths.
Riot Meddler, Lead Champion Designer for League of Legends, released a statement today hinting at further Courage of the Colossus changes in the near future.
“Courage of the Colossus is still too strong, which has a lot of effect on the meta (who gets played, how fights go, itemization for some classes, durability outliers getting even farther from the norm, etc).
“As such, we’ll be nerfing it again, possibly paired with some changes to broaden its possible users.”
Riot Meddler, Lead Champion Designer for League of Legends
Whether a product of the weak state of ADCs, strong (if not overpowered) options for tanks, or his insane turret pushing power, Ziggs has risen to the top of competitive play. This is a trend that Riot cannot allow to continue and needs to be addressed.
Through a multi-faceted approach, Riot can restore some lost power to ADCs and push Ziggs back to the mid lane, where his kit will still provide a comfortable niche pick as a mage.