Last month we ranked every Dota 2 hero. This month: League of Legends, as ranked by our resident League expert Eric Van Allen.
League of Legends has come a long way from the early betas. Champions have seen multiple reworks, items have been added and removed, and entire spells and maps have been changed to accommodate new shifts in the overall strategy of the game, or “meta.”
With a promising preseason patch just out and a number of changes on the way, we thought it would be nice to reflect on the game in the only way possible: ranking it! Through a complicated algorithm based on skills, emergent gameplay opportunities, design, playstyle, uniqueness and how good the author is with them (just kidding—I’m terrible with everyone), we’ve ranked every champion as of the addition of Kindred.
Here’s part one of our rankings of every champion in League of Legends.
1 of 27
127. Urgot: There are characters I dislike more for personal reasons, for boring lore or a one-note design, but Urgot has a special niche all his own. It's a well-covered topic; in a PAX South panel for Riot Games, Riot designers discussed the question of "how to fix Urgot." He's more of a philosophical quandary than simply a conflictingly designed oversight. Some abilities focus on long-range harassment, slowly forcing enemies back and away from fights. Yet his shield and ultimate encourage Urgot to launch himself into the middle of the enemy team, where his gas and spike launcher rapidly lose effective power and he's easily singled out. You want to build damage and cooldown reduction, in order to output more powerful attacks, but you also need to spend your resources on tank items to survive long enough to do as much damage as the enemy carry. Urgot represents a constantly conflicting sense of playstyle. Sorry, buddy: I love landing E-Q combos, but you're still the hot mess of the League.
2 of 27
126. Aatrox: From a design standpoint, Aatrox has always been my least favorite champion. I've played countless hours of League, and even spent time learning some of the lore behind the posterchildren of the game, and I can't tell you a thing about Aatrox other than "he's a really emo purple dude with two swords." He reminds me of middle-school notebook etchings, where my friends and I would try to etch the most brooding, edgy badass who didn't care about anything, and Aatrox is that personified and playable. Also, his kit leaves much to be desired, doing little more than checking off the base necessities to be playable in the solo lane he tends to occupy.
3 of 27
125. Renekton: This killer croc is the brother of Nasus, and he will likely never let you forget that. Ignoring the fact that a crocodile is somehow related to a dog, Renekton's defining aspect is "I'm mad that my brother locked me up." Honestly, Nasus probably locked him up for being such a bore to lane against. He's manaless, with reliable health regen, a short stun and a dash, and an ultimate that just encourages him to run around flailing whatever Star Trek-knockoff weapon he's holding. Renekton is good because he makes solo laning easy against pretty much every standard pick in the top lane—but bad because he's literally designed to be idiot-proof, providing no real opportunities for a player to create interesting moments with the champion.
4 of 27
124. Sion: Oh, Sion. If this was pre-rework Sion, you might be a few spots higher (not many though). But The New You isn't quite up to snuff, instead just lumbering around and slamming an axe into things. The old Sion was endearing, because he was basically a giant zombie that spewed parody quotes of macho '80s action films. Now, he's just another pissed-off zombie in a world full of pissed-off zombies. That ultimate could have been his saving grace, but considering its most common use is to pop back to lane after a spa day back at the fountain, I'm more inclined to say that Sion is still a drab champion to play.
5 of 27
123. Trundle: Another victim of reworks, Trundle plunges low not due to his kit changes but due to his persona adjustment. After the Frejlord event, the League's favorite troll got turned into a one-note ice troll that just looked like something ripped from Skyrim, while his Oscar the Grouch-esque version got relegated to a "classic" skin, sans entertaining voice lines and without the soul. His playstyle wasn't very interesting to begin with, as most of his power was that he could endlessly jungle or top lane, and if anyone tried to stop him, he erected a massive column of garbage and started swinging his club in their general direction. It just isn't the same with a glacier, and it just isn't like it used to be.
6 of 27
122. Poppy: Another design conundrum for Riot Games, Poppy constantly fluctuates between two states: nigh-unstoppable and effectively inconsequential. If you're in a game with a Poppy on your team, that Poppy will either become a constant source of gold-based nutrition for the enemy, or drag you to victory over a hill made of your opponent's bones. That tipping point stems from her ultimate, which makes Poppy invincible to everything but her target for a short time. If Poppy is too effective, she turns every fight into a 4v5 at best, and if Poppy isn't able to do her job, you accomplish nothing and tip the scales handily in the enemy team's favor. Although her design has allowed for interesting skin choices (and one horrific one), Poppy is another conundrum of how to maintain her effective niche without making her able to dominate every match.
7 of 27
121. Varus: The color purple does not do well in these rankings, let me tell you. This archer of… well frankly I have no idea what he shoots out of that thing, because it definitely ain't arrows. Varus falls prey to the "edgy" trope, and as a carry, he's fairly defined by his ultimate. Besides being infamously difficult to land, it often ends up feeling like a neutered version of other ultimates and a fairly ineffective stun, as it's easy to dodge by both the initial target and their surrounding teammates. His other abilities just came off as strangely synergistic, yet never quite feeling like an archer or a marksman—just someone spewing arrows in the enemy's' direction, hoping that one eventually kills something.
8 of 27
120. Malzahar: Malzahar has a lot of interesting concepts going for him. He's one of the few pet champions in League, able to summon a voidling to attack his enemies after a certain number of spell casts. He can spread his E across the enemy team with every kill, slowly whittling down their health. He can silence foes in huge numbers, drop pools that slowly whittle their health down, and suppress them with his ultimate, making one enemy completely unable to do anything while Malzahar slowly whittles away his health. Yet the reliance on Malzahar's ultimate makes him a liability more often than a boon, as if anyone even sneezes in Malzahar's direction, the ultimate ends and he's back to creating low-damage minions and hoping his E will finally kill something and be efficient. He's a relic that seems outclassed by most middle lane mages nowadays.
9 of 27
119. Darius: The dunkmaster is a joy to play, as his whole kit revolves around getting enemies to a low enemy health and high enough bleed stacks to slam them with a single ultimate, and then start snowballing off of that. It's that playstyle that makes Darius such a bore though, as you spend the whole game patiently running around in the frontline, spinning and tanking hits, until you see your opening and go on a slamming spree. It's also really not fun for teammates, as they have to sit courtside to all of your antics. I always imagine the AD carry walking up like Oliver Twist, begging Darius, "Please sir, can you spare some kills?"
10 of 27
118. Lux: The light-slinging warrior of Demacia is the giggly, bubbly face of League that seems a little too happy to be on the Rift. Lux has some really cool moves, but the issue comes to synergy again. At times, it seems like Lux wants to be a support—shielding enemies, halting them in their tracks or catching them out with snares and slows. But Lux's passive encourages her to spend time on offense rather than long-ranged support, and her ultimate is a potent weapon that does little without investing in a few ability power items. Because of that, Lux always seems to contribute just enough to justify a spot on the five-champ roster, but never enough to feel like she could dominate the direction of the game.