Dopa’s thoughts on meta: “Support champions have the greatest potential to carry the game”

On April 2018, Dopa carried out a Q&A session with his fans. Dopa, sometimes also going with the name Apdo, is a Korean streamer often nicknamed “The Dark Faker”. Dopa made a name for himself for being frequently ranked 1st place in Chinese/Korean servers and his history of being banned from becoming a professional gamer due to his boosting history.

Dopa’s Q&A sessions are usually highly sought after by the viewers, as he gives unique insights to League of Legends one of the top tier amateurs in the world and openly discusses his opinions with his fans. In his Q&A session Dopa had insights about the balance between different lanes and how he would change it, as well as usual shorter tips & tricks for his fans (Article to come)

Note: Some parts of the Q&A session were re-ordered and some repeated parts redacted for better readability.

Can the mid laner still singlehandedly carry the game, like the old times?

Dopa: It’s still possible, especially if you’ve drafted a strong champion. Riot has been balancing the game towards all lanes have a potential to carry the game. Therefore it’s important for all laners to do best in the lane, now more than ever.

That being said, the carry potential of the support has increased so much. Gold-earning support items let support build teamfight-augmenting items early, and support champions have very high stats after series of buffs; the bot lane has such a big impact on the game now. If previously the bot lane’s carry contribution was about 1.3 out of 5, now it’s more like 2.5 out of 5.

Not much has changed for the ADCs. It’s the support champions that have gotten strong with all the new items that complement them and buffs to their stats. I’d say that support champions are too strong atm, that some sort of nerf is in need.

If you plugged in machine learning into LoL – If you trained 10 AI and made them play LoL to each other. Will they play the “EU style” with roles of top, jungle, mid, support, ADC? I don’t think so. The support champions and items are so OP that I think AI will catch up to this. Make a different twist out of the EU style. Because the EU style is not balanced.

Nerfing the supports from their current state

Dopa: I’ve been thinking about how I’d nerf supports without reducing the importance of bot lane. I’d make a support item that allows supports to buy more wards. Bring back these purchasable green wards that used to be buyable at the shop, but cheaper; maybe around 50G. Only the first champion with a support item will be able to buy this ward, just like only players that took Smite can buy knives.

Support players will be forced to choose how they spend that extra money from gold items; buy wards for early map pressure and jungle awareness, or save that money towards rushing support and teamfight augmenting items. This will retain the carry potential of bot lane as a combined effort, but reduce how powerful the support player is.

Explaining the late power spike on the current meta

Dopa: Back in the days, the support used to be a boring and unimportant and they began buffing support champions. I think they tried to amend the situation ended up over-buffing support champions as a result. Now there are more support mains than any other positions in the solo Q.

Do you know why people no longer pick utility supports like Sona and Lulu? It is because tank supports have such a ridiculous stats that utility champions can’t out-scale them. Then there are items like Solari and Redemption that impact the entire teamfight even into the late game; not like these items require high skill to use, either.

I think supports have the most influence and carry potential, followed by ADC, mid, jungle and top – In that order. In solo Q, the top lane is almost useless.

On the current state of the top lane

Dopa: Top lane matters so little at the current meta. That’s why Gangplank is so OP at the moment; just because he can impact the other lanes.

The nature of the top lane is that a good top laner live and die at top lane, else you fall behind. No matter how ahead you were in top lane, if your bot lane or mid lane feeds, at some point you are forced to roam. However, the moment you do this and you’re not able to get some kills or assists from it, you fall behind in your lane immediately. So…what’s the point?

What are some top champions goes outside the current state of top lane

Dopa: Fiora and Camille. Fiora has the potential to singlehandedly win the game if she is fed, and Camille can sufficiently apply lane and map pressure without other lane’s help.

Gangplank? He’s so good at getting carried because you can use global ult to turn the game around. Even if you miss every single barrel in the lane phase, you’ll win the game if you only just use your ult correctly when a skirmish begins. Press R; Gangplank is on a Killing Spree. But you’re not carrying; your Shyvana is carrying. It’s not your brain or your fingers, it’s your champion’s skill set that is complementing your teammates to drive the bus for you. Gangplank is so unbalanced.

Shen? He’s trash.

State of the ADC players

Dopa: I think ADC players are the people you need to respect in this meta the most. Because ADC really is a skill match-up. Most ADC players are stupid. And they have to be! Because they have to focus on a different aspect of the game.

Then a few of them rises above all, a few ADCs who can actually play smartly.

You once said that a player’s skill is sorely judged by their solo Q rankings. Is this the same case for professional players?  

Dopa: For amateurs, your solo Q rank defines how good you are. For professionals, your team’s ranking defines how good you are. That’s pretty much it.

Once upon a time, Season 2 or 3, solo Q games similar to professional games. But now, they are unrecognizably different games. solo Q ranks no longer indicate how good you are as a professional.

Thoughts on Worlds?

Dopa: I’ve been re-watching some Worlds matches, and I get the feeling that Worlds a stage for a clash of beliefs. Every team and country has a different belief in what strategy, what picks will win their game. Often I see two teams going into a game, both thinking that they had the better end of the pick & ban phase. Then the game starts, winners and losers are decided – and one team’s set of beliefs are proven to be superior.

I feel that’s what Worlds is about, each team testing their own set of belief.

Any plans to cast over Worlds/professional games yourself?

Dopa: The current casters (OGN’s caster trio, Caster Jun, Caster Kim and CloudTemplar) are already perfect. Once, maybe around Season 2, I used to get frustrated about the casts and I remember casting some international games. However, broadcasts have become much more refined since then.

They’re not only just good at understanding the game but filtering out the complexity of the situation, so the general mass can digest it in a given time. They’re also really good at painting the bigger picture for the audience.

I can’t really add much to what they’re already providing.

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