I recently spoke about unconventional yet effective picks for the support role, showing off a few ways to be the rock that your team’s foundation is built on.
However, the crucial thing that we must remember is that many players don’t want to be the foundation… they want to be the guy throwing boulders through the enemy team’s foundations instead.
More than anything else, most players of League of Legends like to be the ones making the flashy plays and carrying their team on their backs to victory. And there are few places better for that style of play than the mid-lane.
As the shortest lane, the middle lane is the quickest to have the minion waves collide, not to mention the players. Combine this with the potential for jungle ganks from both sides, and it can quickly become a battlefield. However, the central position means it’s possible for a mid-laner to roam all over the map, so being able to force out your opponent and quickly clear the minion wave is a bonus. Mages and assassins thrive here.
But sometimes you get tired of playing Syndra and Katarina all day, so you want to shake things up a bit. To that end, I present four champions that aren’t traditionally played in the mid-lane, but can do so to surprising effect.
Putting Ezreal in the mid-lane is perhaps the most conventional of the unconventional picks, but aside from when item combinations make him OP, he’s usually played as marksman in the bot-lane. Right now, however, putting Ezreal into the mid isn’t a bad idea.
While his wave clear isn’t fantastic, he’s able to farm from a safe distance, harass effectively, and can even assist the rest of the map with well placed ultimates to snipe kills or clear large minion waves. And should he be threatened or ganked, his Arcane Shift is usually enough to get him out of trouble, or else close gaps to finish off fleeing opponents.
He can be built in any fashion, with both AD and AP builds offering their uses for more consistent or burst damage, respectively. And right now, the Hextech Gunblade item is strong enough to warrant building on him and taking a hybrid route too. Whichever way you want to approach it, Ezreal’s definitely no slouch in mid right now.
Some may recall the times that the legendary Faker played Irelia in mid-lane, proceeding to have very effective and convincing games on her. Of course, this is Faker, the greatest League player in history, so he’s allowed to do that because he has the skills and knowledge to back that selection up. But even so, his unconventional pick still has plenty of merit.
Irelia is a very effective bruiser, able to dish out a significant amount of damage with just a Trinity Force even if you follow up with a full tank build. Built-in Tenacity makes her hard to pin down, and she has plenty of sustain with her Hiten Style’s passive as well as her ultimate. In addition, her gap closer and stun/slow allow her to jump on and run down even the mages and lane opponents that out-range her, forcing them back before jumping into the next fight elsewhere.
While she’s still slightly more effective in top-lane just for the extra space to maneuver and chase down opponents with her consistent damage, there’s still very much room for Irelia in mid. Act now before they nerf her again!
2. Jarvan IV
The prince of Demacia usually finds his home in the jungles, but there are occasions where he’ll be found in the top lane. Every so often, however, somebody will bring him into the mid and demonstrate just how terrifying he can be.
Naturally tanky and with a fair bit of damage hidden in his kit, Jarvan can dish out a lot of punishment to those unprepared. His passive gives him great strength in trades, and his E > Q combo provides him with a gap closer and crowd control to make use of it. Finally, his Cataclysm ultimate dishes out a surprisingly high amount of damage and scales well with AD when the time comes to finally dunk on your opponents.
If played in the mid-lane, building Jarvan as a full damage dealer is usually the most effective. He won’t scale super well, but you more than make up for that with the large amount of crowd control you provide if you land your combos. Building him as a standard tanky bruiser works just as well, however. Give it a shot, you’ll be surprised just how well he works!
Definitely the most strangely awesome pick on this list is Nasus. Normally relegated to the top lane in order to farm up his Q stacks indefinitely and scale into a late game terror, mid-lane Nasus eschews many of these habits in order to build how you simply wouldn’t expect: a full blown mage.
Rather than slowly farm the wave, you will simply obliterate it with a single Spirit Fire, which scales well from AP. This then allows you to roam, perform effective ganks with the incredibly powerful Wither slow, then get back and repeat. You’re still able to farm Q stacks like this as well, they just won’t get as high as normal… but trust me, they don’t need to.
Once out of the laning phase, Nasus’ ultimate deals a large amount of (AP scaling) damage to all enemies around him based on their max HP. Building tanky AP items like Rod of Ages and Rylai’s means he can wade into the thick of the fight and melt everything around him. In addition, his Spirit Fire reduces enemy armour, meaning you can still bash away at people with your Q… especially if you build a Lich Bane to really punch through champions and towers alike.
People might not believe you at first, but AP Nasus is a totally viable and unexpected way to rock the mid-lane and become top dog of the Rift.
And there you have it, four more unconventional picks for a different part of the map in League of Legends. Have any interesting alternatives or anecdotes about crazy mid-lane picks? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear them!