League of Legends Patch 9.9 marks a step in the gradual return to the game's traditional gameplay rhythm in which junglers facilitate lanes early and help tank later, top lanes play either carries or tanks, the mid laners play roaming utility damage-dealers, and the bottom lane focuses around a potent AD Carry and enabling Support.
Patch 9.9 sees many Supports go through changes, while the AD Carries are largely untouched. With this changing dynamics, it is the time for new optimizations of the duo lane. Here are the five best bot lane duos in the upcoming patch.
5. Ezreal and Tahm Kench
Tahm Kench is getting hit with huge nerfs to his defining Devour (W) ability and even the compensation buffs to the rest of his kit won't be able to overcome that. The removal of his ability to Devour and Flash teammates to safety no longer allows the catfish to serve as a bungee cord to allow immobile marksmen to extend further than they'd normally be able.
Ezreal has likewise suffered some nerfs to his kit that limit his damage output, but he can still pair well with Tahm Kench due to his own inherent safety with his long-range poke and Phase Shift (E) to escape. While this lane must now play much more safely, they are still capable of losing the lane gracefully and instead taking over later in the game.
4. Sona and Taric
The premier example of alternate strategies still viable even in the consolidating metagame, Sona and Taric remain playable as a potent bot lane that abuses the Frostmancy strategy.
While not able to carry the game themselves, they open up more options in the top, mid and jungle positions with their large utility and healing in the mid/late-game. So long as they survive the early game without falling too far behind, this bot lane helps facilitate the rest of the team.
3. Varus and Morgana
With long range and strong laning, Varus is powerful in lane and if set up properly can be a menace in mid/late-game team fights as well. His main weakness, his lack of mobility, can be protected against by Morgana's Black Shield (E) to help keep him safe as well as her own Dark Binding (Q) to dissuade divers.
The two can also create large swathes of dangerous terrain between their Hail of Arrows (E) and Tormented Shadow (W) abilities, and can chain crowd-control with Morgana's Dark Binding (Q) into Varus's Chain of Corruption (R) into Morgana's Soul Shackles (R).
2. Vayne and Alistar
Vayne and Alistar is a lane with one goal: dominate, dominate, dominate. With early power spikes and late-game scaling as hyper-carry and tank respectively, the Night Hunter and the Minotaur will always be pushing forwards to combine their crowd-control abilities to punish and kill any enemy out of position.
With power and utility throughout the game, Vayne and Alistar can snowball early leads as well as provide stable insurance. They are vulnerable to becoming irrelevant if they fall behind, but with some jungler Support and proper execution then this duo will be powerful throughout the match.
1. Ashe and Shen
Ashe and Shen have excellent synergy and with the bundle of buffs dealt to Shen over recent times, he can finally stand on the rift alongside one of the game's most staple AD Carries.
Capable of protecting each other and chaining their crowd control abilities, Ashe and Shen help cover the other's weaknesses: namely, Ashe's immobility and Shen's lack of range. They also offer great utility to their teammates with Ashe's Hawkshot (E) and Enchanted Crystal Arrow (R) and Shen's Stand United (R)abilities providing global presence.
Cover image courtesy of Riot Games