League of Legends Patch 9.9 continues to see the trend of heavy emphasis on the solo lanes with lean towards damage-dealers and mid/late-game powerhouses who will be expected to do the majority of the heavy-lifting.
In particular, mid laners will be expected to be a strong presence throughout the match, roaming alongside the jungler to secure side lanes and carry the game until late-game hypercarries can come online in the top and bottom lanes.
With that pressure, here are the five best mid laners most capable of taking on the tasks asked of them by the new League of Legends patch.
Ekko is scheduled to receive buffs in Patch 9.9 that, while not sizable, are enough to see him rise to the Top 5 list for the first time in 2019. The Boy Who Shattered Time will have an easier time CS-ing and trading in the early game with small buffs to his base AD and Phase Dive (E)'s mana costs, letting him reach his all-important mid-game power spike in which his split-pushing and roaming capabilities are put to their best.
Of the various bulky mid laners who dominated the center of the map at the beginning of the year, it's a surprise to see that Sylas is the last one still kicking. With upcoming buffs to his Kingslayer (W) to help him better trade in lane, Sylas can better reach that all-important Level 16, at which point he can really start letting loose with ultimate abilities stolen from his foes.
While heavily dependent on team compositions and not really capable of carrying games, Sylas secures the spot largely by virtue of being capable of rounding out a draft with his off-tanking potential.
From the top three up, the three best mid laners remain unchanged from the previous patch, but their hold on their spots are tenuous. They largely retain their spots out of safety rather than clear advantage, and depending on how the meta shapes they could drop out fairly quickly.
That said, Ryze will almost always be a popular and potent pick. While having a very weak laning phase, his roaming ability with Realm Warp (R) at level 6 combined with his monstrous damage output and wave-clear in the later stages with some decent bulk and split-pushing power all come together to allow the master mage to claim a spot in the top five once again.
Once upon a time, a senior game designer at Riot Games known as Bradford "CertainlyT" Wenban led a team to create a bubbly, bratty, all-powerful-god-in-child's-body champion known as Zoe. She was intensely hated for astronomical damage output at extreme range and a blistering barrage of summoner spells and item effects with her Spell Thief (W) ability.
Now, many patches and repeated nerfs later, Zoe still stands near the top of mid lane picks. Her versatility and game-determining poke between her Paddle Star (Q) and Sleepy Trouble Bubble (E) abilities mean that she is looking likely to be omnipresent short of an utter gutting.
LeBlanc maintains the No. 1 spot yet again. Ever since her explosive performance at last year's League of Legends World Championship, LeBlanc has been a potent threat lurking just beneath the surface. Now with bulky tanks Sion, Urgot, Galio and Lissandra out of the mid lane, the Deceiver can run rampant with her unparalleled mobility paired with huge burst as well as some crowd-control.
With many matchups determined off skill rather than inherent champion advantage, a good LeBlanc will near-always be able to play her save for a drastic meta shift.
Cover image courtesy of Riot Games