The WCK can't stop picking Garen.
Tanks for asking about it.
It’s 2022, the year of our lord. And our lord is Garen. League of Legends' most boring champion was the most picked champion of the WCK pre-season. Korean pro players chose to pick or ban Garen a staggering 91% of games. Tanks also reign supreme in the recently completed WRL nationals qualifier. China chose Darius and Renekton as their top tanks, selecting them 89% and 69% of the time respectively.
What's up with the WCK's Tanks?
Garen is primarily played Top side (though he can flex support), where he is self sufficient. This, alongside a high-mobility jungler like Kha'Zix, Fiora, or Jax, unlocks the rest of the WCK Tank Comp. The jungler will all-but ignore lanes, prioritizing farming. By the time that the two WCK teams are ready to teamfight —usually around the first Rift Herald— their tank front line is huge. Freed up from lane support, the jungle assassin is fed as well.
At the pre-season invitational, players picked or banned Varus every single game.
The front line —usually some combination of Garen, Renekton, and Alistar— are not the threats on this team. Facing into other tank lines, as they do in the WCK, they’re going to do negligable damage. Instead the front line saves cooldowns and soaks damage. The WCK plays tanks to provide perfect defense for the real stars of the show: Varus and Ziggs. At the WCK Pre-Season, players picked or banned Varus every single game. 36 times in total. Despite this saturation he ended the event with a 76% win rate. Korean Varus players do more damage because they have more time to build stacks. Sitting behind a Garen-Alistar front line, Varus mains can plink away. After the corruption stacks build up, the players can move to an even safer distance. It’s possible to drop their opponent's tanks from across the map with Piercing Arrows. When Varus is unavailable, WCK teams replace him with Ziggs. The pyromaniac's Bouncing Bomb allows him to fulfil the same role.
Both of these back line carries struggle to finish kills. They poke and chip, but do not chase. Most enemies, upon dropping to 20hp, will run away. This is why the other necessary component is a "chaser". T1's JY prefers Kha'zix, KT's Do will play Fiora or Riven in this role. When targets are knocked low by poke, the jungler leaps into the back lines and finishes them off. It's a slow, organized way of playing Wild Rift, perfect for the Korean meta and methodology.
But, I don't want to play Garen?
The good news (for Garen haters) is that the WRL has already found a counter. The entire aforementioned playstyle depends on the survival of the team's duo laner. So, WRL teams are front loading on assassins. Zed (96% p/b) and Camille (100% p/b) are obvious favorites with Fizz and Kha'Zix thrown in to match players tastes.
This assassin loaded playstyle gives rosters multiple routes to their opponent's squishy carry. With Ziggs or Varus dead before the fight begins, the WCK's masterwork becomes a pile of tanks with no damage. The assassin playstyle is countered in turn by a standard teamfight composition. The single target damage is vulnerable to drafts with two or more carry threats. So while the WCK Pre-Season was a respectful pillow fight, the WRL has devolved into a advantage chart.
In practice no WRL team gets exactly what they want. All played compositions exist somewhere in the messy space between the three ideals.
What does this mean for my solo queue?
Not much. These compositions rely on players understanding their roles in a team. Until you can rely on that Garen player to intercept Fizz when he dives your Ashe, you're better off playing something with mobility. I like Ziggs.
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