In 2020, the League of Legends saw its professional meta change countless times. At different times during the year, different champions emerged and rose to prominence, promoting factors of variation and innovation at every turn. But some champions have remained stalwart throughout the season.
The most prominent characters in the game all had an influence on their competitive meta from the opening day to the World Championship. And when the curtain fell on this unprecedented year of pro play, the meta seemed more flexible and versatile than ever before.
Here are the most influential champions of the 2020 professional league season, all sorted by the positions of each game.
AD carry: Aphelios
In 2020, several ADCs, including Ezreal, Kalista, and Ashe, rose to the highest professional league ranks. But no character quite like Aphelios dominated the role. From the very beginning of the season, despite only being active on the live servers for several weeks prior to the 2020 season, Aphelios established himself as one of the game’s premier picks.
Aphelios posted a global pick/ban rate of 86 percent throughout the Spring Split, the highest in the whole game, let alone the role of the ADC. And despite having multiple nerves throughout the course of 2020, until the end of the season, Aphelios remained a relatively prominent pick.
Top lane: Ornn – professional League
Ornn has established himself as an incredibly popular pick in the game’s meta throughout the 2020 competitive season. The champion hung around during the entire year as the League’s staple top lane tank.
According to League stats website gol.gg, Ornn appeared in 64 percent of all champion selections in 2020, the highest amongst the top lane champions. Ornn was selected 1,909 times beyond the ban phase, making him the most-picked exclusive top lane champion in the professional scene.
While other champions like Volibear and Sett had their shining moments in the top lane with higher pick rates down the season stretch, Ornn stood out as the most dedicated character in the game when it came to the position.
Ornn has indeed served as a bookend to the 2020 season, With a 74-percent pick/ban presence in all regions during the Spring Split and a 91-percent pick/ban rate at the World Championship, it’s clear that the champion stood out as one of the most prominent characters on the roster during the early and later stages of the year.
Jungle: Lee Sin
It’s difficult to think of a champion who has been more reliable to players of a certain role than Lee Sin has been to junglers. In six of the past seven seasons, the champion has posted a global pick and ban rate of at least 15 percent, practically making him one of the most historic picks of the game.
But in 2020, Lee Sin rose to a new level of prominence, one that in several years the character had not seen.According to gol.gg, the character’s largest presence in a given season since his 70-percent mark in 2014, Lee Sin ended up being seen in 42 percent of all champion selections this year. With 1,607 picks worldwide in 2020, Lee Sin emerged by a wide margin as the game’s most picked jungler.
This year, the next two most prominent picks on the board, Trundle and Graves, had 400 and 600 fewer games than Lee Sin, respectively.
But just because Lee was a popular pick in 2020 doesn’t necessarily mean he was a good pick. The win rate of Lee Sin in 2020 was strikingly poor at a competitive level. His 48-percent win/loss ratio was one of the lowest among all the top-tier champions in the game.
Mid lane: Syndra – professional League
None played a more important role than Syndra in a year where traditional control mages rose back to the top of the mid-lane meta.
In 2020, one of the most historic champions of the League was still prevalent. She finished the year with a 60 percent global pick/ban rate, according to gol.gg., the fourth-highest among all champions on the game’s roster.
Syndra strongly outclassed her contemporaries, namely Azir, Zoe, and LeBlanc, in terms of her dominance over the mid-lane.
Syndra was the most selected and banned champion in her position, with 1,249 picks and 2,318 bans across the board in 2020, a rare occurrence in professional play, especially for an entire season.