League of Legends: The best champions to play for every role in Patch 12.16

·Contributor
·9-min read
A couple of changes have opened up for some new champions to dominate the meta. (Photo: Riot Games)
A couple of changes have opened up for some new champions to dominate the meta. (Photo: Riot Games)

League of Legends (LoL) Patch 12.16 is here, and devs have described it as the first balance patch for the League of Legends World Championship 2022.

"Since some Leagues are still qualifying for Worlds on this patch, we're holding the more speculative changes for 12.17," LoL Balance Team and Preseason Lead Designer Matt "Phroxzon" Leung-Harrison mentioned in a preview tweet.

Let's take a look at the most important changes in this patch:

What are the most significant changes in 12.16?

Only four champions got nerfs in this patch, namely Draven, Poppy, Yuumi, and Zeri. The Magical Cat and the Spark of Zaun are some of the most popular picks in pro play this year, so nerfs were expected for them.

Zeri's AP ratio for her W and Q have been reduced, while Yuumi's Zoomies are being regulated for overspeeding her allies.

Draven, on the other hand, has become popular since the meta shift post the durability update. We've mentioned before that the Glorious Executioner has been getting a free pass nearly every patch since 12.10, making him a priority pick both in solo queue and pro play, replacing Spring season bot lane faves like Jinx and Aphelios. So this time, Riot has finally caught on and given him a little slap on the wrist.

Poppy may have been flying under our radar in the last couple of patches, but she's consistently delivering as a tank in pro play, especially after the durability update. Her Q Monster Cap has decreased significantly.

Eight champions are due buffs, including Tristana, Kai'sa, Caitlyn, and Zoe. An Irelia buff also stunned League players because who wants an Irelia sustain buff in the mid lane?

Minor buffs to Jayce, Malphite, and Zyra are also expected for 12.16. Diana's kit also has been changed to promote AP builds while reducing the strength of her Bruiser build. Here are the complete patch notes for 12.16.

These changes may directly impact Worlds 2022; however, we expect more changes in 12.17.

But while we wait for the biggest and most-anticipated League of Legends esports event of the year, here are the best champions to play to help you move up the ranks:

Top Lane

Honourable mentions: Jax, Shen, Mordekaiser, Garen

Aatrox and Darius have been constants in the top lane. Olaf joins them in this patch, especially with effective builds circulating lately. (Photo: Riot Games)
Aatrox and Darius have been constants in the top lane. Olaf joins them in this patch, especially with effective builds circulating lately. (Photo: Riot Games)

Aatrox

The Darkin Blade is once again the best top laner to pick (or ban) in 12.16, and we think this champion is just broken. By choosing Ignite, rushing with Serrated Dirk, and using Eclipse as his mythic ability, Aatrox can easily overwhelm his opponents. We've previously discussed why the Eclipse build works on him from Patch 12.15.

Darius

The biggest winner of the durability update has been a constant favourite in the past few months simply because he always seems to escape Riot's nerf list every patch. Darius will continue to dominate in extended fights, primarily since healing nerfs were also implemented in 12.15.

Olaf

Olaf is a strong, early-game skirmishing top laner, and these champions have been thriving lately. Olaf's early game kill potential when running Flash with Ghost is pretty high, so he's become a formidable duelist on the Rift.

The item nerfs in 12.14 also benefited our Berserker, making him strong against other top lane monsters like Gangplank and Mordekaiser.

If you want to play Olaf in the top lane, prioritise Trinity Force on Olaf since it provides the most damage. If you're going against ranged top laners, go for Stride Breaker.

Jungle

Honourable mentions: Elise, Rek'sai, (Red) Kayn, Master Yi, Diana

Monsters will haunt the jungle in 12.16: Bel'veth taking the lead, followed by Fiddlesticks. Trundle is a strong counter pick for the top 10 junglers and his pick/ban rates are low, so he's a great addition. (Photo: Riot Games)
Monsters will haunt the jungle in 12.16: Bel'veth taking the lead, followed by Fiddlesticks. Trundle is a strong counter pick for the top 10 junglers and his pick/ban rates are low, so he's a great addition. (Photo: Riot Games)

Fiddlesticks

Fiddlesticks is yet another menace who will haunt you in the jungle in 12.16. He hasn't received a nerf since receiving some buffs in 12.13. He currently has the highest win rate on solo queue, thanks to the increase in his Fear duration, which comes clutch in team fights.

Bel'Veth

Honestly, we're predicting we might see a nerf for Bel'Veth in 12.17 as she's been too OP since her release, despite all the hotfixes and nerfs thrown her way. But while it's still 12.16, you can still spam the Void Empress (or keep banning her) in the jungle until the next patch.

Her kit is just too OP, but she can be shut down in the early game. Read our guide for tips to help you counter her.

Trundle

Trundle is one of the best solo queue picks due to his high win and low pick/ban rates. His win rates against the top ten jungler champions are all relatively high, making him an excellent all-around counter pick. Depending on who you're playing against, go for a full offensive build on Trundle or a tankier build.

Mid Lane

Honourable mentions: Singed, Viktor, Swain, Irelia, Ahri, Vladimir

Vex is still the top pick in the mid lane as the best AP mid champion. Zed comes in second as the best AD mid champion. Sylas is still part of the list but will struggle with the likes of Vex. (Photo: Riot Games)
Vex is still the top pick in the mid lane as the best AP mid champion. Zed comes in second as the best AD mid champion. Sylas is still part of the list but will struggle with the likes of Vex. (Photo: Riot Games)

Vex

The Gloomist takes our number one spot once again in the mid lane after escaping Riot's nerf list. Vex is pretty decent in the early game and quite monstrous in the mid to late game. Her Mistral Bolt on a 4-second cooldown at level 9 with extra AP damage gives too much harass power. Vex can also easily counter Sylas, who's been one of the strongest mid laners for a couple of months now.

Use Luden's Echo into Shadow Flame; follow it up with either Zhonya's Hourglass or Rabadon's Deathcap if you want a powerful Vex.

Zed

Zed's buffs in 12.15 have placed him back on our list in 12.16. Because his E's energy cost has been reduced, it gave him a little more skirmish power throughout the game.

The recent Scorch buffs also benefited him, giving him some added early game bullying power, making him the best AD mid laner.

Sylas

Another big winner of the durability update is Sylas. The sustain nerfs in 12.15 may have hurt him a bit but combine that plus 12.10's update and his buffs a few patches ago, and he will continue to be a strong pick both in pro play and solo queue.

Some pros have been using Crown of the Shattered Queen instead of Everfrost. Sylas can play more aggressively thanks to The Crown's passive. And if you're ahead in the laning phase, Sylas can pounce on an adversary and hit them hard without damage.

Bot Lane

Honourable mentions: Sivir, Draven, Miss Fortune, Caitlyn, Tristana

Samira takes the top spot in the bot lane, but Sivir will remain OP this patch. Nilah will be a great option to play in 12.16 too. (Photo: Riot Games)
Samira takes the top spot in the bot lane, but Sivir will remain OP this patch. Nilah will be a great option to play in 12.16 too. (Photo: Riot Games)

Samira

As we've mentioned in 12.15, the bot lane meta has shifted to favour AD carries who can punish early laning phase mistakes like Draven and Samira. And with Draven being given a nerf, Samira takes the top spot. She's again going unpunished in 12.16 and will continue to dominate the bot lane significantly since she's benefited well from the Durability Update.

Sivir

Sivir's gotten multiple nerfs since the release of her rework, but she's still too strong. The Battle Mistress flew under Riot's nerf radar in 12.16, so she'll continue terrorising the bot lane. She hasn't even left the OP tier on op.gg for the past couple of months. Sivir's kit gives her a lot of room to chase and close off kills and gives her an A+ in wave clear, making her superior against most ADCs in-game.

Nilah

Nilah is shaping up to be one of the top picks in the bot lane this patch, especially since Draven has gotten nerfed. Yes, her early game sucks compared to other ADCs, but what makes her pretty powerful is the shield on her passive.

Go for a lethality build on Nilah for more early to mid-game power. Go for Eclipse into The Collector and Lord Dominik's Regards for your third item. The build offers more all-in kill threats as NIlah's ultimate has a 140% AD ratio on the whirl and a 120% AD ratio on the burst. Playing Nilah alongside Taric will be a terrific combo.

Support

Honourable Mentions: Janna, Taric, Blitzcrank, Rell

For Support: Amumu still reigns as the top Support champion, while Heimerdinger will continue to be a curveball pick. Zyra's buffs will definitely boost her already good win rates too. (Photo: Riot Games)
For Support: Amumu still reigns as the top Support champion, while Heimerdinger will continue to be a curveball pick. Zyra's buffs will definitely boost her already good win rates too. (Photo: Riot Games)

Amumu

Amumu is still our top support pick in 12.16 since he continues to rank as OP tier on LoL stats sites like op.gg. He once flies under Riot's radar under OP champions with his insane chain-cc combinations, his sustain, and the surprising amount of damage he dishes out as a tank.

He "thought you'd never pick" him last patch, but players have caught on, and he now has one of the highest pick/ban rates in the Support role.

Heimerdinger

The Revered Inventor will continue to be a strong pick this patch. His Q and E are perfect tools to protect teammates and zone out enemies, and he can set up lanes for success.

It also seems like nobody still has answers to shut down the Yordle Inventor, so he remains a curveball pick as a Support.

Zyra

Zyra's win rates are already pretty high, so the 12.16 buff has pushed her up our priority list for Support picks. The changes to her E's cooldown mean a lot because she can quickly execute an E + ultimate combo in the late game. This also gives her more escape opportunities when needed.

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.

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