Metamorphosis episode 1 delivers explosive LoL team comps
© Red Bull
A mob boss, a bomb delivery fish and tons of walls mix up the meta in Metamorphosis.
This week Red Bull’s newest League of Legends series Metamorphosis started turning the fundamentals of the MOBA on its head. Episode 1 featured three unorthodox team compositions to break free of the sometimes-stale meta that dictates the flow of competition matches, and even our regular pubs.
For this journey into the unknown, the debut session of Metamorphosis saw LCS interviewer and five-time diamond promo failure Ovilee May leading a team of pros and streamers into battle. Among the motley crew was Kelsie ‘KayPea’ Pelling, a streamer with a deep love of the mechanics of champs who began her career in the jungles before switching to mages on mid. Her fellow streamer Timothy ‘Trick2G’ Foley took the top lane, hoping to use his split-pushing skills in some of their wacky strats.
To help the streamers in this opening offensive, former pro for Cloud9, Curse and Gravity Gaming Michael ‘BunnyFuFuu’ Kurylo offered his services, though was cruelly denied his Thresh main in pursuit of stranger picks. And assisting Bunny with the shotcalling was former Cloud9 teammate, FlyQuest and Golden Guardians mid-laner Hai DuLam.
The team put themselves through three metatheory-crafting sessions, attempting to find the best off-meta compositions themed around single concepts. For the first team comp, Team Ovilee settled on Sett, the boss. The bruiser of the criminal underworld was given all the minions he needed to become an unstoppable punching machine.
Metatheory #1: Sett, The Boss
- Sett (Jungle) - Trick2G
- Morgana (Top) - Hai
- Orianna (Mid) - KayPea
- Ashe (Bot) - Bunny
- Yuumi (Support) - Ovilee
During their theorycrafting, Trick2G claimed the role of the big boss and requested subordinates to give him the speed and shields he needs to never lose a fight. To that end, Hai planned out a Morgana top (despite worrying about her squishiness for the solo lane) in order to Black Shield the boss, making him immune to crowd control, and Soul Shackle the enemy team in place to trap them in the ring with Sett.
For additional sustain, and that extra movement speed Sett is missing to land a 5-champ ult, Ovilee picked up Yuumi to support on bot lane. She eventually becomes a zoomies backpack for Sett later in the game, with good protection to boot. For the laning phase, Bunny’s Ashe sat bot and used her icy arrows to further slow enemies and keep them in range of the Sett pain train during fights. With all of those support champs, the team seemed to be lacking some damage, so KayPea picked up Orianna for mid, to add a little more oomph to their power.
The result was a serviceable team, and the Twitch chat agreed with 76% believing the Sett Squad would dominate their opponents. With a strong start and a quick first blood on top lane for Sett and Morgana, it looked like they might be right. Orianna and Sett wombo combos began to start bullying opponents in teamfights throughout the mid game, but a few overzealous deep dives under tier 3 turrets saw them lose their momentum. Missed Ashe arrows gave them no way to control their engages, and eventually the team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Despite the result, Ovilee and the team believe this is a viable team composition, ruling it a success. Their opponents put forward an extremely on-meta team, featuring Azir, Thresh, Caitlyn and Malphite, whose huge blasts kept shutting them down. Changes suggested by Hai and Bunny would be swapping out Ashe for Shen to lane with Yuumi, as he’s more capable of getting into the back lines. The main issue with the comp was a lack of dependable initiation, so anyone who can engage the enemy and help Sett follow up for the damage those big fists can deal.
Result: Success! (Sort of)
Metatheory #2: The Wall
- Gnar (Top) - Trick2G
- Taliyah (Jungle) - KayPea
- Qiyana (Mid) - Hai
- Vayne (Bot) - Bunny
- Anivia (Support) - Ovilee
With a technical success under their belts, the team got a little more ambitious. The goal: create the ultimate team comp for using walls and terrain to smash their opponents into. Multiple champs were suggested for their wall-ability interactions, with Bard, Talon, and Jarvan just missing out on the cut.
With Vayne the only viable AD Carry with a way of smashing enemies into walls, she was the obvious pick for Bunny, using her Condemn to impale them on the terrain. To produce even more walls for these crossbow bolts to embed themselves in, KayPea graciously agreed to take Taliyah to her old stomping grounds in the jungle, hoping to surf walls straight through the enemy team’s line-up.
Hai took Qiyana mid, hoping to bend her Supreme Talent around all these criss-crossing walls of death. And to make getting around the uneven terrain of these messy engages, Trick’s Gnar on top lane would hop over walls and never be out of the fight. Supporting with even more walls, Ovilee took Anivia with the added bonus of: become egg.
This comp pushed KayPea’s famous positive mental attitude to its limits, testing just how tilt proof she is, as she was thrust back into the jungles on an unfamiliar champ. And for the vast majority of the game, it looked like a struggle for everyone. The co-ordination required to place walls across fights in just the right way to be useful to everyone’s varied abilities almost got them in a lot of trouble early on.
However, once Hai and Bunny got buff enough to carry all their items, the wallslam dunks just kept coming. They never quite managed to pull off any of the intended wombo combos, but the strange meta pulled through with a decisive win.
For future finetuning, the team decided the original plan of putting Poppy top instead of Gnar may have been more helpful, though SuperGnar did prove to be a useful distraction at points. There were also merits to swapping Anivia for Bard to help everyone duck under all of their own walls using the secret tunnel delivery strat. Which brings us to our final experiment of the first episode of Metamorphosis.
Result: Success! (for real this time)
Metatheory #3: Special Delivery!
- Sion (Top) - Trick
- Twitch (Jungle) - Hai
- Ziggs (Mid) - KayPea
- Zilean (Bot) - Bunny
- Tahm Kench (Support) - Ovilee
There’s a chance you might know where this one’s going already, based on that team comp. Zilean, the mad bomber, and his merry band of delivery drivers. The classic duo lane of Zilean/Tahm Kench is barely a whisper on the lips of dedicated pub strat aficionados, sticking a bomb on a minion for the catfish to spit at the enemy.
Figuring out other ways to get Zilean’s bombs to their opponents’ doorsteps, Hai suggested the sneaky rat Twitch to ambush foes with his camouflage. Sion was chosen for his Unstoppable Onslaught, offering speedy shipping direct to its destination, and the ability to actually survive impact thanks to his resurrection passive.
Finally, the team planned to have Syndra join the minion tossing fun, however chat’s insistence that KayPea be in control was vetoed by her as she claimed they were well aware of her less-than-perfect Q+E combos. Instead, Ziggs was chosen as a second bomber for additional poke and damage-dealing.
It’s a dirty strat, but one most of the Twitch chats believed in with 66% predicting a win. However the result was a round thrashing after losing an early inhibitor and going 20 kills down by the end of the game. That isn’t to say the team comp was without merit. Many early Tahm Kench/Zilean bomb deliveries were on point, dealing a surprisingly huge amount of poke damage to their lane opponents. Especially if the minion chosen to hold the bomb was low enough that Kench’s spit would kill them on impact, dealing instant explosive damage.
However the enemy team’s targeting of Twitch meant he remained squishy and unable to make the secret deliveries of bombs needed. The surprise delivery method really only works during the laning phase, and during team fights doesn’t give the team enough time to set up properly. Proposed solutions included Bard, to set up a secret delivery tunnel for long-range shipping, Evelynn for Demon Shade camouflage after level 6, or Shaco to also pop up on top of them while camouflaged and deal extra backstab damage.
Result: Fail (but could work if you snowballed early)
All in all, one outright success, one sort-of success and another fail. Not a bad start to Red Bull’s Metamorphosis. Tune in for the next episode on August 12, when even more stars of the Rift will be taking on the meta and winning. Hopefully.