Bot lane matchups

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  1. Bot lane matchups
  3. Bot lane matchups are a very complex subject. On solo lanes or jungle matchups it's easy to say that one champion beats or counters another, or that a matchup is even and can be considered a skill matchup.
  5. Bot lane is unique in being a 2v2 lane and to top it off the supports are often even more impactful than the ADCs, so you have to factor the support into the matchup just as much if not more than the ADC. There's such a ridiculous amount of possible combinations you can run into (minimum 560 counting only common picks) that it's simply impossible to explain the dynamics of how every single matchup should play out, nor can I rate the difficulty of each ADC matchup individually because depending on the supports, your pick can either win lane against every ADC or lose lane against every ADC.
  7. So I'm going to dedicate this chapter to giving a small rundown of what you need to know about laning against each champion (both the ADCs and the supports) and a rating of what their [b]general[/b] strength in lane is, which is not necessarily a rating of how difficult your lane will be if you're playing against them in solo queue as it varies depending on who their lane partner is.
  9. Deep understanding of each champion on an individual level coupled with first-hand experience in witnessing how many different duos perform with each other will lead to a greater understanding of how any given bot lane matchup is likely to go, and with the following brief analyses of each bot lane champion I hope to give you as much of a head start in this area as I reasonably can.
  13. [[ashe]]
  15. Threat level: Low
  17. Ashe has very easy to land long range AoE poke, but it's not particularly strong and on a very high cooldown, resulting in low waveclear, weak trades and weak all-ins. However she's one of the highest auto-attack range ADCs and can easily poke with her auto-attacks, meaning if your bot lane duo is one that can't pressure her and scare her off of trading, she can end up bullying you pretty hard in said matchups despite being an overall weak laning champion.
  20. [[caitlyn]]
  22. Threat level: Medium
  24. For a long time regarded as the queen of laning phase, Caitlyn's had a lot of power taken out of her laning phase and given to her mid-late game, and playerbase perception hasn't yet to catch up with the times. She's still a massive lane bully and will win almost any lane that comes down to trading and waveclear, but she's very weak in all-ins and will get crushed in fights by any bot lane that can engage on her. Because of how extreme her strengths and weaknesses are her threat level really varies between high to low, so I chose medium as a compromise, but beware of how utterly dominant she can be in lane if you don't have a good matchup against her.
  27. [[draven]]
  29. Threat level: High
  31. Draven is the absolute king of laning phase in today's League, far beyond what Caitlyn ever was at her peak. He is simultaneously the strongest ADC in short trades, long trades, and second best in all-ins. Never has a champion quote ever been more true than "Draven does it all". However, even Draven is not without weakness. He's short-ranged and has no escapes so he's very vulnerable to being engaged on. Unfortunately he's so strong in all-ins that if you engage on him there's a good chance he'll just turn it into a double kill, but with a strong enough engage duo who can burst him down before he has a chance to exert his damage, and a weak enough all-in support on his side who can't prevent it from happening, he can be beaten in all-ins in some matchups.
  33. Additionally, because of his short range and poor waveclear he can be easily handled by champions who can pressure him from outside his range like Caitlyn on the ADCs' side or Zyra on the supports' side, [b]on the condition[/b] that he's not paired with a support that has the ability to easily engage on and lock down these long range champions for Draven to reach and kill.
  36. [[ezreal]]
  38. Threat level: Low
  40. Ezreal is a champion that is primarily picked for safety, he is very hard to kill in lane and his long range low cooldown [[mystic shot]] allows him to easily keep up in CS from a range in situations where other ADCs wouldn't be able to farm. In exchange for being so hard to snowball against, he's also made to lack the tools to snowball himself. He has weak waveclear, unnoteworthy all-in power, and would be decent at trading if not for the fact that he can't poke through minions. He will never create a winning matchup solely on his own merits. However, bot lane being as complicated as it is, if his duo as a whole is one that is either stronger in all-ins or stronger at trading and he is able to pressure the lane rather than play defensively, [[mystic shot]] becomes an excellent poke tool and he can exert a lot of pressure with his range, similarly to Ashe but stronger.
  43. [[jhin]]
  45. Threat level: Medium
  47. Jhin's fourth shot hits like a truck, giving him very strong zoning potential and damage when trading with it, which combined with his decent waveclear makes him a strong lane bully in most matchups. He's okay in all-ins when following up his support's engage to finish someone off, but his damage is not great in extended fights and he is himself highly vulnerable to being engaged on and burst down.
  50. [[jinx]]
  52. Threat level: Low
  54. Jinx comes online for teamfights very early into the game but has a miserable laning phase. She's weak at trading, weak in all-ins, has inefficient waveclear, suffers from Ezreal's problem of having decent poke that's impossible to actually use unless you're already winning lane, and is also highly vulnerable to being engaged on. On the plus side, when the matchup actually does allow her to have pressure in lane [[Zap!]] allows for some very high range, very high damage poke, and she has very high auto-attack range to pressure with as well as decent CC and burst to follow up engages with, so should you find yourself on the losing end of a matchup against her don't expect her overall weak laning phase to make toughing through the matchup a breeze.
  57. [[kai'sa]]
  59. Threat level: Medium
  61. Kai'Sa has a lot of winning matchups while only having a few losing ones, but she doesn't excell at any particular area. She's decent in trades, has decent waveclear and decent all-ins which makes her a versatile champion fitting well into most matchups and supports, but she generally won't crush you in any individual aspect and can be beaten by duos that strongly outshine her any areas, and is especially vulnerable to ADCs that can best all-in her. Her mobility is decent enough though that she's not overly vulnerable to engages compared to the more immobile ADCs.
  64. [[kalista]]
  66. Threat level: Medium
  68. A Challenger level Kalista wins almost all lanes, but the average Kalistas you'll encounter in your games won't be quite so impressive, generally winning against low threat ADCs, going even against medium threat ADCs and losing to high threat ADCs. She's a lane bully that can pressure opponents quite well with her high mobility, low CD trading and strong poke to develop healthy CS leads, but she lacks upfront damage in fights, loses DPS when slowed and is generally quite easy to kill once locked down. However, when in a winning matchup she can be very oppressive due to her high mobility and ability to help her support engage.
  71. [[kog'maw]]
  73. Threat level: Low
  75. Kog'Maw is best known for being a mid-late game hypercarry and respectively his laning phase is appropriately weak to compensate. He can't push very well early on, has very weak trading in lane, very weak poke until level 6 when it becomes okay, very poor followup to engages, and is himself highly vulnerable to them. When actually in a winning matchup he won't have a hard time exerting pressure between his massive auto-attack range during [[bio-arcane barrage]] and his long range poke with [[living artillery]], but he doesn't bring much kill potential to the lane. When in a bad matchup he won't have a problem farming safely while avoiding trades but can be easily divable by a strong enough all-in duo.
  78. [[lucian]]
  80. Threat level: High
  82. A traditional lane bully, Lucian sacrifices mid-lategame power in exchange for putting it all into his laning phase. Lucian has great waveclear, decent poke, great trades, is great in all-ins, has great followup to engages, and has great mobility to keep him safe from engages. He's a little worse than draven at most aspects besides waveclear but his extra mobility makes him safer and also better at abusing his leads when he has them, especially as he typically rushes [[blade of the ruined king]] which also gives him a solid slow to force kills with.
  84. Lucian will typically lose lane into matchups that outrange him when his lane can't easily force engages, or can lose to duos with stronger all-ins.
  87. [[miss fortune]]
  89. Threat level: Medium
  91. Miss Fortune is a champion who can be a massive lane bully into many matchups given the huge range and damage of her [[double up]], but she suffers from being too easy to kill when engaged on. Against matchups that can't all-in her though, whether in a poke-focused lane or paired with an engage support she can pack a massive punch through [[double up]] poke and [[bullet time]] damage in fights.
  94. [[sivir]]
  96. Threat level: High
  98. Sivir is probably the most underrated laning phase ADC there is. She has the best waveclear of any ADC at later levels and still really good waveclear earlier on, great poke, decent trades, is okay in all-ins, is relatively safe from being engaged upon by basically any support that isn't [[alistar]], and is really good at helping her support engage with [[on the hunt]]. Her short range however means that she's easy to poke and is vulnerable to engages that don't rely on CC that she can spell shield.
  101. [[tristana]]
  103. Threat level: High
  105. Tristana has bad early waveclear, really bad poke and really bad trades, but her strength in all-ins in matchups where she can fully stack her [[explosive charge]] is absolutely unmatched, and her massive dash range with [[rocket jump]] makes it easy for her to force all-ins at the drop of a dime. With all her power focused onto this one single strength, it makes for a highly explosive and action packed laning phase, where at any moment she can jump on you and one-shot you.
  107. She has a hard time into matchups where she can't win all-ins, usually either as a result of CC leaving her unable to stack her [[explosive charge]] in time, or [[exhaust]] nullifying her burst when she does. Since all-ins are her one strength, in matchups where she can't force them she ends up being really useless and falls pretty far behind. However, her amazing mobility also makes her really safe and hard to kill even against bot lanes with great engage.
  110. [[twitch]]
  112. Threat level: Low
  114. Twitch may be marked as a low threat, but that doesn't mean you can let your guard down against him. Twitch has bad waveclear, bad poke, is bad at short trades and is highly vulnerable to engage, making him an extremely weak champion in lane overall. However he's okay in extended trades where he has time to stack up [[contaminate]], and [[ambush]] makes him the best ADC at forcing fights on his own terms when it favours him.
  116. Despite being extremely weak in all-ins and trades and on average being down in CS into every single matchup as a result of it, he still averages being up on kills into every ADC except Tristana. It isn't enough to make his laning phase good given that on average he still falls behind in gold to every ADC except [[vayne]] and [[kog'maw]], but it goes to show that while his laning phase in a vacuum may be terrible, you still need to be very careful and aware to make sure that you don't end up giving him free kills in situations where he can sneakily engage on you when it favours him.
  119. [[varus]]
  121. Threat level: Medium
  123. Varus has decent waveclear, poke and trading, and his ult is an amazing engage tool which coupled with his bursty kit makes him decent in all-ins too. However as a jack of all trades that makes him easy to beat in a matchup that's much better than him at any given aspect.
  126. [[vayne]]
  128. Threat level: Low
  130. Being a late-game hypercarry, Vayne has bad waveclear, bad poke, bad trades and poor all-ins. On the other hand she's relatively safe, and she's great at following up engages or engaging herself when she's in a winning matchup. But she pretty much loses any lane so long as the support difference isn't enough to compensate for it.
  133. [[xayah]]
  135. Threat level: Medium
  137. Xayah has great waveclear, decent poke, good trades and great all-ins especially when paired with a CC support while also being safe from engages and having great followup to engages by bringing CC of her own. All around a very solid laner, but is quite short ranged and can be easily handled by matchups that can keep her at a distance or beat her in all-ins.
  140. [[alistar]]
  142. Threat level: Low
  144. Alistar is a rather weak laning support overall given his vulnerability to being poked, the ease with which his WQ combo can be interrupted by many supports with displacements, and the fact that any CC or mobility spell can prevent him from stunning his target with [[trample]]. However, after level 6 with [[unbreakable will]] active he's also the tankiest support in the game, and with all 3 of his non-ultimate spells being CCs and mostly displacements it makes him very hard to ignore in skirmishes. It also makes him great at setting up plays, so if he [i]is[/i] in a winning matchup it makes it very easy for him to dive 2v2 or with the jungler's help, given that he can tank up the tower for long periods of time while CCing the targets to allow his team mates to safely finish them off.
  147. [[bard]]
  149. Threat level: Medium
  151. With [[cosmic binding]] and [[traveler's call]], Bard has probably the strongest level 1 of any support which is something you always have to watch out for when playing against him, but in further levels he gains very lackluster abilities and falls off to rather middle of the pack in terms of laning strength, able to beat up the weaker laning supports but also getting beat up by the stronger ones. He's very good at low-range trading and has a reasonable amount of healing to sustain his ADC and himself despite not quite falling into the healer category of supports, and can set up good engages with [[tempered fate]] to allow his team to catch up to the caught enemies and kill them, and also allow himself to get into position to stun them either against a wall or each other with [[cosmic binding]]. He himself though is quite vulnerable to engages especially when not near a wall he can [[magical journey]] to for an escape, and since he only has one damage spell and auto-attacks/passive to trade with can also be quite vulnerable to poke from stronger trading supports.
  154. [[blitzcrank]]
  156. Threat level: Medium
  158. Blitzcrank is probably the most hit or miss champion in League of legends, both literally and figuratively. If he hits his [[rocket grab]] it will likely turn into a kill, but if it misses he proceeds to have absolutely no lane presence over the next ~18 seconds until it comes back off cooldown and his ADC may as well be laning 1v2. So obviously it goes without saying that his all-ins have the potential to be great if he's the one forcing them by landing a good hook, but when missed or if used on a melee range target he's rather weak since he doesn't bring much to the table other than forcing a target to become horribly mispositioned and briefly CC'ing them in that spot. He's generally weak into strong laning supports that can control the lane and make him scared to walk up to hook for fear of taking too much damage or getting caught himself, but can be quite successful into some of the weaker laning supports, especially into enchanters. Though the opponent's general strength in lane is still the overall biggest factor, Blitzcrank is more so happy to face enchanters than other supports, and likewise shines into immobile ADCs who have no easy way of dodging the hook and have to play defensively and far back to avoid putting themselves into a position where they can get hooked.
  161. [[brand]]
  163. Threat level: High
  165. Brand's combination of strong long range poke, one hard CC and immense burst make him one of the strongest laning supports in the game, alongside most mage supports. Given the range of his poke along with its strength it's very hard to beat Brand through trades and therefore makes strong all-in lanes with good engage the best chance at beating him in lane, but pre-6 he has the proper tools to keep his opponents too low to be able to risk engaging and after 6 with [[pyroclasm]] he can potentially blow up two targets at once in fights, so all in all there's just no getting around the fact that Brand is just not a champion that ever expects to lose lane, except against other mage supports for whom you can also say the same thing.
  168. [[braum]]
  170. Threat level: Low
  172. Braum has great peeling and defensive properties for keeping his ADC safe in teamfights, but this translates very poorly into laning phase strength where he's just a low-CC melee support with no damage, no way to fight back against poke, and not particularly safe from getting engaged on, so rather abusable in pretty much any matchup. Fortunately he's very tanky to make up for it so not particularly easy to kill, and [[unbreakable]] can often save his ADC's life in fights too, but overall he's the weakest laning support in the game.
  175. [[fiddlesticks]]
  177. Threat level: High
  179. Fiddlesticks has two equally viable spells he can max based on his needs or desires, either [[dark wind]] to focus on poke or [[terrify]] to weaken enemy trades/all-ins, either way though he has a good time in most trade/poke focused matchups. Engage is the best way to deal with him but he has the option of taking [[aftershock]] to instantly proc with [[terrify]] if he ever gets engaged on so he gets very high resistances on top of CCing one of his attackers for a high duration, so unless he can be CC chained or caught off guard with cooldowns he's not particularly vulnerable. Additionally at level 6 he becomes very strong in all-ins where he has the opportunity to jump in with [[crowstorm]] and can find creative ways to force a fight by surprise and catch people out, making him a threat you always have to be particularly cautious of.
  182. [[janna]]
  184. Threat level: Low
  186. Janna can either max [[zephyr]] to prioritise trading and controlling the lane, or [[eye of the storm]] to prioritize keeping herself and her ADC safe while still offering some extra damage through the AD and having reasonable poke in her unmaxed [[zephyr]]. She's weak in all-ins but is also great at protecting herself and her ADC from all-ins in many matchups, making her an overall decent support while still being slightly on the weaker side, though vulnerable to supports with longer range poke and supports who can engage without being affected by her [[howling gale]].
  189. [[karma]]
  191. Threat level: Medium
  193. [[mantra]]-empowered [[inner flame]] is probably the strongest poke spell you'll find on bot lane which does massive damage and is very easy to hit, but [[mantra]] has a long cooldown and [[inner flame]] on its own is rather short ranged while still doing decent damage and making it easy to shove and control waves. Being a sort of enchanter/mage hybrid she doesn't really shine at either aspect, but her magelike qualities make her a rather good laning champion despite not being quite on the same level as other pure mage supports, and her enchanter qualities make her decent at protecting and buffing her allies, despite not being quite as good at it as pure enchanters.
  196. [[leona]]
  198. Threat level: Medium
  200. The greatest thing that Leona offers is easy engage onto vulnerable short range targets, since her [[xenith blade]] travels through minions which is a feature most engage champions lack on their engage tools. However it's also quite short ranged which is a big disadvantage over them and her all-ins are not as strong as other engage champions, so while she has an easy time forcing fights to extend her lead in good matchups, she doesn't necessarily have a great deal of good matchups, so is best paired with a strong laning ADC and works best when picked against weak laners.
  203. [[lulu]]
  205. Threat level: Low
  207. Lulu has the ability to massively buff her ADC's damage mid-late game as well as offering great anti-burst protection and works best paired with hypercarries, so given her scaling it's not surprising that her laning phase isn't that great. She does pack a lot of damage however, so she can definitely act as a bit of a lane bully in winning matchups, but she needs to get in close range to use it and can easily get blown up in many matchups.
  210. [[lux]]
  212. Threat level: High
  214. Whether maxing [[lucent singularity]] to focus on poke or [[prismatic barrier]] to shield massive amounts of damage for her ADC, Lux brings a lot of damage to the lane either way, and brings both pressure and kill potential, using her long range poke to wear enemies down coupled with her long range snare enabling her to burst down low enemy laners. However to get the most damage out of her kit she has to get in auto-attack range to proc [[illumination]], without which she misses out on a lot of damage especially if she maxes [[prismatic barrier]], which opens up room for enemy laners to try and punish her either by trading back or engaging on her.
  217. [[morgana]]
  219. Threat level: High
  221. [[black shield]] makes Morgana a hard counter to most of the CC reliant supports, but the rest of her kit is also strong enough that she generally performs quite well into enchanters too. With [[dark binding]] and [[tormented shadow]] she can inflict a great deal of poke damage, and with [[dark binding]] scaling up to 3 seconds of CC she has very high pick potential, especially after level 6 when she can follow it up with [[soul shackles]] for a longer lock-down. In general [[soul shackles]] can make her a large threat in all-ins since she can [[black shield]] herself to make sure she can't be CC'd so she can complete the channel, and if she uses it before [[dark binding]] she can guarantee a very high lockdown period onto a target she stuns. The only supports that can reliably beat her are lane dominant mage supports, but she isn't an awful pick into these either since her [[black shield]] at worst can act as a regular shield and can also be used to counter any CC these champions commonly have.
  224. [[nami]]
  226. Threat level: Low
  228. Nami brings a perfect balance of poke and healing as she improves both when ranking up her [[ebb and flow]], and can frequently both poke and heal her or her ADC with one cast, making it easy to keep her and her ADC topped up and healthy while also applying pressure in the matchup. Her all-ins however are generally not all that great, hinging massively on her ability to land her slow moving [[aqua prison]]. When she does hit it she's rewarded greatly with a decent CC duration which can turn around many fights. But when she doesn't her contribution to fights isn't great and even with her heal she's still quite squishy and vulnerable. She scales decently into mid-game though and is a wonderful asset for helping her ADC minimize their losses in lane while also doing a great job of bullying weaker matchups.
  231. [[nautilus]]
  233. Threat level: High
  235. Nautilus has gone through long periods of weakness in the support role, but currently at the time of writing this he is probably the strongest all-in support, bringing a heavy mix of high tankiness, decent damage and long range, very easy to land engage. However he has no poke and can't engage through minions, so in matchups where he has no prio and can be punished for walking up to fish for hooks he won't be able to contribute much and is vulnerable to poke. When in winning matchups though his ease at engaging makes him very scary to face and can generate very large gold leads.
  238. [[pyke]]
  240. Threat level: High
  242. Pyke is currently the strongest support in lane, bringing the same playmaking utility you'd get from other engage/hook supports while also being highly mobile, rather tanky overall in extended scenarios where he can make ample use of [[gift of the drowned ones]], and also bringing a lot of damage into the matchup given his position as the only AD assassin support in the game. He doesn't quite have the damage to one-shot a carry unless extremely fed, but coupled with his ADC's damage it makes it rather easy to bring a target below the execution threshold for [[death from below]], making him great at snowballing especially given the fact that any targets executed by [[death from below]] give full kill gold to both Pyke and the ADC, causing winning matchups to generate more gold for the duo as a whole than they would for any other duo. His high mobility and sustain also make it extremely hard to punish him except if he can be CC locked and burst down, making it hard to generate leads from him when he fails at making a play, while not being as forgiving for the enemy bot lane when he succeeds.
  244. [[rakan]]
  246. Threat level: Low
  248. Being a scaling support, Rakan's laning phase is rather weak. His engage is hard to land, doesn't do much damage and he isn't particularly tanky to actually win the fights he engages. He has some poke but it doesn't do much damage, and some sustain but it's not on demand and isn't that strong. Sort of a jack of all trades that's weak enough in all aspects that he'll be outshined by most supports in lane. At level 6 his engages become a little stronger as he can more consistently land [[grand entrance]] and also gets to charm one other target on top of that, but still isn't great engage compared to other engage supports. He does have special synergy with [[xayah]]'s [[deadly plumage]] in lane that makes his all-ins a lot stronger than they are with any other ADC, but still overall on the weaker side of engage supports.
  251. [[sona]]
  253. Threat level: Low
  255. Sona eventually ramps up to being one of the strongest lategame champions in the game even compared to non-supports, so naturally her laning phase suffers to compensate. First and foremost she's the second squishiest champion in the game besides [[yuumi]] but doesn't get to go untargetable to make up for it, making her the most easily killable support to play in laning phase. However she does bring decent poke and some healing and shielding for both herself and her ADC, causing her to have an easy time into enchanters and other weak laners who can't punish her in all-ins and allow her to scale and keep herself and her ADC topped up with sustain. However her aforementioned squishiness makes her very weak into stronger laners with either high damage or good engage who can punish her lack of defensive stats.
  258. [[soraka]]
  260. Threat level: Low
  262. Soraka is the queen of healing in League of Legends, providing unparalleled levels of healing through [[astral infusion]] alone while also having a large global AoE heal in [[wish]] to boot. Unfortunately this healing comes at the cost of her own HP and her own self-sustain is quite low and dependant on harassing enemies with [[starcall]], leaving a lot of room to punish her. When in winnable matchups she has the option of maxing or putting some early points into [[starcall]] in order to have higher poke in lane, but it's still quite short ranged and doesn't do all that much damage, leaving her still quite an underwhelming laner.
  265. [[tahm kench]]
  267. Threat level: Low
  269. Kench doesn't have a great time into the majority of the support roster, but he actually does quite well into most melee supports. As these supports are mostly engage focused [[devour]] is an invaluable tool for keeping his ADC safe, but additionally Tahm Kench has a [i]ton[/i] of damage when he can [[devour]] an enemy champion, but has a hard time stacking it against ranged champions. Against melees on the other hand, this isn't a problem and he's much more capable of utilizing the full extent of his kit, and [[thick skin]] makes him incredibly tanky to the point where he isn't scared of letting himself be engaged on. So with this in mind he can certainly be quite strong in lane, but when looking at his performance on bot lane as a whole and not just against the champions he counters, his laning phase suffers quite a bit from his incapability of dealing with champions that outrange him.
  272. [[taric]]
  274. Threat level: Low
  276. Taric is the only melee pure enchanter in the game, every one of his spells except [[dazzle]] being defensive to protect his allies, which makes him great at protecting, but very bad at fighting enemy champions considering he lacks the range that other already weak laning enchanters would have to their advantage. He doesn't fair as badly into melee matchups since, similarly to Tahm Kench, he gets a lot of damage from his passive which he can't easily apply to ranged champions but can easily use on melees. However while this makes many melee matchups more bearable than ranged matchups, he still tends to not do very well into most of them.
  279. [[thresh]]
  281. Threat level: High
  283. Thresh combines the engage and pick potential of a melee champion with the trading pressure of a ranged champion. With [[flay]]'s passive combined with its active, Thresh packs a lot of damage in just one spell rank, and will often put a few early points into it to maximize his early damage. In winning matchups he can easily walk up to [[flay]] an enemy towards him even through minions knowing he can win the trade. [[flay]] is also great defensively and can block many champions' engage tools. Additionally, the aptly named [[death sentence]] often spells disaster for targets caught by it as it stuns and pulls the victim closer to Thresh and his ally over 1.5 seconds, and allows Thresh to dash in and chain it with the rest of his CC. Its range makes it hard to cope with Thresh in losing matchups and exerts a lot of pressure over the opponents in lane knowing they can't get too close to farm while [[death sentence]] is up. But while he shares many characteristics with melee supports and is a great deal tankier than enchanters and mages, he's still notably squishier than the average melee support and has a harder time surviving all-ins and being caught by CC in even or bad matchups.
  286. [[vel'koz]]
  288. Threat level: High
  290. Vel'Koz provides some of the longer range poke of all the mage supports, with experienced Vel'Koz players also being able to easily land poke on targets hiding behind minions due to the way [[plasma fission]] works, making it hard to avoid the pressure Vel'Koz exerts over a lane. He also brings long range massive AoE damage in [[life form disintegration ray]] after level 6 which makes it hard to ignore him in fights, while his range also makes him a hard target to get to. He also has a displacement CC in [[tectonic disruption]] to keep himself safe with, covering all his bases and making sure there's no easy way to deal with him in lane.
  293. [[xerath]]
  295. Threat level: High
  297. Xerath is the most oppressive mage support in lane despite not being too popular in the role. Neither of his two poke spells are hindered by minions meaning there's no way to avoid his poke except by dodging it, and since in the support role he doesn't have to move into a vulnerable position to last-hit there's not much room to fight back unless he's comfortable enough to step up because he thinks he'd win the fight. As far as mage supports go though he's probably the most vulnerable. He does have CC in [[shocking orb]] but it's not a displacement, is single-target, has a short duration at short distances such as when the engage has already happened, and while his poke is the most oppressive of any other mage support he also has the least immediate burst of any mage support so there's generally very little risk in engaging on him in even or close to even circumstances as he won't blow up one or two people at a time like [[zyra]] or [[brand]] could. This makes long range engage supports a lot more effective at dealing with him than they are against other mages. Which is not to say that they beat him, since in a vacuum Xerath should basically win lane against any support except for maybe [[pyke]], just that they fare better against him than they do against other mage supports despite Xerath being the strongest laner of them as a whole.
  300. [[yuumi]]
  302. Threat level: Low
  304. Yuumi is extremely squishy and as such has to spend the vast majority of her time attached to her ADC in order to not get constantly caught out. She provides a lot of healing and poke while attached but while it gives her an amazing late-game, for laning phase it doesn't quite make up for the lane being a 1v2 most of the time as she lacks lane presence, both literally and figuratively. She fares worst against engage supports who can both force her to detach less for fear of getting CC'd and blown up in an instant and also abuse the fact that her lane partner is sort of 1v2 and easy to engage on most of the time, but tends to perform quite well into other enchanters or weak laning supports who can't abuse her lack of lane presence, and also can't abuse her as hard when she's detached which allows her to detach more often and have more lane presence than she would in tougher matchups.
  307. [[zilean]]
  309. Threat level: Low
  311. Zilean is similar to [[Karma]] in that he acts as a sort of mix between an enchanter and a mage, though I would personally say he leans far more onto the enchanter side, and it shows in his laning strength. Like [[karma]] he has rather high damage poke in the form of [[time bomb]] which also provides an AoE stun as well as doubling its damage if he resets its cooldown with [[rewind]] and lands it twice. The issue is that it's very hard to lane compared to [[inner flame]] or other poke supports' abilities, and to obtain its full benefits he needs to manage to land it not just once but twice within a 3 second period. When successful he's very highly rewarded, but otherwise he's rather underwhelming. He can make it much easier for himself to land a double [[time bomb]] by casting [[time warp]] on his intended target, but this has a rather short range which leaves him open to retaliation. This means that when facing weak lanes he's more likely to be able to walk up to cast [[time warp]] for easy double [[time bomb]]s, but in harder matchups where he can't walk up to cast [[time warp]] without being punished he won't have anywhere near the same level of poke and overall lane presence, leaving a rather large gap between his highs and his lows in laning phase.
  314. [[zyra]]
  316. Threat level: High
  318. Following and finishing the mildly amusing trend of most mage supports being located towards the very end of the alphabet, [[zyra]] is just as lane dominant as the other mage supports, providing very high lane presence with her poke and burst, though compared to other mage supports she sacrifices a little bit of poke to make up for her high CC in her AoE knockup on [[stranglethorns]], and her high DPS in [[rampant growth]] and [[garden of thorns]] . Her poke is also significantly on the shorter range which leaves her slightly more vulnerable to low range engage supports, while in winning matchups not being as much of a problem against long range hook-based engage champions who need to path around minions to find her and leave themselves open to eating up one of her combos, but limiting her ability to poke in losing matchups where she has to stay far away from the minion wave and can't poke without also being at risk of getting engaged on. However she's very strong in all-ins where she can get her full combo out thanks to the DPS she gets out of her plants, especially when buffed by [[stranglethorns]], and also her combined 2-3 seconds of CC that prevents the targets from escaping the DPS coming from her plants, making engaging on her a scary prospect if her enemies can't burst her down before she has time to get her full spell rotation out, as while they may very well be able to kill her there's also a good chance that with the help of her ADC she'll take 1 or 2 of them down with her.
  322. Understanding how two bot lanes match into each other
  324. It's a complicated subject since there are some champion synergies that need to be accounted for, but generally a duo's strength will be the sum of their parts. So a high threat ADC with a high threat support would be a high threat bot lane, but a high threat ADC with a low threat support would be a medium threat bot lane, and a medium threat ADC with a high threat support would be a medium-high threat bot lane, somewhere in between.
  326. Drafting a low threat bot lane is one of the worst things you can do into a medium-high+ threat bot lane. If you have the time feel free to look over this [url=]VOD review[/url], otherwise I'll summarise it for you: the matchup is Caitlyn-Bard vs Kai'Sa-Janna. Janna on her own is pretty middle of the pack/low threat on her own when it comes to trades, while Kai'Sa has the potential to deal a lot of damage in all-ins but is very low threat outside of all-ins. Meanwhile Caitlyn and Bard are both long range, trade heavy bot laners who suck at all-ins but are hard to engage on without engage spells like [[death sentence]] or [[xenith blade]].
  328. While Janna-Kai'Sa isn't a particularly bad bot lane into low-medium range trade-focused champions and there are worse bot lanes for dealing with all-ins too (Janna brings this particular duo down in that department), they're awful into a trade-focused medium-high threat bot lane like Caitlyn-Bard as they lack the tools to deal with them, they can't win trades so their only way to fight back is through all-ins, but while they would likely win an all-in if they could force one, neither of them actually has the tools to force said all-in. Give Kai'Sa a [[thresh]] instead and they could heavily threaten the Caitlyn-Bard lane and force them to play more respectfully, but instead her support is Janna, bringing their overall threat level down to a point where they pose no threat at all to the Caitlyn-Bard lane.
  330. The result is Kai'Sa-Janna get their waves shoved in under tower repeatedly, and while they do get a few [[rengar]] ganks to help them out, some counterganks and outplays from the opposing team leave them stuck in their complicated scenario, resulting in their tower falling at 9 minutes and being over 20 CS behind from all the CS lost to tower.
  332. But the slaughter doesn't end there. Caitlyn-Bard rotates to top lane and Kai'Sa-Janna have to follow them since they stand a better chance of defending the 4 platings tower than top lane Kennen does 1v2. But 2 minutes later the top lane tower also falls, Caitlyn-Bard having now claimed two separate towers single handedly by the 12 minute mark. They proceed to rotate mid lane and repeat the process there, and it all snowballs into Caitlyn-Bard's team claiming every non-inhibitor tower on the map by 16 minutes while their team haven't even lost half the HP of a single tower.
  334. All because Kai'Sa-Janna drafted a bot lane that had no answers for a long range trade-heavy bot lane like Caitlyn-Bard.How could this have been avoided? Either a change in the ADC or the support could have drastically altered the fate of the lane.
  336. Looking at supports, Thresh would have provided a lot more pressure to scare Caitlyn-Bard away from permanently auto-attacking the tower and also could have potentially won them lane priority if neither Bard nor Cait could risk getting hooked for fear of dying. Brand's harass would have provided enough pressure to stop them completely free-hitting the tower for fear of falling too low in HP, and possibly won over lane priority if Brand landed enough of his spells, especially given that his all-ins when landing [[sear]] are pretty scary due to his burst, even before he has [[pyroclasm]]. [[morgana]] wouldn't have won over lane priority but would've introduced the fear of getting binded and provided the ability to force an engage onto a snared target without fear of being immediately stunned by [[cosmic binding]], again not allowing them to hit tower as freely as they did.
  338. Looking at ADCs, Draven would have manhandled anyone who dared to get into his range, [[cosmic binding]] be damned, since his spells give him the ability to engage just by walking up with high movement speed and briefly CC'ing his target with [[stand aside]], Bard especially would have been particularly vulnerable to this while Caitlyn is a bit safer with [[90 caliber net]] but also has to be afraid of being abused by Draven if she misses the slow. Varus could have snared either opponent close to tower and used that as an opportunity to all-in at the very least getting free damage off, and also makes Caitlyn-Bard [i]much[/i] more scared of ganks knowing that getting hit by [[chain of corruption]] would mark their death. Tristana would've also had far better gank followup and also far more threat in all-ins while also having the means to engage herself.
  340. As you can see, neither Janna nor Kai'Sa in particular was the problem, nor are they necessarily a bad bot lane duo in general. But the world of bot lane matchups is a complicated one and, either because of having to blind pick or intentionally drafting their duo into Caitlyn-Bard out of ignorance, their duo resulted in disaster that particular game. Replace Janna with most low threat supports and the same thing would've happened, replace Kai'Sa with most low-threat ADCs and the same thing would have happened.
  342. I would hate to write a traditional matchups chapter for bot lane because it's never as simple as "Caitlyn beats Kai'Sa" or vice versa, it's highly dependent on the bot lanes as a whole. Reverse the supports and Caitlyn still would've won but probably not as one-sidedly, replace Janna with Nautilus and Kai'Sa probably would've been favoured as suddenly they have the tools to capitalize on Caitlyn-Bard's weakness to all-ins.
  344. Of course you also have to account for synergies between champions, but you also need to remember that synergies between champions also tend to be heavily overrated. The first example that comes to mind is Lucian-Braum, their passives' interactions with each other are insane as Lucian's passive very quickly stacks Braum's passive, and this has given them the reputation of being a brutal bot lane matchup to face.
  346. But Braum is one of the weakest laning supports in the game, and his synergy with Lucian doesn't change that. Out of all the supports in the game, Braum is Lucian's 3rd worst performing support in lane where he causes Lucian to fall 250+ gold behind in the average game, while Lucian paired with some of the high threat supports yields a 400-700 gold lead for Lucian on average. In winrates they're also an awful duo because Lucian is one of the weakest ADCs at the time of writing this and Braum has been one of the weakest supports for a very long time when writing this too.
  348. A bot lane doesn't necessarily have to shine at the same points, you can pair a strong laning support with a weak laning support, and despite sounding like they have counter-synergy it actually results in a medium-threat bot lane while also having medium-scaling, which you generally don't get from high threat ADCs/supports. Despite having opposite focuses, the result is a happy compromise between those two focuses, and not necessarily a bad thing unless your team comp really needs a winning bot lane and the enemy bot has drafted an even stronger lane.
  350. So Braum being a weak laning support while Lucian is a lane bully doesn't innately mean that they're a bad duo, each individual's strengths in theory are meant to cover up their weakness while the reverse also applies and leaves them a perfectly viable but not overpowered option; but their weak tuning does make them a bad duo. They're both individually weak and their synergy doesn't make up for it. When you're playing Lucian, you'd rather have a strong support you have no synergy with than a weak support you have strong synergy with. If you're playing Braum the same thing applies, you'd rather have a strong ADC you have no synergy with than a weak ADC you have strong synergy with.
  352. If they were both buffed to a point where they're strong in solo queue then they'd become a great bot lane, but as it stands they're one of the weakest bot lanes in the game, but remain heavily overrated year after year because people overlook their tuning when looking at their synergy, and forget that synergy isn't the only thing that matters, and in this case there's a bigger factor overriding their synergy.
  354. Another example is Twitch-Lulu, which especially with the rise in prominence of funneling has enlightened the world as to what a terrifying duo Twitch-Lulu can be. But when you look at solo queue performance, Lulu isn't even Twitch's best support, even though Twitch is Lulu's best ADC (though not by a great margin over #2 or #3). She's consistently very close to the top, ranking from #2 to #4, but not on a single patch is she ever actually his best performing support, an honor which is split between Nami and Taric, slightly favoured to Nami.
  356. This is because while Lulu is the support which best enables Twitch in the mid-late game by massively boosting his DPS and also providing incredible protection from divers and assassins, she's also one of the weakest laning supports in the game and Twitch is also one of the weakest laning ADCs, which means if you were to just constantly pick them every game you'd very frequently find yourself in scenarios like the Kai'Sa-Janna from earlier where you're too weak to do anything and fall massively behind with no options to fight back.
  358. Whereas Nami is also an excellent scaling support, and while she doesn't scale as well with Twitch as Lulu does, she makes up for it by being far better in lane, especially in those scenarios where you're facing Caitlyn-Bard or similar bot lanes, where [[tidal wave]] and [[aqua prison]] give her an excellent engage tool to allow Twitch to open up from stealth and burst down bot laners that just want to maintain their distance and force short trades, and also has heals to keep him healthy and in a position to force those fights rather than being too low to threaten an all-in.
  360. Whereas Taric is probably just as weak in lane as Lulu if not more, but again has a much better engage tool especially paired with [[ambush]], and has an all around much better performance in all-ins after level 6. Then while his scaling with Twitch in particular isn't as good as Lulu's, his contribution to the team as a whole lategame is much better than what Lulu offers.
  362. All these factors are mainly what lead to Nami and Taric on average performing better with Twitch than Lulu despite Lulu having far more synergy with him. There are definitely scenarios where Lulu is a better pick, for example if you're facing a low/low-medium threat bot lane like Kai'Sa-Janna then bot lane is probably going to be a farm fest above all else so Lulu will perform much better than she would into stronger bot lanes, but again this example serves to show just how fluid the bot lane ecosystem is. X pick is not [i]always[/i] going to be the best counter to Y pick, V pick is not [i]always[/i] going to be the best pair for Z pick.
  364. It's not commonly talked about and I believe it's also a very poorly understood subject even at the Challenger level, where even Challenger players sometimes think a Soraka-Twitch lane can beat a Tristana-Rakan lane by poking them down, like Tristana-Rakan doesn't have the ability to one-shot either of them on demand the moment they get in range to poke; while [[Soraka]] poking down [[Rakan]] would actually be a viable prospect if [[Rakan]] were paired with [[Kai'Sa]], against [[tristana]] trying to poke is just suicide.
  366. It's impossible to discuss every single possible duo against every possible duo, so a lot of it is going to ride on your game knowledge and experience. The purpose of this chapter was to provide you with as much relevant game knowledge to understanding bot lane matchups/pairings as possible, and I hope it has done so. You will still require a lot of experience to perfectly understand how different duos will interact with each other while also accounting for how the different players perform, but unfortunately that's beyond what a guide can teach you. At the very least though I hope I've at least set you on the right path.
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