Each season, there’s a new meta. Items change, Champions get nerfed/buffed, and there’s always some new gimmick. Naturally, certain Champions rise to the top. These are the go-to picks for most games, the ones you know will be good in most match ups.
But what about those who aren’t considered meta? The ones that, when picked, will cause everyone else in the game to pause and say, “…Really?”
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Today, we’ll be taking a look at the overall best off-meta ADC in LoL, as well as some runner-ups. We’ll go over what’s considered best for them in an unfavorable season and why you might want to consider giving them a try. Let’s get started.
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Best Off-Meta ADC in LoL: Top 8 Champions
Let’s start with the best off-meta ADCs in LoL overall, then check out some solid runner-ups.
- Role: Mid/Top/Bot
- Core Items: Immortal Shieldbow, Infinity Edge
- Runes: Lethal Tempo + Resolve Tree
No matter how popular Yasuo ADC gets, I’ll always have a hard time accepting it. Of all Champions that really shouldn’t be in bot lane, Yasuo is at the top. His wind wall is a nightmare to deal with as any ranged champion, and for some reason he’s able to come back from seemingly unbearable losses as soon as he finishes his second item. Obviously, though, my frustration proves one thing–Yasuo can be a great ADC in certain situations. If he’s good enough to make other ADC players angry, then he’s perfect for bot lane.
What makes Yasuo a solid off-meta pick is the same thing that allows him to play top. He’s just really good. The exception to that, though, is that you have to be really good at him for it to work. If you aren’t a good Yasuo player, then the enemy bot lane will have an excellent time. Yasuo is one of the most skill-based Champions in the game, so you really have to put in the hours to make it work.
One note for bot laners who want to play Yasuo is that your team comp has to allow for it. Playing Yasuo with a bunch of other AD Champions or brawlers isn’t going to work.
- Role: Bot
- Core Items: Eclipse, Manamune
- Runes: Lethal Tempo + Inspiration Tree
Every season, I feel bad for Varus. He’s never meta, rarely gets played even at low elos, and is generally one of the least remembered ADCs. But, on the bright side, this means he is also usually underestimated. He might not be the most consistent Champion, but never forget how much damage Varus’s full combo can do. Not to mention a fed Varus. You might not see it very often, but it is a force to be reckoned with.
Varus’s major strength is his dual damage typing. ADCs that can do AP damage as well as AD can fill a unique role in team comps, especially uncoordinated ones. If you’re last pick as ADC and no-one else on the team has any AP at all, someone like Varus would be an incredible pick. He can even transition into full AP if necessary (although, I would not recommend it because it is incredibly glass cannon).
Varus is not an amazing all-round Champion, but he deserves more love than he gets. He is reliable, has great poke damage, a solid ultimate, and he’s really fun to play. Maybe even one of the most fun ADCs overall.
- Role: Bot
- Core Items: Trinity Force, Titanic Hydra
- Runes: Lethal Tempo + Domination Tree
Zeri is possibly the most unusual ADC in the game right now. ADCs are known for getting most of their damage from auto attacks, so Zeri feels strange to play in many ways. Since her “true” auto attacks are considered abilities and her Q-ability is her actual auto attack, you have to build and play her differently than most ADCs. This is the reason for Trinity Force and Titanic Hydra instead of more typical ADC items like Kraken Slayer or Essence Reaver. Playing her, you have to get used to it because she feels unlike any other champion in the game.
Zeri’s status as an off-meta pick right now is largely due to her balancing and how she performs against the current top meta ADCs. Since she’s still pretty new, Riot is still trying to figure out how to properly balance her. I’m sure that after the next patch she’ll be good, then she’ll get bad, then maybe they’ll get the balance right (hopefully).
If you’re going to play Zeri as she is right now, you have to rely on outplaying your laners. She doesn’t hard counter anyone at the moment, so you can’t rely on that. Getting good at Zeri while she’s still somewhat new is also great to do so that next time she becomes overpowered (which, let’s face it, is inevitable since Riot doesn’t seem to understand balancing) you’ll be one step ahead of the pack.
- Role: Bot
- Core Items: Essence Reaver, Manamune
- Runes: Press the Attack + Inspiration Tree
Ezreal is very rarely ever at the top of the meta, but he’s often very good as a surprise pick into the right team comps. There are two reasons Ezreal isn’t considered meta right now: one is that he doesn’t match what the rest of the bot lane meta is doing (scaling hard), and the other is that Riot doesn’t seem to care enough to give him a decent Mythic item. That’s why neither of his core items are Mythics. Instead, Ezreal builds Essence Reaver as his Sheen item and Manamune for his tear. This makes it hard for him to hit that crucial power spike that most ADCs get once they acquire their Mythic.
However, all that being said, Ezreal is still strong. What he lacks in mid-game pressure, he makes up for by being unique. Few other ADCs do what Ezreal does. His abilities make him feel more like a caster than a standard ADC, and since he isn’t reliant on the same critical strike-based items as everyone else, he gets to experiment more. No other ADCs build Crown of the Shattered Queen or Frozen Heart, so he has that going for him. He can also rely on his AP scaling to fill in gaps in his team comp if necessary. Ezreal might not be the most consistent Champion, but he does feel a niche that won’t be forgotten any time soon.
- Role: Bot
- Core Items: Immortal Shieldbow, Guinsoo’s Rageblade
- Runes: Lethal Tempo + Domination Tree
The next contender for best off-meta ADC in LoL is one of League’s most mechanically interesting champions, Kalista.
Kalista has a unique passive that causes her to dash (increases in speed with attack speed) in a targeted direction after each auto attack. This results in her being one of the most kiting-heavy Champions in the game. Unfortunately, due to pro players becoming too good with her shortly after her release, she had her numbers dramatically reduced to compensate for her kiting ability.
Kalista is still a viable Champion despite never fully recovering from her nerfs, but she requires extensive practice to be good. Her main damage mechanic is to stack up Rend on targets with her auto attacks and Q before consuming all the stacks with her E to do massive damage.
Additionally, Kalista has another passive mechanic that is core to her kit, the Oathsworn Bond. At the start of the game, Kalista can use her unique item (Black Spear) to link herself with one ally for the rest of the game. While Kalista and her partner are close enough to each other (and Kalista has at least one point in her W), auto-attacking the same target within four seconds of each other will cause substantial percent health damage.
Her ultimate also is dependent on her partner. Kalista will grab her partner, rendering them immune but silenced, and the partner can choose to throw themselves at the enemy to knock up all enemies in the area.
With how odd her kit is and reliant on her partner, we highly recommended that Kalista be in voice comms with her partner to maximize her effectiveness. She’s best paired with someone who can commit to a fight and has a ranged auto attack such as Thresh.
As for when to play her, we recommend picking Kalista when the enemy bot lane is skill shot heavy, as she can dodge attacks rather easily. Due to her passive also reducing the amount of AD she has to work with by 10%, you’ll want to try to win games early by getting a gold lead and snowballing with it. Items with attack speed and crit chance will be your best friend. Guinsoo’s Rageblade and Bloodthirster are particularly useful for making your Rend stacks hit harder.
- Role: Bot
- Core Items: Eclipse, Essence Reaver
- Runes: Hail of Blades + Precision Tree
Draven is one of the most formidable ADCs with the right support alongside him. Draven’s damage output is insanely high, and when allowed to reliably poke and continue catching axes he can easily win lane. What makes Draven off-meta is his adaptability into late game team comps. Draven does not excel in team fights or in late game 1-on-1 fights. His reliability on catching axes and doing high burst damage doesn’t always hold up, but he remains a very solid conditional pick.
To maximize Draven’s potential, you have to have the right team comp. Since he isn’t as reliable in team fights, he should be treated as an early-game hyper threat that gets ahead enough to remain useful late by picking enemies off before they can do anything about it. Backed up by a team that understands his strengths, Draven is excellent. Just make sure and communicate what you intend to do with your teammates.
On the opposite end, however, it is sometimes possible to hard carry a game on Draven. Especially if you’re at a lower elo. At low elo, Draven can be absolutely devastating because most people won’t know how to play against him. Challenger players would be very unlikely to allow Draven to snowball to 25 kills by 20 minutes, but in Bronze/Silver? I’ve seen 20-0 Dravens on a regular basis at times in that elo. So if you’re down there, have a great time with Draven!
- Role: Bot
- Core Items: Eclipse, Manamune
- Runes: Summon Aery + Inspiration Tree
The feather-flinging rebel ADC has seen better days. With small nerfs slowly building up over time, she’s fallen rather low in the rankings of ADCs. Compounding the issue is that her playstyle revolves around whittling away at the enemy, while the meta favors burst damage.
However, Xayah continues to offer a strong hit-and-run playstyle and can dish out massive damage in team fights if positioned correctly. Key word being positioned. Her main gimmick is being able to throw her auto attack in a line through enemies and leaving a feather on the ground behind them. Those feathers on the ground can be recalled to Xayah via her E, dealing damage based off each feather as they pass through enemies. As a bonus, enemies hit by three feathers are rooted in place as well.
While this sounds great, lining up the feathers to hit the enemy multiple times is easier said than done. Playing Xayah effectively requires you to play aggressively with your Q and W to litter the field with feathers before recalling them with your E. When her abilities are on cooldown, Xayah feels a bit lackluster and has to kite back until they recharge.
Thankfully, you can put down quite a bit of feathers if you move quickly, and enemies usually aren’t paying attention to their position as much in team fights. If the conditions are right, you can have multiple feathers on the field ready to go, before you deploy your ult to get even more, and then E to shred an enemy team. Being untargetable during your ult helps ensure you survive long enough to pull off the combo.
Xayah can work into any matchup, but less mobile and more predictable enemies are ideal for setting up her feathers for maximum damage. A support that can slow and distract her enemies is ideal, such as Janna or her in-universe partner Rakan. You’ll want to focus on items that enhance your crit damage, as all your feathers can critically strike when you recall them with your E.
- Role: Bot
- Core Items: Manamune, Duskblade of Draktharr
- Runes: First Strike + Sorcery Tree
One of the first Champions in the game, Sivir has been a staple ADC for years. Her prominence peaked in 2015, where she was so impactful that she took home the Victorious skin for the season. Unfortunately, a steady stream of nerfs slowly followed, and the Battle Mistress is no longer the powerhouse she once was.
Thankfully, the nerfs weren’t strong enough to render her unplayable, and she simply went from god-tier to best off-meta ADC champion in LoL. With a focus on staying ahead of her enemies, Sivir excels at steadily chunking her enemies down with her Q’s boomerang throw and rapid burst of auto attacks. She has incredible pushing power in lane and can easily keep the enemy pinned under their tower.
If the enemy thinks they’re safe hiding behind their minion wave, the ricochet from her W and the range on her Q ensure they have nowhere to take refuge. Oddly enough, the value from her ultimate comes in its passive bonus when her W is active. It’s a massive attack speed steroid and lets her throw out auto attacks like a machine gun as long as there are targets to bounce to. The more targets there are, the more deadly Sivir becomes.
Having a personal spell shield bubble is really nice for surviving, and the combination of movement speed from her passive and activating her ultimate ensure that she can escape most situations. Her ultimate can also be used to rally her entire team and take the enemy by storm when they’re caught off guard.
Due to her kit giving her all around usefulness, Sivir can be picked into any match up. However, enemies that hit really hard and can bully her before she gets her ultimate will cause problems. If possible, you’ll want a support that can provide sustain or shields to outlast the laning phase such as Yuumi or Soraka. With her natural attack speed steroid and low Q cooldown, you’re best off building pure damage and armor penetration on Sivir. You’ll want to spam her abilities as much as possible, so Manamune is a godsend to her with Duskblade just enhancing her killing potential.
Become a High Grounder
And that’s it for our best off-meta ADCs in League of Legends Season 11. If you think there are other ADCs we should take a look at or want to see more off-meta articles for different roles, let us know in the comments below.