With Classes, and more recently Subclasses, being a popular and convenient way to sum up and categorized a champion's playstyle in League of Legends, Riot Games has revisited the structure of their organizational system to move some champs around and place them under a few new titles.
Last year, the Riot team sat down to separate each champ into the Class that they most belonged in, and then they further defined the playstyles by adding more labels that they called Subclasses. The additional distinction between playstyles made sense seeing how Lee Sin and Illaoi were both considered Fighters, but the way they went about doing that fighting is vastly different. Adding Subclasses into the mix makes it easier to pinpoint a champ's identity while still being broad enough to include similar playstyles into each category.
Of course, there are some champs that have a bit harder time fitting into a neat category, an issue that was recognized in the recent restructuring of the Subclasses.
"To reiterate, we're not really interested in forcing every champion into a neat little box - we think that actually stunts creativity and uniqueness among the roster," said Riot Statikk in the recent gameplay update. "The Subclass system is more intended as a way to create a shared language we can use to help us better understand how to make healthy champions and how to better differentiate amongst them."
In order to help build that common language further while also making the terminology easy to understand, they've gotten rid of the Disruptor Subclass (Anivia, Teemo, Morgana) and added the Catcher Subclass (Thresh, Blitzcrank, Morgana). The tools that Disruptors possessed varied too greatly to be under one Subclass, and the addition of the Catchers made it easier to identify who was best at picked off and locking down one target from a distance.
The last and most interesting category, the Unique Subclass, includes many champions whose playstyles are a bit harder to define. Until they find the spot for each champ, those Unique ones will be left in the category to avoid pushing them where they don't belong.
We've taken the list up to this point of what champ belongs where and organized them in a way that gives you an idea of the current state Classes and Subclasses as well as which champs fit into each category.
The Tank Class is a staple in most games, and League of Legends is no different. The ability to soak up damage without faltering makes for an invaluable frontline for your team, and while there are several champions who can opt for a beefier build path that will lead up to late-game tankiness, there are some who are simply born to be Tanks.
Despite being a common Class, Tanks still suffer from a split identity of offensive vs. defensive playstyle. Should you go in and disrupt the other team, or should you hang back to counter their plays? That's where the Subclasses of Vanguards and Wardens come into play.
Vanguards are considered the more aggressive of the two and consist of champions such as Malphite that can go blasting into the enemy team and live to tell the tale. Wardens such as Shen, on the other hand, serve their purpose best when they're sticking close to teammates to alleviate the pressure of oncoming assaults.
- Mega Gnar
- Tahm Kench
The melee-oriented champions who typically find themselves taking on multiple opponents at once while scraping by through healing and sheer power are known as the Fighters. These champs thrive in the thick of combat, but they must still be durable enough to disengage or continue the assault.
Fighters are divided further into the Juggernaut and Diver Subclasses. Most players will remember the infamous 5.16 where Juggernauts first really started being talked about as several of them were reworked to pinpoint their unique role in League of Legends. While the intent of Juggernauts is to be persistent in their attempts to break through the enemy frontline, Divers are better suited for dashing into the mix of things and isolating one enemy while still being mobile and durable enough to make their escape. These classes aren't quite as sturdy as the Tanks, but they often offer similar displacement abilities to turn the enemies' backline into chaos.
- Dr. Mundo
- Jarvan IV
- Lee Sin
- Xin Zhao
While many players will likely default to referring to champs in the Slayer Class simply as Assassins, that was actually part of the issue when it came to creating the Subclasses for this Class. Plenty of the champs in the Slayer category do have the ability to get in and get out with a clean kill, but some prefer to stick around and go after multiple opponents after they strike down their first foe.
Because of this, the Class was divided into the Assassins and Skirmishers Subclasses. The mobility of the Assassins is near unrivaled in the purpose that they serve as they can get take out a target and return to safety before most enemies have the chance to react aside from using Zhonya and hoping for the best.
Skirmishers, on the other hand, can't maneuver quite as easily as the Assassins, but they still have tools at their disposal that make them a quick and efficient threat to squishier champs. They're a smaller Subclass that's similar to the Fighters in the sense that they provide a bit more sustained damage while lashing out at any nearby target, but they don't have all of the same survivability, and many of them operate on a "kill or be killed" playstyle.
- Master Yi
The only Class category that has three Subclasses, Mages in League of Legends carry some of the most diverse playstyles that the game has to offer. Separated into the Burst Mages, the Battle Mages, and the Artillery Mages, each group has their own way of laying down some serious magical firepower.
One of the most iconic Burst Mages that certainly has earned her spot in the Subclass is Syndra. One Unleashed Power aimed at an ADC or similar champ usually means that somebody's being taken out, a trait that makes Burst Mages who they are. By isolating and picking off one target at range, they can remain safe while still serving their purpose.
In the heat of the battle lives the Battle Mages, a Subclasss who put themselves into the fray and wreak some AOE havoc on enemies. They're sturdy enough to take a hit and keep dishing out some abilities, and in the case of Karthus, they can even continue to be a threat long after you think that their time is done.
Rounding out the Mage Class is the Artillery Mages, one of the most recognizable ones likely being Xerath. His playstyle is nothing but pelting the other team from tremendous distances while remaining safe behind his team's frontline. One notable member of the Artillery Mage Subclass who fits in due to his split playstyle is Jayce, depending of course on whether he's got his Mercury Cannon or Mercury Hammer out.
- Lux (hybrid Artillery)
- Twisted Fate
- Aurelion Sol
Supports are the most common role to fill out the Controllers Class, a category that's recently welcomed the addition of the Catchers Subclass and the departure of the Disruptors. These champions excel at doing what their name suggests, controlling the flow of the battle by filling up lanes with massive tidal waves or yanking someone from the safety of their backline.
By boosting up their teammates' stats and proving to be a hindrance to the enemies, Enchanters are the first of two Subclasses that make up the Controllers. They'll typically need to stick beside a high-powered teammate to do their job best as their survivability is severely limited when isolated. Lulu is one of the staple picks in this Subclass, a champion that's become pick/ban recently.
The newer Subclass, the Catchers, finally get the recognition they deserve by receiving their own label. These champs can be a nightmare to play against given their ability to isolate a player for extended periods of time. Flashes are forced and dashes are expended most times when a Catcher emerges from the fog of war or else you run the risk of getting hit by the cold touch of Blitzcrank's metallic Rocket Grab.
- Taric (hybrid Warden)
The Marksmen actually don't have their own Subclass; the League of Legends team decided to leave them under the broad Class of Marksmen at the moment, at least until they can find a breakdown that really adds something to the Subclass system.
We keep debating the potential of breaking down Marksmen but haven't found a split that feels meaningful / useful enough just yet. Utility vs. Damage focused? Long vs. Short? Bursty vs. Sustained?" said Riot Statikk in a response to the reclassification of champs. "We don't want to add Subclasses if there is no inherent value in them."
For now, few surprises remain in the Marksmen Class, but there are two champs who find themselves as almost hybrids in their roles. Jhin is listed as a hybrid Catcher with his ability to pick off lone targets, or at least lock them down so someone else can, and Varus is a hybrid Artillery champ with his barrage of Piercing Arrows. Though Kog'Maw is included as a Marksmen, one would also assume he'd fit well into the Artillery Subclass like Varus, but the list doesn't categorize him as such.
- Jhin (hybrid Catcher)
- Miss Fortune
- Varus (hybrid Artillery)
Rounding out the list of the League of Legends Classes and Subclasses is those with Unique Playstyles. These champs don't quite fit neatly into a particular category, and Riot is okay with that for the time being.
Many of the champs within this category were previously listed under other Subclasses as hybrids, but they've since been moved into their own category that embraces their unique kits. This isn't a sign of lack of fitting in, however, as the team behind the reclassification notes that it speaks to the complexity and diversity of the champs.
"We're happy to see that a lot of our champions don't fit this specific lens of structuring the champion roster - that's actually a really encouraging sign that our roster has a lot of distinctiveness and diversity," the update read.
To avoid shoehorning a champion into an unfitting category, these champs will remain in the Unique Playstyles section for the time being, at least until a more identifiable name is created.
- Mini Gnar
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