Even though a champion in League of Legends can remain recognizable and relatively powerful for over a decade, sometimes their kit just doesn’t transfer to professional play easily. Yet under the right circumstances, these champions can become the secret weapons that opposing teams simply would never expect to see.
During today’s LCS Spring Split week six match between Evil Geniuses and FlyQuest, longtime LCS top laner Ssumday surprised FlyQuest and fans alike by bringing Garen, the Might of Demacia, onto the Rift as an answer to Impact’s K’Sante. This marks the first time that Garen has ever been played within the LCS throughout its 11-year history, despite the champion having been present in the game since 2010.
Garen is a champion that has remained relatively the same since his release. His simplistic kit of spinning and striking down opponents with his sword makes him incredibly accessible for new players. And thanks to the silence, true damage, self-mitigated damage, and self-healing Garen has within his abilities, he is more than capable of both dealing immense damage to foes and walking away unscathed.
But with all of the top laners introduced in recent years, as well as the plethora of changes made to tank and fighter items during the most recent preseason, carry top laners like Garen have fallen out of the pro-play meta—though remain popular picks within solo queue. Yet as an answer to the domination of tanks toward the top of the map, many regions around the world have been opting for these carry champions, including Garen.
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In the champion’s first game in the LCS, Ssumday successfully introduced all of FlyQuest to the Might of Demacia by cementing the team’s strong gold lead over their opponents at nearly all points of the game, leading to FlyQuest’s second loss of the split. With how fed Ssumday had gotten, nobody could escape his grasp as he charged toward FlyQuest headfirst and from behind—and he further surprised the audience with the purchase of a Rapid Firecannon. He left this game with a dominant 6/0/4 scoreline.
After this performance, it’s likely that the LCS teams will now have to prepare themselves for the possibility of a Garen pick during their matches, as well as remain wary of how powerful the pick can be if ahead.