"Why is the Meta the meta?" EXPLAINED HERE!

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Tl;dr Please read the whole thing if you ever see yourself doubting the reasoning behind why the meta and the lanes are the way they are. This is loooooooong.

Good morning GD,

Someone posted a thread asking the rationale behind why the meta is what it is. I feel I will take a stab at it.

What the hell is a Meta in the first place?!??!

The term "Meta" in League of Legends is used to describe the most optimal way of creating a team and playing the game to maximize your odds of winning. The Meta is a fluid concept and it is always a work in progress. There is absolutely nothing that is set in stone with the concept of a "meta" because a change in items or XP/Gold accumulation could completely flip the Meta in one singular patch.

What I am about to go into is the discussion of the Meta (Most optimal way of creating a team/playing the game) as it currently stands.

Objective of the game:

The main objective of the game is to beat the Enemy Teams Nexus (obviously). How does one accomplish that? By getting more advantages throughout the game to be able to defeat the enemy team, take their turrets, inhibs, then finally their Nexus.

How does one get advantages? There are three primary means:
1) Gold!!!
2) Experience
3) Objectives (Turrets, Jungle buffs, Dragon/Baron)

So the Meta is built around the most effective way to attain as much said three advantages while attempting to limit your other teams ability to get those same advantages.

Lanes and Jungle, and Team Make-up:

This is probably the most argued point to the Meta. People consistently say "Well why can't it be 2 people top and no jungle" (if you're new to the game) or "Why can't it be Solo top ADC, bruiser bot, and Support+ AP Mid?!"

Another typical argument is team composition. A team as a whole typically wants an Initiator who can take some hits, a person who can defend your powerful targets, an AD damage dealer, an AP damage dealer, and someone who can be effective without gold.

I'll do my best to explain all of this in the following sections.

Top Lane:

Top and Bottom lane are longer lanes than Middle lane. The distance from where the minions originally collide to your turret is much longer in the Top and Bottom lane than the Middle lane. This is a crucial part that is over looked when people are questioning the Meta.

Top lane is typically a Bruiser type. A role that is meant to be more tanky than the others (barring the Jungle potentially, but I'll get to that) who can help protect our powerful targets or Initiate the combats and set things up for your damage dealers to come in and do their jobs.

The REASON that the bruiser type typically goes in the top lane relates to what I said two paragraphs ago. There is a longer distance to the safety of your turret there than middle lane. In the occurence from a gank, you want to be able to be built more durable to give yourself the higher possibility to survive til you get to safety. That's why the stronger, beefier types of champions go top rather than middle. They can take more punishment.

Middle Lane:

Middle lane is typically meant for AP (though AD has made more of an appearance of late) champions that typically can pack a huge punch, but are not typically as safe of champions. Why do they go middle lane? Well because as I said in the top lane section, Middle lane has the SHORTEST distance to run to get to safety. It is also the lane that has the most potential of having your jungler near to help back you up in case you do get ganked.

Middle lanes are typically mana hungry champions too (though Kat and Akali and a hand full of others are exceptions). Being able to play Middle lane is beneficial for them so they are able to get blue buff from the Jungler whether on Blue or Purple side. They also can go Back if they run out of mana and get back to lane faster (shortest lane)

Why is it typically AP? Most of the time you don't want to have a team that is 100% one damage type because the other team is able to build defense of one kind to try to shut you down (inb4 League of Warmogs joke). And you want to have a champion who can do a lot of damage in both AP and AD, which leads me to my next section.

Bot Lane:

The Bottom lane is typically comprised of an ADC, and a support. But why one might ask? Well I'll hope to explain.

Attack Damage Carry (ADC)

As I said earlier, the Bottom lane has a longer distance to the turret than middle. But the difference is that Bottom lane ADC champions are meant to be a bit squishier than top lane because they're meant to build damage to be able to CARRY later in the game and take down turret fast. So since they are squishy like mid champs, but have as long of a distance to run to get back to their turret, it's good to have a secondary person with you.

If a Jungler comes to gank top lane, then it goes from a 1v1 to a 2v1. That is an increase of 100% killing power in the lane. It is good to have someone who has the ability to sustain some damage while trying to get to safety.

If a Jungler comes to gank bot lane, then it goes from a 2v2 to a 3v2. That is effectively only an increase of 50% killing power in the lane. So having someone squishy down there and a support to protect the ADC in those situations is crucial.

Why even have an ADC? ADCs are very good at taking out Turrets and inhibitors due to their very high AD and typically attack speed. It is crucial to not have a team of entirely AP champions, or else you'd take down turrets 3 times slower.


This is potentially the most argued role with people who question the Meta. The support going along with the ADC is very important for the following reasons.

Supports are champions whos kits are effective with very little gold. Sona can make her team move faster, heal, and stun all without having a single item. Taric can stun, heal, and buff his team without having a single item. All of these things are very beneficial to a team that don't need gold.

Why does the support not go with Mid then? Well again because Top is tankier just incase of ganks, middle has the shortest distance to run, and ADCs are squishy. To be able to have the resources that a support brings, as well as someone dedicated to keeping you safe with wards, you are able to build damage to really be able to help your team later in the game.


The three lanes already have a champ in them trying to get as much gold from last hitting minions as they can. The support bot lane doesn't need gold to be effective, so it works perfectly having those three lanes with only 1 person trying to get the gold.

The jungle is a whole new Revenue and XP generating avenue. Leaving it alone would be a waste of resources and spreading other resources thin.

The Jungler is also a crucial part of the game because of the map and objective control it brings. When you're playing a Bot game, you can tell exactly where the bots are going, because if all 5 champs are seen at all times, then one runs into the jungle one way, you know exactly where he's headed so you can be safe.

Having a jungler not only allows for the revenue stream, but also for the map presence. If there were no jungler, then supports would not have to buy wards near as much to keep safe so they'd have more money to be more powerful. Just by not being seen, you're making a support spend 150-225g every 3 minutes. Likely top and mid spending some as well.

Then, of course, there is the objective control it brings. Middle lane champions typically love Blue buff. If they had to run and get it themselves, then they'd have to lose out on a lot of CS in their lane, take a lot of damage since they're squishy tanking it, and then possibly have to go B to heal up and lose the duration on the buff. If you have a jungler who can start up the damage, and take the hits, your middle lane can get back to gaining strength to carry later in the game.

Junglers also are supposed to be on top of timers with Buffs and Dragon/Baron to make sure you can leverage every advantage you can.

Junglers typically are meant to complement the Top lane. If there is someone who is clearly an initiator top lane then a good jungler choice could be someone who does a good job at protecting our Squishies. If the top lane is someone who is more apt to protect the squishies, it's best to complament them with being an initiating type of jungler.


Thanks for reading guys. I know it was a long one, and I'm sure I missed some things, but this is the general rationale behind why the lanes ended up where they did. If there is anything glaring that I'm missing, please comment and I'll update it or put it in the FAQs

FAQs and Comments:

One thing that I know some people will mention is the fact that AP has been slightly phased out this season since Health is so much more effective of a stat than resistances, and there are a number of ways to reduce Armor now. AP is still important so the entire enemy team doesn't just build Sunfire Capes, but if things keep up, the meta CAN possibly change in the future. The Meta is not a set in stone thing, but in the current climate, my post is the reasoning why it is what it is.

Originally Posted by All dat Entropy View Post
Something I think you missed about bruiser vs ADC is that ADCs scale better with gold and items, but bruisers scale better with levels; a level 11 Darius is a lot stronger than a level 10 Darius, but a level 11 Ezreal is only a little stronger than a level 10 Ezreal. This means the bruiser needs a solo lane to be as high-level as possible, while an ADC just needs safe farm.
^Great point. When an ADC gets most of his damage from just Auto Attacking while a Bruiser/AP caster gets a lot from the leveling of skills, that's another reason why ADC gets the Duo lane.

Originally Posted by The doom koala View Post
Bot lane as the duo lane is also based in early Dragon control, otherwise it wouldn't matter if the duo lane was top or bot.
^Another great point that I didn't mention. **** look I'm learning a thing or two as well.

Originally Posted by Ahris Boobs View Post
"So why not send ADC mid since it is the safest lane and send your AP + support bot? This would still maintain dragon control."

ADC did in fact, use to go mid. Then people realized that if you sent an AP 1v1 against them, the majority of the time at lvl 6 the AP could 1shot the ADC anytime their ulti was off cooldown. So after a while, people started sending their ADC go bot with support to avoid being 1shot every time they go to hit a minion post-6
^ Another great addition I over looked.

Special thanks to Halcione for suggesting I add the "what the hell is the Meta in the first place" section. Great addition to the thread.

ANOTHER EDIT. A comment that has been coming up pretty frequently now is "Why not a safe ADC top and Bruiser bot? Or ADC top and Bot?"

It seems like a problem is that people are only thinking about the Laning Phase. An ADC top lane will likely be able to zone many Melee champs in lane phase. Solution? Have your jungler camp top lane. That ADC is squishy, so either they're going tohave to spend their money on Wards and Potions to keep your jungler at Bay (which in turn lowers the items the have and makes them weaker late game) or they're gonna feed and get 2 shot by a snowballed Riven.

Also about Bruiser + Support bot. Someone suggested "Xin + Sona/Taric would be able to murder most ADCs after 6" That may be right mid game, but a smart ADC and Support would make sure they made your life hell early on, and maybe got a jungle gank early to really put you so far back that you'd be down a level or 2 before you have the killing power you need as a Bruiser.

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Mid lane needs more exp to keep their burst damage up

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Oh no doubt about it. The difference between 5 and 6 and 10 and 11 for a mid is huge

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uh tanky burst support + adc sorta works now. try playing xin or kha with MF or ez and instagibb at lvl 4

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meta is whatever people see in tournaments. thats pretty much it. i play what i want. im 5-1 with talon bot(and that loss was due to 4v5). and i get flamed everytime no matter how well i do. yesterday we stomped a game with talon top, cass mid, vi jungle and brand/rammus bot. thats right, brand/rammus stomped ez/soraka.

meta is for the weak.

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Originally Posted by Coolh4x0r View Post
uh tanky burst support + adc sorta works now. try playing xin or kha with MF or ez and instagibb at lvl 4
There is no doubt that that can add a lot of pressure to a early game laning phase... but let me ask you. Would you rather have a Sona or a Xin late game who doesn't have any items? Sona can Heal, provide auras for protection/damage/movement speed, and can stun all from a distance. Xin or Kha have to get right in there to do damage. So while they might be able to burst a bit in the early laning phase, if they try to pull that **** late game, they will seriously evaporate from the map.

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A point you might want to add is that Mid lane is the easiest lane to roam from. As such, it's good practice to put a champ there who has high threat through damage, utility, mobility, or some combination of the 3. Traditionally, these traits are most common on AP Mages and assassins, though there are a few emerging AD Assassins who fit the bill as well.

Also note that, since mid lane is the shortest, the creeps collide and die in the middle before either of the side lanes, which means the mid lane will almost always have an XP advantage over any of the other lanes at least for a short time. This is optimal because the AP Mages/Assassins are usually the ones who's threat level scales the best with levels (supports could be argued to scale "better" with levels, but more so in utility than in damage, which is why I specify threat scaling).

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Mid Garen is the way to go.