With the Wild Rift Southeast Asian Icon Series well underway, professional teams have been using an innovative strategy involving lane swapping at level one.
Instead of champions heading to their respective 1-1-2 lanes, lane swaps involve the duo intentionally moving into the solo lane, creating a 2v1 situation on opposite sides of the map.
In Geek Fam’s match against Wulf Esports for example, Geek Fam’s duo immediately pathed to the Baron lane while their solo laner, Yasuo, went to the Dragon lane which instigated the lane swap.
This results in map control being split diagonally through mid lane instead of the river, with each team maintaining a numbers advantage on each side, therefore inducing vertical jungling.
It heavily favors the duo laners and jungler while the side lane solo laner obviously loses out the most, especially since this player, left on an island, can get tower dived easily.
The overall idea is that the jungle camps, gold, and experience advantages gained on the team’s strong side of the map outweighs everything else. For this to work, the solo laner that loses out on farm is usually one with strong base stats and crowd control, one who doesn’t need items in order to effectively contribute to team fights.
Lane swapping is not new to League of Legends. It was present in professional play on the PC version in previous seasons before Riot Games put a stop to it in 2016.
Geek Fam’s mid laner Poon “Ozora Veki” Kok Sing, who was previously a professional League of Legends player explains that swaps are very effective because the map is mirrored.
Because Red Buff is crucial for the jungler at level one, teams would rather lane swap in order to guarantee this buff rather than risk getting invaded and losing out big.
“If you were to start your own Blue, it has higher armor, so you can’t do it as fast as Red Buff,” Ozora Veki wrote on his Facebook post. He adds that even if the jungler chooses to walk to the enemy’s Red Buff after getting invaded, the team would have lost out entirely on tempo and the first turret.
“This means that whoever who decides to swap first has a huge advantage because they are more proactive and have better map positioning,” said Veki.
Besides the clear advantages of the lane swap itself, it also inflicts major disadvantages to the enemy team that doesn’t anticipate it. If your opponents drafted a winning Baron or Dragon lane match up and you wish to avoid it, lane swapping would completely derail their plans.
“Lane swap, bam! All solved… Take down the turret and you have the advantage now,” said Veki.