Lucian is one of the ADCs in League of Legends and as per tradition, ADCs are supposed to be played in the bottom lane alongside a support. But something odd yet amazing happened last night during the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational 2017 (MSI), where Lucian made his international debut in the mid lane thanks to China’s Team WE mid-laner, Xiye. Lucian mid has been around in Solo Queue and in scrims for a while now, but no one dared to pick him, until yesterday.
Team WE was scheduled to face the Korean power house and two-time World Champions, SKT T1 in the final match of group stage. Little did everyone know that Team WE’s Xiye is going to blind pick Lucian in the mid lane, even before the world’s best League of Legends player, Faker picked his champion. In response to the Lucian pick, Faker decided to go with Orianna as a counter pick, but things went catastrophically bad for him and SKT. Xiye solo killed Faker several times during the early game. He had a score of 5/0/0 15 minutes into the game and it snowballed the entire game in the favor of Team WE.
There are several factors that allows Lucian to be played in the mid lane. First off, Lucian can have a safe laning phase with his Relentless Pursuit (E) to get him away from danger. Lucian has a one to two item power spike with Blade of the Ruined King as the first item, followed by Black Cleaver, and also maxing Piercing Light (Q) while reaching Level 9, he can dominate the early to mid-game fairly easily. Junglers can also consider handing over both blue and red buffs to Lucian for a much dominant laning phase. The blue buff is extremely powerful on Lucian as it grants Lucian enough mana and cooldown reduction for him to spam skills and proc his Lightslinger passive.
During the game between SKT and Team WE, Xiye got a double kill after only three minutes passed, thanks to his jungler, Condi’s help. Three minutes later, he went all-in on Faker upon reaching Level 6, tower diving and solo killing him while escaping death from tower shots. The three kills Xiye got in the early game ultimately allowed him to have Blade of the Ruined King and Berserker’s Greaves completed at 13 minutes.
After completing Black Cleaver as a second item on Lucian, you can start moving him towards the side lanes and start split pushing. The reason is because after he got his two item power spike, he is one of the strongest 1v1 duelist in League, and you wouldn’t want to mess with him unless you’re an assassin who can one-shot him.
Lucian being played in other lanes except bottom is not the first time in the history of LoL pro scene. SKT T1’s top laner, Huni picked Lucian once during the 2016 NA LCS Spring Split Semi Finals against TSM. Unfortunately for them, they lost that game against Team Solomid (TSM) as TSM was able to stall out into late game and it was too hard for Immortals to win a fight after mid game. After facing Huni’s top Lucian, Bjergsen started practicing mid Lucian in his Solo Queue games but he did not bring it out on his LCS games. Just a month ago, Xiaohu from China LPL’s Royal Never Give Up picked Lucian in the mid lane and he is the first one who did it in the pro scene and RNG won that game and series against Invictus Gaming (IG). With the win Team WE got last night, Lucian mid now has a 100% win-rate in the pro scene.
Playing Lucian in mid lane may sound easy but it has its cons too. The major threat to any ADCs are always an Assassin. If your opponent has any Assassin’s like Zed and LeBlanc, or even Mages like Ryze who can 100 to 0 you easily, picking Lucian against them is just asking to be turned into a dead meat. Thus, a suitable team composition and a well thought pick and ban phase is a prerequisite to enable Lucian to shine in mid lane. Furthermore, Lucian tends to fall off hard during late game, which is why you should start snowballing game during the early and mid-game, just like how Team WE did against SKT. Last but not least, positioning is key and know when to play aggressively as you won’t have a support in lane with you and Lucian has a fairly short attacking range of 500 units which can easily put you out of position while trying to last hit minions.
Playing Lucian in mid lane versus playing Lucian in bottom lane are two different ball games. Practice him in Normal games before jumping into Ranked games so that you know what you are getting yourself into and to prevent teammates from getting salty and blaming you for the loss.