For all the casual League of Legends: Wild Rift players, roles and the lanes as they go, are not complicated at all. Traditionally, the carry and the support go to the Dragon Lane, a mage or an assassin go to the mid lane and a fighter or a tank goes to the Baron lane and the jungler, of course, goes to the jungle. This is how the developers have indicated us to play the game. On the rise of the League of Legends: Wild Rift competitive Esports scene, a fresh group of players and teams have decided not to follow the script and design a different approach to playing the game. This approach of Lane Swapping in Wild Rift has gone mainstream and took the community and the developers by storm.
In this article, we will take a look at the history of lane swapping. We will discuss its purpose and the reason behind the developers deciding to attempt to remove it from the game.
History of Lane swapping in Wild Rift
16 Bit, a Korean team did this first time in January 2021 when Wild Rift competitive Esports was not yet, as popular. It was the grand finals of the Wild Rift Southeast Asia Invitational, one of the first international tournaments ever in the history of Wild Rift. They were against Aether Rift, a Filipino team that is now known in the community as NXP.
It was the second game of the series, and surprisingly, 16 Bit didn’t put their AD Carry and support on the dragon lane. Instead, they put them in the baron lane, leaving their baron laner alone in the dragon lane. It was then called “Lane Swapping”. It had put Aether Rift into confusion because of the new strategy unfolding before their eyes.
After the lane swap, things got pretty bad for the side of Aether Rift. Their baron laner got 4 man dived by 16 Bit and was not able to do anything but die. Meanwhile, 16 Bit’s baron laner just farmed on their turret safely, and from there, 16 Bit pretty much just snowballed the whole game. Aether Rift had no answer, but to lose the game. This seemed far-fetched at first, but it didn’t just happen one time. Many teams did apply their own versions of it and thought of it as an actual strategy. In fact, it can even be seen in the Wild Rift SEA Icon Series Vietnam executed by several teams including the finalists, Divine Esports and RSG. But why? What does it actually do for the team that does it?
Purpose of Lane swapping in Wild Rift
Before the changes on the turrets and stuff on Patch 2.1b, lane swapping actually has some real and sensible purpose. In executing lane swapping, the baron laner is put in a 1 v 2 situation. Sure, this puts the team’s dragon lane that executes it in an advantage, but doesn’t this just give the same advantage to the opposing team? Unless matchups become a factor.
Baron lane, being very matchup-reliant, some matchups are just too bad that it’s intolerable. Teams just went “You know what? You don’t have to fight him, we will fight him for you”. Basically, lane swapping has been a strategy for teams to basically dodge counter picks and bad matchups, not only to baron lane but all lanes in general. Now, it sounds more like a real strategy, right? But is that all? How about the 16 Bit vs Aether Rift game? It was a Wukong vs Akali matchup, isn’t that a skill matchup?
Looking into more reasons behind Lane swapping
Lane swapping was also done for a more offensive reason. By doing it, teams used to be able to decide to give their dragon laner an advantage early and a baron laner an early disadvantage on purpose. Why? Because a good early-game is essential to a carry in general. By lane swapping, your dragon laner skips the early-game phase and is sure to scale into mid-game. Baron laners, on the other hand, are not all gold reliant. Some, like Gragas or Malphite, can do just fine without gold, yet they can still provide crowd control and soak damage even within a disadvantage.
To explain another plausible reason is a feature in Wild Rift in where the first team that destroys a turret gets bonus gold, and also a rune called Mastermind. This gives bonus gold and experience to a unit that participates in destroying a turret or getting an objective. Teams have somewhat realized that sometimes, Dragons are not that good. There are times where Dragons like Cloud and Ocean are not exactly what their champions want, and Gold always comes in handy.
By lane swapping, teams were able to group faster and exert pressure into a 2 v 1 matchup on the baron lane. This especially becomes unpredictable, since all a team can do, is guess because the early-minute preparation is quick. This can then be turned into a 4 v 1 situation along with the jungler and the mid laner, along with other similar options.
Attempt to end Lane swapping on Wild Rift
However, many have found lane swapping boring or even unhealthy for the game. Many didn’t like the idea of 4 members from both teams, rushing into a turret 2 minutes into the game, racing on who to get the first turret. People in the community not only started to hate watching it, but even hated doing it. It has lead to the realization of the developers, to once and for all, attempt to end it.
In Patch 2.1b, lane swapping was one of the main concerns of the patch. The developers decided to make the turrets sturdier in the first minutes of the game, especially when teams gang-up to take a turret down. At this point, Lane swapping seems to bring a disadvantage, instead of giving the team that does it an advantage. But no, do we remember that getting the first turret was not the only reason behind it? It is to be noted that there are some other plausible purpose in line like matchups and securing a lead on a carry.
We are still yet to see if lane swapping is really once and for all over with the current changes. The intellect and creativity of the players can never be put aside, and remember that there can be another team like 16 Bit to attempt to still make lane swapping work or make another game-changing strategy that will take the community by storm.
However, we can’t deny the fact, that lane swapping is special. Tracing the trends roots back to its point of origin will not lead you into an office whiteboard but to the spark-emitting intellect of the games’ most exceptional players. Riot may have built the game, but it’s the players that really make it.
That’s all for today’s League of Legends: Wild Rift Lane Swapping Guide. Do you prefer to use Lane Swapping in ranked matches? Let us know in the comment section below!