Time to Troll - Trundle in the LCS

Time to Troll - Trundle in the LCS

Coming into the 2014 season, we knew one thing: The top lane would be dominated by tanks. Whether it's Renekton, Shyvana, Dr. Mundo, or even Malphite, the northern section of the map would feature a ton of armor, magic resistance, and HP. For a while, it seemed that things would be rather stale up there.

That is, until the Troll King made his way to the Rift. As a tank that eat tanks, he’s the perfect way to deal with the big guys in the top lane.

The Tank Buster

Trundle’s ability to win against the likes of Renekton and Mundo relies on one thing: his ultimate, Subjugate. “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Basically, the tankier his opponent gets, the more power his ultimate has.

Let’s take a look at the math. As soon as it’s activated, he steals 20% of his target’s armor and magic resist, with another 20% being taken over the next 4 seconds. So, if a Renekton has 100 armor, Trundle will steal away 40 armor (an 80 point swing). And when 100 armor reduces half of the physical armor coming in, that’s a big deal. In this instance, a Renekton would only be reducing 37.5% of incoming damage. Meanwhile, Trundle gets all of those lost stats for himself, turning him into an absolute monster.

While all of this is going on, he’s simultaneously stealing a percentage of their HP over 4 seconds. Even at its first rank, it grabs 20% (plus 2% of Trundle’s Ability Power) of the opponent’s total HP over 4 seconds. In longer teamfights - Trundle’s preference - that’s massively powerful. He simultaneously buffs himself, deals a solid amount of damage to his target, and allows his teammates to demolish a single target.

It certainly doesn’t hurt when he picks up Blade of the Ruined King. All of the sudden, his auto-attacks do 5% of his opponent’s remaining health per swing while its active slows them down and prevents them from escaping.

Trolling the LCS

The theory is sound. If all goes well, once Trundle gets his ultimate and a couple of items, he should be able to tear apart another tank one on one. But how does it work in practice? Things started well for the Troll King, as Fnatic brought him out in the very first game of the 2014 season against Gambit. SOAZ went up against Darien’s Dr. Mundo in the top lane, absolutely decimating him. Trundle went 3/0/13 in his first appearance of the season, establishing himself as a solid counter-pick against the big Doc.

At first, it seemed that teams weren’t ready for the rise of Trundle. Fnatic was the only team to grab him in Europe during Week 1, and he went 0-2 in North America. Team Coast’s ZionSpartan and Dignitas’ Cruzerthebruzer struggled to do well with him during that first week, perhaps showing their relative inexperience with the champion.

However, as time went on, he became an increasingly contested counter-pick to the prominent top lane champions right now, at least in Europe. Week 3 saw him picked six times in Europe (he wasn’t picked or banned in North America in Week 3), but went 1-5.

Trundle, Subjugated

The risk of Trundle is if he's unable to get strong enough to take advantage of his already powerful ultimate ability, he’ll be relatively ineffective in the late game. It’s not that he needs to get himself an early lead to succeed; he simply has to survive the early game against whoever his opponent may be.

As a result, teams have learned how to deal with him. Many of his losses are against mobile, CC-heavy junglers like Elise or Vi. If they can put pressure on him and push him away from a getting a ton of farm, he’ll struggle well into the late game.

At the end of the day, LCS teams that picked Trundle are 6-9 after Europe finished the fourth week of play. However, due to him being a relatively new face in the LCS, we’ll have to see if top lane players figure out how to use him even more effectively.

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