The League of Legends meta is currently in a very strange place. It seems the past few patches have given rise to a situation where any strategy or composition is worth trying. But one off-the-wall strategy has risen above all the others, and that strategy is gold funnelling.
The idea behind gold funnelling is simple. The entire team works to funnel a huge amount of resources onto one player or champion, who then (hopefully) uses their advantage to carry the game.
The strategy came about as a product of many changes in League of Legends, including changes to jungle spawns and experience, ADC itemization that pushed out many of the popular crit-based ADCs, and changes to towers and Baron.
The first and most well-known composition to use this strategy is the Master Yi and Taric combo that first appeared on the Chinese servers. In these compositions, Taric would serve as the team’s mid lane, but his main function is to support Master Yi in his jungle and hold the waves mid for Master Yi to collect after finishing his camps. This means Master Yi takes two positions worth of gold, supercharging his income and getting his scariest items a lot quicker.
Taric’s toolkit also fits uniquely well with covering up many of Yi’s weaknesses, helping him power through the early game and providing invulnerability crowd control, healing and shielding.
After the success of the Master Yi and Taric compositions, teams began to discover more champions that could use the same gold funneling strategy. The first game of the LCK Summer Split between BBQ Olivers and MVP featured Master Yi and Taric, but also Karthus and Nunu. The latter partnership worked in a similar way, with gold funnelled onto Karthus to abuse his crazy scaling potential.
The strategy of gold funnelling has continued to develop over the last few weeks – and across multiple regions – as teams have experimented with strategies featuring a wide range of champions. Perhaps most famously, Fnatic pushed their legendary ADC Martin “Rekkles” Larsson onto multiple supports in week one to enable the team to funnel gold on to mid-laner Rasmus “Caps” Winther’s Kai’sa.
The Kai’sa gold funnelling strategy has exploded in popularity the past week, seeing play across multiple regions with great success. With Kai’sa choosing Smite to secure camps from either the jungle or mid lane, the rest of the team selects complementary picks such as Lulu, Shen, or Braum to further enable the Kai’sa to gain a gold advantage and take over the game.
With no clear way to counteract gold funnelling, the strategy should continue to rise to the forefront of the competitive scene. Although it appears Riot Games may try to slow down gold funneling strategies in Patch 8.13, it will likely be something we see for multiple weeks to come.